NEWS SCAN: MRSA in ICUs, workers at risk for avian flu, outbreak linked to raw milk

Mar 26, 2010

Community MRSA spreading in hospital ICUs
Six percent of 1,674 children admitted to the Johns Hopkins Hospital pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) over 15 months were colonized with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and 61% of those isolates were community rather than hospital strains. Faculty from the hospital's infection control and pediatric infectious diseases teams report in Emerging Infectious Diseases that the colonizations were identified because the hospital had begun admission screening for the PICU; otherwise, they say, 60% of the colonizations would not have been identified. Four children who were MRSA-free on admission to the PICU subsequently developed invasive MRSA infections. Community MRSA strains, which previously flourished only outside hospitals, are now moving into healthcare institutions and are becoming endemic in PICUs, the authors say.
April EID study

Testers, cullers at highest risk in avian-flu control
Data from a 2003 outbreak of avian influenza H7N7 in the Netherlands show that people who screened birds for infection and those who killed infected birds had the highest risks of becoming infected with the virus. Researchers from several Dutch institutions and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control report in the Journal of Infectious Diseases that people who disinfected the farms or helped manage biosecurity and containment were at much lower risk. The Netherlands outbreak involved 255 poultry flocks and led to the culling of 30 million birds. More than 450 people reported illnesses afterward, mostly conjunctivitis, and one veterinarian died.
Mar 23 J Infect Dis study

FDA: Campylobacteriosis outbreak linked to raw milk
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and several state health departments warned consumers today about a campylobacteriosis outbreak linked to drinking raw milk, according to an FDA press release. Twelve illnesses have so far been confirmed in Michigan, where the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) reported that the sick patients drank raw milk that came from Forest Grove Dairy in Middlebury, Ind. Symptoms of campylobacteriosis include diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever. Raw milk from animals such as cows, sheep, and goats may contain a variety of harmful bacteria, and public health officials for decades have warned of the hazards of drinking it. Since 1987 the FDA has required pasteurization of milk packaged for human consumption for interstate commerce. Raw-milk proponents claim the product is inherently antimicrobial and is more nutritious than pasteurized milk, but the FDA maintains there is no meaningful nutritional difference and raw milk contains nothing to kill bacteria. From 1998 to 2008 the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received 85 reports of outbreaks linked to raw milk, which sickened 1,614 people, hospitalized 187, and killed 2.
Mar 26 FDA press release

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