NEWS SCAN: Pertussis outside California, economics of emerging diseases

Jul 26, 2010

Other areas report rising pertussis cases
With pertussis cases threatening to reach a 50-year high in California, a few other parts of the country have also reported increases in cases, according to media reports. Idaho has received reports of 77 cases so far, about twice its yearly average, Cynthia Taggart, public information officer from the Panhandle Health District, told Oregon Public Broadcasting. She said officials aren't sure what is causing the spike in cases, which rise and fall from year to year. She recommended tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine boosters for children ages 11 and 12 and for adults who have contact with children. Elsewhere, Fairfield Medical Center, based in Lancaster, Ohio, recently said it has observed an increase in the number of pertussis cases in the community. So far the hospital's infection control department has detected 36 cases this year, which it says represents a significant increase from the 24 cases it identified during all of 2009. Dr Andrew Murry, an infectious disease physician at the hospital, said in a statement that the pattern was worrying and that clinicians don't usually see a summer spike in pertussis. Because of the case numbers, Ohio has changed its immunization law to require Tdap vaccine boosters for all students entering 7th grade for the 2010-2011 school year. Earlier this month, amid rising numbers of pertussis cases in California that officials have attributed to gaps in vaccine coverage, the state's health department expanded its Tdap recommendations to include an adolescent-adult Tdap booster for anyone age 7 or older who is not fully immunized. As of mid July California had confirmed nearly 1,500 pertussis cases.
Jul 22 Oregon Public Broadcasting story

FAO warns about economic impact of emerging diseases
Nations could save billions of dollars by boosting the prevention and control of high-impact animal diseases, including those that pose a threat to human health, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a statement today. Recent disease outbreaks, such as H5N1 avian influenza, pandemic H1N1, foot-and-mouth disease, and Rift Valley fever have damaged people's livelihood, the FAO said. For example, it estimated that the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in the United Kingdom cost the public and private sector between $25 billion and $30 billion. The price tag for the 2002-2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) for affected countries was $30 billion to $50 billion. "We are expecting the costs to human, animal and plant health of these pathogens, and their overall economic costs, to rise substantially over the next decades" Juan Lubroth, the FAO's Chief Veterinary Officer, said in the statement, alluding to emerging disease threats from increased urbanization and the growing urban demand for more meat, milk, and eggs. The FAO said farming operations are increasingly located closer to natural habitats, which put domestic animals in closer contact with wildlife. "The threats are very real. Deadly and economically devastating livestock epidemics have existed throughout history but there is no doubt that more pathogens are emerging—and spreading," Lubroth said. "The good news is, with the right policies, they can be better detected and contained." The FAO is pressing donors to target funding to its 5-year "One Health" initiative, a program that is working to prevent the emergence and reemergence of infectious diseases in vulnerable regions of the world.
Jul 26 FAO statement

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