What to Do About Polio
Polio is back in the United States. The first case of paralytic polio was reported last month in New York, and the disease has also been found in the city’s wastewater. Only 1 in 4 people infected with poliovirus are symptomatic, and less than 1% of patients develop paralysis, so it’s important to suspect an infection cluster if you come across even just one case.
What to look for: Acute flaccid weakness, particularly in patients who are unvaccinated and those who have traveled internationally in the last 30 days. In cases of unexplained acute flaccid paralysis that present similarly to poliovirus, test for the virus and notify the local health department of a suspected case.
What to talk about: Immunizations with your patients, especially if you work in or near an undervaccinated community. Polio vaccines are so safe and effective that, in the United States, we think of polio as an eradicated disease.
Annual PSA Screening Important for Black Men
Annual screening for prostate cancer may be more important for Black men than for White men, according to the results of a review of more than 45,000 cases of veterans diagnosed with the disease. The study team assessed prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening patterns for each patient in the 5 years leading up to their diagnoses and correlated those data with the risk for death.
Irregular vs annual screening: The reduction in risk for prostate cancer–specific mortality among Black men was similar to that among White men. However, further analysis showed that annual screening compared with irregular screening was associated with a significant reduction in mortality risk in Black men only.
Higher benefit: Aggressive prostate cancer is more common in Black men, which might be why annual screening could have a higher benefit for that population. Black men in the study were also younger, on average, when diagnosed.
STDs Up, Testing Down: AMA Creates Toolkit for Doctors
Sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates have surged since the start of the pandemic, whereas physician testing for sextually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, viral hepatitis, and latent tuberculosis plummeted, according to the CDC. Because of COVID-19, many people did not have easy access to preventive care and might not know that they have an infection. This concern has prompted the American Medication Association (AMA) to create a new toolkit for clinicians to implement more STI screenings. Monkeypox is also a target.
Don’t wait: The toolkit, which has not been finalized yet, will be tested at six community centers throughout the United States. Talk to your patients now about the importance of regular screening.
Drop the bias: Like anyone else, doctors can fall prey to assumptions about certain populations and the likelihood of infections, but it’s important to screen everyone, says the executive director of the American Public Health Association.