NEWS SCAN: Flu vaccination in kids, H1N1 in transplant patients, MRSA and lobstering

Oct 6, 2010

One fourth of kids under 2 received full seasonal flu vaccination
Only about a quarter of children under 2 years old were fully vaccinated against influenza during the most recent non-pandemic flu season, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics released today. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in 2002 first encouraged seasonal flu vaccination in children aged 6 to 23 months, and then in 2004 recommended vaccination for this age-group. From September through December 2008, 41.5% of children in that age-group received at least one dose of the vaccine, with only 24.7% receiving complete two-dose protection. States with more than 40% receiving full vaccine coverage were Massachusetts, 45.9%; Rhode Island, 43.9%; Vermont, 43.6%; New Hampshire, 43.3%; Wisconsin, 41.2%; and Minnesota, 41.1%. Full coverage fell below 15% in three states: California, 14.9%; Arkansas, 14.2%; and Mississippi, 8.7%.
Oct 6 CDC report

Organ-transplant patients hit hard by pandemic H1N1
Organ transplant recipients who were infected with pandemic 2009 H1N1 flu had higher mortality rates than the general population, with poorer outcomes in those whose treatment was delayed, according to a recent study. Researchers studied 77 transplant patients from 10 centers, 35 of whom were suspected novel H1N1 cases, 19 probable, and 23 confirmed. Six of them (7.8%) died, compared with CDC estimates of much less than 1% mortality in the general population and about 5% in hospitalized patients. Time from the onset of symptoms to the first visit and treatment was "significantly longer" in 34 patients who were admitted to a medical ward and 10 admitted to intensive care, compared with the 33 ambulatory patients.
Oct 1 Transplantation abstract

MRSA stalks Maine lobstering village
Health officials in Maine suspect that lobster fishing activities have contributed to a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) outbreak that has affected about 30 people in an island fishing community over the past two summers, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. Dr Stephen Sears, Maine's state epidemiologist, told the AP that there's no indication that MRSA is linked to lobsters but that multiple small hand traumas that occur in activities such as hauling lobster traps and cutting bait could allow the pathogen to gain a foothold on the island. Some fishermen and other island residents have been treated multiple times, but no deaths have been reported, according to the AP. Sears said it's difficult to determine how MRSA came to the island community of Vinalhaven. He told the AP that the pathogen isn't transmitted by seafood and that it doesn't usually survive in sea water or on beaches at levels high enough to cause human infections.
Oct 6 AP story

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