News Scan for Apr 07, 2015

EV-D68 in Germany
Food safety on World Health Day

Study: Germany had low-level EV-D68 circulation in 2014

German researchers yesterday reported evidence that enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), which caused a widespread outbreak of respiratory illness in American children last fall, also circulated at low levels in Germany at about the same time.

Writing in Emerging Infectious Diseases, scientists from the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin reported that they tested 325 nasal swab samples collected in sentinel surveillance from patients who had an influenza-like illness or acute respiratory illness. The samples were collected from August through October of 2014 at various sites around Germany.

A rhinovirus or enterovirus was found in 143 of 325 samples (44%). Of these, 25 were identified as EV-D68 through sequencing of the viral protein 2 and 4 gene regions, the report says. Another 98 samples were identified as rhinoviruses, and the rest could not be subtyped. The 25 EV-D68 cases, which represented 7.7% of the surveillance sample, involved 10 children and 15 adults.

"Major symptoms associated with EV-D68 infection included sudden onset, fever/shivers, cough, and sore throat," the report states. Three patients had severe illnesses: pneumonia in a 7-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl and obstructive bronchitis requiring hospitalization in a 2-year-old girl. In 11 (44%) of the 25 case-patients, a concurrent chronic condition was reported.

The report does not mention any neurologic illnesses, such as acute flaccid myelitis, which was seen in a number of EV-D68 patients in the United States.

The researchers found no local clusters or outbreaks of EV-D68. A phylogenetic analysis indicated the isolates were similar to contemporary ones in the United States and the Netherlands.

"These new genetic clusters reflect the evolution of EV-D68 and might be associated with an increasing activity of this virus," the authors conclude. "For an improved understanding of the factors determining local and temporal differences in respiratory disease outbreaks, continuous collection of global data by representative surveillance systems is needed."
Apr 6 Emerg Infect Dis report
Related Mar 31 CIDRAP News story


ECDC launches foodborne disease calculator, report

To observe World Health Day today, whose theme is food safety, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) launched a "seroincidence calculator" for Salmonella and Campylobacter infections and published its second surveillance report on seven priority food- and waterborne diseases in Europe.

The incidence calculator uses antibody levels (IgG, IgM, and IgA) in collected serum samples at a given point and estimates the time since seroconversion. This in turn permits an estimate on the frequency of exposure to Salmonella and Campylobacter in the tested population.

The surveillance report covers non-typhoidal salmonellosis, typhoid and paratyphoid fever, campylobacteriosis, Shiga toxin/verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli infections, listeriosis, shigellosis, and yersiniosis in 2010 through 2012. It found a case-fatality rate below 1% for most of the diseases, except for listeriosis, which has a 16% rate. It also noted that Listeria infections in the elderly have increased sharply in Europe, particularly in men.

Several organizations are promoting food safety on World Health Day, including the World Health Organization (WHO), which last week highlighted global foodborne disease data.
Apr 7 ECDC news release
ECDC seroincidence calculator
ECDC surveillance report
WHO World Health Day landing page
Apr 2 CIDRAP Food Safety Scan on WHO report

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