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Forty-five states permit religious exemptions to school immunization laws; 15 allow personal belief exemptions. Updated religious exemption estimates are lacking, and it is unclear if personal belief exemption availability impacts religious exemption rates. We aimed to (1) update religious exemption trends in kindergartners, (2) compare states’ proportions of kindergartners with religious exemptions by personal belief exemption availability, and (3) describe whether the proportion of kindergartners with religious exemptions changed in Vermont after it eliminated personal belief exemptions in 2016.METHODS:
We analyzed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on exemptions for children entering kindergarten from 2011 to 2018, including 295 state-years in our final analysis. Using a quasi-binomial regression analysis, we compared mean proportions of kindergartners with religious exemptions in states allowing both nonmedical exemptions against states with religious exemptions only, adjusting for policy strength and school year.RESULTS:
States with religious and personal belief exemptions were one-fourth as likely to have kindergartners with religious exemptions as states with religious exemptions only (risk ratio 0.25; 95% confidence interval 0.16–0.38). After Vermont’s policy change, the mean proportion of kindergartners with a religious exemption increased from 0.5% to 3.7%. States were significantly more likely to have kindergartners with religious exemptions during the 2017–2018 school year compared with the 2011–2012 school year (P = .04).CONCLUSIONS:
Religious exemption rates appear to be associated with personal belief exemption availability, may be subject to a replacement effect on personal belief exemption elimination, and are increasing. Researchers and policy makers should confirm findings with individual-level studies and reconsider the purpose and nature of religious exemption laws.
To investigate nonpowder firearm injuries treated in US emergency departments among children <18 years old.METHODS:
National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data from 1990 through 2016 were analyzed.RESULTS:
An estimated 364 133 (95% confidence interval 314 540–413 727) children <18 years old were treated in US emergency departments for injuries related to nonpowder firearms from 1990 to 2016, averaging 13 486 children annually. From 1990 to 2016, the number and rate of nonpowder firearm injuries decreased by 47.8% (P < .001) and 54.5% (P < .001), respectively. Most injuries occurred among 6- to 12-year-olds (47.4%) and 13- to 17-year-olds (47.0%). Boys accounted for 87.1% of injured children, the most common diagnosis was foreign body (46.3%), and 7.1% of children were admitted. BB guns accounted for 80.8% of injuries, followed by pellet guns (15.5%), paintball guns (3.0%), and airsoft guns (0.6%). The rate of eye injuries increased by 30.3% during the study period. Eye injuries accounted for 14.8% of all injuries and the most common diagnoses were corneal abrasion (35.1%), hyphema (12.5%), globe rupture (10.4%), and foreign body (8.6%).CONCLUSIONS:
Although the number and rate of nonpowder firearm injuries declined during the study period, nonpowder firearms remain a frequent and important source of preventable and often serious injury to children. The severity and increasing rate of eye injuries related to nonpowder firearms is especially concerning. Increased prevention efforts are needed in the form of stricter and more consistent safety legislation at the state level, as well as child and parental education regarding proper supervision, firearm handling, and use of protective eyewear.
Neonatal tick bites place infants at risk for acquiring infections that have rarely or never been documented in this age group. We describe 2 rare cases of tickborne infection in neonates. The first patient presented with multiple erythema migrans and fever, leading to a diagnosis of early disseminated Lyme disease. The second patient presented with irritability, fever, and worsening anemia due to babesiosis. Both infants had been bitten by arthropods fitting the description of ticks before the onset of symptoms. Our cases demonstrate the clinical course of 2 common tickborne infections occurring at an atypical age, opening the door to new, complex questions for which little guiding data exists. As tickborne infections become more prevalent, we expect other clinicians will be faced with similarly challenging neonatal cases. Providers must use past experience and a keen eye to identify neonates with tickborne infections and sort through their optimal diagnosis and management. In this article, we raise some of the questions we faced and discuss our conclusions.
Ondansetron is an effective antiemetic employed to prevent vomiting in children with gastroenteritis in high-income countries; data from low- and middle-income countries are sparse.METHODS:
We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled superiority trial in 2 pediatric emergency departments in Pakistan. Dehydrated children aged 6 to 60 months with ≥1 diarrheal (ie, loose or liquid) stool and ≥1 vomiting episode within the preceding 4 hours were eligible to participate. Participants received a single weight-based dose of oral ondansetron (8–15 kg: 2 mg; >15 kg: 4 mg) or identical placebo. The primary outcome was intravenous administration of ≥20 mL/kg over 4 hours of an isotonic fluid within 72 hours of random assignment.RESULTS:
All 918 (100%) randomly assigned children completed follow-up. Intravenous rehydration was administered to 14.7% (68 of 462) and 19.5% (89 of 456) of those administered ondansetron and placebo, respectively (difference: –4.8%; 95% confidence interval [CI], –9.7% to 0.0%). In multivariable logistic regression analysis adjusted for other antiemetic agents, antibiotics, zinc, and the number of vomiting episodes in the preceding 24 hours, children administered ondansetron had lower odds of the primary outcome (odds ratio: 0.70; 95% CI, 0.49 to 1.00). Fewer children in the ondansetron, relative to the placebo group vomited during the observation period (difference: –12.9%; 95% CI, –18.0% to –7.8%). The median number of vomiting episodes (P < .001) was lower in the ondansetron group.CONCLUSIONS:
Among children with gastroenteritis-associated vomiting and dehydration, oral ondansetron administration reduced vomiting and intravenous rehydration use. Ondansetron use may be considered to promote oral rehydration therapy success among dehydrated children in low- and middle-income countries.
Coronary artery aneurysms (CAAs) are a well-known complication of Kawasaki disease (KD), but there are no data on incidence or outcomes of systemic artery aneurysms (SAAs) in the current era.METHODS:
From April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2019, we screened for SAAs in 162 patients with KD at risk for SAAs with magnetic resonance angiography or peripheral angiography and analyzed incidence and early outcomes of SAAs.RESULTS:
Twenty-three patients had SAAs, demonstrating an incidence of 14.2% (23 of 162) in patients who were screened at 1 month after onset. The proportion of patients with SAAs was estimated to be 2% (23 of 1148) of all patients with KD. The median age at onset of KD with SAAs was 5 months. All patients with SAAs had CAAs, with z scores >8. Of patients with giant CAAs, 38.6% (17 of 44) had SAAs. A total of 129 SAAs occurred in 17 different named arteries. The most common sites for SAAs were the axillary (18.6%), common iliac (12.4%), and brachial (11.6%) arteries. During a median follow-up time of 6 months, 92.9% (79 of 85) of SAAs had some degree of regression, with 80% (68 of 85) of SAAs returning to normal. The overall regression rate was higher for medium to large SAAs than for medium to giant CAAs.CONCLUSIONS:
Although the incidence of SAAs may not be as dramatically reduced as we expected compared with previous data, SAAs have a high regression rate during short-term follow-up.
The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) certifies that general and subspecialty pediatricians meet standards of excellence established by their peers, immediately after training and over the course of their careers (ie, Maintenance of Certification [MOC]). In 2015–2016, the ABP developed the Maintenance of Certification Assessment for Pediatrics (MOCA-Peds) as an alternative assessment to the current proctored, closed-book general pediatrics (GP) MOC examination. This article is 1 of a 2-part series examining results from the MOCA-Peds pilot in 2017.METHODS:
We conducted quantitative and qualitative analyses with 5081 eligible pediatricians who registered to participate in the 2017 pilot; 81.4% (n = 4016) completed a quarter 4 survey and/or end-of-year survey (January 2018) and comprise the analytic sample.RESULTS:
The majority of pediatricians considered the MOCA-Peds to be feasible and acceptable as an alternative to the proctored MOC GP examination. More than 90% of respondents indicated they would participate in the proposed MOCA-Peds model instead of the examination. Participants also offered recommendations to improve the MOCA-Peds (eg, enhanced focus of questions on outpatient GP, references provided before taking questions); the ABP is carefully considering these as the MOCA-Peds is further refined.CONCLUSIONS:
Pilot participant feedback in 2017 suggested that the MOCA-Peds could be implemented for GP starting in January 2019, with all 15 subspecialties launched by 2022. Current and future evaluations will continue to explore feasibility, acceptability, and learning and practice change as well as sustainability of participation.
This article is the second of a 2-part series examining results regarding self-reported learning and practice change from the American Board of Pediatrics 2017 pilot of an alternative to the proctored, continuing certification examination, termed the Maintenance of Certification Assessment for Pediatrics (MOCA-Peds). Because of its design, MOCA-Peds has several learning advantages compared with the proctored examination.METHODS:
Quantitative and qualitative analyses with 5081 eligible pediatricians who registered to participate in the 2017 pilot; 81.4% (n = 4016) completed a quarter 4 survey and/or the end-of-year survey (January 2018) and compose the analytic sample.RESULTS:
Nearly all (97.6%) participating pediatricians said they had learned, refreshed, or enhanced their medical knowledge, and of those, 62.0% had made a practice change related to pilot participation. Differences were noted on the basis of subspecialty status, with 68.9% of general pediatricians having made a practice change compared with 41.4% of subspecialists. Within the 1456 open-ended responses about participants’ most significant practice change, responses ranged widely, including both medical care content (eg, "care for corneal abrasions altered," "better inform patients about. . .flu vaccine") and nonspecific content (eg, providing better patient education, using evidence-based medicine, increased use of resources in regular practice).CONCLUSIONS:
As a proctored examination alternative, MOCA-Peds positively influenced self-reported learning and practice change. In future evaluation of MOCA-Peds and other medical longitudinal assessments, researchers should study ways to further encourage learning and practice change and sustainability.
Lower weight has historically been equated with more severe illness in anorexia nervosa (AN). Reliance on admission weight to guide clinical concern is challenged by the rise in patients with atypical anorexia nervosa (AAN) requiring hospitalization at normal weight.METHODS:
We examined weight history and illness severity in 12- to 24-year-olds with AN (n = 66) and AAN (n = 50) in a randomized clinical trial, the Study of Refeeding to Optimize Inpatient Gains (www.clinicaltrials.gov; NCT02488109). Amount of weight loss was the difference between the highest historical percentage median BMI and admission; rate was the amount divided by duration (months). Unpaired t tests compared AAN and AN; multiple variable regressions examined associations between weight history variables and markers of illness severity at admission. Stepwise regression examined the explanatory value of weight and menstrual history on selected markers.RESULTS:
Participants were 16.5 ± 2.6 years old, and 91% were of female sex. Groups did not differ by weight history or admission heart rate (HR). Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire global scores were higher in AAN (mean 3.80 [SD 1.66] vs mean 3.00 [SD 1.66]; P = .02). Independent of admission weight, lower HR (β = –0.492 [confidence interval (CI) –0.883 to –0.100]; P = .01) was associated with faster loss; lower serum phosphorus was associated with a greater amount (β = –0.005 [CI –0.010 to 0.000]; P = .04) and longer duration (β = –0.011 [CI –0.017 to 0.005]; P = .001). Weight and menstrual history explained 28% of the variance in HR and 36% of the variance in serum phosphorus.CONCLUSIONS:
Weight history was independently associated with markers of malnutrition in inpatients with restrictive eating disorders across a range of body weights and should be considered when assessing illness severity on hospital admission.
In our state-of-the-art review, we summarize the best-available evidence for the optimal emergency department management of children with minor blunt head trauma. Minor blunt head trauma in children is a common reason for emergency department evaluation, although clinically important traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) as a result are uncommon. Cranial computed tomography (CT) scanning is the reference standard for the diagnosis of TBIs, although they should be used judiciously because of the risk of lethal malignancy from ionizing radiation exposure, with the greatest risk to the youngest children. Available TBI prediction rules can assist with CT decision-making by identifying patients at either low risk for TBI, for whom CT scans may safely be obviated, or at high risk, for whom CT scans may be indicated. For clinical prediction rules to change practice, however, they require active implementation. Observation before CT decision-making in selected patients may further reduce CT rates without missing children with clinically important TBIs. Future work is also needed to incorporate patient and family preferences into these decision-making algorithms when the course of action is not clear.
In this study, we aimed to contrast the bacteriologic epidemiology of osteoarticular infections (OAIs) between 2 patient groups in successive 10-year periods, before and after the extensive use of nucleic acid amplification assays in the diagnostic process.METHODS:
Epidemiologic data and bacteriologic etiologies of all children presenting with OAIs on admission to our institution over 20 years (1997–2016) were assessed retrospectively. The population was divided into 2 cohorts, using the standardized use of polymerase chain reaction as the cutoff point (2007). The conventional cohort included children with OAIs mainly investigated by using classic cultures, whereas the molecular cohort referred to patients also investigated by using molecular assays.RESULTS:
Kingella kingae was the most frequently isolated pathogen, responsible for 51% of OAIs, whereas other classic pathogens were responsible for 39.7% of cases in the molecular cohort. A statistically significant increase in the mean incidence of OAIs was observed, as was a decrease in the mean age at diagnosis after 2007. After 2007, the pathogen remained unidentified in 21.6% of OAIs in our pediatric population.CONCLUSIONS:
Extensive use of nucleic acid amplification assays improved the detection of fastidious pathogens and has increased the observed incidence of OAI, especially in children aged between 6 and 48 months. We propose the incorporation of polymerase chain reaction assays into modern diagnostic algorithms for OAIs to better identify the bacteriologic etiology of OAIs.
The live-attenuated varicella vaccine, a routine immunization in the United States since 1995, is both safe and effective. Like wild-type varicella-zoster virus, however, vaccine Oka (vOka) varicella can establish latency and reactivate as herpes zoster, rarely leading to serious disease, particularly among immunocompromised hosts. Previous cases of reactivated vOka resulting in meningitis have been described in young children who received a single dose of varicella vaccine; less is known about vOka reactivation in older children after the 2-dose vaccine series. We present 2 adolescents with reactivated vOka meningitis, 1 immunocompetent and 1 immunocompromised, both of whom received 2 doses of varicella vaccine many years before as children. Pediatricians should be aware of the potential of vOka varicella to reactivate and cause clinically significant central nervous system disease in vaccinated children and adolescents.