News Scan for Jun 02, 2015

Guinea Ebola violence
Antibiotic stewardship forum
MERS in Saudi Arabia
Meningitis ebbs in Niger

UN warns violence in Guinea could hamper next Ebola steps

The head of the United Nations Ebola response in Guinea yesterday raised concerns about recent violence and attacks aimed at response activities in three different districts.

Abdou Dieng said public buildings were damaged in Boke district, an ambulance was burned in Dubreka district, and responders were attacked in Fria district, according to a statement yesterday from the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).

Dieng called on the people of Guinea to support and work with national and international responders in the battle against Ebola. "Incidents such as those occurred in the past few days have seriously hampered aid workers remarkable performance and jeopardized the treatment of people with Ebola disease," he said in the statement.

Responders in Guinea have been challenged with community resistance events throughout the outbreak. The community resistance flare-ups come as responders beef up activities to quickly address recent sparks of disease activity and as a new case detection push and sensitization campaign is set to begin in Dubreka district on Jun 5.
Jun 1 UNMEER statement


White House convenes antibiotic stewardship summit

The White House today convened a summit on antibiotic stewardship and announced that more than 150 stakeholders are backing its efforts and President Barack Obama is directing federal agencies to prefer meat and poultry produced with responsible antibiotic use.

More than 150 food companies, retailers, and human and animal health stakeholders at the forum are highlighting their commitments to make changes over the next 5 years to slow the emergence of resistant bacteria and prevent the spread of resistant infections, the White House said in a press release.

"Today the President will sign a memorandum directing Federal departments and agencies to create a preference for meat and poultry produced according to responsible antibiotic-use," the release said. "The Presidential Food Service is also committing to serving meats and poultry that have not been treated with hormones or antibiotics."

The White House also said the Food and Drug Administration will announce that it has finalized changes to the Veterinary Feed Directive regulation, part of the agency's strategy to promote judicious use of medically important antibiotics in food animals. Other steps the administration has taken include an executive order in September prioritizing federal efforts to combat resistant bacteria. It also released a national strategy in 2014 and a national action plan in March 2015 to detail steps.

In a statement today, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) President Anthony D. Harris, MD, MPH, said, "We are encouraged that the Administration has taken a proactive role in helping find solutions to stem antibiotic resistance, one of the most pressing issues we face in healthcare."
Jun 2 White House news release
Jun 2 SHEA statement
Jun 2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention info on the topic


Saudi Arabia reports another MERS case in Hofuf

Saudi Arabia reported another MERS case today in the eastern city of Hofuf, which has had a series of cases in recent weeks, including some that appear healthcare-related.

The new case was reported on the Saudi Ministry of Health's MERS public awareness campaign page, called "We Can Stop This," but was not shown on its regular MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) statistics page this afternoon. The public awareness page shows case numbers but gives no details about the cases.

The page also noted one additional MERS death and one recovery. The new developments raised the MOH's MERS tally to 1,017 cases with 448 deaths. Six patients are still being treated and one is in home isolation, while 563 have recovered.
Saudi MOH MERS awareness page


WHO: Niger meningitis outbreak has peaked; cases top 8,200

Cases of meningitis in Niger have reached 8,234, including 545 deaths, but the outbreak has now peaked, Reuters reported today, citing information from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO had said the epidemic in the country was unprecedented because it was caused by serogroup C, a strain not usually found in Africa, and vaccine against that strain was in short supply. In early May, cases were tripling every 2 weeks, but they slowed in the second half of the month amid an immunization campaign, the story said.

Cases peaked in the week ending on May 10, with 2,189 cases and 132 deaths. That compares with 264 cases and 8 deaths last week.

Through April, 17 African nations reported 11,838 meningitis cases and 910 deaths, Reuters said, citing WHO statistics. The situation reached epidemic levels in Niger, Ghana, and Nigeria.
Jun 2 Reuters report

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