25 February, 2011

African Swine Fever, Meningitis C, Measles, and more Infectious Disease News from Around the Globe

African Swine Fever in Ukraine
Ukraine is hoping to prevent an outbreak of African swine fever. "[Across the border] in Russia. . . the epidemic of the disease is already out of control.” Ukraine is taking preventative measures to avoid the spread of the disease.  All pigs will be vaccinated, and meat markets will be closed. In the coming days, residents of neighboring villages must relinquish their pigs for slaughter. As compensation, they will receive 75 rubles per kilogram of body weight.

На сегодняшний день Украина находится под угрозой африканской чумы свиней.  «В России, практически на границе с Украиной, эпидемия этого заболевания уже вышла из-под контроля. Cоответствующие службы из регионов, находящихся в зоне риска, должны принять профилактические меры для предупреждения распространения заболевания по территории Украины и провести вакцинация всего поголовья свиней. Кроме того, устранить места стихийной торговли мясными продуктами, а также определить специальные места для проведения забоя свиней, если заболевание проявится на территории Украины.

Meningitis C in France
France is launching a vaccination campaign, aimed at students, due to the increase in Meningitis C cases in Lille.  Though the case count in the general population is still low (0.36 per 100 000), the student population is facing a higher and more serious case count (7 per 100 000).  France feels there is a great need for the campaign as 10% of meningitis C cases are fatal.

La France lance une campagne de vaccination contre la méningite C.  La campagne est visée aux étudiants universitaires à cause de l’augmentation des cas de méningite C a l’Université de Lille.  Pendant que le taux pour la population générale reste plutôt bas, a 0.36 cas pour 100 000, la population étudiante a 7 cas pour 100 000, ce qui est plutôt sérieux.  

Enteroccocus at University Hospital Vaudois, Switzerland
Vancomycine resistant enteroccocus has been found at the University Hospital Vaudois in Lausanne, Switzerland.  All patients, confirmed or suspected of carrying enteroccocus have been grouped together on the 15th floor, which is no longer taking admissions. Enteroccoci are gram-positive bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections, bacterial endocarditis and meningitis.

Le Centre Hospitalier Université Vaudois est touché par entérocoques résistant à la Vancomycine.  Tous les patients qui sont suspects ou bien porteurs de l’entérocoques sont réunis sur le 15ème étage pour une durée indéterminée. L’entérocoques est une bactérie anaérobie qui peut provoquer les infections du canal urinaire, l’endocardite et la méningite.  

Measles in Geneva, Switzerland and Rhônes-Alpes, France
Twenty-six cases of measles have been identified since January 2011.  This is the biggest outbreak of measles in the canton of Geneva since 2008.  The majority of cases in Switzerland and in the neighboring French region are adults who have not been vaccinated.

Dans le canton de Genève, 26 cas de rougeole se sont identifiés depuis janvier 2011.  Ceci est la plus grande flambée de rougeole depuis 2008.  La plupart de cas sont les adultes qui n’ont pas été vacciné contre le rougeole.  

Avian Influenza Update: Bangladesh (poultry), India (ducks), Cambodia (humans), Indonesia (poultry and human) and Vietnam (poultry; human case ruled out)
In addition to the ongoing outbreaks of avian influenza in South Korea and Japan, three other Asian countries reported outbreaks.  In Rajshahi, Bangladesh, 8,600 chickens were culled as outbreaks continue to be detected around Dhaka and Rangpur.  India confirmed an outbreak in Agartala, Tripura leading to the culling of 3,000 ducks.  It is India’s first outbreak since June 2010.

Cambodia recorded two human deaths last week as doctors worry about the possibility of an outbreak.  WHO has not yet confirmed the recent deaths, but a five-year-old girl died there earlier this month.  In Garut, Indonesia, the sudden death of 600 chickens has been attributed to avian influenza.  Additionally, 14 villagers have severe flu symptoms but the cause of their illnesses has not been determined.  In Vietnam, tests have ruled out avian influenza infection after a girl with suspect symptoms died at the Hue Central Hospital. Outbreaks among poultry have been reported in three Vietnamese provinces.

Conjunctivitis Clusters in Brazil
Over the last week over 150 cases of conjunctivitis were reported in the city of Goioerê (located in Parana State), with 52 of those cases occurring over the weekend. At about 29,000 inhabitants the city of Goioerê is considered relatively small and any outbreak of this magnitude is cause for city officials to be alarmed,  and in addition the highly contagious nature of conjunctivitis, the ministry of health is concerned about containing this outbreak. All inhabitants of Goioerê are encouraged to wash their hands frequently, and not to stay in enclosed (non-ventilated) housing with large gatherings of people.

17 February, 2011

Legionnella at the Playboy Mansion, Meningitis in the Ukraine and on US college campuses, Cholera update, and Chlamydia in New Brunswick

Meningitis in Ukraine
On February 11th, in Zakarpatie, about 60 people were hospitalized, suspected of having the deadly disease - meningitis. Most of the patients are associated with a local Roma camp. The town is in a panic and many are afraid of becoming infected from the Roma people. Parents are not letting their children outside and most others are trying to stay indoors.  “Everybody is scared, the same as last year during the outbreak of the swine flu.” Locals say that the Roma district had suffered from meningitis in the past, but do not recall such a widespread event.

It is suspected that an epidemic of meningitis has the potential to touch other parts of Ukraine. On January 28, in Svyatoshynskyi district of Kiev, a second-grade boy died from meningitis while other children were infected.

The most common symptoms of viral meningitis are high fever, vomiting and headache. Meningitis can be life-threatening and is therefore classified as a medical emergency.

На Закарпатье уже госпитализировано около 60 пациентов с подозрением на смертельную болезнь - менингококк. Большинство заболевших - это представители местного цыганского табора.

В городе паника - люди боятся заразиться от цыган. Местные не пускают детей на улицу и сами стараются меньше выходить. "Все перепуганы, как в прошлом году во время эпидемии "свиного гриппа".   Местные говорят, что в ромском районе и раньше болели менингитом, но такой мощной эпидемии не припоминают.

Похоже эпидемия менингококка может затронуть всю Украину. 28 января в Святошинском районе Киева от менингита умер второклассник. Признаки вирусного менингита - температура до 40, рвота, головная боль.  

Chlamydia Epidemic in New Brunswick
New Brunswick has issued a warning over the growing number of cases of chlamydia, particularly among youths.  “If you are under 30 and you are breathing you need a chlamydia test," stated the deputy chief medical officer.  Although over 1,800 New Brunswick youths have been diagnosed, a focus group has revealed that most youths in New Brunswick are unaware of the risks infection poses.  Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to infertility in both women and men if untreated (although sterility is a very rare complication in men).  Having chlamydia also increases the likelihood of becoming infected with HIV if exposed to it.

Cholera Spreading in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Papau New Guinea
The number of deaths in Greater Accra, Ghana from cholera has risen to six with 505 cases recorded as of February 14.  The 1st case was reported on January 10, and the number of cases has continued to rise despite the government’s efforts to combat the outbreak by offering free treatment to those affected and undertaking a public education campaign.

Eleven are now dead and 252 cases suspected due to a cholera outbreak in Côte d’Ivoire’s capital of Abidjan.  The epidemic began in Adjame on January 21 and is being attributed to garbage piling up throughout the city. An educational campaign as well as free treatment of cases are both being conducted in an attempt to stop the outbreak.

Cholera cases continue to be recorded in Papau New Guinea (PNG) due to a lack of government funding and an initially poor response to the outbreak. Over 10,000 cases and 483 deaths have been recorded in 7 of 19 PNG provinces since the outbreak began in September 2009.

Playboy Mansion Hit with Legionnaires’ Disease
On February 3, Hugh Hefner hosted a fundraiser for Jenny McCarthy's Generation Rescue Autism Foundation at the infamous Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills in California. Unfortunately, many of his guests became very sick within 24 to 48 hours after leaving the event with severe flu-like symptoms such as coughs, chills, fevers, and respiratory infections. Investigators discovered that these people were experiencing a mild form of Legionnaire’s Disease, Pontiac Fever. So far, 170 people have been reported with the disease.

Pontiac Fever is a respiratory infection caused by the Legionnella bacteria, which is typically found in water-delivery systems such as shower heads, hot tubs and air conditioners. The Playboy Mansion spread may be linked to a fog machine. Symptoms usually persist for 8-10 days, but resolve themselves without any antibiotics.

The Playboy Mansion is only one of various DOMAINfest Global Conference locations in Santa Monica under investigation for helping spread the disease.

Meningitis on campus
Two US universities have seen meningitis cases recently.  In New York, a St. Lawrence University junior has been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.  At St. Lawrence, approximately 95% of the students have been vaccinated.  At Texas A&M, a 20-year old junior living off-campus died of bacterial meningitis on Friday.  He was the second student this academic year to be infected at Texas A&M.  Texas’ one-year old law requiring meningococcal vaccination does not apply to students living off-campus.  

Pneumoccal and meningococcal meningitis are the most common forms of bacterial meningitis.  The pnemococcal vaccine routinely given to children under 2.   The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends everyone between 11-18 years of age be vaccinated against meningococcal meningitis.  According to the National Meningitis Association, there are 1500 cases of bacterial meningitis every year.  Many states and schools require the vaccine for incoming freshman.  For more information on the vaccine, visit the CDC’s site.

11 February, 2011

Influenza Closes Russian Schools, Cholera Cases Found in NYC, and White Nose Syndrome Spreads

Epidemic of Influenza in Russia.
An epidemic of influenza has been spreading throughout Russia. Nearly 60 regions in Russia have been severely affected. In Moscow, since January 31st, all elementary and middle schools have been closed in hopes of preventing the further spread of the disease. Every week around 160,000 people are becoming ill, and about 450 are being hospitalised every day.

Почти в 60 российских регионах зафиксирована эпидемия гриппа. 31 января из-за эпидемии гриппа и ОРВИ во всех столичных школах были приостановлены занятия у 1-8 классов. Городские власти решили ввести карантин в учебных заведениях в качестве превентивной меры, чтобы обезопасить детей. Cейчас еженедельно заболевают около 160 тысяч москвичей, госпитализируется около 450 человек в день.

Measles Getting a Foothold in Auckland?
On January 11th, an individual infected with measles flew from Brisbane to Auckland, triggering a public health warning over potential exposure to other passengers.  In the month since that flight, 12 additional cases have been diagnosed in Auckland.  Public health officials now fear the outbreak will spread.  Only some of the 12 cases were on the flight or had known contacts on the flight, suggesting measles is now circulating in the community.

Cholera in New York City
This week New York City officials confirmed 3 cases of cholera, the first diagnoses since the outbreak in Haiti started.  All the patients attended a wedding in the Dominican Republic in January.  New York City typically sees one imported case of cholera per year, and the risk of spread is negligible.

White Nose Syndrome Continues to Spread
Just one week after being discovered in Indiana, the deadly White Nose Syndrome (WNS) has been identified in bats located in an old Avery County mine and in a cave within Grandfather Mountain State Park in North Carolina. This discovery marks the first time WNS has been found in bats in North Carolina. The disease, first discovered in New York State in 2006, has spread North into Canada and South to Tennessee (a total of 16 states and 2 Canadian provinces have been affected to date). WNS has devastated bat populations throughout the United States with over one million bats killed due to mortality rates close to 100% in affected populations.

Swine Flu Causes Multiple Deaths in Hong Kong and Beijing
As China ushered in its Lunar New Year this past week, the city of Beijing has reported 11 new cases and 1 death due to H1N1 since February 2nd. So far in 2011, 195 cases and 4 deaths due to H1N1 have been confirmed for the city. Chinese New Year is a time of great excitement but also of public health concern due to the great amount of movement and travel among the population and also due to large group gatherings, both publicly and at home. During this holiday period, it was reported that people within Beijing sought outpatient care 263,000 times, a 17.4% increase from last year, and emergency care 110,000 times.

The Hong Kong Center for Health Protection also reported today that in the brief past two weeks, 9 individuals have died from H1N1 since January 24th. The Center’s director explained that H1N1 is the main virus circulating this flu season, causing rates of severe complications and care-seeking to be higher in comparison to the same time period last year. He predicts that the peak period for this flu season may continue until March. Since the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, Hong Kong has accumulated over 80 deaths.

03 February, 2011

Cholera in Venezuela, Meningitis in a Florida Prison, and More Weekly Updates

Cholera Spreads to Venezuela
The Cholera outbreak in Haiti beginning in October has infected nearly 210,000 people and killed more than 4,000. This terrible disease spread to a neighboring country, the Dominican Republic, where there have been 238 registered cases and one recent death.
On January 22, a wedding was held in the Dominican Republic and 452 people ate lobster that was infected with the Cholera bacteria. Upon returning to Caracas, Venezuela, the wedding guests may have brought Cholera with them. The Venezuelan Health Minister, Eugenia Sader, reports that one-by-one, people who attended the wedding are being checked for the infection. So far, 135 people in Venezuela are being treated for Cholera.
It is unclear what the consequences may be as twelve of the Venezuelans infected with the Cholera bacteria are still in the Dominican Republic, but four others have traveled to the United States, Mexico and Spain. Health officials are encouraging anyone exposed to this bacterium to get tested, even if they are not showing any symptoms, which include intense diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.

Meningitis Confirmed in Florida Prison
Last week, the Martin County Health Department released an official press release stating that a confirmed case of meningococcal meningitis had been identified in a prison inmate at the Martin Correctional Institution in Indiantown, Florida. As of January 26th, 2 additional inmate - 1 confirmed and 1 suspect - have been admitted to the Martin Memorial Hospital for treatment. As a precautionary measure, the facility was placed on temporary lock-down - not admitting any new inmates, and some staff and inmates were placed on antibiotics. Those who refused treatment were placed into quarantine for a minimum of 10 days. Meningococcal Meningitis is an incredibly fast acting bacterial disease with high fatality - causing inflammation in the lining of the brain and death in approximately 15 percent of cases, even with the availability of antibiotic treatment.

Leptospirosis in Brazil
On February 2nd, an outbreak of leptospirosis was reported in two cities of Rio de Janeiro State in Brazil, with Teresópolis reporting 2 confirmed cases and Nova Friburgo reporting 26 confirmed cases. Leptospirosis is known to occur most frequently in the weeks after heavy rainfall or flooding, both of which occurred late last month in Rio de Janeiro state. Leptospirosis is spread through direct contact with an infected host and also via exposure to water or soil contaminated with fluids from an infected host.

Hepatitis A Hovers over Mato Grosso
In Brazil’s Mato Grosso state, 32 cases of Hepatitis A were confirmed by the state Secretary of Health in the city of Santo Antônio do Leste (located 379 kilometers south of Cuiabá). There is concern that this outbreak may spread to cities nearby, such as Paratinga (located 389 kilometers from Cuiabá). Secretary of Heath representatives are recommending that schools be postponed for 30 days and that daycare facilities follow suit. Hepatitis A is a virus spread via the ingestion of fecal matter (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this infection may occur with fecal matter “even in microscopic amounts’’) from an infected host.