News Scan for Jul 27, 2015

New Saudi MERS case
Anthrax lab error list grows
More chikungunya illness

Saudi Arabia reports new MERS case, death

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported a new MERS-CoV case over the weekend and a death in a previously reported patient, both in Riyadh.

The new case involves a 30-year-old Saudi man who is hospitalized in stable condition, the MOH reported on Jul 25. He is not a healthcare worker but had contact with a MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) patient in either a community or hospital setting, the MOH said.

The man who died was a 54-year-old expatriate who had preexisting disease, the MOH said today. He was not a health worker.

The developments bring the country's MERS totals to 1,055 cases and 466 deaths, the MOH said today. Eight patients are currently undergoing treatment.
Jul 25 MOH update
Jul 27 MOH update


More than 100 labs added to DoD anthrax lab error list

A Pentagon panel tasked with reviewing inadvertent shipment of samples containing live Bacillus anthracis spores from an Army lab in Utah today said 106 more labs received the material, raising the total to 192.

The labs added to the total are all secondary labs that received samples from primary recipients, according to a Department of Defense (DoD) update today. The number of secondary labs affected was not included in previous reports.

In its initial report released by the committee on Jul 24 the committee had said 86 labs received live samples of B anthracis—the bacterium that causes anthrax—directly from the Army's Dugway Proving Ground lab.

Also, the update revealed that 21 lab workers are on anthrax postexposure prophylaxis. Fifteen are DoD employees, and 6 work in other labs.

The review panel released its full report on Jul 24, finding that faulty inactivation of the spores and inadequate testing led to the shipment of the live spores. It said the key misstep was failure to detect viable spores in samples after they were exposed to gamma radiation intended to inactivate them. The DoD also said it would probe whether leadership failures contributed to the problem.
DoD Laboratory Review home page
Jul 24 CIDRAP News story "Poor activation, testing blamed for DoD anthrax errors"


PAHO reports 20,000 new chikungunya cases

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) late last week reported 20,269 new chikungunya cases, raising the epidemic total in the Americas to 1,614,318 cases.

Ecuador, reporting 5 weeks' worth of data, had the most new cases, 13,561, for a total of 30,045, according to a Jul 24 PAHO update. Colombia, which has for months reported thousands of new cases each week, was next highest, with 6,427 new infections, for a total of 302,171.

The previous week PAHO had reported 29,256 new cases. Weekly increases before that ranged from about 11,000 to about 14,000 cases. The total so far this year is 477,371 cases. As has been the case for quite some time, however, many countries have not reported data for weeks.

The epidemic began in December 2013 with the first locally acquired chikungunya case ever reported in the Americas, on St. Martin in the Caribbean.
Jul 24 PAHO update
Jul 21 CIDRAP News scan on previous update

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