Dec 21, 2011
Report: 2.1 million smallpox shots led to 115 contact vaccinia cases
A report from US military healthcare personnel says 115 people experienced contact vaccinia infections related to smallpox vaccinations during an 8-year period. The report, published yesterday by Vaccine, says 2.1 million military personnel and 40,000 civilians received the shots between December 2002 and March 2011. The vaccine contains live vaccinia virus, which can spread through contact. The 115 cases, of which 52 were lab-confirmed, represent a rate of 5.4 per 100,000 vaccinees. Three quarters of the vaccinees involved, but fewer than 8% of the vaccinia patients, were military members. Most of the vaccinia patients were household or intimate contacts (86, or 75%) or wrestling partners (18, or 16%) of vaccinees. Most of the patients had mild local skin reactions, but 14 were hospitalized, and one case was life-threatening, the report says. The authors conclude that contact vaccinia is infrequent but that continued vaccinee education and screening for contraindications are needed.
Dec 20 Vaccine report
May 2007 CIDRAP News story on severe vaccinia case
Dry season brings decline in Haiti's cholera cases
Humanitarian groups say cholera cases in Haiti have declined steadily with the advance of the country's dry season, the Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday. At two treatment centers in Port-au-Prince, the capital, the number of cases has dropped to about 10 to 20 per day, compared with 30 to 40 per day a month ago, said Dr. Wendy Lai, a medical coordinator for Doctors Without Borders Holland. A report released yesterday by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the nationwide case count for the waterborne disease now averages 300 per day, compared with 500 a month ago, according to the AP. The UN agency also said the fatality rate has stabilized or continued to drop in all departments except the Southeast, where it was 2.4% in November. Since the epidemic began in the fall of 2010, the disease has struck about 515,000 Haitians and killed nearly 7,000, the AP reported.