NEWS SCAN: E coli outbreak update, polio in Congo

Nov 29, 2010

CDC links one more illness to tainted Gouda
One more person has been sickened in an Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to a California company's Gouda cheese, raising the total to 38, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a Nov 24 update. The latest case reported to the CDC appears to be a patient from Colorado. No new hospitalizations or instances of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially fatal kidney complication, have been reported, and those totals stand at 15 and 1, respectively. The CDC said it and state health partners are conducting surveillance for additional cases and that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state officials are continuing an investigation of Bravo Farms, maker of the tainted Gouda, which was sold in some Costco stores. California tests on the company's other cheese varieties found Listeria monocytogenes, which prompted Bravo Farms to expand its Gouda recall to include the rest of its cheeses, mainly cheddar varieties, on Nov 23. The following day Whole Foods Market announced that the some of the cheeses it sells in five western states are part of the expanded recall. The cheeses were cut, packaged in clear plastic wrap, and labeled with a "Distributed by Whole Foods Market" sticker. Varieties of the recalled cheese sold by Whole Foods Market include Sage Cheddar, Silver Mountain Cheddar, Chipotle Cheddar, Premium Block Cheddar, Premium White Chunk Cheddar, Chipotle Chunk Cheddar, and White Black Wax Cheddar.
Nov 24 CDC update
Nov 24 FDA recall notice

Polio cases in Congo climb past 400 as fatality rate tops 40%
A polio outbreak in Congo that started in October has now affected at least 409 people, 169 (41.3%) of whom have died, according to a recent Eurosurveillance report. The outbreak has primarily affect Pointe-Noire, the country's second-largest city, but has spread to several outlying towns and villages. The report said direct contact between case-patients has been rare, there is no apparent spatial pattern, and there is no evidence of a common source such as food or water. In most hospitalized patients, the disease began with flu-like symptoms for 4 to 7 days, followed by acute flaccid paralysis that often led rapidly to death from cardiac or respiratory failure or both. It says preliminary sequencing implicates a wild-type poliovirus (WPV). The report states, "The large number of severe cases and the high case fatality rate contrast sharply with previous WPV outbreaks and point to a role of unknown viral/host features or to the existence of massive numbers of mild and therefore unreported additional cases." A campaign to vaccinate 1.7 million people is under way. The last official report from the World Health Organization on the outbreak, on Nov 9, listed 184 cases.
Nov 25 Eurosurveillance report

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