News Scan for Mar 08, 2017

Nut butter E coli cases rise
Northern Hemisphere flu slowing

Multistate nut butter outbreak expands to 16 cases; more product recalled

Three more children and one more adult have been infected by harmful Escherichia coli linked to an Illinois company's soy nut butter products, bringing to 16 the number of confirmed cases in an expanding national outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday in an update as the company expanded its recall.

One of the newly reported patients has hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious form of kidney failure, the CDC said. Patients who have HUS now total five. Two of the new cases have required hospitalization, bringing that total to eight.

Fourteen of the 16 outbreak patients are children, and three states—Missouri, Washington, and Wisconsin—reported cases for the first time since the CDC first announced the outbreak on Mar 3. The outbreak involving the common foodborne-pathogen Shiga toxin–producing E coli O157:H7 has now affected nine states. Arizona and California have each reported four cases. Oregon, which now has two infections, reported the other new case. Other states with one case are Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia.

Illness-onset dates range from Jan 4 to Feb 21. Patients' ages vary from 2 to 48 years, with a median age of 10.

All 15 case-patients interviewed reported exposure to I.M. Healthy soy nut products made by The SoyNut Butter Company of Glenview, Ill. In the week before they fell ill, 9 patients ate I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter at home, 2 attended a facility that served I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter, and 4 attended  childcare centers that served I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter and I.M. Healthy granola coated with SoyNut Butter.

Also yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the company is recalling all varieties of I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butters and all varieties of I.M. Healthy Granola products. The SoyNut Butter Company on Mar 3 originally recalled only its Original Creamy SoyNut Butter with certain "sell buy" dates.
Mar 7 CDC update
Mar 7 FDA notice


Flu shows slow retreat in Northern Hemisphere

Flu activity is still elevated in many Northern Hemisphere countries but has already peaked in parts of East Asia and Europe, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest global flu update.

Though H3N2 is still the predominant strain globally, levels of influenza B are co-circulating or rising in some regions, such as Europe and Northern Africa, as often seen in the later months of the flu season.

In North America, the types of flu viruses circulating are a mixed picture, with H3N2 predominating in Canada, the United States seeing a mix of H3N2 and influenza B, and Mexico reporting 2009 H1N1 as the dominant strain.

Level of flu are rising in southern Asia, including India and Sri Lanka, led by 2009 H1N1, followed by influenza B viruses, the WHO said.

In Southern Hemisphere countries, flu remained at interseasonal levels, the WHO said.

Analysis of flu samples at national influenza centers and other national flu labs in the first half of February showed that 85.7% were influenza A and 14.3% were influenza B. Of subtyped influenza A samples, 92.5% were H3N2 and 7.5% were 2009 H1N1.
Mar 6 WHO global flu update

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