News Scan for Mar 02, 2018

Yellow fever in Brazil
Emergent award for smallpox countermeasure
H5N6 in Denmark and Wales
More kratom-linked Salmonella cases

Yellow fever cases continue climb in Brazil, top 700

A report yesterday from Brazil's Ministry of Health (MOH) said there are now 723 confirmed cases of yellow fever, including 237 deaths, in that country from Jul 1, 2017, to Feb 28 of this year. That number includes 259 new cases detected in February.

The current totals outpace the previous season. From July of 2016 to Feb 28, 2017, officials confirmed 576 cases and 184 deaths. And unlike the previous season, when the disease circulated in rural areas, current cases are occurring near Brazil's most populated cities.

The MOH said a vaccination campaign in Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, and Sao Paulo states is ongoing. As of Feb 27, 5.5 million people in those states had been vaccinated, which is 23.2% of the targeted population. Brazil allocated 15.7 million doses of yellow fever vaccine for those states at the beginning of the year.

The MOH said the campaign will continue until more people are reached. Brazil is using both standard and fractioned dosing of the yellow fever vaccine.
Mar 1 MOH report


Emergent awarded $26 million for vaccinia immune globulin treatment

Emergent BioSolutions this week announced an award worth $26 million from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to continue supplying vaccinia immune globulin intravenous (VIGIV), the only licensed treatment for smallpox vaccine complications, for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).

The 1-year contract covers manufacturing, plasma collection for future manufacturing, and other activities to maintain VIGIV licensure from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Laura Saward, PhD, Emergent's senior vice president and antibody therapeutics business unit heat, said in a Feb 28 statement from the company, "Emergent has been a partner to the CDC on the VIGIV program for more than 15 years now, since our first delivery to the SNS in 2002." She added that VIGIV is a key part of the government's medical countermeasure strategy for addressing the smallpox threat and dovetails with the company's ACAM2000 smallpox vaccine (which it also supplies to the SNS) as the only licensed vaccine for active immunization of people at high risk for smallpox infection.
Feb 28 Emergent BioSolutions press release


H5N6 turns up in wild birds in Denmark and Wales

Two more European countries—Denmark and Wales—reported their first highly pathogenic H5N6 detections in wild birds, and five more similar outbreaks were detected at a variety of locations in England, according to separate reports from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

In Denmark, samples from a white-tailed eagle found dead on Feb 13 in a forest near Slagelse, a town in the western part of the country, were positive for H5N6, based on testing at the national veterinary institute. Officials said the source of the virus was probably contact with wild species.

Meanwhile, the detection in Wales involved a buzzard found dead on Feb 28 in South Glamorgan County in the south. Other UK detections involved wild birds found dead on Feb 28 in Surrey, Suffolk, Hampshire, Devon, and Lincolnshire. Species included mute swans, a goshawk, buzzards, pheasants, and greylag geese. UK officials said the detections in Wales and England all involved the new H5N6 reassortant.
Mar 2 OIE report on H5N6 in Denmark
Mar 1 OIE report on H5N6 in the UK


Kratom-linked Salmonella outbreak expands to 7 more states

A Salmonella outbreak linked to kratom supplements has sickened 12 more people in 7 more states, and health officials have identified the Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:- outbreak strain in leftover kratom powder collected from sick patients, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in an update.

The new cases push the outbreak total to 40 and the number of affected states to 27. Fourteen patients have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. Illness onsets range from Oct 10, 2017, to Feb 13. States reflected in the newly reported cases include Delaware, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Kratom, used as a stimulant and an herbal alternative to opioids, is also known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom, and Biak.

The CDC health departments in North Dakota and Utah identified the outbreak strain in leftover kratom powder, investigators haven't yet identified a common brand or supplier. The North Dakota patient purchased S.K. Herbalist brand kratom powder from the web site, and the Utah patient bought kratom powder from the web site
Mar 2 CDC outbreak update

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