NEWS SCAN: European E coli update, Campylobacter in Wyoming, measles in Africa

Jul 15, 2011

Europe's E coli case count reaches 3,908
The count in Europe's Escherichia coli O104:H4 epidemic today reached 3,908 probable and confirmed cases, including 765 involving hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported today. The total is up 41 from yesterday, when it stood at 3,867, including 762 HUS cases. The agency said three previously reported deaths have been excluded from the official toll, reducing it to 41, including 26 HUS cases and 15 non-HUS cases. The vast majority of cases—3,784—have occurred in Germany. The latest date of illness onset for all cases was Jul 8, and the latest date of onset for a confirmed case was Jul 7, the ECDC said.
Jul 15 ECDC update
In other developments, a farm in Lower Saxony that has been identified as the source of the outbreak in Germany has been cleared to reopen, according to a Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) report today. Agriculture officials said all tests for contamination at the farm have come back negative, according to the DPA report. Egyptian fenugreek seeds used at the farm have been cited as the source of E coli contamination. Local officials said they had removed all fenugreek seeds from the farm.
Jul 15 DPA report

Wyoming reports surge in Campylobacter cases
The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) yesterday reported 29 cases of Campylobacter in that state since Jun 1, a fourfold increase over what would be typical during that period. At least six patients have been hospitalized, and almost three-fourths are male. Most case-patients reported exposure to animals, particularly cattle and dogs, and in many instances the animals had diarrheal illnesses. "While the increase in these infections appears to be sporadic with no single common source, it's clear that animal-related illness is at least partially driving the increase," said WDH epidemiologist Kelly Weidenbach in a release. Campylobacter, a top foodborne pathogen, is common in farm animals, the WDH said.
Jul 14 WDH news release

Measles outbreaks strike Kenya, Ethiopia
United Nations officials say measles outbreaks in Ethiopia and neighboring Kenya have killed more than 100 children and sickened about 18,000, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. Maxine Mercado, a spokeswoman for United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), told the AP that Ethiopian officials have reported 17,584 measles cases, including 114 deaths, in the first 6 months of the year. Meanwhile, Tarek Jasarevic told the news service that measles has struck Somalian refugee children at a camp in Kenya, resulting in 462 infections and 11 deaths. The WHO has said that drought and population movements in East Africa due to drought and civil unrest could increase the risk of diseases such as cholera, measles, and typhoid, according to the AP report.

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