Four more confirmed Ebola cases in DRC as suspected cases jump
Today the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) announced four more confirmed cases of Ebola virus in Beni, the current epicenter of the outbreak in North Kivu province.
Officials also recorded three new deaths in Beni, including two community deaths that had safe and dignified burials.
There are now 227 cases of Ebola in this outbreak, including 147 deaths. In addition to the confirmed cases, officials reported 40 suspected cases of Ebola, a doubling of recent numbers. The jump in suspected cases under investigation may be a positive development though, a sign that increased surveillance in the city is working.
Vaccination efforts continued throughout the province this week, with more than 19,000 people vaccinated, including 8,843 in Beni.
Oct 19 DRC update
Four countries report total of 8 new polio cases this week
Afghanistan reported one new case of wild poliovirus this week, while Niger, Somalia, and Papua New Guinea all recorded new cases of vaccine-derived polio, according to the weekly update from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). In total, 8 new cases were documented this past week.
In Afghanistan, officials said there was one wild poliovirus type 1 case in Hilmand province. The patient experienced paralysis onset on Sep 1. There are now 16 wild poliovirus cases recorded in Afghanistan this year.
Papua New Guinea announced three new cases in the nations's first outbreak in almost 20 years. Patients reported paralysis onset on Aug 6, Aug 29, and Sep 6. The cases bring the outbreak's total to 18.
Somalia recorded one case of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 3, with onset of paralysis on Sep 7. And Niger reported three new cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2), all from Zinder province. All six cases of cVDPV2 reported in Niger this year have been from Zinder province.
To date there have been 20 wild polioviruses detected worldwide in 2018 and 68 cases of vaccine-derived polio.
Oct 19 GPEI report
Measles clusters reported in and around New York City
State and local health officials in New York are reporting clusters of measles infections, one in an Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn and the other in Rockland County, a suburb of New York City.
In an Oct 17 statement, NYC Health said six cases have been confirmed this month in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, with the first case a child who contracted the virus on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak is occurring. Patients range from 11 months to 4 years. Five were unvaccinated before they were exposed, four due to delayed vaccination and one who was too young to be vaccinated. The sixth child had received one dose before exposure but was not yet immune.
Some of the children have experienced complications, including a child hospitalized with pneumonia and another who acquired an ear infection.
According to the report, there are seven confirmed measles cases in people from outside of New York City—five who were exposed during travel to Israel and two with secondary infections.
Meanwhile, Rockland County health commissioner Patricia Ruppert, DO, MPH, said in an Oct 17 Facebook post that 11 cases have been confirmed, six of them secondary cases.
NYC health held a meeting in Williamsburg with rabbis and elected officials and will place ads in newspapers to raise awareness and distribute posters to health providers. Rockland County is hosting free measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine clinics.
Oct 17 NYC Health press release
Rockland County Facebook page
Oct 16 Rockland County press release
Group approves for Dengvaxia for use in Europe
The European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended Sanofi's Dengvaxia dengue vaccine for approval in Europe.
"This is good news for people living in dengue-endemic parts of the European territories where frequent outbreaks could put them at risk of re-infection with another dengue virus serotype, which is often more severe than the first infection," said Su-Peing Ng, MD, global medical head at Sanofi Pasteur, in a press release.
The indication for Dengvaxia is for people living in European territories ages 9 to 45 years of age, who have already had a dengue infection. A person can suffer from several dengue infections throughout their life, as previous infection does not provide immunity.
Dengvaxia was approved for use in 15 countries before the recommendation was made to only use the vaccine in those with prior dengue exposure. In dengue-naive recipients, the vaccine can act as a priming agent that makes subsequent infections more severe.
Oct 19 Sanofi Pasteur press release
BSE detected on Scottish farm
Scotland's government yesterday announced that a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has been confirmed on a farm in Aberdeenshire.
In a statement, officials said the Animal Health Agency is investigating the source of the outbreak, which was identified during strict control measures put in place at the farm. They added that the animal did not enter the human food chain and that Food Standards Scotland has confirmed that there is no risk to human health from the isolated case.
All animals over age 4 years that die on farms are routinely tested for BSE under the country's surveillance system. Though the disease isn't directly passed from animal to animal, its cohorts and offspring have been traced and isolated and will be destroyed in line with European Union requirements.
Fergus Ewing, rural economy secretary, said, "Following confirmation of a case of classical BSE in Aberdeenshire, I have activated the Scottish Government’s response plan to protect our valuable farming industry, including establishing a precautionary movement ban being placed on the farm."
BSE, also called mad cow disease, was first detected in 1986 and spread through British cattle herds in the 1980s and 1990s after the cattle ate feed containing protein from infected animals. Consuming meat products from BSE-infected cattle is assumed to be the cause of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), the human equivalent of BSE.
Oct 18 Scottish government statement
Vietnam, Bulgaria report more high path H5 poultry outbreaks
In the latest avian influenza outbreak developments, Vietnam reported a highly pathogenic H5N6 in village poultry and Bulgaria reported two more outbreaks involving H5 viruses, according to reports from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
Vietnam's outbreak began on Oct 7 in a village in Dak Lak province in the south central part of the country. The event killed 100 of 2,500 birds, and the remaining ones were culled to curb the spread of the virus. Vietnam reported its last H5N6 outbreak in late September, which struck village birds in Cao Bang province in the north.
Elsewhere, Bulgaria reported two highly pathogenic H5 outbreaks, both of which struck commercial poultry farms in Haskovo province in the south. The outbreaks began on Oct 17, killing 7,718 of 146,000 birds at the two facilities. The surviving poultry were destroyed as part of the response steps. The detection follows an Oct 8 report of an H5N8 outbreak in backyard birds in Plovdiv province in the central part of the country.
Oct 18 OIE report on H5N6 in Vietnam
Oct 18 OIE report on H5 in Bulgaria