Army Public Health Weekly Update, 19 November 2021

Date Published: 11/19/2021
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NOTICE: There will be no Army Public Health Weekly Update next week. Publication will resume on 03 December 2021.

The Army Public Health Update is a collection of articles taken from public sources to offer awareness of current health issues and the media coverage given to them. The articles do not necessarily represent U.S. Army Medical Command opinions, views, policy, or guidance, and should not be construed or interpreted as being endorsed by the U.S. Army Medical Command.

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Table of Contents


    COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens

    4 November- CDC recommends everyone ages 5 and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19. Widespread vaccination for COVID-19 is a critical tool to best protect everyone, especially those at highest risk, from severe illness and death. People who are fully vaccinated can safely resume many activities that they did prior to the pandemic. Children ages 5 years and older are able to get an age-appropriate dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more about what you and your child or teen can do when fully vaccinated. CDC External Link 

    National Family Caregivers Month

    16 November- People start out in life needing care and support, and many others may need care and support in their later years. November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to thank those who care for others -- the elderly, the disabled, and those needing assistance doing activities they can't do themselves. Caregivers are a literal daily lifeline for millions of Americans. At the Department of Veterans Affairs, this year's theme is “Caregiving Around the Clock." The VA says this theme aims to encourage caregivers to embrace their own sense of self, including their identities outside of being caregivers. Caregiving can be stressful, and it's important to know that others are there for them, just as they are there for someone else. In the military and veteran community, a number of resources are available for caregivers. Tracy Warren is the Army Community Service's Exceptional Family Member Program coordinator at Rock Island Arsenal. She works with military families and civilian agencies to provide resources, referrals, care coordination and support for housing, education, medical and other services to families with special needs. “Caregivers want support in finding services for their family members who have special needs," Warren said. “They want to be sure a plan is in place, and someone who can assist them with finding resources in the area." Additionally, Warren provides resources for respite care services available in the community, which is extremely important. “Respite care services give the caregivers the break they desperately need," she said. “Caregivers need a break," Warren added. “Caregiving can be a highly demanding and stressful responsibility, and no one can do it without some help. Respite care provides short-term breaks for caregivers that can relieve their stress." External Link


    Camp Zama Soldier completes 1,100-Pound Challenge as part of One Health Week

    12 November- In observance of the global campaign known as One Health Week, Capt. Vernell McDonald demonstrated just how healthy he was by lifting more than half a ton of weight. McDonald, the chief of Industrial Hygiene for Public Health Command – Pacific, was at the Yano Fitness Center here Nov. 4 to attempt the 1,100-Pound Challenge, in which he was required to lift that amount across three events. He successfully completed the challenge with a 275-pound bench press, a 395-pound squat and a 430-pound dead lift. One Health Week, observed this year Nov. 1 through 6, began in 2018 as a way to address shared health threats at the human-animal-environmental interface. The U.S. Army Public Health Center sponsors One Health Week to provide flexible scheduling of One Health events at installations across the Army Public Health Enterprise. The theme for this year's observance was “One Health for a Bright Future," which McDonald said is indicative of how the Army is working to move forward, be proactive and think ahead about ways to protect the health of Soldiers. McDonald trained for about a year to prepare for the challenge, and said he had a reason for specifically choosing to attempt the event. “Doing the 1,100-Pound Challenge shows how to build up and maintain your personal readiness, but it also shows the proper techniques to prevent injury," McDonald said. “Ergonomics is the science behind maintaining safety in the workplace, and as Soldiers, we have a variety of locations where our workplace can be at any given time." Injury prevention is critical in the military, McDonald said. Participating in and promoting One Health Week is a great way for Soldiers to create awareness for the prevention of injuries not related to combat wounds, known as “disease and non-battle injuries," or DNBI, he added. “One Health Week targets protecting the health of the force," McDonald said. “If we can prevent illnesses related to non-combat wounds, we are maintaining readiness and increasing the capabilities of our force." As McDonald worked his way through the three events, there with him was a group of supporters from his unit, including Master Sgt. Juan Polanco, the noncommissioned officer in charge for PHC-P, Headquarters Japan. Polanco said McDonald leads from the front when it comes to his unit's physical training every weekday morning. And having an officer in the formation who sets such a dedicated example is what can help other Soldiers take an interest in the One Health campaign, Polanco said. “One Health has to have that strategic approach down to the tactical level—the doers," Polanco said. “If your strategic leaders aren't really focused on injury prevention, long-term gains, the readiness of the force, the training and program management ... we're not going to be successful." External Link

    Defense Secretary has authority to order mandatory COVID-19 shots

    15 November- The mandate to get the vaccines is a readiness issue, Kirby said, and the secretary sees the vaccinations as the best way to protect service members from COVID-19. The National Guard serves under three authorities: Title 10 (federal service), Title 32 (state status but federal government pays) and state status. The secretary has the authority to order guardsmen to receive the shots "even if they are in Title 32 status," Kirby said. "The secretary of defense has the authority to require these vaccines for all members of the force, including the National Guard, as I said, even in a Title 32 status," the press secretary said. "When (guardsmen are) called up for their monthly training, they're still federally funded. So (the secretary) has those authorities. And he believes and this is a larger point that vaccinated forces are a more ready force." Kirby pointed to the myriad missions that guardsmen have performed over just the past year. The Guard has helped in everything from fighting wildfires in a number of states, to helping mitigate hurricane damage. Guardsmen also helped secure the U.S. Capitol following the insurrection on January 6, 2021. Guardsmen are also instrumental in getting this life-saving vaccine into the arms of millions of Americans across the country. External Link

    Future Patient Health Education Portal Will Be “Source of Truth"

    16 November- The Defense Health Agency is prototyping a new Virtual Education Center to provide Military Health System patients with a slate of personalized, vetted, and timely medical information to address questions that inevitably arise between appointments. Health care providers will be able to quickly send case-specific medical information to patients via email or text message. It is an option medical experts say is better and more reliable than seeking information from the internet that may not always be accurate or appropriate for an individual patient's situation. "One of our goals is to eventually marry this vetted information through the VEC with the emerging rollout of the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal, part of the Department of Defense's new electronic medical record system", explained Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Maria Molina, Chief of the Medical Modernization and Simulation Division, Education and Training Directorate, at the DHA headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. Molina credited Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place, DHA Director, for drawing attention to the importance of health literacy and the relative lack of organized information for patients, stating, "Lt. Gen. Place raised these concerns in the spring of 2020 and DHA launched new research on patient health care education across the MHS, which concluded in December and confirmed that there was indeed a gap." "When a patient sees me, I often need to search in multiple places to gather take-home information related to their condition, which is inefficient and a poor use of the limited time I have with my patients," said Molina, who is an obstetrician-gynecologist and works one day a week at nearby Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. "But, currently, there is no easy, consolidated way for me to give them vetted patient education," she elaborated. Molina collaborated with the Program Manager for Medical Simulation & Training, part of DHA's Component Acquisition Executive, to translate the Education & Training Directorate needs into a solution. A contract to build the VEC prototype was awarded in September. The VEC project aligns with DHA's "Ready Reliable Care" framework and the agency's goal of "Satisfied Patients". "We have a vendor who has developed this capability on the commercial side and it is an incredible product," said Brett Lord, Assistant Program Manager for PM MST, headquartered in Orlando, Florida. External Link

    Helping veterans exposed to toxic burn pits

    14 November- The White House says it's taking action to help veterans deal with a range of deadly conditions as potentially thousands face ongoing health issues connected to toxic burn pits. Burn pits were commonly used on U.S. bases in both Iraq and Afghanistan to incinerate waste. Now, some medical experts and the White House believe there could be a link between those burn pits and a number of rare, deadly cancers “Our nation makes them a simple promise," U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough said. “If you take care of us, we'll take care of you. If you fight for us, we'll fight for you. If you serve us, we'll serve you when you come home." Military veterans exposed to toxic chemicals on deployment will soon have access to expanded VA resources. The VA plans to add a list of presumptive conditions that may be caused by the exposure. The administration is also creating a new model to establish links between rare cancers and toxic exposure by veterans. Starting in 2022, the VA will create a dedicated call center and a list of providers to deal exclusively with veterans who were exposed. The new approach will also expand the eligibility period to receive free VA benefits to those who deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq. President Joe Biden has said he believes exposure to burn pits may have caused the brain cancer that killed his son, Beau, who served in Iraq. Biden says the country owes veterans the care and treatment for conditions that may have been caused during deployments. “We're gonna keep pushing on this front to be more nimble and responsive, reviewing all the data and evidence to determine additional presumptive conditions that make sure our veterans don't have to wait to get the care they need," Biden said. News Nation External Link

    Tobacco and the Health of Our Forces

    12 November- Tobacco comes in a variety of forms, from chewing tobacco, cigars, pipes, hookah, heat not burn products, vaping, nicotine pouches, and cigarettes…, then add all the various flavors and marketing, and methods to consume it. Add service members across the DoD and what do you get? A recipe for a health disaster and a question of military readiness! While many recognize the consequences in a long term view, such as lung cancer and increased risk of a heart attack and stroke, what about short term affects? “Service members who smoke or use tobacco products may also experience some loss of concentration and withdrawal symptoms as the effects of nicotine wear off," says Dr. Mark Long, Public Health Educator at the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center. The nicotine in any tobacco product readily absorbs into the blood when a person uses it. Upon entering the blood, nicotine immediately stimulates the adrenal glands to release the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline). Epinephrine stimulates the central nervous system and increases blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate. This includes smokeless tobacco products as well. “Smokeless tobacco is also not safe as some people replace or use this in addition to smoking because it may be easier to use in certain locations," Dr. Long says. Smokeless tobacco products contain a variety of potentially harmful chemicals, including high levels of Tobacco-Specific Nitrosamines (TSNAs). There are also other cancer-causing agents in smokeless tobacco, such as polonium-210 (a radioactive element) and other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These carcinogens are absorbed through the mouth and may be why several types of cancer are linked to the use of smokeless tobacco. Dr. Long adds, ““There are many resources and tools available to our service members who wish to quit smoking and tobacco use." DVIDS External Link


    2nd HIV patient clears of virus naturally and researchers think their biology is key to finding a cure to the illness

    16 November- The second HIV or human immunovirus patient, dubbed as the "Esperanza Patient," has been cleared of the virus and it is due to natural causes or not resorting to the different treatments by modern medicine. The patient has been living with the virus for seven years now until it was recently declared that they are clear of the virus and have no traces of it whatsoever. Now, the researchers believe that their biological structure will be key to finding a cure or immunity against the virus. The so-called "Esperanza Patient" is the second person in the world to heal naturally from HIV, a known virus that is known to target the immune cells of a person that making them more susceptible to infection. According to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, there were no signs of the virus from the patient, after living with it for seven years. Billions of genetic samples from the patient's blood were taken and from all of these, there were no signs or indications that she has contracted the virus. The success of her battle against HIV has astounded the medical professionals as this was a rare case, and there are only two people that healed from it naturally, without any medical treatments. Tech Times External Link

    8 lingering questions about the new Covid pills from Merck and Pfizer

    15 November- The past two months have brought extremely good news in the fight against Covid-19. Two different oral treatments have proved effective at both preventing people newly diagnosed with Covid-19 from entering the hospital and from dying. “We're accelerating our path out of this pandemic," President Biden said after data on the second Covid pill became available. The wide availability of oral drugs could make Covid-19 less lethal, making it less risky for people to return to in-person work and to their normal lives. The first results, from Merck and Ridgeback Therapeutics, were released in October and will be considered by an advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration in December. That could lead to an emergency use authorization in the U.S. by the end of the year. That drug, molnupiravir, reduced hospitalizations by 50% and prevented deaths entirely a large randomized clinical trial when it was given within five days of when symptoms began. The pill is given as a five-day course during which patients take a total of 40 pills. In November, Pfizer announced that its Covid pill, Paxlovid, reduced hospitalizations by 89% and also prevented deaths in its own large randomized study. As with the Merck drug, Paxlovid is given as a five-day course. It must be given with a second medicine, a booster, called ritonavir, which is made by AbbVie, another large drug firm. The Pfizer regimen involves taking 30 pills over a five-day period. Though the topline results are similar, the medicines could have different risks and benefits. The companies have only issued data in press releases, not scientific articles, and doctors need to know a lot more about both. Here is an overview of what we still don't know about the Covid pills and when we might learn it. STAT News External Link

    Antidepressants may prevent severe illness in COVID-19, study finds

    15 November- Treating COVID-19 patients with antidepressant drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, appears to reduce disease severity, a study published Monday by JAMA Network Open found. Infected patients treated with any SSRI were 8% less likely to die from the virus than those who did not receive the drugs, which are used in people with depression, the data showed. Treatment with the SSRIs fluoxetine, which has been sold under the brand name Prozac, among others, or fluvoxamine, or Luvox, reduced the risk for death from COVID-19 by more than 25%, the researchers said. The findings suggest that SSRIs, particularly fluoxetine and fluvoxamine, may offer a promising treatment for the virus, though larger clinical trials assessing their use are needed, according to the researchers. "Our study simply shows an association between SSRIs and COVID-19 outcomes," study co-author Marina Sirota told UPI in an email. "Additional clinical trials need to be carried out before these drugs can be used in patients going forward," said Sirota, an associate professor of computational health sciences at the University of California-San Francisco. Since the start of the pandemic, researchers have assessed several existing drugs as potential treatments for the virus. UPI External Link

    Diabetic foot ulcer treatment could kill COVID-19 virus, researchers say

    11 November- A new foot ulcer formulation developed by scientists at the University of South Australia could be used to kill the COVID-19 virus, according to new research. In a study published in the journal Applied Physics Letters, the team looked at the treatment of antimicrobial-resistant bacterial infections, experimenting to find an effective non-antibiotic antimicrobial strategy to combat the infections in diabetic foot ulcers. The authors found that enhancing cold plasma ionized gas with peracetic acid was "highly effective" at eradicating common wound pathogenic bacteria and at inactivating SARS-Cov-2. "This paper presents a strategy utilizing cold plasma for the "on-demand" activation of acetyl donor molecules. The process generates an aqueous-based antimicrobial formulation comprising a rich mixture of highly oxidizing molecules: peracetic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and other reactive oxygen and nitrogen species," the group explained. "The synergistic potent oxidative action between these molecules is shown to be highly effective at eradicating common wound pathogenic bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus) and at inactivating a virus (SARS-CoV-2)."In a statement to the university, Endre Szili said that they initially found that combining cold plasma gas with acetyl donor molecules to improve its oxidation completely killed bacteria found in chronic wounds. Next, Szili wrote, the researchers investigated whether the same technology could be effective at killing the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and "it appears that it is." Fox News External Link

    Explainer: Delta dominates the world, but scientists watch for worrisome offspring

    16 November- The Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus now accounts for nearly all of the coronavirus infections globally, fueled by unchecked spread of the novel coronavirus in many parts of the world. So far, vaccines are still able to defend against serious disease and death from Delta, but scientists remain on alert. The Delta variant, first detected in India in December 2020, remains the most worrisome version of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The World Health Organization classifies Delta as a variant of concern, a category that means the variant is capable of increasing transmissibility, causing more severe disease or reducing the benefit of vaccines and treatments. Delta's "superpower" is its transmissibility, according to Shane Crotty, a virologist at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in San Diego. Delta is more than two times as contagious as previous SARS-CoV-2 variants, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Studies suggest it may be more likely to put infected people in the hospital than prior forms of the virus. Delta also can cause symptoms two to three days sooner than the original coronavirus, giving the immune system less time to mount a defense. People infected with Delta carry around 1,200 times more virus in their noses compared with the original version of the coronavirus. The amount of virus in vaccinated individuals who become infected with Delta is on par with those who are unvaccinated, and both can transmit the virus to others. In vaccinated people, however, the amount of virus drops more quickly, so they likely spread the virus for a shorter time. According to the WHO, Delta makes up 99.5% of all genomic sequences reported to public databases and has "outcompeted" other variants in most countries. A key exception is South America, where Delta has spread more gradually, and other variants previously seen as possible global threats - notably Gamma, Lambda and Mu - still contribute to a significant proportion of reported cases. Reuters External Link

    NIH long-term study on children who had COVID-19 enrolls first participant

    15 November- A long-term National Institutes of Health (NIH) study on the impacts of COVID-19 on children and young adults enrolled its first participant, the agency announced on Monday. The NIH's research intends to follow 1,000 children and young adults ages 3 to 21 who previously tested positive for COVID-19 over three years to examine the virus's impact on their physical and mental health, including their development and immune responses to the virus. The agency enrolled its first participant from its Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., as part of the Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) initiative. Researchers will give children physical examinations, scan their hearts and other organs, and collect samples, including blood, nasal swabs, stool and urine. Children and young adult participants will have the option to determine any risk factors with genetic analysis. Participants who join the study more than 12 weeks after a positive test will go to the clinic every six months for three years. Those who participate within 12 weeks of a positive test will also see researchers at the three- and six-month points. The study comes after more children were hospitalized for COVID-19 amid the delta variant surge in recent months than previously in the pandemic. Participants need parents' or guardians' consent to be enrolled. The Hill External Link

    Oral antiviral COVID-19 treatment to reach low- and middle-income Countries

    16 November- New York-based Pfizer Inc. and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) today announced a voluntary license agreement for Pfizer's COVID-19 oral antiviral treatment candidate PF-07321332, sold under the trade name Paxlovid. The agreement will enable MPP to facilitate additional production and distribution of the investigational antiviral, pending regulatory authorization or approval, by granting sub-licenses to qualified generic medicine manufacturers to facilitate greater access to the global population. Under the terms of the head license agreement between Pfizer and MPP, qualified generic medicine manufacturers worldwide that are granted sub-licenses will be able to supply PF-07321332 in combination with ritonavir to 95 countries, covering up to approximately 53% of the world's population. “This license is so important because, if authorized or approved, this oral drug is particularly well-suited for low- and middle-income countries and could play a critical role in saving lives, contributing to global efforts to fight the current pandemic," said Charles Gore, Executive Director of MPP, in a press release. “PF-07321332 is to be taken together with ritonavir, an HIV medicine we know well, as we have had a license on it for many years, and we will be working with generic companies to ensure there is enough supply for both COVID-19 and HIV." PF-07321332 is an investigational SARS-CoV-2 protease inhibitor antiviral therapy, specifically designed to be administered orally to be prescribed at the first sign of infection or at first awareness of exposure, potentially helping patients avoid severe illness, which can lead to hospitalization and death. PF-07321332 is designed to block the activity of the SARS-CoV-2-3CL protease, an enzyme that the coronavirus needs to replicate. Precision Vaccinations External Link

    Pfizer to allow more nations to make COVID drug, files for EUA with FDA

    16 November- Pfizer today announced that it has signed a voluntary licensing agreement to expand production of its new COVID-19 treatment, Paxlovid, for low- and middle-income countries, which follows a similar announcement from Merck for molnupiravir. Also today, Pfizer announced that it has applied for emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Paxlovid. The Biden administration plans to buy 10 million treatment courses of the Pfizer drug, sources told NBC News. In its licensing announcement, Pfizer said it signed an agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), a United Nations-based group, enabling MPP to boost international production by granting sublicenses to generic medicine producers. The deal will allow the drug combo to be manufactured in 95 countries, covering 53% of the world population. The companies will waive royalties on drug sales in those countries as long as COVID-19 remains a public health emergency of international concern. Albert Bourla, Pfizer's chairman and chief executive officer, said the company believes oral treatments can play a key role in reducing illness severity and the strain on health systems. On Twitter today, Soumya Swaminathan, MD, chief scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), said the WHO welcomes the development and that its guidelines group will review the data when available and make recommendations. In late October, Merck and partners Ridgeback Therapeutics and Emory University signed a similar deal with MPP to allow pharmaceutical companies in other countries to make molnupiravir, another investigational oral antiviral. The deal would speed availability to 105 low- and middle-income countries. CIDRAP External Link

    The Covid-19 numbers seem stuck- That doesn't bode well for winter, experts say

    15 November- The coronavirus numbers don't look so good this week. New Covid-19 diagnoses are up in about half of US states over the past week. Hospitalizations are up in 11 states, and deaths have risen in 17 states. US coronavirus cases have plateaued in recent weeks, holding on to about half of the growth from this summer's latest surge. While new cases have fallen in some states, they're rising in others, particularly some region's cold-weather states. Southern states that were a large driving force behind this summer's surge now have some of the lowest case rates. Two months ago, Florida and Texas together accounted for nearly a quarter (22%) of all new cases. Now, those two large states account for just 6% of all cases. Florida sliced new cases to a 10th of what they were two months ago and Texas to a fifth. That should sound like good news. But with less dramatic decreases in other, less populous states -- and slight increases in some others, particularly in the Northeast and Mountain regions -- overall US numbers are holding steady on the whole. It's confusing, and the numbers may be sending a mixed message to people. They are not, however, sending a mixed message to epidemiologists, who do not foresee a good winter for the US or for the world. Too many people remain unvaccinated, and too many continue to defy and even fight advice to wear masks when indoors with other people. This dangerous combination might mean more surges, even if not as high as in the recent past, and in areas beyond those currently seeing rising cases. "I don't know what's going to happen over the next few weeks. But I have a feeling it's not going to be pretty," Michael Osterholm, who heads the center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CNN. CNN External Link


    CDC:Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

    Key Updates for Week 44, ending November 6, 2021:

    HHS-Protect Hospitalization Surveillance- Hospitals report to HHS-Protect the number of patients admitted with laboratory-confirmed influenza. During week 44, 295 patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza were admitted to the hospital.

    Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality- No influenza-associated pediatric deaths occurring during the 2021-2022 season have been reported to CDC. CDC External Link


    Kool-Aid, Country Time drink mixes being recalled because of metal and glass pieces

    16 November- Some Costco customers have received a notice telling them that KraftHeinz is recalling certain 82.5 oz. Kool-Aid Tropical Punch mix because of the potential presence of foreign material, specifically very small pieces of metal or glass. KraftHeinz is also recalling some Country Time lemonade mix. At least one other grocery store chain, Stater Bros, in Southern California, is recalling the Kool-Aid Tropical Punch, which was sold in 8-quart containers. “The recall includes some powdered drink mixes sold in 19-ounce, 82-ounce and on-the-go sticks because of small particles that may have been present during production," said Kraft Heinz director of public relations Jenna Thorton in a statement sent to NPR. The recalled items have “Best When Used By" dates of 2023-08-31 and 2023-09-0, according to a notice from Costco. The “Best When Used By" date is located on the bottom of the container. The recalled products involve only some mixes with “best when used by" dates between June 13, 2023, and Oct. 3, 2023, Thorton said. However, not all products in the date range are being recalled. Consumers should contact Kraft Heinz to see if the UPC code on their product is included in the recall. There is concern that customers may have unused portions of the drink mix because of its long shelf life. Food Safety News External Link

    Oklahoma dairy recalls unpasteurized, raw milk after state finds Listeria

    13 November- An Oklahoma dairy is recalling unpasteurized, raw milk because the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry found Listeria monocytogenes in it. Swan Bros. Dairy of Claremore, OK, had a similar recall this past July when officials found Listeria contamination of its raw milk.  The current recall involves raw milk the dairy sold in plastic jugs of half-gallons, gallons and pints. The milk was sold directly from the Swan Bros. Dairy. The statewide recall includes raw whole milk, raw 2-percent milk, raw skim milk and raw heavy cream sold in pints. State health officials are urging consumers who bought the milk to discard it immediately and thoroughly clean and sanitize and containers or storage areas the milk came into contact with.  Also, anyone who has consumed the raw milk should monitor themselves for 70 days because it can take that long for symptoms of Listeria infection to develop. State officials found the Listeria monocytogenes in a routine sample collected from Swan Bros. Dairy Inc. Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten any of the unpasteurized, raw dairy products and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure. Also, anyone who has eaten any of the recalled raw dairy products should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop. Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses. Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn or even stillbirth. Food Safety News External Link


    Most men benefit from initial and catch-up cancer prevention vaccination

    15 November- The Lancet Infectious Disease published the results from an extensive cancer prevention phase 3 study on November 12, 2021, supporting quadrivalent HPV vaccination in men, including catch-up vaccinations. The Gardasil quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was shown to prevent infections and lesions related to HPV6, 11, 16, and 18 in men aged 16–26 years. The researchers assessed the incidences of external genital warts related to HPV6 or 11 and external genital lesions and anal dysplasia associated with HPV6, 11, 16, or 18, over ten years of follow-up. The 3-year Base Study was an international, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial done at 71 sites in 18 countries. The Vaccination Period for the Base Study encompassed Day 1 through Month 7, during which time participants received qHPV vaccination at Day 1, Month 2, and Month 6. Follow-up for the Base Study encompassed Month 7 through Month 36. And the 7-year, open-label, long-term follow-up extension study was done at 46 centers in 16 countries. Between August 2010 and April 2017, 1,803 participants were enrolled in the long-term follow-up study, of whom 936 (827 heterosexual men and 109 MSM) were included in the early vaccination group and 867 (739 heterosexual men and 128 MSM) were included in the catch-up vaccination group. In early vaccine group participants during long-term follow-up compared with the placebo group in the Base Study, the incidence per 10 000 person-years of external genital warts related to HPV6 or 11 was 0·0 (95% CI 0·0–8·7) versus 137·3 (83·9–212·1), of external genital lesions related to HPV6, 11, 16, or 18 was 0·0 (0·0–7·7) versus 140·4 (89·0–210·7), and of anal intraepithelial neoplasia or anal cancer related to HPV6, 11, 16, or 18 in MSM only was 20·5 (0·5–114·4) versus 906·2 (553·5–1399·5). Compared with during the Base Study (ie, before quadrivalent HPV vaccine administration), during the long-term follow-up period, participants in the catch-up vaccination group had no new reported cases of external genital warts related to HPV6 or 11 vs. 0 cases per 10 000 person-years or external genital lesions associated with HPV6, 11, 16, or 18 vs. 0 cases per 10 000 person-years, and a lower incidence of anal intraepithelial neoplasia or anal cancer related to HPV6, 11, 16, or 18 vs. 101·3 cases per 10 000 person-years. Precision Vaccinations External Link


    DR Congo: 10,000 malaria cases reported in Kasai-Oriental province in a week

    11 November- Epidemiologist from the Kasai-Oriental Provincial Health Division, Dr. Jean-Pierre Nsumba Katende said Wednesday that more than 10,000 cases of malaria have been identified in this province in the space of only one week. He also notes that this upsurge in malaria cases is accompanied by a very high case fatality rate in this part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “ We know what brings us parasites, it's mosquitoes. As soon as we eliminate these insects, we will know how to avoid this disease (…) Around our houses we must avoid grass (…) So as soon as we know how to maintain the sanitation of the environment we are spared this disease [Malaria, editor's note] which currently makes more than 10,000 cases per week and that with a very high death rate, "he declared. In 2020, Kasai-Oriental recorded 1,015,367 cases of malaria. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Israel: AY4.2 Delta variant detected

    20 October- The Israel Ministry of Health reported Tuesday the AY4.2, previously detected in several European destinations, variant was detected in Israel. The patient in question is an 11-year-old boy who was detected already upon arrival in Ben Gurion International Airport, ordered to go into isolation and currently there are no additional confirmed contacts. Investigation is underway. The Ministry of Health regularly monitors variants of concern of all types and their development. Scientists said AY4.2 carries two characteristic mutations in the spike, Y145H and A222V, both of which have been found in various other coronavirus lineages since the beginning of the pandemic. The first strains carrying both mutations were sequenced in April 2020. AY4.2 is rare outside the UK. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Ukraine: 4 out of 10 people purchased drugs whose effectiveness and safety have not been proven

    13 November- An analysis by the Center for Combating Corruption conclude in a new study that 4 out of 10 people purchased drugs that are ineffective and absent in modern treatment standards. Ukrainians spend a quarter of their money on drugs that do not have sufficient evidence of safety and effectiveness. Among them: biologically active supplements (dietary supplements), homeopathic remedies, herbal medicines and some popular medicines. For example, in 2020, Ukrainians spent more than 13.7 billion hryvnias ( about 500 million dollars) on drugs whose effectiveness and safety have not been proven or questioned. The instructions for use of such “drugs" may contain false information about their medicinal properties, manipulative statements and sincere admission in the absence of qualitative research.  The situation with the procurement of health care facilities is especially dangerous, as these funds could be used for drugs with proven effectiveness.  The report also mentions drugs that were not included in the protocol “Provision of medical care for the treatment of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)", but due to aggressive pharmaceutical advertising have been promoted as a means of treatment and prevention of COVID-19. There are no systematic reviews, meta-analyzes or qualitative randomized clinical trials to confirm their safety and efficacy. The available individual low-quality clinical trials and the opinion of individual experts may not be a sufficient basis for the medical use of these drugs. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections linked to eating raw oysters in South Australia

    14 November- Vulnerable South Australians are reminded to avoid eating uncooked oysters after dozens of food-related illnesses linked to the consumption of raw oysters were reported in the past two months. South Australia (SA Health's) Acting Director of Food and Controlled Drugs Branch, Joanne Cammans, said 36 cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections linked to eating raw oysters have been notified since September 2021, compared to no cases in 2020 and eight cases in 2019. “This increase in cases reported to us in such a short period of time is very concerning, as food-borne illnesses can be quite serious for more vulnerable people in our community, such as older South Australians, pregnant people and people  with compromised immune systems," Ms. Cammans said. “People with lowered gastric acidity, such as those who are taking antacids, and people with liver disease are particularly vulnerable to Vibrio parahaemolyticus and so should avoid eating raw oysters. “Food borne Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection causes symptoms of gastro, including watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever and headache, and usually occurs within 24 hours of eating the contaminated food. “The infection can be acquired by eating undercooked shellfish and fish however raw oysters are often the most common cause." Executive Director, Biosecurity at the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA), Nathan Rhodes, said the department was working closely with industry to ensure best practice management tools were available and being utilized. “The number of cases can vary substantially from year to year, and it is difficult to pinpoint the potential cause," Mr. Rhodes said. “We are looking at potential factors that may have an influence on the recent cases, but the best international science has yet to determine a likely cause. Inspections by PIRSA officers have found that food safety practices are being appropriately applied on farm. Outbreak News Today External Link


    U.S.: Maricopa County reports nearly 1,000 West Nile virus cases this year

    14 November- As reported earlier (HERE), (HERE), Arizona is reporting a record year in human West Nile virus cases in 2021, fueled largely by the massive number of cases in the most populous county of Maricopa. According to the Maricopa County Health Department as of Nov. 11, the county has reported 941 cases year to date, including 70 fatalities. This tops the record previously set in 2004 of 355 cases. In 2020, the county only reported three human cases and one death. It takes 2-6 days for a person to develop symptoms after being bitten by a mosquito infected with WNV. Only 1 out of 5 people with WNV will have symptoms. Individuals may develop a fever with other symptoms, such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people who experience these symptoms will recover completely, although fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Colombia issues dengue fever alert

    14 November- Colombia officials issued an alert due to the dengue situation since mid-September. According to Claudia Cuéllar, Deputy Director of Communicable Diseases of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, currently the departments of Atlántico, Cauca, Casanare, Cesar, Chocó, Córdoba, La Guajira, Magdalena, Nariño, Norte de Santander, San Andrés and the districts of Barranquilla, Buenaventura, Cartagena and Santa Marta report activity above what is expected in the country. “We have 52 municipalities in an outbreak, according to the data from epidemiological week 43 reported by the National Institute of Health (INS)," said Cuéllar, while emphasizing that intensification work against dengue should be strengthened, especially in disease prevention and control work. Cuéllar highlighted that, according to the historical dynamics of dengue transmission and the situation observed during the epidemics of the years 2010-2013-2016 and 2019, the increase in cases in the epidemic periods begins in the Caribbean and Insular Region, moving later towards the center-east, center, later towards the Orinoquía and Amazon region, ending in the Colombian Pacific, at a general level. Cuéllar also indicated that there is a high probability that Colombia will enter a new epidemic cycle later this year or early 2022. Outbreak News Today External Link