NEWS SCAN: Ebola update, hamburger Salmonella cases, anthrax vaccine and disability risk

Aug 6, 2012

Uganda reports 59 suspected Ebola cases
Uganda's health ministry is reporting 59 suspected Ebola infections, with the number of deaths holding steady at 16, according to a report today from the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa. On Aug 3 the country had reported a total of 53 suspected and confirmed cases. So far the Uganda Virus Research Institute has confirmed 10 cases, which include 6 acute infections and 4 convalescent cases. Thirty-six people are still in the isolation facility at Kagadi Hospital, and 29 will soon be discharged. Of 398 contacts that health officials are following, 84 have passed the 21-day incubation period, and 292 are still being monitored. So far no Ebola infections linked to the outbreak have been confirmed outside of Kibaale district. The WHO said some of Uganda's neighbors have beefed up surveillance to detect Ebola cases, and Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Tanzania have all investigated rumors about suspected cases. It added that investigations in Kenya and Rwanda have ruled out Ebola and that Tanzania is still looking into rumors of possible cases. Uganda's government has released $250,000 to support the outbreak response, and it is receiving additional resources from nongovernmental organizations such as the Uganda Red Cross Society, according to the statement.
Aug 6 WHO statement

Salmonella outbreak tied to ground beef expands to 40 cases
A multistate Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak tied to ground beef has increased to 40 cases, seven more than in the last report on Jul 23, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today. Of the new cases, New York state had 4, Rhode Island 1, Vermont 1, and West Virginia 1, its first. The number of patients who were reported to be hospitalized stayed the same at 11, and no deaths have been reported. The outbreak prompted Cargill Meat Solutions of Wyalusing, Pa., to recall 29,339 pounds of ground beef on Jul 22. Dates of illness onset in the outbreak range from Jun 6 to Jul 9. Other states with cases in the outbreak are Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Virginia.
Aug 6 CDC update

Military anthrax vaccination not linked to long-term disability
No overall increase in the risk of subsequent disability status in US military personnel can be attributed to anthrax vaccination while on active duty, according to a study published online yesterday in Vaccine. Since 1998, Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed (AVA) has been administered selectively to active-duty soldiers as a precaution against the use of anthrax as a biological weapon. The researchers carried out a case-control study of active-duty soldiers who separated from the US Army between Dec 1, 1997, and Feb 1, 2005, to determine whether exposure to AVA was associated with long-term disability status. Cases included those determined by the military to be disabled before separation (N=5,846) and those receiving disability compensation after separation (N=148,934); controls, who numbered 782,925, were those separated from the military without disability. The proportion of soldiers vaccinated against anthrax was comparable in the two case groups but was higher for controls. In addition, after adjusting for covariates, veterans who had been vaccinated had lower odds of later receiving disability benefits than did those not vaccinated.
Aug 5 Vaccine study abstract

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