News Scan for Jun 22, 2015

Plague death in Colorado
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More chikungunya cases
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Plague kills boy in Larimer County, Colorado

The first confirmed case of plague in Colorado's Larimer County since 1999 has turned fatal for a 16-year-old boy, the Associated Press (AP) reported today.

County, state, and federal officials are investigating the Jun 8 death but believe the teen may have contracted the disease from fleas on a dead animal on his family's land. Authorities are investigating whether anyone else in the area may have been bitten by fleas, the story said.

The boy didn't have the telltale swollen lymph nodes but instead had a fever and muscle aches, which to health workers looked more like the flu, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The plague is "very rare, which makes it hard to diagnose," said Katie O'Donnell, a Larimer County Health Department spokeswoman. She added that three people in the past 30 years have contracted plague in Larimer County, which is in north-central Colorado.

In recent decades, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed about 7 human plague cases a year, with a high of 17. The most recent 3 years of available data—2010, 2011, and 2012—show only 2, 3, and 4 cases, respectively.
Jun 22 AP story
Jun 20 LA Times story
CDC plague data
CIDRAP plague overview

 

Chikungunya outbreak in Americas grows by 24,000 cases

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) late last week reported 24,163 new chikungunya cases over a 2-week span, bringing the outbreak total in the Americas to 1,525,436 cases.

As has been the case for weeks, the increase has been largely fueled by new cases reported in Colombia. The South American country reported 19,108 cases, for a total of 263,785. El Salvador had the next-largest increase, with 3,339 new cases, for a total of 14,082.

PAHO, which did not post a report the week before, had reported increases of 37,358, 14,551, and 17,165 cases in the previous 3 weeks. The total so far this year is 388,489 cases.

The epidemic began in December 2013 with the first locally acquired chikungunya case ever reported in the Americas, on St. Martin in the Caribbean.
Jun 19 PAHO update

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