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University of Nebraska Medical Center

THE TRANSMISSION

Timely and relevant global health security news curated by GCHS

Featured Headlines

  • Feeling forgetful after COVID? Study shows the virus can affect short-term memory
    (The Conversation) Although it’s well known that COVID affects the respiratory system, it’s perhaps less well known that the virus can also affect cognitive function. Many people with COVID experience a phenomenon commonly called “brain fog”, which can include problems remembering, concentrating and performing daily tasks. Brain fog can also be a symptom of long COVID, […]
  • Why the Now-Dominant BQ COVID Strains Are Cause for Concern
    (MedPageToday) The latest circulating COVID-19 variants have shown greater immune escape, which will likely lead to increasing cases over the coming months, experts said. New Omicron subvariants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 together now make up more than half of all COVID cases in the U.S. (30.9% and 31.9%, respectively), according to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, representing […]
  • CDC Sounds the Alarm on Rising Flu Hospitalizations
    (MedPageToday)Influenza hospitalizations this early in the season are higher than they have been in a decade, according to the CDC, with 14 pediatric deaths reported so far. “Since October 1, there have already been at least 8.7 million illnesses, 78,000 hospitalizations, and 4,500 deaths from flu,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, on a […]
  • Models predict massive wave of disease and death if China lifts ‘zero COVID’ policy
    (Science) Surprised and stung by protests against draconian “zero-COVID” policies, Chinese authorities are gingerly moving to ease the burden of lockdowns, quarantines, and constant testing. But 3 years into the pandemic, China shows no sign of planning a major course change. Mathematical models suggest why: The country is still ill-prepared for living with SARS-CoV-2. Easing […]
  • US flu activity soars; hospital cases nearly double
    (CIDRAP) The early brisk flu season in the United States intensified last week, with hospitalizations almost doubling and most states in the red and purple high or very high zones, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in its latest update. The United States and many countries in Europe are grappling with rising flu […]

Uganda Ebola Headlines

An Ebola Awareness van drives along Kyadondo Road amid an Ebola outbreak, in Kampala, Uganda (Reuters)
  • Uganda discharges last known Ebola patient, raising hopes – ministry
    (Reuters) Uganda has discharged its last known Ebola patient from hospital, a senior health official said on Friday, raising hopes that an outbreak which has killed at least 56 people could be coming to an end. Officials first confirmed the outbreak in September and said it was the Sudan strain […]

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Emerging Infectious Disease Headlines

  • Where Did All the Monkeypox Go?
    (MedPageToday) Testing, vaccination (Jynneos), treatment (tecovirimat, Tpoxx), community cooperation, and a mass targeted communications campaign that was particularly aimed towards LGBTQ+ communities slowed the virus such that the mpox epidemiology (epi) curve has returned to where it was in June. The Biden administration announced last week that mpox will no longer have health emergency status after January.
  • CDC expands wastewater testing for polio to Michigan and Pennsylvania
    (Washington Post) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expanding efforts to test wastewater to detect thepolio virus in Philadelphia and the Detroit area, targeting communities at highest risk for the life-threatening and potentially disabling illness, officials said Wednesday. The expansion of wastewater monitoring for polio comes amid pressure to increase efforts to fight the disease after […]
  • RSV Cases May Have Peaked in the US But the Flu Is Surging
    (Bloomberg) The flu is sending more children to the hospital in the US right now than it has in over a decade, just as an autumn spike in severe RSV cases is starting to recede. Severe cases of RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, have overloaded children’s hospitals the past few months. In early November, when cases […]
  • Avian flu outbreak wipes out 50.54 mln U.S. birds, a record
    (Reuters) Avian flu has wiped out 50.54 million birds in the United States this year, making it the country’s deadliest outbreak in history, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed on Thursday. The deaths of chickens, turkeys and other birds represent the worst U.S. animal-health disaster to date, topping the previous record of 50.5 million birds that died […]
  • Polio is back in Indonesia, sparking vaccination campaign
    (AP) Children in school uniforms and toddlers with their parents lined up Monday for polio vaccinations in the Sigli town square on the northern tip of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, after four children were found infected with the highly contagious disease that was declared eliminated in the country less than a decade ago. The […]

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Science and Tech

  • Scientists Eye Monoclonal Antibodies for Malaria as Drug Resistance Looms
    (Bloomberg) Most people are by now familiar with the monoclonal antibody drugs used to prevent and treat severe Covid-19 infections. But antibody drugs have a variety of other uses in medicine from cancer treatment to preventing viral illnesses like RSV. They have even shown promise in slowing disease progression from Alzheimer’s.  
  • Deep Learning Model Predicts 10-Year Cardiovascular Disease Risk from Chest X-Rays
    (Diagnostic Imaging) Based on a single existing chest X-ray image, the deep learning model predicts future major adverse cardiovascular events with similar performance to an established risk scoring system and may help identify people for preventive use of statin medication. Researchers have developed a deep learning model that predicts the 10-year risk of major adverse […]
  • Clinical Center Doctors Testing 3D-Printed Miniature Ventilator
    (NIH) Through strategic partnerships, our Clinical Center doctors learned about and joined an international group of engineers, physicians, respiratory therapists, and patient advocates using their engineering skills to create a ventilator that was functional, affordable, and intuitive. After several iterations and bench testing, they devised a user-friendly ventilator. Then, with the assistance of 3D-printing technology, […]
  • What Covid taught scientists and the public about the flu
    (NBC News) For nearly three years, the medical and scientific world scrutinized Covid. That research helped experts gain a new understanding of a much older virus: the flu. On March 3, 2020, the head of the World Health Organization began a daily press briefing exhorting countries around the world to do more to stop the spread […]

Vaccine Headlines

  • Pfizer and BioNTech Submit Application to U.S. FDA for Emergency Use Authorization of Omicron BA.4/BA.5-Adapted Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccine in Children Under 5 Years
    (Pfizer) Pfizer and BioNTech today announced that the companies have submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization (EUA) of their Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted bivalent COVID-19 vaccine as the third 3-µg dose in the three-dose primary series for children 6 months through 4 years of age. With the high […]
  • One Step Closer to a Universal Flu Vaccine?
    (NYT) Scientists have tested in animals a vaccine that may protect against 20 strains of influenza, helping to prevent another pandemic. A new study describes successful animal tests of just such a vaccine, offering hope that the country can be protected against future flu pandemics. Like the Covid vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, the […]
  • The End of Vaccines at ‘Warp Speed’
    (New York Times) Financial and bureaucratic barriers in the United States mean that the next generation of Covid vaccines may well be designed here, but used elsewhere. Operation Warp Speed, the Trump-era program that poured billions of dollars into developing Covid shots, seemed to signal a new dawn of American vaccine making, demonstrating how decades […]

Misinformation, Disinformation, Propaganda, and Conspiracy Theories

  • Her Baby Needs Heart Surgery. But She Is Demanding ‘Unvaccinated’ Blood.
    (NYT) New Zealand’s health service is seeking to take temporary custody of a critically ill infant so it can perform a lifesaving operation. A New Zealand couple is refusing to allow their infant son to undergo lifesaving heart surgery using blood from people vaccinated against Covid-19, showing how vaccine misinformation continues to manifest in unexpected […]
  • New Antivax Campaign Released as a “Documentary”
    (diedsuddenly.info) From the webiste: Healthy adults are dropping dead all across the globe. In the last 18 months, the term “Died Suddenly” has risen to the very top of “most searched” Google terms. Now, the award-winning documentary team that brought you, “Watch The Water”, and “These Little Ones” travels around the world to find answers, […]
  • A Lasting Legacy of Covid: Far-Right Platforms Spreading Health Myths
    (NYT) Not long after Randy Watt died of Covid-19, his daughter Danielle sat down at her computer, searching for clues as to why the smart and thoughtful man she knew had refused to get vaccinated. She pulled up Google, typed in a screen name he had used in the past and discovered a secret that […]

Clinical Considerations

  • Feeling forgetful after COVID? Study shows the virus can affect short-term memory
    (The Conversation) Although it’s well known that COVID affects the respiratory system, it’s perhaps less well known that the virus can also affect cognitive function. Many people with COVID experience a phenomenon commonly called “brain fog”, which can include problems remembering, concentrating and performing daily tasks. Brain fog can also be a symptom of long COVID, […]
  • 11% of COVID-19 survivors have residual lung damage, study finds
    (CIDRAP) A new study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine reveals about an 11% incidence of residual lung damage—known as interstitial lung disease—after COVID-19 hospitalization. Interstitial lung disease is a broad category of lung damage and disease defined by fibrotic scarring. The damage is often irreversible. Link to Study fm i yyIasVtDTUJ
  • Teens’ brains aged faster during the first year of the pandemic, study says, and stress may be to blame
    (CNN) The brains of US teens have physically changed during the Covid-19 pandemic, aging faster than normal, a new study says. The young study participants also reported more severe symptoms of anxiety, depression and what scientists call internalized problems – meaning feelings of sadness, low self-esteem and fear and trouble regulating their emotions – after the first […]
  • Blood Thinner Ineffective for COVID-19 Patients: Study
    (The Scientist) A clinical trial finds that the anticoagulant apixaban, which has been prescribed to help COVID-19 patients recover, is ineffective and in rare instances dangerous. New data from a clinical trial suggest that apixaban, an anticoagulant that’s widely been prescribed to promote recovery in patients with severe cases of COVID-19, doesn’t offer any discernable […]
  • Stroke and Heart Attack Risk Rises after Shingles Infection
    (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology) Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital report that shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is associated with an almost 30% higher long-term risk of a major cardiovascular event such a stroke or heart attack. Their study “Herpes Zoster and Long‐Term Risk of Cardiovascular Disease” appears in the Journal of the American Heart […]

Psychological and Sociological Impact

  • Covid Depression Is Real. Here’s What You Need to Know.
    (NYT) The World Health Organization noted this year that anxiety and depression increased by 25 percent across the globe in just the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. And researchers have continued to find more evidence that the coronavirus wreaked havoc on our mental health: In a 2021 study, more than half of American adults reported symptoms of major […]
  • Gauging Our Return to Office and the Subways, One Tip at a Time
    (NYT) It has been over a year since buskers, and their music, returned underground, and their slightly fuller tip jars and instrument cases suggest things may be looking up. Subway ridership hit a pandemic-era record on Oct. 27, with close to 3.9 million people — the most on a single day since the pandemic struck, but still […]
  • What Does It Mean to Care About COVID Anymore?
    (The Atlantic) After nearly three years of constantly thinking about COVID, it’s alarming how easily I can stop. The truth is, as a healthy, vaxxed-to-the-brim young person who has already had COVID, the pandemic now often feels more like an abstraction than a crisis. My perception of personal risk has dropped in recent months, as has […]
  • How infectious disease experts are responding to Covid nearly three years in
    (Stat) The world is fast approaching the third anniversary of those days when we got our first inkling that a new disease was spreading in China. In the months that followed, normal life was suspended, then upended. At this point, everyone is well and truly sick of Covid-19 and the accommodations we have had to make to […]

Oddities and Sometimes Funny

  • Where is everyone getting those AI avatars?
    Have you seen the new avatars on social media recently? They are idealized versions of our friends and family, and a pretty cool way to express your inner superhero. The pic above is an AI generated version of my friend Julie, who does not really have red hair, except for that time she had a […]