News Scan for Apr 11, 2017

News brief

Two new cases of MERS reported in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) reported two new cases of MERS-CoV today, the first since Apr 6.

A 72-year-old Saudi man from Riyadh is in stable condition after presenting with symptoms of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus). The source of his infection is listed as primary, meaning it's unlike he contracted the virus from anyone else.

The second patient is a 60-year-old Saudi man from Al Huwayah. He is in critical condition after presenting with symptoms of the coronavirus. The MOH said the man had direct contact with camels.

The new case brings Saudi Arabia's total to 1,589 MERS-CoV cases, 659 of them fatal, since the virus was first detected in humans in 2012. Seven people are still being treated for their infections, the MOH said.
Apr 11 MOH update


Bangladesh, Italy report more avian flu outbreaks

Bangladesh today reported highly pathogenic H5 avian flu virus detections in crows, and Italy reported a new H5N8 outbreak in poultry, according to the latest notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The Bangladeshi outbreak began on Jan 14 in Dhaka, the country's capital. The virus killed 124 house crows, and 42 more were destroyed to curb the spread of the virus. Officials declared the outbreak over on Mar 16. In January, the country reported an H5N1 outbreak in house crows found dead on a medical college campus in Rajshahi division.

Elsewhere, Italy reported one more H5N8 outbreak in poultry, this time at a layer farm in Emilia-Romagna region in the northeast. The event began on Apr 7, killing 727 of 130,773 susceptible birds. The remaining birds are slated for stamping out, and authorities have placed protection and surveillance zones around the affected farms.
Apr 11 OIE report on H5 in Bangladesh
Apr 11 OIE report on H5N8 in Italy


Study identifies melioidosis adaptations in cystic fibrosis patients

Melioidosis is one of the chronic opportunistic infections that cystic fibrosis (CF) patients struggle with, and an analysis of Burkholderia pseudomallei samples from seven CF patients from Australia and New Zealand provides new clues about how the bacterium evolves in the lungs during chronic illness.

An Australian team published its findings today in mBio. The study is the first to describe the evolution of B pseudomallei, which causes melioidosis, in the CF setting.

Genetic analysis of the samples revealed that lung adaptation pathways were similar to other more well-studied CF pathogens, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Burkholderia cepacia. Adaptations they saw included antibiotic resistance, loss of nonessential genes, metabolic alterations, and virulence attenuation. The researchers also identified known and novel resistance mechanisms to three of five clinically important antibiotics used to treat melioidosis.

The findings are useful for anticipating the clinical course for CF patients who have chronic melioidosis and provide new information for more targeted treatment, the team concluded.
Apr 11 mBio study

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