News Scan for Jul 29, 2014

CDC advisory on Ebola
Meningitis B vaccine uptake
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CDC advises US physicians to be alert for Ebola

With the continuing spread of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday issued an official advisory for US HCWs to consider EVD and possible isolation pending diagnosis in patients who have Ebola-like symptoms and a travel history to affected countries within the previous 21 days.

The advisory follows confirmation of Nigeria's first imported EVD case and reports that two US healthcare workers (HCWs) became infected while doing hospital work in Liberia.

The advisory, sent through the CDC's Health Alert Network (HAN), says sudden onset of fever and malaise plus myalgia, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or other nonspecific signs and symptoms could be clues. More severe EVD could manifest as hepatic damage, renal failure, and central nervous system involvement.

Countries affected in the ongoing Ebola outbreak include Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The CDC says there is "little risk to the US general population at this time" but urges HCWs to remain alert.
Jul 28 HAN advisory
CDC Web page on Ebola


Regional meningitis B vaccine campaign met with high uptake

A vaccine campaign against meningococcal serogroup B in part of Quebec where disease levels are higher than in other parts of the province resulted in high uptake, said Novartis, the maker of Bexsero, today in a press release.

The program targeting a specific region was the first of its kind in the world and reached 81% of the target population during the first 3 months of the campaign. More than 45,000 people ages 2 months to 20 years in Quebec's Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region were vaccinated with the first of two doses. A second dose will be available this fall.

Between 2009 and 2011, 94% of Quebec's invasive meningococcal disease was caused by serogroup B, with levels higher in the region targeted for the vaccine campaign. Experts recommended the step following Canada's approval of Bexsero in December 2013. Novartis said the high uptake shows the value placed on preventing meningitis B in communities that have access to the vaccine.

In June Novartis and Pfizer announced that they had submitted applications to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for marketing approval of their vaccines against Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B infection. FDA had granted each company breakthrough-therapy designations for their vaccines, Pfizer in March and Novartis in April.

Currently, the lone approved meningococcal vaccine in the United States protects against only the four main serogroups: A, C, W-135, and Y.

In 2013 outbreaks linked to serogroup B hit Princeton University and the University of California at Santa Barbara, where students and staff were provided Bexsero under an investigational new drug designation.
Jul 29 Novartis press release
Jun 17 CIDRAP News scan "Companies seek approval for meningococcal serogroup B vaccines"


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