News Scan for Jan 22, 2016

Deadly Listeria outbreak
Saudi MERS cases
More Lassa fever in Nigeria

CDC says 1 dead, 12 hospitalized in listeriosis outbreak tied to Dole salad

A six-state outbreak of Listeria infections involving 12 cases and 1 death has been linked to Dole prepackaged salads, which have been recalled, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today.

Four cases have been confirmed each in Michigan and New York, with four other states reporting one case: Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Of five patients interviewed, all said they had eaten packaged salad before becoming ill. Two patients could recall the brand, and they both cited Dole.

The CDC did not specify when the patients first became ill, but Listeria specimens from them were collected from Jul 5 to Dec 23, 2015. The patients range in age from 3 to 83 years, with a median age of 66. The death was in Michigan, and one of the illnesses involved a pregnant woman.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture isolated Listeria from a Dole Field Greens packaged salad from a retail store, the CDC said. Lab tests showed that the isolate "was highly related genetically to isolates from ill people." The salad was produced at Dole's Springfield, Ohio, plant.

The CDC said, "On January 21, 2016, Dole reported to CDC that it had stopped all production at the processing facility in Springfield, Ohio. The company also reported that it is withdrawing all packaged salads currently on the market that were produced at this facility." The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also announced the recall.

The salads produced in Springfield were sold under various brand names, including Dole, Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, The Little Salad Bar, and President's Choice. "These packaged salads can be identified by the letter 'A' at the beginning of the manufacturing code found on the package," the CDC said.
 Jan 22 CDC notice
Jan 22 FDA recall notice


Camel connections reported in two new Saudi MERS cases

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) today announced two new MERS-CoV cases from different parts of the country, both with connections to camels, ending an 8-day streak of no cases.

One of the patients is an 85-year-old Saudi man from Almodhannab in central Saudi Arabia who had indirect contact with camels. The other is a 58-year-old Saudi man from Jeddah on the country's western border who had direct contact with the animals before he got sick. Both men are hospitalized in stable condition.

The new cases raise Saudi Arabia's total from MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) to 1,287 cases, 551 of them fatal. The MOH said four people are still being treated for their infections.
Jan 22 Saudi MOH statement


Nigeria's Lassa fever outbreak climbs to 283 cases, 82 deaths

Cases of confirmed and suspected Lassa fever in Nigeria have climbed to 283, with 82 deaths in Nigeria, the country's Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) said on Jan 20, up from 260 cases and 79 deaths the day before.

So far 44 of the cases and 26 of the deaths have been lab-confirmed, the agency said. Niger is the most affected state, with 57 suspected and confirmed cases, followed by Bauchi, with 44, and Taraba, with 28. Half of the nation's 36 states have now reported cases.

Lassa fever is a rodent-borne viral hemorrhagic disease that occurs in West Africa and typically lasts 1 to 4 weeks, according to the World Health Organization. The antiviral drug ribavirin is often prescribed early in the illness.
Jan 20 FMOH update

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