NEWS SCAN: Mass hepatitis B testing, more Salmonella cases, shipboard norovirus outbreak

Jun 7, 2010

Hepatitis B cases linked to mass dental clinic prompt call for testing
Nearly 2,000 people who attended a free dental clinic in West Virginia last year have been urged to get hepatitis B tests after five people contracted the disease, according to state and county health officials. The cases were reported in November in two volunteers and three patients at the clinic, held in June 2009, Berkeley County, W.V., said health officials in a Jun 3 news release. The West Virginia Bureau for Public Health said notification letters are being sent to 1,137 patients and 826 volunteers. Investigation of the cases did not reveal any other common exposures, and lab studies suggested that four of the patients might have been infected by the same source, the statement said. Those who attended the clinic, held at Hedgesville High School, are also being advised to be tested for two other bloodborne infections, hepatitis C and HIV, though no cases have been reported. An extensive investigation of the outbreak by county, state, and federal officials has led to recommendations to improve infection control at future mass dental clinics, officials said. An Associated Press report said the state is expected to pay for most of the testing.
Jun 3 Berkeley County press release
Jun 3 West Virginia Bureau for Public Health FAQ statement

Case count in Illinois Salmonella outbreak rises to 48
Fourteen more cases of a rare type of Salmonella infection have been reported in people who ate at Subway restaurants in Illinois, bringing the total to 48, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said in a statement today. Subway restaurants in 18 counties have been implicated in the outbreak of Salmonella serotype Hvittingfoss, the statement said. No specific food source has been identified, and an investigation is continuing. Patients, 17 of whom were hospitalized, range from 3 to 88 years old; illnesses started between May 11 and 25. The IDPH is encouraging anyone who suffered gastrointestinal symptoms after eating at a Subway on or after May 10 to contact their healthcare provider or local health department.
Jun 7 IDPH update on Salmonella outbreak

Norovirus hits Seattle-based cruise ship
Nearly 100 people fell ill with norovirus infections on a 7-day Alaskan cruise aboard a Seattle-based ship, Seattle television station KING reported yesterday. Julie Benson, a spokeswoman for Princess Cruises, identified the outbreak as norovirus and said 96 passengers sought medical attention on the trip. The crew issued a "red level" alert, calling for the highest sanitary precautions, and asked sick passengers to stay in their cabins, Benson reported. After the passengers left the ship in Seattle, the crew gave themselves an extra 2 hours to clean the vessel before new passengers embarked. Benson said passengers probably unknowingly carried the virus onto the ship. Seattle-based longshoremen said they were notified of the outbreak and were wearing latex gloves.
Jun 6 KING-TV report

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