News Scan for Aug 29, 2019

News brief

Four European countries lose measles elimination status

As measles cases this year pile up in Europe, four European nations—Albania, the Czech Republic, Greece, and the United Kingdom—have lost their measles elimination status, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe said today.

"Re-establishment of measles transmission is concerning. If high immunization coverage is not achieved and sustained in every community, both children and adults will suffer unnecessarily and some will tragically die," Gunter Pfaff, DrPH, Chair of the European Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination (RVC), said in a WHO news release. The eight-member RVC revoked the elimination status from the countries. The experts based their conclusion on 2018 statistics submitted by 53 member states of the WHO's European Region.

This is the first time since the verification process began in the region in 2012 that the RVC has revoked measles elimination status from countries. The news comes as the region has tallied about 90,000 cases for the first half of this year—compared with 84,462 for all of 2018.

As of the end of 2018, 35 European Region countries have achieved or sustained measles elimination status (down from 37 in 2017), 2 have interrupted the endemic transmission of the disease, and 12 remain endemic for measles, the WHO said.

The RVC also concluded that the situation for rubella has improved, with 39 countries achieving or sustaining elimination (up from 37 in 2017), 3 having interrupted endemic transmission (compared with 5 in 2017), and 11 considered to be endemic for rubella.
Aug 29 WHO Regional Office for Europe news release


Captive elk in Wisconsin tests positive for chronic wasting disease

A captive elk in Burnett County, Wisconsin, has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) confirmed this week in a news release.

The 6-year-old male elk had been euthanized on a breeding farm because of an injury and had not shown visible signs of the prion disease, which can be transmitted to other cervids like other elk, deer, and moose but has yet to be detected in people. Tests at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed CWD.

DATCP officials have quarantined the farm, including the other five elk in the herd. "A quarantine means no animals may move in or out of the property and restricts movement of carcasses," the DATCP said. "No elk have left the farm since the herd was formed in 2014."

The owner will have all elk that die tested for CWD, the DATCP said. Officials from the agency will investigate the health history of the CWD-positive animal and the premises to determine if other animals were exposed.
Aug 26 Wisconsin DATCP press release


Saudi Arabia reports new MERS case

One more MERS-CoV infection has been reported in Saudi Arabia, the country's Ministry of Health (MOH) ministry said in its latest statement.

The patient is a 56-year-old man from Najran, located southwestern corner of Saudi Arabia. The man's contact with camels isn't known, and his exposure is reported as primary, meaning he probably didn't contract MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) from another known case.

The report marks the sixth MERS-CoV infection reported by Saudi Arabia in August.

In its latest update covering cases through Jul 21, the World Health Organization (WHO) said 2,458 cases have been reported globally since 2012, the vast majority in Saudi Arabia.
Aug 27 Saudi MOH update

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