22 September, 2010

Spotlight News of the Week

Spotlight News of the Week

Dengue in France
On 13 September, France reported its first case of indigenous Dengue. Five days later, it confirmed a second; both cases are in Nice. Another 6 or 7 cases are under investigation. Although the French territories of Mayotte, Guadeloupe, and Martinique have had major dengue outbreaks since August, metropolitan France is not a country where Dengue normally occurs (see HealthMap’s Dengue Map collaboration with CDC to see which parts of the world are high-risk). Four departments in southern France have a mosquito capable of carrying Dengue. France has begun aggressive spraying efforts to prevent Dengue from becoming established in the area, an unlikely even according to officials.

Additional News Highlights

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Duck Eggs in Great Britain and Northern Ireland
UK’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) announced recently that it is investigating a surge in Salmonella Typhimurium DT8 cases linked to consumption of duck products, especially duck eggs, which may have been responsible for one death. A total of 63 confirmed cases have been reported in Great Britain so far this year, a significant spike from the 34 cases reported for 2008 and 47 in 2009. A similar outbreak is currently under investigation in Ireland, where 24 cases associated with consumption of duck eggs from small backyard flocks and private farms have been reported since the start of 2010.

A Legionnaire’s Mystery in Wales
Earlier this month, numerous media outlets reported the 6 September death of a 64 year old Welsh woman and 11 additional diagnoses of Legionnaire’s disease in South Wales. As the outbreak grew to 14 cases, investigators noted a cluster of illnesses in the Heads of the Valleys corridor, and focused on an industrial facility with large air conditioning systems. A cooling tower was ordered closed in Dowlais, Methyr Tydfil on 10 September, with 17 cases, 2 deaths, and 4 cases under investigation. On 13 September, a second company's cooling tower was closed. A third was closed on 13 September. As of 20 September, the outbreak is associated with 2 deaths and 22 cases, with an additional 2 Legionnaire’s deaths ruled unrelated to the outbreak. Four towers have been closed and no source has been identified.

Japanese encephalitis in Asia
Japanese encephalitis is a mosquito-borne virus which can produce an acute encephalitis leading to seizures, coma or death. An ongoing encephalitis outbreak in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India has now claimed 319 lives, mostly children. While some news sources attribute all of these deaths to Japanese encephalitis, others report cases due to both Japanese encephalitis and to a water-borne enterovirus . Also this week, South Korean authorities have reported the first case of Japanese encephalitis in the conutry this year. While both India and South Korea have historically had outbreaks (see CDC’s distribution map), South Korea’s vaccination campaigns have lead to a great reduction in cases and deaths.

Cholera continues in West Africa
A cholera epidemic that began in Nigeria has spread to Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. In Chad nearly 40 people have died, and 600 are reported sick. Cameroon reports 7013 cases and 458 deaths. In Yobe State, Nigeria treatment facilities are overwhelmed with patients being treated on bare floors and plastic mats. Over half of the patients are children under the age of 10 that contracted cholera by drinking from contaminated wells and ponds. The Ministry of Health in Nigeria continues to distribute drugs and intravenous fluids in an effort to halt the spread of the epidemic.

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