Vaccinated medical conference attendees had low rates of COVID-19
Today JAMA Network Open published a study showing a 1.8% COVID-19 infection rate among in-person attendees at a February 2022 Academic Surgical Congress conference in Florida in which 100% of participants were vaccinated and 92% were boosted.
In addition to requiring vaccination, in-person attendees were encouraged to take an at-home test before the conference and asked to wear a surgical mask or an N95 or KN95 respirator at the meeting. Notably, the conference was held during the Omicron variant peak in the United States. The event contained only outdoor eating and socialization, and all indoor meetings were held with socially distant spacing.
In-person attendees and those who attended virtually had similar rates of COVID-19.
Among 682 survey respondents of 1,617 meeting attendees, 12 reported a SARS-CoV-2–positive test the week after the meeting, with no significant differences between the 10 of 546 in-person attendees infected and the 2 of 135 virtual attendees (1.8% vs 1.5% [95% confidence interval for the difference, −0.2% to 0.3%]). All COVID-19–positive attendees had received a booster.
"These data suggest that among highly vaccinated clinicians with high risk of occupational exposure, cautious strategies to mitigate COVID-19 transmission during a surge were effective, and in-person meeting attendance posed no greater risk than professional hazards," the authors wrote.
"The scientific consensus is that we can safely reestablish indoor scientific conferences, but there are many arguments to support hybrid conferences becoming the new standard," said Winfried V. Kern, MD, PhD, and Daniel Morgan, MD, in a commentary.
Sep 7 JAMA Netw Open study
Sep 7 JAMA Netw Open commentary
New avian flu outbreaks strike Ohio poultry
Ohio is the latest state to report a return of highly pathogenic avian flu in poultry, according to the latest updates from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
One of the events occurred at a commercial layer farm that houses 3 million birds. The location is in Defiance County, which is in the northwestern corner of the state on the border with Indiana. The other outbreak involved a backyard flock of 640 birds in Ashland County, which is in the north central part of the state.
Ohio's only other detection in poultry involved an outbreak in backyard birds in March.
The outbreaks in Ohio follow a resurgence of Eurasian H5N1 avian flu activity in poultry in a handful of Midwestern states, following a small but steady stream of outbreaks, mainly in backyard birds, over the summer. Since the outbreaks in poultry began in early February, the virus has led to the loss of 43.8 million birds across 39 states.
USDA APHIS poultry avian flu updates