07 October, 2010

Salmonella, Chikungunya, and Measles Make Headline News

Oklahoma salmonella
What started as an isolated salmonella outbreak at a Mustang, Oklahoma school has now become a multi-state outbreak investigation. In late September, 10 cases of salmonella were reported from a Mustang city school district in Oklahoma. By the end of the month 15 cases had been identified from three different counties (Canadian county, Oklahoma county, and Carter county). Several days later, the outbreak investigation had expanded to the states of Iowa and Nebraska who were each reporting several cases of a similar strain of salmonella. The strain identified in the Oklahoma cases has been confirmed as Salmonella Java. Recent news reports state that there are now 14 confirmed cases from Mustang city schools, 3 additional suspect cases throughout the state, and several being investigated in Iowa and Nebraska. The source of the outbreak has not yet been identified.

U.S. 1940’s Syphilis in Guatemala
From 1946 to 1948, the U.S. conducted a NIH-funded study of the effectiveness of penicillin in Guatemala by knowingly infecting 700 Guatemalans (mental patients, soldiers and prison inmates) with venereal diseases. Syphilis was among these venereal disease. Susan M. Reverby, a professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, brought attention to this unethical experiment through her research paper. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama have officially apologize to the Guatemalan government for this experiment.

Chikungunya Virus Outbreak in Southern China
At least 10 confirmed cases and 91 suspect cases of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya Virus have been identified in Xincun community of Dongguan, a city in China’s southern province Guangdong and may be the country’s first ever locally-acquired cases. In China, Chikungunya is transmitted via two mosquito species - the Aedes albopictus and the Aedes aegypti. While most of the patients have recovered and no severe cases or deaths were reported, the risk of transmission remains high since a mosquito can acquire the virus from an oftentimes asymptomatic individual and go on to infect another person. This is particularly worrisome among individuals with underlying conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, as a relatively innocuous Chikungunya infection can lead to the onset of more severe illnesses.

Brazilian Outbreaks:
In Brazil, a measles outbreak continues through the state of Paraíba, in the cities of: João Pessoa (32 confirmed cases), Santa Rita (3 confirmed cases), Conde (1 confirmed case) and Bayeux (1 confirmed case) , with a total of 37 confirmed cases and 86 suspected cases. Measles is highly contagious and the outbreak has placed Pernambuco state (Paraíba’s neighbor to the south) and Rio Grandedo Norte (Paraíba’s neighbor to the north) on high alert.

An outbreak of Chicken Pox continues through the Federal District of Brazil in addition to the cities of Araraquara, Guarujá, Riberão Preto, São Paulo in São Paulo state, worrying the interior municipalities of the state of São Paulo.

In Bahía state, meningitis C caused the death of a ten-year old girl in Porto Seguro.

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