NEWS SCAN: Walnut E coli infections, H1N1 vaccine in preterm kids

Apr 5, 2011

Walnut-linked E coli outbreak sickens 13 Canadians
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said yesterday that 13 patients from three provinces have been sickened so far in an Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to potentially tainted walnuts. On Apr 3 the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a health alert about packaged and bulk walnuts that were recalled by Amira Enterprises, Inc, a distributor based in Quebec, due to possible E coli O157:H7 contamination. The CFIA said the walnuts were imported from the United States. The PHAC said that the sick patients were from Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick. Nine of the patients were hospitalized, two of them with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially fatal kidney complication. It advised consumers who still have raw walnuts in their homes to reduce the risk of E coli infection by roasting them at 350ºF for 10 minutes, turning the nuts once after 5 minutes.

Adjuvanted H1N1 vaccine shows good profile in preterm babies
An Italian trial of an adjuvanted 2009 H1N1 vaccine in children ages 6 months to 23 months found that one dose provoked a significant immune response and was safe and well tolerated, even in preterm babies who are thought to have a lower immune response. The researchers published their findings yesterday in an early online edition of Pediatrics. The study included 105 babies at three different gestational age levels: under 32 weeks, 32 to 36 weeks, and 37 to 42 weeks. The children received the vaccine, made by Novartis, at study enrollment, with a second dose 4 weeks later. Researchers obtained serum samples at baseline, before the second dose, and 4 weeks after the second dose. They found evidence of seroprotection in all groups after the first dose. They said though some of the children had detectable antibodies before vaccination, the vaccine had an immunogenic effect, because it was seen even in children without baseline antibodies against the virus. They suggested the safety profile of the adjuvanted vaccine was noteworthy, especially for low-gestational-age children who may be at higher risk for adverse events.
Apr 4 Pediatrics abstract

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