News in brief: Haemophilus colonisation concern for children with CF; Autoantibody test for IIM-ILD diagnosis; Doctors turn to drink to relieve pandemic distress


Autoantibody test could help support IIM-ILD diagnosis

A myositis autoantibody- (MA) detection assay could help clinicians identify idiopathic inflammatory myositis-associated interstitial lung disease (IIM-ILD), an Australian study has shown.

The study evaluated the MA line immunoblot assay’s (LIA) ability to help diagnose IIM-ILD in 247 ILD patients.

It found MAs were present in 13.8% of patients overall and 83.3% of IIM-ILD patients and that a signal intensity >10 had the greatest discriminative capacity for IIM-ILD (area under the curve: 0.96), the authors wrote in Respiratory Medicine.

Combined with clinico-radiological features, such as age, gender and an overlap non-specific interstitial pneumonia/organising pneumonia pattern on high-resolution CT, MA-LIA can help support an IIM-ILD diagnosis as a complement to multi-disciplinary ILD assessment, the authors concluded.


Haemophilus colonisation concern for children with CF

The lungs of children with cystic fibrosis (CF) have high rates of H. parainfluenzae colonisation, which may promote the colonisation of more pathogenic species such as H. influenzae, Australian research shows.

A study of 147 children aged ≤12 years enrolled in the Australian Respiratory Early Surveillance Team for Cystic Fibrosis (AREST CF) program, in Melbourne, found that more than 80% had at least one Haemophilus culture-positive respiratory sample during the 1-year period of study, with a point prevalence of 4.6% for H. influenzae and 32.1% for H. parainfluenzae.

Rates of repeat colonisation and antimicrobial resistance were above 50% for H. parainfluenzae, leading researchers to conclude that it could serve as a reservoir for the emergence and spread of resistance to H. influenzae.

Knowledge of the early lung colonisation by these Haemophilus species could help inform antibiotic treatment strategies for children with CF, the Monash University study investigators said.


Doctors hit the bottle to relieve pandemic distress

Alcohol is one of the main coping strategies used by Australian healthcare workers in response to the pandemic, a national survey has revealed.

Conducted in September 2020, the survey on wellbeing and coping strategies elicited responses from 7846 frontline healthcare workers including more than 2400 medical staff, and showed that over a quarter (26.3%) reported increased alcohol use.

The most commonly reported adaptive coping strategies were exercise (45%), social connections (32%) and yoga or meditation (26%), whereas few used workplace support programs (6%) or sought help from a doctor or psychologist (18%).

Use of alcohol was associated with poor mental health and worse personal relationships, the study found.

The study investigators said the widespread use of maladaptive coping strategies by healthcare workers during the second wave highlighted an urgent need to improve access and uptake of professional support services for psychological distress.

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