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Concept: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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In collaboration with state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments, CDC established the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry (USZPR) in early 2016 to monitor pregnant women with laboratory evidence of possible recent Zika virus infection and their infants.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infant, Fetus, Breastfeeding, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Studies have shown links between educational outcomes such as letter grades, test scores, or other measures of academic achievement, and health-related behaviors (1-4). However, as reported in a 2013 systematic review, many of these studies have used samples that are not nationally representative, and quite a few studies are now at least 2 decades old (1). To update the relevant data, CDC analyzed results from the 2015 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), a biennial, cross-sectional, school-based survey measuring health-related behaviors among U.S. students in grades 9-12. Analyses assessed relationships between academic achievement (i.e., self-reported letter grades in school) and 30 health-related behaviors (categorized as dietary behaviors, physical activity, sedentary behaviors, substance use, sexual risk behaviors, violence-related behaviors, and suicide-related behaviors) that contribute to leading causes of morbidity and mortality among adolescents in the United States (5). Logistic regression models controlling for sex, race/ethnicity, and grade in school found that students who earned mostly A’s, mostly B’s, or mostly C’s had statistically significantly higher prevalence estimates for most protective health-related behaviors and significantly lower prevalence estimates for most health-related risk behaviors than did students with mostly D’s/F’s. These findings highlight the link between health-related behaviors and education outcomes, suggesting that education and public health professionals can find their respective education and health improvement goals to be mutually beneficial. Education and public health professionals might benefit from collaborating to achieve both improved education and health outcomes for youths.

Concepts: Psychology, Regression analysis, Logistic regression, Public health, Epidemiology, United States, Education, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Abstract. Entomologic investigations were conducted during an intense outbreak of West Nile virus (WNV) disease in Maricopa County, Arizona during July 31-August 9, 2010. The investigations compared the East Valley outbreak area, and a demographically similar control area in northwestern metropolitan Phoenix where no human cases were reported. Five mosquito species were identified in each area, and species composition was similar in both areas. Significantly more Culex quinquefasciatus females were collected by gravid traps at Outbreak sites (22.2 per trap night) than at control sites (8.9 per trap night), indicating higher Cx. quinquefasciatus abundance in the outbreak area. Twenty-eight WNV TaqMan reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction-positive mosquito pools were identified, including 24 of Cx. quinquefasciatus, 3 of Psorophora columbiae, and 1 of Culex sp. However, Cx. quinquefasciatus WNV infection rates did not differ between outbreak and control sites. At outbreak sites, 30 of 39 engorged Cx. quinquefasciatus had fed on birds, 8 of 39 on humans, and 1 of 39 on a lizard. At control sites, 20 of 20 identified blood meals were from birds. Data suggest that Cx. quinquefasciatus was the primary enzootic and epidemic vector of this outbreak. The most important parameters in the outbreak were vector abundance and blood meal analysis, which suggested more frequent contact between Cx. quinquefasciatus and human hosts in the outbreak area compared with the control area.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Mosquito, Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DEET, Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona

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Objective To estimate the risks of major congenital malformations in the offspring of mothers who are underweight (body mass index (BMI) <18.5), overweight (BMI 25 to <30), or in obesity classes I (BMI 30 to <35), II (35 to <40), or III (≥40) compared with offspring of normal weight mothers (BMI 18.5 to <25) in early pregnancy.Design Population based cohort study.Setting Nationwide Swedish registries.Participants 1 243 957 liveborn singleton infants from 2001 to 2014 in Sweden. Data on maternal and pregnancy characteristics were obtained by individual record linkages.Exposure Maternal BMI at the first prenatal visit.Main outcome measures Offspring with any major congenital malformation, and subgroups of organ specific malformations diagnosed during the first year of life. Risk ratios were estimated using generalised linear models adjusted for maternal factors, sex of offspring, and birth year.Results A total of 43 550 (3.5%) offspring had any major congenital malformation, and the most common subgroup was for congenital heart defects (n=20 074; 1.6%). Compared with offspring of normal weight mothers (risk of malformations 3.4%), the proportions and adjusted risk ratios of any major congenital malformation among the offspring of mothers with higher BMI were: overweight, 3.5% and 1.05 (95% confidence interval 1.02 to 1.07); obesity class I, 3.8% and 1.12 (1.08 to 1.15), obesity class II, 4.2% and 1.23 (1.17 to 1.30), and obesity class III, 4.7% and 1.37 (1.26 to 1.49). The risks of congenital heart defects, malformations of the nervous system, and limb defects also progressively increased with BMI from overweight to obesity class III. The largest organ specific relative risks related to maternal overweight and increasing obesity were observed for malformations of the nervous system. Malformations of the genital and digestive systems were also increased in offspring of obese mothers.Conclusions Risks of any major congenital malformation and several subgroups of organ specific malformations progressively increased with maternal overweight and increasing severity of obesity. For women who are planning pregnancy, efforts should be encouraged to reduce adiposity in those with a BMI above the normal range.

Concepts: Obesity, Relative risk, Body mass index, Congenital disorder, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Congenital disorders, Congenital, Congenital abnormality

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Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects, including microcephaly and brain abnormalities (1). Population-based birth defects surveillance systems are critical to monitor all infants and fetuses with birth defects potentially related to Zika virus infection, regardless of known exposure or laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection during pregnancy. CDC analyzed data from 15 U.S. jurisdictions conducting population-based surveillance for birth defects potentially related to Zika virus infection.* Jurisdictions were stratified into the following three groups: those with 1) documented local transmission of Zika virus during 2016; 2) one or more cases of confirmed, symptomatic, travel-associated Zika virus disease reported to CDC per 100,000 residents; and 3) less than one case of confirmed, symptomatic, travel-associated Zika virus disease reported to CDC per 100,000 residents. A total of 2,962 infants and fetuses (3.0 per 1,000 live births; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.9-3.2) (2) met the case definition.† In areas with local transmission there was a non-statistically significant increase in total birth defects potentially related to Zika virus infection from 2.8 cases per 1,000 live births in the first half of 2016 to 3.0 cases in the second half (p = 0.10). However, when neural tube defects and other early brain malformations (NTDs)§ were excluded, the prevalence of birth defects strongly linked to congenital Zika virus infection increased significantly, from 2.0 cases per 1,000 live births in the first half of 2016 to 2.4 cases in the second half, an increase of 29 more cases than expected (p = 0.009). These findings underscore the importance of surveillance for birth defects potentially related to Zika virus infection and the need for continued monitoring in areas at risk for Zika.

Concepts: Childbirth, Disease, Developmental biology, Abortion, Congenital disorder, Gestational age, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Congenital disorders

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The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), a partnership of nations, international organizations, and civil society, was launched in 2014 with a mission to build countries' capacities to respond to infectious disease threats and to foster global compliance with the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005). The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assists partner nations to improve IHR 2005 capacities and achieve GHSA targets. To assess progress through these CDC-supported efforts, we analyzed country activity reports dating from April 2015 through March 2017. Our analysis shows that CDC helped 17 Phase I countries achieve 675 major GHSA accomplishments, particularly in the cross-cutting areas of public health surveillance, laboratory systems, workforce development, and emergency response management. CDC’s engagement has been critical to these accomplishments, but sustained support is needed until countries attain IHR 2005 capacities, thereby fostering national and regional health protection and ensuring a world safer and more secure from global health threats.

Concepts: Medicine, Public health, Epidemiology, Infectious disease, Infection, Emergency management, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Surveillance

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In November 2015, the Brazilian Ministry of Health (MOH) declared the Zika virus outbreak a public health emergency after an increase in microcephaly cases was reported in the northeast region of the country (1). During 2015-2016, 15 states in Brazil with laboratory-confirmed Zika virus transmission reported an increase in birth prevalence of microcephaly (2.8 cases per 10,000 live births), significantly exceeding prevalence in four states without confirmed transmission (0.6 per 10,000) (2). Although children with microcephaly and laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection have been described in early infancy (3), their subsequent health and development have not been well characterized, constraining planning for the care and support of these children and their families. The Brazilian MOH, the State Health Secretariat of Paraíba, and CDC collaborated on a follow-up investigation of the health and development of children in northeastern Brazil who were reported to national surveillance with microcephaly at birth. Nineteen children with microcephaly at birth and laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection were assessed through clinical evaluations, caregiver interviews, and review of medical records. At follow-up (ages 19-24 months), most of these children had severe motor impairment, seizure disorders, hearing and vision abnormalities, and sleep difficulties. Children with microcephaly and laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection have severe functional limitations and will require specialized care from clinicians and caregivers as they age.

Concepts: Health care, Childbirth, Epidemiology, Brazil, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Recife, Northeast Region, Brazil, Northeastern United States

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Although a causal relationship between Zika virus (ZIKV) and microcephaly has been established, it remains unclear why ZIKV, but not other pathogenic flaviviruses, causes congenital defects. Here we show that when viruses are produced in mammalian cells, ZIKV, but not the closely related dengue virus (DENV) or West Nile virus (WNV), can efficiently infect key placental barrier cells that directly contact the fetal bloodstream. We show that AXL, a receptor tyrosine kinase, is the primary ZIKV entry cofactor on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), and that ZIKV uses AXL with much greater efficiency than does DENV or WNV. Consistent with this observation, only ZIKV, but not WNV or DENV, bound the AXL ligand Gas6. In comparison, when DENV and WNV were produced in insect cells, they also infected HUVECs in an AXL-dependent manner. Our data suggest that ZIKV, when produced from mammalian cells, infects fetal endothelial cells much more efficiently than other pathogenic flaviviruses because it binds Gas6 more avidly, which in turn facilitates its interaction with AXL.

Concepts: Fetus, Infection, Ribavirin, Viruses, West Nile virus, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Flaviviridae, Flaviviruses

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Scientists, policymakers, and advocates are increasingly advised to use “the public health approach” to address myriad social issues, from alcoholism and arthritis to vision care and war. However, it is rarely clear what exactly is meant by “the public health approach.” Policymakers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describe the public health approach as a four-step model: Define the problem, identify risk and protective factors, develop and test prevention strategies, and ensure widespread adoption of effective programs.(1) Yet the public health approach is more than this model, for these steps are little more than a scientific approach . . .

Concepts: Health care, Scientific method, Public health, Health, Epidemiology, Mathematics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, War

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Several reports have suggested that propylthiouracil (PTU) may be safer than methimazole (MMI) for treating thyrotoxicosis during pregnancy because congenital malformations have been associated with the use of MMI during pregnancy.

Concepts: Developmental biology, Hyperthyroidism, Congenital disorder, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Congenital disorders, Methimazole, Congenital, Congenital abnormality