News Scan for Jul 06, 2017

MERS in Saudi Arabia
France vaccination rules
H5N8 avian flu in France

Monitoring winds down for contacts in Riyadh hospital clusters

Monitoring of contacts identified in three recent MERS-CoV hospital clusters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, ended on Jun 30, and no other cases have been detected, keeping the total number of people infected in the recent outbreaks to 49, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today in an update on the disease.

The WHO also provided details about three MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases reported by Saudi Arabia between Jun 24 and Jul 3 and noted two deaths in previously reported patients.

Symptom onsets for the three surviving patients range from Jun 16 to Jun 27, and none of the people are healthcare workers. The patients are a 60-year-old man from Riyadh who has underlying health conditions from Riyadh, a 30-year-old woman from Dammam who had been exposed to camels, and a 70-year-old man from Al Bahah who has a chronic medical condition. The sources of infection aren't known for the two men.

Saudi health officials are monitoring the patients' contacts and investigating the source of the illnesses, the WHO said.

Since the virus was first detected in humans in 2012, the WHO has received reports of 2,040 MERS-CoV cases, at least 712 of them fatal.
Jun 6 WHO update

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) in an update yesterday said one more MERS-CoV death has been reported in a previously announced patient, a 27-year-old expat in Riyadh who was not a health worker and who had a preexisting medical condition. So far the country has reported 1,674 cases, 682 of them fatal. Eight people are still being treated for their MERS-CoV infections.
Jun 5 Saudi MOH update


France makes recommended childhood vaccines mandatory

France's government announced yesterday that parents will be legally obligated to vaccinate their children, the Independent, an online newspaper based in Britain, reported.

Currently, three childhood vaccines are mandatory in France: diphtheria, tetanus, and polio. Others such as hepatitis and pertussis are recommended.

In announcing the move, Edouard Philippe, France's prime minister, said it was unacceptable that children are still dying of measles in a country where vaccines were pioneered based on the research of Louis Pasteur, according to the report. He added that all 11 vaccines recommended by French health officials will now be compulsory.

France is among the European countries that have reported recent measles outbreaks and recorded 79 cases in the first two months of 2017.

Because of similar concerns about unvaccinated children, Italy's government in May made 12 vaccines mandatory for school-age children.
Jul 5 Independent story


H5N8 avian flu hits backyard birds in northern France

France yesterday reported a new highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza outbreak, which struck a location just across the border from a facility in Belgium that reported a recent event, according to a report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The French outbreak struck backyard birds near the city of Brillon in far northern France. The virus was found when authorities tested the flock after clinical signs were noted. Investigators said the location is about 9 miles from a recent outbreak in Tournai, Belgium, adding that the outbreak in France is probably related to the purchase of chicks in pigeons in a market in Tournai.

The outbreak began on Jun 26 and was declared resolved on Jun 29. Of 347 susceptible birds at the Brillon farm, the virus killed 150, and the surviving birds were culled to curb the spread of the virus.
Jul 5 OIE report on H5N8 in France

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