NEWS SCAN: E coli in Tennessee and Virginia, polio in Chad

Jun 13, 2011

Tennessee, Virginia report 13 E coli cases, 1 death
Escherichia coli has affected 13 people in northeastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia, killing a Virginia child, according to Reuters. The Tennessee cases involve at least two strains of the bacterium, according to public health officials. Northeastern Tennessee has seen 11 lab-confirmed E coli cases since Jun 1, said David Kirschke, medical director of the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office. "That's as many cases as we had all of last year," Kirshke said. He added that three of the cases were O157:H7, the strain most commonly linked to serious outbreaks, while eight were categorized as unspecified non-O157. Virginia has two confirmed cases of O157:H7 infection, in two children who had close contact with each other, and one of those children died, said Maureen Dempsey, a Virginia Public Health Department deputy chief. Local media reported that a 2-year-old girl from Dryden, Va., died Jun 5 of her infection and that her brother, also infected, was released from a hospital a few days later, according to Reuters. Kirschke said the Virginia and Tennessee cases have not been linked, and the Tennessee cases are being genetically sequenced to help pinpoint a source or sources.
Polio outbreaks in Chad pose international threat
An outbreak of wild poliovirus (WPV) 1 in Chad has intensified, and along with continued WPV transmission poses a high risk of international spread, particularly when people will be traveling internationally for religious holidays, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a Jun 10 statement. The WPV 1 outbreak, imported from Nigeria, started in September 2010 and initially affected the greater N'Djamena area, but has since spread to areas bordering the Central African Republic, Cameroon, and Sudan. So far this year Chad has reported 65 cases of WPV1 and 3 cases of WPV3. The WHO said urgent actions are needed to reach more children with oral polio vaccine. Chad's government recently finalized a 6-month polio emergency plan. The WHO urged neighboring countries to continue their supplementary immunization activities and recommended that the country's citizens be fully vaccinated before international travel and that those visiting Chad who have received three or more oral polio vaccine doses receive another before departure.
Jun 10 WHO statement

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