NEWS SCAN: Mango-linked Salmonella, Ebola outbreak update, MRSA and C diff control, Mexican H7 flu cases, TB genotyping, ASPR Twitter app

Sep 14, 2012

Mango-linked Salmonella cases reach 121; FDA cautions consumers
The case count in a Salmonella Braenderup outbreak linked to mangoes has climbed to 121, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to eat mangoes from Agricola Daniella, a Mexican supplier, US officials announced today. The new case count reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) includes 15 states and is up by 16 since the last update on Aug 30. Since then, the one case previously cited in Louisiana has been dropped from the count, and 17 have been added: 13 in California, 2 in Washington, and 1 each in Hawaii and Illinois. The number of hospitalizations cited in the outbreak stayed the same at 25, and no deaths have been reported. The FDA consumer warning said Agricola Daniella is a supplier with a single packing facility in Sinaloa, Mexico. The agency said the company's mangoes, which have tested positive for Salmonella, will be denied entry to the United States unless the importer can show that they are not contaminated with the pathogen. The mangoes should be identified with stickers, but for mangoes without stickers, consumers should ask their retailer for brand information, the FDA said. The agency also said consumers who have bought the company's mangoes should throw them out and should wash their hands carefully after handling them.
Sep 14 CDC update
Sep 14 FDA statement

WHO updates scope of DR Congo Ebola outbreak
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as of Sep 12, has reported 41 cases of Ebola in Orientale province, including 9 lab confirmed and 32 probable, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today. So far 18 deaths have been reported, 5 confirmed and 13 probable, the WHO said in a statement, which is 4 more than in its last update, on Sep 5. Eighteen healthcare workers are among the probable cases, and health officials are investigating 28 additional suspected cases. Since the WHO's last update, 27 new cases—1 lab confirmed and 26 probable—have been identified in Isiro and Viadana health zones, based on an investigations dating to late April. The WHO said the retrospective investigation was done to help clarify the origins of the outbreak and gain insight on transmission. Field investigations continue to identify all chains of transmission to ensure the right measures are in place to curb the outbreak, which involves the Bundibugyo strain of the Ebola virus and was first reported by the WHO on Aug 17.
Sep 14 WHO statement

Study: Daily isolation room disinfections reduces MRSA, C diff
A daily cleaning protocol of high-touch surfaces in the rooms of patients isolated with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or Clostridium difficile (C diff) reduced levels of contamination on caregivers' hands, according to a study in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. The trial took place at Cleveland Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, focusing on 34 C diff and 36 MRSA isolation rooms. Researchers looked at hand contamination levels 6 to 8 hours after different disinfection procedures. One was standard cleaning consisting of sodium hypochlorite disinfection of patient rooms after discharge, daily cleaning of bathrooms and floors, and cleaning of high-touch area that were visibly soiled. Other rooms were randomized to daily disinfection each morning that lasted about 20 minutes. They found that daily disinfection reduced the amount and frequency of pathogens on the caregivers' hands: 6.4% with daily disinfection versus 30% with the standard cleaning method. Sirisha Kundrapu, MD, a lead author of the study and scientist at the VA Medical Center's research service, said in a EurekAlert press release that the findings lend support to the benefits of environmental cleaning and disinfection as infection control strategies. "The intervention was simple, inexpensive, and well-accepted by patients and staff."
Sep 13 EurekAlert press release
October Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol abstract

Mexico reports two H7 avian flu infections
Two relatives who worked on the same poultry farm in Jalisco state in Mexico contracted avian flu during the outbreak of H7N3 this summer, Mexican and CDC officials reported in today's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The first worker, a 32-year-old woman, had symptoms of conjunctivitis, and, because she collected eggs on an outbreak farm, was swabbed for avian flu. Ocular swab samples tested positive for H7N3 closely matching the outbreak strain. The second patient, a 52-year-old male relative of the first worker who also had conjunctivitis symptoms, tested positive for an H7 strain. Both cases "likely represent HPAI [highly pathogenic avian influenza] A (H7N3) virus transmission from infected poultry to humans through direct contact," the report said.
Sep 14 MMWR report on H7N3

US reports advances in TB genotyping
The proportion of tuberculosis (TB) cases with genotyped isolates reached 88.2% in 2010, up from 51.2% in 2004, the CDC said today in a separate MMWR report. Genotyping—genetic analysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains—has enhanced TB control by helping detect unsuspected transmission links, confirm suspected links, pinpoint transmission settings, identify potential outbreaks, and identify false-positives, the report said. In addition, federal officials launched the TB Genotyping Information Management System (TB GIMS) in 2010, which is accessible to public health departments through a secure Web portal. As a result, genotyping timeliness, represented by the median time from specimen collection till genotyping results and surveillance data are available on TB GIMS, was halved from July to December 2010, from 22 to 11 weeks. The authors said these advances "will improve outbreak detection efforts and enable more in-depth studies of TB epidemiology, leading to better use of limited public health resources."
Sep 14 MMWR report on H7N3

ASPR-sponsored Twitter app provides real-time outbreak warnings
A new free Twitter-based app, MappyHealth, can help public health professionals and others track health concerns in real time in their communities, the US Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) announced yesterday. MappyHealth won ASPR's "Now Trending: #Health in My Community" developers’ challenge, which grew from a request from local health officials for a social media tool for disease monitoring. Health officials can use the app to complement other health surveillance systems in identifying emerging outbreaks and other public health emergencies in a community, ASPR said in a news release. The agency received 33 entries to its developers' challenge and judged applications on their ability to be innovative, scalable, dynamic, and user friendly. The MappyHealth team won $21,000 for the app. In June ASPR announced the winner of its Facebook challenge, an app called bReddi.
Sep 13 ASPR news release

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