Low-cost interventions result in high HPV vaccination rates
A study yesterday in Pediatrics showed how an urban health system achieved human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates of 89.8% in teen girls and 89.3% in teen boys by using low-cost interventions, including "bundling" the HPV vaccine with other vaccines, and offering vaccines at every healthcare visit.
HPV vaccine rates have lagged behind those for meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) and tetanus toxoid, among others. This discrepancy is often explained by parental concern and provider misinformation. Denver Health is an urban health system that serves more than 17,000 teens in the Denver metro area annually, including 43% of the Denver Hispanic community and 33% of its African-American community.
From 2004 through 2014, Denver Health targeted teen ages 13 to 17 to get the HPV vaccine by offering the immunization as part of a standard bundle of vaccines, including diphtheria, MCV4, and tetanus. The health system also created standard orders for vaccines via the VaxTrax vaccine registry. Vaccination status was checked through VaxTrax at every doctor's appointment.
By 2014, HPV coverage of more than one dose was 89.8% among teen girls and 89.3% among teen boys, compared with national rates of 57.3% and 34.6%, respectively. Rates of complete three-dose HPV coverage were 66% for girls and 52.5% for boys, versus 37.6% and 13.9% nationally.
"Avoiding missed opportunities for vaccination and providing a strong recommendation for the HPV vaccine were key procedures that likely contributed to high coverage rates," the authors wrote.
Oct 5 Pediatrics study
Almost 400 suspected cases of mumps reported in Arkansas
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) said today it is still probing an outbreak of mumps in the northwest part of the state. So far, there are 391 cases under investigation.
The cases first appeared early in September, shortly after school started. As of today, 29 schools in three districts have confirmed cases of mumps.
"ADH is requiring students in the same school with vaccine exemptions for the MMR (Mumps, Measles, and Rubella) vaccine to be excluded from school for 26 days from the date of exposure and until the outbreak has ended. Students with non-medical exemptions, who receive the recommended doses of MMR vaccine, may return to school immediately," the ADH said in an update yesterday.
Mumps is a viral disease that transmits easily among children via respiratory droplets. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all school-age children receive the MMR vaccine before starting school, but children under the age of 18 who were not previously vaccinated can receive one dose with a follow-up 4 weeks later. The MMR vaccine confers 88% immunity to the disease.
Oct 5 ADH update
Report details 2014 measles outbreak in Ohio Amish communities
Delayed recognition of measles in young Amish adults in Ohio who contracted the virus in 2014 while helping with typhoon relief in the Philippines meant that the outbreak was well under way before the public health response began, according to an investigation of an outbreak, the nation's largest in two decades.
Investigators from the CDC and their partners in Ohio published their findings today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The outbreak lasted 4 months, sickening 383 people—all but three of them from Amish households—in nine counties. The first two patients started having symptoms a day after returning from the Philippines, with two of their traveling companions developing rashes shortly after. Three sought care at the local hospital, where initial tests revealed thrombocytopenia, and medical teams diagnosed them as having dengue infections.
Measles was recognized after 12 more similar infections surfaced over the following weeks. Health officials took containment steps, stepped up surveillance, met with religious leaders to encourage case reporting, and launched free vaccination clinics, where 10,644 people were vaccinated. Over the course of the outbreak, health officials saw cases shift toward younger patients and from church exposure to home exposure, which they said could reflect social distancing measures.
Religious opposition to vaccination in the wake of the outbreak was less than in the past, and Amish community members were willing to limit attendance at gatherings to help curb the outbreak.
The authors said the outbreak underscores the threat of measles spread in undervaccinated communities, adding that early recognition and prompt launch of control measures can help limit the spread of the disease. They also noted that high vaccination coverage in the wider community is important for containing measles spread.
Oct 6 N Engl J Med abstract
Study: Global infectious disease deaths down, but not with dengue
Deaths from communicable diseases, especially HIV/AIDs and malaria, are on the decline worldwide, while deaths from dengue have increased. Those are some of the findings from the Global Burden of Disease 2015 Study (GBD 2015), which for the first time listed Ebola as a cause of mortality.
The study, published in The Lancet is a comprehensive assessment of mortality from 249 causes in 195 countries and territories from 1980 to 2015. Overall, death due to communicable diseases declined from 2005 to 2015, which the authors attributed to decreased mortality rates among patients with HIV/AIDS (a 42.1% drop), and malaria (43.1%).
Rotavirus was the leading cause of death in children younger than 5 years caused by diarrhea (146,000 deaths) and pneumococcal pneumonia was the leading cause of under-5 deaths due to lower respiratory infections (393,000 deaths). Both the Middle East and southern Asia saw growing mortality rates for these infectious diseases.
Interestingly, in light of the current Zika epidemic, the authors note that another flavivirus, dengue, is causing more deaths than it did in 2010 or 2013. "The increasing geographic range of dengue and, in some areas (eg, Latin America) increasing transmission intensity, contribute to growing concerns about other viruses that are transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, including the chikungunya and Zika viruses," the authors wrote.
Oct 5 Lancet GBD 2015 report