NEWS SCAN: E coli outbreak, flu shots in pregnancy, fighting H5N1 in Indonesia

Apr 29, 2010

New York case linked to Michigan-Ohio E coli outbreak
Public health officials in Erie County, New York, have confirmed that a case of foodborne illness is linked to the non-O157 Escherichia coli outbreak in Ohio and Michigan, the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported today. New York is also reviewing suspected cases and will issue a statewide alert to healthcare professionals. At least 12 people in Ohio and Michigan, including students from Ohio State University and the University of Michigan, have gotten sick from the same strain of E coli. All five confirmed Columbus cases have now been genetically linked to the outbreak in Michigan, said a Columbus health official, and eight other probable cases are being investigated. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is testing food samples to determine the source of the outbreak.
Apr 29 Columbus Dispatch story

Study: Flu shots in pregnancy may help protect newborns
Immunization during pregnancy results in protective antibody titers against influenza A vaccine subtypes in a high proportion of mothers and in their newborns up to 20 weeks of age, according to a letter in today's New England Journal of Medicine. The authors immunized 311 women in Bangladesh during their third trimester with seasonal trivalent inactivated flu vaccine. Serum samples were taken from the mothers before immunization and at delivery and from 292 of their infants at birth and at 10 and 20 to 26 weeks. Findings showed that at 10 weeks of age, 61% of the newborns had antibody titers of 1:40 or more against the A/New Caledonia (seasonal H1N1) subtype, and 93% had that level of antibody titers against A/Fujian (H3N2) subtype. The proportions with protective titers at 20 weeks were 18% and 46%, respectively—2 and 13 times the percentage of infant controls. Titers against the third flu subtype, B/Hong Kong, did not differ significantly from controls.
Apr 29 N Engl J Med letter

USAID wraps up 4-year H5N1 project in Indonesia
A 4-year program to reduce H5N1 avian flu transmission in tens of thousands of Indonesian villages with support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is winding down, though the agency's work will continue in the country though collaborations with other global partners, the US State Department said in an Apr 28 press release. At a conference in Jakarta yesterday to mark the end of the Community-Based Avian Influenza Control Project (USAID-CBAIC), mission director Walter North said the key to success was nurturing and creating new government, private, and industry partnerships. He added that community networks and large poultry firms can play an important role in encouraging risk-reduction efforts at the village level. USAID-CBAIC projects involved reaching 100 million people with public service announcements, mounting intensive prevention efforts in the highest-risk areas, and showing the poultry industry how biosecurity improvements can pay off.

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