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.
— Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have identified a rare genetic mutation that increases susceptibility to infection by human rhinoviruses—the main causes of the common cold. A case, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, revealed that a patient had a mutated IFIH1 gene that caused her body to make dysfunctional MDA5 proteins in cells in her respiratory tract.
— Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine have developed UrSure, Inc., a non-invasive urine test used to monitor patients’ PrEP adherence, in an effort to lower patients’ risk of contracting HIV.
— Two infants contracted Legionnaire’s disease after being delivered at home via water birth in 2016. The CDC’s investigation identified numerous gaps in infection prevention for water births.
— Four people have died and 120 have been hospitalized from a hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego County. The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported that many of the individuals affected were homeless and/or used illegal drugs.
— Bats harbor a large diversity of coronaviruses, according to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The researchers conducted a 5-year study in 20 countries to sample and test 19,192 bats, rodents, non-human primates, and humans. They found that 98% of the animals that harbored the coronaviruses were bats.
— Individuals with low levels of vitamin A living with someone with tuberculosis (TB) are at a higher risk for developing the disease than those with high levels of vitamin A. The study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, found that vitamin A levels in the baseline sample strongly predicted progression to TB.
— Researchers have discovered how the antiviral drugs NS5A inhibitors interact with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). In a study published in PLoS Pathogens, researchers found that certain strains of HCV may need longer treatment with NS5A inhibitors to block the formation of new replication complexes.
— The WHO has reported that the cholera outbreak in Yemen has reached 101,820 cases with 791 deaths as of June 7. Children under 15 years old account for 46% of the cases while those over 60 years old account for 33% of the fatalities.
— A chemical used to combat mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus and a common insecticide was found to reduce motor function in infants in China. In the study published in Environment International, researchers found that maternal exposure to organophosphate insecticides, banned in the United States, was associated with 3% to 4% lower fine motor skills scores at 9 months of age.
— Bhutan and Maldives have become the first two countries in WHO South-East Asia Region to eradicate measles. The WHO reports that Maldives has not reported any case of indigenous measles since 2009 and Bhutan since 2012.