News Scan for Apr 29, 2019

News brief

CDC records 21 more E coli cases in ground beef outbreak, 177 total

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) late last week recorded 21 more cases in an Escherichia coli O103 outbreak linked to ground beef, bringing the outbreak total to 177 illnesses.

Ten states have reported illnesses, and 21 patients have been hospitalized. So far, there have been no deaths recorded in this outbreak. Kentucky has the most cases, with 65, followed by Tennessee (52), and Georgia (41). Ohio has 10 cases, Florida has 3, Virginia has 2, and Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Mississippi have each recorded 1 case. The CDC's outbreak investigation began on Mar 28 in Kentucky and Georgia, the CDC said.

On Apr 24, Grant Park Packing of Franklin Park, Illinois, recalled approximately 53,200 pounds of raw ground beef products. The beef was distributed to restaurants. The day before, K2D Foods, doing business as Colorado Premium Foods in Carrolton, Georgia, recalled 113,424 pounds of ground beef.

"Ill people in this outbreak ate ground beef from many sources. Investigators continue to trace other sources for ground beef, and more product contaminated with E. coliO103 may be recalled," the CDC said.

Illnesses for this outbreak started from Mar 1 to Apr 14, and the median age of case-patients is 18. Fifty-one percent are female.
Apr 26 CDC update


H5 outbreaks strike again in Nepal, Taiwan, and Mexico

Nepal, Taiwan, and Mexico all reported highly pathogenic avian flu outbreaks involving different strains, according to the latest notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

In Nepal, the H5N1 virus struck again at a commercial duck farm in Bagmati zone, which surrounds Kathmandu. The event is part of sporadic outbreaks that have been occurring in the country since March. The new outbreak began on Apr 23, killing 190 of 500 susceptible birds. The survivors were culled to control the spread of the virus.

Taiwan reported two more outbreaks involving H5N2, part of activity involving the strain under way since 2015. The latest events began on Apr 8 and Apr 12, both affecting farms that raise native chickens, one in Changhua County and one in Yunlin County. The outbreaks killed 122 of 23,599 poultry, and authorities destroyed the others as part of the response.

Elsewhere, Mexico reported two H7N3 outbreaks, one that began on Apr 8 at a large poultry farm in Queretaro state and one that started on Apr 15 in backyard birds in neighboring Hidalgo state. Between the two outbreaks, the virus killed 172 of 139,230 birds. The events mark the third report of H7N3 on Mexican farms since the beginning of April.
Apr 27 OIE report on H5N1 in Nepal
Apr 26 OIE report on H5N2 in Taiwan
Apr 27 OIE report on H7N3 in Mexico


Survey highlights child caregiver flu vaccine hesitancy, misperceptions

A survey of children's caregivers about flu vaccine perceptions found that even some whose children have gotten the first of the required two doses for younger children are still hesitant and that many have inaccurate beliefs about the vaccine. Researchers who were part of an American Academy of Pediatrics study presented their findings today at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Baltimore.

The focus was caregivers of children who received the first of two required flu vaccine doses. Children ages 6 months to 8 years old need two doses in the same season to be adequately protected, but only half typically receive the second dose.

The survey was conducted during the 2017-18 season as part of a study to gauge the impact of text message flu vaccine reminders. It included responses from 256 participants from 36 primary care network practices across 24 states.

The researchers found that 11.7% of caregivers had moderate or high vaccine hesitancy. In addition, a high proportion had inaccurate beliefs, such as that flu is just a bad cold (40.2%), the child will be protected with just one shot (93.8%), the flu shot causes flu (57%), and children can't die from flu (68%).

Ekaterina Nekrasova, MPH, a research assistant at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said in a PAS press release, "Our findings emphasize the importance of promoting the second dose influenza vaccination and educating caregivers about influenza disease and vaccination before and after they agree to the first dose."
Apr 27 PAS press release

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