May 27, 2009
Egypt reports H5N1 in two more children
Egypt's health ministry, in a statement to the country's news agency, yesterday reported two more H5N1 avian influenza infections, both in 4-year-old children, Reuters reported. The boy and girl live in different parts of Sharkiya governorate and reportedly got sick after having contact with infected birds. If the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the cases, they will bring Egypt's case count to 76, of which 27 were fatal.
[May 26 Reuters story]
New H5N1 outbreaks strike five Egyptian governorates
Animal health officials in Egypt have detected six more H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks since May 12, according to reports from Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response (SAIDR). Two of the outbreaks—one in Sharkiya governorate and one in Sohag governorate—were confirmed in conjunction with nearby human cases. The virus also hit two poultry farms in Qalyoubia governorate, backyard birds in Port Said governorate, and household birds in Giza governorate. Half of the latest outbreaks occurred in vaccinated birds.
Mongolia reports H5N1 in wild swans
Public health officials in Mongolia on May 25 announced that H5N1 was detected in wild swans that were found dead in Ogii Nuur lake in the west central part of the country, according to a report in Chinese from Xinhua that was translated and posted on ProMed-mail, the Internet-based reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases. The governor of Arkhangai province, where the lake is located, ordered the outbreak areas closed.
[May 27 ProMed post]
Afghanistan says political conflict will stall polio eradication
Afghanistan voiced new concerns over political instability in bordering regions of Pakistan that could derail polio eradication efforts in both of the countries, according to a May 25 government statement that appeared on ReliefWeb, an information portal hosted by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Afghanistan said the two countries have synchronized their eradication efforts since 2000, but predicted that growing instability in Pakistan's North West Frontier province and tribal areas will impair immunization activities in the region. The Afghani government said it worries that refugees entering the country from Pakistan will bring the virus with them.
FDA rules aim to block E coli in bottled water
The US Food and Drug Administration recently issued final rules that require companies to take additional measures to prevent Escherichia coli contamination in bottled water. The rules, published May 21, take effect Dec 1 and require bottled water manufacturers to test source water and finished products for total coliform and to determine if any of the organisms are E coli. The new regulation stipulates that E coli is an adulterant in bottled water.
WHO: funding shortfalls threaten yellow fever vaccine stockpile
The WHO yesterday warned that the global stockpile of yellow fever vaccine will be depleted in 2010 and that there is no funding stream to replenish it. Only 5 of Africa's 12 most vulnerable countries have been targeted by the vaccine efforts, and the WHO said that without renewed resources for the vaccine, countries that haven't been reached by immunization campaigns would be unfairly burdened by the disease. The group pointed out that campaigns in Togo, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Cameroon have put a stop to outbreaks of the mosquito-borne virus that leads to 206,000 illnesses and 52,000 deaths each year. A WHO official said the global economic downturn has hampered funding efforts.