News Scan for Nov 05, 2021

COVID vaccine hesitancy
;
COVID-19 complications in pets
;
US flu, novel flu detections rise
;
Polio in Africa, Ukraine

Survey reveals entrenched US COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy

A detailed national survey of Americans, which included residents of the four largest US metropolitan areas, found that about half of those unwilling to be vaccinated against COVID-19 were unlikely to change their minds. A research team based at Emerson University published their findings yesterday in Scientific Reports.

The 36-question survey of 6,037 Americans was conducted in April 2021, roughly a year into the pandemic. One third of the respondents were part of the national sample, and two thirds were from Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York City.

Of the 21.4% who said they were unwilling to be vaccinated, half said nothing would change their minds, with the majority reporting that concerns about vaccine safety were driving their objections.

Vaccine hesitancy was higher in those who worked outside their homes, held conservative views, had a lower household income, and had not tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the survey found broad acceptance for vaccine mandates, with more than 50% supporting a government requirement and 68% supporting vaccination for international travel.

Researchers said the study yielded some useful insights about messaging, including that most respondents chose the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as their preferred information source, but that the vaccine hesitant are likely to turn to community leaders and their state and local governments. Preferred media was the internet and social media, which the team said was a double-edge sword, given that they are often sources of misinformation.

Also, most study participants said they would rather be vaccinated in their doctors' offices, hinting at missed opportunities during routine health visits.
Nov 4 Sci Rep study
Nov 4 Sci Rep press release

 

Pets also vulnerable to COVID-19 cardiac complications

Domestic pets are susceptible to the Alpha SARS-CoV-2 variant (B117) and can experience severe illness, according to a case series of cats and dogs published by researchers from the United Kingdom yesterday in Veterinary Record.

The study examined illnesses in six pets, which included four cats and two dogs. All had experienced acute cardiac disease onset, including severe myocarditis. The animals tested positive for the Alpha variant or had antibodies 2 to 6 weeks after illness. Many of the owners had been sick with COVID-19 before their pets became ill.

Lead author Luca Ferasin, DVM, PhD, with the Ralph Veterinary Referral Centre in Buckinghamshire, said in a press release from the journal's publisher that the study highlights the risk of the virus to companion animals, with transmission coming from humans to pets.

Though COVID-19 infection in pets is still rare, she said the clinical implications can be significant. "We also reported the atypical clinical manifestations characterized by severe heart abnormalities, which is a well-recognised complication in people affected by COVID-19 but has never [been] described in pets before."
Nov 4 Vet Record study
Nov 4 Wiley press release

 

US flu cases inch up; 3 more novel cases reported

Though US flu markers are still below baselines, the number of detections at public health labs is rising, the CDC said today in its latest weekly update.

At the public health labs, the number of samples testing positive for flu is still small, but is increasing, the CDC said. Of the positive samples for flu, 91.4% were influenza A and 8.6% were influenza B. Of the subtyped flu A samples, all were H3N2.

Two jurisdictions—Arizona and the District of Columbia—reported moderate activity based on outpatient clinic visits for flulike illness. No pediatric flu deaths have been reported yet this flu season.

Meanwhile, the CDC reported three more novel flu virus infections, two involving variant H1N1 (H1N1v) and one from variant H1N2 (H1N2v). All three occurred in the 2020-2021 flu season.

The two H1N1v cases were reported by Iowa, and the H1N2v case was reported by Indiana. In all three instances, the patients are adults who attended agricultural events where pigs were present or visited farms that housed pigs.

No ongoing human transmission was linked to any of the cases. The cases lift the number of novel flu infections for last flu season to 14.
Nov 5 CDC FluView report

 

More polio cases in Africa and Ukraine

Four African nations reported more polio cases last week, all involving circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2), according to the latest weekly update from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

Cameroon reported one case from Far North region, marking the country's first of 2021. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported 1 case from Maniema province, bringing its total for the year to 11.

Niger reported two new cases, both from Diffa region near the border with Nigeria, which are the country's first cases of 2021. Also, Nigeria reported 8 cases in five different states, lifting its total this year to 274 cases.
Nov 4 GPEI update

Elsewhere, Ukraine's health ministry on Nov 3 reported vaccine-derived type 1 poliovirus in an unvaccinated 12-year-old girl from Transcarpathia region who experienced acute flaccid paralysis, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in its weekly communicable disease update.

Investigators found no related cases among the girl's contacts, and they found no link to a similar case reported in October from Rivne region.
Nov 5 ECDC weekly communicable disease threat report

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