News Scan for Aug 17, 2015

Sierra Leone Ebola status
Salmonella in Washington state

WHO: Sierra Leone down to single Ebola transmission chain

Sierra Leone is down to its last known Ebola transmission chain, a sign of continuing progress in the battle against the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today. It added that the country has now gone a full epidemiologic week without a new case for the first time since the outbreak began last year.

The WHO said Sierra Leone's use of rapid response teams and strong community involvement to pinpoint cases and contacts have been yielding results. Anders Nordstrom, MD, the WHO's representative in Sierra Leone, said in a statement today that the achievements are encouraging, "but we have to keep doing this intensive working with the communities to identify potential new cases early and to rapidly stop Ebola transmission."

Sierra Leone's last known transmission chain started in Freetown and triggered a cluster of cases in Tonkolili district in the northern part of the country. The index patient in the chain was a young man who worked in Freetown but returned to his home village each month to bring his family food and money.

The man died in a hospital where he was being treated for a suspected malaria infection. Based on established protocols, a swab was taken and tested positive for Ebola virus.

The man's village was quarantined for 21 days, and two more people—both from the man's family—got sick with Ebola. On Aug 14, 595 people from Tonkolili were released from quarantine, some of them healthcare workers. The WHO added that 43 people are still in quarantine until the end of this week, with 38 more people in Freetown in quarantine until Aug 29.
Aug 17 WHO statement


CDC: Salmonella in Washington state pork outbreak is multidrug resistant

The 134-case Salmonella outbreak in Washington state that has been linked to pork involves a multidrug-resistant form of the bacterium, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported late last week.

In an Aug 14 outbreak update, the CDC said that all three patients' Salmonella samples tested were resistance to ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, and tetracycline. The outbreak strain is Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-. In a recent annual report on antibiotic-resistance in foodborne bacteria, the Food and Drug Administration said multidrug resistance in the subtype has doubled over the past few years.

The CDC also noted that 16 people have been hospitalized in the outbreak. No deaths have been reported. Illness-onset dates range from Apr 25 to Aug 1, and patients' ages vary from 1 to 90 years, with a median of 35.

Kapowsin Meats in Graham, Wash., on Aug 13 recalled more than 116,000 pounds of whole pigs after the outbreak strain was detected in samples collected at its plant.
Aug 14 CDC update
Aug 13 CIDRAP News story "Report on drug-resistant foodborne bacteria reveals encouraging trends, a few red flags"

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