News Scan for Jun 29, 2018

Polio in the DRC and Somalia
Cyclospora outbreak total grows
Biodefense roadmap
Avian flu in Ghana and Denmark

More polio cases found in DRC, Somalia

Two countries reported circulating vaccine-derived polio cases this week, according to the latest update from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). In addition to new cases from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Somalia, the GPEI confirmed an outbreak of circulating vaccine derived polio in Papua New Guinea.

The DRC recorded three new cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) in the past week. Patients reported symptom onset on Apr 26 (Mongala province), May 5 (Ituri province), and May 14 (Haut Katanga). The new cases raise the country's totals for 2018 to seven.

In Somalia, three patients were diagnosed as having vaccine-derived polioviruses. A patient in Hiran province with symptom onset on May 11 tested positive for both type 2 and type 3 circulating viruses. Two patients with type 3 vaccine-derived viruses were also recorded in Middle Shabelle with symptom onsets on May 23 and 16.

GPEI said "Large-scale supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) have been implemented in Banadir, Lower and Middle Shabelle regions, Somalia, with additional SIAs planned in the affected zones of the Horn of Africa."

The new cases bring 2018's vaccine-derived polio virus total to 12. In 2017, 25 cases of vaccine-derived polio cases were recorded worldwide.
Jun 29 GPEI update


CDC: 41 more cyclosporiasis cases linked to vegetable trays

Yesterday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced 41 more cases of cyclosporiasis in an outbreak linked to tainted Del Monte vegetable trays.

As of Jun 28, the outbreak involves 185 laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis in people who reportedly ate pre-packaged Del Monte Fresh Produce vegetable trays containing broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and dill dip. Seven people have been hospitalized, and there have been no deaths. The onset of symptoms in cases ranges from May 14 to Jun 9.

The outbreak is concentrated in the Upper Midwest, with Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan reporting cases. Most people interviewed reported eating and buying the pre-packed trays from Kwik Trip convenience stores.

According to the CDC, Del Monte Fresh Produce voluntarily recalled 6-ounce, 12-ounce, and 28-ounce vegetable trays containing fresh broccoli, cauliflower, celery sticks, carrots, and dill dip on Jun 15. Recalled products were sold in clear, plastic clamshell containers, and had a "Best If Enjoyed By" date of Jun 17.

Cyclosporiasis is caused by the Cyclospora cayetanensis parasite. Symptoms of infection include watery diarrhea, appetite loss, cramping, bloating, and fatigue.
Jun 28 CDC update


Gryphon releases biosecurity and defense roadmap

Gryphon Scientific, a life sciences policy analysis group based in Maryland, published a new roadmap for implementing US biosecurity and biodefense policy. The Air Force and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency commissioned the work under their Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The roadmap explains that the last decade has brought major changes to the biotechnology landscape, including the globalization of biotechnology companies and the influence of venture capital firms and private industry in the form of funding streams for research and development.

The US must simultaneously engage in biosecurity work, which means preventing the malicious use of biological sciences knowledge, and biodefense, which encompasses detection and response to such biological threats.

The roadmap puts forth five key areas the Department of Defense and other stakeholders must invest in for biosecurity, including situational awareness, prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery.

"The U.S. biosecurity and biodefense policy landscape is a system of intersecting components, which can lead to mutually reinforcing policies or counteracting policies," the authors conclude in their executive summary. "As the U.S. government finalizes its new National Biodefense Strategy and begins preparing its Global Health Security Strategy, understanding the current policy landscape and the potential ability or inability of policies to achieve biodefense objectives is crucial to ensuring that the new strategies address long-standing gaps."
Jun 28 Gryphon roadmap


H5 avian flu outbreaks reported in Ghana and Denmark

Ghana's agriculture ministry today reported two highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza outbreaks at poultry farms in two different states, according to a notification from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The first outbreak began on Jun 6 in Ashanti region in the south central part of the country, killing 5,431 of 11,000 birds. The second started on Jun 18 at a farm in neighboring Eastern region killing 504 of 2,188 susceptible poultry. Taken together, 7,208 birds were culled to curb the spread of the virus.

An investigation found that illegal movements of poultry is a source of the virus, given that birds from Ashanti region were illegally moved to the farm in Eastern region.

According to the OIE report, Ghana's last highly pathogenic avian flu outbreak occurred at the end of 2016.
Jun 29 OIE report on H5 in Ghana

In developments involving low pathogenic strains, Denmark on Jun 27 reported an H5 outbreak at a duck farm in Vordingborg on the island of Zealand. The virus was found on Jun 26 in ducklings tested as part of surveillance for avian flu in poultry. The farm houses mallards for restocking game supplies. As part of the outbreak response, authorities culled all 2,679 birds at the holding.
Jun 27 OIE report on low pathogenic H5 in Denmark

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