NEWS SCAN: Canadian E coli outbreak over, militants kill Nigerian polio workers

Feb 8, 2013

Final report on Canadian E coli outbreak issued
Canada's recent outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 from shredded lettuce is over, according to a notice yesterday from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). A total of 30 people were affected, beginning in late December 2012. The last reported case was in a patient who became ill Jan 9, with no further cases since. Hospitalization was necessary in 13 cases, 1 of which involved hemolytic uremic syndrome; there were no deaths. Patients' ages ranged from 1 to 83 years, and an equal number of males and females were infected. Cases occurred in three provinces—New Brunswick (7 cases), Nova Scotia (10), and Ontario (13). The source of the outbreak is thought to be lettuce grown in California (see Jan 15 CIDRAP News story) and distributed by Canadian company FreshPoint Inc to KFC and KFC–Taco Bell restaurants. A recall was instituted in mid January in several Canadian provinces. PHAC says the threat of disease from this source should be over because of the short shelf life of lettuce, but the agency said it will continue monitoring and investigating any E coli cases that might be related to the outbreak.
Feb 7 PHAC notice
Latest (Jan 18) PHAC epidemiologic report on the outbreak

Nigerian militants launch two fatal attacks on polio workers
Nine women involved in polio vaccination activities were killed today in armed attacks by militants at two health centers in the city of Kano in northern Nigeria, BBC reported. Gunmen on a motorcycle were responsible for the first attack, and 30 minutes later more gunmen on a motorcycle attacked a clinic as vaccinators began work, according to the report, which said that an Islamic cleric yesterday spoke out against the immunization campaign, claiming that new polio cases were caused by contaminated medicine. In the past Nigeria's Muslim leaders have claimed the polio vaccination could cause infertility. The violence is the first known attack against polio workers in Nigeria, one of the three countries where the disease is endemic. Similar attacks by extremists in Pakistan have targeted polio vaccination workers there. Nigerian sources told BBC that they suspect the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, though no group has so far claimed responsibility.
Feb 8 BBC report

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