News Scan for Aug 18, 2017

MERS in Saudi Arabia
Zika birth defects
More Salmonella cases
Avian flu outbreaks

MERS sickens another in Jeddah

Saudi Arabia today announced a MERS-CoV infection in a patient in Jeddah whose exposure to the virus is still under review. The case is the fourth recent one reported from Jeddah.

The latest case involves a 51-year-old male expatriate whose is hospitalized in critical condition. He is not a healthcare worker, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Two days ago the MOH announced a MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) illness in another man from Jeddah, a 69-year-old expatriate, also listed in critical condition and also not a health worker. The source of his illness is also still under review.

Two other recent cases in Jeddah involve a 44-year-old woman and a 57-year-old man. The woman's illness was found during contact tracing related to another MERS-CoV patient, according to an update on 26 recent Saudi cases yesterday from the World Health Organization (WHO.)

Saudi Arabia now has now recorded 1,698 MERS-CoV cases, 690 of them fatal, since the first detection in humans in 2012. Eleven people are still receiving treatment for their infections.
Aug 18 Saudi MOH statement
Aug 16 Saudi MOH statement
Aug 17 WHO update


US states, territories report 3 more babies born with Zika defects

Two more babies have been born in the United States with Zika-related birth defects, raising the total to 93, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday in an update. The number of pregnancy losses remained the same, at eight.

Meanwhile, in the US territories, 1 more baby has been born with Zika-related defects, lifting the total to 128, and a Zika-related pregnancy loss has been subtracted from the total, putting it at seven.

Overall, 1,810 US pregnant women with evidence of Zika infection have completed their pregnancies with or without delivering a baby with birth defects. In the territories, 3,130 women affected by Zika virus have completed their pregnancies.
Aug 17 CDC update

In other US Zika developments, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday announced that it has released a panel of human plasma samples to help manufacturers of Zika serologic tests validate their products.

In its statement, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said the standardized patient samples will allow makers to better assess how the tests perform and is part of the FDA's support for helping bring the tests through the review process and enable more access to Zika testing.

The panel includes plasma samples from anonymous people infected with Zika, West Nile, or dengue viruses, and test developers can use them to see if their tests can distinguish recent Zika infection from the other two viruses.
Aug 17 FDA announcement


CDC: 34 more cases of Salmonella tied to papayas reported

The CDC today reported 34 new cases of Salmonella illness since its previous outbreak update on Aug 11. Fourteen of the 34 new cases, which have been linked to imported papayas have required hospitalization.

There are now 173 people in the outbreak, including 58 who required hospitalization, who have been sickened by Salmonella linked to Maradol papayas imported from Mexico. One death has been reported, in New York City.

This week, two new strains of Salmonella, Salmonella Agonaand Salmonella Gaminara, were added to the outbreak list. The CDC said consumers should avoid all papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm in Mexico, including Caribena, Cavi, and Valery brands.

Missouri and Tennessee reported outbreak cases of Salmonella infection for the first time, bringing the total number of affected states to 21.
Aug 18 CDC update


More avian flu outbreaks reported in the Philippines, China

Agriculture officials in the Philippines have reported two new avian flu outbreaks, presumably highly pathogenic H5, affecting two cities in Nueva Ecija province on Luzon island, according to Reuters and the agriculture secretary's Facebook page. One farm raises layers and the other raises quail.

The Philippines reported its first-ever highly pathogenic H5 outbreak on Aug 11 involving six farms that officials suspect may have started in April. Tests are under way to determine the virus subtype.
Aug 17 Reuters story
Philippines agriculture secretary Facebook page

Elsewhere, China has confirmed an H5N6 avian flu outbreak involving quail farms in Guizhou province, located in the country's southwest, Reuters said today in a separate story that cited the agriculture ministry. The virus killed 9,752 birds and led to the culling of 8,110 more.
Aug 18 Reuters story

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