August Arthritis News Roundup

The Arthritis Foundation is your trusted source for information, and we’re staying on top of the latest arthritis-related news that could affect you. Here’s what you need to know about some of the headlines from this past month.

CDC Clarifies Media Reports Regarding Updated COVID-19 Isolation Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a statement about updated COVID-19 isolation guidance. The statement released on August 14 made three important clarifications:

  • A person can continue to test positive for the SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) up to three months after diagnosis and not be infectious to others
  • A person is not immune to reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 in the three months following infection
  • Retesting someone in the three months following initial infection is not necessary unless that person is exhibiting the symptoms of COVID-19 and the symptoms cannot be associated with another illness.

A person with COVID-19 should remain isolated for at least 10 days after symptom onset and until 24 hours after their fever subsides without the use of fever-reducing medications.

 CDC Issues Flu Vaccine Guidelines for 2020-2021 Season

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues seasonal flu vaccine guidelines. The CDC advises all persons 6 months and older to receive the influenza vaccine for the impending 2020-2021 flu season. The CDC claims doing so will help reduce the presence of symptoms that could be confused with COVID-19 and lower demands on the country’s health care system. Contraindications and precautions are included in the updated guidelines for those who are immunocompromised, either due to chronic conditions or medications, as well as those who are 65 or older. For more, read the full guidelines.

Effectiveness of Masks Depends on Type of Covering

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls on Americans to wear masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, along with other safety measures such as social/physical distancing and frequently washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. However, the effectiveness of masks continues to cause debate in many communities. A new study just released reports the effectiveness of cloth masks depends on the type of covering used. Read more about these results.

Number of COVID-19 Child Cases on the Rise

The number of reported COVID-19 cases among children in the United States has increased 6.8% over the previous week to over 400,000 cases, based on a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. The rise in cases of COVID-19 in children comes at a time when many states are going back to school.

Listen to the Live Yes! With Arthritis Podcast episode: Back to School & College During COVID-19 for more information and tips to keep your child and you safe. The Arthritis Foundation also has information on employee rights and COVID-19 and a webinar series to learn about navigating the new normal during the pandemic.

New Study Adds to Evidence That Cells in the Nose Are a Key Entry Point for SARS-CoV-2.

Loss of smell has been indicated as one of the symptoms of COVID-19 and a new research study supports the evidence that odor-sensing cells in the upper nose may play a role in developing SARS-CoV-2. Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine report this evidence could help lead to treatments that target these specific cells in the nose with either a topical antiviral drug or other therapies applied directly to the area.

Recent Study Shows Combination Therapy Quells COVID-19 Cytokine Storm

A treatment strategy for when COVID-19 patients develop a complication referred to as “cytokine storm syndrome (CSS)” involves the use of common drugs used to treat arthritis and rheumatic diseases. A high-dose of glucocorticoids ― followed by a disease-modifying biologic drug ― has been shown to improve the patient’s respiratory recovery, lower hospital mortality and reduce the need for a ventilator, compared to only providing supportive care. Read more about this combination therapy and how it has improved patient outcomes. The study’s researchers tapped the expertise of rheumatologists because of their knowledge of immunosuppressive treatment.

For the latest developments on COVID-19 and how it impacts you, visit the Arthritis Foundation’s Care & Connect resource center.

 NSAID Continuation Linked to Less Knee OA Pain

A new study shows that continued use of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) meloxicam was associated with less reported osteoarthritis (OA) pain after four weeks. The goal of the trial was to determine if stopping NSAIDs and starting a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program would be more beneficial than just continuing with NSAIDs only in patients with knee OA. The researchers claim that although their hypothesis was not proven, the results provide data for doctors to use shared-decision making strategies with patients to reassure those willing to taper off NSAIDs to try more self-management approaches, such as CBT.

RA Patients Show Lower Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) showed a decreased risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) as compared to patients with hypertension, psoriatic arthritis (PsA), or osteoarthritis (OA), as well as the general population without RA. Learn more about why researchers think the use of biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug treatments in RA may be decreasing the risk of diabetes.

FDA Approves New Drug for Rare Autoimmune Condition Associated with RA and Lupus

The FDA has approved a new treatment for the rare autoimmune condition, Devic’s disease, also known as neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). This chronic condition is associated with blindness and paralysis and often coexists with other rheumatic conditions, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It primarily affects the central nervous system ― specifically inflammation of optic nerves and the spinal cord.

 

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