Michigan reports its first measles case since 2019

News brief

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recently reported an imported measles infection, which involves a child in Oakland County.

boy with measles
Christopher Badzioch / iStock

The MDHHS said it is working closely with Oakland County health officials, and investigators don't think there were additional exposures outside the child's household, based on when symptoms began. Officials urged unvaccinated people ages 1 and older to receive the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Michigan's case is its first since 2019 and is part of a flurry of cases reported in multiple states since the first of the year, most of them imported. In January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged healthcare providers to be alert for cases, owing to a rise in global activity and gaps in vaccination.

Measles is very contagious, and unvaccinated people who are exposed to the virus are thought to have a 90% risk of contracting it. The virus can persist in airspace for up to 2 hours after an infected person leaves the area. In some instances, the disease can lead to serious complications, including brain swelling.

More cases in Florida, Ohio

In other US measles developments, two more cases have been reported in Florida's Broward County, though it's not clear if they are connected to an outbreak at an elementary school. According to state data, eight cases have now been reported in Broward County. Earlier reports noted that the elementary school cluster involved six cases.

The Florida Department of Health (Florida Health) said in a February 23 notice to healthcare providers that, along with Broward County cases, a travel-related case has been reported in central Florida. Florida data suggest that case may be in Polk County.

Meanwhile, a second case has been reported in Ohio's Miami County and has links to the first Ohio case, according to a local media report that cited Miami County Public Health.

European advisers green-light 2 H5N1 avian flu vaccines

News brief

At its meetings last week the European Medicines Agency human medicines committee recommended approval for two human H5N1 avian flu vaccines, one called Celldemic and the other Incellipan. Both are inactivated adjuvanted cell-based vaccines manufactured by Seqirus.

vaccine draw
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr cc

Celldemic is intended for immunizing people during outbreaks coming from animals, including when public health officials anticipate a possible pandemic.

Incellipan is intended as a pandemic preparedness vaccine to be used only when a pandemic has been declared, which prompted the manufacturer to include the pandemic strain in the final version of its vaccine. The approval now, based on safety and efficacy trials, would speed the final authorization of a pandemic vaccine.

Study estimates 134,000 missed cancer diagnoses in US in 2020

News brief

A new large study based on nationwide surveillance data suggests upwards of 134,000 cancer diagnoses were missed in the United States in the first 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, due to a combination of delayed screening and missed appointments.

"The longer cancer exists undetected, the lower the chances of positive patient outcomes. Every missed detection is a lost opportunity to beat cancer at its most treatable stage," said the paper's senior author, Krystle Lang Kuhs, PhD, MPH, in a University of Kentucky press release.

The study, published in JAMA Oncology, was conducted by researchers at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and based on information on all 50 states from the US Cancer Statistics Public Use Database June 2023 release.

The biggest drop in cancer diagnoses was between March and May 2020, when diagnoses were reduced by 28.6% from rates seen in 2018 and 2019. Overall, diagnoses dropped by 13.0% from March 2020 through December 2020.

Prostate cancers most missed

All told, these reductions equate to potentially 134,395 undiagnosed cancers during 2020 (95% prediction interval, 112,544 to 156,680).

Cancers caught by annual screening were the most missed, with prostate cancer accounting for most potentially missed cases (22 ,950), followed by female breast (16,870) and lung (16,333) cancers, the authors said.

There will undoubtedly—and unfortunately—be a subsequent rise in cancer mortality.

After the first 3 months of the pandemic, the rate of female breast cancer detection rebounded, but rates remained low for colorectal, cervical, and lung cancers for the remainder of 2020.

"There will undoubtedly—and unfortunately—be a subsequent rise in cancer mortality. How substantial a rise and for how long will provide a more complete picture of the consequences of COVID-19 disruptions on the burden of cancer in the US," the authors concluded.

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