VHF NEWS SCAN: Sudan yellow fever, fighting dengue in Florida

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Dec 6, 2012

Sudan yellow fever infections grow to 732
Sudan's yellow fever outbreak has climbed to 732 cases, including 165 deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today. The totals reflects an increase of 273 illnesses and 49 deaths since the WHO's last update on Nov 22. Seven more localities in Darfur have been affected, pushing that number to 33. So far lab tests have confirmed yellow fever in 40 clinical samples, the WHO said. Sudan's health ministry launched the first phase of a vaccination campaign on Nov 21 with a goal of immunizing 2.2 million people, and it is planning a second phase for the end of December to reach another 1.2 million who are at risk for the disease. International health partners are assisting with the vaccine campaign and outbreak assessment.
Dec 6 WHO update

Florida officials hope to use genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue
Florida officials are seeking federal permission to use genetically modified mosquitoes to reduce the risk of dengue virus infections in the tourist town of Key West, which would be the first US use of the strategy, according to the Associated Press (AP) today. The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District wants to release hundreds of thousands of male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry a gene that causes their offspring to die before reaching maturity. The aim is to kill off the area's A aegypti population, reducing the dengue risk at a relatively low cost and without using pesticides. "The science of it, I think, looks fine," Michael Doyle, head of the mosquito control district, told the AP. The district is waiting for approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to go ahead, which could take years. Officials say the modified genes will disappear from the environment after the mosquitoes die. But some Key West residents worry that the project would have unintended effects and complain that officials kept the plan under wraps too long. One has collected 117,000 signatures—most of which are from outside the Keys—on an online petition to stop the project. The AP said 93 dengue cases were reported in the Keys in 2009 and 2010 but none since then.
Dec 6 AP story

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