News Scan for Jan 23, 2017

Saudi MERS cases
Aedes in Mexico City
Antibiotic for bacteremia, endocarditis
New sprout guidelines

Three new MERS cases in Saudi Arabia, 2 linked to camels

Over the weekend and through today, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) reported three new cases of MERS-CoV, two of which were linked to camel exposure.

On Jan 21, the MOH said a 27-year-old male expatriate in Al Jubail was in critical condition after being diagnosed as having a MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) infection. The source of infection is listed as primary, meaning it is unlikely that he contracted the disease from another person.

Yesterday and today, the MOH reported two new cases in Saudi men with direct exposure to camels, a 55-year-old from Al Qaraa and a 58-year-old from Taif. The man from Taif is in critical condition, while the man from Al Qaraa is listed in stable condition. None of the three men are healthcare workers.

The new cases raise Saudi Arabia's MERS-CoV total to 1,543, including 641 deaths. Nine people are still in treatment or monitoring.
Jan 21 MOH report
Jan 22 MOH report
Jan 23 MOH report


For the first time, Aedes discovered in Mexico City

A new study in Medical and Veterinary Entomology describes the discovery of Aedes aegypti mosquitos, the vector that transmits Zika virus as well as dengue and chikungunya, in Mexico City. Previously, Mexico's most populated city was considered too "high and dry" for the mosquito. 

Aedes traditionally establish populations in regions located below 1,700 meters (5,600 feet) above sea level. Mexico City stands at an altitude of about 2,250 meters (7,400 feet) above sea level. In September 2015, during a routine entomological survey of the city, Aedes larvae were collected at the Casa del Peregrino (Catholic Pilgrim House) and a suburban train stop in the northern part of the city. Both sites are heavily visited by daily commuters, tourists, and residents of the city of 8 million.

The authors suggest that climate change and rapid urbanization may be forcing the vectors to move northward and potentially spread diseases among populations with no local immunity.

"Climate change and increasing levels of urbanization put Mexico City at risk of becoming an area where dengue fever is present. Contemporary data on mosquito occurrence present a growing challenge to policymakers," the authors write.
Jan 20 Med Vet Entomol study


Antibiotic shows early promise against bacteremia, infective endocarditis

Drugmaker Theravance Biopharma, Inc., of Dublin, reported today that telavancin, a US Food and Drug Administration–approved antibiotic for the treatment of skin infections and pneumonia caused by Staphylococcus aureus, has demonstrated positive clinical responses in patients with bacteremia and infective endocarditis (IE).

In an ongoing observational study designed to evaluate how telavancin—sold under the brand name Vibativ—is being used by physicians to treat patients in real-world clinical settings, researchers reported that the drug demonstrated positive clinical responses in 64.4% of 45 patients with diagnoses of bacteremia or IE, with 6.7% of patients failing treatment and 28.9% considered non-evaluable. Positive clinical response was defined as cure or improvement leading to step-down oral therapy.

The researchers also reported that 53% of the patients had bacteremia or IE that was caused by methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA), while 13% were sickened by methicillin-susceptible S aureus (MSSA). Other pathogens included coagulase-negative staphylococci (9%) and Enterococcus (7%). The median telavancin daily dose and duration of treatment were 750 mg and 14 days. 

The results were presented at the Society of Critical Care Medicine's 46th Critical Care Congress and have not yet been peer reviewed.

Co-author Kerry Cleveland, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, said in a company press release. "Based on these results, we believe that Vibativ may represent an alternative treatment option for these patients."
Jan 23 Theravance Biopharma press release

FDA issues new proposed rule on sprout safety

On Jan 19 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed new standards and rules to limit the contamination of sprouts, one of the most common sources of foodborne disease.

According to the FDA, sprouts are grown and manufactured in conditions that allow bacteria to flourish. Between 1996 and July 2016 there were 46 reported outbreaks associated with sprouts in the United States, accounting for 2,474 illnesses, 187 hospitalizations, and 3 deaths.

The new proposed safety rule requires that sprout growers test irrigation water for pathogens, monitor for Listeria, and take corrective actions when needed, among other measures.

The public has 180 days to offer a comment on the proposed draft guidance.
Jan 19 FDA constituent update

FDA draft guidance


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