NEWS SCAN: Polio in India and Angola, dirty hands in latex gloves, exposure notification rule, anti-flu-vaccine ad

Nov 4, 2011

Polio success in India, setback in Angola
India, which reported 559 to 874 polio cases annually from 2006 through 2009, has not detected a case since January 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today in its Weekly Epidemiological Record. From 2006 through 2009, cases in India, primarily in its northern states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, accounted for 43% of confirmed cases of wild poliovirus (WPV) worldwide, the WHO said. In 2010, however, confirmed WPV cases in the nation dropped to 42, and in 2011 thus far only one case has been confirmed, in West Bengal. The agency said, "Progress in India has tremendous implications for attaining the goal of global polio eradication," attributing much of the success to expanded immunization efforts.
Nov 4 Wkly Epidemiol Rec issue (see page 501)
Meanwhile, Angola is reporting a new WPV case in a 14-month-old boy in Uige province near the Congo border, and the United Nations has declared a medical emergency, according to a Washington Post story yesterday. Angola had launched a targeted border-area immunization campaign last month and has a planned follow-up drive this month, according to the story. This is the country's first WPV case since Mar 27, according to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).
GPEI Angola polio information

Study says hand hygiene suffers when health workers wear gloves
A study conducted in British hospitals showed that healthcare workers were less likely to clean their hands before and after patient contacts when they wore latex gloves and also often didn't use gloves when needed, according to a report in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. The researchers spent 249 hours observing glove use and hand hygiene in 56 medical and geriatric wards and intensive care units in England and Wales. They found that gloves were worn in 1,983 (26.2%) of 7,578 "moments for hand hygiene." They also observed that gloves were used in 551 (16.7%) of 3,292 low-risk contacts and were not used in 141 (21.1%) of 669 high-risk contacts. The rate of hand hygiene compliance when gloves were used was 41.4% (415 of 1,002 moments); it improved to 50.0% (1,344 of 2,686 moments) without glove use. The researchers calculated that glove use was strongly associated with lower hand hygiene compliance, with an adjusted odds ratio of 0.65 (95% confidence interval, 0.54-0.79). They concluded that glove use is lower than previously reported and that gloves are often worn when not indicated and vice versa. In a press release from the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), senior author Dr. Sheldon Stone described the findings as "the phenomenon of the 'Dirty Hand in the Latex Glove.'" The release said glove use should not be considered a substitute for good hand hygiene practices before and after patient contacts, because microbes can sometimes get through latex and hands can be contaminated by "back spray" when gloves are removed after contact with body fluids.
December Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol abstract
Nov 3 SHEA press release

CDC lists diseases covered by notification rule for emergency responders
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a final list of potentially life-threatening infectious diseases covered by a congressional requirement for notification of emergency-response workers in case of potential occupational exposure. Congressional passage of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 reinstated the notification requirement, the CDC said in a notice in today's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The CDC was assigned to develop the list of diseases along with guidelines for determining circumstances in which emergency responders might be exposed to the diseases while caring for or transporting emergency victims. The CDC took public comments after publishing a draft of the information in 2010, and the final version was published Nov 2 in the Federal Register, the agency said. The requirement covers the following agents and diseases: hepatitis B and C, HIV, rabies, vaccinia, measles, tuberculosis, varicella, novel influenza A viruses, diphtheria, meningococcal disease, mumps, pertussis, pneumonic plague, rubella, SARS, smallpox, viral hemorrhagic fevers (such as Ebola and Marburg), and any transmissible agent included in the federal select agents list (pathogens with bioterrorism potential).
Nov 4 MMWR notice

Anti-vaccine group runs ad about flu vaccines on Delta flights
The anti-vaccine group National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is running an ad on Delta Airlines flights this month de-emphasizing both influenza and flu vaccines, according to a post on the science blog Skepchick yesterday. The ad begins with NVIC president Barbara Loe Fisher asserting that flu is insignificant and that 80% of the time flu-like symptoms are not caused by influenza. The ad then underscores "old-fashioned methods" to ward off the flu and to rebound quickly if one does get sick, such as hand washing, respiratory etiquette, stress reduction, good nutrition, and exercise. At 1:57 of the 2-minute, 50-second ad, flu vaccines are first mentioned, but never recommended. Instead the voiceover discusses the importance of researching information about vaccines and asking physicians about "important information for each vaccine you, or your child, receives." Graphics that appear on screen direct viewers to the NVIC site, which contains extensive anti-vaccine material.
Nov 3 Skepchick blog post

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