News Scan for Nov 05, 2015

News brief

Survey finds moms' flu, pertussis vaccination increases 'cocooning'

A survey designed to assess flu and pertussis vaccination patterns and attitudes in women who recently delivered babies found that both moms' vaccination and recommendations from obstetricians were linked to infant vaccine cocooning.

Colorado researchers published their findings in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. Cocooning means immunizing people who come in close contacts with babies, such as family members and caretakers.

The e-mail survey took place from February 2013 to April 2013 among women from nine of Colorado's obstetrics practices. Of 613 women surveyed, 274 responded, for a response rate of 45%. The prevalence of flu vaccination of the mother and at least one close contact was 61%; the same measure for the pertussis vaccine was 67%.

The moms reported greater perceived benefits for the pertussis vaccine than the flu vaccine, but roughly half had concerns about vaccine safety. Two-thirds had received recommendations from their obstetricians about both vaccines.

The researchers noted that a striking finding was the association between maternal receipt of both vaccines and vaccination of other close contacts. About three times as many infants close contacts were vaccinated in vaccinated moms compared with their unvaccinated peers.

Other factors associated with flu and pertussis vaccine cocooning included obstetrician recommendation, high perceived vaccine benefits, low perceived barriers, and perceived susceptibility to disease.

The authors wrote that although the findings may include some reporting bias, they suggest that mothers strongly influence the rest of the household regarding vaccination. The team concluded that efforts to convince mothers of the importance of vaccination may have trickle-down benefits to the close contacts of newborns.
November Pediatr Infect Dis J abstract


Hawaii dengue cases jump from 2 to 15 in a week

The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) yesterday confirmed that the number of locally acquired cases of dengue fever on the big island of Hawaii has increased by 13 since Oct 29, to 15.

"Dengue is not endemic in Hawaii, however it is intermittently imported from endemic areas by infected travelers," the HDOH said in a news release. "This is the first cluster of locally-acquired dengue fever since the 2011 outbreak on Oahu."

Last week State Epidemiologist Sarah Park, MD, said the mosquito that can spread the disease is present in the state. She said the cluster was likely triggered by an infected traveler passing the virus to the local mosquito population.
Nov 4 HDOH news release
Oct 30 CIDRAP News scan on previous update


Early clinical trial shows promise for recombinant ricin vaccine

A phase 1 study of a recombinant ricin vaccine (RVEc) developed by US Army researchers found that it was immunogenic with no serious adverse events and that a single booster dose in a subset of participants enhanced protection and was safe, according to a study in Vaccine.

Ricin is a potent biological weapon, and because cells take in the toxin so rapidly, a vaccine would be the preferred countermeasure approach. Currently, there are no approved countermeasures for ricin intoxication.

The study included 30 participants, with 10 in each of the three dosage groups: 20, 50, and 100 micrograms. Two of the 10 volunteers in the highest-dose group developed elevated creatine phosphokinase levels, so the researchers didn't administer any additional doses in that group.

A booster dose was administered to four subjects in the 50-microgram group 20 to 21 months after the initial dose, which significantly enhanced immunogenicity. The authors wrote that the next study steps will address optimal dosing, scheduling, and administration route.
Nov 3 Vaccine abstract

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