News Scan for Jan 26, 2016

More cucumber Salmonella
Rotavirus vaccine in Rwanda

Cucumber-linked Salmonella outbreak grows to 888 cases, 6 deaths

In the more than 2 months since a previous update, the toll of a cucumber-linked Salmonella outbreak has risen by 50 cases and 2 deaths, and Tennessee has joined the list of affected states. Cases have reached 888, deaths 6, and states 39, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today.

The two new deaths are in California, but health officials in that state said Salmonella infection was not a contributing factor, the CDC said. California had one of the other deaths, as have Arizona, Oklahoma, and Texas. Also, 191 cases required hospitalization.

Illness-onset dates range from Jul 3, 2015, to Jan 6, 2016, though the outbreak appears to be slowing, the CDC said. Patients range in age from 1 to 99, with a median age of 18, meaning about half of them are children.

"The number of reported illnesses has declined substantially since the peak of illnesses in August and September; however, it has not returned to the number of reported illnesses that we would expect to see (about 1 every month during this time of year)," the CDC said.

The agency said, "The investigation into the source of these recent illnesses is ongoing," but it added, "Whole genome sequencing (WGS) of Salmonella Poona isolates from ill people and from contaminated cucumbers distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce showed that the strains are closely related genetically."

Andrew & Williamson, of San Diego, as well as Custom Produce Sales of Parlier, Calif., recalled cucumbers in September.

Texas has confirmed the most outbreak cases, 241, followed by Arizona, 134, and Texas, 52. The previous CDC update was on Nov 19, 2015.
Jan 26 CDC update


Diarrhea, rotavirus cases drop after vaccine introduction in Rwanda

Introduction of the pentavalent (five-strain) rotavirus vaccine into Rwanda in 2012 was associated with less diarrheal disease and fewer detections of the virus in hospitalized preschoolers, according to a time-series study published today in The Lancet Global Health.

An international team studied hospital data on kids younger than 5 from 2009 through 2014. Rwanda became the first low-income African nation to introduce the vaccine into its routine national immunization program in May 2012.

The researchers found that admissions for non-bloody diarrhea dropped by 17% to 29% from the pre-vaccine to post-vaccine eras. They also found that admissions for rotavirus captured by active surveillance fell 61% to 70%, and admissions for acute gastroenteritis fell 48% to 49%.

The authors conclude, "These data highlight the benefits of routine vaccination against rotavirus in low-income settings."
Jan 26 Lancet Glob Health study

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