News Scan for Aug 03, 2015

MERS in Saudi Arabia
More chikungunya cases
CDC infectious disease funding
Salmonella from live poultry

MERS hospitalizes two Saudi men

Saudi Arabia's health ministry today announced two new MERS-CoV cases, both of them from Riyadh, an area that over the past several weeks has experienced a spate of hospital-linked cases.

They are the first cases to be reported after a 4-day hiatus. The patients are two men, ages 53 and 75 years old. Neither are health workers, and both are symptomatic. The younger man is in stable condition, and the investigation revealed that he had contact with a suspected or confirmed case in the community or hospital setting. The older man is in critical condition, and authorities are still exploring how he was exposed to the virus.

Today's developments lift Saudi Arabia's total from Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) to 1,059 cases, which includes 467 deaths. Nine patients are still being treated, and 583 so far have recovered from their infections.
Aug 3 Saudi MOH update


Chikungunya cases rise by more than 8,000

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on Jul 31 reported 8,636 new cases of chikungunya in the Caribbean and Americas, bringing the outbreak total to 1,622,954.

The new total includes 470,546 suspected and 14,706 confirmed locally acquired cases and 755 imported cases reported in 2015.

Colombia, which has reported thousands of cases per week for the past several months, reported the largest increase with 6,452 new cases, bringing its outbreak total this year to 308,522.

Brazil reported 1,299 new cases for a 2015 outbreak total of 8,378. Ecuador, which reported a substantial 5-week increase last week, experienced a case increase of 503, bringing its outbreak total to 30,548.

No new fatalities were reported, and the 2015 outbreak death total stands at 61.

The epidemic began in December 2013 with the first locally acquired chikungunya case ever reported in the Americas, on St. Martin in the Caribbean.
July 31 PAHO update


CDC announces state infectious disease funding

In an action targeted to help states and major cities battle infectious disease threats, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today announced nearly $110 million in funding through its Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement (ELC). The amount represents an increase of about $13 million compared to last year, the CDC said in a statement.

ELC funds go to all 50 state health departments, six of the country's biggest local health departments, and eight territories and US affiliates. The CDC said some of the increases are going to surveillance for vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, foodborne-disease prevention, and advanced molecular detection.

Some of the funding will also help states at the US-Mexico border prepare for and respond to possible chikungunya outbreaks. The CDC added that the ELC funding mechanism helps states counter healthcare-associated infectious and antibiotic resistance.

Beth Bell, MD, MPH, director of the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, said in the statement, "In the last year alone, states were hit with emerging diseases, like chikungunya and respiratory infections from enterovirus D-68, while also responding to outbreaks of measles, foodborne illness, and other threats. These awards lay the foundation for those on the front lines--state and local health departments--to act quickly to prevent illness and deaths."
Aug 3 CDC press release


More Salmonella cases reported from outbreaks tied to live poultry

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Jul 31 reported an increase in Salmonella cases tied to multi-state outbreaks that have sickened 218 people, 50 of whom were hospitalized.

Since the CDC’s initial outbreak report on Jul 1, 37 new cases have been identified, and 17 additional people were hospitalized. One new case in Illinois has brought the number of states affected by the outbreak to 41.

The outbreaks have been linked to contact with chicks, ducklings, and other live poultry. Among 117 people interviewed, 84% reported having contact with live birds in the week prior to becoming ill.

The outbreaks involve four different Salmonella serotypes. New cases include 10 people infected with Salmonella Enteritidis in five states, 5 people with Salmonella Hadar in four states, 5 people with Salmonella Indiana in four states, and 17 people with Salmonella Muenchen or Salmonella Muenster in 12 states. Infections related to the Hadar subtype have been responsible for more than half (52%; n=26) of hospitalizations since the outbreaks began.

All 16 isolates tested by the CDC were susceptible to antibiotics, and testing is ongoing.

The CDC cautions live poultry suppliers and owners to provide information regarding Salmonella risk and wash hands frequently when in contact with poultry. The CDC also advises that consumers only obtain live poultry from hatcheries and suppliers that participate in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Voluntary Salmonella Monitoring Program.
July 31 CDC announcement
July 2 CIDRAP News story on multi-state outbreaks

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