News Scan for Sep 25, 2017

Saudi MERS cases
;
Chikungunya spike
;
Measles outbreak response
;
Sports infections in kids

Saudi Arabia identifies first new MERS cases in weeks

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) reported two new cases of MERS-CoV in Al Hofuf late last week, one of which was fatal. These are the first cases reported by the MOH in 10 days.

On Sep 21, the MOH confirmed that a 48-year-old Saudi man with direct camel contact was diagnosed as having MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) infection after presenting with MERS symptoms. He is in stable condition.

In addition, a 72-year-old Saudi woman died from her MERS-CoV illlness. Her infection was listed as primary, meaning it is unlikely she contracted the virus from another person.

Saudi Arabia's MERS-CoV case count since 2012 has now reached 1,723, including 698 deaths. Four patients are still being treated for the disease, according to the MOH.
Sep 21 MOH update

 

PAHO reports 37,000 new chikungunya cases in the Americas

Fueled almost entirely by a large increase in Brazil, chikungunya cases in the Americas jumped by more than 37,000 last week, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said in its weekly update.

The 37,254 new cases lift the 2017 total in the region to 182,727, PAHO said in its Sep 22 update. The agency reported just 617 and 143 new cases in the previous 2 weeks.

Brazil reported 37,183 of the new cases, bringing its total to the year so far to 171,930, or 94% of the total. The increase covers a 2-week period. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela all reported small increases.

Since the Americas outbreak began in 2013 on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, the Americas region has reported 2,569,438 cases.
Sep 22 PAHO update

 

Researchers find post-exposure prophylaxis effective in measles outbreak

New York City health officials report that the effectiveness of the measles, mumps, and rubella MMR vaccine used as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) in response to a measles outbreak in 2013 was 83.4%, but immune globulin PEP effectiveness was 100%, according to a small study in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The researchers assessed the effectiveness of PEP—which is used to prevent disease in contacts of people with measles—among 44 people who received MMR PEP and 77 who received immunoglobulin (Ig) PEP. The outbreak involved 58 cases in an Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn.

The investigators determined that the effectiveness of MMR PEP was 83.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 34.4%-95.8%). Effectiveness of Ig PEP was 100% (95% CI, 56.2%-99.8%). Effectiveness of receiving any PEP (MMR or Ig) was 92.9% (95% CI, 56.2%-99.8%).

The authors conclude, "Our findings support current recommendations for administration of PEP following exposure to measles. These results highlight the importance of a rapid public health outbreak response to limit measles transmission following case identification."
Sep 23 Clin Infect Dis study

 

New guidelines released to prevent sport-related pediatric infections

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) today released new guidelines for infectious diseases that can be transmitted during organized sports. Authors of the guidelines, published in Pediatrics, emphasized that proper hygiene is imperative in preventing sports-related skin infections and illnesses.

Outbreaks among high school rugby players and wrestlers were used to illustrate how infections of herpes virus, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and Tinea bacteria can travel from player to player if not quickly identified. These skin-to-skin infections require vigilance and early isolation of infected players. Identifying skin infections and lesions within 3 days is key to prevent widespread infection, the authors said.

For diseases spread via the droplet route, including measles and mumps, the authors said focusing on vaccination coverage is the most important factor in preventing an outbreak among a sports team.

In general, players' primary care providers, coaches, and parents must work together to intervene early if a pediatric athlete shows sign of a communicable disease, the AAP said.
Sep 25 Pediatrics
study

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