News Scan for Sep 25, 2013

More polio in Pakistan
Raw cheese E coli outbreak
UN malaria campaign
TB spread in households

Pakistan region reports 10 new polio cases

Ten new polio cases have been confirmed in Pakistan's North Waziristan region, bringing to 25 the number of cases reported this year, Pakistan Today reported today.

Taliban warlord Hafiz Gulbahadur declared a polio immunization ban in the region 15 months ago, and North Waziristan, in northeastern Pakistan, has remained inaccessible to vaccination teams, the story said. The first polio case in the region was reported in May, and since then 82% of affected children have been younger than 1 year old, indicating their infections are a direct result of the ban, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said.

"It is a clear manifestation of what is about to hit us in the future if an immunisation campaign does not start soon," said Elias Durry, MD, head of the WHO's Polio Eradication Initiative.

Each infected child puts about 200 to 1,000 children at risk, Durry said. "Not every child is paralysed if infected, but he or she is a potential carrier."
Sep 25 Pakistan Today article


Raw cheese E coli outbreak in Canada grows to 22 cases

Infections with Escherichia coli O157:H7 related to contaminated raw-milk cheese from a farm in British Columbia have risen to 22 in five provinces, up from 14 cases on Sep 21, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) reported yesterday. One of the cases was fatal.

Illness-onset dates range from mid-July to early September, PHAC said in an update. The cases by province are: British Columbia, 10; Alberta, 9; and Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec, 1 each. Patients range in age from 3 to 82 years, and 15 (68%) are female.

Contaminated cheese products from Gort's Gouda Cheese Farm in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, have been identified as the source of the outbreak.

On Sep 17, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a recall of all Gort's Gouda Cheese products with lot codes of 122 to 138 sold at its manufacturer's outlet, at retail stores in British Columbia and Alberta, and via the Internet from May 27 through Sep 14.

The fatal case involved an 82-year-old British Columbia woman who died Aug 16 after eating cheese bought at the farm, according to a CBC News report.
Sep 24 PHAC update
Sep 17 CFIA recall notice
Sep 24 CBC News report


New UN framework outlines broad approach to fight malaria

The United Nations and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) yesterday announced the launch of a multidisciplinary approach to combat both malaria and the economic realities that underpin it.

The "Multisectoral Action Framework for Malaria" from the RBM and UN Development Programme (UNDP) "calls for greater coordinated action among different development sectors to tackle the disease," according to a UNDP press release. The framework identifies steps needed to identify social and environmental determinants of malaria and encourages better partnerships across sectors to address both socioeconomic concerns and malaria control.

The plan was developed after an RBM-UNDP consultation involving more than 70 experts from multiple sectors and spells out how to identify key steps, expected outcomes, and resources needed to integrate malaria control into broader development operations.

"With half the world's population still at risk of malaria, and uncertain funding in the future, we must expand our approach and maximize the impact of our investments," said Fatoumata Nafo-Traore, MD, RBM's executive director.

Malaria kills an estimated 660,000 people a year and costs Africa alone $12 billion in lost productivity annually, the press release said.
Sep 24 UNDP press release
Full framework


Study: 8% of TB patients' household contacts have disease

A meta-analysis of studies involving more than 2,500 tuberculosis (TB) patients found that 7.8% of their household contacts had active TB and 47.2% had a latent TB infection, according to a study yesterday in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Researchers from New York City and Boston narrowed a literature search to 25 studies dealing with household contacts of TB patients. The studies collectively involved 2,513 patients and evaluated a mean of 111 household contacts each. Of the 25 studies, 5 involved pediatric patients, 1 involved adult patients only, 13 involved both, and 6 did not specify.

The studies found active TB in 7.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.6%-10.0%) of household contacts and latent TB infection in 47.2% (95% CI, 30.0%-61.4%), "though there was significant statistical heterogeneity (P < 0.0001)."

The authors conclude, "Individuals who live with patients with any form of TB are at high risk for developing disease or latent infection," and said that household contact investigations are underused for combating TB.
Sep 24 Clin Infect Dis abstract

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