News Scan for Jun 08, 2017

Polio in Syria
Health worker Ebola preparedness
Legionnaires' and water birth
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WHO, GPEI confirm 3 cases of vaccine-derived polio in Syria

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) confirmed today that there are at least three children with circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 in the Deir-Ez-Zor governorate of Syria. Two children have developed acute flaccid paralysis (AFP), and one child has tested positive for the virus but is currently healthy.

Genetic analysis of the viruses showed that they were related and circulating in that region of Syria for approximately 2 years.

The Deir-Ez-Zor governorate is a conflict zone in Syria, and several previous polio vaccination campaigns have been unsuccessful in the past. The current campaign began in March and April using the bivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV).

Despite limited coverage, the GPEI said that the detection of three cases of polio show that disease surveillance systems are functional in Syria.

In the middle of May, ProMED Mail, based on a report from an anonymous source, said health officials were investigating a cluster of 23 AFP cases in Syria in the same governorate. ProMED Mail is online reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.
Jun 8 GPEI statement
May 15 CIDRAP News scan "Investigators probe acute flaccid paralysis cluster in Syria"


Study: Healthcare workers ill-prepared for Ebola in Ghana

A new study published in the journal BMC Public Health said that of 101 healthcare workers (HCWs) questioned in Ghana, 91% said they were not adequately prepared to handle a suspected case of Ebola.

The study is published as the Democratic Republic of the Congo is responding to that country's eighth outbreak of the deadly hemorrhagic fever. To date, there have been no cases of Ebola reported in Ghana, but the country was at risk during the 2013-2015 outbreak in West Africa.

Researchers conducted face-to-face interviews with HCWs at two different health facilities in Ghana and based their preparedness questions on the WHO's Ebola Preparedness Checklist.

Ninety-two of the 101 HCWs questioned said they had not had training to handle Ebola cases. Only 26 (25.7%) said their places of employment were equipped to handle Ebola, and only 9 correctly identified which disinfectant to use while caring for a patient with suspected Ebola.
Jun 6 BMC Pub Health study


Babies contract Legionnaires' disease after water birth

Arizona health officials and experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today described two Legionnaires' disease cases in newborns after water births.

Both occurred in Arizona during the first half of 2016, and both babies were born at home with different midwives assisting. The researchers described the cases in the latest edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Details on the two cases come 2 day after CDC officials raised concerns about infections from Legionella bacteria in health settings.

One of the babies was delivered in a newly purchased disposable tub that had been filled right before birth with municipal tap water from a new hose. The next day the infant was hospitalized with respiratory distress and congenital heart disease. The other was delivered in a rented Jacuzzi that was filled with municipal tap water with a new hose about a week before birth. Three days after birth, the baby had a fever and was seen at the emergency department, where radiographs showed suspected pneumonia.

Lab tests in both instances were positive for Legionella infection, but the specimens were from different serotypes. Both babies were treated with a 10-day course of azithromycin and recovered from their infections.

Investigations afterward found gaps in infection prevention for water births, especially for the second case. The researchers noted that tap water is not sterile and that Legionella can grow and spread in human-made water systems, including in plumbing.
Jun 8 MMWR report
Jun 6 CIDRAP News story "
CDC: Most healthcare-acquired Legionnaires' cases could be prevented"

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