News Scan for Feb 02, 2016

News brief

Recalled nutritional powder tied to 11 Salmonella cases in 9 states

Dovetailing with recent cases announced in Minnesota and a product recall, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that 11 Salmonella Virchow illnesses in 9 states have been linked to Garden of Life RAW Meal Organic Shake and Meal products.

Besides Minnesota, affect states include New Jersey, which also has two cases, and seven other states that reported single cases: New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin. One person has been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported the CDC said.

Illness onsets range from Dec 5, 2015, through Jan 21. Six of the patients are male, and the age range is 8 to 76 years. Of 10 people interviewed, all reported consuming the recalled powdered supplements or meal replacement powder the week before they got sick.

Utah health officials isolated Salmonella from an open can from a patient's home, as has Oregon. The CDC said DNA fingerprinting is under way to see if the strains from the product match the outbreak strain.
Feb 2 CDC outbreak announcement
Feb 1 CIDRAP News scan "Nutritional powder recalled over Salmonella cases in several states"


Saudis report camel MERS outbreak; WHO details recent cases

Saudi Arabia's agriculture ministry recently filed a report on a MERS-CoV outbreak in camels, its first such report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) since the virus first emerged in humans in 2012.

The outbreak began on Dec 29, 2015, at a livestock market in Jeddah, in western Saudi Arabia. MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) was detected in 11 of 465 camels. Response measures included quarantine, screening, disinfection, and further surveillance in the zones around the market.

The report didn't say what triggered testing, but a spate of human infections linked to camels has recently been reported in Saudi Arabia. Also, the formal report to the OIE comes in the wake of a recent World Health Organization (WHO) joint mission to Saudi Arabia, which commended the country for its progress in battling the disease said it needs to take more proactive steps, such as better surveillance in camels.
Jan 28 OIE report
Jan 26 CIDRAP News story "WHO Saudi MERS mission finds progress, urges more steps"

In a related development, the WHO today filled in details about five human MERS-CoV cases reported in Saudi Arabia from Jan 22 to Jan 27, all of them with links to camels, either direct or indirect. Since then the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) has reported one more case, that of a 43-year-old man from Riyadh whose illness source is still under investigation.

The five illnesses were reported in four different cities: Jeddah Al-Kharj, Alkumrah, and Muthnab. All of the patients are men, ranging in age from 21 to 85.

The two patients from Alkumrah have asymptomatic infections detected during contact tracing, both with a history of contact with MERS-CoV–infected camels. They are foreigners and are in home isolation.

Two other patients, including the one from Jeddah, have a history of frequent contact with camels and consuming raw camel milk. Another had only contact with family members who had contact with camels. Those three patients are hospitalized in stable condition.

The WHO said contact tracing of household and healthcare contacts is still under way for the five cases. So far the aency has been notified of 1,638 MERS-CoV cases, at least 587 of them fatal.
Feb 2 WHO statement


Hawaii reports 244 dengue cases, 1 potentially infectious

Hawaii now has 244 cases of locally acquired dengue fever on its Big Island, up from 224 cases on Jan 20, the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) said in an update yesterday.

Only 1 of the 244 infected people is still considered potentially infectious, having first fallen ill on Jan 23, the department said. The other illness-onset dates range from Sep 11, 2015, to Jan 21.

Of the confirmed cases, 220 involve Hawaii residents and 24 involve visitors. By age-group, 199 (82%) of the patients have been adults and 45 (18%) children. The HDOH also noted that 1,059 potential dengue cases have been excluded based on test results.

The HDOH is spraying areas connected to confirmed cases to reduce mosquito populations. In addition, civil defense teams are inspecting areas of high mosquito density, the agency said.

"This is the first cluster of locally-acquired dengue fever since the 2011 outbreak on Oahu," the HDOH noted.
Feb 1 HDOH update


Groups unveil alternative insecticide program for malaria hot spots

In an effort to counter mosquito resistance to insecticides, UNITAID, a global health initiative based in Geneva, and the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVVC) yesterday announced a $65 million initiative to make alternative insecticides for indoor residual spraying more available to high malaria-burden countries.

The WHO said in a statement that the project will target as many as 50 million people in 16 African countries.

Indoor residual spraying is a powerful tool for curbing malaria transmission, but insecticide efficacy depends on a high percentage of homes reached, the formulation used, and the surface sprayed, the WHO said.

Mosquito resistance to insecticides, however, has become a growing problem, the agency added, with 60 of 78 countries reporting resistance to at least one product and 49 reporting resistance to two or more.
Feb 1 WHO press release

In a related development, the WHO on Jan 29 published its first position paper on the use of the malaria vaccine RTS/S/AS01, which has completed phase 3 trials and received a positive regulatory assessment. The agency published the paper in the WHO Weekly Epidemiological Record (WHO WER).

The WHO said that although malaria prevention efforts need to be strengthened and new tools are needed, there are still a number of questions that need to be answered before introducing the vaccine for routine use. Issues include effectiveness in children ages 5 to 17 months and whether a three-dose or four-dose schedule should be used.

The organization recommended pilot programs be conducted in moderate-to-high malaria intensity areas to answer some of the remaining questions.
Jan 29 WHO WER report

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