The Perfect Enemy | News Scan for Jun 17, 2022
July 7, 2022

News Scan for Jun 17, 2022

COVID-19 and disabilities
More monkeypox cases
Unexplained hepatitis in US, Europe
Polio in Africa
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Report spotlights impact of COVID-19 on adults with disabilities

Rates of COVID-19 hospitalization among adult Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities were almost 50% higher than rates among elderly beneficiaries with no disability, according to a study today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

To describe the impact of COVID-19 on people with disabilities and whether and how age contributes to disease rates, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assessed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations from January 2020 to November 2021. The study included adult (age 18 and older) Medicare beneficiaries who were either eligible because of a disability (disability-eligible) or eligible solely because of older age—65 years or older (age-eligible).

Medicare is the US federal health insurance program for people aged 65 or older, but younger people with certain disabilities can also qualify.

During the study period, COVID-19 incidence was 10,978 per 100,000 population in the disability-eligible group, compared to 8,102 in the age-eligible cohort—or 35.5% higher. COVID hospitalization rates were 3,148 and 2,129 per 100,000, respectively, which is 47.9% higher.

COVID-19 incidence and hospitalization rates increased with age in both groups. Hospitalization rates were highest in American Indian or Alaska Native people, at 4,962 per 100,000 for those disability-eligible and 5,024 per 100,000 for the age-eligible.

“Continuing COVID-19 prevention efforts and focused messaging to persons with disabilities remain high-impact public health priorities,” the CDC researchers conclude.

“Efforts to increase access to and use of COVID-19 prevention and treatment strategies, including activities that support equitable vaccine access in the face of the substantial challenges that older adults and those with disabilities face, are critical to reducing severe COVID-19–associated outcomes”
Jun 17 MMWR study

Monkeypox cases rise in US as European officials offer epi details

The number of people infected with monkeypox in the United States reached 100 yesterday, with the addition of 16 new cases, the CDC said in an update. So far, 21 states and jurisdictions have reported cases in the ongoing outbreak.

The update includes the first probable case in Oregon. In a statement, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) said the patient is a man who had traveled to a community where earlier cases had been confirmed.

Meanwhile, the number of international cases for the year continues to climb, to at least 2,100, according to the latest weekly communicable disease threat report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The UK Health Security Agency (HSA) today reported 50 more cases, including 46 in England, 3 in Scotland, and 1 in Wales. The country has now confirmed 574 cases.

Countries identifying their first cases include Serbia, which reported an imported case, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, the ECDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) European regional office today released a joint epidemiologic update covering 1,704 cases from 28 countries across the region and focusing on data they have for 892 of them.

The earliest illness onset was Apr 8, and the ages of most patients range from 31 to 40. Nearly all (99.4%) are male, and 98.4% are men who have sex with men. No deaths have been reported.

Three healthcare workers are among the cases, though none of them are known to have contracted their infections through occupational exposure.
Jun 16 CDC monkeypox update
Jun 16 OHA press release
Jun 17 ECDC communicable disease threat report
Jun 17 UK HSA update
Jun 17 Reuters story
Jun 17 ECDC/WHO joint report

CDC, European officials provide details on kids’ unexplained hepatitis

The CDC yesterday posted a technical update into its probe of unexplained hepatitis cases in young kids, which said though the focus continues to be a possible adenovirus link, scientists are exploring several possibilities, including current or past SARS-CoV-2 infection, multiple cofactors, atypical immune response, or environmental or toxin triggers.

Active COVID-19 infection is present in about 10% of cases, and about one-third have evidence that suggests prior COVID infection. Earlier this week, CDC researchers said their data reviews have found no increase in unexplained hepatitis in kids above prepandemic baseline levels.

So far, the United States has 290 cases in 41 states and territories. Seventeen kids needed liver transplants, and 11 died. Cases date back to October 2021, and not all of the recently reported cases represent new illnesses. Only nine of the patients had symptom onsets between Jun 1 and Jun 15.

Meanwhile, the ECDC and the WHO European regional office today released a joint epidemiologic update, which added 48 more cases from 8 countries, raising the region’s total to 449 in 20 countries. Of 292 kids who underwent polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for COVID, 10.6% were positive. Serology results from 52 found that 33 had evidence of earlier COVID-19 infection.

Like the CDC, the ECDC and WHO said a possible link to adenovirus has been found, but other hypotheses and cofactors are under investigation.

In its weekly communicable disease threat report, the ECDC put the global total at 713 cases.
Jun 16 CDC technical update on unexplained hepatitis
Jun 17 ECDC/WHO joint report
Jun 17 ECDC communicable disease threat report

Burkina Faso, Chad report more vaccine-derived polio cases

Two African countries reported more polio cases this week, Burkina Faso and Chad, according to the latest weekly update from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Both reported cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2).

Burkina Faso reported 3 more cases, 1 in Bobo and 2 in Ouagadougou, all of which are retrospective cases from 2020, bringing the total for that year to 68. Last year, the country reported 2 cases.

Meanwhile, Chad reported two more cVDPV2 cases, both in N’djamena, lifting its total for the year to five.
Jun 16 GPEI update