News Scan for Jan 12, 2015

MERS case in Oman
More chikungunya cases
Listeria strain confirmation
More Disney-linked measles

Oman reports its 2nd MERS case of the year

Oman has confirmed its second MERS-CoV case of the year—and its fourth overall—apparently in a contact of the most recent MERS patient, who has now died, according to media reports.

The most recent patient infected with MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) is hospitalized in stable condition, the Muscat Daily reported today. No further information was provided on the patient, but a translated story from the Oman News Agency posted on the blog Avian Flu Diary yesterday said the patient was a contact of the country's first MERS patient of 2015, whose case was first reported Jan 8.

That patient has died, Arab News reported on Jan 9. The story said the health ministry provided no other details. The agency has given no details about the patient's sex, age, other demographic information, or how he or she might have been exposed to the virus.

The previous two MER-CoV patients in Oman also died, the most recently almost a year ago.
Jan 12 Muscat Daily report
Jan 12 Avian Flu Diary blog post
Jan 9 Arab News story

In related news, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported that two MERS patients in that country have recovered from the disease, leaving just seven active Saudi cases, according to an MOH update today.

After confirming eight MERS-CoV cases in the first 9 days of 2015, Saudi Arabia has now reported no new cases in 3 days, including today. The country remains at 833 confirmed cases, including 358 deaths, for a case-fatality rate of 43%.
Jan 12 MOH update


Chikungunya cases rise by 24,000 in 2 weeks

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported 24,264 new cases of chikungunya in the Caribbean and Latin America over 2 weeks, according to a Jan 9 update.

The new cases bring the outbreak total to 1,121,267, which includes 1,094,661 suspected and 24,071 confirmed locally acquired cases, along with 2,535 imported cases.

With the addition of 3 deaths in Puerto Rico, the outbreak fatality total has risen to 172.

As in recent weeks, cases continue to rise sharply in the Dominican Republic and Colombia. The Dominican Republic reported 13,331 new cases, bringing its outbreak total to 537,712. Colombia reported 9,240 new cases for an outbreak total of 83,832.
Jan 9 PAHO update


Listeria found at apple plant matches outbreak strain; 1 new death reported

Listeria found at the Bidart Bros. apple processing plant and on whole apples matches the strain that has sickened 32 people and caused 7 deaths, according to a Jan 9 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) press release.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found the 2 strains of Listeria monocytogenes responsible for the outbreak at Bidart's Shafter, Calif., plant and on Bidart apples shipped to a retailer.

Bidart Bros. voluntarily recalled all Granny Smith and Gala apples on Jan 6. The company also recalled all prepackaged caramel apples linked to the outbreak in mid-Dec. Bidart Bros. last shipped Granny Smith apples to retailers on Dec 2.

Granny Smith and Gala apples shipped from Bidart Bros. were sold under the brand names "Big B," "Granny's Best," other brand names, or no brand name. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns consumers not to eat Bidart Bros. apples and to question retailers about the source of Granny Smith and Gala apples.

The CDC reported on Jan 10 that another person confirmed to have listeriosis related to the outbreak has died, bringing the fatality total to seven. No new cases have been reported since Dec 31.
Jan 9 FDA press release
Jan 10 CDC update
Jan 9 CIDRAP News scan on Listeria outbreak


Disney-linked measles cases rise to 19

The number of measles cases linked to Disney theme parks in California more than doubled in just 2 days, to 19 cases in three states, the Associated Press (AP) reported on Jan 9. On Jan 7 California's health department confirmed 9 cases, including 7 in California and 2 in Utah.

The new totals include 16 infections in California, 2 in Utah, and 1 in Colorado. California officials said that only 2 of the 16 patients in the state were fully vaccinated, some were partially vaccinated, and at least 2 were too young to be vaccinated.

The 19 patients had all visited Disneyland or Disney California Adventure between Dec 15 and 20, authorities said. More people might have been exposed when measles patients were treated at two Orange County hospitals, said county spokeswoman Nicole Stanfield. Eight of California's cases are in Orange County.

Stanfield urged those exhibiting measles symptoms to notify their doctor before seeking care to avoid exposing others to the highly contagious disease.
Jan 9 AP story
Jan 8 CIDRAP News scan on previous update

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