News Scan for Aug 18, 2014

Chikungunya update
MERS death
MERS in camels

Chikungunya cases appear to slow, outbreak total passes 585,000

The number of newly reported chikungunya cases in the Caribbean region was down dramatically last week, but it's not clear if the drop was related to delays in reporting or a downturn in disease transmission. According to an Aug 15 update from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the region reported 9,798 new cases, accounting for an increase of only 1.7%. For comparison, the previous 2 weeks' totals were up 8% and 12%, respectively.

Newly reported cases lift the overall outbreak total to 585,798. Some countries are behind in reporting cases. For example, Haiti, one of the hot spots over the past few months, hasn't reported new numbers in 5 weeks. The number of new cases in the neighboring Dominican Republic did not appear to increase from the previous week.

Areas reporting most of the new cases include El Salvador, Guadaloupe, Martinique, and Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, the number of imported chikungunya cases in the PAHO region increased by 112 to put that total at 758. The United States mainland continues to report most of the travel-linked cases.

Five more deaths were reported, bringing the outbreak's overall fatality count to 37.
Aug 15 PAHO update
Aug 11 CIDRAP News scan "Chikungunya outbreak expands by 12%, to 576,000 cases"
Aug 4 CIDRAP News scan "Chikungunya cases climb 8%, top 500,000"


Saudi man died of MERS-CoV

A 72-year-old Saudi Arabian man with MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) has died, according to an update from the country's ministry of health (MOH) yesterday.

The man, who died in Riyadh and whose case had been reported earlier, was not a healthcare worker. No new cases were reported in the update.

Since June of 2012, 723 cases of MERS-CoV have been reported from Saudi Arabia, 300 of them fatal. Active cases continue in 27 patients.
Aug 17 MOH update


Study: MERS-CoV present in African camels for more than 30 years

The MERS-CoV appears to have been circulating for more than 30 years in dromedary camels in Sudan and Somalia, among the main exporting countries of the animals to the Middle East, found the authors of a study published Aug 15 in Emerging Infectious Diseases. The findings extend by a decade the duration of the virus noted in previous studies.

Archived serum samples from 189 dromedary camels from Sudan, Somalia, and Egypt, which imports camels from the other two countries, were analyzed by the authors. The samples from Somalia were collected in 1983-84, from Sudan in the summer of 1984, and from Egypt in the summer of 1997.

Positive results for MERS-CoV on recombinant MERS-CoV spike protein subunit 1–based enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (rELISA) were present in 159 (84.1%, range among countries 80.0% to 86.7%) samples. Neutralizing activity with reciprocal titers of more than 80 was found in 153 samples (81.0%, range 68.0% to 86.9%).

The authors say that it is possible the virus has caused human MERS-CoV infections in African or Arabian countries in the past that have gone unrecognized.
Aug 15 Emerg Infect Dis study


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