News Scan for May 21, 2018

Salmonella-tainted coconut
Nipah deaths in India
Antibiotics and gastroenteritis
Newcastle disease in California

CDC: Probe of Salmonella outbreak linked to dried coconut over

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced late last week the end of an investigation into a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium tied to dried coconut.

A total of 14 people in eight states were sickened after eating dried coconut products, which the CDC warns may still be in people's homes, as the products have a long shelf life. Three patients required hospitalization. The total represents 1 new case since the CDC first reported the outbreak on Mar 21.

Epidemiologic investigations connected the bacteria to bulk packages of International Harvest, Inc. brand Go Smiles Dried Coconut Raw. Illness-onset dates ranged from Sep 22, 2017, to Feb 26, 2018, and 8 out of 10 patients interviewed said they ate dried coconut purchased from grocery stores in the week preceding symptom onset.

On Mar 16, International Harvest, Inc. recalled bags of Organic Go Smile! Raw Coconut and bulk packages of Go Smiles Dried Coconut Raw.

"People should not eat recalled International Harvest, Inc. brand Organic Go Smile! Raw Coconut, Go Smiles Dried Coconut Raw, or recalled Natural Grocers Coconut Smiles Organic products," the CDC said. "Throw it away or return it to the place of purchase for a refund. Retailers should not sell or serve recalled dried coconut products."
May 18 CDC update


India officials issue warning after at least 3 die due to Nipah virus

At least three people died from Nipah virus infections in India's Kerala state, located in the south of the country, according to media reports today. Officials are also investigating eight other deaths to see if they are connected to the outbreak.

Kerala state officials issued a warning today about the virus, which is primarily transmitted by fruit bats. Media reports said the fatalities included a nursing assistant who worked with two siblings who had contracted the virus. The siblings reportedly had eaten fruit from a compound where they were building a home, and a bat was captured in an on-site well and is being tested for the virus.

The BBC, citing local officials, said 25 others have been hospitalized with symptoms of Nipah disease.

Though animal-to-human transmission is most common, human-to-human transmission has been previously documented in Nipah infections.  

Nipah, which the World Health Organization (WHO) considers a priority emerging infectious disease threat, has no vaccine or cure, and a case-fatality rate of more than 70%.
May 21 Medical Xpress story
May 21 BBC article
WHO Nipah R&D page


Study finds links between kids antibiotic use and acute gastroenteritis

A new study in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society has found an association between previous antibiotic use in children and increased odds of acute gastroenteritis.

The study analyzed 1,142 inpatient and outpatient children with acute gastroenteritis (AGE) treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center from December 2014 through November 2015 and compared them to a control group of 394 healthy children. Multiple logistic regression was performed to evaluate the association between previous antibiotic use and four outcomes: overall AGE, norovirus-associated AGE, rotavirus-associated AGE, and nonnorovirus/nonrotavirus AGE.

The reported antibiotic use rates in the 3 months before illness onset were similar across all four outcome groups (overall AGE, 21%; norovirus-associated AGE, 23%; rotavirus-associated AGE, 28%, and nonnorovirus/nonrotavirus AGE, 22%) and higher than among the healthy controls (9%). After controlling for age, sex, and household income, the researchers found that the odds of antibiotic use in the 3 months before illness onset were 2.6 times higher for children with AGE overall than for healthy controls. In addition, children with AGE were 4.6 times more likely to have reported antibiotic use in the 3 weeks before illness onset. Similar results were found for the other specific AGE outcomes.

The authors of the study say the findings suggest a link between AGE, antibiotic use, and disruption of the intestinal microbiota, and provide further justification for judicious use of antibiotics in children.

"These data suggest that the intestinal microbiota might play a role in overall protection against AGE among children, even AGE caused by a virus, because disruption of this microbiota through antibiotic use increases the odds of AGE," they write.
May 19 J Pediatric Infect Dis study


USDA reports virulent Newcastle disease in California chickens

The Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) late last week confirmed the presence of virulent Newcastle disease in backyard chickens in California, the first US detection of the disease since 2003.

The disease, which is caused by a paramyxovirus, affected a small flock of exhibition chickens in Los Angeles County. It is very contagious and can be highly fatal to poultry.

"No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products," APHIS said in a new release. "Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat.  In very rare instances people working directly with sick birds can become infected. Symptoms are usually very mild, and limited to conjunctivitis and/or influenza-like symptoms. Infection is easily prevented by using standard personal protective equipment."

In birds, Newcastle disease affects the respiratory, nervous, and digestive systems. The disease is so virulent that often poultry die without showing clinical signs of illness. A death rate of almost 100% can occur in unvaccinated flocks, and virulent Newcastle disease can even infected and kill vaccinated poultry, APHIS said. The agency also stressed the importance of good biosecurity measures to keep the disease from spreading to poultry, such as scrubbing boots before and after entering a poultry area.
May 18 APHIS news release

Newsletter Sign-up

Get CIDRAP news and other free newsletters.

Sign up now»


Unrestricted financial support provided by

Bentson Foundation 3M logo Gilead 
Grant support for ASP provided by


  Become an underwriter»