News Scan for Oct 20, 2017

Marburg virus in Uganda
Polio in Afghanistan and Syria
Salmonella outbreak probe ends
Tdap coverage in pregnancy

More suspected cases identified in Uganda's Marburg virus outbreak

The World Health Organization (WHO) said today that it is involved with efforts to curb a Marburg virus outbreak in eastern Uganda near the border with Kenya, where at least one case has been confirmed and several hundred people may have been exposed at health facilities and at a traditional burial ceremony.

The confirmed illness involves a 50-year-old woman from Kween district whose death was originally reported a few days ago. Uganda's health ministry said yesterday that her brother had died after similar symptoms, but no samples were taken for testing before his death. The WHO said one other suspected and one probable case have also been identified, adding that those patients are receiving care and efforts are underway to identify other infected people.

According earlier reports from Uganda, the deceased woman had cared for her brother and took part in his funeral. The WHO said the man was a game hunter who lived near a cave housing Rousettus bats, known as natural hosts of Marburg virus, a close relative of Ebola virus.

WHO staff, along with some from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the African Field Epidemiology Network, are supporting the Ugandan health ministry's rapid response team. Also, the WHO said it is providing medical supplies, safe burial guidance, and $500,000 from its emergency response contingency fund. The health ministry said it has established an isolation ward to handle cases at a hospital and health center in Kween district.
Oct 20 WHO statement
Oct 19 Uganda
health ministry statement


Afghanistan and Syria report more polio cases

Afghanistan has reported another wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) infection, and Syria has four more vaccine-derived poliovirus 2 (cVDPV2) infections, plus another detection in a healthy child, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) said in its latest weekly update.

The illness in Afghanistan involves a 15-month-old child from Nangarhar province with a Sep 15 paralysis onset who had previously received one dose of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV).

Afghanistan has reported seven polio cases this year, pushing the global total to 12.

GPEI also noted more positive WPV1 environmental samples in Afghanistan (Hilmand and Kandahar provinces) and Pakistan (Balochistan and Sindh provinces).

Elsewhere, Syria's new cVDPV2 cases are all in Deir ez-Zor governorate, a conflict-ridden part of the country that has already reported several previous cases this year. Illness onsets ranged from Aug 12 to Aug 25. The positive sample from the healthy child was collected on Aug 21. The country has reported 52 cVDPV2 cases this year.

Ongoing violence in Deir ez-Zor led to the destruction of a vaccine cold room where polio and other childhood vaccines were kept, the WHO reported last week. GPEI said that while reports are being verified, plans have been made to provide essential cold-chain equipment to the areas so that vaccination efforts can continue.
Oct 18 GPEI update

CDC reports record number of Salmonella cases tied to backyard poultry

The CDC announced yesterday that an investigation into 10 Salmonella outbreaks linked to live backyard poultry has ended, and this year it recorded a record number of illnesses related to contact with the birds.

While warning that the infection threat remains, the CDC said received 1,120 illness reports, an increase of 159 from its last update in August. Infections were reported in 48 states, and 249 people were hospitalized. One death was reported involving a patient from North Carolina.

Investigations by the CDC and state and local partners involved 10 different outbreaks due to contact with live poultry, such as chicks and ducklings from multiple hatcheries. The outbreak strains included several DNA fingerprints, including Salmonella Braenderup, Enteritidis, Hadar, I 4,[5],12:i, Indiana, Infantis, Litchfield, Mbandaka, Muenchen, and Typhimurium. Illness onsets ranged from Jan 4 to Sep 22.

The CDC said raising backyard birds is becoming more popular, and many people may not be aware of the Salmonella infection risk. It urged people to wash hands with soap and water after touching the birds or anything in their environments and to closely supervise children who handle poultry.
Oct 19 CDC final outbreak investigation report

Tdap coverage in pregnant women rising, but still well below target

The share of pregnant women who receive the tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine remains well below the recommended 100%, according to a study published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The CDC recommended in 2012 that all women get the vaccine in the third trimester to protect babies too young to be vaccinated against pertussis.

CDC researchers and their colleagues in a pregnancy surveillance system looked at maternal vaccination data collected since 2006 as part of case-control surveillance of birth defects that encompasses study centers in Boston, Philadelphia, and San Diego, plus registries in New York and Massachusetts.

They found that Tdap coverage increased from less than 1% before 2010 to 53% in 2015. For comparison, a recent report for 2013 put coverage at about 42% Most of the women in the latest study were vaccinated at physicians' offices or clinics.

Investigators concluded that though Tdap coverage increased substantially, it remains far below CDC recommendations that all pregnant women be vaccinated.
Oct 20 MMWR report

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