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Despite children’s unique vulnerability, clinical guidance and resources are lacking around the use of radiation medical countermeasures (MCMs) available commercially and in the Strategic National Stockpile to support immediate dispensing to pediatric populations. To better understand the current capabilities and shortfalls, a literature review and gap analysis were performed.
A comprehensive review of the medical literature, Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved labeling, FDA summary reviews, medical references, and educational resources related to pediatric radiation MCMs was performed from May 2016 to February 2017.
Fifteen gaps related to the use of radiation MCMs in children were identified. The need to address these gaps was prioritized based upon the potential to decrease morbidity and mortality, improve clinical management, strengthen caregiver education, and increase the relevant evidence base.
Key gaps exist in information to support the safe and successful use of MCMs in children during radiation emergencies; failure to address these gaps could have negative consequences for families and communities. There is a clear need for pediatric-specific guidance to ensure clinicians can appropriately identify, triage, and treat children who have been exposed to radiation, and for resources to ensure accurate communication about the safety and utility of radiation MCMs for children. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:639-646)
The study’s purpose was to investigate readiness for an increase in the congenital Zika infection (CZI) by describing the distribution of pediatric subspecialists needed for the care of children with CZI.
We applied county-level subspecialist counts to US maps, overlaying the geocoded locations of children’s hospitals to assess the correlation of hospital and subspecialist locations. We calculated travel distance from census tract centroids to the nearest in-state children’s hospital by state (with/without > 100 reported adult Zika virus cases) and by regions corresponding to the likely local Zika virus transmission area and to the full range of the mosquito vector. Travel distance percentiles reflect the population of children < 5 years old.
Overall, 95% of pediatric subspecialists across the United States are located in the same county or neighboring county as a children’s hospital. In the states where Zika virus transmission is likely, 25% of children must travel more than 50 miles for subspecialty care; in one state, 50% of children must travel > 100 miles.
The travel distance to pediatric subspecialty care varies widely by state and is likely to be an access barrier in some areas, particularly states bordering the Gulf of Mexico, which may have increasing numbers of CZI cases. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:476-486)
Preparing and responding to the needs of children during public health emergencies continues to be challenging. The purpose of this study was to assess the usefulness of a tabletop exercise in initiating pediatric preparedness strategies and assessing the impact of the exercise on participants’ understanding of and confidence in their roles during pediatric public health emergencies.
A tabletop exercise was developed to simulate a public health emergency scenario involving smallpox in a child, with subsequent spread to multiple states. During the exercise, participants discussed and developed communication, collaboration, and medical countermeasure strategies to enhance pediatric public health preparedness. Exercise evaluation was designed to assess participants’ knowledge gained and level of confidence surrounding pediatric public health emergencies.
In total, 22 participants identified over 100 communication and collaboration strategies to promote pediatric public health preparedness during the exercise and found that the most beneficial aspect during the exercise was the partnership between pediatricians and public health officials. Participants’ knowledge and level of confidence surrounding a pediatric public health emergency increased after the exercise.
The tabletop exercise was effective in identifying strategies to improve pediatric public health preparedness as well as enhancing participants’ knowledge and confidence surrounding a potential pediatric public health emergency. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:582–586)
To assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of infection control among staff in a residential care facility for children and young adults with neurologic and neurodevelopmental conditions.
Residential care facility (facility A).
Facility A staff (N = 200).
We distributed a survey to staff at facility A. We classified staff with direct care responsibilities as clinical (ie, physicians, nurses, and therapists) or nonclinical (ie, habilitation assistants, volunteers, and teachers) and used X2 tests to measure differences between staff agreement to questions.
Of 248 surveys distributed, 200 (81%) were completed; median respondent age was 36 years; 85% were female; and 151 were direct care staff (50 clinical, 101 nonclinical). Among direct care staff respondents, 86% agreed they could identify residents with respiratory symptoms, 70% stayed home from work when ill with respiratory infection, 64% agreed that facility administration encouraged them to stay home when ill with respiratory infection, and 72% reported that ill residents with respiratory infections were separated from well residents. Clinical and nonclinical staff differed in agreement about using waterless hand gel as a substitute for handwashing (96% vs 78%; P = .005) and whether handwashing was done after touching residents (92% vs 75%; P = .04).
Respondents' knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding infection control could be improved, especially among nonclinical staff. Facilities caring for children and young adults with neurologic and neurodevelopmental conditions should encourage adherence to infection control best practices among all staff having direct contact with residents.