News Scan for Dec 27, 2019

Qatar MERS cluster
;
Polio cases in 6 countries
;
Yellow fever in Mali
; ;

Three MERS cases confirmed in Qatar's capital

Qatar has reported three more MERS cases to the World Health Organization (WHO), the WHO said yesterday. The three cases are related, and all case-patients are from Doha.

The first case-patient is a 67-year-old woman who developed symptoms of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection at the end of November, and died on Dec 12. The source of her illness is still under investigation.

"The patient had neither a history of contact with dromedary camels nor recent travel. Follow up and screening of seven household contacts and 40 healthcare worker contacts is ongoing and two asymptomatic secondary cases have been identified so far," the WHO said.

The woman's son, age 50, and a 32-year-old case contact have also been diagnosed as having MERS-CoV. Both patients were asymptomatic and identified during contact tracing. The WHO said a total of 47 identified contacts of the patient have been monitored daily for the appearance of respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms for a period of 2 weeks following their last exposure to the patient.

From 2012 through Nov 30, 2019, a total of 2,494 laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV cases and 858 associated deaths have been reported to the WHO, the vast majority in Saudi Arabia.
Dec 26 WHO report

 

Six countries report more polio cases; WHO extends polio emergency

In the latest global polio developments, Afghanistan and Pakistan reported more wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases, and four African nations reported more circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases, according to totals reflected on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) tables, which include data reported as of Dec 24.

The GPEI didn't publish its full report with paralysis onsets, noting that the weekly updates will resume on Jan 9.

ProMED Mail, the online reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID) compiled a report on the recent cases compared to the previous weekly polio totals. It said for WPV1 cases, Afghanistan has two more, one each from Fara and Kandahar provinces, raising its total for the year to 26. Pakistan has 10 more cases from Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh, and Islamabad provinces, pushing its number for 2019 to 111.

Meanwhile, four African countries reported five new cVDPV2 cases, including two from Angola and one each from Central African Republic, Chad, and Ethiopia.
GPEI WPV1 cases as of Dec 24
GPEI vaccine-derived polio cases as of Dec 24
Dec 26 ProMED Mail post

In other polio developments, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) polio emergency committee met for the 23rd time on Dec 11, and after hearing from experts and representatives from polio-affected countries unanimously agreed that the risk of international spread remains a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

The WHO said in a Dec 20 statement on the deliberations that the committee voiced grave concerns about the significant rise in WPV1 cases this year, along with widespread transmission, vaccine refusal, and detection of vaccine-derived cases in Pakistan and challenging security and inaccessibility problems in Afghanistan.

Regarding vaccine-derived polio, the group said multiple outbreaks in four of the WHO regions are very concerning, noting that since its last meeting, seven new countries have reported outbreaks. WHO emergency committees typically meet every 3 months or sooner if needed.
Dec 20 WHO statement

 

WHO details yellow fever outbreak in Mali

The WHO yesterday released more details about a yellow fever outbreak in Mali that has so far resulted in three confirmed cases, plus nine suspected and three probable infections.

The initial case-patient is a 15-year-old girl from Koulikoro region who had not traveled outside of her district and had not been vaccinated. The other confirmed infections are in two men ages 17 and 25 from Ivory Coast who are living in Bouguimi district in Mali's Sikasso region. Two of the people with confirmed infections died.

The suspected and probable cases are all from Bouguimi district, and there are three deaths among the suspected infections.

The WHO said mass yellow fever campaigns have been underway in Mali since 2008, but coverage is still below herd immunity thresholds and there are pockets of low immunity, with high population movements within and outside of the country possibly diluting population immunity.

The district where the first patient is from is near Bamako, Mali's capital and home to 2 million people. The district where the two other patients lived is near the Ivory Coast border. The WHO said the risk of yellow fever spread within Mali due to disease activity is high, the risk of regional spread is moderate, and the threat of global spread is low.
Dec 26 WHO statement
Dec 9 CIDRAP news scan "Health officials confirm 3 yellow fever cases in Mali, Ivory Coast"

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