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Transmission of Ebola Viruses: What We Know and What We Do Not Know

March 4, 2015 Comments off

Transmission of Ebola Viruses: What We Know and What We Do Not Know
Source: mBio

Available evidence demonstrates that direct patient contact and contact with infectious body fluids are the primary modes for Ebola virus transmission, but this is based on a limited number of studies. Key areas requiring further study include (i) the role of aerosol transmission (either via large droplets or small particles in the vicinity of source patients), (ii) the role of environmental contamination and fomite transmission, (iii) the degree to which minimally or mildly ill persons transmit infection, (iv) how long clinically relevant infectiousness persists, (v) the role that “superspreading events” may play in driving transmission dynamics, (vi) whether strain differences or repeated serial passage in outbreak settings can impact virus transmission, and (vii) what role sylvatic or domestic animals could play in outbreak propagation, particularly during major epidemics such as the 2013–2015 West Africa situation. In this review, we address what we know and what we do not know about Ebola virus transmission. We also hypothesize that Ebola viruses have the potential to be respiratory pathogens with primary respiratory spread.

Categories: ebola, mBio, science

Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health: Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation During an Infectious Disease Outbreak

February 28, 2015 Comments off

Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health: Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation During an Infectious Disease Outbreak
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Explains social distancing, quarantine, and isolation in the event of an infectious disease outbreak, such as Ebola. Discusses feelings and thoughts that may arise during this time and suggests ways to cope and support oneself during such an experience.

Vaccine Hesitancy Collection: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Vaccine Hesitancy and Contemporary Vaccination Coverage

February 27, 2015 Comments off

Vaccine Hesitancy Collection: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Vaccine Hesitancy and Contemporary Vaccination Coverage
Source: PLoS Currents

The prevention of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks, such as measles, rubella, or polio, is dependent on herd immunity. Yet ensuring widespread vaccination coverage is complicated by a wide range of factors, including vaccine hesitancy, which causes uncertainty in segments of the public about the safety and efficacy of vaccinations.

There is a broad continuum of public perspectives on vaccination, and although there are a few polarized individuals on the extremes, more people are somewhat uncertain or ambivalent about the vaccination decisions that they must make for themselves and their children. The debate also exists in the context of larger political issues surrounding vaccination, including individual freedoms and religious beliefs.

This series of articles investigates the social discourse surrounding vaccination, global perceptions and outcomes of vaccination, and the general issue of confidence or trust in healthcare or government establishments that can underpin medical decisions.

Update: Ebola Virus Disease Epidemic — West Africa, February 2015

February 26, 2015 Comments off

Update: Ebola Virus Disease Epidemic — West Africa, February 2015
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

According to the latest World Health Organization update on February 18, 2015 (2), a total of 23,253 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of Ebola and 9,380 Ebola-related deaths had been reported as of February 15 from the three West African countries (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) where Ebola virus transmission has been widespread and intense. Total case counts include all suspected, probable, and confirmed cases, which are defined similarly by each country (3). Because of improvements in surveillance, the number of cases reported in recent weeks might overestimate the number of Ebola cases in some areas because nonconfirmed cases are included in the total case counts. Sierra Leone reported the highest number of laboratory-confirmed cases (8,212), followed by Liberia (3,149) and Guinea (2,727). During the week ending February 14, a daily average of 11 confirmed cases were reported from Sierra Leone, fewer than one from Liberia, and seven from Guinea. The areas with the highest numbers of confirmed cases reported during January 25–February 14 were the Western Area and Port Loko (Sierra Leone) and Forecariah (Guinea) (Figure). Guinea saw an increase in confirmed cases over the past 3 weeks. This might reflect improved surveillance and case reporting because of increased access to previously inaccessible communities.

Hunger by the numbers in the African-American community

February 25, 2015 Comments off

Hunger by the numbers in the African-American community (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute

In the United States, over 42 million people identify as African-American or black—13.6 percent of the U.S. population. Last year, poverty and hunger declined for the first time since the start of the recession.

Last year’s decline in poverty and hunger mirrors the decrease in unemployment that also occurred. Bread for the World believes that the best pathway out of hunger and poverty is a good job. African-Americans continue to suffer from disproportionately higher unemployment rates than the general U.S. population as well as any other major group despite the economic gains of the past few years.

Randomized Trial of Peanut Consumption in Infants at Risk for Peanut Allergy

February 24, 2015 Comments off

Randomized Trial of Peanut Consumption in Infants at Risk for Peanut Allergy
Source: New England Journal of Medicine

Background
The prevalence of peanut allergy among children in Western countries has doubled in the past 10 years, and peanut allergy is becoming apparent in Africa and Asia. We evaluated strategies of peanut consumption and avoidance to determine which strategy is most effective in preventing the development of peanut allergy in infants at high risk for the allergy.

Methods
We randomly assigned 640 infants with severe eczema, egg allergy, or both to consume or avoid peanuts until 60 months of age. Participants, who were at least 4 months but younger than 11 months of age at randomization, were assigned to separate study cohorts on the basis of preexisting sensitivity to peanut extract, which was determined with the use of a skin-prick test — one consisting of participants with no measurable wheal after testing and the other consisting of those with a wheal measuring 1 to 4 mm in diameter. The primary outcome, which was assessed independently in each cohort, was the proportion of participants with peanut allergy at 60 months of age.

Results
Among the 530 infants in the intention-to-treat population who initially had negative results on the skin-prick test, the prevalence of peanut allergy at 60 months of age was 13.7% in the avoidance group and 1.9% in the consumption group (P<0.001). Among the 98 participants in the intention-to-treat population who initially had positive test results, the prevalence of peanut allergy was 35.3% in the avoidance group and 10.6% in the consumption group (P=0.004). There was no significant between-group difference in the incidence of serious adverse events. Increases in levels of peanut-specific IgG4 antibody occurred predominantly in the consumption group; a greater percentage of participants in the avoidance group had elevated titers of peanut-specific IgE antibody. A larger wheal on the skin-prick test and a lower ratio of peanut-specific IgG4:IgE were associated with peanut allergy.

Conclusions
The early introduction of peanuts significantly decreased the frequency of the development of peanut allergy among children at high risk for this allergy and modulated immune responses to peanuts. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00329784.)

UK — Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2020

February 24, 2015 Comments off

Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2020
Source: Department of Health, Cabinet Office and Prime Minister’s Office

It sets out what this government wants to see in place by 2020 in order for England to be:

+ the best country in the world for dementia care and support and for people with dementia, their carers and families to live; and
+ the best place in the world to undertake research into dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases

It also highlights the progress to date on improving dementia care, support and research.

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