NEWS SCAN: Ebola in Uganda, rabies survival, polio in Pakistan, TB control at US ports

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Aug 2, 2012

Uganda reports 38 suspected Ebola infections
Uganda's health ministry is reporting 38 suspected Ebola cases, along with 16 deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today in its Twitter feed. Media reports have been inconsistent with the number of suspected cases and deaths, and yesterday an African media outlet reported 18 deaths. A press release yesterday from Uganda's health ministry said two new deaths were reported at Kagadi hospital, bringing the total to 16. One was a female who had tested positive for the virus, and the other was a newly admitted patient to the isolation unit. The ministry said the hospital's isolation facility has 2 confirmed cases and 16 unconfirmed ones. Fourteen more samples were collected and sent for testing to the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe. The research facility is also analyzing a sample from a patient in Mbarara district. It added that surveillance teams are following up on 176 people who had contact with sick or dead people. In other developments, district health officer Dan Kyamanywa told CNN that five people from Kibaale prison are among the hospitalized patients.
WHO Twitter feed
Aug 1 Uganda health ministry statement
Aug 2 CNN story

CDC finds evidence of rabies survival in Peru
Some members of remote Amazon tribes in Peru were found to have antibodies to rabies virus without ever having been treated for the disease, which is considered fatal unless treated early, according to a study in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studied 92 members of two remote Amazon communities that have experienced multiple outbreaks of rabies caused by vampire bat bites over the past two decades. Fifty of the people surveyed reported having been bitten by bats. Blood samples were collected from 63 people, of whom 7 (11%) had neutralizing antibodies to the rabies virus. One of those 7 reported receiving a rabies vaccine previously, but the others were unlikely to have received medical care for rabies, the authors reported. "Our results support the idea that under very unique circumstances there may be some type of enhanced immune response in certain populations regularly exposed to the virus, which could prevent onset of clinical illness," lead author Amy Gilbert, PhD, of the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases said in a CDC press release. She underscored, however, that receiving injections following exposure remains the best way to protect against rabies.
August Am J Trop Med Hyg study
August Am J Trop Med Hyg editorial on the study
Aug 1 CDC press release

Pakistan sees decline in polio cases
Officials in Pakistan said yesterday that the number of newly reported polio cases has dropped this year compared with 2011, according to a report from Dawn, an English-language media outlet in Karachi. Last year at this time the country had reported 71 cases, and so far only 27 have been reported this year, a 65% decline. Officials told Dawn that Nigeria has eclipsed Pakistan this year, with 57 reported cases so far. Meanwhile, another media outlet reported that four polio cases have been detected in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and bordering tribal areas. The News International, a newspaper group based in Pakistan, reported today that the disease was reported in a 6-month-old girl and a 6-month-old boy from different areas whose parents refused the vaccine for their children. The other patients were an 18-month-old boy and a 30-month-old boy, both from insecure areas that have difficulty receiving the vaccine. Pakistan recently completed an intensive vaccination campaign that was designed to reach 5.6 million children, but it was marked by threats from the Taliban and violence against vaccine workers.
Aug 1 Dawn story
Aug 2 News International story

CDC cites examples of TB control at US ports of entry
Of all infectious diseases subject to quarantine at US ports of entry, tuberculosis (TB) is most commonly seen at the CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine network of quarantine stations. A report published today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) details two examples of TB control and prevention at those stations. Such steps include issuing federal isolation orders, restricting travel, arranging safe transport for patients across state lines, and conducting airline contact investigations. The first case report involved multiple health jurisdictions and CDC quarantine stations and use of a lookout record to intercept a TB-infected traveler at a land border. A federal isolation order had been drafted months before the patient was encountered at the port of entry, which facilitated quick medical evaluation and return of the patient for care in his home state. The second case highlighted CDC quarantine stations' response to notifications of airline travelers who have infectious TB. From June 2007 to December 2011, CDC quarantine stations conducted airline contact investigations for 390 travelers with infectious TB, involving 508 flights with approximately 15,650 potentially exposed contacts, according to the report.
Aug 3 MMWR report

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