NEWS SCAN: Pertussis peak in Minnesota, cholera in Cuba


Dec 27, 2012

Minnesota's 2012 pertussis count is highest since World War II
Minnesota has had more than 4,300 pertussis (whooping cough) cases this year, the most since World War II, according to Minnesota Department of Health officials quoted in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. No one has died of the illness, but 58 patients were hospitalized, the story said. Minnesota typically has 200 to 1,500 cases per year. State Epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield, MD, said part of the reason for the increase is that protection conferred by the current pertussis vaccine wanes after a few years. "We have the intersection of a peak in pertussis that occurs every few years, along with a population that is not as strongly immune," she said. She advised that children and pregnant women should be vaccinated, and she called on parents with children aged 4 to 6 and in middle school to ask their doctors whether they need booster shots. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put Minnesota's pertussis total at 4,340 cases as of Dec 13, versus 661 cases in all of 2011. Minnesota is not alone; the CDC said 49 states and Washington, DC, have had increased numbers of pertussis cases this year. The nationwide count reported to the CDC as of Dec 8 was more than 39,000, including 16 deaths, the agency said.
Dec 26 Star Tribune story
CDC pertussis outbreak information

Cholera cases in Havana seen as linked to Hurricane Sandy
A cholera outbreak in the Cuban capital of Havana may be related to flooding that occurred in eastern Cuba as a result of Hurricane Sandy in late October, according to a recent story from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), an international not-for-profit group that focuses on issues in crisis-racked regions. A doctor who requested anonymity said 47 cases have been identified in Habana Vieja (Old Havana), a tourist area in the city center, and that 33 of the cases originated in the hurricane-hit areas. Authorities have responded to the outbreak by setting up special hospital wards, cleaning up streets and buildings in parts of Habana Vieja, and distributing medications to prevent dehydration, the story said. Meanwhile, in Holguin province in eastern Cuba, officials said Vladimir Lenis Hospital is admitting three to five new cholera patients daily.
Dec 24 IWPR story
Related Dec 10 CIDRAP News item

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