News Scan for Oct 22, 2021

Dangerous bacteria in aromatherapy spray
Variant flu in US, Austria
Polio in 3 African nations

CDC finds melioidosis-causing bacteria in aromatherapy room spray

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that lab tests have identified a rare, potentially deadly bacterium in an aromatherapy spray.

The bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei, causes melioidosis, and the CDC believes the spray—"Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones"—may be linked to four cases of melioidosis reported earlier this year in Georgia, Kansas, Texas, and Minnesota. A bottle of the spray was found in the home of a Georgia resident who became ill with melioidosis in late July, the agency said in a news release.

The CDC says it is testing the genetic fingerprint of the bacteria in the spray to see if it matches the bacteria found in the four patients, two of whom have died. The agency has also reached out to health departments in Minnesota, Kansas, and Texas to determine whether the patients in those states may have used the product.

The first case of melioidosis was identified in March, the second and third in May, and the fourth in July. Based on genomic analysis, the CDC has said in a previous Health Alert Network (HAN) update that it suspected the cases may share a common source of exposure. The CDC says the strain of B pseudomallei that sickened the four patients is genetically similar to strains usually found in South Asia. None of the patients traveled outside the country, but the aromatherapy spray was made in India.

Melioidosis, which causes a range of nonspecific symptoms that can be confused with the flu or a common cold, is rare in the United States. Most cases are typically found in South and Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. The four patients' initial symptoms ranged from cough and shortness of breath to fatigue, nausea, vomiting, intermittent fever, and rash on the trunk, abdomen, and face.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Walmart have issued a recall for the lavender and chamomile room spray, along with five other scents in the same product line. Walmart sold the spray at 55 stores, and on its website, until Oct 21.

The CDC recommends that anyone who has the spray in their home stop using it, return the double-bagged and boxed product to a Walmart store, and wipe down and clean any surfaces, sheets, or linens that may have been sprayed.
Oct 22 CDC press release
Jun 30 CDC HAN update


US and Austria report variant flu cases

The CDC reported two variant flu cases in children today, and Austria recently reported a variant case, according to a weekly infectious disease report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

One of the US cases involves a variant H1N1 (H1N1v) infection in North Dakota, and the other involves a variant H3N2 (H3N2v) infection in Ohio. Both occurred during the 2020-21 flu season. Neither patient was hospitalized, and both are recovered or are recovering from their illnesses.

One patient had close contact with pigs before he or she got sick, and the other had no known contact, which raises the possibility of limited human-to-human transmission. However, no ongoing transmission has been found with either case.

The two infections bring the number of variant flu cases for the past flu season to 11. Six were H1N1v, 3 were H1N2v, and 2 were H3N2v. So far, 1 variant case—which involved H3N2v—has been reported for the new flu season that began earlier this month.

Elsewhere, Austria reported an H1N2v case involving a patient who was sick in September. The patient, who has recovered, is an adult and lives on a farm where pigs are raised. No other human infections were found. So far for 2021, four variant flu cases have been reported from four European Union countries.
Oct 22 CDC FluView report
Oct 22 ECDC weekly communicable disease threat report


Three African nations add to vaccine-derived polio totals

Three African countries reported more polio cases this week, all in Africa and all involving circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2), the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) said in its latest weekly update.

Nigeria reported the most, with 37 cases reported from 12 different states. Fourteen were from Kebbi. So far this year, the country has reported 224 polio cases.

Elsewhere, Senegal reported one more case, which is from Diourbel, lifting its total for the year to 15. Somalia also reported on more case, marking its first case for 2021 after having reported 14 in 2020. The patient is from Middle Juba region in the south of the country.
Oct 21 GPEI update

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