News Scan for Feb 03, 2014

Saudi MERS case
More Caribbean chikungunya
Cashew cheese outbreak over

Saudi Arabia reports MERS case in Riyadh

A 67-year-old Saudi Arabian citizen in Riyadh is hospitalized for treatment of a Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) announced yesterday.

In a statement dated yesterday, the ministry said the man has a chronic disease and is being treated in an intensive care unit. It gave no details about his possible sources of exposure to the virus or when he fell ill.

The two latest previous MERS cases in Saudi Arabia also involved men in Riyadh. On Jan 28 Saudi officials announced the death of a 60-year-old man at a Riyadh hospital. Before that, a 54-year-old male healthcare worker from Riyadh died of MERS on Jan 14, according to a Jan 27 statement from the World Health Organization.

The country's MERS-CoV tally now stands at 144 cases with 59 deaths, according to the MOH. Unofficially, the new case raises the global MERS count to 182 cases and 79 deaths.
Feb 2 Saudi MOH statement
Jan 29 CIDRAP News story
on previous case


Chikungunya cases in Caribbean top 1,000

The count of confirmed and probable chikungunya cases on Caribbean islands and neighboring areas has reached 1,035, a jump of 249 in the past 10 days, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported today.

The outbreak, which began on St. Martin and has spread to neighboring islands, is the first known instance of indigenous cases of the mosquito-borne disease in the Americas.

In its weekly Communicable Disease Threat Report, the ECDC said the case count on St. Martin has reached 476 on the French side of the island, including 83 new cases, and 9 on the Dutch side.

The agency listed the following overall tallies for other places: British Virgin Islands, 3; Martinique, 364 (97 new cases); Saint Barthelemy, 56 (11 new); Guadeloupe, 119 (51); Dominica, 1 imported case and 3 new indigenous cases; and French Guyana (in northeastern South America), 4 imported cases (2 new).

The new total of 1,035 is 249 more than the 786 cases reported Jan 24 by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Feb 3 ECDC report


CDC says Salmonella outbreak tied to cashew cheese is over

An outbreak of Salmonella Stanley infections linked to cashew cheese appears to be over after sparking 17 cases in three states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Jan 31.

The CDC counted 15 cases in California and 1 each in Nevada and Wyoming. The total includes three new cases, all reported in California, since the previous CDC update on Jan 3.

Three patients in the outbreak were hospitalized, but none died. Illness-onset dates ranged from Nov 13, 2013, to Jan 3, 2014, and those infected ranged from 2 to 83 years old, the CDC reported.

Investigators determined that raw cashew cheese made by The Cultured Kitchen of West Sacramento, Calif., was the source of the outbreak. The item is a non-dairy product made from raw cashews and other ingredients.

The Cultured Kitchen voluntarily recalled its raw cashew cheese on Dec 31 because of a risk of Salmonella contamination. The CDC said the outbreak appears to be over, but cautioned that cashew cheese products have a long shelf life and may still be in people's homes.

California investigators found the outbreak strain of Salmonella Stanley, a rare serotype, in an opened package of Cultured Kitchen cashew cheese from a patient's home, the CDC said. In addition, testing of cashew cheese samples collected at the company facility revealed Salmonella Weltevreden, but no one involved in the outbreak was found to be infected with this serotype, the agency said.

The CDC said the source of the cashews blamed for the outbreak has not been determined. It noted that cashews are a tropical tree nut and not produced commercially in the United States.
Jan 31 CDC statement
Related Jan 6 CIDRAP News item

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