News Scan for Nov 19, 2014

More Saudi MERS deaths
Meningococcal B vaccine available
Non-O157 E coli testing
Global sanitation challenges

MERS claims 2 more lives in Saudi Arabia, 1 in a new case

The death from MERS-CoV of a 99-year-old Saudi Arabian man whose case had not been reported before plus the death of a woman whose case was reported yesterday bring that country's total case count since June 2012 to 807, with 345 deaths, according to an update today from the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH).

The new case-patient was from the city of Al-Kharj. He had preexisting disease and was symptomatic. Although he had no reported contact with known MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) patients, he did have exposure to animals, a possible risk factor, though no details are given.

The second death from MERS-CoV in the past day was in an 84-year-old woman, also in the city of Al-Kharj. She was not a healthcare worker and had no exposure to animals, but she did have preexisting disease.

The MOH also lists the recovery from MERS-CoV of a 45-year-old female expatriate in Riyadh. She is not a healthcare worker but did have preexisting disease at presentation. Her recovery leaves 12 active cases currently in Saudi Arabia.
Nov 19 MOH update
Nov 18 CIDRAP News scan


Pfizer says group B meningococcal vaccine available

Pfizer's Trumenba vaccine, the first meningococcal serogroup B vaccine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is available for order, the company said yesterday in a news release.

The vaccine is available for healthcare providers, pharmacies, medical centers, and college health centers for people 10 to 24 years old, Pfizer said. About 30% of meningococcal disease in that age-group is caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B, and about 10% of those cases prove fatal, the company said. Several US campuses reported group B outbreaks last year, and in response the FDA allowed use of the Novartis vaccine Bexsero under an investigational new drug designation.

The FDA approved Trumenba on Oct 29. It can be ordered by calling Pfizer customer service at 1-800-666-7248.
Nov 18 Pfizer news release
Oct 29 CIDRAP News scan on FDA approval


FSIS puts price of expanding non-O157 STEC testing at $1 million

The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has determined that expanding its non-O157 Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) testing to include ground beef and ground beef components other than beef manufacturing trimmings will cost about $1 million, according to a Federal Register notice today.

The FSIS also responded to comments on a previous cost- benefit analysis. The new report will be open for comments until Jan 20, 2015.

The cost for current non-O157 testing of beef trimmings is about $1.37 million, which includes USDA and industry costs, the FSIS said. Expansion to include testing of bench trim, raw ground beef, and "other components" would add $1 million. Of the $2.37 million total cost, all but about $1 million would be incurred by the FSIS.

The agency added, "FSIS has concluded that the benefits accruing to industry, Government, and consumers from this new testing policy will result in net economic benefits. However, FSIS was not able to quantify the benefits of expanding the testing."
Nov 19 Federal Register notice


WHO reports global progress, challenges in water sanitation

More than 80% of countries have inadequate funding to develop and maintain adequate water sanitation systems, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations-Water (UN-Water) report released today.

The WHO and UN-Water report surveyed strengths and barriers to water sanitation and hygiene in 94 countries and 23 external support agencies. More than 80% of countries had made sanitation a priority in national legislation, and more than 70% had implemented measures to increase drinking-water access for low-income people.

Approximately 2.5 billion people globally do not have access to basic sanitation, and 748 million people cannot easily travel to clean drinking water. The WHO found that challenges to improving water systems and access include lack of funding in more than 80% of countries and low capacity to develop sanitation systems or monitor them for hygiene issues.

Areas in which funding for sanitation and potable water sources is urgently needed include rural regions, which receive only 10% of national financing, and institutions such as schools and clinics, the report said.

International aid to develop clean water systems rose by 30%, to $10.9 billion, from 2010 to 2012. The WHO reports a fourfold return on investment in sanitation aid due to prevention of diarrheal and parasitic diseases.
Nov 19 WHO report

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