COCA Digest: November 7, 2018

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COCA News and Announcements

Upcoming COCA Calls

Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM): What Health Care Providers Need to Know

Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Time: 2:00pm-3:00pm (Eastern Time)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is actively investigating acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, a serious condition that causes weakness in the arms or legs. From August 2014 through October 2018, CDC has received information on a total of 396 confirmed cases of AFM across the US; most of the cases have occurred in children. As of October 26, there are 72 confirmed cases of AFM so far in 2018. The patients’ symptoms have been most similar to complications of infection with certain viruses, including poliovirus, non-polio enteroviruses, adenoviruses, and West Nile virus. CDC has not confirmed the cause for the majority of these cases.

During this COCA Call, subject matter experts from CDC will highlight the importance of reporting cases to learn more about this condition and the process for reporting. They will also cover specimen collection and testing, and what CDC is doing for its AFM investigation.

Hepatitis A Multistate Outbreak: CDC Recommendations and Guidance

Date: Thursday, November 29, 2018

Time: 2:00pm-3:00pm (Eastern Time)

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral disease spread via a fecal-oral route or by exposure to contaminated food or water. Hepatitis A rates have declined vastly in the United States since the introduction of the hepatitis A vaccine in 1995. However, since early 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has observed an increase in the number of community-wide hepatitis A outbreaks in multiple states. CDC recommends vaccination for all children at 1 year of age, persons at increased risk for infection, persons at increased risk for complications from hepatitis A, and any person wishing to obtain immunity to hepatitis A.

During this COCA Call, clinicians will discuss CDC recommendations and clinical guidelines for the hepatitis A vaccine.

Seasonal Influenza


Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

According to this week’s FluView report, seasonal influenza activity is low overall across the United States. Forty states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands reported sporadic influenza activity and only Guam and two states reported local activity. Despite low flu activity, the first pediatric death occurring during the 2018-2019 season was reported this week.

Read the full situational update here. View the current United States flu activity map here.

Healthcare professionals can find additional resources, recommendations, and guidances here.    

Flu Vaccine Reduces Risk of Flu Hospitalization Among Pregnant Women

Over the course of six flu seasons, getting a flu shot reduced a pregnant woman’s risk of being hospitalized from flu by an average of 40 percent.

The findings come from a multi-country, CDC-coauthored study published on October 11, in Clinical Infectious Diseases. This is the first study to show vaccination protected pregnant women against flu-associated hospitalization. Previous studies have shown that a flu shot can reduce a pregnant woman’s risk of flu illness.

Learn more about flu vaccination in pregnant women here. The study will be available online after publication.

New Influenza Antiviral Medication

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new influenza antiviral drug, baloxavir marboxil (trade name Xofluza®), on October 24, 2018. Content on this website is being updated to reflect the most recent guidance.

Xofluza® is a polymerase acidic (PA) endonuclease inhibitor indicated for the treatment of acute uncomplicated influenza in patients 12 years of age and older who have been symptomatic for no more than 48 hours.

Limitations of Use: Influenza viruses change over time, and factors such as the virus type or subtype, emergence of resistance, or changes in viral virulence could diminish the clinical benefit of antiviral drugs. Consider available information on drug susceptibility patterns for circulating influenza virus strains when deciding whether to use Xofluza®.

Read more about Xofluza® here.

CDC Announcements


U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week (USAAW)

USAAW is November 12-18, 2018. It is an annual observance that raises awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic use.

USAAW is a collaboration of CDC, state-based programs, nonprofit partners, and for-profit partners. You can join official USAAW events or host your own. There are many ways to get involved! CDC’s educational effort, Be Antibiotics Aware: Smart Use, Best Care, is the year-round effort to improve antibiotic prescribing and use and combat antibiotic resistance.

For more information on this week, new resources, fact sheets, and posters, click here.

2016 Healthcare-Associated Infections Progress Report

CDC recently published the 2016 Healthcare-Associated Infections Progress Report, which shows year-to-year progress on the prevention of key healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) to highlight progress and target areas for improvement.

The report shows that overall, prevention progress has been made, but more work is needed. Specifically, acute care hospitals saw significant reductions in most HAIs across the board, with the exception of some types of surgical site infections. Greatest prevention improvements were seen for central line-associated bloodstream infections, particularly in neonatal intensive care units.

The 2016 HAI Progress Report is the first report to measure year-to-year HAI prevention progress against the 2015 baseline and is the first progress report to be published in the AR Patient Safety Atlas.

COCA Partner News

Reshaping the Journey: American Indians and Alaska Natives in Medicine   

A new report published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP) explores slow and uneven growth among the number of individuals who identify as American Indian and Alaska Native (AI-AN) applying to and enrolling in medical school. Reshaping the Journey: American Indians and Alaska Natives in Medicine is the first report of its kind in which two national organizations join together to delve into the current state of how this population is represented in medicine. The report also illustrates the case for increasing AI-AN representation in the health professions by highlighting the value of diversity in education and training, and workforce needs.

Emergency Preparedness and Response


Winter Weather Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and Podcasts

Clinicians, remind your patients about the importance of being prepared and how they can take steps to protect themselves and their families during extreme cold. CDC has Winter Weather Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and Podcasts that you can access here.

Health and Safety Concerns for All Disasters

Information on health and safety concerns for all disasters, including information on:

Resources for Emergency Health Professionals

CDC offers a variety of resources for clinicians, communicators, laboratorians, emergency planners and responders, and disaster relief volunteers to help them prepare to respond to a public health emergency. This section includes free educational materials that are suitable for printing and sharing in various languages, including flyers, posters, stickers, and PSAs.

Click here to access the resources.

Disaster Resources and Educational Materials

Be sure to check out CDC’s educational materials including a variety of hazards listed by topic or language, PSAs for disasters, resources for emergency health professionals, and social media channels with featured apps, blogs, content available for syndication, and buttons and badges. Go here to access these free resources that are suitable for printing and sharing.

Travelers' Health


Make Travel Health Part of the Conversation

Your patients travel the globe. Increasingly, they are going to places where they may be exposed to diseases that are rare in the United States. Recent outbreaks of Zika and Ebola remind us that the next global pandemic may be just a plane ride away.

As a provider, you can play a pivotal role in assessing traveler risk and providing needed prevention measures and counseling before they travel, and in identifying potential exposures and illnesses upon their return.

When you think travel and ask about it, you can help your patients before, during, and after international travel. CDC’s Think Travel Campaign offers resources and tools to help you do this.

Think Travel, CDC’s campaign for healthcare providers to build greater awareness of the need to incorporate travel health into patient care. These resources will help you conduct pre and post travel consultations—from assessing your patients’ travel-related risks, to recommending needed vaccines and medications, and providing behavioral counseling.

Visit the CDC Travelers' Health page for more information and to see a complete list of the current CDC Travel Health Notices. Explore Travel Health with the CDC Yellow Book.

Food, Drug, and Device Safety

MedWatch: The FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program—(FDA)
MedWatch is your FDA gateway for clinically important safety information and reporting serious problems with human medical products. Reports of FDA and USDA Food Recalls, Alerts, Reporting, and Resources—(HHS/USDA/FDA/CDC/NIH) lists notices of recalls and alerts from both FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Visitors to the site can report a problem or make inquiries. 

CDC Current Outbreak List

Stay up to date on the infectious disease outbreaks that CDC is currently reporting. For a complete list of U.S. outbreaks, travel notices affecting international travelers, food safety recalls, and further sources for content about specific outbreaks, please go here.

You can also sign up to receive email updates about U.S.-Based Outbreaks and Travel Notices Affecting International Travelers on this page.