News Scan for Sep 18, 2018

Low MMR uptake in UK
E coli preventive approved

Uptake of MMR vaccine falls to 91.2% in the UK

For the fourth year in a row, uptake of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine has fallen in the United Kingdom, and now stands at 91.2%, well below the 95% uptake recommended to prevent transmission of the communicable diseases.

The statistics are published in a new report from the National Health Service (NHS). The data includes information on nine childhood vaccines offered by the age of 24 months. Only rotavirus uptake increased, from 89.6% in 2016-17 to 90.1% in 2017-18.

According to a story in The Guardian, the effects of this drop are already being seen, as 876 measles cases have been confirmed so far in 2018, more than three times the number recorded in all of 2017. Experts say the decline is because of logistical failures, a confusing recommended vaccine schedule, and growing anti-vaccine rhetoric in Europe.

The UK numbers  are part of the bigger story of the resurgence of measles in Europe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 41,000 cases of measles were reported in Europe between January and June of 2018, compared with about 24,000 cases in all of 2017.

But new data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said the rate of measles cases have been dropping since March of this year.

"Since March, the number of [new] measles cases in the EU/EEA have dropped steadily, which is of course a positive development," said Tarik Derrough, the ECDC senior expert on vaccine-preventable diseases. "However, measles continues to spread across Europe because vaccination coverage in most European countries remains sub-optimal."
NHS 2017-2018 vaccine statistics
Sep 18 Guardian story
Aug 20 CIDRAP News scan, "Measles cases in Europe top 41,000, smash records"

Sep 17 ECDC report


FDA, USDA approve PhageGuard-E for protecting against E coli

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved PhageGuard-E, a new food processing aid used to prevent contamination with Escherichia coli O157 in the meat processing industry.

PhageGuard-E is made of natural phages, and is used in a spray formulation to decontaminate surfaces and carcasses in food processing plants.

"Unlike harsh chemical interventions, phages are harmless to plant workers and do not damage equipment, concrete floors and water-treatment installations," said a press release from Micreos, the Netherlands-based producer of PhageGuard-E. Micreos also said the spray can be used on beef carcasses, various cuts of meat, and trimmings.

Pathogenic Shiga toxin–producing E coli in food products resulted in almost 5,000 US illnesses in 2017.
Sep 18 Micreos press release

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