News Scan for Dec 05, 2014

New Saudi MERS case
More Salmonella from sprouts
Listeria outbreak in cheese over

Saudi Arabia reports new MERS case, international investigation in Taif

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported a new MERS-CoV case today, bringing the country's total to 818 cases.

The new case-patient is a 70-year-old Saudi woman from Taif who is hospitalized in critical condition. She has an underlying medical condition and is not a healthcare worker. She had no contact with MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) patients in the community, and the MOH is investigating whether she had any animal exposure or contact with MERS cases in clinical settings.

The MOH also reported today that a 62-year-old Saudi man from Rafha and Arar in the Northern Borders Province has recovered from the disease. He is not a healthcare worker and had no preexisting disease.

Nine Saudi MERS cases remain active, 458 people have recovered, and 351 have died.
Dec 5 MOH update

In related news, an international team of experts ruled out the possibility of widespread community MERS transmission in the northern city of Taif, home of today's case, according to a Dec 3 MOH report.

The team included officials from the MOH and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with World Health Organization representative Hassan El Bushra, MD.

Although experts continue to investigate the increase in MERS cases in Taif during October, they have traced most of the new patients to three or four primary contacts. They are also advising the MOH's Command and Control Center on MERS prevention and response, helping to support Saudi Arabia's recent investments in healthcare worker training and infection control programs.
Dec 3 MOH report


Multistate sprout-related Salmonella outbreak grows to 87 cases

An outbreak of Salmonella Enteriditis linked to contaminated bean sprouts has, as of Dec 2, sickened 19 new patients since the CDC's last report on Nov 25, bringing the total to 87 illnesses in 11 states, CDC said in an update yesterday.

Nearly all the illnesses have occurred in northeastern states; those involved to date are Connecticut (7 cases), Maine (3), Massachusetts (35), Montana (1; this patient traveled to the East), New Hampshire (4), New York (14), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (10), Rhode Island (6), Vermont (3), and Virginia (1).

In interviews, 54 affected patients reported eating bean sprouts or items containing them within a week before becoming ill. An investigation pointed to Wonton Food, Inc, of Brooklyn, N.Y., as the likely source of the sprouts. The company is cooperating with officials and agreed on Nov 21 to destroy remaining product and to clean and sanitize its operation. Wonton restarted production after this was completed and resumed shipping on Nov 29.

Illness-onset dates range from Sep 30 to Nov 14, and patient ages range from 1 year to 83 years, with a median of 32. Hospitalization has been required in 14 (27%) of the 52 persons for whom information is available; no deaths have occurred.

With a 12-day shelf life, any bean sprouts produced before the break in production are likely no longer available, the CDC said. The agency notes, however, that illnesses occurring after Nov 12 may not have been reported yet.

Testing has shown the outbreak Salmonella strains to be susceptible to antibiotics. The investigation is continuing, the CDC said.
Dec 4 CDC update


CDC adds 2 cases, ends investigation of Listeria in cheese

The investigation into Mexican-style cheese that sickened five people with listeriosis and caused one death has ended, according to a CDC update yesterday.

Food and Drug Administration sampling found the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak strain in fresh-curd cheese produced by Miami-based Oasis Brands, Inc. The producer has recalled all soft cheese sold under the Lacteos Santa Martha and HonduCrema brands.

One case of listeriosis was reported in September 2013, and the other cases emerged from June to October 2014. Two cases were identified following the August and October recall of affected cheese.

Four people needed to be hospitalized, and one case-patient died. Three listeriosis cases were related to pregnancy, including one in a newborn.

Cases occurred in Georgia, New York, Tennessee, and Texas. All people affected were of Hispanic ethnicity and reported eating fresh-curd cheese before falling ill.
Dec 4 CDC update

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