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Near real-time observation reveals increased prevalence of young patients in the ICU during the emerging third SARS-CoV-2 wave in Switzerland

Original article
Hilty MP, Moser A, David S, Wendel Garcia PD, Capaldo G, Keiser S, Fumeaux T, Guerci P, Montomoli J, Van Boeckel TP, Jeitziner MM, Que YA, Jakob S, Schüpbach RA, RISC-19-ICU Investigators for Switzerland
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20553

Near real-time registry data show that the latest COVID-19 patients admitted to ICUs in Switzerland at the onset of the third wave were on average 5 years younger, had a higher body mass index, and presented with lower physiological risk scores but a trend towards more severe lung failure. These differences may primarily be related to the ongoing nationwide vaccination campaign, but the possibility that changes in virus-host interactions may be a co-factor in the age shift and change in disease characteristics is cause for concern, and should be taken into account in the public health and vaccination strategy during the ongoing pandemic.

Fine needle aspiration in COVID-19 vaccine-associated lymphadenopathy

Original article
Hagen C, Nowack M, Messerli M, Saro F, Mangold F, Bode PK
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20557

Evidence of newly enlarged lymph nodes after recent COVID-19 vaccination should be considered reactive in the first instance, occurring owing to stimulation of the immune system. A clinical follow-up according to the patient’s risk profile without further diagnostic measures is justified. Persistently enlarged lymph nodes should be re-evaluated (2 to) 6 weeks after the second dose, with additional diagnostic tests tailored to the clinical context.  

Evaluation of existing and desired measures to monitor, prevent and control healthcare-associated infections in Swiss hospitals

Original article
Metsini A, Widmer A, Zingg W, Gardiol C, Vuichard-Gysin D, Eder M, Maag J, Schlegel M, Marschall J, Harbarth S, Sommerstein R, the Swissnoso network
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20516

Having an electronic medical record system in place and adequate personnel resources dedicated for surveillance activities are crucial prerequisites for developing and implementing an effective healthcare-associated infections (HAI) surveillance system. The lack of an EMR system and the diversity and capacities of EMR solutions will be the main challenges for successful implementation of national HAI surveillance modules.

“Linkage to care” among people living with HIV – definition in the era of “universal test and treat” in a sub-Sahara African setting

Review article: Biomedical intelligence
Magnolini R, Senkoro E, Vanobberghen F, Weisser M
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20535

Prompt linkage to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) care after diagnosis is of utmost importance for individual health and reduction of HIV transmission. Different definitions for “linkage to care” have challenged comparisons as a public health marker. Its meaning in the era of “universal test and treat” has transformed in all settings, but is most relevant in sub-Sahara Africa, where the burden of new HIV infection is still highest.

Importance of critical care staffing and standard intensive care therapy in the COVID-19 era: a descriptive study of the first epidemic wave at a Swiss tertiary intensive care unit

Original article
Jeitziner MM, Jenni-Moser B, Yok-Ai Q, Thurnheer Zürcher MC, Furrer H, Jakob S
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20529

Mortality rates of COVID-19 patients hospitalised in intensive care units (ICUs) are generally high. Availability of ICU resources might influence clinical outcomes. Here the authors report a very low mortality rate of patients treated in a tertiary university ICU in Switzerland. They hypothesise that the sufficient availability of well-trained ICU staff, drugs and special equipment, together with the best standard of ICU supportive care, has been one of the main reasons for the high survival rate observed.

Self-testing for SARS-CoV-2: importance of lay communication

Coste AT, Egli A, Greub G
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20526

The population should be clearly informed on the limitations of rapid antigen testing of self-collected swabs, and therefore the necessity to continue all barrier procedures whatever the rapid antigen test result is and confirm a positive rapid antigen test result with PCR testing.

A case study of short-term forecasting during the COVID-19 pandemic: the platform

Petermann M, Fröhlich J, Wyler D
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20524

Based on the example of the models implemented on, and on general theoretical considerations, the authors argue that the framework of continuous-time differential equations is not suited to making reliable short-term predictions on quantities such as ICU occupancy in Swiss hospitals. Instead, they propose the use of very simple, hands-on forecasting based on fitting parameters of suitably chosen curves to the observed data, and making the forecast by expert judgement based on the results of the fitted curves.

Parents’ intent to vaccinate against influenza during the COVID-19 pandemic in two regions in Switzerland

Original article
Seiler M, Goldman RD, Staubli G, Hoeffe J, Gualco G, Manzano S, part of the International COVID-19 Parental Attitude Study (COVIPAS) Group
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20508

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a substantial increase of parents’ intention to vaccinate their children against influenza, especially in hard-hit “Latin” Switzerland. The Swiss government and public health organisations can leverage these regional results to promote influenza vaccination among children for the coming seasons.

Autochthonous hepatitis E as a cause of acute-on-chronic liver failure and death: histopathology can be misleading but transaminases may provide a clue

Original article
Vieira Barbosa J, Müllhaupt B, Brunner F, Filipowicz Sinnreich M, Semela D, Montani M, Cathomas G, Neuweiler J, Gouttenoire J, Artru F, Louvet A, Mathurin P, Sempoux C, Lenggenhager D, Weber A, Moradpour D, Fraga M
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20502

Acute decompensation and death have been observed in patients with acute hepatitis E virus infection and preexisting liver cirrhosis. However, the clinical, laboratory and histological features need to be fully characterised.

Dynamic modelling to identify mitigation strategies for the COVID-19 pandemic

Original article
Gorji H, Arnoldini M, Jenny D, Hardt WD, Jenny P
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20487

Relevant pandemic-spread scenario simulations can provide guiding principles for containment and mitigation policies. The authors devised a compartmental model to predict the effectiveness of different mitigation strategies with a main focus on mass testing. The model suggests that testing strategies can be equally effective as social distancing, though at much lower economic costs.

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