US, global monkeypox cases climb ahead of WHO meeting
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday reported 29 more monkeypox cases, raising the nation's total to 142.
So far 24 states and the District of Columbia have reported cases, up from 21 in the CDC's last update. The most affected states include California, New York, Illinois, and Florida.
Globally, as of Jun 21, a total of 41 countries have reported 3,098 monkeypox cases, according to the CDC's tally. Most are in 5 European countries: the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Portugal, and France.
Elsewhere, more countries reported their first cases. South Korea reported its first case, which involved an individual who arrived from Germany on Jun 21, according to Yonhap News. The person had a headache before departing, then had more symptoms, including skin lesions, upon arrival in South Korea.
Also, Singapore reported its first case, involving a man who worked as a British flight steward who flew into the country twice in June, according to the health ministry. He visited a massage establishment and three restaurants while in Singapore, and contact tracing is under way. He is being treated at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases in Singapore, where he is listed in stable condition. Media reports say an 11-person British Airways flight crew has been quarantined in Singapore for 21 days following the case confirmation.
Tomorrow, the World Health Organization (WHO) monkeypox emergency committee meets for the first time to assess if the situation warrants a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) and to make recommendations for curbing the spread of the virus.
Jun 21 CDC US update
Jun 21 CDC global update
Jun 22 Yonhap News story
Jun 21 Singapore health ministry statement
Jun 22 Independent story
Meningitis outbreak strikes Florida MSM community
The CDC said today it is helping the Florida Department of Health investigate one of the nation's worst meningococcal disease outbreaks in gay and bisexual men, with 24 cases and 7 deaths reported so far.
In a news release, the CDC recommends that men who have sex with men (MSM) in Florida receive the meningococcal vaccine (MenACWY) or talk to their providers about getting the vaccine if they are planning to visit Florida.
Jose Romero, MD, who directs the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said the push for vaccination is especially urgent, given the number of Pride events taking place in the state in the coming weeks. "Getting vaccinated against meningococcal disease is the best way to prevent this serious illness, which can quickly become deadly," he said.
The first symptoms are similar to those for flu, but typically worsen quickly and can spread to the lining of the brain and spinal cord, as well as to the bloodstream. The bacteria spread through respiratory secretions, and lengthy contact, such as kissing or being near someone who's coughing, fuels the spread.
Jun 22 CDC news release
UK sounds alarm for polio spread in London
The United Kingdom's Health Security Agency (HSA) today announced poliovirus monitoring of wastewater has found traces of the virus at a London facility multiple times recently, with the investigation suggesting vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2) is probably spreading among closely linked people in North and East London.
In a statement, the HSA said routine wastewater surveillance typically turns up one to three such detections each year, which can occur when people vaccinated with live oral poliovirus overseas travel to the United Kingdom and briefly shed the virus in their feces.
However, several closely related viruses were found from February to May. They were classified as (VDPV2), which can sometime cause paralysis in people who aren't fully vaccinated. So far, no illnesses have been reported, but investigations are under way to detect any community transmission.
Great Britain reported its last wild poliovirus case in 1984 and was declared free of the virus in 2003.
Jane Clegg, chief nurse for the National Health Service in London, said, "The majority of Londoners are fully protected against Polio and won't need to take any further action, but the NHS will begin reaching out to parents of children aged under 5 in London who are not up to date with their Polio vaccinations to invite them to get protected."
In 2014, the WHO declared that the international spread of polio is a PHEIC, and the emergency committed has met 28 times to assess the latest developments. At their meeting in May when they extended the PHEIC, committee experts said the decision was partly based on the rising risk of international spread of circulating VDPV2.
Jun 22 UK HSA statement
May 21 WHO polio emergency committee statement
Wild bird H5N1 avian flu detections continue, especially in the Midwest
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reported 53 more highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu detections in wild birds found dead, raising the total 1,611.
Most were from Midwestern states, including Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. However, some were in western states, including Alaska, Washington, and Wyoming, and in eastern states, including Pennsylvania.
Most were waterfowl or raptors, but one was a red-winged blackbird.
Jun 21 USDA APHIS wild bird avian flu update
In a related development, Washington officials recently reported avian flu in a raccoon kit among a group of four found sick or dead, the Tri-City Herald reported, citing the Washington state Department of Game and Fish. Officials said the detection marked the first of its kind in North American raccoons. The animals were found at a state park in Pasco.
The strain has been found in other mammals, including foxes in the United States and Canada, raising concern about the zoonotic potential of the virus.
Jun 1 Tri-State Herald story