Health systems must use climate data to face climate-related health challenges.

Shifts in climate are increasing the transmission rates and spread of climate-sensitive diseases like malaria, dengue, and many foodborne and waterborne illnesses. Private and public sectors must collaborate to devise strategies to increase health system resilience by using routinely collected data from various sources, including climate services and surveillance. In 2020, half of 101 countries surveyed had developed national health and climate change strategies or plans. However, only one-tenth of the countries had sufficient funding to implement them. Sustainable funding strategies using domestic resources and private financing are urgently needed to improve health outcomes, eliminate negative health effects, and save on health spending. [Health Security]

Water and wastewater surveillance reveals persistence and decay patterns of SARS-CoV-2 in water.

A mini-review of 44 studies documents the prevalence, decay, and persistence of infectious SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-2 RNA in various water matrices, including wastewater, river water, groundwater, seawater, and tap water. Although infectious SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-2 RNA were detected in all water sources, viable infectious SARS-CoV-2 was seen at greater levels in tap water, suggesting that detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA alone may not enough to determine its biological significance. [Current Opinion in Environmental Science & Health]

Accessible STI treatments are needed to address the rise in syphilis cases during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Globally, seven million individuals were infected with syphilis in 2020. Factors impacting the rise in syphilis transmission rates were declining rates of in-person medical care and shortages of staff due to the reassignment of sexual health care staff to COVID-19 clinics, leading to insufficient screening and disruptions in programs and services. Additionally, reduced access to prenatal care services among infected mothers resulted in increased rates of babies born with syphilis. [Annals of Medicine and Surgery]

Non-melanoma skin cancer poses a severe burden to global human health.

Researchers conducted a systematic analysis of the trend in disease burden caused by non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) from 1990 to 2019. The number of new cases and deaths attributable to NMSC between 1990 and 2019 increased from 1,951,299 to 6,353,687 and from 23,222 to 56,054, respectively. The researchers predict that the number of new cases, deaths, and disability-adjusted life years attributable to NMSC will increase by at least 1.5 times from 2020 to 2044. [BMC Cancer]

African prison systems increase the risk for COVID-19 infection among detained children.

Children in detention in Africa comprise one of the most vulnerable groups for contracting COVID-19. Contributing factors include overcrowding, insufficient nutrition, inadequate healthcare options, and lack of ventilation in prisons. Approximately 0.5-5% of the total sub-Saharan African inmate population are children ranging between 12 to 18 years of age, although this is likely a gross underestimation. African prison systems are not evolving fast enough to keep up with the increasing inmate populations, severely compromising detained children’s mental and physical health. Cross-sectoral collaboration among governmental bodies, prison authorities, and responsible organizations is needed to devise reforms to the African prison system and protect children. [Annals of Medicine and Surgery]

Increasing knowledge regarding COVID-19 among community healthcare workers in India is not enough to improve vaccine acceptance rates.

A cross-sectional study was conducted among 377 community health workers using a self-administered anonymous questionnaire from November to December 2020 in India to determine factors associated with the demographic’s willingness to participate in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials and their vaccination intention. Approximately one-fifth of participants intended to participate in a COVID-19 vaccine trial, and 40% reported that they intended to get vaccinated. Those with knowledge of the development of the COVID-19 vaccine and men were more willing to participate in clinical trials. Furthermore, perceiving COVID-19 as a risk and being a man were factors associated with the intention to get vaccinated. Respondents with prior knowledge about the SARS-CoV-2 virus were less likely to accept the potential vaccine. [Clinical Epidemiology and Global Health]

Teixobactin is a novel antibiotic promising to treat some multidrug-resistant Gram-positive infections.

Teixobactin serves as a new class of antibiotics with a unique structure and lack of detectable resistance targeting the bacterial cell wall. Other membrane-acting antibiotics have the potential to damage human cells as well, leading to undesirable toxicity, but Teixobactin only destroys membranes that contain lipid II, a precursor of peptidoglycan, which is absent in eukaryotes. Continued research on the mechanism of teixobactin holds great potential for the development of better drug candidates. [Nature]

Racism affects the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) burden in the United States.

The inequity in vaccine distribution to decrease infectious disease burden and low uptake of vaccines by many historically marginalized racial groups increases the burden of AMR and health disparities. Studies have shown that structural racism impacts AMR burden in other ways; for example, Black and Latinx populations are less likely to have access to timely antimicrobials for treating sepsis and septic shock. A proactive approach is vital to diminishing AMR racial inequities, including recognizing the role of vaccine equity in decreasing AMR and increasing funding to advance AMR interventions and strategies within “minority-serving” hospitals and other institutions. [Antimicrobial Stewardship and Healthcare Epidemiology]

Antimicrobial-resistant genes affect birth outcomes.

Researchers studied the rectal microbiota of 2,931 neonates (up to 60 days of life) with clinical signs of sepsis and of 15,217 mothers screening for antimicrobial resistant genes (ARGs). The identified carbapenemase-positive bacteria showed a high diversity of bacterial species (57 distinct species/genera), exhibiting resistance to most antibiotics tested. Genomic analysis of the most commonly found isolates revealed close relationships between isolates from different samples, indicating possible bacteria transmission between neonates, and neonates and mothers. The presence of ARGs was a predictor of neonatal sepsis and adverse birth outcomes. [Nature Microbiology]

The history of AIDS response holds lessons for confronting growing monkeypox outbreaks.

Beginning in 1981, the HIV/AIDS pandemic hit the United States, and stigma spread along with the virus among Haitians, chastised for possibly bringing the virus into the country, and homosexuals and heroin users. The federal response to AIDS was negligent, especially when it was thought of as a disease that only killed homosexual men. It took nearly two decades for international mobilization to adequately address the expanse of the pandemic, with many affected still facing barriers to resources. Early delays in the AIDS response allowed the virus to establish very high burdens globally, which remain difficult to address today. To confront growing monkeypox outbreaks, public health officials should learn from AIDS response history that prudent and compassionate public health policies require a rapid, engaged, and coordinated approach. [Journal of Urban Health]