Analysis of the news of April 22, 2022

Study finds COVID-19 death rate 3 times higher than flu in adults

Adults hospitalized at the start of the pandemic with COVID-19 had more than three times the risk of death than those with the flu, although flu patients were older and had more chronic conditions, according to new Spanish data to be presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), which begins tomorrow.

The researchers also found that COVID-19 is associated with longer hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) stays, and its treatment costs almost twice as much as treatment for the flu.

The team reviewed the medical records of 187 influenza patients (mean age 76, 55% male) hospitalized from 2017 to 2019, and compared their data with 187 COVID-19 patients (mean age 67, 49% male). men) hospitalized from March to May 2020. All COVID patients required oxygen therapy on admission.

The 30-day mortality rate for COVID-19 was 15% compared to 5% for the flu. The 90-day mortality rate was 19% in the COVID-19 group and 6% in influenza patients. After the investigators adjusted for confounders, they found that COVID-19 increased the risk of 30-day mortality more than four times (relative risk [HR] 4.04; 95% confidence interval [CI]1.86 to 8.77) and 90-day mortality more than three times (HR 3.68; 95% CI, 1.75 to 7.74) compared to influenza.

The median hospital stay was 17 versus 11 days, and the median ICU stay was 15 versus 10 days, with intensive care costs almost twice as high for COVID-19 patients (€21,350 versus 12). €082, or $27,400 versus $15,506).

Influenza patients tended to have more existing chronic illnesses and problems performing activities of daily living than COVID-19 patients, but they were less likely to be overweight or obese.

“Our results suggest that COVID-19 is far more deadly than the flu,” said lead author Inmaculada Lopez Montesinos, MD. of Barcelona’s Hospital del Mar, in an ECCMID press release. “Even for people who are lucky enough to survive COVID-19 and be discharged from hospital, they will be forever scarred by the consequences. It is vital that people are fully vaccinated and strengthened against both viruses.”
April 21 ECCMID Press release
April 21 ECCMID study abstract

Six states report more highly pathogenic bird flu outbreaks

Six states have reported outbreaks of more highly pathogenic bird flu in poultry flocks, including Iowa, which reported its first after a 2-week lull.

The Iowa outbreak has involved a commercial turkey farm in Bremer County in the North Central region, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) said yesterday. ). The state has now reported 17 outbreaks, mostly involving laying hen and turkey farms.

Elsewhere in the Midwest, Minnesota reported four more outbreaks, all involving turkey farms, bringing its total to 50. In its update, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MBAH) said the outbreaks have now led to the loss of nearly 2.3 million birds.

Outbreaks in four other states are reflected in updates from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). They include three outbreaks in backyard birds in Colorado (La Plata County), Idaho (Madison County) and Montana (Glacier County), as well as two other outbreaks in laying hen flocks in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which affected over 2 million birds.

The outbreaks are linked to the spread of the Eurasian H5N1 strain, which has now resulted in the loss of nearly 31 million poultry in 29 states, according to APHIS.
April 21 IDALS statement
MBAH bird flu outbreak page
USDA APHIS poultry bird flu outbreak page

Rise of flu continues, with greater impact in some areas

Influenza activity in the United States, as measured by outpatient visits for influenza-like illnesses, continues a steady increase that began in mid-February, with highest activity in the Northeastern regions, from the south-central and mountainous regions of the country, according to the United States Centers for Disease. Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its latest update today.

The CDC included the caveats that other respiratory viruses are circulating at different levels in different regions, and while some ares are above their baseline levels for outpatient visits, overall the national level is 2.1%, below the reference level of 2.5%. Of the respiratory specimens that tested positive for influenza in public health laboratories, 99.8% were influenza A, and of the subtyped influenza A viruses, all were of the H3N2 strain.

Hospital admissions have increased for 11 straight weeks, but the impact is still lower than in recent pre-pandemic flu seasons.

Three more pediatric influenza deaths were reported, bringing the season total to 22. One was due to an unsubtyped influenza A virus in January, and two were H3N2-related and occurred in February and March.
April 22 CDC FluView update

Pakistan reports first wild poliovirus case in over a year

Pakistan has reported its first wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV) case in more than a year, a disappointing development amid a steep decline in WPV 1 cases in recent years.

In other developments, three countries – the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria and Yemen – have reported more circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2), the Global Initiative for Disease Control said. Polio Eradication (GPEI) in its latest weekly update.

Pakistani health officials said the case of WPV1 involved a 15-month-old boy from North Waziristan whose paralysis began on April 9, according to the Grandstand Express, an English-language newspaper based in Pakistan. The disease was confirmed as WPV1 on April 22 by the country’s polio laboratory, which also confirmed a closely related virus in an environmental sample from the same region. Pakistan reported its last case of WPV1 in January 2021.

This is the third WPV1 case of the year, after detections in Afghanistan and Malawi.

In vaccine-derived poliovirus developments, DRC reported 6 additional cases, five in Maniema province and one in North Kivu province, bringing its total for the year to 22. Nigeria reported 1 additional case , which affected a Katsina patient, bringing his 2022 death toll to 16.

In the Middle East, Yemen has reported 34 new cases, some of which count towards its 2021 total. So far, its 2022 total is 5 cases, with 61 recorded in 2021. The latest cases are from 11 governorates different.
April 22 Grandstand Express narrative
April 21 GPEI update

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