One case of MERS reported in Saudi Arabia
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) reported one new case of MERS-CoV on Dec 24, in the city of Afif.
A 28-year-old Saudi man is in stable condition after presenting with symptoms of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) infection. The MOH said the man had direct contact with camels, a known risk factor for MERS-CoV.
Saudi Arabia's MERS-CoV case count since 2012 has now reached 1,758, including 712 deaths. Three patients are still being treated, according to the MOH.
Dec 25 MOH report
More yellow fever cases reported from Nigeria, vaccination activities expand
The number of suspected yellow fever cases in Nigeria's outbreak, which has been underway since late summer, has risen to 341 from 16 states, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a Dec 22 statement.
As of Dec 19, of 63 samples that initially tested positive in Nigeria, 32 have been confirmed as positive for yellow fever in testing at the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, an increase of 2 since Nigeria's last situation update in late November.
Two more states—Kebbi and Nasarawa—have reported confirmed cases, raising the total number with confirmed illnesses to six. The number of deaths among the suspected or confirmed cases remained at 45.
The outbreak began in August with the identification of the first local case, a 7-year-old girl from Kwara state who had not been vaccinated. The following month, Nigeria launched a vaccination campaign that focused on Kwara and Kogi states.
In its statement, the WHO said Nigeria introduced yellow fever vaccination into its expanded immunization program in 2004, but the overall immunity against the disease in the affected areas is probably below the herd immunity threshold. In October, Nigeria launched a vaccination campaign that focuses on Kwara and Kogi states. Another campaign in December targeted parts of Zamfara state, reaching 1,000,000 people. Further vaccination activities are underway in Kogi and Kwara states, and a preemptive campaign slated for February will take place in the six states with recently confirmed cases, followed by other priority states.
"There is recognition that a nationwide approach is needed to achieve high levels of population immunity nationally," the WHO said.
It added that the risk of national spread is high, with the threat of regional spread to countries such as Niger as moderate and the overall global risk of spread as low.
Dec 22 WHO statement
Nov 29 CIDRAP News scan "Nigeria reports more suspected, confirmed yellow fever cases"
South Korea reports anthrax antibodies in North Korea defector, responds to vaccine row
South Korea's media is reporting that one of four soldiers who defected from North Korea this year had antibodies to anthrax, and reports that the government has purchased a limited amount of vaccine to protect a limited number of South Korean officials are stirring controversy.
Regarding the lab findings in the North Korean soldier, South Korea's Channel A television station, citing an unnamed intelligence official, said yesterday anthrax antibodies have been found in one of the defectors, indicating that the soldier was immunized or possibly exposed to it, the International Business Times (IBT) reported.
In another anthrax development, the South Korean president's office on Dec 24 confirmed that it had imported anthrax vaccine this year, but denied reports that it had only vaccinated government officials against the disease, according to a Dec 25 Korea Herald report. Citing a presidential spokesman, the report said the former administration bought the vaccine in early 2016 in response to accidental delivery of potentially live anthrax to a US military base in South Korea in 2015.
Last week, a Japanese news outlet said North Korea was testing ways to load biological weapons on its missiles. A few days later, a local media outlet claimed the president's office had purchased 500 doses of anthrax vaccine for officials and the president, triggering criticism and calls for the government to vaccinate all citizens.
The statement from the president's office said 350 doses had been imported in early November that are stored in a military hospital, and that the country's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have prepared vaccines for 1,000 patients in the event of a bioterror attack.
Dec 26 IBT story
Dec 25 Korea Herald story
American men have higher HPV rates than women, study shows
Men are much more likely to have human papillomavirus (HPV) than women, according to a new study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. A higher lifetime number of partners explained the increased risk men face, the authors of the study said.
The study compared HPV status among American men and women ages 14 to 59 in 2013 and 2014. Participants from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) submitted penile and cervical swabs that were tested for HPV. Overall, men were 1.4 times more likely to have HPV than women.
After adjusting for total lifetime number of sexual partners, there was no statistical significant differences between HPV rates among men and women, suggesting that number of partners is the most important contributing factor for HPV infection.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, affecting more than 80% of all adults at some point.
Dec 27 J Infect Dis study