NEWS SCAN: Dengue vaccine demand, steamed N-95s, measles in travelers, bearded dragons and Salmonella

Apr 18, 2011

Demand for first dengue vaccine likely to exceed supply
Health experts predict that when the first dengue virus vaccine becomes available, possibly by 2015, demand for it will far exceed the supply, according to a report from the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), the news service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Sanofi Pasteur is likely to bring the first vaccine to market, possibly in 2015, the story said. Estimates are that 300 million to 400 million people will want the vaccine, which is too much demand for one manufacturer. "Unless someone pops up with something fantastic, they [Sanofi] will be the soul producer for a few years. Capacity will be limited and we will not be able to reach everyone," said Luiz Jacintho Da Silva, director of the South Korea–based International Vaccine Institute. Dengue is the most common mosquito-borne illness and is endemic in 100 countries, mostly in Africa, the Americas, and Asia, but 70% of those at risk live in the Asia Pacific region, the story said.
Apr 18 IRIN report

Microwave steam bags shown effective for disinfecting N-95s
Using microwaveable steam bags to disinfect N-95 filtering facepiece respirators all but eliminated a test virus while maintaining 95% or higher filtration efficiency, according to a recent study. The results, from a team of scientists with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), lend support for enabling N-95 reuse in influenza pandemics, according to the researchers. They tested two commercially available steam bags used to disinfect infant feeding equipment and steamed various respirator models up to three times according to the bag manufacturers' instructions. Neither bag hindered filtration, as efficiency of the treated N-95s remained above 95% after steaming. In addition, both bags were 99.9% effective in inactivating bacteriophage MS2, which is often used in such studies as a surrogate for a pathogenic virus. However, some N-95 models failed to dry in 60 minutes and were eliminated after one test. The steam bags cost about $1 each and can be reused up to 20 times, according the manufacturers' Web sites. The researchers caution that "more research is required to determine the effectiveness against respiratory pathogens." The also say that steamed respirators should be fit-tested to determine if steaming causes them to lose their shape.
Apr 15 PLoS ONE study

Measles cases in two states have links to European outbreak
Health officials in New Jersey and Rhode Island are monitoring three travelers from Europe who got sick with measles after arriving at their destinations in the United States, according to media reports. Several European countries are reporting measles outbreaks. The patients in New Jersey are two women from France who were treated at a hospital in Denville, N.J., were released, and are recovering, the Daily Record, a newspaper based in Parsipanny, reported Apr 16. State health and hospital officials are notifying people who may have been in contact with the women.
The patient in Rhode Island started having symptoms after arriving in New York from Italy, the Providence Journal reported Apr 16. She traveled by car to Rhode Island after her arrival. A Rhode Island health department spokeswoman said the patient, a woman in her 20s, is in voluntary isolation and is recovering. She added that federal and airline authorities are tracking passengers who were on the same flight with the woman.
Apr 16 Providence Journal story
In other developments, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported three more measles cases, raising the number of people sickened in a Twin Cities–area outbreak to 20. The MDH said in an Apr 15 statement that 16 of the cases are linked to an index patient who was infected with measles in Kenya. One was exposed to the virus in Florida, one was exposed in India, and for one the source of the infection is not known.
Apr 15 MDH statement

Bearded dragons, tainted gravy linked to Salmonella outbreak
An investigation into a cluster of Salmonella infections in Minnesota was linked to consuming turkey gravy that was prepared in a home where two bearded dragons were kept, according to a report in Zoonoses and Public Health. The authors, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the MDH, said that foodborne illness outbreaks linked to reptiles are rare and that the bearded dragon–linked case is only the third such report to appear in the medical literature. The first clue in the 19-case outbreak, which occurred in late November 2009, was the discovery of three Salmonella IV 6,7:z4,z24:- isolates that had indistinguishable pulse-field gel electrophoresis patterns. None of the patients had any contact with reptiles, but all had attended the same potluck dinner. The epidemiologic investigation found that one of the food preparers had bearded dragons in the home and that consuming gravy at the event was associated with illness. The environmental investigation found the outbreak strain in a vacuum-cleaner bag, along with Salmonella Labadi from several locations, including the kitchen and bathroom drains. Health officials concluded that the foodborne outbreak probably occurred from environmental contamination from the bearded dragons. The reptile owner said the gravy could have become contaminated during food preparation and that it probably wasn't heated sufficiently to kill Salmonella..
Apr 11 Zoonoses Public Health abstract

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