News Scan for Jan 14, 2016

Two MERS cases in UAE
Italian MCR-1 detection
Polio funds, setback

United Arab Emirates reports 2 new MERS cases

Health officials in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reported two new MERS-CoV cases, the country's first since last June, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported today.

The two patients are hospitalized in Abu Dhabi, but no other details are available, according to the report, which cited the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD). HAAD is coordinating with UAE's Ministry of Health "and other relevant governmental entities" and has taken steps according to World Health Organization (WHO) protocol for MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus), the story said.

The country's most recent cases occurred in June 2015 and involved a three-person family cluster.

In related news, Saudi Arabia, which had reported two MERS cases on consecutive days, reported no cases today.
Jan 14WAM story
Saudi Ministry of Health MERS updates


MCR-1 gene detected in Italian turkey isolates

Italy is the latest country to find the newly identified MCR-1 antibiotic resistance gene, according to a letter from Italian scientists to ProMED Mail, the online reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.

The findings from Italy are from Escherichia coli isolates obtained from turkey pre-slaughter sampling in 2014, Antonio Battisti, DVM, with the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Lazio e della Toscana in Rome, wrote in the letter. He also noted that whole-genome sequencing revealed that an isolate was also resistant to seven other antibiotics, indicating multidrug resistance.

He said further study of colistin-resistance in the Italian animal production sector is under way.

So far the gene, which disables the last-line antibiotic colistin, has been found in samples from at least 20 countries. Chinese researchers first reported it in the middle of November, and since then, scientists have been digging into their bacteria collections to see if any strains have the gene.

A flurry of recent studies suggest the gene has been around for at least a decade, has spread to several continents, and is linked to the drug's use in the production of food animals.
Jan13 ProMED Mail post
Jan 8 CIDRAP News story "New MCR-1 reports warn of untreatable infection threat"


Rotary gives $35 million to polio efforts as Pakistan reports more vaccine violence

In polio ups and downs yesterday, Rotary International contributed $35 million to help end the disease, while a suicide bomb killed at least 16 people at a vaccination clinic in Pakistan, and Southeast Asia celebrated 5 years of being polio-free.

In announcing the $35 million grant in a Rotary press release yesterday, Michael K. McGovern, chair of the group's PolioPlus Committee, said, "We are closer than ever to achieving a polio-free world. To ensure that no child ever again suffer the devastating effects of this disease, we must all ensure that the necessary funds and political will are firmly in place in 2016."

The clinic attack, meanwhile, happened in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, the New York Times reported. Most of those killed were police officers deployed to guard vaccine workers. The country has been plagued with numerous attacks from anti-vaccine militants in recent years, which has greatly hampered its efforts to combat polio.

In a United Nations statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the suicide bombing. The statement said, "The Secretary-General reiterates that nothing justifies terrorism. He urges the Government of Pakistan to take all necessary measures to swiftly bring to justice the perpetrators of such attacks."

And the WHO's South-East Asia Region Office (SEARO) yesterday completed 5 years without any wild poliovirus cases. "This is a remarkable achievement in view of the continued threat of poliovirus importation from the remaining polio-endemic countries [of Afghanistan and Pakistan]," the agency said in a statement.
Jan 13 Rotary press release
Jan 13 New York Times story
Jan 13 UN statement
Jan 13 WHO SEARO statement

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