AAP Behind the Scenes 2020 (Part 1): Pandemic Monitoring

Currently I am vice chair for the section of nutrition at the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Dr. Tanya Hofmekler is now chair of the section.  I recently attended a Board Meeting which received reports from a number of committees.  One of the presentations from Dr. Evan Anderson (infectious disease specialist), provided an update on the coronavirus, the flu, and other emerging infections.

Key Points:

  • Coronavirus appears to be more contagious than the flu but less contagious than many other infections like measles
  • CDC has website which is update for the coronavirus which is updated frequently:  2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Situation Summary
  • This is a bad year for the flu (see “red line” on last two slides).  The number of hospitalizations/mortality in young children (0-4) is increased compared to previous years, though the number of cases has been higher in previous years
  • There is now an FDA-approved Ebola vaccine
  • A single case of measles can cost $50,000 for public health to respond; direct medical costs could be much higher

Slide above was accurate on 2/8/20



Satire from The Onion

Related blog post:

The Best Information We Have To Date on the Emerging Coronavirus

The NEJM has made the information it has on the emerging coronavirus open access.  Here are the links:

An excerpt from the editorial:

For the third time in as many decades, a zoonotic coronavirus has crossed species to infect human populations. This virus, provisionally called 2019-nCoV, was first identified in Wuhan, China, in persons exposed to a seafood or wet market. The rapid response of the Chinese public health, clinical, and scientific communities facilitated recognition of the clinical disease and initial understanding of the epidemiology of the infection. First reports indicated that human-to-human transmission was limited or nonexistent, but we now know that such transmission occurs, although to what extent remains unknown. Like outbreaks caused by two other pathogenic human respiratory coronaviruses (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus [SARS-CoV] and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus [MERS-CoV]), 2019-nCoV causes respiratory disease that is often severe.1 As of January 24, 2020, there were more than 800 reported cases, with a mortality rate of 3%…

Both SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV infect intrapulmonary epithelial cells more than cells of the upper airways.4,6 Consequently, transmission occurs primarily from patients with recognized illness and not from patients with mild, nonspecific signs. It appears that 2019-nCoV uses the same cellular receptor as SARS-CoV (human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 [hACE2]),3 so transmission is expected only after signs of lower respiratory tract disease develop…

It is likely that 2019-nCoV will behave more like SARS-CoV and further adapt to the human host, with enhanced binding to hACE2.