News Scan for Oct 13, 2022

News brief

3 of 4 US high school students report bad experiences during COVID

Nearly three of four US high school students report one or more adverse experiences contributing to poor mental health and suicidal behaviors amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey published today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers analyzed responses to the Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey conducted from January to June 2021.

Nearly three of four students said they had at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE), such as emotional abuse or food insecurity, during the pandemic. Respondents who reported at least four ACEs were at three or four times the risk for mental illness and 25 times the risk for reporting a suicide attempt in the past year than those who reported no ACEs.

Participants reporting four or more ACEs also more often said they seriously considered suicide (57.4% vs 5.3%; adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR], 7.06); made a suicide plan (48.6% vs 3.7%; aPR, 8.27); and attempted suicide (38.7% vs 0.9%; aPR, 25.06).

The researchers noted that concerns about poor adolescent mental health and suicidal behaviors preceded the pandemic and escalated after it began. For more than 10 years, they said, suicide has been the second or third leading cause of death among teens aged 14 to 18 years.

"This analysis highlights the ongoing, urgent need to address adversity experienced before and during the pandemic to mitigate its impact on mental and behavioral health," they wrote. "CDC's comprehensive approach to ACEs prevention and intervention emphasizes actions to create the structural and social environments that help children and families thrive, including bolstering family economic supports, supporting a strong start for children, and connecting youth and parents to community- and school-based resources."

The authors urged comprehensive, cross-sector approaches, partnerships, and policies focused on ACEs and suicide prevention and intervention, including dedicated to early identification, connections to care, and access to trauma-informed services and supports.
Oct 13 MMWR study


US hits 27,000 monkeypox cases as Siga tests Tpoxx in clinical trials

The CDC updated its case count yesterday, and the United States has 244 more monkeypox cases, raising the national total to 27,022.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), meanshile said 24,973 cases have been identified in that region since spring, when the largest global outbreak of the virus was first detected in the United Kingdom.

Currently in the United States, United Kingdom, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), drugmaker Siga is conducting clinical trials on its antiviral Tpoxx, which is being used to shorten the duration of the virus in patients around the world under emergency use authorizations. The trials will assess the safety and efficacy of the drug in monkeypox patients; investigators aim to enroll 500 participants each at US and UK sites and 450 participants in the DRC.

In research news, a study based on 53 Spanish monkeypox patients shows that most patients were men who have sex with men with high-risk sexual practices and no recent travels abroad, and 91% had had a sexually transmitted infection before.
Oct 12 CDC report
Oct 12 ECDC report
Oct 12 Siga press release
Oct 12 Exp Dermatol study


Uganda to test 2 Ebola vaccines during current outbreak

The Uganda Ministry of Health announced that it will try two vaccines against the Sudan Ebola strain currently causing cases in that country.

The vaccines include one developed at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and the other manufactured by Sabin in the United States.

According to the latest report from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the current outbreak in Uganda, there have been 20 suspected cases, all fatal. Between Sep 19 and Oct 9, 68 cases of the virus were detected, including the 20 suspected cases and 48 lab-confirmed cases.

"Thirty-seven fatalities have been registered including 17 confirmed cases, for an overall case fatality ratio of 54.4%, and 35.4% among confirmed cases," the WHO said.

The WHO said cases seem to be declining, though deaths are increasing. Authorities have also begun testing bats in the outbreak regions, and so far, four species have been identified and 52 samples taken.

Finally, according to Ugandan news media, Uganda's president has told traditional healers and herbalists not to treat people with suspected Ebola; he also directed security officials to arrest people with suspected infections who refuse to isolate.
Oct 13 The Observer story
Oct 13 WHO weekly bulletin
Oct 13 The Star story

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