News Scan for Jul 27, 2016

Yellow fever in Americas
E coli beef recalls
H7N9 cases in China
Cholera in South Sudan

Possible case of Angolan yellow fever in Brazil as vaccine trial launches

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), in its weekly yellow fever report yesterday, noted that genetic testing is under way to see if a Brazilian man picked up the disease after visiting Angola in March. The 58- year-old man from Niteroi died on Apr 2.

The outbreak so far has predominantly affected Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with only Uganda, Kenya and China reporting international transmission of the Angola strain. PAHO also said that Brazil, Colombia, and Peru are still the only countries in the Americas with confirmed cases of jungle yellow fever. Peru has 78 confirmed and suspected cases in 2016, more than the last 9 years combined.

In related news, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced today that it's begun an early stage clinical trial for a new yellow fever vaccine. The vaccine was developed by Danish biopharmaceutical company Bavarian Nordic.

Though the current yellow fever vaccine has been safe and effective since its inception in 1937, it's in limited supply and has some shortcomings.

"Yellow fever has recently re-emerged as a major public health threat in parts of Africa. Although a vaccine exists to prevent this serious disease, it is currently in short supply, and it is not recommended for certain populations, such as pregnant women and people older than 60 years," said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, in a news release.
Jul 26 PAHO update
Jul 27 NIAID news release


E coli infections in 2 states trigger ground beef recalls

A cluster of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections in New Hampshire and an investigation into an E coli illness in a Colorado resident triggered two separate beef recalls yesterday, according to a pair of notices from the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The FSIS said that on Jul 20 New Hampshire health officials notified it of 14 E coli illnesses, and the trace-back investigation for 8 of the patients led to the identification of a single day of production of beef products at PT Farm, based in North Haverhill, N.H. The recall involves nearly 8,000 pounds of ground beef, ground beef patties, and subprimal cuts produced between Jun 6 and Jun 16. The products were shipped to retail and institutional locations in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Meanwhile, state and county health officials in Colorado notified the FSIS on Jul 14 of an E coli infection from June, and the FSIS found a possible link to ground beef products made by Ranch Foods Direct, based in Colorado Springs, Colo. Trace-back and lab findings found contamination in the products on Jul 25, and the investigation is continuing.

The recall involves about 2,600 pounds on nonintact beef items produced on Jun 6, 7, and 8. They were sent to wholesale and retail locations in Colorado.

For both recalls, the FSIS said the items may still be in consumers' freezers. E coli infection can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea, and cramps and can lead to a potentially fatal kidney condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome.
Jul 26 FSIS recall linked to New Hampshire cluster
Jul 26 FSIS recall linked to Colorado illness


Chinese officials report 2 new H7N9 avian flu cases

Chinese officials have reported two new cases of H7N9 avian flu, one of which occurred in June, according to separate posts today by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.

One case involves a 36-year-old man from Hebei province, health officials from Beijing reported. He had exposure to live poultry before he got sick and is hospitalized in Beijing in critical condition.

The other patient is from Henan province and is a 54-year-old female farmer. Provincial authorities reported her illness on Jul 20 but provided no other information, including when her illness began.

The two newly reported cases bring the total number since the outbreak began in China in 2013 to 802, according to a case list maintained by FluTrackers.
Jul 27 FluTrackers post on Hebei case
Jul 27 FluTrackers post on Henan case
FluTrackers H7N9 case list


South Sudan reports 271-case cholera outbreak with 14 deaths

Health officials in South Sudan have reported 271 cholera cases in the past 2 weeks, including 14 deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Jul 25 while detailing response efforts.

The WHO Regional Office for Africa said in a news release that the agency and its partners are ramping up surveillance and treatment efforts. It has established a cholera treatment center at Juba Teaching Hospital in Juba, the country's capital and largest city. It is the only referral hospital in South Sudan. The WHO has also set up eight rehydration points across the country.

The WHO and its health partners also began an immunization campaign yesterday using oral vaccine. The effort is designed to reach 14,000 people, including targeted populations such as displaced people. The WHO has also delivered supplies like tents and enough cholera kits to treat 400 people.

"Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that causes massive loss of body fluids and can be deadly within hours if not adequately treated. WHO is taking all the necessary control measures to support the Ministry of Health to respond to the situation urgently, and put an end to this outbreak," said Abdulmumini Usman, PhD, WHO representative to South Sudan.
Jul 25 WHO news release

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