NEWS SCAN: Anthrax vaccine contract, live-poultry outbreak over, H5N1 in India, Marburg in Uganda, fungal meningitis update

Oct 30, 2012

HPA awarded US anthrax vaccine contract
The UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) announced today that it has received a contract from the US government worth as much as $6.5 million to develop a next-generation anthrax vaccine at its Porton lab. The contract was awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, according to an HPA statement. The HPA's Porton lab manufactures anthrax vaccine for the United Kingdom. The new vaccine under development would combine the HPA's anthrax vaccine antigen expertise with adjuvant technology from US-based NanoBio Corporation. The new product would require fewer doses for protection and allow the vaccine to be given with an intra-nasal spray rather than an injection, according to the statement. The HPA added that the contract will enable it to compete with other organizations developing similar vaccines. The award is worth $6.5 million if the project meets all of its milestones.
Oct 30 HPA statement

CDC says live-poultry Salmonella outbreak is over
A Salmonella outbreak linked to live poultry sold by an Ohio hatchery appears to be over, with an illness total of 195 patients, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Oct 26. The outbreak was first reported at the end of May and involved three different Salmonella strains, Infantis, Newport, and Lille. In its final update, the CDC added 32 more infections from 13 states since its previous update on Aug 20. The event affected 27 states, and two fatal cases were previously reported, though the CDC has said it's not clear if the Salmonella infections were related to the deaths. Investigations traced the outbreak to chicks, ducklings, and other poultry from Mt. Healthy Hatchery, a mail-order supplier.
Oct 26 CDC final outbreak update
In other outbreak developments, the number of patients sickened in an Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to a county fair has risen to 106, according to an update yesterday from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). The latest total reflects an increase of six cases since the department's Oct 23 update. Health officials suspect animal contact at the Cleveland County Fair as the route of infection but haven't pinned down the specific source.
Oct 29 NCDHHS outbreak update

H5N1 outbreak, culling expand on India farm
Culling on a government-owned farm near Bangalore, India, has expanded to include more than 33,000 birds after 233 additional poultry there died from H5N1 avian flu in an outbreak that was first reported last week. Tests confirmed that 206 chickens and 17 ducks died from H5N1 infection at the Central Poultry Development Organization at Hesaraghatta, The Times of India reported. Officials have now culled 19,235 chickens, 13,673 ducks, and 369 emus on the farm and within 1 kilometer of it. No further bird deaths have been reported in the area, the Times said. Last week 3,481 poultry were reported to have died in the outbreak, and an additional 784 had been culled to prevent disease spread.
Oct 30 Times of India story
Oct 29 CIDRAP News item on last week's outbreak report

Uganda Marburg outbreak reaches 12 cases, 8 deaths
The outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever in Uganda has grown to 12 cases and 8 deaths, an increase of 3 cases and 3 deaths since an Oct 22 update, the country's health minister said yesterday. Minister of Health Dr. Christine Ondoa said in a release, "Cases are now reported in the neighbouring districts of Ibanda and Mbarara. However, I want to assure you that the Ministry of Health and its partners are on the ground in the mentioned districts to contain the spread and manage the identified cases." She said the most recent death occurred Oct 27. Officials are observing 436 contacts of cases in four districts.

Fungal meningitis outbreak total climbs to 363 cases
Federal officials today reported nine more fungal meningitis infections and three more deaths linked to contaminated injectable steroids made by a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy. In an update today the CDC said the outbreak total has risen to 363, including 28 fatalities. The number of affected states held at 19, and the number of joint infections related to the outbreak stayed at seven. The tainted methylprednisolone acetate injections were also used to treat back pain and joint problems. The outbreak, linked to New England Compounding Center (NECC), has sparked federal and state probes into oversight of compounding pharmacies, along with closer inspections of the facilities in some states.
Oct 30 CDC update

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