NEWS SCAN: Medical countermeasures for kids, H5N1 in Bangladesh, measles in North Carolina

May 1, 2013

GAO: 60% of materials in Strategic National Stockpile approved for kids
About 60% of materials in the Strategic National Stockpile of medical countermeasures for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats are approved for children, according to a new report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). In many cases, however, the approval is limited to specific age-groups, and the other 40% of countermeasures have not been approved for children, said the GAO. Also, some countermeasures have not been approved for the specific purposes for which they have been stockpiled. Countermeasures can be used for unapproved age-groups or indications under an emergency use authorization or an investigational new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration. The report says the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in the face of "a variety of economic, regulatory, scientific, and ethical challenges," has taken steps to address the needs of children related to CBRN medical countermeasures. The agency addresses dispensing of pediatric countermeasures in 7 of its 12 response plans, the GAO found. In addition, the GAO reviewed seven state and seven local government response plans and found that they included details on dispensing countermeasures to kids in an emergency.
Apr 30 GAO report summary

H5N1 outbreaks in Bangladesh affect 14,000 poultry
H5N1 avian flu wiped out almost 4,000 poultry and led to the culling of 10,000 more in two farm outbreaks in Bangladesh recently, according to a World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) report this week. The first outbreak, from Feb 27 to Mar 1, occurred on a commercial farm in Rangpur district of Rangpur province, in northwestern Bangladesh. It involved 3,420 dead poultry, and the remaining 8,974 were culled to prevent disease spread. The second outbreak occurred Mar 9 and 10 in Rajbari district in Dhaka province, in west central Bangladesh. It killed 558 birds, and the remaining 1,242 poultry on the farm were destroyed. Together the virus killed 3,978 birds, and 10,216 were culled to contain the outbreaks, for a total of 14,194 poultry deaths. Officials have disinfected both premises, the OIE report said.
Apr 29 OIE report

North Carolina measles outbreak involves 19 cases
Public health officials in North Carolina are investigating 19 confirmed cases of measles there since mid-April, according to a news release yesterday from the state's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The cases so far have occurred in Stokes, Orange, and Polk counties, and more than 1,000 people have been notified of possible exposure in these as well as Forsyth, Guilford, and Chatham counties. Most of the cases to date have been in people visiting Prabhupada Village, a rural Hare Krishna community in Stokes County; additionally, two case-patients attended the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival in Chatham County while they were infectious. Most infections have occurred in unvaccinated people. State health officials are reminding people of the importance of vaccination, even if they have already been exposed, and are recommending that unvaccinated individuals stay away from Prabhupada Village and any other highly populated areas in Stokes County until the outbreak is over.
Apr 30 NC DHHS press release

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