News Scan for Jul 13, 2015

Saudi MERS cases
H5N6 case in China
Chicken entree recall expanded
New chikungunya cases

Saudi Arabia confirms 2 new MERS cases

After going 9 straight days without a MERS-CoV case, Saudi Arabia today reported two.

One of the patients with MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) is a 77-year-old man in Jeddah, and the other is a 60-year-old woman in Jizan (also spelled Jazan), according to an update today from the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH). Both are Saudi nationals, neither is a health worker, and neither had recent contact with a MERS patient. The man is in intensive care, while the woman is in a medical ward.

No further information was given. Jeddah is in western Saudi Arabia, near Mecca, while Jizan is in the far southwestern part of the country.

The country has now confirmed 1,047 cases, including 460 deaths. Seven patients remain in care, while 580 have recovered, the MOH said.
Jul 13 Saudi MOH update


Fatal H5N6 case reported in China

China has reported its fourth human H5N6 avian influenza infection, in a 37-year-old woman from Yunnan province who died from her illness, according to a Jul 11 statement from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP).

The woman's symptoms began on Jul 6 with a fever and productive cough. She was hospitalized on Jul 9 and died the following day. Of the four H5N6 cases that have been reported so far, three were fatal. The last case was announced in early February.

H5N6 was detected for the first time in a human in May 2014, and a spate of H5N6 outbreaks in poultry over the past year have been reported in China, as well as in Laos and Vietnam.
Jul 11 CHP statement
Feb 10 CIDRAP New scan "China reports fatal H5N6 infection"


Recall of chicken entrees expands as 2 more Salmonella cases reported

A Maine company has greatly expanded a recent recall of raw frozen chicken entrees that may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis, and two more related infections have been identified, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced yesterday.

Barber Foods of Portland, Me., is now recalling about 1.7 million pounds of frozen, raw, stuffed chicken entrees that were produced between Feb 17 and May 20, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said in a news release. The company had originally recalled about 58,000 pounds on Jul 2.

Two more case-patients have been identified since the original recall, raising the total to six cases in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the FSIS said. Illness-onset dates for the cases ranged from Apr 5 to Jun 23.

The first four cases were among seven salmonellosis cases that were linked to raw frozen chicken entrees made by two unrelated companies, Barber Foods and Antioch Farms, and were reported Jul 2 by the Minnesota Department of Health. All seven were in Minnesota.

The expanded recall involves 2-pound, 4-ounce boxes containing six individually pouched, raw, breaded, stuffed chicken Kiev entrees with use-by dates of Apr 28, May 20, and Jul 21, all in 2016.

The FSIS said it and the company are concerned that some products may still be in consumers' freezers. The agency stressed that recalled products may appear to be cooked but are actually raw and should be handled carefully to avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen.
Jul 12 FSIS news release
Related Jul 2
CIDRAP News item


PAHO reports 28,000 new chikungunya cases

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on Jul 10 reported 28,273 new chikungunya cases in the previous 2 weeks, bringing the epidemic total in the Americas to 1,564,793 cases.

As has been the case for weeks, a large share of the new chikungunya cases were in Colombia, which reported 16,503 new infections, for a total of 290,287. El Salvador was next with 6,824 new cases, bringing its outbreak total to 20,906 cases. Brazil had 3,977 new cases, for 7,079 total. Many countries, however, have not reported data for weeks.

Two weeks ago PAHO reported 11,084 new cases in just 1 week. The update before that covered 2 weeks and included 24,163 new illnesses. The total so far this year is 427,846 cases.

The epidemic began in December 2013 with the first locally acquired chikungunya case ever reported in the Americas, on St. Martin in the Caribbean.
Jul 10 PAHO update

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