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Clinicians' Biosecurity News Archive: 2012

  • 12/21/2012. A Prospective Study of Influenza Shedding in the Community: Characterizing how and when shedding occurs is vital to creation of strategies to limit the spread of influenza. A new paper from the Robert Koch Institute, published in PLOS ONE, offers important insights into viral shedding of influenza.
  • 12/7/2012. Flu Season Starts Early: CDC flu data for the week ending Nov. 24 indicated a rise above the regional baseline in influenza-like illness (ILI) and in the percentage of positive flu tests in 5 of 10 HHS regions of the US. This is the earliest start of a US flu season since 2003.
  • 11/23/2012. Center Proposes New Approach for ARDS Care during Pandemics and Beyond: Center for Biosecurity research and analysis indicates that patients with severe lung injury and minimal co-morbid conditions would fare better if quickly transferred to and treated in dedicated centers with expertise in managing ARDS.
  • 11/9/2012. CIDRAP Report Calls for Novel Influenza Vaccine: A recently released report by Michael Osterholm and colleagues at CIDRAP provides a detailed review of the status of influenza vaccine in the United States and calls into question the efficacy of currently available vaccines.
  • 10/26/2012. Intravenous Zanamivir--Experience with 200 Patients: The demand for antivirals during the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic made clear the need for IV antiviral formulations. A new study documents details of the clinical experience with 200 patients administered IV zanamivir, which was made available as EIND.
  • 10/05/2012. Novel Coronavirus in UK and Saudi Arabia: A novel coronavirus has been discovered and linked to 2 severe cases, one of which was fatal, in the UK and Saudi Arabia. Both patients had travel to the same geographic area. The virus appears to not spread easily and may be related to a bat virus.
  • 09/21/2012. Studying Tularemia in a US Locale: Francisella tularensis is endemic in Missouri, where 121 cases (20% of the US total) were documented from 2000 to 2007. The CDC and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services recently published a retrospective review of these cases.
  • 9/7/2012. Hantavirus in Yosemite Tourists: Eight cases (3 fatal) of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome occurred in tourists exposed to the murine-spread virus at Yosemite this summer, a reminder that this lethal virus is endemic in parts of the US and should be considered in certain clinical scenarios.
  • 8/24/2012. The Increasing Burden of West Nile Virus: Since 1999, West Nile virus has caused approx. 1,000 neuroinvasive cases/year. This relatively stable state has been disrupted this year by the more than 500 cases reported in Dallas that prompted the Texas city to declare state of emergency on 8/15.
  • 8/10/2012. Asymptomatic Rabies: The results of a recently published study that quantified and characterized rabies seroprevalence rates in an endemic region of Peru provide important new insights into the pathophysiology of rabies and point to new directions in research.
  • 7/27/2012. Deaths in the Elderly Associated with Several Common Viruses: Although mortality statistics often list "pneumonia and influenza" as a leading cause of death among the elderly, unbundling that category reveals important pathogen-specific granularity, as demonstrated by a recently published study from the Netherlands.
  • 7/13/2012. Report from CDC’s Unexplained Respiratory Disease Outbreak Working Group: A report from CDC’s URDO working group summarizes the group’s activities for a 4.5 years and describes an approach that may foster more appropriate and timely diagnostic testing, promote use of multianalyte technology, and improve notification times.
  • 06/29/2012. Revised Estimate Increases Global H1N1 Mortality Figures by Factor of 15: Previously reported deaths due to lab-confirmed H1N1 during the 2009 pandemic were grossly underestimated because most flu patients were not tested. New estimates based on improved modeling provide a more accurate picture of the pandemic’s global toll.
  • 06/15/2012. Intensive Care Outcomes During the H1N1 Influenza Pandemic: A new article by authors from the CDC provides detailed descriptions of ICU care provided to patients during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. The results provide information essential to planning for future pandemics and influenza seasons.
  • 05/25/2012. Additional Forensic Investigation of 2001 Anthrax Attacks: The FBI concluded that Bruce Ivins conducted the 2001 anthrax attacks, based on microbial forensics linking spores found in the letters to material found in a flask under Ivins’ control. Additional data about the attack material has just been published.
  • 05/11/2012. H5N1 Transmission in Ferrets: Two recent studies of genetically modified H5N1 influenza viruses in ferrets have sparked international debate about the biosecurity risks of increased mammalian droplet transmissibility. The first of the papers, summarized here, has now been published.
  • 04/27/2012. Sapovirus: An Important Cause of Gastroenteritis Outbreaks: An underappreciated but important cause of norovirus-negative gastroenteritis outbreaks may be sapovirus. A recent paper in Emerging Infectious Diseases offers evidence of this with results of a study of outbreaks in Oregon and Minnesota over 7 years.
  • 04/13/2012. The Effect of Anti-lethal Toxin Antibodies on Anthrax Mortality: Results of a recent study suggest that treatment with antitoxin antibodies may be effective for all cases of anthrax that progress to septic shock. If results are validated for humans, then a robust supply of these products will be needed for the SNS.
  • 03/30/2012. IOM Issues New Report on Crisis Standards of Care: The Institute of Medicine has just released its second report on crisis standards of care for use in disaster situations. The report offers practical guidance for implementation of CSC, including milestones.
  • 03/16/2012. Fatal Flu Cluster in Maryland Highlights Complications of MRSA: Three deaths and 1 case of severe pneumonia were recently reported in 1 MD family; H3N2 flu confirmed in all 4; MRSA in at least 2.
  • 03/02/2012. Rapid Influenza Antigen Tests: Specific But Not Sensitive: Results of meta-analysis assessing accuracy of rapid tests vs. PCR or viral culture for influenza DX indicate that rapid tests have low sensitivity, but high specificity, which makes them most useful for confirming DX in patients with flu-like symptoms.
  • 02/17/2012. Genetic Susceptibility to Anthrax: A new study suggests that susceptibility to anthrax toxins may be genetic and variable. The results shed light on the relationship between anthrax toxins and human cell receptors, with potential implications for next generation countermeasure development.
  • 02/03/2012. Influenza B and Severe Disease: Influenza B caused 38% of pediatric flu deaths in the 2010-11 influenza season. A CDC team analyzed autopsy data from the decade between May 2000 and February 2010 to better understand the pathology of fatal cases of influenza B.
  • 01/20/2012. Totally Drug Resistant Tuberculosis: The treatment of TB is complicated by drug resistance--first single drug resistance emerged, then MDR-TB in the 1990s, followed by XDR-TB in 2001, and TDR-TB in 2007. A recent report detailing 4 cases of TDR-TB in India is the third report since 2007.
  • 01/17/2012. Clinicians' Biosecurity Resource App Now Available: The CBR is a healthcare provider’s guide to clinical features, diagnostic tests, treatments, and infection control measures for the most dangerous potential biothreats. It is available for download at no charge from the iTunes App store.
  • 01/06/2012. Statins and Influenza: Results of a recent multistate retrospective analysis of the effect of statins on 30-day mortality of laboratory-confirmed influenza provides new evidence of the benefits of statins in reducing inflammatory changes associated with influenza.