Rabies death in Illinois; COVID-19 cases in children ‘exceptionally high’

The state of Illinois has reported its first human rabies case (and death) in nearly 70 years after an 80yo man who was bitten by a rabid bat last month succumbed to the infection after he refused treatment (the reason for this is not given). A 2018 WebMD article highlights the potential cost of surviving rabies in the US, explaining that for the uninsured, patients can be up for tens of thousands of dollars. Read more

NEW COVID-19 cases have been decreasing among the USA’s adult population, however according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children made up over one quarter of new cases (26.7 percent) in the week to Sept 30. With nearly 850,000 child cases added over the past month the AAP notes that ‘the available data indicate that COVID-19-associated hospitalization and death is uncommon in children’ but more study is needed into the effects of the pandemic on ‘the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects’. (The AAP states that the data is preliminary and subject to change). On a global level, the WHO advised that the downward trend seen in new case reporting since August continues. The Oct 5 epi update notes that all regions except Europe (relatively stable) had experienced a decline in new case numbers over the previous week - UK, Turkey and Russia had Europe’s highest numbers of new cases. Africa logged a 43 percent drop in weekly cases - Angola, Benin, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Mauritius, and Sao Tome and Principe reported an upward trend in the past week. South Africa continues to report more than half of all new cases in the region. Read more  

In related news:

- The NCIRS has published reliable and accurate information in 'COVID-19 and children: Frequently asked questions'.

- AusVaxSafety data indicates that the 12 to 19 years of age cohort is reporting similar short term side effects to the COVID-19 vaccines as older Australians.

- TGA advice on recognition of COVID-19 vaccines not registered in Australia but used internationally now allows for the Sinovac and Covishield to be recognised as acceptable for "incoming international travellers to be regarded as appropriately vaccinated".

- On Oct 1, a media release issued by the Prime Minister outlined plans to re-open Australia’s borders, starting with the return of fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents (approved vaccines and quarantine measures required); foreign travellers will follow at a later date. Timing of the end of border closures will be dependent on the vaccination rates in the individual States and Territories.

- On Oct 4 the WHO published the interim guidelines on booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines, also noting that ‘introducing booster doses should be firmly evidence-driven and targeted to the population groups in greatest need’ (and distinguished between booster and additional doses).                                                                                                           

- A STAT News article outlines ‘What we know — and don’t know — about Merck’s new Covid-19 pill’ and about other Covid-fighting pills in development.

- Guidance from the Australian Red Cross for those people who plan to donate blood, plasma or platelets to wait seven days after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Read more

- Air New Zealand has joined Qantas in mandating full COVID-19 vaccination for its international passengers. The requirement will be enforced from Feb 1, 2022. Read more

Before you travel, call Travelvax Australia’s telephone advisory service on 1300 360 164 (toll-free from landlines) for country-specific advice and information. You can also make an appointment at your nearest Travelvax clinic to obtain vaccinations, medication to prevent or treat illness, and accessories for your journey.