News Scan for Dec 09, 2014

More polio-like cases
Flu vaccine efficacy in kids
Malaria and treated bed nets

CDC identifies 3 more polio-like cases in kids

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has verified three more reports of an unexplained polio-like illness in children, raising the total to 93 cases in 33 states over the past few months, according to a Dec 4 update.

The illness, which is labeled acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), involves sudden onset of limb weakness with inflammation in the spinal cord. The CDC said it was working to confirm two more reports of possible cases.

Last week CDC officials said a little less than half of the patients had evidence of infection with enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), a previously rare virus that has been associated with severe respiratory illness in children in recent months. The CDC has identified 1,121 EV-D68 cases in 47 states since August.

The agency said last week that it seemed increasingly likely that AFM cases were related to EV-D68, although conclusive evidence was lacking. The virus had been found in nasal and stool samples of AFM patients but not in the nervous system.
Dec 4 CDC update
Related Dec 2
CIDRAP News story


Study: Vaccination has little effect on severe flu-related illness in children

Flu vaccination had no significant effect on flu-related hospitalization or emergency department (ED) visits among children living in a Tennessee county over 11 flu seasons, according to a study published online yesterday in Pediatrics.

Researchers studied the effects of flu vaccination among children ages 6 months to 5 years old living in Davidson County, Tennessee, from 2000 to 2011. A median of 4.5 per 10,000 children were hospitalized with flu-related illness each year. A median of 143 per 10,000 children visited the ED with flu-related illness each year.

Although the proportion of children receiving flu vaccine rose from 6% to 38% during the study period, there were no significant decreases in flu-related hospitalization or ED visits related to vaccination.

Researchers found that children's flu-related ED visits significantly increased over the 11-season study period. Hospitalization and ED visit rates were highest during the 2003-04 and 2007-08 seasons, when the vaccine was a poor match for the circulating influenza A H3N2 strain. A median of 8.2 per 10,000 children were hospitalized, and 307 per 10,000 children visited the ED during seasons when H3N2 was circulating.

Although influenza vaccine is recommended for children 6 months of age and older, less than 50% of children in the 11-season Davidson County study had been vaccinated.

The study used surveillance data obtained from the CDC's New Vaccine Surveillance Network (NVSN) and Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Surveillance Network (IVESN).
Dec 8 Pediatrics study


DDT-treated bed nets alone prevent malaria in Gambian children

The use of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets protects children from malaria equally as well as using bed nets combined with indoor insecticide spraying, according to a study published today in The Lancet.

Researchers from Durham University and the UK's Medical Research Council studied malarial rates over 2 years in a little under 8,000 children living in 97 Gambian villages.

Children who used bed nets treated with the insecticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and lived in houses whose indoor walls were also sprayed with DDT did not experience fewer cases of malaria than children who used DDT-treated bed nets alone.

More than 80% of households in The Gambia use bed nets to prevent malaria. Researchers conclude that use of treated bed nets alone is effective, both in terms of cost and disease prevention.
Dec 9 Lancet study
Dec 8 Durham University
press release

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