NEWS SCAN: Salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers, new poxvirus, Nipah near Australia, app for kids' vaccines

Apr 25, 2013

Multistate 73-case Salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers
Seventy-three people in 18 states have been infected with Salmonella Saintpaul linked to cucumbers, and 14 of them have been hospitalized, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today. "Preliminary information indicates that consumption of imported cucumbers is the likely source of infection for the ill persons," the CDC said. It added that the Food and Drug Administration placed Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacan, Mexico, on Import Alert, which means they may not ship cucumbers into the United States unless they can show they are not contaminated with Salmonella. There is no evidence that contaminated cucumbers from these two suppliers are still on the market, the agency said. Illness-onset dates for patients range from Jan 12 to Apr 6, and ages range from 1 to 80 years, the CDC said, with 60% female. Thirty of 45 ill patients (67%) reported eating cucumbers before they became sick. No deaths have been reported. California has confirmed the most outbreak cases, 28, followed by Arizona, with 9, and Minnesota, with 8.
Apr 25 CDC update

New poxvirus identified in bats in Washington state
A new poxvirus has been detected in brown bats in Washington state, researchers wrote yesterday in Emerging Infectious Diseases. From 2009 to 2011, six adult big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) were brought to a wildlife hospital and rehabilitation center because they couldn't fly. All had necrosuppurative osteomyelitis in multiple joints, failed to improve clinically, and were euthanized. Wing and joint tissue were positive by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for poxvirus, and "phylogenetic comparison supports establishment of a new genus of Poxviridae," the authors reported. "The isolate does not group with any of the 8 characterized genera of Chordopoxvirus," they added, saying, "its nearest neighbor is Cotia virus, an as yet unclassified Chordopoxvirus first isolated from sentinel suckling mice in a state reserve in Cotia County, Sao Paulo State, Brazil, in 1961." The subfamily Chordopoxvirinae contains many of the known poxviruses, including those that cause smallpox and chickenpox. The authors point out that osteomyelitis with arthritis has been reported in smallpox patients and vaccinees.
Apr 24 Emerg Infect Dis report

Study: Nipah virus appears to cross Wallace's Line near Australia
An invisible biogeographic barrier known as Wallace's Line that separates land animals in Australia and nearby countries from those in Southeast Asia may also restrict the spread of zoonotic diseases like avian flu but does not appear to stop Nipah virus, researchers reported yesterday in PLoS One. An international group of scientists tested fruit bats from the family Pteropodidae from Australia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Indonesia for the presence of antibodies to Hendra virus (HeV) and Nipah virus (NiV) and for the presence of HeV, NiV, or henipavirus RNA by PCR. "We found evidence that Nipah virus occurs on the eastern side of Wallace's Line and much closer to Australia than previously recognized," says Andrew Breed from the University of Queensland, Australia, in a Public Library of Science (PLoS) news release. "We also found that the epidemiology of Nipah virus, and related viruses, is complex and these viruses are not restricted to flying-foxes (Pteropus bats) in this region," he added.
Apr 24 PLoS One study
Apr 24 PLoS news release

WHO Europe develops phone app to remind parents on childhood vaccines
The World Health Organization's (WHO's) European office has developed a generic app code that countries can tailor quickly and cheaply into a simple phone-based tool to remind parents when their children's vaccinations are due, the agency said in a press release today. Once the app is downloaded to a iOS (Mac) or Android smartphone, users enter patient information for their children and they then receive reminders when vaccine doses are due. The app also serves as a record of vaccinations received, provides direct links to immunization schedules, and offers other useful online information resources.
Apr 25 WHO Europe press release

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