News Scan for Oct 16, 2013

Anthrax attack first response
Poliovirus in Israel
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Survey shows gaps in first-responder anthrax knowledge

More than half of 70 first responders surveyed did not know that occupants of an entire building need decontamination following an indoor release of Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium that causes anthrax, according to a study in the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

The researchers recruited survey respondents from throughout the United States by a variety of means. They found that 57 of 69 (83%) who provided such information had some bioterrorism training, but most were trained on-site by a colleague.

When asked about decontamination after an indoor B anthracis release from an envelope, 97% correctly said room occupants needed decontamination, while 80% correctly said the entire floor required the procedure and only 42% correctly applied the measure to the entire building.

Also, 15% said they would don personal protective equipment inside the affected building, which could result in contamination.

For an outdoor release, only 30 of the 70 participants coded a map in a way that could be analyzed. Of those 30, 20 (67%) showed correct awareness of a spore-dispersing plume by drawing various zones downwind from the agent release.

The authors said online training might be one way to address these knowledge gaps.
October J Homeland Secur Emerg Manage abstract


Poliovirus still detected in some Israeli towns

Poliovirus is still being found in several communities in Israel, but no new sites of contamination have been detected since a vaccination campaign was launched in August, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported yesterday.

Citing information from the Israeli Ministry of Health, the ECDC statement listed six towns in which, as of Oct 3, wild-type poliovirus 1 (WPV1) was still being found in wastewater but was showing a mild decline.

In another four towns, WPV1 activity in wastewater has been inconsistent and testing must continue, the ECDC said. The virus has disappeared from sewage in three other cities, including Jerusalem, but testing will continue.

The virus first turned up in southern Israel in February. It was later found in stool samples from 42 people, nearly all of them young children, and all of whom had been reported to be fully vaccinated, the agency said.

As a result, an immunization campaign involving bivalent oral vaccine was launched in August. According to the latest estimates, 890,000 children under age 10 have been vaccinated out of about 1.2 million eligible, the ECDC said. No clinical cases of paralytic polio have been reported.

The ECDC said the latest information does not change the recommendations the agency issued in late September. At that point the ECDC cited a risk of polio reintroduction in Europe and called for a thorough assessment of polio vaccination uptake and strengthening of surveillance and laboratory capacity.
Oct 15 ECDC update

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