News Scan for Nov 12, 2019

Saudi MERS infection
Northern Hemisphere flu rise
New US measles cases
Measles outbreak in DRC

Saudi Arabia tracks 8th MERS case this month

In an update today, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported one new MERS-CoV case, in a man from Riyadh. The case is Saudi Arabia's eighth this month.

The patient is a 31-year-old man from the country's capital city, and his contact with camels isn't known. He is not a health worker, and his exposure is listed as primary, meaning he probably didn't contract MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) from another patient.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a recent update that since the virus was first detected in humans in 2012, it has received reports of 2,470 MERS cases as of early October, at least 851 of them fatal. About 84% are from Saudi Arabia.
Nov 12 MOH report


Flu shows signs of rise in some parts of Northern Hemisphere

Flu levels continue to increase in the Arabian Peninsula, and, in other Northern Hemisphere developments, respiratory illness markers increased in parts of Europe, eastern Asia, and North America but are still below seasonal thresholds, the WHO said yesterday in a global flu update.

As of late September, other areas experiencing flu increases include some countries in the Americas, such as Cuba, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.

Elsewhere, flu levels are on the rise in Iran and southern Asia and are still elevated in some West African countries, including Ivory Coast and Ghana. In Southeast Asia, flu is still elevated in Laos and is on the rise in Malaysia.

In the Southern Hemisphere, flu activity has declined to interseasonal levels in most countries, except for Chile, where mainly influenza B continues to be reported, though at decreasing levels.

Globally, testing at WHO-affiliated flu labs in the last half of October revealed that nearly 70% of positive specimens were influenza A. Of subtyped influenza A viruses, 42.7% were 2009 H1N1 and 57.3% were H3N2. Of the characterized B viruses, 95.2% belonged to the Victoria lineage.
Nov 11 WHO global flu update


CDC reports 11 new measles cases, national total at 1,261

In its monthly update, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 11 more measles cases, lifting the national number for the year to 1,261, the most in any year since 1992. The number of affected states remained the same, at 31.

The CDC's total reflects cases through Nov 7. The number of monthly cases is slightly higher than 7 new cases reported in its last monthly update on Oct 11. Overall, the pace of new infections has steadily declined since 300 cases reported in both March and April.

The report showed no ongoing outbreaks, which are defined as three more related cases.

So far, 123 people infected with measles this year were hospitalized, and 61 experienced complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis.

A dramatic spike in cases this year, most linked to large outbreaks in and around New York City, threatened but ultimately did not change the nation's measles elimination status. US outbreaks this year have been linked to outbreaks in foreign countries.
Nov 12 CDC update


DRC measles outbreak grows by 53,000 cases in past 2 months

Officials tracking a massive measles outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded 53,860 additional cases since Sep 15, according to the latest update from the WHO African regional office.

From Jan 1 to Oct 27, a cumulative 233,337 suspected measles cases with 4,723 deaths (case-fatality rate [CFR] of 2%) have been reported. The outbreak is occurring throughout the country, the WHO said, with 44% of health zones in an epidemic.

"Cases continue to be reported from Ituri and North-Kivu provinces, concomitantly affected by  the ongoing Ebola outbreak, with 9,809 cases (CFR 0.6%) and 4,777 cases (CFR 0.3%) reported respectively, between January and October 2019," the WHO said.

A vaccination campaign that began on Oct 30 is still ongoing, and officials have moved up a campaign planned for February 2020 to next month. As in the ongoing Ebola outbreak, vaccination campaigns have been hindered by violent conflicts in the country's eastern provinces.
Nov 10 WHO regional update

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