NEWS SCAN: DR Congo Ebola outbreak, Listeria guidance, antimicrobial drug monitoring, polio funding

Sep 27, 2012

DRC Ebola infections rise to 51
Five more Ebola infections and another death from the disease have been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC's) outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today. The new cases push the total number to 51, including 19 confirmed and 32 probable cases. The number of deaths in the outbreak rose to 20, of which 7 are confirmed and 13 are probable. The DRC's health ministry and its partners are conducting investigations on 28 suspected cases. The Ebola outbreak involves the Bundibugyo strain, affecting two health zones in Orientale province.
Sep 27 WHO update

New FSIS Listeria guidance for food establishments
The US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has released new recommendations on control of Listeria monocytogenes for food establishments handling post-lethality exposed ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products, which includes such items as meat in a deli setting where it is being handled after it's "lethality" (cooking or otherwise decontaminating) phase and could become contaminated. The guidance, which gives specific information on control of and monitoring for L monocytogenes, is aimed at assisting these establishments in complying with the regulations set out in the 2003 US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "Listeria Rule" (9 CFR part 430). Changes since issuance of the last guidance (2006) are summarized at the beginning, and a detailed summary of this regulation comprises the first chapter. The FSIS is taking comments on any aspect of the document electronically or by mail for 60 days (instructions are on the first page of the guidance).
FSIS guidance (133-page pdf document)
2003 FDA Listeria Rule

FDA extends comment period on antimicrobial drug monitoring
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday extended the comment period for the advance notice of proposed rulemaking on the collection of antimicrobial drug sales and distribution data and for input on alternative methods for monitoring antimicrobial use in food-producing animals. The original notice, which appeared in the Federal Register on Jul 27, opened the comment period till Sep 25, but the agency has extended the comment period through Nov 26. The FDA said in a press release that collecting data on antimicrobial drugs used in food-producing animals helps it track trends in antimicrobial use and how they may relate to antimicrobial resistance.
Sep 26 FDA press release
Jul 27 Federal Register notice

Rotary International pledges $75 million to help close polio gap
Rotary International announced today that it will contribute $75 million over 3 years to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative as part of a global effort to close a $945 million funding gap that threatens to derail polio eradication efforts, the humanitarian group said in a press release. Rotary International announced the contribution during a special side-event on polio eradication convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the UN General Assembly. Ban has made polio eradication a top UN priority. Urging governments to honor their funding commitments, Rotary Chair Wilf Wilkinson said in the release, "We are at a true tipping point, with success never closer than it is right now. We must seize the advantage by acting immediately, or risk breaking our pledge to the world's children." Rotary International has already contributed more than $1.2 billion to fight the disease. In May the World Health Assembly declared polio eradication to be a "programmatic emergency for global public health."
Sep 27 Rotary press release

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