News Scan for Apr 19, 2019

MCR-1 in mussels
New Saudi MERS case
Polio case in Nigeria
Yemen cholera warning

Spanish, UK researchers find MCR-1 in Salmonella isolated from mussels

The MCR-1 colistin-resistance gene has been detected in Salmonella strains isolated from mussel samples in Spain, researchers reported yesterday in Eurosurveillance.

Researchers from Spain and the United Kingdom isolated 19 Salmonella strains from 5,907 mussel samples taken from production areas and processing facilities in Galicia from 2012 through 2016, then screened the strains for virulence and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes using polymerase chain reaction and whole-genome sequencing. They also performed antimicrobial susceptibility tests. Galicia is the third-largest producer of mussels worldwide and the main supplier of mussels to the European market.

Antimicrobial susceptibility testing revealed that two of the Salmonella strains were resistant to eight and nine antimicrobials, respectively, and genome sequencing detected the MCR-1 gene in strain AMC 90—identified as Salmonella enterica serovar Rissen ST469—along with other resistance genes. The researchers say this is the first time that MCR-1, which is the predominant determinant of transmissible colistin resistance, has been identified in a Salmonella strain from ready-to-eat mussels in the European marine environment.

"The presence of a Salmonella strain carrying the mcr-1 gene in Galicia marine environment constitutes a potential risk to food safety and public health since this gene is usually located in plasmids that can easily be transferred among bacteria in this environment," the authors of the study write. "Implementation of routine pathogens investigations and screening of the presence of resistance genes could contribute to a better understanding of the role of the marine environment and seafood in the transmission of AMR among human pathogens and resident bacteria."
Apr 18 Eurosurveill rapid communication


MERS infects 1 more in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) today reported a MERS-CoV infection in a 51-year-old man from Riyadh, according to an update to its epidemiologic week 16 report.

It's not known if the man had contact with camels before he became ill, and his exposure to MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) is thought to be primary, meaning he probably didn't contract the disease from another sick patient.

The case lifts Saudi Arabia's MERS-CoV total for the year to 132 cases, including 57 linked to a large outbreak in Wadi ad-Dawasir.
Apr 19 MOH report


Nigeria reports vaccine-derived polio case

In ongoing polio activity in Nigeria, the country has reported one more circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) case, according to the latest weekly update today from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

The patient, from Ogun state, had a Mar 9 paralysis onset, raising Nigeria's total for the year to five cases. Also, environmental testing found the virus in seven more samples, two from Borno state, one from Kano state, and four from Lagos, including three from Mainland and one from Mushin areas. Nigeria has been experiencing two separate cVDPV2 outbreaks, one centered in Jigwa state and the other in Sokoto state.

In other developments, GPEI said top Islamic scholars from Afghanistan and Pakistan—both of which are still reporting endemic wild poliovirus cases—recently met for the first time at an Ulama Conference, aided by efforts by the Islamic Advisory Group for polio eradication. At the close of the 2-day conference, the scholars released a joint declaration supporting the polio efforts.
Apr 29 GPEI weekly update


Oxfam warns of Yemen cholera disaster replay as suspected cases climb

Aid groups in conflict-torn Yemen are having problems reaching 40,000 people suspected as having cholera, setting the scene for a possible repeat of the world worst outbreak, Oxfam International, one of the groups working in the area, warned yesterday in a statement.

Fighting and restraints on access, such as checkpoints and permits required by warring groups, are making it extremely difficult to reach some affected areas, Oxfam said.

Suspected cholera cases are already rising ahead of the rainy season, and in the latter half of March, about 2,500 suspected cases were reported each day, up from 1,000 a day in February. The group said illness levels are 10 times higher than they were in 2018.

In 2017, Yemen experienced the world's largest cholera outbreak, and at its worst point, 7,000 cases were reported each day. More than 3,000 people have died from cholera in Yemen since 2016.

If suspected cases continue at current levels for the rest of the year, the rise in disease activity this year could eclipse that of 2018. So far this year, 195,000 suspected illnesses have been reported, including 38,000 in districts that are hard for aid groups to reach.

Oxfam and its local partners are working in Amran, Taizz and Al Dale'e governorates to bring in fresh water, fix sanitation systems, and distribute soap, washing powder, basins, and jerry cans. The group is also helping local responders spread information about how cholera is transmitted and steps community members can take to prevent its spread.
Apr 19 Oxfam press release

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