NEWS SCAN: More chicken liver cases, DeCoster exits egg industry, African flu clues, malaria in Nigeria

Nov 22, 2011

Salmonellosis cases linked to chicken liver reach 179 in six states
The number of people sickened by chicken liver contaminated with Salmonella Heidelberg has risen to 179 in six states, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported yesterday. The numbers include 22 more cases and four more states than were noted in the CDC's first report on the outbreak on Nov 10 (though CIDRAP News reported Nov 9 on 169 illnesses in five states). Ohio has joined the list of affected states and cases: New York (99), New Jersey (61), Pennsylvania (10), Maryland (6), Ohio (2), and Minnesota (1). The illnesses have been traced to eating "kosher broiled chicken livers" from Schreiber Processing Corp. of Maspeth, N.Y., which also operates as Alle Processing Corp/MealMart Co., and chopped chicken liver prepared from this product. The company recalled the products Nov 8. Illnesses began Mar 13 and have continued into October. The CDC advises consumers to discard any of the products still in their homes.
Nov 21 CDC update
Nov 9 CIDRAP News story
Nov 8 recall notice

Egg magnate behind 2010 Salmonella outbreak exits industry
Austin "Jack" DeCoster, whose farms were responsible for a massive Salmonella outbreak and egg recall last year, is getting out of the egg business, according to an Associated Press (AP) report yesterday. DeCoster, 77, and his son, Peter, said they have relinquished control of egg operations in Maine, Ohio, and Iowa, including the Iowa farms that produced Salmonella-tainted eggs in 2010 that sickened at least 1,900 people and led to a recall of 550 million eggs. "While we are committed to working to address outstanding issues related to the outbreak, it is important to note we no longer operate any of the farms involved and are no longer in the business of egg production," the DeCosters said in a statement. An Iowa firm has signed a 9-year lease with an option to buy six DeCoster operations in Iowa, while Minnesota-based Land O' Lakes bought the Maine farms, and a deal could be announced soon involving Iowa investors taking over the Ohio egg operations, the AP story said. The DeCosters settled financially with about 40 people who were sickened during the outbreak, and they are working on compensation for more than 100 others. "This is good news for the entire state of Iowa," said Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. "The DeCosters have been consistent and habitual violators who have given Iowa egg producers a bad name."
Nov 21 AP report

H3N2 sequencing study sheds light on flu in East Africa
Little is known about genetic evolution of flu strains in Africa, but a research group has fully sequenced 59 influenza A (H3N2) isolates from Uganda over two seasons, finding that the changes mirrored those tracked in other Southern Hemisphere locations. The study, based on samples collected during the 2008 and 2009 flu season, appeared yesterday in Public Library of Science (PLoS) One. Previously, only one complete African flu virus sequence was available in public influenza databases. The group collected H3N2 samples from patients who were treated at two hospital outpatient clinics, and the viruses were sequenced at St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. Researchers compared the viruses with vaccine strains recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other available African strains. Analysis of internal genes showed a polygenic change between 2008 and 2009. They found that the 2009 H3N2 viruses evolved away from Brisbane-like viruses and toward Perth-like clades, a pattern seen globally. They noted that the complete genome sequencing was the first from East Africa, and that such testing will help ensure that vaccine strains match circulating strains in sub-Saharan Africa.
Nov 21 PLoS One abstract

Nigeria key to halting polio in Africa: WHO official
Polio eradication in Africa hinges on arresting the virus in Nigeria, a WHO official said, according to a BBC report yesterday. The official, Thomas Moran, said Nigeria has confirmed 43 polio cases this year. Dr Ado Muhammad, a top Nigerian health official, said the disease has affected eight of the country's northern states, two more than a few months ago. Last year the country had 21 cases of wild poliovirus infection, according to an Aug 12 update in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Moran said the disease has also spread to neighboring Niger, Mali, and the Ivory Coast. "The success of polio eradication in Africa rests on Nigeria interrupting the virus," he said. Nigeria is one of four nations, including Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan, where polio is still a major health risk, according to the WHO.
Nov 21 BBC story
Aug 12 MMWR report

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