NEWS SCAN: Ebola in Uganda, Olympic disease detection

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Aug 3, 2012

Ebola illnesses in Uganda stand at 53
Suspected and confirmed Ebola infections in Uganda number 53, according to a report yesterday from the World Health Organization (WHO). Health workers are following up on 312 people who had contact with sick people or those who died from the disease. The WHO said so far 32 patients have been admitted to the isolation unit at Kibaale hospital and that because of an increasing number of patients, a second isolation unit is being readied at Kagadi hospital and will open tomorrow. So far no Ebola cases have been confirmed outside of Kibaale district, where the outbreak is centered, the WHO said. Uganda's health ministry said in a separate statement yesterday that a sample collected from a patient in Mbarara district tested negative. Official statements yesterday said the death toll remained at 16, though media reports from Africa have mentioned as many as 19. Richard Besser, MD, former acting director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who is now a reporter for ABC News, said today on Twitter that he is in Kagadi and that experts have said it's too soon to declare the outbreak under control. Meanwhile, the CDC in an Aug 1 notice said that travelers are at low risk for the disease but urged people to avoid contact with blood and body fluids of sick people. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) today issued a risk assessment, concluding that the risk for residents and returning travelers becoming infected is extremely low, unless they have direct contact with blood or bodily fluids of dead or living infected people or animals.
Aug 2 WHO press release
Aug 2 Uganda health ministry statement
Richard Besser Twitter feed
Aug 3 ECDC risk assessment
Aug 4 ECDC risk assessment

UK sets up new ICU infectious disease surveillance system for Olympics
A new surveillance system is being used to report undiagnosed serious infectious illnesses (USII) in adult and pediatric intensive care units (ICUs and PICUs) during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, according to a report in Eurosurveillance yesterday. Designated clinicians in ICUs and PICUs use an online tool to report undiagnosed cases or make weekly reports of the absence of cases, and reported cases are investigated for epidemiologic links. The system underwent a 6-month pilot test from January to July. During that time, cases were reported in 5 adults and 13 children from six participating units, with no clustering identified. Nine cases were eventually diagnosed and therefore excluded from the surveillance. Officials concluded that the system is feasible and acceptable to users, and it was extended to a total of 19 sentinel units in London and southeastern England for the Olympic Games. After the games, the Health Protection Agency plans to explore the possibility of extending the USII surveillance system across the rest of England. "The continued reporting of USII cases through the established sentinel network of ICUs and PICUs could be a valuable part of the public health legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games," the report says. A separate perspective article in Eurosurveillance explores other UK surveillance enhancements undertaken for the games.
Aug 2 Eurosurveillance report
Aug 2 Eurosurveillance perspective article

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