Quick takes: Mpox rise in Europe, dengue antiviral trial, polio in 5 nations

News brief
  • Global mpox cases in September declined 16% compared the previous month, but illnesses were up significantly in Europe, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest update. Most of the cases in Europe were reported from Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The Western Pacific region is still reporting the highest numbers of cases, led by cases in China, though levels there declined in September, the WHO said. The group added that it is now posting the updates monthly, and it urged caution in interpreting the trends during the transition in reporting.
  • Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, part of Johnson and Johnson, today announced promising findings in a phase 2a human challenge trial of its oral antiviral for preventing dengue infection. The compound, called JNJ-1802, prompted antiviral activity against dengue serotype 3. Scientists detailed the findings this week at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Chicago. Researchers have advanced the trial to a community-based field study to assess the efficacy against dengue in study participants in more than 30 countries.
  • Five countries reported more polio cases this week, all involving vaccine-derived strains, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) said in its latest weekly update. The Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mali, and Yemen reported more circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases. Also, the DRC reported three more cases involving circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (cVDPV1).

CDC reports slight flu rise

News brief

Flu activity in the United States is low and remains well below baselines, but some parts of the country are experiencing slight rises, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in its latest weekly update.

flu shot
Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta/Flickr cc

The percentage of respiratory specimens that tested positive for flu at clinical labs rose last week in region 8, which includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Levels remained stable in other parts of the country.

Hospitalizations for flu also remain low but increased slightly in four regions that include states in roughly the southeast and west.

Of the few samples that were positive for flu at public health labs last week, 78% were influenza A, and of subtyped samples, nearly 94% were the 2009 H1N1 virus.

No pediatric flu deaths have been reported for the current season, but the CDC reported one more for the 2022-2023 season, which was reported during the week ending September 30 and involved H1N1, putting that total at 179.

Most US COVID markers show declines

News brief

COVID metrics showed more declines last week, though deaths from the virus—one of its severity indicators—rose 4.2% compared to the previous week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its latest data update. Deaths were up a bit in a number of states but were up more sharply in Oregon.

negative covid test
Sue Thompson/Flickr cc

However, hospitalizations for COVID, which the CDC also uses to track severity, declined 5% over the past week. Levels are low for most of the country, except for parts of the upper midwest and northwest, where several counties are in the moderate range.

Early indicators also showed more declines. Emergency department visits for COVID were down 11.9% compared to a week ago. Nationally, the test positivity rate declined 0.7% and is at 9.5%. Levels are higher in the western part of the country and in part of the northeast.

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