News Scan for Apr 25, 2019

News brief

New case of MERS recorded in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) today recorded a new case of MERS-CoV in Medina in an epidemiologic week 17 update.

A 76-year-old man from Medina was diagnosed as having MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus). The man's case is listed as "primary," meaning he likely did not contract the disease from someone else, and he had recent contact with camels.

The case raises Saudi Arabia's MERS-CoV total for the year to 135 cases, including 61 linked to a large outbreak in Wadi ad-Dawasir.
Apr 25 MOH


Low-path H5 outbreak reported at California duck farm

Routine surveillance testing at a commercial duck breeding facility in California's Monterey County has detected low-pathogenic H5 avian flu, according to a notification yesterday from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The ducks haven't shown any clinical signs or increased mortality, and surveillance tests were done on Apr 15. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture are conducting an epidemiologic investigation and have stepped up surveillance and testing as a result of the recent findings, including at two poultry facilities related to the duck farm.

Partial genetic sequencing tests on the hemagglutinin of the virus suggest that it is a low-pathogenic virus related the North American wild bird lineage. Further genetic tests are pending virus recovery.

The United States had three low-pathogenic avian flu outbreaks in 2018, which included H7N3 in California, H7N1 in Missouri and Texas, and H5N2 in Minnesota.
Apr 24 OIE report on low-path H5 in California

In other avian flu developments, Israel's agriculture ministry reported a highly pathogenic H5N8 outbreak at a commercial turkey farm in Hazafon in the north central part of the country, according to a separate report from the OIE.

The outbreak began on Apr 20, killing 200 of 13,500 birds. The survivors were culled to curb the spread of the virus. An investigation suggests the source is contact with wild species, given that the country is on the migration route of wild birds coming from Africa to Europe. The farm is in an aquaculture area that attracts migratory birds.

Elsewhere, the Dominican Republic recently reported seven low-pathogenic H5N2 outbreaks, five on poultry farms and two in backyard birds. The outbreaks began between Dec 30, 2018, and Jan 22. Taken together, the events killed 2,887 of 178,601 susceptible poultry, which included Israeli chicks, layers, and other backyard poultry.
Apr 25 OIE report on H5N8 in Israel
Apr 22 OIE report on low-path H5N2 in the Dominican Republic

Food Outbreak Scan for Apr 25, 2019

News brief

CDC: Precut melon Salmonella outbreak sickens 24 more, 117 total

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday that 24 more people have been sickened in a multistate Salmonella Carrau outbreak linked to precut melon, raising the total to 117.

One more state—Iowa—has reported a related illness, lifting the number of affected states to 10.

Illness-onset dates range from Mar 4 to Apr 8. Of 88 people with available information, 32 (36%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Most of the patients are adults over age 50.

Interviews with sick patients suggests they ate precut melon bought at grocery stores, including cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, or a fruit salad mix or fruit tray with melon.

Information from stores where customers purchased the products suggests that the precut melon was supplied by Caito Foods, based in Indianapolis. The products were sold under different brand names at major retailers, including Renaissance Food Group and Boar's Head at Kroger, Garden Highway at Target, the Trader Joe's label at Trader Joe's, Freshness Guaranteed at Wal-Mart, and the Whole Foods Market label at Amazon/Whole Foods.
Apr 24 CDC statement
Apr 15 CIDRAP News scan "CDC ties pre-cut melon to 93-case multistate Salmonella outbreak"


Second company recalls ground beef after E coli positives

A second meat company has recalled its ground beef products after samples collected as part of an Escherichia coli O103 outbreak tested positive, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said yesterday in a recall notice.

Further testing is under way to determine if the products are definitively linked to the outbreak.

The recall from Grant Park Packaging, based in Franklin Park, Illinois, includes about 53,200 pounds of bulk raw ground beef produced in late October and early November. The 40-pound cardboard boxes are packaged under the North Star Imports and Sales label and bear the establishment number "EST. 21781" inside the USDA inspection mark. They were shipped to Minnesota for further distribution and to Kentucky for institutional use.

The sample that tested positive was collected at a point of service where multiple people sickened in the outbreak ate. Traceback and analysis continues to determine if the recalled products are linked to the outbreak.

Earlier this week the CDC said the outbreak total has risen to 156 cases in 10 states, and another company—K2D foods based in Georgia—recalled about 113,000 pounds of its ground beef after samples from a restaurant where some of the patients had eaten tested positive for E coli O103. Further testing is also under way to determine if that meat is an outbreak source.
Apr 24 USDA FSIS recall notice
Apr 24 CIDRAP News story "E coli outbreak hits 10 states; ground beef recalled"

This week's top reads