News Scan for Feb 16, 2018

Salmonella probe wraps up
Brazil yellow fever
Polio in the DRC

CDC concludes Salmonella outbreak investigation linked to dairy cows

An investigation into an outbreak involving Salmonella Heidelberg infections linked to dairy cows is over, according to an announcement today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Since the last update on Nov 14, two more cases have been identified, raising the total case count to 56 patients in 15 states. There were 17 hospitalizations and no deaths during this outbreak.

Of the 54 people interviewed during the epidemiological investigation, 34 (63%) reported contact with dairy calves or other cattle in the week before developing symptoms. Seventeen of the patients were children under the age of 5.

The outbreak began in early 2016, and calves bred in Wisconsin were soon identified as a likely source of the outbreak strain. Whole genome sequencing analysis showed outbreak-associated isolates from 48 ill people, 88 cattle, and 13 from animal environments were resistant to several first-line antibiotics.

The CDC said, "It is important to remember that cattle can carry Salmonella and not appear sick. However, in this outbreak, some people did notice illness in their cattle, especially among calves. Livestock handlers should watch for sicknesses in dairy calves and consult their veterinarian if needed."
Feb 16 CDC announcement


Brazil yellow fever cases top 400 since July

According to new data from the Brazilian Ministry of Health, 407 yellow fever cases have been reported in that country since July of 2017, including 118 deaths, Presna Latina reported today.

Cases, however, are down from 2016-2017. At this point in that season, there had been 532 cases and 166 deaths. Officials reported 54 new cases during the past week, representing a slowdown of case counts after a flurry of activity in January.

The Ministry of Health also said that the ongoing vaccination campaign, using both standard and fractioned doses of the yellow fever vaccine, had fallen short of its goals. According to the ministry, 3,950,000 people have been vaccinated in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which is only 19.5% of the population expected to be immunized in the Southeast.

The campaign began 3 weeks ago, and is expected to continue through February. According to the Associated Press (AP), the goal is to vaccinate 20 million Brazilians, many of them residents of the country's biggest cities, against the mosquito-borne virus.
Feb 16 Prensa Latina story
Feb 15 AP


DRC reports 3 vaccine-derived polio cases; WHO extends emergency

In new polio developments, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reported three more circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases and a World Health Organization (WHO) emergency committee met this week, recommending that the temporary recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus be extended at least another 3 months.

In its weekly update today, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) said the DRC's three new cVDPV2 cases all involved onset dates in November and December and are included with the country's total for 2017, which now stands at 21. So far no similar cases have been reported in 2018.

The three cases are all from Tanganyika province, two in Ankoro district and one in Manono district.

Also, GPEI noted that the WHO polio emergency committee met on Feb 7 for the sixteenth time, agreeing to extend the public health emergency of international concern and the related temporary health recommendations. In a Feb 14 statement, the WHO said the committee was encouraged by progress with wild poliovirus type 1 eradication, cases of which were at an all-time low in 2017. The agency also said there was no international spread since its fifteenth meeting, which was held in November.

Committee members commended Pakistan's progress, but said environmental surveillance continues to find the virus in high-risk areas, and they raised concerns about stagnation of progress in Afghanistan.

Regarding ongoing cVDPV2 outbreaks, the experts questioned if the DRC's response was on an emergency footing and worried about the size the outbreak in Syria, though they were encouraged with progress there under difficult conflict conditions. WHO emergency committees typically meet every 3 months or more frequently as needed.
Feb 16 GPEI update
Feb 14 WHO statement

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