March 28, 2023
Fatal stray dog attacks in India highlight the need for disease control efforts.
A toddler in Hyderabad, India, was fatally attacked by a pack of stray dogs last month, one of many occurrences that have increased in number in recent years. In an article by the Telegraph, One Health Trust’s Ramanan Laxminarayan emphasized the importance of public health measures such as spaying, neutering, and vaccinating stray dogs to prevent potentially fatal attacks and curb the transmission of rabies. While euthanizing stray dogs for population control is illegal in India, groups have raised their voices against the Indian government’s complacency in controlling the issue and protecting its citizens. [Telegraph]
Racial inequalities identified in COVID-19 hospitalization and mortality outcomes.
In a new systematic review, global data on clinical outcomes following COVID-19 infection reveal huge inequalities among ethnic majority and minority groups. The findings indicate a higher risk of testing positive for COVID-19 among Black, South Asian, mixed, and “other” ethnic groups (minority groups in the area analyzed) than White majority groups. Furthermore, population-based studies revealed higher hospitalization rates for Black and Hispanic ethnic groups and Indigenous peoples and higher mortality risk from COVID-19 among Hispanic, mixed, and Indigenous groups. The divide in clinical outcomes following hospitalization between minority and majority ethnic groups was more pronounced in LMICs than in their higher-income counterparts, likely due to the greater provision of universal healthcare in HICs. [eClinicalMedicine]
Timeliness and knowledge drive cholera interventions in LMICs.
Researchers conducted a scoping review of 36 documents that reported on the facilitators and barriers to implementing surveillance and oral cholera vaccines (OCVs) for cholera control in LMICs. Timeliness – including early detection, reporting, and confirmation of cholera cases – allowed for creating a prepared and well-coordinated cholera surveillance system. Human and financial resources, as well as laboratory testing capacity, were identified as facilitators of cholera surveillance. Community members’ awareness and knowledge about cholera increased their likelihood of receiving OCV, whereas a lack of knowledge, including vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, resulted in lower OCV uptake rates. Shortages of global stockpiles of OCVs also limited the implementation of the vaccine intervention, an issue that was also seen in the skewed global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. [BMC Public Health]
Age and gender affect malaria prevention behaviors in communities exposed to P. knowlesi malaria.
A study highlighted malaria experts’ understanding of factors influencing malaria prevention behaviors in communities exposed to Plasmodium knowlesi malaria. Using a modified Delphi technique, the researchers found that the experts reached a consensus for nearly 90 percent of the proposed factors contributing to malaria prevention behaviors, including age, gender, occupation, and knowledge about malaria. Open-ended responses collected from the participants revealed an overall strong belief in the association between age and gender and malaria prevention. Researchers recommend conducting more Delphi studies involving individuals from communities affected by P. knowlesi malaria to design malaria control strategies. [BMJ Open]
Broadening our scope of the intersection of climate change and health.
A recent review of lessons learned through previous reformist movements emphasizes the need to widen our view of the intersection of climate change and health. Current literature and mainstream ideas about climate change focus solely on carbon emissions as the primary climate threat to human health. However, practices such as ecological exploitation and systemic acts of climate destruction must also be considered in the context of their impact on human health. To break free from “carbon tunnel vision,” professionals must cooperate with other justice movements and transform the commonly-held worldview of the climate-health interaction. [PLOS Global Public Health]
Exposure to air pollution was associated with developing long COVID in Sweden.
An investigation into the association between long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and long COVID among young adults in Sweden revealed a significant positive correlation between exposure to particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) in 2019 and experiencing long COVID. The link between exposure to ambient air pollution and long COVID was stronger among individuals with asthma, confirming previous reports of the harmful effects of air pollution on existing comorbidities. [The Lancet Regional Health]
Primary care facilities in Pakistan are not equipped to deal with non-communicable diseases.
Quantitative and qualitative assessments of the readiness of primary healthcare facilities to manage non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Punjab, Pakistan, indicate that health services, such as medical personnel and inpatient resources, are available primarily for patients with diabetes (72 percent), cardiovascular disease (50 percent), and chronic respiratory infections (40 percent). Cancer treatment was not available in any of the facilities. The lack of services was attributed to a lack of infrastructure and laboratory capacity for testing and diagnostic services, as well as the lack of trained NCD physicians. [Frontiers in Public Health]
An automated hand hygiene surveillance intervention reduced infection rates and healthcare costs.
An assessment of the cost-effectiveness of an automated hand-hygiene monitoring system (AHHMS) implemented in a tertiary pediatric hospital in Mexico led to a significant reduction in the rate of infections in all the wards where the intervention was implemented. This decline in the number of infections was associated with savings of over US$300,000 during the six months. [Frontiers in Public Health]
Image from Canva.