NEWS SCAN: Flu vaccination disparity, H5N1 outbreaks in Bangladesh, thwarting TB in kids

Mar 21, 2012

Study finds lower flu-vaccination coverage in nursing homes with more black residents
A recently released analysis of the inequity of influenza vaccination coverage between black and white nursing home residents determined that the variation was highest in homes with mostly black residents, which were also the homes with the lowest overall flu vaccination coverage. Vaccination status was obtained from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service's Minimum Data Set for the period Oct 1, 2008, through Mar 31, 2009, for about 2.4 million nursing home residents in 39 states and the District of Columbia. The differences in flu vaccination coverage between black and white residents were found to be lowest in nursing homes with the highest overall coverage, while the greatest inequities were in homes with at least 50% black residents. The authors conclude that the racial gap in flu vaccination coverage can be minimized by implementing culturally appropriate interventions in facilities that have larger proportions of black residents.
Mar 14 J Am Med Dir Assoc studyabstract

Ten H5N1 outbreaks in Bangladesh affect 49,000 poultry
Bangladesh has confirmed 10 H5N1 avian flu outbreaks on commercial poultry farms in several divisions that killed 2,886 birds and required 46,359 additional poultry to be culled to prevent disease spread, according to a report filed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Flocks varied in size from 150 to more than 22,000 poultry, and the start dates for the outbreaks ranged from Jan 19 to Mar 2. Six of the outbreaks were in Dhaka division (all in separate districts), two in Rajshahi, and one each in Khulna and Chittagong. On Jan 15 Bangladesh reported three H5N1 outbreaks from late December and early January—two in Dhaka and one in Khulna division—that affected 43,849 poultry. And on Dec 21 the country reported four November and December outbreaks that affected 14,885 poultry, with two outbreaks in each of those two divisions.
Mar 19 OIE report

WHO: Simple methods could thwart TB in children
Serious illness and death from tuberculosis (TB) could be prevented in many of the half million children who become ill from the disease each year if better access to health services were available and health workers were better trained to recognize it, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today. The disease often goes undiagnosed and untreated in babies and children simply because it isn't looked for; most youngsters with TB catch it from infected parents, but such simple steps as evaluating the children of TB patients are too often not taken, the agency said. The WHO's Stop TB Partnership suggests three low-cost actions to improve TB care in this age-group: Examine children from households where TB is present and begin treatment immediately if they are very ill or have HIV, provide isoniazid to all children who are at risk for TB but have no symptoms, and train health workers who care for pregnant women, babies, and children to check for TB and refer suspected patients as necessary. Lucica Ditiu, MD, executive secretary of the Stop TB Partnership, said in a WHO release, "Two hundred children die from TB every day. Yet it costs less than 3 cents a day to provide therapy that will prevent children from becoming ill with TB and 50 cents a day to provide treatment that will cure the disease." Children under 3 and those with malnutrition or compromised immune systems are at greatest risk for TB, and children are at special risk for severe forms of TB, the agency said.
Mar 21 WHO news release


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