WHO has released a summary of its biggest stories on key health issues in 2017. Among them include major achievements against measles, polio, trachoma and lymphatic filariasis, as well as efforts in combating deadly outbreaks of plague in Madagascar, Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and cholera in Yemen, which the agency said is the largest epidemic of cholera in recorded history.
In its “2017 Year in Review,” WHO also highlighted the release of the agency’s first ever list of antibiotic-resistant pathogens in need of new treatments and updates to its Model List of Essential Medicines, which now includes advice on when and when not to use certain antibiotics. The world health agency also noted that in May, former Ethiopian minister of health and minister of foreign affairs Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, MSc, was elected to be the new director-general of WHO. Tedros, who is the first African to hold the position, replaced Margaret Chan, MD, who served as director-general since Jan. 4, 2007.
To mark the end of 2017, Infectious Disease News has compiled a list of the 10 most popular stories in infectious disease over the past year:
High-risk HPV prevalent among US adults
CDC estimates released in April showed that roughly one in four men and one in five women in the United States have a high-risk form of genital HPV. The proportion of adults with any genital form of the virus exceeds 40%, researchers found. Read more.
As Madagascar plague outbreak loosens grip, concerns linger
Ashok Chopra, PhD, CSc, professor in the department of microbiology and immunology and senior scientist at the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development, University of Texas Medical Branch, discusses this year’s plague outbreak in Madagascar and the need for a vaccine. Read more.
Circumcised men at twice the risk for cancer-causing HPV, study shows
Research suggests that circumcised men should be as vigilant in preventing oncogenic HPV infection as those who are uncircumcised.
Circumcised participants in a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association were twice as likely as their uncircumcised counterparts to have either of two HPV strains associated with penile cancer, researchers said. Their findings are not consistent with previous studies. Read more.
CDC’s EIS program molds clinicians into public health professionals
Infectious Disease News spoke with past and present CDC epidemic intelligence service officers about their experiences investigating disease outbreaks in the U.S. and all over the world. Read more.
New data support efficacy of GEN-003 vaccine against genital lesions
Genocea Biosciences released 12-month data from a phase 2b trial that demonstrated the company’s lead GEN-003 vaccine regimen reduced the median rate of genital lesions by nearly 50% compared with placebo among patients with herpes simplex virus-2.
The results support 24-month data from a phase 2 trial that evaluated six various dosing regimens of GEN-003, as well as 6-month data from the ongoing phase 2b trial comparing the two most promising dosing regimens with placebo. Read more.
Updated CDC map shows 21% increase in US counties reporting
mosquito that transmits Zika
Last year, with the Western Hemisphere in the grip of a surprising Zika virus epidemic, CDC researchers used a survey to compile a list of U.S. counties where the mosquito at the heart of the epidemic, Aedes aegypti, had been documented over the past 21 years. They also documented counties that reported finding another mosquito, A. albopictus, known to transmit chikungunya and dengue viruses. The researchers said their data could be used to guide surveillance and mosquito control efforts across the country.
In June, the same researchers from the CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases released updated findings from the project that showed an increase in the number of counties reporting the mosquitoes, including a 21% increase in counties with A. aegypti. Read more.
Guano-filled tunnels cause deadly outbreak in Dominican Republic
Tunnels filled knee-high with bat guano caused a deadly outbreak of histoplasmosis in the Dominican Republic, raising awareness of what may be an underdiagnosed infection in Latin America, investigators said. Read more.
Report raises questions about long-term effects of DAAs for HCV
Researchers raised questions about the long-term safety of direct-acting antivirals for hepatitis C virus infection after an analysis of FDA data uncovered more than 500 reports of liver failure and more than 1,000 reports of severe liver injury related to the drugs over one recent 12-month period. Read more.
FDA approves first generic version of Truvada for treatment, prevention of HIV
In June, the FDA approved the first generic version of Truvada for the treatment of HIV-1 infection, in combination with other antiretroviral agents, in adults and children weighing at least 17 kg, and for pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, in uninfected adults at high risk for infection. Read more.
Hospital floors a greater source of infection than previously thought
The floors of patient rooms in hospitals are often contaminated with health care-associated pathogens, suggesting that hospital floors may pose a larger threat of infection than previously thought, according to a survey published in the American Journal of Infection Control. Read more.
WHO. 2017 year in review: key health issues. 2017. http://www.who.int/features/2017/year-review/en/#event-_2017-year-in-review. Accessed Dec. 22, 2017.