NEWS SCAN: Salmonella and raw milk, malaria in US, TB screening, MRSA product claims, mumps boosters, polio in Ivory Coast

Apr 21, 2011

4 salmonellosis cases in Dallas County linked to raw milk
Dallas County is investigating four cases of Salmonella infection linked to raw milk, Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) reported Apr 20. The most recent case was in a 56-year-old resident who was hospitalized after drinking unpasteurized milk and has since recovered, according to a DCHHS news release. Three other similar cases beginning in November 2010 are also under investigation by the department, and two of those patients also needed hospital care. Three of the four cases have been linked to an unspecified Texas dairy farm, the DCHHS said. "The public should avoid consuming raw milk or raw milk products because of the risk for potentially deadly bacterial infections," DCHHS Medical Director Dr. Steven Harris said in the release.
Apr 20 DCHHS press release

US malaria cases up 14% in 2009
US malaria cases climbed 14% in 2009 compared with 2008, to almost 1,500, but the case count was similar to the 4 years before 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). All but six 2009 cases were classified as imported. The CDC logged 1,298 malaria cases in 2008. Plasmodium falciparum accounted for 46% of 2009 cases, with P vivax, P malariae, and P ovale causing 11%, 2%, and 2% of cases, respectively. The species of malaria-causing parasite was unknown in 38% of cases, and 13 patients were infected by two or more species. The report also details three transfusion- or transplant-related cases, three possible congenital cases, and four fatalities. The deaths occurred in a man native to India and three adults who had traveled to Congo, Burkina Faso, and Zimbabwe, respectively. The report noted that the two groups with the lowest levels of preventive drug use were travelers visiting friends and missionaries. The CDC recommends especially targeting these two groups—as well as pregnant women, who were often treated incorrectly—with messages to convey the importance of preventive steps. The agency also stated that "treatment of malaria, while appropriate for the majority of cases, was insufficient for a large number of P vivax and P ovale infections, putting patients at risk for relapsing malaria."
Apr 22 MMWR report

UK researchers find TB screening gaps
UK researchers reported today that current tuberculosis (TB) screening of immigrants misses more than 70% of latent infections. Their findings, in Lancet Infectious Diseases, suggest that broadening the populations tested and using a new blood test instead of lung x-rays for active infection can identify more than 90% of latent cases, which without antibiotic treatment can progress to full-blown infection. They based their study on 1,200 recent immigrants from three centers. Though the national screening policy doesn't apply to people coming from the Indian subcontinent, the new blood tests revealed that about 20% of immigrants from countries in that region were carriers of latent TB. About 30% of those from sub-Saharan Africa were carriers. The investigators concluded that broadening the screening population and using the new test would cost little more than the current screening program. They added that the findings form the scientific basis for expanding the UK's screening policy.
Apr 21 Lancet Infect Dis abstract
Apr 20 Imperial College London press release

FDA warns 4 companies about claims that products prevent MRSA
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday that it warned four companies to stop making unproved claims that their hand sanitizers and gels prevent infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The companies and their products are: Tec Laboratories (Staphaseptic First Aid Antiseptic/Pain Relieving Gel), JD Nelson and Associates (Safe4Hours Hand Sanitizing Lotion and Safe4Hours First Aid Antiseptic Skin Protectant), Dr. G.H. Tichenor Antiseptic Co. (Dr. Tichenor’s Antiseptic Gel), and Oh So Clean, Inc., doing business as CleanWell Co. (CleanWell All-Natural Foaming Hand Sanitizer, CleanWell All-Natural Hand Sanitizer, CleanWell All-Natural Hand Sanitizing Wipes, and CleanWell All-Natural Antibacterial Foaming Handsoap). The agency said it told the companies their marketing practices violated federal law and that they had 15 days to correct the problems or face legal action, including seizure and injunction. The companies also have claimed that their products prevent other kinds of infections besides MRSA, and labels for some of the hand sanitizers say the products prevent Escherichia coli and H1N1 influenza infections, the FDA said. "The FDA does not have sufficient evidence demonstrating that these products are safe and effective for these purposes," the agency said.
Apr 20 FDA press release

Study points out potential need for more mumps boosters
A report from Israel found that 78% of recent mumps patients 15 years old or older had received the recommended amount of vaccine for their age-group, raising the question of whether more booster doses are needed. The researchers, writing in Epidemiology and Infection, say that the Israeli outbreak of more than 5,000 cases has similar features to recent mumps outbreaks in Europe and North America—areas that also have high vaccination coverage. They conclude, "The epidemiological and laboratory evidence suggests that many previously vaccinated adolescents and young adults are now susceptible to mumps because their vaccine-based immunity has waned. Booster vaccination programmes for those at high risk of infection during mumps outbreaks—particularly those in congregate living environments—merit priority consideration."
Apr 20 Epidemiol Infect abstract

Polio cases reported in Ivory Coast
The World Health Organization (WHO) today announced that the Ivory Coast is experiencing a wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) outbreak, the first of this type in that part of western Africa since 2000. Three cases involving paralysis have been detected so far this year, and genetic sequencing suggests that the WPV3 is linked to a virus detected in 2008 in northern Nigeria. The risk of further WPV3 spread is high, because political instability and security problems are likely to limit outbreak response activities. Also, the WHO warned that further undetected circulation of WPV3 could be occurring in the region due to surveillance gaps. Urgent measures are needed to stop WPV3 spread, because transmission of the subtype is at its lowest level in history. The WHO said an immunization response is scheduled in late April for the affected Ivory Coast province, followed by two immunization day events that will be conducted as soon as current political upheaval allows.
Apr 21 WHO statement

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