NEWS SCAN: XDR-TB detention, fungal infection total grows, West Nile in Greece

Mar 4, 2013

US  border patrol finds, detains its first XDR-TB case
A Nepalese man detained at the Mexico border in November is in medical isolation at a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Texas undergoing treatment for extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis (TB), according to a Mar 1 Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report. The man is the first patient to be detained by the ICE with the disease. The man's XDR-TB infection has prompted extensive international actions to track contacts who may have been exposed to the man, who spent 3 months traveling in South Asia, Brazil, and Mexico. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told the WSJ that the man was detained when he tried to cross the border illegally near McAllen, Tex. The man's illness came to light during routine TB screening by ICE officials when he first arrived at the detention facility. The article cited a government report that said the man's strain has been seen only once before in another Nepalese national. The government's report said the man's strain is resistant to at least 8 of 15 standard TB drugs. He was moved to a detention facility with more medical staffing, and it's unclear how long he will be in US care, the story said.
Mar 1 WSJ story

Fungal infection total climbs to 720, including 49 deaths
Six more infections and one more death have been linked to a fungal meningitis outbreak in patients treated with contaminated injectable steroids, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today. The new developments push the number of infections to 720 and the death total to 49. So far 240 of the illnesses were meningitis only, 138 involved spinal or paraspinal infections with meningitis, 6 involved stroke without lumbar puncture, 302 were paraspinal or spinal infections only, 32 were peripheral joint infections only, and 2 involved a paraspinal or spinal infection along with a peripheral joint injection. Health officials have traced the infections to three tainted lots of methylprednisolone acetate injections produced by the New England Compounding Center, which were used to teat back and joint pain.
Mar 4 CDC updated case count

ECDC urges better West Nile control efforts in Greece
Greece has taken productive steps since West Nile virus cases surfaced in 2010 but can do more to combat seasonal outbreaks that have affected more than 500 people, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a report today. Greece has developed a comprehensive surveillance and control program but can more thoroughly analyze surveillance data, better disseminate information, coordinate private and public partners more effectively, and better prepare and activate mosquito-control programs, the agency said. "ECDC can provide support in risk assessment, conduct data analyses, and facilitate the scientific discussion on blood safety issues," the report concluded. Greece confirmed 262 West Nile cases in 2010, 100 in 2011, and 161 in 2012. Of those 523 cases, 381 (73%) involved neuroinvasive disease. "Based on the observed dynamic in the last 3 years, further human cases can be expected in the coming years, although a precise prediction about the epidemic dimension and the regions at risk is not possible," the ECDC said.
Mar 4 ECDC report

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