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What's new in infectious diseases
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What's new in infectious diseases
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Nov 29, 2016.

The following represent additions to UpToDate from the past six months that were considered by the editors and authors to be of particular interest. The most recent What's New entries are at the top of each subsection.

ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS

Restriction of fluoroquinolone use in uncomplicated infections (May 2016)

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that the serious adverse effects associated with fluoroquinolones generally outweigh the benefits for patients with uncomplicated acute sinusitis, acute bronchitis, and urinary tract infections who have other treatment options [1]. For patients with these infections, fluoroquinolones should be reserved for those who have no alternative treatment options. This announcement was based on an FDA safety review showing that systemic fluoroquinolone use is associated with disabling and potentially permanent serious side effects, including those involving the tendons, muscles, joints, nerves, and central nervous system. (See "Fluoroquinolones", section on 'Restriction of use for uncomplicated infections'.)

BACTERIAL INFECTIONS

Cranberry products and urinary tract infection in women (October 2016)

Numerous clinical studies on the effects of cranberry products on recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI) in women have failed to clearly demonstrate a preventive benefit. In a year-long randomized trial among female nursing home residents, cranberry capsules similarly did not reduce adjusted rates of bacteriuria plus pyuria or symptomatic UTI compared with placebo [2]. While we do not suggest cranberry products to reduce the risk of recurrent UTI, there is likely little harmful effect. (See "Recurrent urinary tract infection in women", section on 'Cranberry products'.)

IDSA/ATS guidelines for the management of hospital-acquired pneumonia and ventilator-associated pneumonia (August 2016)

The Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Thoracic Society have released updated guidelines for the management of hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) [3]. Empiric therapy for HAP (algorithm 1) and VAP (algorithm 2) should include agents with activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and other gram-negative bacilli. Choice of a specific regimen for empiric therapy should be based upon knowledge of the prevailing pathogens (and susceptibility patterns) within the healthcare setting as well as risk factors for multidrug resistance in the individual patient. The guidelines emphasize that a seven-day course of antimicrobial therapy is appropriate for most patients rather than a longer duration. (See "Treatment of hospital-acquired and ventilator-associated pneumonia in adults", section on 'Treatment'.)

Outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia infection associated with contaminated oral liquid docusate (June 2016)

In June 2016, a multistate outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia infection was reported in the United States [4]. B. cepacia typically causes lung colonization and infection in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), but most cases in this outbreak have involved mechanically ventilated intensive care unit patients without CF. The types of infections involved have not yet been reported. Because cases in one state have been associated with contaminated oral liquid docusate, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that facilities not use liquid docusate products for any patient. PharmaTech LLC, the manufacturer of the contaminated product, Diocto Liquid, has voluntarily recalled all non-expired lots [5]. Updated information about the outbreak and public health reporting can be found on the CDC’s website. (See "Epidemiology, pathogenesis, microbiology, and diagnosis of hospital-acquired and ventilator-associated pneumonia in adults", section on 'Outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia infection'.)

FUNGAL INFECTIONS

Isavuconazole for mucormycosis (August 2016)

Isavuconazole is a broad-spectrum triazole that has in vitro activity against the agents of mucormycosis. It is an option for step-down or salvage therapy for patients with mucormycosis after initial treatment with amphotericin B, although clinical evidence supporting its use is limited. Isavuconazole was evaluated in a multicenter open-label single-arm study (the VITAL study) that included 37 patients with proven or probable mucormycosis [6]. All-cause mortality through day 42 was 38 percent, and overall complete or partial response rate at the end of treatment was 32 percent for primary treatment and 36 percent for treatment of mucormycosis refractory to other antifungals. In a matched case-control analysis that compared patients who received isavuconazole for primary therapy of mucormycosis with contemporary controls who received amphotericin B (mostly a lipid formulation), crude and weighted all-cause mortality were similar in those who received isavuconazole versus amphotericin B followed by posaconazole. These data suggest that isavuconazole has some clinical efficacy in treating mucormycosis, but it is not possible to draw firm conclusions given the nonrandomized study design and the small study size. Amphotericin B remains the treatment of choice for initial therapy. (See "Mucormycosis (zygomycosis)", section on 'Step-down therapy'.)

IDSA guidelines on the management of aspergillosis (July 2016)

The Infectious Diseases Society of America released updated guidelines for the treatment of aspergillosis [7,8]. Voriconazole remains the mainstay of therapy for invasive aspergillosis. In contrast with the previous version of the guidelines, the updated version suggests consideration of combination therapy with voriconazole plus an echinocandin for initial therapy of severe invasive aspergillosis, particularly in patients with hematologic malignancy and/or in those with profound and persistent neutropenia. We generally agree with these guidelines and suggest combination therapy with voriconazole plus an echinocandin for patients with severe, microbiologically documented invasive aspergillosis, but we also consider combination therapy for all patients with an immunocompromising condition that led to disease. (See "Treatment and prevention of invasive aspergillosis", section on 'Guidelines'.)

Emergence of Candida auris, a multidrug-resistant Candida species (July 2016)

In 2016, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Public Health England issued warnings about the emergence of a multidrug-resistant Candida species, C. auris [9,10]. This pathogen has caused invasive health care-associated infections and outbreaks with high mortality rates [9]. It has been detected in over a dozen countries on five continents [11]. C. auris requires specialized methods for identification, and it could therefore be misidentified as another yeast when using traditional biochemical methods. Nearly all C. auris isolates have had high minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) for fluconazole, suggesting that they are fluconazole-resistant. More than half of isolates have had high MICs for voriconazole, and a lower proportion for amphotericin B and echinocandins. Some isolates have had elevated MICs for all three major antifungal classes (azoles, polyenes, echinocandins). Additional details can be found on the CDC’s website and/or Public Health England’s website. (See "Epidemiology and pathogenesis of candidemia in adults", section on 'Emergence of C. auris' and "Treatment of candidemia and invasive candidiasis in adults", section on 'C. auris'.)

HIV INFECTION

Combination antiretroviral treatment in pregnancy (November 2016)

Combination antiretroviral treatment (ART) has become the worldwide standard of care for HIV-infected pregnant women, both for their own health and for prevention of HIV transmission to their infants. In a large randomized trial of HIV-infected pregnant women in Africa and India, antepartum ART (with one of two different protease inhibitor-based regimens) resulted in lower transmission rates compared with zidovudine plus single-dose nevirapine (0.5 versus 1.8 percent) [12]. Rates of preterm birth at <37 weeks were higher with the ART regimens than with zidovudine, but more significant prematurity (<34 weeks) and neonatal deaths were not increased. Clinicians should discuss with patients the potential risk for adverse pregnancy outcome with certain ART regimens. (See "Safety and dosing of antiretroviral medications in pregnancy", section on 'Preterm birth'.)

Meningococcal conjugate vaccination for HIV-infected patients (November 2016)

Growing evidence has suggested that HIV-infected individuals have a disproportionate incidence of invasive meningococcal disease, with an estimated risk 5 to 13 times that of the general population. Because of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States now recommends meningococcal conjugate vaccination (with MenACWY-CRM [Menveo] or MenACWY-D [Menactra]) for all HIV-infected individuals older than two months [13]. This includes a primary vaccine series for those who have not previously received it and interval booster doses every several years; the precise schedule depends on the age of the patient (table 1). Individuals may also have separate indications for serogroup B meningococcal vaccination. Evidence of vaccine efficacy in HIV-infected patients is limited to immunologic outcomes. (See "Immunizations in HIV-infected patients", section on 'Meningococcal vaccine' and "Meningococcal vaccines".)

Updated US guidelines on HIV infection and pregnancy (November 2016)

The Department of Health and Human Services in the United States recently published updated guidelines on the evaluation and management of HIV-infected pregnant women to reduce the risk of perinatal transmission [14]. Preferred antiretroviral agents for initiation in pregnant women are now tenofovir-disoproxil-fumarate plus emtricitabine or lamivudine, abacavir-lamivudine, ritonavir-boosted atazanavir, ritonavir-boosted darunavir, and raltegravir. Other agents are not recommended for routine initiation in pregnant women because of limited data during pregnancy, but women who become pregnant while taking other commonly used agents can continue their regimen if they have achieved viral suppression. (See "Antiretroviral and intrapartum management of pregnant HIV-infected women and their infants in resource-rich settings", section on 'Antiretroviral selection and management'.)

Early antiretroviral therapy and cancer risk in HIV-infected patients (October 2016)

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) should be initiated in all HIV-infected individuals to reduce AIDS and non-AIDS related events, regardless of the baseline CD4 count. Further analysis of a randomized trial in which over 4500 HIV-infected participants received ART immediately or delayed ART until the CD4 count was <350 cells/microL demonstrated a reduction in infection-related cancers (ie, those associated with human herpesvirus 8, Epstein-Barr virus, and human papillomavirus) with immediate ART (6 versus 23 cases with delayed ART) [15]. There was also a trend towards fewer noninfection-related malignancies with immediate ART. (See "When to initiate antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected patients", section on 'HIV-related comorbidities'.)

Condom use in HIV serodiscordant couples (August 2016)

HIV serodiscordant couples may question whether continued condom use is necessary for HIV prevention if the HIV-infected partner is on antiretroviral therapy (ART). One observational study followed over 900 serodiscordant couples (both heterosexual couples and men who have sex with men [MSM]) in whom the HIV-infected partner was virally suppressed on ART and who chose not to use condoms [16]. After more than 1200 couple-years of follow-up, there were no intra-couple transmission events. Ten MSM and one heterosexual partner acquired HIV infection during the study period, but viral sequence analysis suggested that these infections were not transmitted from the long-term HIV-infected partner. We continue to encourage condom use in HIV serodiscordant couples, as condoms offer protection from other sexually transmitted infections and provide back-up for potential periods of loss of virologic suppression. We advise couples who choose not to use condoms that the risk of HIV transmission in the setting of stable virologic suppression of the infected partner, while apparently negligible, cannot be ruled out completely. (See "HIV infection: Risk factors and prevention strategies", section on 'Serodiscordant couples'.)

HIV treatment to prevent sexual transmission (August 2016)

Growing evidence has bolstered the concept that successful antiretroviral therapy (ART) of HIV-infected individuals substantially reduces the risk of sexual HIV transmission. Final analysis of a multinational randomized trial (HPTN 052) of over 1700 HIV serodiscordant heterosexual couples demonstrated that early ART for the HIV-infected partner, compared with delaying ART until certain clinical parameters were met, reduced HIV transmission risk by 93 percent [17]. All participants received condoms and risk reduction counseling. There were no linked transmissions (determined by detecting the same virus in both partners through viral sequencing) from HIV-infected individuals who had achieved stable viral suppression on ART; all eight linked transmissions from HIV-infected individuals using ART occurred within three months of ART initiation or in the setting of ART failure. This preventive benefit of ART is one of the reasons that early ART is recommended for all HIV-infected individuals, regardless of CD4 cell count. (See "HIV infection: Risk factors and prevention strategies", section on 'Treatment as prevention' and "When to initiate antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected patients", section on 'Benefits of antiretroviral therapy'.)

WHO recommendations for infant prophylaxis to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (July 2016)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has updated its guidelines on the use of antiretroviral agents to manage and prevent HIV infection [18]. One major change from previous WHO statements involves post-exposure prophylaxis of infants born to HIV-infected mothers. The recommended regimen for infant prophylaxis now takes into account the infant's risk of infection, as determined by the timing of maternal infection and maternal antiretroviral treatment, in addition to the type of infant feeding; a two-drug regimen is recommended for high-risk infants (algorithm 3). This recommendation was based, in part, on earlier data that demonstrated a lower HIV transmission rate with dual-agent rather than single-agent prophylaxis among infants born to mothers who had not received antiretroviral agents during pregnancy. (See "Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission in resource-limited settings", section on 'Infant antiretroviral use'.)

Viral dynamics and symptom onset in acute HIV infection (May 2016)

A recent study that closely followed 50 acutely HIV-infected patients who had been identified by prospective viral testing of high-risk individuals provides precise information on the clinical features and viral dynamics shortly following infection [19]. Although almost all subjects had at least one reported symptom or sign during the first four weeks of infection, these were mainly short-lived, nonspecific, and unlikely to have brought the individual to clinical attention outside of a study setting. The highest frequency of symptoms and signs were observed just before peak viremia occurred, approximately two weeks after the initial detection of viral RNA. These results highlight the difficulty of suspecting acute HIV infection by clinical features alone and thus, the importance of repeated HIV screening in high-risk individuals. (See "Acute and early HIV infection: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis", section on 'Clinical features'.)

IMMUNOCOMPROMISED HOSTS

Virus-specific T cell infusions for patients with primary immunodeficiencies and hematopoietic cell transplant (June 2016)

Viral infections, particularly with cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, and adenovirus, are a leading cause of death in patients with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) and other forms of moderate-to-severe primary immunodeficiency (PID), both before and after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Investigational infusions of virus-specific T cells (VST) from either stem cell donors or third-party donors have been evaluated to treat and/or prevent these life-threatening viral infections. One retrospective series examined 26 patients with a PID requiring HCT who had at least one documented serious viral infection and were treated with VST either before or after HCT [20]. Complete or partial antiviral response was seen in 76 to 100 percent of patients, depending upon the particular virus. An additional 10 patients were treated preventively with VST prior to HCT. Of these, eight remained free of the most common serious viral infections. This therapy is still experimental, but commercial entities are developing these cellular products and they may be available for more widespread use in a few years. (See "Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID): An overview", section on 'Treatment'.)

IMMUNIZATIONS

HPV vaccine dosing for individuals younger than 15 years (November 2016)

For individuals younger than 15 years receiving human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, two vaccine doses administered at least six months apart are now recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States [21]. This new vaccine schedule is similar to schedules used in other countries and is supported by data demonstrating that two vaccine doses in young females have similar immunogenicity to three doses. However, the efficacy of fewer than three doses for prevention of cervical neoplastic disease has not been directly established. Three doses are still recommended for individuals older than 15 years because they have lower immunologic responses to HPV vaccination. (See "Recommendations for the use of human papillomavirus vaccines", section on 'Immunization schedule'.)

Inactivated influenza vaccine for 2016-2017 season in the northern hemisphere (August 2016)

The effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccines varies from season to season and is determined by a number of factors, including the match between circulating influenza strains and influenza strains in the vaccine. During the 2015-2016 influenza season, data from the United States Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network indicated that inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) was 63 percent effective in preventing influenza in children, but live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) was not effective [22]. Findings of poor or lower than expected LAIV effectiveness were also noted during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons in the United States. These findings are inconsistent with studies sponsored by the manufacturer and studies from other countries that found LAIV was effective (ranging from 46 to 58 percent) during the 2015-2016 season [23-26]; however, LAIV was less effective than IIV in all of these studies [27]. In August 2016, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that LAIV not be used during the 2016-2017 influenza season [28]. While some countries have elected to continue using LAIV [23], we suggest IIV rather than LAIV for the 2016-2017 influenza season in the northern hemisphere. (See "Seasonal influenza in children: Prevention with vaccines", section on 'IIV versus LAIV' and "Seasonal influenza vaccination in adults", section on 'Choice of vaccine formulation'.)

Oral vaccine to prevent cholera in high-risk travelers (June 2016)

Cholera, caused by infection with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, is characterized by severe watery diarrhea, which can rapidly lead to dehydration. In June 2016, a live attenuated oral cholera vaccine (Vaxchora) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for prevention of cholera caused by serogroup O1 in adults 18 through 64 years of age traveling to affected areas [29]. Most travelers are at low risk for cholera infection; those who warrant vaccination include aid, refugee, and health care workers planning to work among or near displaced populations (eg, in crowded camps and urban slums) in endemic or epidemic settings. Long-stay travelers in very high-risk countries are also appropriate vaccine recipients. In a trial of healthy volunteers, a single dose of vaccine given prior to an oral challenge with a V. cholerae O1 strain was 80 to 90 percent effective in preventing moderate to severe cholera [30]. The effectiveness of Vaxchora for populations living in cholera-affected areas has not been established. (See "Immunizations for travel", section on 'Cholera vaccine'.)

MYCOBACTERIAL INFECTIONS

M. chimaera infections associated with cardiac surgery (October 2016)

Clusters of disseminated infection with Mycobacterium chimaera in the United States and Europe have been linked to exposure to contaminated Stockert 3T heater-cooler devices during cardiac surgery [31]. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration recommends retiring 3T heater-cooler devices and accessories that have tested positive for M. chimaera or that have been linked to known infections and refraining from using any 3T heater-cooler device manufactured before September 2014 except in emergency situations. Providers of patients who have undergone cardiac surgery should be aware of the possibility of M. chimaera infection, even months to years following the procedure. (See "Overview of nontuberculous mycobacterial infections in HIV-negative patients", section on 'Disseminated disease'.)

New guideline recommendations on treatment of drug-susceptible tuberculosis in HIV-infected patients (September 2016)

For patients with tuberculosis (TB) and newly diagnosed HIV infection, a number of trials have established the benefits of initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) soon after initiating TB therapy. New guidelines on the treatment of drug-susceptible tuberculosis (TB), developed jointly by the American Thoracic Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Infectious Diseases Society of America, also recommend initiating ART during TB treatment (within the first two weeks if the CD4 cell count <50 cells/microL and within 8 to 12 weeks if the CD4 cell count >50 cells/microL), rather than waiting until after TB therapy is completed [32]. However, HIV-infected patients with TB involvement of the central nervous system (CNS) are an exception; for these patients, the guidelines recommend against initiating ART in the first eight weeks of antituberculous therapy (even for patients with CD4 cell counts <50 cells/microL), since development of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome in patients with CNS TB may cause severe or fatal neurological complications. (See "Treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis in HIV-infected adults", section on 'Timing of ART in the treatment-naive patient' and "Central nervous system tuberculosis".)

SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES

Incidence of sexually transmitted infections in the United States (November 2016)

The total number of cases of chlamydia (over 1.5 million), gonorrhea (nearly 400,000), and syphilis (nearly 24,000) reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States in 2015 was the highest ever recorded in a given year [33]. Chlamydia and gonorrhea continued to occur most commonly among 15 to 24 year olds, and men who have sex with men accounted for the majority of gonorrhea and primary/secondary syphilis cases. These surveillance data highlight the importance of sexually transmitted infection prevention efforts, screening, and treatment among at-risk individuals. (See "Epidemiology of Chlamydia trachomatis infections", section on 'Incidence' and "Epidemiology and pathogenesis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection", section on 'Incidence' and "Syphilis: Epidemiology, pathophysiology, and clinical manifestations in HIV-uninfected patients", section on 'Epidemiology' and "Screening for sexually transmitted infections".)

Treatment failure of pharyngeal gonorrhea following combination antimicrobial therapy (July 2016)

Because of concerns about the decreasing susceptibility of Neisseria gonorrhoeae to several classes of antibiotics, combination antimicrobial therapy with ceftriaxone plus a second agent, preferably azithromycin, is the recommended treatment for uncomplicated gonorrhea. However, treatment failure following combination therapy has now been reported, in a heterosexual man from the United Kingdom who presented with both urogenital and pharyngeal infection [34]. Although the urogenital infection was successfully treated with ceftriaxone plus azithromycin, the pharyngeal infection persisted, and decreased susceptibility to both agents was detected in the post-treatment isolate. This report, in addition to surveillance reports suggesting increasing rates of decreased susceptibility to azithromycin in N. gonorrhoeae isolates in the United States [35], highlights the need for novel treatment strategies for gonorrhea in the face of rising antimicrobial resistance. (See "Treatment of uncomplicated gonococcal infections", section on 'Monitoring for and managing treatment failure' and "Treatment of uncomplicated gonococcal infections", section on 'Rationale for dual therapy'.)

USPSTF recommendations on syphilis screening in nonpregnant adults and adolescents (June 2016)

In June 2016, the United States Preventive Services Task Force updated its statement on syphilis screening in asymptomatic nonpregnant adolescents and adults to recommend screening for those who are at high risk for infection [36]. These include sexually active men who have sex with men (MSM), HIV-infected patients, and individuals with a history of incarceration or commercial sex work. The optimal frequency of routine screening in high-risk patients without a clear exposure is yet to be determined. Consistent with other expert guidelines, we suggest annual screening for sexually active MSM and HIV-infected individuals, with more frequent screening for those with high-risk behaviors, such as multiple or anonymous sexual partners. (See "Syphilis: Screening and diagnostic testing", section on 'Asymptomatic patients' and "Screening for sexually transmitted infections".)

Shortage of benzathine penicillin G (Bicillin L-A) (May 2016)

In May 2016, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a manufacturing delay of benzathine penicillin G (Bicillin L-A), which is the treatment of choice for all stages of syphilis [37]. In light of potential shortages of this agent, it is important for clinicians to note that only a single dose of benzathine penicillin G is warranted for early syphilis (table 2). Pregnant women with syphilis should be prioritized for benzathine penicillin G, and so alternative regimens, such as doxycycline, may need to be used for nonpregnant adults if supplies are limited. Bicillin C-R (equal concentrations of procaine and benzathine penicillin G) should not be used to treat syphilis. (See "Syphilis: Treatment and monitoring", section on 'Penicillin as the treatment of choice'.)

VIRAL INFECTIONS, NON-HIV

Pattern of anomalies in congenital Zika syndrome (November 2016)

The clinical spectrum of congenital Zika syndrome (CZS) is evolving as more cases are described. A comprehensive review of the available published data identified five unique features of CZS that are rarely seen with other congenital infections: (1) severe microcephaly with partially collapsed skull, (2) thin cerebral cortices with subcortical calcifications, (3) macular scarring and focal pigmentary retinal mottling, (4) congenital contractures (arthrogryposis), and (5) marked early hypertonia [38]. Recognition of this distinctive phenotype can help clinicians identify infants with CZS and ensure appropriate etiologic evaluation and comprehensive clinical investigation. (See "Congenital Zika virus infection: Clinical features, evaluation, and management of the neonate", section on 'Clinical findings'.)

HBV reactivation during HCV antiviral therapy (October 2016)

Reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, including cases with fatal fulminant hepatitis, has been reported in several patients receiving direct-acting antiviral therapy for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection [39]. Patients should be tested for HBV coinfection prior to initiation of HCV therapy, with HBV treatment initiated for those who meet criteria (table 3). HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) positive patients who do not initially meet HBV treatment criteria should be monitored with HBV DNA testing during HCV treatment. In patients with a positive HBV core antibody (HBcAb) but negative HBsAg, we check liver enzymes during HCV treatment and perform reflex HBsAg and HBV DNA testing for unexplained elevations. (See "Patient evaluation and selection for antiviral therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus infection", section on 'HBV coinfection' and "Overview of the management of chronic hepatitis C virus infection", section on 'Other laboratory testing'.)

Investigational inactivated vaccine to prevent zoster and postherpetic neuralgia (September 2016)

The live attenuated zoster vaccine reduces the risk of herpes zoster with a reported vaccine efficacy of 60 to 70 percent in adults 50 years and older but appears to have decreased efficacy in adults 70 years and older. In an initial trial of the experimental recombinant inactivated zoster vaccine (HZ/su), administered in two doses, overall vaccine efficacy was 97 percent in adults 50 years and older. In a subsequent randomized, placebo-controlled trial of 13,900 patients aged 70 and older, vaccine efficacy for preventing herpes zoster and postherpetic neuralgia was each approximately 90 percent after a mean 3.7-year follow-up [40]. No serious adverse events were reported in either trial; however, reactions such as pain at the injection site and myalgias were more common among those who received the vaccine. If approved, this inactivated vaccine may be particularly useful for such older individuals and immunocompromised individuals who cannot receive live vaccines, but it requires two doses for initial protection. (See "Vaccination for the prevention of shingles (herpes zoster)", section on 'Investigational vaccines'.)

Mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus in the continental United States (August 2016)

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne infection associated with congenital microcephaly and other birth defects among babies born to women infected during pregnancy. Mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus was detected in Florida in July 2016, and in August 2016 the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an advisory recommending that pregnant women avoid travel to affected areas [41]. Updates regarding areas with Zika may be found on the CDC website (http://www.cdc.gov/zika/). (See "Zika virus infection: An overview", section on 'Travel advisories for pregnant women'.)

Laboratory testing of donated blood for Zika virus (April 2016, Modified August 2016)

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now recommends universal testing of blood components for Zika virus in the United States and its territories (with a several month implementation period), based on an increasing number of cases of mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus in Florida and Puerto Rico and the potential for sexual transmission from asymptomatic individuals [42]. The testing involves one of two assays that detect Zika virus RNA. Approximately 1 percent of donations from Puerto Rico, an active transmission area, were positive for Zika virus in June of 2016 [43]. Blood collection facilities also use the donor medical and travel history to disqualify individuals who may be infected with Zika virus. (See "Blood donor screening: Laboratory testing", section on 'Zika virus'.)

Testing for Zika virus infection in pregnant women (July 2016)

The approach to testing for Zika virus infection is different for pregnant versus nonpregnant individuals because Zika virus RNA persists longer in pregnant women’s serum and because pregnant women may transmit the infection to the fetus, even if the mother is asymptomatic. Congenital Zika virus infection can result in serious sequelae. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently revised their algorithm for the diagnosis of Zika virus infection in pregnancy to reflect these principles (algorithm 4) [44]. (See "Zika virus infection: Evaluation and management of pregnant women", section on 'Clinical approach'.)

Sofosbuvir-velpatasvir for all genotypes of chronic HCV infection (July 2016)

All-oral, direct-acting antiviral regimens for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection have proliferated over the past two years. Sofosbuvir-velpatasvir, a coformulated combination of an NS5B and an NS5A inhibitor, is the first such regimen that has high, well-established efficacy for all genotypes, even in patients with cirrhosis or prior treatment failure with interferon-based regimens [45-47]. This agent was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in June 2016 and is now our preferred or one of our preferred regimens for adults with chronic HCV infection of any genotype because of its efficacy, simplicity of administration, and limited drug interactions (algorithm 5 and algorithm 6 and algorithm 7 and algorithm 8). Sofosbuvir-velpatasvir is given for 12 weeks for all genotypes. For genotype 3 infection, the addition of ribavirin may be warranted, depending on the presence of cirrhosis, the prior treatment history, and the presence of mutations associated with NS5A resistance. (See "Treatment regimens for chronic hepatitis C virus genotype 1 infection in adults", section on 'Selection of treatment regimens' and "Treatment regimens for chronic hepatitis C virus genotypes 2 and 3 infection in adults", section on 'Selection of treatment regimen' and "Treatment regimens for chronic hepatitis C virus genotypes 4, 5, and 6 infection in adults", section on 'Selection of treatment regimens'.)

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