News Scan for Aug 16, 2017

MERS in Saudi Arabia
Zika semen findings
Cyclospora cases rise

Latest Saudi MERS case involves man from Jeddah

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) announced a new case of MERS-CoV today, continuing a small but steady stream of cases in the weeks leading up to the Hajj pilgrimage.

A 69-year-old expatriate man from Jeddah is in critical condition after presenting with symptoms of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus). The source of the man's infection is currently under review, according to the MOH.

The new case raises Saudi Arabia's total number of MERS-CoV illnesses since the virus was detected for the first time in humans in 2012 to 1,697, which includes 690 deaths. Eleven people are still being treated for their infections.
Aug 16 MOH report


Study: Zika not always found in semen of infected men

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine complicates the understanding of Zika virus RNA in seminal fluid. The findings call into question recommendations about sexual activity when Zika virus is suspected or confirmed.

The study was based on semen samples from 12 men from French Guiana with laboratory-confirmed Zika virus. Four of the men, 33%, had no detectable Zika RNA in their semen. Seven (58%) of the men excreted Zika virus RNA in their semen for up to 1 month. The average duration for Zika RNA detection in semen was 26 days, a shorter amount of time than other studies have reported.

"These data suggest that not all men who are symptomatically infected with ZIKV will have ZIKV RNA detectable in semen," the authors write. Moreover, viral loads in semen samples did not correspond to serum levels.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that men wear condoms or abstain from sex for 6 months after possible Zika infection. The authors conclude their study by saying more data is needed before making recommendations about sexual health practices.
Aug 16 NEJM study


Cyclospora outbreak cases rise in US and Canada

In its latest update on a national rise in Cyclospora cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 45 more illnesses have been reported in people without a history of international travel who were sick on or after May 1, raising the outbreak total to at least 251 cases.

Cyclospora cases typically rise this time of year, both in travelers infected outside the United States and over the past several summers in people without a travel history who were exposed to imported produce items such as basil, cilantro, and raspberries. However, on Aug 7 the CDC issued a warning to health providers about an increasing number of cases. So far no food source has been connected to the outbreak.

Though cases have been reported from 35 states, Texas is one of the worst affected. In an update yesterday, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) said 230 cases from 45 counties have been reported since the middle of June, with many of the cases from Bexar, Harris, Tarrant, and Travis counties.

Canada is also experiencing a Cyclospora outbreak, and in an Aug 11 update the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) reported 26 more locally acquired cases, raising the total to 130 infections from three provinces: British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.

Caused by the Cyclospora cayentanensis parasite, cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness cause by consuming contaminated food or water. Symptoms include watery, profuse diarrhea, as well as fatigue, muscle pain, and low-grade fever.
Aug 11 CDC Cyclospora outbreak update
Aug 15 TDSHS Cyclospora
Aug 11 PHAC

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