News Scan for Feb 19, 2020

News brief

Qatar reports MERS in 65-year-old man with underlying conditions

Qatar's Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) yesterday confirmed a new MERS-CoV case in a 65-year-old man, the fourth case recorded in Qatar since December.

In a news release, the MOPH said the man has several chronic diseases and is hospitalized to receive care for his MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) infection. Officials said they are taking all necessary precautions to prevent the disease from spreading.

Officials did not say whether the man had traveled recently, had recent contact with camels, or had other risk factors. They also did not say where the man is from or where he is hospitalized.

Qatar officials confirmed three MERS cases in late December 2019. Before that, the country had not reported a case since 2017.

The World Health Organization said in its latest monthly update that, since 2012, it has received reports of 2,499 MERS-CoV cases, at least 861 of them fatal. The vast majority of these cases were in Saudi Arabia.
Feb 18 Qatar MOPH news release
Dec 27, 2019, CIDRAP News scan on earlier cases


CDC, FDA, say Salmonella outbreak tied to fruit appears over

Yesterday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) both announced an end to their investigations into a Salmonella outbreak first identified in December tied to cut fruit produced by Tailor Cut Produce of North Brunswick, New Jersey.

The CDC said officials confirmed 69 new cases recorded since its Jan 2 update, for a total of 165 cases reported since early December 2019 in 14 states. Seventy-three patients were hospitalized, and there were no deaths. Illness-onset dates ranged from Nov 7, 2019, to Jan 11, 2020.

"Illnesses were reported from states where Tailor Cut Produce distributed cut fruit, including Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Most ill people from the other 10 states reported traveling to at least one of these 4 states in the week before their illness started," the CDC said.

On Dec 7, Tailor Cut Produce recalled its Fruit Luau cut fruit mix as well as cut honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and pineapple products because they had the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.
Feb 18 CDC update
Feb 18 FDA report


H7N9 avian flu follow-up study reveals persistent lung problems

A follow-up study of 61 people in China who survived H7N9 avian flu hospitalizations in three of the country's five outbreak waves found persistent lung damage and ongoing pulmonary dysfunction. A team from China published its findings yesterday in EClinicalMedicine.

The survivors were from five provinces and Beijing, and between Aug 2013 and Sep 2018, researchers conducted follow-up visits at 3, 6, and 12 months after illness onset. For a subset of patients, assessments were repeated at 18 and 64 months. The medical exam included dyspnea assessment, chest auscultation, pulmonary function testing, and chest computed tomography (CT).

The cumulative rate of pulmonary dysfunction was 38.5% at the 18-month follow-up visit and 78.2% for chest CT abnormalities, also at the 18-month follow-up visit. Pulmonary function tests showed that 38.1% has a restrictive pattern of lung disease at the 3-month visit, which slowly resolved. The researchers observed an obstructive pattern in 14.3% at the 3-month visit, which persisted for about a year. They also found that abnormalities on chest CT persisted after pulmonary function improved.

The investigators said the pulmonary problems they found persisted longer than what was reported for patients hospitalized with pandemic or seasonal flu. The team concluded that the findings add to the understanding of H7N9 disease severity and underscore the importance of long-term follow-up studies to gauge the impact of infections with influenza A viruses.

Since early 2013, China experienced five H7N9 waves, which resulted in 1,567 illnesses, at least 615 of them fatal, according to the WHO.
Feb 18 EClinicalMedicine report
Sep 2018 WHO
H7N9 background information

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