News Scan for Oct 06, 2014

New Saudi MERS cases
Chikungunya numbers rise
Marburg in Uganda
Pakistan polio cases top 200
; ; ;

Saudi Arabia reports 2 new MERS cases, 2 deaths

Two new MERS cases were confirmed in Taif, Saudia Arabia, in recent days, while the country's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported deaths in two other case-patients.

The first case of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) infection was in a 60-year-old man who is being treated in an intensive care unit (ICU), the MOH reported on Oct 4. He is not a healthcare worker (HCW) but had recent exposure to camels. He also has preexisting disease, the agency said.

The other new case, reported today, is in a 69-year-old man who is also hospitalized in an ICU. He is not an HCW and likewise had preexisting disease. His animal-exposure history is under investigation.

Both men are Saudis. The MOH, as is typical, did not say whether the two cases were epidemiologically linked. Taif is in Mecca province.

Also, the MOH said yesterday that two other MERS patients had died, a 56-year-old Saudi man from Riyadh and a 40-year-old non-Saudi HCW in Taif. It's not clear whether the MOH had previously reported on their cases.

The cases and deaths bring the Saudi MERS-CoV totals to 757 cases and 322 deaths.
Oct 6 MOH update
Oct 5 MOH update
Oct 4 MOH update


Colombia and Puerto Rico report most new chikungunya cases

Suspected and confirmed cases of chikungunya in the Caribbean and the Americas as of Oct 3 number 750,237, an increase of 2,516 since Sep 26 for reporting countries, according to an Oct 3 update from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

The largest increases were in Colombia, with 1,478 new cases, and Puerto Rico, with 895. The non-Latin Caribbean area added 129 cases, 105 of them in the US Virgin Islands and the remainder in Jamaica.

The large majority have not been confirmed, currently accounting for only 10,827 cases.

Imported chikungunya cases rose by 98, 86 of those in the United States, the PAHO report says.
Oct 3 PAHO update


Ugandan health worker dies from Marburg

Marburg hemorrhagic fever, a highly infectious disease related to Ebola, has killed a health worker in Uganda, according to news sources today.

The man, a 30-year-old hospital radiographer in the city of Kampala, presented with a headache and abdominal pain that progressed to diarrhea and vomiting blood before his death Sep 28, says an Associated Press (AP) story. Marburg was confirmed later by laboratory tests.

The man's brother is in isolation with signs of disease, says a story from Xinhua, China's news agency, and 80 contacts of the index case, more than 60 of whom are health workers and the remainder involved in his burial, are being monitored for signs and symptoms.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has urged citizens to remain "calm but vigilant, to avoid shaking hands, and to report "suspicious cases," reports the AP.

Uganda has seen several outbreaks of viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) and experienced an Ebola outbreak in 2000 that killed at least 224, according to the AP story. Ugandan health officials say the experience gained during containment of that and other Ebola outbreaks will aid the country in managing Marburg if it spreads, according to Xinhua. Marburg was last seen in Uganda in 2012.

Both Ebola virus and Marburg virus are in the Filoviridae family. Although the illnesses have some shared characteristics (see CIDRAP VHF overview), Elioda Tumwesigye, Uganda's minister of state for health, claims there is no connection between the ongoing Ebola epidemic in West Africa and Uganda's Marburg outbreak.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Medecins Sans Frontieres have dispatched assistance, says Xinhua.
Oct 6 AP story
Oct 6 Xinhua

Polio cases in Pakistan reach 202

With 8 new polio case reported in just 2 days, bringing the country's 2014 total to 202 so far, Pakistan has now logged more cases than in any year in the 20th century, the Associated Press (AP) reported today.

The eight new cases were all in children from Quetta in the northwest and Karachi in the south, the story said. On Oct 3 Pakistan officials reported seven cases, all from the North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan, where polio vaccination teams have met with great resistance.

The previous modern-day high was 199 cases in 2001, the story said. The country confirmed 198 cases in 2011 after reaching a low of 28 in 2005, according to WHO data. Cases then dropped to 58 in 2012 and rose to 91 in 2013 before spiking this year.
Oct 5 AP story

Newsletter Sign-up

Get CIDRAP news and other free newsletters.

Sign up now»


Unrestricted financial support provided by

Bentson Foundation 3MAccelerate DiagnosticsGilead 
Grant support for ASP provided by

  Become an underwriter»