NEWS SCAN: E coli strain in outbreak named, foot-and-mouth battle in South Korea, H5N1 in Indonesia

May 3, 2010

E coli strain in three-state outbreak identified, source not
The strain of non-O157 Escherichia coli that has caused recent illnesses in Ohio, Michigan, and New York has been identified, but the food source remains unknown, according to health officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified the strain as O145, which, like O157, produces Shiga toxin, according to Jennifer House, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Health. A CDC team arrived in Ohio yesterday to assist in the investigation, House told CIDRAP News. About 15 cases have been confirmed in the outbreak so far. House said Ohio has 6 confirmed, 2 probable, and 5 suspected cases, all in the Columbus area. In Ann Arbor, Mich., Washtenaw County Public Health has reported 8 confirmed cases, with 13 more awaiting confirmation. One case has been reported in New York. College students, including some from Ohio State and the University of Michigan, have been among the patients in all three states, according to press reports.

South Korea battles foot-and-mouth disease
South Korea is stepping up quarantine efforts after foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) struck a state livestock research institute and forced the culling of all the animals there, Agence France-Presse reported today. The highly contagious disease hit the Livestock and Veterinary Science Institute, 96 miles south of Seoul, leading to the destruction of 1,549 beef cattle and hogs. The outbreak there—the 10th FMD eruption in South Korea since Apr 9—prompted the establishment of more roadblocks and quarantine posts, the report said. The institute is close to areas that have major cattle farms. On a visit to the institute yesterday, Agriculture Minister Chang Tae-Pyong called for "all-out efforts" to contain the outbreak. About 49,000 animals have already been killed to contain the disease, and the government has paid farmers about $49 million in compensation so far this year. In 2001 a major FMD outbreak in Britain led to the destruction of 7 million cattle, crippling the nation's livestock industry.

Indonesian girl dies of H5N1 infection
A hospital official said a 4-year-old Indonesian girl has died from an H5N1 avian influenza infection, Reuters reported today. The girl, from Pekanbaru, Sumatra, died on Apr 28, Azizman Saad, head of the avian flu unit at Pekanbaru's Arifin Achmad Hospital, told Reuters. If her illness is confirmed by the World Health Organization, she will be listed as Indonesia's 164th H5N1 case-patient and 136th fatality. Saad said three other people from an area northeast of Pekanbaru have been hospitalized with suspected H5N1 infections. The patients did not have contact with the girl who died, but came down with high fevers after they touched dead chickens. He said mass poultry deaths had been reported in the area. The suspected cases are in a mother, her 7-year-old child, and a 5-year-old girl from the same district. They were hospitalized on Apr 30, and hospital officials are awaiting the results of H5N1 tests, Saad said.

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