Monday Roundup

Photo by Sven Read on Unsplash

    From the Omicron and siblings front, the Washington Post reports

    Americans infected with the coronavirus’s omicron variant are less likely to develop symptoms typical of long covid than those who had covid-19 earlier in the pandemic, according to the largest-ever study of who is most vulnerable to being sickened — or debilitated — by the virus’s lingering effects.

    The analysis of nearly 5 million U.S. patients who had covid, a study based on a collaboration between The Washington Post and research partners, shows that 1 in 16 people with omicron received medical care for symptoms associated with long covid within several months of being infected. Patients exposed to the coronavirus during the first wave of pandemic illness — from early 2020 to late spring 2021 — were most prone to develop long covid, with 1 in 12 suffering persistent symptoms.

    In other public health news, the Wall Street Journal reports

    A rare and often deadly fungus is spreading rapidly across the U.S., federal researchers said, raising pressure to find new treatments for severe fungal disease

    Candida auris, a fungus discovered about 15 years ago in Japan, infected at least 2,377 people in the U.S. in 2022, up from 53 in 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Its swift spread into most states and more than 40 countries has prompted the CDC and World Health Organization to label it a growing threat to public health. Candida auris has a mortality rate of up to 60% and is particularly risky for people who are older or have compromised immune systems, the CDC said.

    “To see a new species arrive on the scene and then suddenly emerge as a global pathogen less than 15 years later—that’s really remarkable,” said Dr. Peter Pappas, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    From the obesity treatment front

    • NBC News informs us that Americans are turning to local compounding pharmacies for lower-cost versions of Ozempic and Wegovy, the new wave of semaglutide-base obesity drugs, which is a patient safety issue.
    • STAT News, as part of its continuing series on these new drugs, tells us
      • When, in January 2023, the American Academy of Pediatrics released its first formal clinical practice guidelines centered on the screening and treatment of young patients with obesity, many eyes turned to the document.
      • Unlike earlier, more general guidance that recommended a progression of treatment through various stages, the new guidelines say there shouldn’t be “watchful waiting.” They call for early diagnosis, intense counseling, and two new aggressive options for children with obesity: weight loss drugs for children as young as 12 who are in the 95th weight percentile, and consultation for weight loss surgery for teenagers who have severe obesity (120% of the 95th percentile or a body mass index of 35 or more).
      • Now that experts have had a couple of months to comb through the 100-page document, from executive summary to supporting material, one thing is clear: There is still no consensus on how best to approach obesity in children.
    • Beckers Hospital Review identifies the ten most overweight cities in the country. All of them are located in the southeast. McAllen, Texas, is number one.

    In other relevant survey/study news —

    • Per Kaiser Family Foundation News, “Young adults in the United States continue to be more likely than their older counterparts to be experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, according to the latest federal data analyzed by KFF researchers.”
    • The Kaiser Family Foundation / Peterson Health System Tracker evaluates preventive services utilization.
    • The AP reports “A Pentagon study has found high rates of cancer among military pilots and for the first time has shown that ground crews who fuel, maintain and launch those aircraft are also getting sick.”

    Health Affairs offers plan design guidance intended to help resolve the maternal health crisis.