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The Unintended Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Infection Rates

During the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital observed a threefold increase in the incidence of infection or colonization by Candida auris, a multidrug-resistant fungus. Since its first appearance in the US in 2016, this fungus has been spreading, with hospitals in New York City as notable hotspots. The study conducted by Mount Sinai Hospital involved a retrospective chart review from 2019 through 2022, which uncovered 64 cases of infection, 34 of which were identified by surveillance culture and 30 via clinical culture. This marks an upsurge from 2.6 to 7.8 cases per 10,000 admissions from 2019 to 2022. Causes attributed are staffing and supply shortages, misuse of personal protective equipment, and breaches in infection prevention tactics, all consequences of the pandemic.

Further, the research emphasized the crucial role admission surveillance could play in counteracting the increasing spread of C. auris. In parallel, a separate study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explored mysterious cases of acute hepatitis that resulted in the death of eight children within the period from October 2021 to June 2023. It was found that half of the deceased tested positive for adenovirus. The study underlines the importance of continued investigation into this phenomenon and whether Hispanic/Latino children are at greater risk. Merck, a pharmaceutical conglomerate, reported positive results from the phase 3 clinical trials of a 21-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.

The vaccine shows promise in producing an immune response for all 21 serotypes covered, thereby protecting against most pneumococcal diseases in adults aged 50 and over. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a notice stating that 13 African countries reported confirmed or probable cases of yellow fever since the start of 2023, urging an increase in surveillance. The cases prompt a reminder that vaccination is essential for preventing severe conditions that can arise due to SARS-CoV-2 infection. The CDC expressed concerns related to antimicrobial resistance and emphasized the importance of a strong vaccination strategy.


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