News Scan for Jan 28, 2019

News brief

Washington state measles outbreak prompts emergency declaration

Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Jan 25 declared a public health emergency as a step to boost its response to a measles outbreak that has now sickened 34 in the Vancouver area, with 1 case confirmed in King County in the Seattle area.

The outbreak in Vancouver began in early January, and since Jan 21, Clark County Public Health has reported 12 more cases, raising the total to 34. Officials are also investigating 9 more suspected cases.

In an update yesterday, Clark County said 24 of the cases have been in children ages 1 to 10 years old and that 30 of the patients were unimmunized, with status unverified for the remaining 4. So far one person has been hospitalized. Clark County officials had declared a public health emergency because of the outbreak on Jan 18, and the Inslee declaration expanded the state of emergency to all Washington counties.

The outbreak area borders Portland, Ore., and the Oregon Health Authority has confirmed one case in Multnomah County that is linked to Washington's Clark County outbreak.

Meanwhile, King County said in a Jan 23 update that tests have confirmed measles in a suspected patient, a man in his 50s who was hospitalized but has since recovered. So far it's not clear where the man was exposed, but he reported recent travel to Vancouver.
Jan 25 State of Washington emergency proclamation
Jan 27 Clark County Public Health
Jan 26 Oregon Health Authority
Jan 23 Seattle and King County public health


Saudi Arabia records another MERS case in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) late last week reported another primary MERS-CoV case in Riyadh, the country's capital. This is the 10th MERS case recorded in January and the eighth in Riyadh.

In an update to its epidemiologic week 4 report, the ministry said the patient was a 53-year-old man who had no contact with camels or other cases. He is hospitalized for his MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) infection.

In the World Health Organization's most recent MERS-CoV update, it said that, as of Dec 31, it had received reports of 2,279 MERS-CoV cases since 2012, at least 806 of them fatal.
Jan 25 MOH


CDC warns of Salmonella outbreak linked to pet hedgehogs

Eleven people from eight states have been sickened with Salmonella Typhimurium, and contact with pet hedgehogs likely caused their illnesses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an outbreak notification late last week.

One person has been hospitalized but there have been no deaths, the CDC said. In interviews, 10 of the 11 patients reported contact with a hedgehog in the week prior to illness, but a common supplier of the animal has not yet been identified. The patients range in age from 2 to 28 years.

Three people have been sickened in Missouri, two in Minnesota, and one each in Colorado, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Texas, and Wyoming. The outbreak strain was collected from three hedgehogs belonging to the Minnesota patients.

"Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching, feeding, or caring for a hedgehog or cleaning its habitat. Adults should supervise handwashing for young children," the CDC warned. "Don’t kiss or snuggle hedgehogs, because this can spread Salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you sick."
Jan 25 CDC


PAHO: Possible yellow fever outbreak brewing in Brazil

In its most recent update on yellow fever in the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported 12 new cases of the disease in Brazil, possibly marking the beginning of the country’s third wave of yellow fever activity in the past 2 years.

Twelve confirmed cases, including 6 deaths, have been reported in Sao Paulo state since the beginning of January. Historically, yellow fever transmission is at its highest rates between December and May, PAHO said.

"Human cases reported during the current 2018-2019 seasonal period in four municipalities in Sao Paulo State, as well as the confirmation of epizootics in the state of Paraná, mark the beginning of what could be a third cycle and a progression of the outbreak towards the Southeast and South regions of the country," PAHO said.

In the 2016-17 yellow fever transmission cycle, Brazil saw 778 yellow fever cases, including 262 deaths. In 2017-18, that number grew to 1,376 cases, including 483 deaths, as the disease spread to regions with low vaccination rates.

Brazil has been using fractional dosing to stretch its supply of yellow fever vaccine and has launched numerous campaigns to vaccinate people in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Bahia states.
Jan 25 PAHO report

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