Roundup: HPV-Linked Anal Cancer Rates Rise; Mosquito-borne Dengue Alert; and Slowing Myopia in Kids

HPV-Linked Anal Cancer Cases, Deaths Climb Dramatically 2001-2015, Study Says

Anal cancer diagnoses and deaths related to human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection, have increased significantly from 2001 to 2015, according to researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, is the first to analyze U.S. rates of squamous cell carcinoma of the anus, a type of anal cancer caused by HPV. More than 90 percent of cases of anal cancers are associated with HPV, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Researchers found that anal cancer diagnoses, particularly advanced stage disease, and anal cancer mortality rates had more than doubled for people in their 50s and 60s. The study also found that new diagnoses among African-American men born after the mid-1980s increased five-fold, compared to those born in the mid-1940s.

“Given the historical perception that anal cancer is rare, it is often neglected,” said Ashish A. Deshmukh, Ph.D., the study’s lead author and an assistant professor at UTHealth School of Public Health. “Our findings of the dramatic rise in incidence among black millennials and white women, rising rates of distant-stage disease, and increases in anal cancer mortality rates are very concerning.”

Anal cancer occurs where the gastrointestinal tract ends. It is different from colon or rectal cancer because of the cancer cell type and the location where they cells develop. In addition to HPV, there are other risk factors for anal cancer, including having had cervical or vulvar cancer, having received an organ transplant or being a current smoker.

Anal cancer is preventable through HPV vaccination. The CDC recommends two doses of the vaccine one year apart for children ages 11 to 12 in the U.S. Young adults up to age 26 can be vaccinated as well; three doses are recommended for people 15 and older. The HPV vaccine is most effective when given at younger ages, before a person is exposed to HPV. But the CDC says adults ages 27 through 45, who have not been adequately vaccinated, can make make a decision with their doctors about HPV vaccination.

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Another Mosquito-borne Dengue Fever Case Confirmed in Miami-Dade, Officials Say

The Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County said another confirmed case of locally transmitted dengue fever has been confirmed and reminded the public that the county remains under a mosquito-borne illness alert.

The latest cases brings this year’s total of dengue fever cases in Miami-Dade to 11.

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease that occurs in tropical and subtropical areas. Symptoms of dengue fever include severe headache (mostly behind the eyes), high fever, rash and severe muscle and joint pain. Although rare, severe cases can be life-threatening. The symptoms usually appear within 14 days of being bitten by an infected mosquito, and can last for up to a week.

Dengue is spread primarily by the aedes aegypti mosquito. “It bites during the day, whereas most mosquitos coming out at night. It only breeds around humans,” said Dr. William Petrie, director of Miami-Dade Mosquito Control. “It doesn’t breed in the bush or in trees or in the Everglades, it only breeds around human habitation. And it only bites humans.”

The Florida Health Department urges all residents to help stop mosquitoes from living and multiplying around their home or business. Everyone can take steps to protect themselves and family members from mosquito bites and the diseases they carry.

Remember to:

  • Drain standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.
  • Cover your skin with clothing and use mosquito repellent.
  • Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out.

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FDA Approves First Contact Lens to Slow Nearsightedness in Children

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it has approved the first contact lens that helps sllow the progression of myopia (nearsightedness) in children between the ages of 8 and 12 years old. The MiSight contact lens is a single use, disposable, soft contact lens that is discarded at the end of each day, and is not intended to be worn overnight, the FDA states.

“Today’s approval is the first FDA-approved product to slow the progression of myopia in children, which ultimately could mean a reduced risk of developing other eye problems,” said Malvina Eydelman, M.D., director of the FDA’s Office of Ophthalmic, Anesthesia, Respiratory, ENT and Dental Devices.

Myopia is the most common cause of impaired vision in people under age 40. In recent years, rates of myopia have grown at an alarming rates worldwide.

Myopia occurs when the eyeball is too long, in relation to the focusing power of the cornea and lens of the eye. This condition causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina, rather than directly on its surface. Myopia is common in children and tends to increase as they get older. If a person develops severe myopia as a child, they may be susceptible to other eye problems such as early cataracts or a detached retina during adulthood.

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