The Med & Mic™ 02.22.22
Medical and Health News of the Day
From Dr. Maria ON Speaking, LLC
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Polio appears in East Africa
Investigators are looking into a case of wild polio in a 3-year-old girl – the first in three decades for Malawi, and the first in five years for the entire continent of Africa. The girl became paralyzed in November 2021. She was infected with a polio virus genetically similar to viruses isolated in Pakistan in 2019. “It’s definitely showing us that the quality of immunization has not been high enough. But it also raises questions about the quality of surveillance,” says Kim Thimpson, president of a disease modeling organization, in an article from STAT News. There may be emergency rounds of vaccinations in Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, and Malawi. Among the three original types of polio viruses, types 2 and 3 were eradicated in 2015 and 2019. Only Type 1 has remained in Pakistan and Afghanistan, until this latest case in Malawi.
Omicron BA.2 in the radar in the U.S.
Researchers are bracing for a second Omicron surge. The BA.2 variant is 30% more contagious and caused a second surge in Denmark. So far, it has spread slowly in the United States, and accounts for about 4% of cases. However, it appears to be doubling quickly. An exponential growth phase is the concern. Another possibility -- the Omicron decline could extend with accompanying hospitalizations and death. The hope is that immunity from prior infection and immunizations will slow the spread. However, this version of Omicron is better at evading the immune system. Existing antibody treatments do not work well against BA.2. More from NPR.
Surgeon General and family have COVID
Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, his wife, and his 5-year-old son tested positive for COVID after his 4-year-old daughter tested positive. She is too young to be vaccinated. CBS News shared the Surgeon General’s Twitter post, “Staring at my daughter’s positive test, I asked myself the same questions many parents have asked: Will my child be okay? Could I have done more to protect her?” Pfizer has postponed its request for the FDA to consider its vaccine in kids younger than five.
Biology of Stuttering
The cause for stuttering had been a mystery until recent advances in genetics and brain imaging. Researchers identified genes linked to stuttering more than a decade ago. Now, brain imaging shows differences between kids who keep stuttering, kids who outgrow it, and kids who never stuttered. A researcher discussed his findings at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference. More from the AP.
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