Mother helping child with homewor

India’s national vaccination program provides long-term economic benefits. 

A new study by One Health Trust researchers assessed the long-term economic impact (wages, primary income source, and consumption expenditure) of India’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) among 21- to 26-year-olds born during the UIP implementation phase (1985-1990). The study showed that weekly wages increased by nearly 14 percent, and there was a three percent higher consumption expenditure among young adults exposed to UIP from infancy than those born before the UIP implementation. Furthermore, individuals born during the UIP implementation phase were two percent less likely to rely on agriculture as their principal source of income. The authors note that the effects of exposure to UIP from infancy varied based on individuals’ caste group, gender, and location. [American Journal of Health Economics]

Research shows mixed data on antibiotic use and disease burden associated with early-onset neonatal sepsis.

While antibiotics play a critical lifesaving role in early-onset neonatal sepsis (EOS), overuse of antibiotics early in life can lead to the development of antimicrobial resistance and subsequent poor health outcomes. To quantify and compare postnatal antibiotic use in EOS, researchers conducted a retrospective, cross-sectional study of late-preterm and full-term neonates born between January 2014 and December 2018 from 11 high-income countries. Almost three percent of the neonates received intravenous antibiotics within the first postnatal week, and the incidence of EOS was 0.49 cases per 1,000 live births. The median antibiotic treatment time for neonates with EOS was nine days, compared to four Due to heterogeneity in treatment practices and disease burden among healthcare facilities, the authors were unable to identify a single best practice to prevent and manage EOS. [JAMA Pediatrics]

Multidrug-resistant shigellosis is rising in Bangladesh.

Researchers assessed AMR patterns against shigellosis among children under five years in one urban and one rural site in Bangladesh between January 2001 and December 2020. Shigella isolates among children under five during the study period accounted for eight and three percent of total isolates in the rural and urban sites, respectively. By 2020, resistance to the WHO-recommended first-line antibiotic ciprofloxacin increased to more than 70 percent in both rural and urban sites. [PLOS ONE]

Californian backyard and small-scale farmers’ understanding of antimicrobial use in livestock.

A cross-sectional study surveyed 242 backyard poultry and livestock owners in January 2019 on their understanding of the impact of policies (Veterinary Feed Directive and California Senate Bill 27) aimed at regulating antibiotic use in animals.  Less than half of the respondents purchased antibiotics for their livestock/poultry in the year prior to the study, and the proportion of small-scale farmers who used antibiotics was greater than that of backyard farmers. The new policies impacted between one-fifth and one-third of the respondents’ decision to administer antimicrobials to their animals.  Changes included more frequent veterinarian visits, fewer animals treated with antibiotics, and the cessation of antibiotic use in feed and water. [PLOS ONE]

Estimates of global mortality associated with 33 bacterial pathogens.

Researchers analyzed over 300 million individual records to estimate the number of deaths associated with 33 bacterial pathogens worldwide in 2019. The analysis included pathogens resistant and susceptible to antimicrobials, across 11 infectious syndromes. Deaths associated with the 33 pathogens represented 13.6 percent of all global deaths and 56.2 percent of all sepsis-related deaths in 2019. Over half of the deaths were caused by S. aureus, E. coli, S. pneumoniae, K. pneumoniae, and P. aeruginosa. The age-standardized mortality rate associated with these bacterial pathogens was highest in the sub-Saharan African region. [The Lancet]

Understanding the history and infectious mechanism of the influenza D virus.

The influenza D virus (IDV) was first discovered in Oklahoma, United States, in 2011. While the primary reservoir is determined to be cattle, IDV is transmitted to other animals, such as ferrets, mice, and swine. A survey conducted in the U.S. and Canada in 2011 revealed a 1.3 percent seroprevalence of IDV among the human population. However, IDV and IDV antibodies in humans have also been detected in China, Malaysia, and some countries in Europe and western Africa. Experimentally, it has been shown that IDV can infect a variety of human cell types, including human alveolar epithelial cells, raising concern about its zoonotic potential as the virus evolves. [Virulence]

Assessing public and private sector employers’ approach to HIV in Tanzania. 

A quantitative study was conducted in Mwanza City, Tanzania, in 2017 to understand how private and public sector employers addressed the issue of HIV in their organizations. Most employers believed HIV was not an issue for them, and generally, HIV was viewed as a personal issue. The greatest distinction between public and private sector employers’ approaches was in their formal HIV policies; while all participating public sector employers reported having formal HIV policies, only a few private sector employers had one. The authors identified cases of employees losing access to work due to not participating in compulsory HIV testing, highlighting that workplace programs cannot substitute investments in public health systems. [PLOS Global Public Health]

How Malaysia bolstered their health system in response to monkeypox.

The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on July 23, 2022. The current five-point framework to tackle infectious disease threats in Malaysia has rendered their health system proactive and responsive to any potential outbreak, including monkeypox. Early detection and intervention, adequate testing capacity, effective treatment, cluster management, and public education have all been critical to Malaysia’s monkeypox strategy, particularly through the country’s ability to empower individuals and communities. [Tropical Medicine and Health]

New research explores the neuronal mechanisms of cerebral malaria pathology.

Cerebral malaria (CM) has a high mortality rate and is one of the leading causes of malaria deaths. Moreover, survivors of CM often experience long-term symptoms that linger despite the absence of infection. Researchers explored the possible pathological mechanisms by which CM causes gross physiological changes across the brain using results from epidemiological, postmortem, and animal studies. The eventual breakdown of endothelial cells in the blood-brain barrier (BBB) was found to be the major contributor to inflammation and gross neuronal dysfunction associated with CM pathology; however, host and parasite genetics, transmission intensity, and the host’s immune profile may also be involved. [PLOS Pathogens]

Introduction of a new approach to examining mosquitoes’ last blood meals.

An innovative approach to analyzing parasitic mosquitoes’ last blood meals was developed to inform evidence of past infections in humans or animal hosts. Scientists in Australia trapped tens of thousands of mosquitoes between 2021 and 2022 and tested blood samples for antibodies (derived from the host) that bind to the Ross River virus, a mosquito-borne virus endemic in the region. Preliminary results showed that more than half of the mosquitoes had fed on humans and that over half of the hosts had antibodies against the Ross River virus. This method could be used to aid the early detection of other zoonotic diseases, such as Ebola and SARS-CoV-2. [Nature]

Chikungunya represents a rising global health threat.

Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral infection that causes joint and muscle pains, and sometimes persistent arthritis and arthralgias. First recognized in modern-day Tanzania in 1952, it has spread across continents over the past two decades. While chikungunya cannot be transmitted between humans (except maternal-child transmission), the mosquitoes that transmit the virus are typically aggressive and can cause clusters of infections within households. Chikungunya is often mistaken and misdiagnosed as dengue and even Zika virus due to their overlapping clinical manifestations. No antiviral treatment or vaccine against chikungunya is currently available; however, many vaccine and therapeutic candidates are in active development. [Current Infectious Disease Report]


Image from Canva.