News Scan for Jul 23, 2018

Measles in the Americas
Rotavirus vaccine and high-risk babies

PAHO identifies Venezuela, Brazil as measles hot spots

In its latest epidemiologic update, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported late last week that 2,472 cases of measles had been confirmed in 11 countries in the Americas in 2018. PAHO said Venezuela and Brazil recorded the most activity, with more than 2,200 confirmed cases between them.

Most countries have only a handful of cases, including Antigua and Barbuda (1 case), Argentina (5 cases), Ecuador (17), Guatemala (1), Mexico (5), and Peru (3). Canada has 19 cases, and Colombia and the United States have had 40 and 91 cases, respectively.

Authorities in Brazil have tracked 677 cases in six states since January, with almost two thirds (65.6%) of the outbreak in Amazonas state. Almost all cases in Amazonas are genetically identical to those found in the Venezuelan outbreak.

PAHO said the outbreak in Amazonas is expected to grow, as up to 80% of suspected cases have not yet been tested. Children ages 0 to 4 years make up most cases.

Venezuela has recorded 1,613 cases this year in an outbreak that's been ongoing since 2017. PAHO also noted at least 44 deaths possibly attributed to measles in Venezuela, and said the region's indigenous population is particularly vulnerable to measles.
Jul 20 PAHO update


Rotavirus vaccines tied to less acute gastroenteritis in high-risk infants

Rotavirus vaccines, introduced between 2006 and 2008, have led to substantially reduced acute gastroenteritis (AGE) and rotavirus hospitalizations in the youngest high-risk children, similar to reductions seen with normal-birth-weight children, according to a study based on 14-year study of insurance claims data.

Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported their findings in the August issue of The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

Using inpatient hospital claims from July 2001 to June 2015, the investigators looked at AGE and rotavirus hospitalizations for low-birth-weight (LVW), very-low-birth-weight (VLBW), and normal-birth-weight (NBW) children younger than 5 years old, focusing on levels before the vaccine was introduced (2001 to 2006) and after rotavirus vaccination began (2007 to 2015).

Vaccination coverage as of December 2014 was 87%, 82%, and 64% for NBW, LBW, and VLBW infants, respectively. For 2014 to 2015 among children younger than 5, AGE hospitalization rate reduction compared with the prevaccine period were 60%, 64%, and 55% for the groups, respectively. For rotavirus hospitalizations, reductions were 91%, 98%, and 93%, respectively.

Comparing unvaccinated and vaccinated NBW, LBW, and VLBW children ages 3 to 23 months, vaccines reduced AGE hospitalization by 62%, 72%, and 71%, respectively.

The team concluded that the study shows the substantial impact rotavirus vaccines have had on reducing rates of AGE and rotavirus hospitalizations in US kinds under 5 and provides the first evidence of the impacts on LBW and VLBW kids, which couldn't be assessed in prelicensure trials because of small sample sizes. "Efforts to improve vaccination coverage, particularly in LBW and VLBW infants, should continue," they wrote.
August Pediatr Infect Dis J abstract

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