News Scan for Jul 03, 2018

More Rift Valley fever cases in Kenya
Texas probes 56 Cyclospora cases
FDA warns of lingering kratom health threats

Illnesses climb to 90 in Kenya's Rift Valley fever outbreak

Kenya has reported 36 more illnesses in its Rift Valley fever outbreak, lifting the total to 90, the World Health Organization (WHO) African regional office said in its latest weekly health emergencies update. No new deaths have been reported, keeping the fatality count at 10.

The epidemiological investigation has found that the index case-patient became ill on May 11, marking the beginning of the outbreak.

So far, 18 of the cases have been confirmed by polymerase chain reaction testing. The hardest hit group is men ages 21 to 30 years old. Three counties have reported illnesses: Wajir, Marsabit, and Siaya.

The WHO said cases have rapidly increased in the last week, and that the event is occurring among seminomadic and remote communities that depend on livestock for their income and food source.

Animal outbreaks of Rift Valley fever have also been occurring alongside the human cases. Kenya's health ministry yesterday reported three more outbreak in animals, according to a notification from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). All three began in the middle of June, affecting goats, sheep, and cattle in Isiolo and Siaya counties. For one of the locations, authorities said the cases were reported in an area where mosquito populations increased after heavy rains and flooding. An investigation linked the spread of the virus to illegal animal movements, contact with infected animals during grazing or watering, and vectors.

Humans can contract the virus from eating meat from infected animals or from contact with blood or organs of infected animals.
Jun 29 WHO African regional office weekly bulletin
Jul 2 OIE report


Texas reports 56 Cyclospora cases as authorities look for common source

Texas health officials yesterday said they are investigating 56 Cyclospora illnesses reported since the beginning of May and investigations are underway to see if there's a common source for the infections and if they are related to illnesses in other states.

The report from the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) comes as federal and state officials are probing an outbreak linked to Del Monte fresh vegetable trays that has sickened 185 people in four Upper Midwest states: Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The trays contained fresh broccoli, cauliflower, celery sticks, carrots, and dill dip, and most of the sick people who were interviewed had bought the pre-packaged trays from Kwik Trip convenience stores.

The disease is caused by the Cyclospora cayetanensis parasite, and symptoms include watery diarrhea, appetite loss, cramping, bloating, and fatigue. Past outbreaks have been linked to imported produce such as basil, cilantro, mesclun lettuce, raspberries, and snow peas. However, in some instances, the source hasn't been found.
Jul 2 TDSHS press release
Jun 29 CIDRAP News scan "
CDC: 41 more cyclosporiasis cases linked to vegetable trays"


FDA winds down kratom Salmonella probe, urges consumers to avoid products

Top officials from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday said agency has concluded its investigation into a large Salmonella outbreak linked to contaminated kratom supplements, emphasizing that evidence gathered points to an ongoing risk.

During the outbreak, which began in February involving Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:-, the investigation and product testing implicated several brands and the involvement of five additional Salmonella subtypes. Several companies voluntarily recalled their products, but one linked to illnesses did not, prompting the FDA's first mandatory food product recall.

Of 81 samples tested, 42 (52%) were found to be contaminated with Salmonella. Though the samples weren't randomly collected and were consumed by or mentioned by patients, the contamination level is unusually high. "This means that users of these products had essentially a one in two chance of being exposed to this pathogen," the FDA said.

Most kratom enters the United States from rural regions of Indonesia and Thailand, where it can become contaminated during harvesting and processing. Though some is processed further once it enters the United States, the procedures apparently don't eliminate the contamination. "This places unsuspecting consumers at risk of salmonellosis."

The supplement doesn't have any proven medical uses and carries safety risks due to its use as an opioid alternative, which is reason for consumers to avoid it, the FDA said. "Now, in addition to those risks, we can conclude that there may be a high proportion of kratom and kratom-containing products contaminated with salmonella. It’s another firm reminder of why people should avoid kratom."
Jul 2 FDA statement
May 25 CIDRAP News scan "
CDC calls kratom-linked Salmonella outbreak probe over after 199 cases"

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