Army Public Health Weekly Update, 23 July 2021

Date Published: 7/23/2021
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​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.

The Army Public Health Weekly Update does not analyze the information as to its strategic or tactical impact on the U.S. Army and is not a medical intelligence product. Medical intelligence is available from the National Center for Medical Intelligence External Link .

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Table of Contents


    2021 Army Public Health Course

    The 2021 Army Public Health Course will be held on a virtual platform, using a new version Microsoft Teams, from 7 – 13 August 2021. This year's course is designed to provide Public Health Professionals an opportunity to keep abreast of the most current public health topics and services through its 2021 theme, 'Forging a More Resilient Future with Public Health'.  Now modeled across the capabilities and functions of the 10 Essential Public Health Services, the DOD's public health assets will synchronize efforts in order to maintain continuity in the delivery of its services.  To adapt to current changes in the Public Health Enterprise, its governance, and the ever changing operational landscape, the Army Public Health Course also serves as a platform to synergize strategic, operational and tactical efforts.  Here, the Army's public health framework will be further defined and real-time use of its strategies implemented. Course content includes workshops, breakout sessions and a plenary.  It is an ATRRS course with Course Code 2608-A0102.  Recorded classroom time and a complete DA 3838 is a requisite for ATRRS credit. APHC


    Delta Wellness 2021 wraps up treatment and training

    18 July- 274 service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps worked on a joint-service medical mission that provided training and community healthcare in the Delta region July 6 - 20. Delta Wellness 2021 provided joint force, hands-on training to service members while simultaneously providing medical care to residents of Greenville, Mississippi; Lake Village, Arkansas; Lake Providence, Louisiana and surrounding areas. "Innovative Readiness Trainings are important because they help get the military ready for deployment," said Master Sgt. Kaylee Trombley, Delta Wellness 2021 mission non-commissioned officer in charge. "While it gives us the training that is necessary it also allows us to give back to the community." "One of my favorite parts of any IRT is watching the different branches come together as a single unit to serve a single purpose, to not only train our troops but serve our public," said Lt. Col. Virginia Gilmore, optometrist officer in charge, Delta Wellness 2021 mission. Medical options provided during the Delta Wellness 2021 mission included vision, dental, physical health, mental health, physical therapy and nutrition provided by 149 care-givers across three different locations. Across the three locations, there were 2,585 patients cared for and 13,173 total procedures that were collectively valued at 897,593 dollars at no cost to community members. During the Delta Wellness 2021 mission, training was expanded to encompass more than just healthcare; it provided joint members with an additional 16,000 hours of combative training, 9-line Medical Evacuation, K-9 Self Aid Buddy Care and Land Navigation. "What I wanted to bring to the table was to expand training beyond patient care, in order to maximize the utilization of annual training days," said Capt. Adrian Mateos, training officer in charge, Delta Wellness 2021. "To make it relevant and cost effective as well as joint (service) and to maximize expertise, partnerships and resources to develop a capable force." DVIDS External Link

    Fort Campbell first to pilot mobile metabolic testing tech

    16 July- First Lieutenant Brian Dudeck strolled around the track at Fryar Stadium July 13 with a small computer strapped to his back and a breathing mask covering his face as Fort Campbell Army Wellness Center staff watched, recorded data and monitored his breathing. Within minutes, Dudeck's relaxing walk turned to a gentle jog and before long, he burst into a full sprint, challenging himself to run as hard as he could. All the while, Doug Terza, lead health educator, AWC, urged him on, counting down the seconds left of the test. Dudeck, assigned to 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), is one of the first Soldiers in the U.S. Army to pilot this new, mobile technology that is designed to help Soldiers increase their performance. The K5 portable VO2 unit is a metabolic testing unit that allows Soldiers to measure how well their muscles use oxygen. The unit can be used to optimize performance and train for events. VO2 max, or maximal oxygen consumption, is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during exercise. The measurement of VO2 provides a quantitative value of an individual's aerobic fitness level that can be used to compare training effects. The U.S. Army Public Health Center partnered with Appalachian State University in North Carolina, to conduct this research. "This is the absolute newest technology," said Jheri Godfrey, director, AWC. "It allows us to complete the testing outside and that's the biggest selling point. When the Soldiers are training or deploying, they are in an outdoor setting, so this technology allows us to test their abilities in that environment." This testing is already available in an indoor setting at AWC, however the ability to take the test outdoors is invaluable, she said. Godfrey said Fort Campbell was selected for the pilot because of the division's high operations tempo. Also, Maj. Gen. Andrew Poppas, former commanding general of the 101st Abn. Div. and Fort Campbell, was supportive of the initiative because of the impact it could have on Soldier and mission readiness. DVIDS External Link


    American Academy of Pediatrics recommends masks in schools for everyone over 2, regardless of vaccinations

    19 July- The American Academy of Pediatrics released new Covid-19 guidance for schools on Monday that supports in-person learning and recommends universal masking in school of everyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status -- a stricter position than that taken this month by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The AAP believes that, at this point in the pandemic, given what we know about low rates of in-school transmission when proper prevention measures are used, together with the availability of effective vaccines for those age 12 years and up, that the benefits of in-person school outweigh the risks in all circumstances," the guidance says. One of the main interventions put forward by the AAP is that all students over the age of 2 and all school staff should wear masks at school unless they have a medical or developmental condition that prohibits this. Reasons for this recommendation include but are not limited to: a significant proportion of the student population is not yet eligible for vaccination; masking protects those who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 and reduces transmission; and potential difficulty in monitoring or enforcing mask policies for those who are not vaccinated. CNN External Link

    Delta variant helps push Covid-19 cases higher in every state

    19 July- Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations across the U.S. are growing steadily higher as the infectious Delta variant takes hold and the pace of vaccination subsides from highs reached in April. The country has reported an average of 32,287 new coronavirus cases each day over the past week, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Johns Hopkins data, more than double what the seven-day average was 10 days ago. The uptick in cases has touched every state and Washington, D.C., with the seven-day average of newly reported cases exceeding the 14-day average in each place for the past four days, according to the data. Coronavirus-related hospitalizations have also jumped, rising 35.8% between July 7 and July 13 compared with the previous seven days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doctors and epidemiologists point to the Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, as a main cause. The variant, now dominant in the U.S., is estimated to be 40%-80% more infectious than the Alpha variant. First detected in India late last year, Delta played a significant role in a record-setting surge of infections there and has since led to increases in cases around the world. Existing Covid-19 vaccines are effective against the variant, though no vaccine is 100% effective. The Wall Street Journal External Link

    Global quest underway to speed COVID-19 vaccine trials

    20 July- Scientists are working on a benchmark for COVID-19 vaccine efficacy that would allow drug makers to conduct smaller, speedier human trials to get them to market and address a huge global vaccine shortage. Researchers are trying to determine just what level of COVID-19 antibodies a vaccine must produce to provide protection against the illness. Regulators already use such benchmarks - known as correlates of protection - to evaluate flu vaccines without requiring large, lengthy clinical trials. "You could use it to predict efficacy from a vaccine, which will be more important as we are less able to conduct placebo-controlled trials," said Stanley Plotkin, inventor of the Rubella vaccine and an expert on correlates of protection. "The information is flowing in," he said. "By the end of this year, I think there will be enough data to convince everyone."An established benchmark for COVID-19 would allow drug makers to conduct vaccine trials in just a few thousand people, about one-tenth the size of the studies conducted to gain authorization for currently widely-used coronavirus shots, researchers and drug makers told Reuters. Reuters External Link

    Hepatitis C vaccine expected in five years

    20 July- A protective vaccine against infection with hepatitis C could be in use within 5 years, says Professor Sir Michael Houghton, who co-won the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology and discovered the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in 1989. Currently, there is not a U.S. FDA Approved vaccine to prevent HCV. "While the advent of directly acting antivirals (DAAs) to cure hepatitis C has given us a huge weapon to turn the tide on this pandemic, there is no doubt that a vaccine is required to help the world reach its ambitious target of reducing new hepatitis C infections by 90% and mortality rates by 65% by 2030," explained Sir Michael in a press statement issued on July 11, 2021. Sir Michael and colleagues at the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute are currently developing an adjuvanted recombinant vaccine, which is expected to induce the production of antibodies to multiple cross-neutralizing epitopes, making it harder for the virus to escape the humoral immune response. This means many different antibodies are likely to be produced by this vaccine to prevent HCV infection, making it very hard for the virus to evade them by mutation and protecting the vaccine recipient from hepatitis C infection. Precision Vaccinations External Link 

    Johnson & Johnson recalls five Neutrogena, Aveeno sunscreen products containing traces of benzene

    16 July- Johnson & Johnson announced Wednesday that five of its aerosol sunscreen products are being recalled after some samples were found to contain low levels of benzene, a chemical linked to blood cancers such as leukemia. The recall involves four Neutrogena sunscreen versions — Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen, Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen, Invisible Daily Defense aerosol sunscreen and Ultra Sheer aerosol sunscreen — and Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen. The health-care giant said in a statement that though using the products "would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences," it voluntarily decided on the recall "out of an abundance of caution." "While benzene is not an ingredient in any of our sunscreen products, it was detected in some samples of the impacted aerosol sunscreen finished products," Johnson & Johnson said, adding that the recall was for all SPF levels and sizes. The company did not disclose the levels of benzene detected in its testing, but said in its statement that, based on exposure modeling and Environmental Protection Agency guidance, "daily exposure to benzene in these aerosol sunscreen products at the levels detected in our testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences." The Washington Post External Link

    Syphilis: Worldwide prevalence of syphilis among MSM 15x higher than men in the general population

    19 July- The global burden of syphilis among men who have sex with men (MSM) has been estimated for the first time in a new study published in The Lancet Global Health. Led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Avenir Health, the research team carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of syphilis prevalence among MSM between 2000 to 2020, drawing on data from 275 studies involving more than 600,000 study participants across 77 countries. The worldwide prevalence of syphilis among MSM was 15x higher than most recent estimates for men in the general population (7.5% versus 0.5%). Researchers further estimated the prevalence across eight regions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and six regions of the WHO. Latin America and the Caribbean region had the highest prevalence of syphilis (10.6%), whereas Australia and New Zealand had the lowest (1.9%). There is, therefore, an urgent need to quantify the burden of syphilis in this high-risk group. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. When diagnosed, syphilis is easily treated with penicillin. One study found that annual screening and treatment of at least 62% of sexually active MSM is necessary to achieve local elimination. Outbreak News Today External Link

    The CDC must rethink its mask guidance, says former U.S. Surgeon General

    20 July- With the highly contagious delta variant fueling a rise in COVID-19 cases, Dr. Jerome Adams — the surgeon general under former President Donald Trump who once advised against mask-wearing — now says even the vaccinated may need to mask up. Adams is part of a growing chorus of criticism of the CDC guidance, issued in May, that people who are fully vaccinated can resume activities indoors and outdoors without masks. The messaging, Adams told NPR's Morning Edition, "has just absolutely, unequivocally failed." "More people than ever — vaccinated and unvaccinated — are going mask less," he said. "It doesn't seem to have convinced anyone to get vaccinated." Adams said the CDC needs to change guidance on masking requirements again in light of new virus outbreaks and the more contagious delta variant. The delta variant — which is more than 200% more transmissible than the original coronavirus — is pushing cases up in the United States: The number of people getting COVID-19 has nearly tripled since a month ago. Outbreaks are clustered in areas that have low vaccination rates. NPR External Link

    US invests millions to breed more test monkeys in wake of COVID-19: report

    18 July- The U.S. government is reportedly investing millions of dollars to breed more monkeys in the name of biomedical research after a shortage of the animals worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.  According to the scientific journal Nature, demand for the non-human primates in the U.S. has skyrocketed as the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued grants to study HIV/AIDS and the coronavirus necessitated the animals' use in vaccine testing last year. The publication reported Thursday that the NIH had invested around $29 million over the past two years in primate housing and care in addition to other "infrastructure improvements" at the seven U.S. National Primate Research Centers (NPRCs) and that the agency is expected to spend another $7.5 million by October. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) FY2022 Budget in Brief includes an additional $30 million to support a 27% increase in funding of non-human primate resource infrastructure at the NPRCs and Caribbean Primate Research Center (CPRC). "These resources will address space and infrastructure capability needs such as animal purchase and transport along with investments to expand housing and support space," the agency wrote in its request. Fox News External Link


    CDC: Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

    2020-2021 Influenza Season for Week 27, ending July 10, 2021:

    Influenza-Associated Hospitalizations- The Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET) conducts population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations in select counties in 14 states and represents approximately 9% of the U.S. population. As in previous seasons, patients admitted for laboratory-confirmed influenza-related hospitalization after April 30, 2021, will not be included in FluSurv-NET. Data on patients admitted through April 30, 2021, will continue to be updated as additional information is received.

    Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality- No influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported to CDC during week 27. CDC External Link


    Attendees of international conference hear update on recent foodborne outbreaks

    19 July- This morning presenters gave an update on various recent outbreaks, including this past year's red onions with Salmonella, deli meats with Listeria and peaches with Salmonella. Joyce Cheng with the Public Health Agency of Canada, walked session attendees through the Canadian side of the Salmonella Newport outbreak linked to red onions. Cheng started by explaining how dealing with an outbreak and finding its source is a cooperative mission, and in this case there were multiple partners in both the epidemiologic investigation — Public Health Agency of Canada, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Provincial/State partners and local partners — and the food safety investigation — Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Health Canada and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The outbreak detection started in three different places, two in Canada and one in the U.S. "So we had three outbreaks happening at the same time, but we weren't sure if they were connected," Cheng said.  The initial epidemiological signals started to form a picture. Restaurant clusters, Canadian burgers and U.S. Mexican-syle restaurants pointed to some shared ingredients — onions, tomatoes and leafy greens. This led to the testing of these ingredients and the CFIA conducting traceback on red onions to Thomas International Inc. Food Safety News External Link

    Ethylene oxide scandal spreads to food additive

    20 July- European countries are facing more ethylene oxide related recalls after the substance was detected in a food additive used in a range of products. Belgium first raised the alarm in September 2020 about ethylene oxide in products from India with sesame seeds. These related recalls are still continuing with thousands of conventional and organic items with long shelf life dates such as cereals, chocolate, biscuits, bread, crackers, spices and bagels affected. The substance was used to reduce or eliminate microbiological contamination with Salmonella. The use of ethylene oxide for disinfection of food is not permitted in Europe. Ethylene oxide was also recently found in the additive locust bean gum, which is mainly a thickening agent or stabilizer. It is used in foods including ice cream, breakfast cereals, meat products, confectionery, fermented milk products and cheese. The European Commission held three meetings with food and feed crisis coordinators in member states with two in late June and one this past week. Experts said that there is no safe level of exposure for consumers in products that contain the additive known to be contaminated with ethylene oxide and any level people may be faced with presents a potential risk. This means food or feed businesses who have put such products on the EU market need to withdraw and recall them. Food Safety News External Link

    Norovirus spike in England prompts PHE warning

    20 July- Public Health England (PHE) has issued a warning after norovirus cases were seen to be returning to pre-pandemic levels. In the past five weeks, 154 outbreaks have been reported, compared to an average of 53 over the same period in the previous five years. The figure is far more than would be expected in summer months across all age groups and settings in England. Early year educational settings such as nursery and childcare facilities are particularly affected by the rise from the end of May to July. A similar trend was observed in childcare facilities in New South Wales, Australia. Hand sanitizers are effective against reducing COVID-19 but have little impact on the spread of norovirus. One outbreak was caused by eating oysters contaminated with norovirus. At least 100 people fell ill in the United Kingdom and 12 in Hong Kong from raw oysters produced by Whitstable Oyster Company in the UK. The overall number of laboratory confirmed norovirus reports in all age groups has gone back to levels seen in previous years before the coronavirus pandemic. Food Safety News External Link


    Summer water safety means: Know your limitations

    16 July- Swimming in a pool, a lake, a pond, or an ocean is the height of cool summer fun but swimming also has its dangers. Open waters with strong tides are risky for even the most experienced swimmers. The most placid pools can be very dangerous for young children. Alcohol always raises the threat level for swimmers. And complacency of any kind creates potential problems around the water. "The most important thing to remember is how unpredictable it can be." said Marine Staff Sgt. Houston Lindemann, senior non-commissioned officer in charge of beach lifeguards at Camp Lejeune, N.C. "Always check the currents and weather conditions at the location you plan to swim," Lindemann said. "Once you find that conditions are safe, check for the closest lifeguards to where you will be swimming. Swimming at beaches, lakes, or pools with lifeguards on duty is the best way to stay safe," he added. Jim VanHoesen, a lifeguard at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., said: "You need to know the body of water and the shoreline." VanHoesen suggested that another core precaution is "to get a formal training course in swimming for the entire family." The Red CrossOpens to a new webpage provides many courses on swimming for beginners as do many base pools. In the pool at Holloman, parents are told to watch out for their children at all times and not to count on the lifeguard as a babysitter. "We have an arm's length rule," VanHoesen explained: Adults always need to be within an arm's length of a child in case of trouble. That rule exists because toddlers and children are silent downer's. They do not splash about or cry for help but go silently straight to the bottom. It all can happen in a matter of seconds. External Link

    What to know about Hepatitis - its treatment, and prevention

    19 July- A bad liver can be a potentially fatal problem. The liver's primary function is to filter out toxic substances from your blood and to produce the essential proteins that allow the body to function. But liver functions can be damaged or impaired - especially by unhealthy habits like excessive alcohol use, drug use or obesity. In advance of World Hepatitis Day on July 28, we wanted to learn more about liver disease -- the different types, and how to prevent them and protect yourself and your loved ones – so we spoke with Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Brendan Graham, chief of pathology at Womack Army Medical Center, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Graham explained there are several varieties of the disease which can be caused by different factors, including:

    - Alcoholic Hepatitis (caused by excessive alcohol consumption)

    - Viral Hepatitis (caused by infection from viruses that target the liver)

    - Drug-induced hepatitis (caused by certain medications like acetaminophen or dietary supplements)

    - Steatohepatitis, or fatty-liver disease (caused by being overweight or obese)

    All of the hepatitis variants can be very dangerous.

    "All viral hepatitis can cause abdominal pain and jaundice - the yellowing of the skin and buildup of bilirubin - in the acute stage," said Graham. "Hepatitis that persists can lead to acute liver failure, which can lead to rapid coma and death as the body loses the capacity to process toxic materials in the blood or produce necessary proteins, or chronic liver failure, where the body gradually loses the ability to process toxins and produce proteins, causing numerous medical complications and leading to eventual death due to liver failure." Liver failure can be either acute, meaning it is brought on suddenly by a specific event, or it can be chronic, which develops over time. External Link


    Nigeria reports uptick in confirmed monkeypox cases in 2021

    20 July- In 2017, Nigeria detected its first monkeypox case in 39 years. Since September 2017, Nigeria has been experiencing the largest monkeypox outbreak in the country's history. The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has reported a total of 466 suspected monkeypox cases from 30 states. Of this total, 205 have been confirmed in 18 states. During the first six months of 2021, Nigeria has seen 13 confirmed monkeypox cases from five states Delta (3), Bayelsa (2), Lagos (4), Edo (1), Rivers (3). No deaths have been reported. This compares to eight confirmed cases reported in all of 2020. Monkeypox, a rare zoonosis that occurs sporadically in forested areas of Central and West Africa, is an orthopoxvirus that can cause fatal illness. The disease manifestations are similar to human smallpox (eradicated since 1980), however human monkeypox is less severe. The disease is self-limiting with symptoms usually resolving within 14–21 days. Treatment is supportive. The virus is transmitted through direct contact with blood, bodily fluids and cutaneous/mucosal lesions of an infected animals (rats, squirrels, monkeys, dormice, striped mice, chimpanzees amongst others rodents) Secondary human-to-human transmission is limited but can occur via exposure to respiratory droplets, contact with infected persons or contaminated materials. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Violence intensifies in water-crisis protests in Iran's Khuzestan

    21 July- Iranian authorities have said one police officer was shot dead by "agitators" in Iran's Khuzestan province, where six nights of protests over water shortages have turned deadly. State media reported that another police officer in Bandar Mahshahr was wounded after taking a bullet to his leg on Tuesday night, as videos and reports out of the oil-rich southwestern province indicated that violence had not ceased. Authorities have so far confirmed that two civilians, 18-year-old Ghasem Khozeiri and 30-year-old Mostafa Naimawi, were shot dead on Friday, but they say the young men were not protesters and were murdered by "opportunists and rioters". More protesters are feared dead but officials have yet to confirm further fatalities. They have also not disclosed how many civilians have been arrested. Sporadic internet slowdowns or blackouts have been reported across the province for several days. Despite the internet restrictions, numerous videos have come out of several counties in Khuzestan in the past week, in many of which shots can be heard and tear gas is seen being used. In some videos, protesters can be seen venting angrily at baton-wielding security forces clad in black, riding motorcycles in large numbers. A video purportedly from Tuesday night showed a tank, set up as a monument to the gruelling eight-year Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, set on fire while tyres are seen set aflame to close roads. The videos could not be independently verified. Al Jazeera External Link


    Portugal: Nearly nine out of 10 COVID-19 cases are the Delta variant

    18 July- The Delta variant now represents 88.6% of COVID-19 cases in Portugal and is dominant in all regions of the country, according to the genomic sequencing report, for the period between June 28 and July 4, according to Dr. Ricardo Jorge at the National Health Institute. In the Algarve and Lisbon and Vale do Tejo regions, the variant is even responsible for 100% of infections, the analysis shows. Almost all cases analyzed in Alentejo (95%) are also of this variant, which is more transmissible. In the North it corresponds to 88.2% and in the Center to 81.8%. Azores (62.5%) and Madeira (79.2%) have slightly lower percentages, but still dominant. The alpha variant, originally identified in the United Kingdom, now represents 10.2% of cases nationwide. The report indicates that even "no new cases of the Lambda variant (C.37) were detected, which has marked circulation in the regions of Peru and Chile." To date, Portugal has reported 927,424 total cases, including 17,199. Nearly 11 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered. Outbreak News Today External Link


    China reports 1st human herpes B infection in Beijing veterinarian

    18 July- China has reported the first human infection of herpes B virus, aka monkey B virus in a 53-year-old male veterinary surgeon based out of Beijing, according to a Notes from the Field in the China CDC Weekly. China has reported the first human infection of herpes B virus, aka monkey B virus in a 53-year-old male veterinary surgeon based out of Beijing, according to a Notes from the Field in the China CDC Weekly. He worked in an institute specialized in nonhuman primate breeding and experimental research in Beijing. He dissected two dead monkeys on March 4 and 6, 2021 and experienced nausea and vomiting followed by fever with neurological symptoms one month later. As a result, the patient visited doctor in several hospitals but eventually died on May 27. Researchers have collected the cerebrospinal fluid of the veterinarian in April and identified him as positive for herpes B virus, yet samples of his close contacts had negative results for the virus. There were no fatal or even clinically evident herpes B infections in China before 2021. Outbreak News Today External Link

    Indonesia COVID-19: 'It's very fair to say that Indonesia is the epicenter of Asia'

    18 July- Indonesia is struggling to slow COVID-19 transmission even after imposing its toughest mobility curbs yet, while its immunization rate is low, with just 5.8% of its 270 million people fully vaccinated. The Indonesia Ministry of Health recorded an additional 44,721 COVID-19 cases and 1093 deaths to bring the country total to 2,877,476 total cases and 73,582 deaths. Indonesian President Joko Widodo extended the emergency public activity restrictions, known locally as PPKM Darurat, to July 31 amid the ongoing surge in COVID-19 transmissions. "It's very fair to say that Indonesia is the epicentre of Asia," said Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist at Australia's Griffith University. In addition, the Indonesia's doctors association (IDI) says a total of 114 doctors died during July 1-17, the highest number reported for any period of similar length and more than 20% of the 545 total doctor deaths from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Doctors deaths have increased in Indonesia despite a 95% vaccination rate among health workers. This has prompted the government to use a batch of Moderna vaccines as booster shots to China's Sinovac for healthcare workers. Outbreak News Today External Link


    U.S.: Colorado- Fleas in La Plata County test positive for plague

    17 July- According to a report in the Durango Herald today, local health officials say a sample of fleas collected in south central La Plata County has tested positive for Yersinia pestis, the bacterial agent of plague. Health authorities are reaching out to residents near where the plague-positive fleas were collected and encouraging residents to take precautions. "With a local sample of fleas testing positive for plague, it's critical residents protect themselves. The community near the location of the positive sample is being notified directly, but all residents in La Plata and Archuleta counties should be on alert and take steps to control the presence of fleas and wildlife around homes," said Liane Jollon, Executive Director of the San Juan Basin Public Health. Plague has been found in animals in multiple Colorado counties this summer and caused the death of a 10-year-old La Plata County resident on July 5. Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. It is found in animals throughout the world, most commonly rats but other rodents like ground squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, rabbits and marmots in China. Fleas typically serve as the vector for plague. People can also get infected through direct contact with an infected animal, through inhalation and in the case of pneumonic plague, person to person. Yersinia pestis is treatable with antibiotics if started early enough. There are three forms of human plague; bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Brazil: Southern Bahia experiencing malaria outbreak

    18 July- In Southern Bahia state, particularly in the municipality of Itabela, malaria cases have been increasing since late April when the first case was discovered. To date, 53 positive cases of the disease have been registered, which has experts to designate that the region is experiencing an outbreak of malaria. "We carry out daily investigation actions, entomological collection of vectors, search for symptomatic people, treatment, collection and reading of thick drop slides", director of Epidemiological Surveillance of the State Health Department, Márcia São Pedro Leal said. She also stated that most people confirmed to have the disease live in the Margarida Alves settlement, in Itabela. There are also cases registered in Porto Seguro and Itamaraju. The last recorded cases of malaria in Bahia were in 2018, with 77 confirmed cases from residents of the municipality of Wenceslau Guimarães. Outbreak News Today External Link