News in brief: ACD launches Dermatology Australasia educational program; GP detected melanomas have different characteristics; Healthcare worker vaccination reduces COVID-19 transmission

Tuesday, 14 Sep 2021

ACD launches Dermatology Australasia educational program

The Australasian College of Dermatology has announced the official launch of an educational venture, Dermatology Australasia.

The program offers courses and workshops on skin cancer & dermatology care designed for GPs, GP registrars, prevocational doctors, and nurses. The Dermatology Australasia program is unique in being developed and taught by dermatologists of the Australasian College of Dermatologists.  The courses include a new 12-module Advanced Certificate in General Dermatology, as well as an Advanced Certificate in Dermatology and Skin Cancer and other courses covering specific areas such as dermoscopy, melanography and suture techniques.

Although financially supported by sponsorship, Dermatology Australasia  says its educational content is evidence-based and editorial independent, and sponsorship does not have any influence over the educational content provided.

GP detected melanomas have different characteristics

Melanomas detected in primary care have a higher proportion of lentiginous melanoma compared to dermatologist clinics, according to an analysis of 637 lesions treated by 27 GPs and documented on the Skin Cancer Audit Research Database (SCARD).

Most melanomas treated by GPs were in situ (65%), with a high incidence of lentiginous melanoma (38.8%) and 32% were naevus associated, with a propensity for the head and neck, most being in situ, the study led by Professor Cliff Rosendahl of the University of Queensland showed.

A novel finding of the study was that older patients had melanomas of larger diameter, with implications for dermatoscopic recognition, the study investigators said

The finding may reflect different growth patterns of melanoma at advanced age; delayed detection because older patients have less concern or poorer eyesight or differing clinician threshold for excision, they said.

Another novel finding was that superficial spreading melanoma was significantly more likely to be invasive on presentation than lentiginous melanoma (45% vs 13.8%), they wrote in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology.

Healthcare worker vaccination reduces COVID-19 transmission

In findings described reassuring for healthcare workers and their families, a UK study has provided evidence suggesting that COVID-19 vaccination of healthcare staff reduces transmission within their household.

Researchers in the UK evaluated data from almost 200,000 household members of 144,525 health care workers in Scotland who worked from March to November 2020.

At the time of the study, 78% of healthcare workers had received at least one dose of either Pfizer or the AstraZeneca vaccine, and 25% had received a second dose.

The analysis found that risk of COVID-19 among household members of vaccinated health care workers was 30% lower (Hazard Ratio 0.70) after the first dose and more than 50% lower (HR 0.46) after the second dose of vaccine.

The effect of vaccination may have been larger because the analysis did not cover risk of transmission from sources outside the household, the researchers wrote in NEJM.

“Given that vaccination reduces asymptomatic infection with SARS-CoV-2, it is plausible that vaccination reduces transmission,” said the researchers led by Dr Anoop Shah of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

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