The Handoff: Your Week in Infectious Disease News – 1/20/17

As infectious diseases evolve, it can be challenging to stay current with the latest research. The Handoff is a weekly roundup of the most important news and updates covering the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. Keep your finger on the pulse of infectious diseases with The Handoff.

–Georgia-based GeoVax Labs, Inc. has partnered with the Georgia State University Research Foundation to collaboratively work towards developing a “therapeutic vaccine” for chronic hepatitis B infections.

–A study published in PLOS Biology suggests that smart watches and similar technology have the potential to detect illnesses like Lyme disease and type 2 diabetes.

–United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called out antibiotic resistant superbugs as a “fundamental threat” to society as the UN General Assembly met to discuss the growing use of antibiotic medications in livestock like chicken, pigs, cattle, and farm-raised fish, which has been linked to antibacterial resistance among the human population.

New York Times reporters examine the global response to the Zika epidemic, concluding that the Zika response “failed millions.”

–Eighteen of 23 members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions “expressed confidence in the US vaccination system” according to STAT News, despite the president-elect’s skepticism.

–Former President George H.W. Bush has been hospitalized for pneumonia, according to the Associated Press. Revisit Infectious Disease Advisor’s tips for pneumonia prevention in older patients.

–The US National Park Service and the CDC are urging the public to practice caution after research confirmed that 9 national parks in Maine, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and Virginia are home to blacklegged ticks, which carry Lyme disease.

–Is a malaria vaccine on the horizon? A paper published in PLOS Computational Biology examines the pitfalls of designing and conducting a malaria vaccine trial and the challenges of controlled human malaria infection.

–One month after the UN announced a long-term effort to eliminate cholera in Haiti, the physician leading the effort traveled to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in an effort to raise the capital to undertake long-term projects like improving Haitian water and sanitation infrastructure.

Self magazine recently profiled Ashely Rose Murphy, a teen speaking out about what it’s like growing up HIV-positive. Her activism is aimed at helping those with HIV “let go of the shame and feel comfortable in their own skin.”