News Scan for Oct 06, 2017

Polio in Syria
Plague in Madagascar
More Cyclospora
Antimicrobial use in Danish animals

Syria reports 7 new vaccine-derived polio cases

Syria has confirmed seven new cases involving vaccine-derived poliovirus 2 (cVDPV2) infection and Pakistan has reported four detections of wild poliovirus 1 (WPV1) in environmental samples, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) said today in its weekly update.

Five of the cases in Syria are from the city of Al Mayadin in eastern Syria, one is from Abu Kamal district in Deir ez-Zor governorate, and one is from Al-Thawrah district of Raqqa governorate. Syria has now reported 47 cVDPV2 cases this year, and the global total is 56, compared with 3 at this time last year.

Three of the four WPV1 environmental detections in Pakistan were in Sindh province and one was in Balochistan province. This year Pakistan has reported 5 WPV1 cases and Afghanistan 6, for a global total of 11 so far in 2017. That compares with 25 global WPV1 cases at this time last year.
Oct 6 GPEI update


WHO ships 1.2 million antibiotics as Madagascar plague cases top 200

The World Health Organization (WHO) today said it has shipped nearly 1.2 million doses of antibiotics and provided $1.5 million in emergency funds in response to a plague outbreak in Madagascar that has sickened 231 people and killed 33.

The WHO has delivered 1,190,000 doses of antibiotics to the country's Ministry of Health and its partners this week, and plans to deliver 244,000 more soon, the agency said in a news release. The different types of antibiotics will be used both to treat those infected with the Yersinia pestis bacterium that causes the disease and for prevention (prophylactic use) in those who may be exposed. The drugs can treat up to 5,000 patients and protect up to 100,000 people who may have been exposed.

"Plague is curable if detected in time," said Dr. Charlotte Ndiaye, WHO representative in Madagascar. "Our teams are working to ensure that everyone at risk has access to protection and treatment. The faster we move, the more lives we save."

Most of the cases and deaths involve pneumonic plague, the more dangerous form of the disease that affects the lungs and is transmitted through coughing at close range, the WHO said. The agency is asking for an additional $5.5 million to launch a comprehensive response and save lives.

The outbreak has grown by 99 cases since the WHO's Oct 2 update.
Oct 6 WHO news release

In an Oct 4 WHO situation report, the WHO said that 124 of 194 cases (63.9%) and 21 of 30 deaths (70.0%) as of Oct 3 involved the pneumonic form. The case-fatality rate associated with that form is 16.9%, compared with 15.5% among cases overall.

The WHO said in the report, "A revision to the risk assessment is currently underway. An initial rapid risk assessment based on the situation as of 19 September 2017, concluded that the overall risk at national level was high due to the high transmissibility of pneumonic plague associated with severe disease and detection of this outbreak more than two weeks after the first case died, during which cases travelled to different parts of the country, including the capital Antananarivo."

It rated the regional risk moderate because of frequent flights to neighboring Indian Ocean islands and the global risk as low.
Oct 4 WHO situation report


CDC reports 11 more Cyclospora cases, with source still not known

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today reported 11 new Cyclospora cases since its previous update on Sep 29, raising the multistate total to 1,065, with many of the cases linked to infections in people who didn't travel and pointing to food as a likely source.

At least 597 (56%) of the infected people didn't have a history of recent international travel, which raises the likelihood of foodborne illness. Texas is by far the hardest-hit of the 40 affected states, with 172 cases, followed by Florida with 78 and New York (including New York City, which the CDC lists separately) with 47. The latest illness onsets were on Sep 13.

So far no food vehicle has been identified, but the CDC noted in its update that previous outbreaks have involved imported fresh produce such as basil, cilantro, mesclun lettuce, raspberries, and snow peas.

Cyclospora infection is caused by the Cyclospora cayetanensis parasite. Symptoms can include watery diarrhea, appetite loss, cramping, bloating, and fatigue.
Oct 6 CDC update


Antimicrobial use in Danish animals drops for 3rd straight year

Total antimicrobial consumption in Danish food and companion animals has fallen for the third consecutive year, according to the annual DANMAP report that is based on 2016 data. It's from researchers at Statens Serum Institut and from the National Veterinary Institute and the National Food Institute, both departments at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

In 2016, total antimicrobial consumption in kilograms was down about 5% in Danish animals, compared with a drop of 4% in 2015 and 2% in 2014. And overall antimicrobial use has declined 10% since 2013, which is the equivalent of 12 tons of drugs, according to a DTU National Food Institute news release yesterday.

The 2016 reduction was substantially driven by a 4% reduction in antimicrobial use in swine production compared with 2015, as pig production in Denmark constitutes about 85% of the country's meat production and about 75% of veterinary-prescribed drugs.

After 2 years of much higher than normal drug use in poultry because of serious outbreaks in poultry, antimicrobial use in that industry dropped 36% from 2015 levels. And use in aquaculture was at its lowest in a decade in 2016, the report noted.

Antimicrobial use in pets increased slightly from 2015 to 2016 but has generally decreased in the past 5 years, especially regarding the consumption of third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins.

"A reduction in the use of antimicrobials is necessary if we are to tackle the problem of antimicrobial resistant bacteria," division head Flemming Bager with the National Food Institute said in the release. "The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration has in recent years implemented several initiatives to limit consumption, and it is positive to see that the downward trend in consumption continues."
Oct 5 DTU National Food Institute news release

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