NEWS SCAN: Ebola case confirmed, new measles cases, testing cooked meats

May 18, 2011

WHO confirms Ebola case in Uganda
The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed the recent Ebola fever case in Uganda but made no mention of any additional cases. The case was in a 12-year-old girl from Luwero district in central Uganda. She sought medical care at a local clinic on May 6 after 5 days of a febrile illness with hemorrhagic manifestations, the WHO said. "She was later referred to Bombo General Military Hospital where she died few hours after admission," the agency said. An investigation at the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe determined that the girl was infected with the Sudan strain of Ebola. A sample is en route to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for additional analysis and sequencing, the WHO said. A team of Ugandan, WHO, and CDC officials was sent to the district to launch an epidemiologic investigation. The WHO said it is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions affecting Uganda.
May 18 WHO statement

New York, Kansas confirm more measles cases
New York state health officials yesterday confirmed a measles infection in a college student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and warned that others could have been exposed to the virus at the campus in Troy, as well as at two hospital emergency departments, one in Troy and one in Albany. In a press statement, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDH) said the public could have also been exposed to measles at a health food store and Latham and a Rite Aid pharmacy in Troy. It advised people who aren't immune to the disease or who are in high-risk groups to call local hospitals or county health departments to determine if preventive treatment is needed.
May 17 NYSDH press release
In other measles developments, the Lawrence-Douglas County Department of Health (LDDH) in Kansas said yesterday that it is investigating a measles case in an unvaccinated child who attended Quail Run Elementary School in Lawrence. It said the child is in isolation until the contagious period ends, and those at risk for the disease are being contacted. In late April and early May neighboring Johnson County reported three measles cases in school-age children. One child had not been vaccinated, and the other two weren't vaccinated in time to prevent the disease, according to earlier media reports.
USDA suspends E coli testing of certain ready-to-eat meats
After finding no positive tests after 9 years and more than 10,000 samples, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the US Department of Agriculture has decided to stop testing for Escherichia coli in dry and semi-dry fermented sausages and fully cooked meat patties. In a May 13 update to constituents, the FSIS said, "Laboratory resources will be diverted to increase testing for E coli O157:H7 in raw products that pose a more immediate public health impact." However, Bill Marler, food safety lawyer and publisher of Food Safety News (FSN), said the action doesn't mean these types of meats cannot be sources of disease outbreaks, according to an FSN story today. He pointed to the multistate E coli outbreak earlier this year involving at least 14 people that was linked to Seltzer's Lebanon Bologna.
May 13 FSIS Constituent Update (see page 2)
May 18 FSN story

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