News Scan for May 12, 2014

More Caribbean chikungunya
Fake Pakistan vaccine campaign
Q fever in Germany

Caribbean chikungunya cases top 44,000

The Caribbean chikungunya outbreak grew by 4,521 cases in the past week, with the increase almost entirely attributed to new cases in the Dominican Republic. In fact, for the first time in months, most nations reported no new cases.

The region has reached 44,464 suspected, probable, or confirmed cases, according to an update today from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The case count is up from 39,943 a week ago.

Martinique continues to report the largest numbers by far, with 19,700 suspected and 1,515 confirmed or probable cases, the ECDC said. Guadeloupe is next, with 8,000 suspected and 1,328 confirmed or probable cases.

Suspected cases in the Dominican Republic jumped from 3,015 to 7,520, while its count of confirmed cases held at 17. The French side of St. Martin had 3,160 suspected and 793 confirmed or probable cases. No new cases were reported in Martinique, Guadeloupe, or the French side of St. Martin.

Also reporting no new cases are Dominica, with 1,252 suspected and 105 confirmed cases; St. Barthelemy, 485 suspected and 135 confirmed or probable cases; the Dutch side of St. Martin, 301 confirmed cases; French Guiana, 43 confirmed locally acquired and 22 imported cases; St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 24 suspected and 3 confirmed cases; Anguilla, 33 locally acquired confirmed cases and 1 likely imported case; British Virgin Islands, 9 confirmed cases; and Aruba, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts and Nevis, each with 1 confirmed case.

Haiti was added to the ECDC list for the first time, with 14 confirmed chikungunya cases, as reported by the media last week. Antigua and Barbuda also had its first case.

The chikungunya outbreak is the first known in the Americas and began in December 2013 on the French side of St. Martin. Six outbreak deaths have been reported.
May 12 ECDC update


WHO denounces any UN role in fake bin Laden vaccinations

The World Health Organization (WHO) today strongly denied any United Nations involvement in the fake vaccination campaign conducted by Dr Shakeel Afridi in Pakistan in 2011 that led to the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The WHO released a statement denouncing a claim by Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs made on May 8, and the agency said it had "immediately received assurances [from the Pakistan government] that the statement made by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was categorically incorrect and made in error."

Afridi had run a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign at the compound where bin Laden was hiding in an effort to gain DNA evidence that would help the US's Central Intelligence Agency find bin Laden.
May 12 WHO statement


Health officials report 12 Q fever infections in Germany

Twelve people in Sulzfeld, Germany, have contracted Q fever this year, according to a
Bavarian news story translated and posted by ProMED, the news service of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.

Half of the patients required hospitalization from the disease, which is caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii, which is most commonly found in sheep, goats, and cattle. Some had lung infections.

Officials confirmed C burnetti in five area sheep, and they believe the pathogen was transmitted through dust in the area. Incubation in humans is typically 2 to 3 weeks, so more infections may be confirmed, the report said.
May 11 ProMED post

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