NEWS SCAN: School mumps outbreak, norovirus in Chicago, C diff vaccine fast-tracked

Nov 10, 2010

Mumps outbreak hits Philadelphia boarding school
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) on Nov 8 issued a health advisory about a mumps outbreak in boys and young men at a tradition-observant Jewish boarding school on the city's west side. So far 18 cases have been reported. The PDPH said the index patient got sick in the middle of October, 16 days after visiting an out-of-state Yeshiva that had an ongoing mumps outbreak. The advisory reminded health providers about diagnostic, reporting, isolation, and vaccination procedures. In February the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on mumps outbreaks that had been occurring primarily in tradition-observant New Jersey and New York Jewish communities since June 2009. It said many of the cases were occurring in congregate settings, predominantly at boys' schools. Of the 1,518 case-patients reported at the time, about 75% had been fully vaccinated. The CDC said that though the effectiveness of the mumps component of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine was lower than the other two components, receiving the two recommended doses and adhering to other public health measures are still the best ways to prevent mumps outbreaks and limit their scope.
Nov 8 PDPH health advisory
Feb 12 Morbidity and Morality Weekly Report update

Chicago area schools hit by norovirus
Chicago-area schools are experiencing at least 125 cases of gastrointestinal disease, some of which has been linked to norovirus, according to an Associated Press (AP) story yesterday. Health officials have reported 25 separate clusters in suburban Cook County students, school staff, or family members, who have symptoms of a viral illness that include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever. Grade schools, high schools, and colleges have been affected. Tests have confirmed one cluster thus far to be caused by norovirus, with cases in the other clusters showing similar symptoms, according to the story.

C difficile vaccine on fast track for FDA approval
A Sanofi Aventis vaccine against Clostridium difficile, which causes half a million illnesses and thousands of deaths a year, often affecting hospitals and nursing homes, was granted fast-track status by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday, according to a Reuters article. The agency's decision to fast-track the vaccine is intended to ease the data-submission process for Sanofi and suggests that the FDA considers the vaccine a priority. The pathogen causes diarrhea, fever, and pain. , The nation has about 478,000 C difficile cases and more than 28,000 deaths a year, costing about $2.5 billion annually, and the toll has been increasing, according to the story. The vaccine is currently in phase 2 human trials.
Nov 9 Reuters article

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