News Scan for Aug 21, 2017

Backyard poultry and Salmonella
New polio cases
Cholera in Yemen rebel areas

Almost 1,000 Salmonella cases now linked to backyard birds

A total of 961 cases of Salmonella illness have been linked to exposure to backyard poultry, according to an update today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The outbreaks have occurred in 48 states and resulted in 215 hospitalizations and 1 death.

The CDC and officials from multiple states are investigating 10 outbreaks involving 10 different Salmonella strain. Seventy-four percent of interviewed patients reporting they had contact with backyard birds in the week before falling ill.

Since the last update on Jul 13, 172 more people have been diagnosed as having Salmonella poisoning tied to exposure to backyard flocks of poultry, including chicks and ducklings from multiple hatcheries. Illnesses started from Jan 4 to Jul 31.

The CDC recommends that no children under the age of 5 handle live poultry without supervision. The CDC also recommended careful handwashing after handling backyard birds, their eggs, or anything in their environment.
Aug 21 CDC outbreak update


New polio cases reported in Afghanistan, Syria

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), in its weekly update today, reported 4 new cases of polio: a wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case in Afghanistan and  3 new circulating vaccine-derived polio type 2 (cVDPV2) in Syria.

The vaccine-derived cases in Syria include two in Deir-ez-Zor and one in Homs governorates. Syria has now reported 33 cases of cVDPV2 this year, all but 2 in Deir-ez-Zor governorate. Onset of paralysis of these cases occurred between Mar 3 and Jul 10.

According to GPEI, an initial vaccination campaign with the oral polio vaccine 2 in Deir-ez-Zor was carried out from Jul 22 to 26, with independent monitoring showing coverage of 88.4%. A second round, which will include oral polio vaccine and injected vaccine, is planned for Aug 19 through Aug 23.

The new WPV1 case in Afghanistan raises its total in 2017 to 6. Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria remain the only countries in which wild poliovirus still circulates. In the most recent case, the patient was from Zabbul province and began having symptoms on Jul 10.
Aug 21 GPEI update


Study: Rebel areas bearing brunt of Yemen's cholera outbreak

The hardest-hit areas in Yemen's cholera outbreak are in rebel-controlled regions affected by Saudi-led airstrikes and blockades, researchers from Queen Mary University of London reported in an Aug 18 letter to The Lancet Global Health.

The team compared the World Health Organization's (WHO's) latest information about Yemen's outbreak with maps showing areas of government and rebel control, finding that the cholera outbreak disproportionately affects areas controlled by Houthi rebels. More specifically, they found that 77.7% of cases and 80.7% of deaths occurred in Houthi-controlled areas compared with government-held areas, which had 15.4% of cases and 10.4% of deaths.

The researchers said both sides of the conflict have been accused of disregarding citizens' wellbeing and breaching international humanitarian law, but they added that Yemen's government and the Saudi-led coalition that supports it command far greater resources and that the airstrikes have destroyed vital infrastructure such as hospitals and public water systems. The fighting has put displaced people into crowded conditions and blocked humanitarian aid.

The group also said countries such as the United States and United Kingdom, Saudi allies that have supplied Saudi Arabia's military, have helped create conditions fueling the spread of the disease.

Yemen's cholera outbreak, the world's largest, has now resulted in 537,322 suspected infections, 2,000 of them fatal, according to an Aug 20 update from the WHO.
Aug 18 Lancet Glob Health letter
Aug 18 Queen Mary University press release
Aug 20 WHO daily epidemiologic update

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