NEWS SCAN: Turkey Salmonella update, dengue in South Pacific, smoke and pneumonia

Nov 11, 2011

Salmonella infections linked to ground turkey reach 136
The case count in a widespread Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak tied to ground turkey from an Arkansas plant has reached 136, including 1 death (reported previously), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said yesterday in its final update on the episode. The count is up by seven since the CDC's previous report on Sep 29; the number of affected states stayed the same at 34. The agency said 37 of 94 patients (39%) with available information were hospitalized. The outbreak strain of Salmonella was resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics, which may have increased the risk of hospitalization, the CDC said. The outbreak prompted Cargill Meat Solutions, Springdale, Ark., to recall 36 million pounds of ground turkey on Aug 3, and the company recalled another 185,000 pounds on Sep 11 after product samples at the plant tested positive for the outbreak strain.
Nov 10 CDC update
Sep 29 CDC update

Dengue spreads in South Pacific
Several South Pacific nations are experiencing outbreaks of dengue fever, the Fiji Times reported today. Citing information from the Pacific Network, which is affiliated with the World Health Organization (WHO), the story said Micronesia reported 137 suspected cases in Yap state since September, including 34 patients. Twenty-five of the cases have been confirmed. In addition, an outbreak in Majuro, Marshall Islands, now totals "several hundred" suspected cases, about 45% of which have tested positive. The report also said that Palau reported dengue cases in October but didn't specify how many.
Nov 11 Fiji Times story

Wood stoves with chimneys may reduce severe pneumonia in babies
Providing stoves with chimneys in households that burn wood may lower the incidence of severe pneumonia in children under 18 months by 30%, according to a study in the Nov 12 The Lancet, the date of World Pneumonia Day. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the WHO. An international team of scientists studied 534 households in rural Guatemala that included a pregnant woman or young infant. Participants were randomly assigned to receive a cook stove with a chimney or to continue cooking with traditional open fires. In total, 265 children lived in the chimney-stove homes and 253 children in the control homes. From October 2002 to December 2004, physicians diagnosed 149 cases of pneumonia in intervention households and 180 in control households. This difference was not significant, but researchers "recorded significant reductions in the intervention group for three severe outcomes—fieldworker-assessed, physician-diagnosed, and RSV-negative pneumonia." In an NIH news release, lead author Kirk Smith, PhD, professor of global environmental health at the University of California, Berkeley, said, "We found as large a benefit for severe pneumonia as more well-known public health interventions, such as vaccinations and nutrition supplements."
Nov 12 Lancet abstract
Nov 10 NIH news release

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