The PIDS IDWeek Program Chairs are pleased to announce exciting PIDS-sponsored programming at IDWeek:

Parents in some parts of the country are finding it difficult to get their children tested for COVID-19, according to a recent article in The New York Times. Many testing sites, including those run by cities and states, do not test children or have age minimums that exclude young children, the newspaper reported. A related article in The Washington Post noted that Walgreens’ age limit is 18 at its pharmacy testing sites, while CVS announced on Sept. 11 that it would lower the age limit at its drive-through testing sites from 16 to 12 years of age. “The limited testing hampers schools’ ability to quickly isolate and trace coronavirus cases among students,” the Times article reported. “It could also create a new burden on working parents, with some schools and child care centers requiring symptomatic children to test negative for coronavirus before rejoining class.”

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Dr. Annabelle de St. Maurice is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases and is the Co-Chief Infection Prevention Officer at University of California Los Angeles/Mattel Children’s hospital. Dr. de St. Maurice was born in Paris, France and raised in southwestern Pennsylvania. She obtained her medical degree at the University of Rochester and completed her Pediatrics residency at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

This prospective observational study used data from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network (NRN). Surveillance for EOS and early onset meningitis was performed at 18 NRN centers. All infants with gestational age greater than 22 weeks and birth weight greater than 400 g born between April 1, 2015 and March 21, 2017 were included. EOS was defined as growth of a pathogen in blood culture within 72 hours of birth and treatment with antibiotics for at least 5 days or until death. Meningitis was defined using the same criteria except with isolation of a pathogen from the cerebral spinal fluid.

The last 8 months have been the best of times and the worst of times… for science.
Forgive me the Dickensian melodrama and let me explain.

In December of 2019, an outbreak of viral pneumonia occurred in Wuhan, China. On January 9, Chinese public health authorities and the World Health Organization confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of the outbreak, and a few days later, the full sequence of the viral genome was reported. Since then, the tempo of scientific discovery has been incredible. The spectrum of clinical manifestations associated with SARS-CoV-2 has been described, including a severe inflammatory condition in children. Clinical trials were quickly designed to evaluate potential treatments. As of September 10, 38 SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are in clinical trials in humans.

Appendicitis remains one of the most common indications for surgery in children with tens of thousands of appendectomies performed in the U.S. each year. This procedure is associated with the risk of anesthesia as well as post-operative pain and post-operative complications in up to 15% of patients. On the other hand, non-operative management is associated with less post-treatment disability and is successful in up to 75% of patients at one year. Most children and adolescents with appendicitis undergo appendectomies rather than non-operative management with antibiotics alone. However, it is unknown if one treatment modality over the other is preferred by patients and their families when the potential risks and benefits of both are known. This manuscript looks at the success rate of non-operative management for appendicitis and compares the differences in disability days and complications. More interestingly, it also compares the patient and family satisfaction between surgical and non-surgical management of appendicitis.

The primary goal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS) Program and Meetings Committee is to oversee and coordinate the pediatric infectious disease programming for the annual Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) meeting and IDWeek meeting. This includes reviewing proposed sessions, obtaining and reviewing abstract scoring data, and proposing a program that includes novel, innovative, and cutting-edge topics of interest to the PIDS membership and our colleagues. The committee strives to ensure that a variety of topics are presented during the meeting to appeal to the various infectious disease subgroups (e.g. global health, antimicrobial stewardship, basic science researchers, translational and clinical researchers, infection control, HIV care, etc.).

Citing the importance of reducing influenza-related illness and the overall impact of respiratory illness during the COVID-19 pandemic, state public health officials in Massachusetts announced on Aug. 19 that flu vaccination would be required for all children 6 months of age or older who attend school in the state. The requirement includes those enrolled in child care, pre-school, kindergarten, K-12 schools, and colleges and universities. Students are expected to have received a flu vaccine by Dec. 31, 2020, for the 2020-2021 flu season, unless either a medical or religious exemption has been provided, according to a state press release. Homeschooled students are also exempt.

photoDr. Philip Zachariah is an Assistant Professor at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. He also leads the antibiotic stewardship program and serves as hospital epidemiologist at New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Zachariah grew up in India and received his medical degree from Christian Medical College Vellore. During medical school, he was struck with the vast advances in child health led by infectious disease physicians and epidemiologists. Motivated by this, he completed his pediatric infectious diseases fellowship and master’s program in clinical research at Columbia University, where he is also now completing a graduate program in Biomedical Informatics.

A recent survey of U.S. adults found that, overall, 66% of respondents would be somewhat or extremely likely to vaccinate their children against COVID-19, if vaccination was available. The same percentage (66%) indicated that they would be somewhat or extremely likely to be immunized themselves. Rates among individual states varied, however, with rates below 60% in 10 states and greater than 70% in 11 states. The survey, which included approximately 19,000 people from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, was conducted July 10-26 as part of the COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States, a project of Northeastern University, Harvard University, Rutgers University, and Northwestern University.

A recent study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, looking at vaccines approved in the U.S. over a 20-year period, found vaccines to be remarkably safe. The study’s authors analyzed safety-related changes to labels among 57 vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration from 1996 through 2015. They found 58 safety-related label changes associated with 25 vaccines, a large proportion of which were identified through existing post-marketing surveillance programs and were of limited clinical significance. The most common safety issue triggering label changes was expansion of restrictions for vaccine use in certain groups (36%) followed by allergies (22%).

The world's largest organization of professionals dedicated to the treatment, control and eradication of infectious diseases affecting children, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, has honored eight distinguished physicians and scientists from the United States and around the world who were elected this year to be fellows of PIDS.

Please mark your calendars! The IDWeek Pediatric Fellows’ Day program will now be held virtually on a new day and time.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). This annual observance highlights the efforts of health care professionals to protect patients of all ages, including children, against vaccine-preventable diseases through on-time vaccination.

Dr. Claudia Gaviria Agudelo is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of South Florida in Tampa and Co-Chair of the PIDS Telehealth Working Group.

A PIDS virtual roundtable held on July 17 explored issues related to re-opening schools in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moderated by PIDS President Kris Bryant, MD, the hour-long discussion featured experts addressing several key topics and questions, including what is known about COVID-19 prevalence, severity, and transmission among children, distancing and mask wearing, considerations for immunocompromised children, COVID-19 testing, and what communities should be doing now to help ensure that students, teachers, and school staff can safely return to in-person learning this fall. A recording of the discussion is available online.