NEWS SCAN: Ebola vaccine, malaria alert, Salmonella in eggs

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May 21, 2010

Vaccine study shows broad protection against Ebola species
A trial of a vaccine against two known Ebola species can protect monkeys against a new strain that was identified in 2007, researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) reported in Public Library of Science (PLoS) Pathogens. The study involved a vaccine already in development at NIAID that consists of prime and boost components. The prime is a DNA vaccine that contains DNA material from surface proteins of Zaire and Sudan Ebola viruses, and the boost is a weakened cold virus that delivers Zaire ebola virus surface protein. In earlier trials, the vaccine provoked a strong antibody response as well as a robust T-cell reaction in monkeys. In the latest trial, four macaque monkeys received the DNA prime, then a year later received the boost. Shortly thereafter, researchers exposed the four monkeys and four controls to lethal doses of Bundibugyo Ebola virus. The four unvaccinated monkeys got sick and three died, but the vaccinated ones showed no signs of illness. Anthony Fauci, MD, director of NIAID, said in a press release that the finding may open the door to a single vaccine that is effective against known and emerging Ebola viruses.
May 20 PLoS Pathogens study
May 20 NIAID press release

WHO urges traveler caution for drug-resistant malaria areas
The World Health Organization (WHO) today updated its warning for travelers regarding the prevention and treatment of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The WHO said the 2008 confirmation of artemisinin-resistant parasites along the Cambodia-Thailand border and suspected presence in countries along the Mekong River have implications for travelers to the following areas: western Cambodia, Thai-Cambodia border areas, Thai-Myanmar border areas, eastern Myanmar, and Vietnam's Binh Phuc province. To prevent onward transmission of drug-resistant parasites in infected travelers, the WHO recommends that all malaria patients who traveled to those areas be promptly diagnosed and treated and that adding a single oral dose of primaquine can help speed the removal of gametocytes, preventing their spread to local Anopheles mosquitoes. The WHO warned that primaquine can induce severe hemolysis in patients who are glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficient and that the drug is contraindicated in pregnant women and young infants.
May 21 Weekly Epidemiological Record report

US eggs implicated in British Columbia Salmonella outbreak
Eggs imported from the United States into British Columbia and not meant for consumption may well be the source of the province's 3-year outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis, according to the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). And at least some of the cases may be linked to Vancouver restaurants' serving cracked or poor-quality eggs, according to the Vancouver Sun. British Columbia has reported more than 500 cases of Salmonella infection since 2008, and officials estimate that the actual number may be 13 to 37 times higher. Fourteen percent of cases have required hospitalization, but no deaths have been reported. Rates of Salmonella infection have increased 300% in that time, said epidemiologist Eleni Galanis. The eggs were imported by the poultry broiler industry, which hatches the eggs for meat production. But BCCDC and Vancouver and Fraser Valley public health officials discovered that eggs from the broiler industry as well as unwashed and uninspected eggs have entered the food system.

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