NEWS SCAN: Salmonella outbreak update, drug supply security, rotavirus vaccine safety

Jan 5, 2012

Labs find Salmonella in ground beef as outbreak expands to 19 cases
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today linked three more infections to a Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak from a Maine supermarket chain's contaminated ground beef and the outbreak strain has been isolated in meat samples, according to an outbreak update. The new cases, two from New Hampshire and one from New York, push the total to 19. The number of affected states remains at seven, the same as in the CDC's last update on Dec 20. No deaths have been reported, and the number of patients hospitalized also remained at seven. On Dec 14 the Maine-based grocery store chain Hannaford recalled an undetermined amount of its ground beef after outbreak investigations linked it to 14 illnesses. State labs in Maine and New York have isolated the outbreak strain from two separate samples of leftover beef collected from Hannaford Stores and from unrelated sick patients' homes, the report said. The CDC said more detailed tests conducted on five isolates suggest that the outbreak strain is resistant to several antibiotics, including amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, ampicillin, ceftriaxone, cefoxitin, kanamycin, streptomycin, and sulfisoxazole, and some isolates are resistant to tetracycline. The isolates are sensitive to several antibiotics, including ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, the CDC said.
Jan 5 CDC outbreak update

Group proposes drug supply chain security measures
United States Pharmacopeia (USP), an independent nonprofit group that sets standards for medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements, yesterday unveiled proposed standards for protecting the integrity of the pharmaceutical supply chain. The recommendations are a set of best practices on how to ensure that medicines can be traced, are not adulterated or counterfeited, and undergo transport with quality intact, according to a USP press release. The document offers companies guidance on how to minimize risks all along the supply chain, from raw material sourcing to manufacturing and distribution. The group said the best practices aren't mandatory but are designed to help forge broad consensus on the elements of an effective security strategy. Though some companies have their own approaches, smaller companies that source ingredients may not have the security systems in place that larger companies have, it noted. USP is asking for feedback on the proposed standards in advance of a supply chain workshop scheduled for May 22 and May 23 in Rockville, Md. The deadline for submitting comments is May 31.
Jan 4 USP press release
USP proposed supply chain best practices

Newer rotavirus vaccine not linked to bowel obstruction
Updated versions of a rotavirus vaccine that were released in 2006 and 2008 have not been associated with a bowel obstruction that caused the downfall of an earlier version, according to a study in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. An earlier form of the vaccine was pulled in 1999 after it was linked to a severe bowel obstruction called intussusception. University of Michigan investigators analyzed data on children less than 1 year old from the Kids' Inpatient Database, a sample of 80% of US pediatric discharges, for 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009. They found that cases of intussusception fell from 1,565 in 1997 to 1,548 in 2006, or a decline from 41.6 to 36.5 cases per 100,000 infants. In 2009, after reintroduction of the rotavirus vaccine, the rate was 33.3 per 100,000 infants. "We hope that our study provides information that will continue to reassure parents that the benefits of rotavirus vaccine outweigh the risks," lead author Joe Zickafoose, MD, said in a university press release.
Jan 2 Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med abstract
Jan 4 University of Michigan press release

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