NEWS SCAN: Ebola in Uganda, anthrax in Europe, more Salmonella chick cases, source of UK Legionnaires' outbreak

Jul 31, 2012

More suspected cases reported in Uganda Ebola outbreak
The number of suspected Ebola infections in Uganda's Kibaale district has risen to 36, up from 20 reported earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today in brief updates on its Twitter account. Four infections are lab-confirmed, and the death toll stands at 14. The WHO said lab tests confirm that the Sudan strain of Ebola is responsible for the outbreak. The same strain was responsible for Uganda's last known Ebola case, a 12-year-old girl from Luwero district who died in May 2011. So far no infections have occurred outside Kibaale, the WHO said. It advised people in the district who have worrying symptoms to go to Kagadi Government Hospital while avoiding physical contact with others. In messages targeted to health workers in the area, the WHO advised use of personal protective equipment and warned that cholera is also present in Kibaale district, and the symptoms may be confused with Ebola illness. Uganda's health ministry said in a statement yesterday that it is working around the clock with international partners to assess the outbreak and bring it under control as quickly as possible. It said a temporary isolation center has been set up at Kagadi hospital and that the capital of Kampala is preparing for possible cases. The ministry said experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the WHO have collected seven more samples from close contacts, raising the number of samples collected to 11.
Jul 30 Ugandan health ministry statement
WHO Twitter feed

ECDC reports 2 more anthrax cases linked to injecting drugs
Two new cases of soft-tissue anthrax among injecting drug users have been confirmed, raising to seven the number of such cases since early June, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a release today. The cases, from the United Kingdom and Denmark, were reported on Jul 25 and 26, the agency said. Three of the seven cases are from Germany, two from Denmark, and one each from France and the United Kingdom. The ECDC and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) jointly published a risk assessment about the disease in injecting drug users on Jul 6, and the agencies updated the assessment on Jul 13. In the assessments health officials said clinicians needed to raise their awareness of the disease in drug users, adding that the cases may stem from contaminated heroin or cutting equipment.
Jul 31 ECDC news release
Jul 13 ECDC-EMCDDA risk assessment

Live poultry from Missouri linked to 10 more Salmonella infections
A Salmonella Montevideo outbreak linked to a Missouri company mail-order hatchery has sickened 10 more patients, raising the total to 76 illnesses, the CDC announced today. The agency also said two more states are affected, raising the number to 22. The outbreak, first announced on Jun 25, is the fourth Salmonella outbreak linked to mail-order chicks and ducks to surface since 2011. On Jul 23 the CDC announced yet another similar outbreak involving Salmonella Hadar linked to an Idaho poultry supplier. In its update today on the Salmonella Montevideo outbreak, the CDC said 17 patients have been hospitalized so far and that the 10 new cases are from Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas. The latest reported illness onset was Jul 15. Trace-back investigations linked the illnesses to chicks from Estes Hatchery in Springfield. Chick samples from four patients' homes had also yielded the outbreak strain. The CDC said today that the company participates in a US Department of Agriculture plan to eliminate Salmonella Pullorum and Salmonella Gallinarum from breeder flocks, but the program doesn't certify that the flocks are free of other Salmonella strains.
Jul 31 CDC outbreak update

Store hot tub cited as likely source of UK Legionnaires' outbreak
The source of an outbreak of 19 cases of Legionnaires' disease in Stoke-on-Trent, England, appears to be a hot tub at a wholesale store. Investigators identified an "unusual strain" of Legionella bacteria on a hot tub at JTF Warehouse in the Fenton area of Stoke-on-Trent that matches samples taken from patients, according to a news release yesterday from the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA). Dr Sue Ibbotson, HPA regional director, said, "We have the evidence from DNA fingerprinting of samples from the hot tub and the patients being caused by the same previously unseen strain of Legionella." Seventeen of the 18 case-patients that were confirmed as of yesterday reported visiting the store. Included in the 18 are two cases confirmed yesterday, and health officials confirmed an additional case today, according to the BBC. A spokesperson from the area's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said in the HPA release, "HSE continues to inspect premises where we are the enforcing authority and will do so until we have eliminated those sites from our investigations and are sufficiently assured there are no other possible sources." The hot tub model was pulled from all WTF Warehouse outlets, the BBC reported. Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria that can grow in warm water sources, such as air-conditioning units or hot tubs. People typically contract the disease by inhaling contaminated vapor or mist.
Jul 30 HPA news release
Jul 31 BBC report

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