News Scan for Oct 21, 2019

Enterovirus and AFM
MERS in Saudi Arabia

Study offers clear evidence of enterovirus in acute flaccid myelitis cases

A new study in Nature Medicine offers the first clear evidence of enterovirus (EV) in the cerebrospinal fluids of patients with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) – a mysterious, polio-like illness that can cause paralysis in otherwise healthy children.

Since 2012, the United States has tracked more than 500 AFM cases, which have increased biennially. AFM cases in 2014, 2016, and 2018 occurred during and near outbreaks of enteroviruses (EV-D68 and EV-A71 infections), and researchers and clinicians have described associations between enterovirus infections and the subsequent development of AFM.

But less than half of AFM case-patients have evidence of EV infections in nonsterile biologic specimens, including nasal swabs and stool specimens. This study evaluated EV in the CSF samples of 42 American children with the illness, mostly in 2018. Researchers found evidence of EV in 29 of 42 AFM cases, and only 4 out of 58 controls.

"Pan-viral serology frequently identified high levels of CSF EV-specific antibodies in AFM compared with controls, providing further evidence for a causal role of non-polio EVs in AFM," the authors said.

The authors conclude by suggesting that, like polio, a vaccine may be the best way to control AFM. Thus, continued efforts to understand the etiology of the illnesses must be made.
Oct 21 Nat Med study


MERS infects 1 more in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) recently announced another human MERS-CoV case, the second this month from Khamis Mushait in the southwestern part of the country.

The patient is a 73-year-old man whose exposure to MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) is listed as primary, meaning he likely didn't contract the virus from another patient. His exposure to camels is unknown.

The country has now reported eight cases so far in October, up from four reported for the whole month of September.

In its latest monthly summary regarding the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that, through September, 2,468 cases have been reported globally, along with 851 related deaths. The vast majority have been reported from Saudi Arabia.
Oct 19 MOH update

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