News Scan for Nov 07, 2013

Campylobacter in chicken livers
Call for rabies elimination
H1N1 spread on airplanes
MRSA on buses

Report details 2012 Campylobacter outbreak linked to chicken livers

The first reported US multistate outbreak of campylobacteriosis linked to chicken livers, in 2012, involved raw or lightly cooked product and an infected worker at the implicated plant, according to a report today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Public health professionals from affected New England states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the outbreak began when Vermont last October identified three lab-confirmed cases of Campylobacter jejuni infection with indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns.

The outbreak eventually involved six patients, all of whom had exposure to raw or lightly cooked chicken livers produced at the same Vermont establishment. The patients ranged in age from 19 to 87 years. Two were hospitalized, but all six recovered uneventfully.

One of the original three case-patients was a worker at the poultry operation that produced the chicken livers. He handled live and slaughtered chickens and turkeys.

The report said that, even though the poultry plant applied antimicrobial cleaners to the livers, "these efforts only affect the external surfaces of chicken livers, and because Campylobacter contamination can be internal, the safety of undercooked chicken livers cannot be assured." The establishment stopped selling chicken livers after the outbreak.
Nov 8 MMWR report


Animal health groups call for global rabies elimination

Two global animal health groups that met this week in Paris over concerns of rabies outbreaks in Europe and elsewhere have released a statement calling for governments to step up control programs and work toward global elimination of the disease using a "One Health" approach.

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) pointed out that rabies causes more than 60,000 human deaths a year, mostly in developing countries and predominantly in children. It also kills numerous animals and threatens to exterminate some species, such as the Ethiopian wolf, according to an OIE news release that accompanied the OIE-WSAVA statement.

OIE Director General Bernard Vallat, DVM, said in the release, "Vaccination of dogs remains the most cost-effective, single intervention that protects humans from contracting the disease. A global dog vaccination campaign could be funded with just a small fraction of the funds currently used in post-exposure prophylaxis in humans. Vaccination of just 70% of a dog population leads to elimination of rabies in dogs."

The OIE-WSAVA statement outlines seven steps to global rabies control: (1) develop key messages, (2) enhance surveillance, (3) use a consistent vaccination-based control system, (4) garner political support, (5) engage communities, (6) mobilize resources, and (7) demonstrate the effectiveness of control programs.
Nov 6 OIE-WSAVA statement
Nov 6 OIE press release


Study: Sitting near infected air passenger may not raise H1N1 risk

A study of passengers on the flight that carried the first UK 2009 pandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) case-patients found no difference in the pH1N1 attack rate for those seated within two rows of an infectious airline passenger and those seated elsewhere, according to a study today in Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses.

The authors pointed out that their findings do not support World Health Organization guidelines, which call for contact tracing of airline passengers seated within two rows of an infected person.

UK and Swedish investigators analyzed data for 239 of 278 (86%) passengers on the flight, of whom 6 were considered infectious in-flight and one immune. The attack rate (AR) was 10 of 232 (4.3%).

They found no difference in the AR for those who were seated within two rows of an infectious person and those who were not (relative risk 0.9).
Nov 7 Influenza Other Respir Viruses abstract


Group finds 36% of Lisbon buses contaminated with MRSA

Portuguese researchers found that more than a third of buses in Lisbon were contaminated with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to a study published yesterday in PLoS One.

The team swabbed hand-touched surfaces of 199 public buses in Lisbon from May 2011 to May 2012 and the hands of 575 passengers.

They found that 72 buses (36.2%) were contaminated with MRSA. In addition, the hands of 15 of the 575 passengers (2.6%) were contaminated with similar clones to those found on the buses. Of the 15 contaminated riders, 4 also were MRSA nasal carriers.

In 2011, the same group found that 26% of the buses in Oporto, Portugal's second-largest city, were contaminated with MRSA.
Nov 6 PLoS One study

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