Ebola sickens 1 more in the DRC, 74 total, with 32 deaths
Testing confirmed 1 more Ebola case in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Equateur province outbreak, raising the total to 74, the World Health Organization (WHO) African regional office said on Twitter today.
One more death was reported, raising the fatality count to 32, though it's unclear if it involved the latest confirmed patient.
The outbreak was first detected in early June and is the DRC's 11th Ebola event. Equateur province experienced a similar outbreak in 2018 that lasted only a few months and resulted in 54 cases and 33 deaths.
Health officials are worried about the current outbreak, because cases are spread across multiple health zones, including the provincial capital Mbandaka. Also, a number of confirmed cases are still in the community, raising the threat of further spread.
Aug 5 WHO African regional office tweet
Minority children in US shoulder large COVID-19 burden, research shows
COVID-19 infects a disproportionate number of US minority children and those of low socioeconomic status, mirroring trends observed in adults across the country, a study published today in Pediatrics has found.
Researchers from Children's National Hospital and George Washington University in Washington, DC, examined data from the first 1,000 patients aged 0 to 22 years with mild coronavirus symptoms and a physician referral at the pediatric hospital's walk-up/drive-through testing site from Mar 21 to Apr 28. (Of the total, 128, or 12.8%, were 18 or older.) Of the 1,000 children, 20.7% tested positive for COVID-19.
About 46% of Hispanic children (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 6.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.3 to 11.9) and 30% of black children (aOR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.2 to 4.4) tested positive for coronavirus, versus only 7% of white children.
When the investigators used data from the American Families Survey to analyze the group by income level, 38% of children in the lowest-income group were positive for COVID-19, compared with only 9% of those in the highest-income group. Median family income differed by ethnicity, with white children's families earning a mean of $161,250 annually, versus black family incomes of $92,188, and Hispanic family incomes of $75,114.
Of the 10% of patients who reported contact with someone with COVID-19, about 33% were black, versus just 11% of whites.
The authors said the health disparities could be attributed to structural factors, limited access to healthcare, scarce resources, and bias and discrimination. For example, minorities are overrepresented in "essential" service industries that require face-to-face contact; are more likely than whites to rely on public transportation; have difficulty finding childcare in non-group settings; live in crowded, intergenerational settings; and may distrust the healthcare system and delay seeking care, raising the likelihood of spreading the virus to household members.
"Furthermore, symptomatic adults may avoid testing due to fears of deportation," the authors wrote. "Future work to ensure equitable allocation of testing and culturally appropriate prevention education may help improve early identification, quarantine, and distribution of resources to reduce community spread of disease."
Aug 5 Pediatrics study
Study: Few COVID-19 outbreaks, limited spread in Australian schools
Spread of COVID-19 in New South Wales, Australia, schools and childcare centers was low, according to an ongoing observational study published earlier this week in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.
The study, which began on Jan 25, involved analysis of virus transmission in 15 schools and 10 childcare facilities with COVID-19 cases. Twelve students and 15 adults tested positive for COVID-19. Of the 633 close contacts tested, 18 secondary cases were detected (attack rate, 1.2%); 5 of them (28%) were asymptomatic (3 infants, 1 teen, and 1 adult).
Three children and two adults were infected at three schools (attack rate, 0.5%). Nine of 10 childcare centers reported no secondary cases among 497 contacts, but one childcare center outbreak involved seven children and six adults (attack rate, 35.1%).
The authors cautioned that higher rates of transmission may occur in areas with more community spread or less stringent public health and community measures than in New South Wales but said that testing, contact tracing, quarantine, and school closures can help limit spread of the virus.
"With effective case-contact testing and epidemic management strategies and associated small numbers of attendances while infected, children and teachers did not contribute significantly to COVID-19 transmission via attendance in educational settings," they said. "These findings could be used to inform modelling and public health policy regarding school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic."
In a commentary in the same journal, W. John Edmunds, PhD, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that the findings may be of limited generality because most schools closed briefly after identification of a confirmed coronavirus case, and close contacts were expected to quarantine at home for 14 days after exposure.
"However, it is becoming increasingly clear that governments around the world need to find solutions that allow children and young adults to return to full-time education as safely and as quickly as possible," he wrote.
Aug 3 Lancet Child Adolesc Health study and commentary