OUTBREAKS‎ > ‎

Identified Bio-Outbreaks (2012) 2/4

BIOTERRORBIBLE.COM: The following outbreaks occurred within the calendar year of 2012. While some of the following reports may have been legitimate outbreaks, most if not all of them appear to be generated man-made outbreaks with the overall goal of convincing American and the world that it is on the precipice of a major pandemic. The fact that these outbreaks exists in mass confirms that an upcoming bio-terror attack is in the cards and may be played in a last ditch effort to regain political, economic and militarial control of society. 

Identified Bio-Outbreaks (July 1, 2012 - August 31, 2012)

Title: Vibrio Outbreak Reported In Eastern Missouri
Date: July 1, 2012
Source: Examiner

Abstract: Missouri health officials are investigating a cluster of cases of Vibriosis in eastern Missouri, which were identified late last week.

According to a Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) health advisory Friday, three cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus have been identified during the period of June 27-28.

Although this infection is associated with eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters, the source of this cluster has not been identified. The investigation is ongoing.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterium in the same family as those that cause cholera. It lives in brackish saltwater and causes gastrointestinal illness in humans. V. parahaemolyticus naturally inhabits coastal waters in the United States and Canada and is present in higher concentrations during summer.

V. parahaemolyticus causes watery diarrhea often with abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. Usually these symptoms occur within 24 hours of ingestion. Illness is usually self-limited and lasts 3 days. Severe disease is rare and occurs more commonly in persons with weakened immune systems (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Vibrio Outbreak Reported In Eastern Missouri
Date: July 1, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: 
Missouri health officials are investigating a cluster of cases of Vibriosis in eastern Missouri, which were identified late last week.

According to a Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) health advisory Friday, three cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus have been identified during the period of June 27-28.

Although this infection is associated with eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters, the source of this cluster has not been identified. The investigation is ongoing.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterium in the same family as those that cause cholera. It lives in brackish saltwater and causes gastrointestinal illness in humans. V. parahaemolyticus naturally inhabits coastal waters in the United States and Canada and is present in higher concentrations during summer.

V. parahaemolyticus causes watery diarrhea often with abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. Usually these symptoms occur within 24 hours of ingestion. Illness is usually self-limited and lasts 3 days. Severe disease is rare and occurs more commonly in persons with weakened immune systems (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Bird Flu Outbreak Hits Chicken Farms In Mexico
Date: July 2, 2012
Source: 
Reuters

Abstract: An outbreak of avian flu in western Mexico has killed at least 870,000 poultry birds since its detection last month but poses no threat to humans, the agriculture ministry said on Monday.

The H7N3 flu was detected in two municipalities in the state of Jalisco, Mexico's largest chicken farming region, and authorities have been working quickly to contain the outbreak, a statement from the ministry said.

"There is no risk of infection (in humans) as a result of consuming poultry," said Jose Munoz from the Jalisco state government.

It was not clear how many of the 870,000 birds - just a small fraction of the national flock - had contracted the flu and how many had been culled by farmers to contain its spread, an agriculture ministry official said.

Mexican health inspectors had examined nearly 150 poultry farms in Jalisco by Friday and detected the virus in 10.

"The virus has never been out of control. It is localized in two places in Jalisco and up until now there is no evidence that it is anywhere else," the official said, asking not be named.

As a cautionary measure, authorities declared a national animal health emergency on Monday to help prevent the disease's spread to other parts of Mexico or farther. The ministry has ordered vaccinations from Asia and is also developing their own drugs domestically to combat the flu.

The western state of Jalisco produces around 11 percent of the country's poultry meat and 50 percent of its eggs, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Mexico produces around 3 million metric tonnes (3.3 million tons) of poultry each year but consumes most of that locally, said Sergio Chavez from the national union of poultry farmers.

The country also imports some chicken parts from the United States. The USDA forecasts 2012 imports at around 630,000 metric tonnes.

Health officials are on high alert for new viruses in Mexico since the 2009 outbreak of H1N1 virus, known as 'swine flu' that shut down the capital city for several days when it was detected in humans (Reuters, 2012)

Title: H5N1 Bird Flu Outbreak Confirmed In Xinjiang
Date: July 2, 2012
Source: 
CRI English

Abstract: China's northwestern Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has reported an outbreak of H5N1 in poultry, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) announced Monday.

The disease has killed 1,600 chickens raised by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a unique economic and semi-military government organization of about 2.5 million people.

A total of 5,500 XPCC-farmed chickens showed symptoms of suspected avian flu on June 20, according to the MOA.

The National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory Monday confirmed the epidemic was H5N1 bird flu after testing samples collected at the farm, the MOA said.

Local authorities have sealed off and sterilized the infected area, where a total of 156,439 chickens have been culled and safely disposed of to prevent the disease from spreading, according to the MOA.

Bird flu, or avian influenza, is a contagious disease of animal origin caused by viruses that normally infect only birds and, less commonly, pigs. It can be fatal to humans (CRI English, 2012)

Title: NH Hepatitis C Outbreak Grows To 27
Date: July 2, 2012
Source: 
CBS Boston

Abstract: New Hampshire health officials have confirmed six more cases of hepatitis C as they continue to investigate an outbreak linked to Exeter Hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab.

Altogether, 27 people have tested positive for the same strain of the blood-borne viral infection, which can cause liver disease and chronic health issues. State officials suspect a worker’s misuse of drugs led to the outbreak.

Anyone who was treated at the lab since October 2010 has been asked to get tested, either at the hospital or at alternate sites in Hampton and Portsmouth (CBS Boston, 2012)

Title: Delaware Man Becomes The Thirteenth Case Of VRSA In 10 years
Date: July 2, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: An infection with 
Vancomycin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or VRSA is a very rare situation and prior to Friday, only a dozen people have been confirmed with the organism since 2002.

According to a Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) news release Monday, a 70-year-old New Castle County man became the lucky thirteenth case, and the third case reported in Delaware.

Two previous cases of VRSA were identified in Delaware in 2010.

According to health officials, the New Castle County man is being treated for the infection as an out-patient.

Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium commonly carried on the skin and within the nose of people. The bacterium can cause infections such as boils or pneumonia. Over time, the widespread use of antibiotics has led some S. aureus to become resistant to many antibiotics, which means the antibiotics no long work to kill the bacterium as they should.

Some S. aureus have become resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin. If large doses of vancomycin might still be able to kill the S. aureus, it is called Vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus (VISA). If no amount of vancomycin will kill the S. aureus, it is called Vancomycin-resistant S.aureus(VRSA).
Although exceedingly rare, people with the following underlying conditions are at greater risk of infection with VRSA: diabetes, kidney disease, previous infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (
MRSA), recent use of vancomycin, catheter use and those with recent hospitalizations.

The DPH does point out that other Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs are successful in treating infection with VRSA.

Although VRSA is not considered a communicable disease, close contacts of the man have been advised of VRSA precautions, prevention and resources (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Delaware Man Becomes The Thirteenth Case Of VRSA In 10 years
Date: July 2, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: An infection with 
Vancomycin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or VRSA is a very rare situation and prior to Friday, only a dozen people have been confirmed with the organism since 2002.

According to a Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) news release Monday, a 70-year-old New Castle County man became the lucky thirteenth case, and the third case reported in Delaware.

Two previous cases of VRSA were identified in Delaware in 2010.

According to health officials, the New Castle County man is being treated for the infection as an out-patient.

Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium commonly carried on the skin and within the nose of people. The bacterium can cause infections such as boils or pneumonia. Over time, the widespread use of antibiotics has led some S. aureus to become resistant to many antibiotics, which means the antibiotics no long work to kill the bacterium as they should.

Some S. aureus have become resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin. If large doses of vancomycin might still be able to kill the S. aureus, it is called Vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus (VISA). If no amount of vancomycin will kill the S. aureus, it is called Vancomycin-resistant S.aureus(VRSA).
Although exceedingly rare, people with the following underlying conditions are at greater risk of infection with VRSA: diabetes, kidney disease, previous infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (
MRSA), recent use of vancomycin, catheter use and those with recent hospitalizations.

The DPH does point out that other Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs are successful in treating infection with VRSA.

Although VRSA is not considered a communicable disease, close contacts of the man have been advised of VRSA precautions, prevention and resources (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Home-Canned Food Implicated In Oregon Botulism Outbreak
Date: July 3, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: Three Central 
Oregon residents have been hospitalized for food borne botulism after consuming home-canned foods at a private barbeque, according to health officials.

According to a Deschutes County Health Services news release Monday, this outbreak was an isolated incident and people who attended the barbeque have been notified. They assure residents that there is no risk to the public since botulism is NOT spread person-to-person.

Oregon health officials also point out that this is a good reminder of the dangers of improper home canning.

Each year in the United States there are about 150 cases of botulism with about 25 of them specifically caused by contaminated foodstuffs. Food borne botulism is a severe intoxication caused by eating the preformed toxin present in contaminated food.

Food borne botulism occurs when the bacterium Clostridium botulinum is allowed to grow and produce toxin in food that is later eaten without sufficient heating or cooking to inactivate the toxin. Botulinum toxin is one of the most potent neurotoxins known.

Growth of this anaerobic bacteria and the formation of the toxin tend to happen in products with low acidity and oxygen content and low salt and sugar content. Inadequately processed, home-canned foods like asparagus, green beans, beets, and corn have commonly been implicated.

However, there have been outbreaks of botulism from more unusual sources such as chopped garlic in oil, chili peppers, improperly handled baked potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil and home-canned or fermented fish. Garden foods like tomatoes, which used to be considered too acidic for the growth of Clostridium botulinum, is now considered a potentially hazardous food in home canning.

Though more common in home-canned foods, it does happen occasionally in commercially prepared foods.

Typically in a few hours to several days after you eat the contaminated food you will start to show the classic symptoms; blurred vision, dry mouth, and difficulty in swallowing. Gastrointestinal symptoms may or may not occur. If untreated, the paralysis always descends through the body starting at the shoulders and working its way down.

The most serious complication of botulism is respiratory failure where it is fatal in up to 10% of people. It may take months before recovery is complete.

If the disease is caught early enough it can be treated with antitoxin. If paralysis and respiratory failure happen, the person may be on a ventilator for several weeks (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Mexico Declares Emergency Over New Bird Flu Outbreak
Date: July 3, 2012
Source: 
Russia Today

Abstract: The Mexican government has declared a national animal health emergency in the wake of a new outbreak of bird flu that has affected some 1.7 million fowl, leaving around 870,000 dead.

We have activated a national animal health emergency with the goal of diagnosing, preventing, controlling and eradicating the Type A, sub-type H7N3 bird flu virus,” the country’s agriculture ministry said.

The declaration implies that farmers would have to quarantine and slaughter the infected birds. Contaminated products are to be destroyed, while unaffected poultry are to be vaccinated.

It is unclear how many of the 870,000 dead birds were culled by farmers or killed by the virus.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization also confirmed the outbreak of the epidemic.

The H7N3 virus was detected in the western state of Jalisco, Mexico’s largest chicken-farming region, which produces 11 per cent of the country’s poultry meat and 50 per cent of its eggs.

With poultry farming making up 40 per cent of the country’s total livestock production, the economic loss from the epidemic “is and will be irreparable,” the agriculture ministry stated.

Health officials in the country have been on high alert since the 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 virus, dubbed “swine flu.” That virus grew into a global pandemic and killed up to 17,000 people. Although there have been cases of humans being infected with the H7N3 virus elsewhere in the world, the bird flu virus is not as readily contagious as H1N1 (Russia Today, 2012)

Title: German Heroin User Dies From Anthrax Infection
Date: July 3, 2012
Source: 
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: After the June death of a heroin user in southern Germany from anthrax infection, German researchers released a report underlining the importance of considering anthrax as a potential diagnosis in heroin patients.

A heroin user arrived at an emergency hospital in southern Germany in early June with worsening swelling and reddening at the injection site. The patient died only a few hours after hospital admission as a result of acute septic disease, which only later revealed the presence of the anthrax-causing Bacillus anthracis bacterium, EuroSurveillance reports.

The patient, who was on oral substitution therapy, was previously diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C infection and liver cirrhosis. After admission to the hospital, the patient developed respiratory failure and multi-organ failure. The heroin user’s condition worsened and his urine and blood cultures were sent away for testing. The patient died hours later due to septic shock, multi-organ failure and massive disseminated bleeding. Anthrax was not clinically suspected to have a factor in the death.

The blood cultures determined that B. anthracis was indeed in the patient’s system. German police began investigating the case after health officials determined that anthrax could have been cut in with the heroin the patient used. Public health authorities and substance abuse counseling agencies were contacted nationally and at the European level. When a second case of anthrax was determined in the same region, the raised level of awareness created with the first case allowed for proper treatment with antibiotic therapy, according to EuroSurveillance.

The researchers determined that diagnostic labs and health professionals should consider anthrax as a possible diagnosis when heroin users present sepsis or fever at the emergency room. Heroin may begin to provide a continuing entry route of anthrax into western Europe, according to the report (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Cholera Outbreak Reported In Cuba
Date: July 3, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: An outbreak of cholera has hit the city of 
Manzanillo, in the province of Granma, which has sickened at least 53 people and killed three elderly people.

According to a report in Fox News Latino Tuesday, the Cuban Public Health Ministry says the three fatalities were elderly adults ages 95, 70 and 66, all with records of chronic illnesses.

The health ministry says the outbreak ”is under control” and the trend is toward a diminishing number of cases thanks to the hygiene, health-care and anti-epidemic measures carried out in the area.

In the city of Manzanillo, where the bulk of the outbreak occurred, health officials say the cholera was present in several polluted wells used for the local supply of drinking water.

Control measures put in place included closing down wells that were contaminated, distributing chlorinated water and educating the public of the risks.

Cholera is an acute bacterial intestinal disease characterized by sudden onset, profuse watery stools (given the appearance as rice water stools because of flecks of mucus in water) due to a very potent enterotoxin. The enterotoxin leads to an extreme loss of fluid and electrolytes in the production of diarrhea. It has been noted that an untreated patient can lose his bodyweight in fluids in hours resulting in shock and death.

It is caused by the bacterium, Vibrio cholerae. Serogroups O1 and O139 are the types associated with the epidemiological characteristics of cholera (outbreaks).

The bacteria are acquired through ingestion of contaminated water or food through a number of mechanisms. Water is usually contaminated by the feces of infected individuals. Drinking water can be contaminated at the source, during transport or during storage at home. Food can get contaminated by soiled hands, during preparation or while eating.

Beverages and ice prepared with contaminated water and fruits and vegetables washed with this water are other examples. Some outbreaks are linked to raw or undercooked seafood.

The incubation for cholera can be from a few hours to 5 days. As long as the stools are positive, the person is infective. Some patients may become carriers of the organism which can last for months.

Cholera is diagnosed by growing the bacteria in culture. Treatment consists of replacement of fluids lost, intravenous replacement in severe cases. Doxycycline or tetracycline antibiotic therapy can shorten the course of severe disease.

There is an oral vaccine available in some countries but it is not available in the U.S. Cholera prevention is the same as in other causes of traveler’s diarrhea (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Dengue Fever Cases Rise In Puerto Rico: Health Secretary Urges Return To Preventive Measures
Date: July 4, 2012
Source: 
Outbreak News

Abstract: In San Juan today, Secretary of the Department of Health, Lorenzo Gonzalez Feliciano,today again urged people to take action in their homes and communities to prevent dengue fever.

This come after reports show a spike in the number of dengue fever cases on the island during the past couple weeks.

According to a Puerto Rico Department of Health press release Wednesday:

The last report received in the department provided by the Division of Dengue Centers for Disease Control notes that,in week 23 or from 3 to 9 June, 111 cases were reported. The week before,of the 117 cases reported, 32 were laboratory confirmed. In so faryear, there are no reported deaths associated with dengue Unfortunately, there have been recorded 8 cases of the seriousdengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF).

Dengue cases usually peak in early October.

Secretary Feliciano said, ”We appeal again to establish as a daily routine to eliminate possible mosquito breeding grounds and protect your skin exposed to outdoor activities,especially children and infants. Carry repellents like DEET containing 20 percent or higher and use it as we do with a sunscreen, at least 3 times a day. For our children, it is necessary to use nets inside and outside the home and to the extent possible spray inside, especially under beds and storage places (closets) “ (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Leptospirosis Cases Triple In The Philippines
Date: July 4, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: The 
Philippines Department of Health (DoH) is sounding the alarm to the public concerning the major increases in leptospirosis cases reported in the archipelago during 2012.

According to a Business Mirror report Wednesday, Philippines health officials report a tripling of cases of the potentially life-threatening spirochete bacterium.

The DoH reports a total of 1,728 cases from January 1 to May 26 this year, up from 555 cases during the same period last year.

In addition, fatalities due to the disease nearly doubled- 75 leptospirosis deaths during the period as against the 40 recorded in 2011.

The Department of Health (DoH) in Northern Mindanao (Region 10) reported half the cases (868), up dramatically from the seven cases reported in 2011.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial zoonotic disease caused by the corkscrew shaped organism, Leptospira. It goes by several other names depending on the locale; mud fever, swamp fever, sugar cane and Fort Bragg fever, among others. It is a disease of both humans and animals.
The rat is the main host to Leptospira. However other animals such as cattle, pigs, horses, dogs, rodents, and wild animals.

People become infected by direct or indirect contact with the urine of these animals. Contact with urine-contaminated water is extremely important. Contaminated food and soil containing animal urine are other potential sources of infection.

The bacterium enters through contact with skin. Especially through cuts or breaks in the skin and through mucous membranes like the eyes.

Found worldwide, it was long considered an occupational disease (miners, farming, vets, and sugarcane harvesting and sewer workers), it is increasingly associated with recreational water sports and camping.

Symptoms of leptospirosis, if present, appear in up to 4 weeks after exposure. Sometimes the person will show no symptoms or mild flu-like symptoms.

According to the CDC, Leptospirosis may occur in two phases; after the first phase, with fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, or diarrhea, the patient may recover for a time but become ill again. If a second phase occurs, it is more severe; the person may have kidney or liver failure (jaundice) or meningitis. This phase is also called Weil’s disease.

Leptospirosis is confirmed by laboratory testing of a blood or urine sample.

The infection can be treated with antibiotics (penicillin and doxycycline), especially if started early in the disease. For very ill patients, intensive care support and IV antibiotic may be necessary.

The DoH warns the public to avoid flooded areas and to refrain from coming in contact with floodwater, to wear protective clothing like pants, rubber boots, gloves or rubber jumpsuits, maintain the cleanliness of their homes and getting rid of rats (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Chelsea Striker, Daniel Sturridge Confirmed Positive With Viral Meningitis
Date: July 5, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: The Chelsea Football Club confirmed yesterday that the rumors of their star striker; 
Daniel Sturridge are true, the 22-year-old is suffering from a bout of viral meningitis, but his condition is improving according to reports yesterday.

As reported on the Official Site of the Chelsea Football Club, chelseafc.com, Blues manager, Roberto Di Matteo confirmed Wednesday that Sturridge was diagnosed with the debilitating viral disease.

'He has viral meningitis,' said Di Matteo. 'I spoke to him and he feels better, we are going to progress his situation and hopefully he gets well as soon as possible and he will be able to join Olympic team.

It will be day-to-day but Sturridge and the club remain hopeful he will be able to compete for Team GB at the London Olympics starting on July 27.

MSN Wild World of Sports reports Coach Stuart Pearce's squad will meet at the Team GB holding camp in Loughborough next weekend, and Football Association (FA) medical staff will assess the results of tests before deciding if Sturridge can still play a part.

Pearce has until July 25 to select a replacement should Sturridge be forced to withdraw.

The debilitating, but rarely fatal viral meningitis (a.k.a., aseptic meningitis) is a very common type of meningitis affecting newborns, children and adults alike.

The symptoms of viral meningitis typically last a week or so; however, in some patients they can last for months. Symptoms include headache, fever, irritability, stiff neck, nausea and a sensitivity to light.

The Meningitis Foundation of America says viral meningitis is spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions (kissing, coughing, sneezing, and sharing a cup, utensil, lip gloss, or cigarette). Viral meningitis is also found in one's stool, which is how infants and neonates who aren't toilet trained and adults changing diapers develop it.

There is no specific treatment for viral meningitis at this time. Treating the symptoms of viral meningitis include getting plenty of rest, relaxation, fluids, and medicine to relieve a fever or headache (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Indonesian Girl Is The Latest Death Due To Bird Flu
Date: July 5, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: An eight-year-old girl from Karawang, West Java died from a human infection of 
H5N1 avian influenza according to the Indonesia Ministry of Health (MoH).

According to a Jakarta Globe report Thursday, The girl, identified as “K.K,” lived near the Karawang market. Tjandra Yoga Aditama, director general of disease control and environmental health at the Health Ministry said on June 12, K.K. carried a clutch of freshly killed chickens home from the market with her father.

The child became ill about a week later while in Singapore where she was diagnosed with laryngitis. Upon returning to Indonesia, her condition worsened and she was transferred several Jakarta hospitals and eventually placed on a ventilator in intensive care.

In late June, she was laboratory confirmed positive for H5N1 avian influenza. She died this past Tuesday.

If confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO), this will be the seventh case and seventh fatality of bird flu in Indonesia this year.

The MoH says they believe the girl contracted the deadly virus during her trip to the Karawang market.

Prior to this case, since 2005, Indonesia has had 189 WHO-confirmed cases of avian influenza resulting in 157 deaths.

According to the WHO, the primary risk factor for human infection with the virus appears to be direct or indirect exposure to infected live or dead poultry or contaminated environments.

They go on to say there is no evidence to suggest that the H5N1 virus can be transmitted to humans through properly prepared poultry or eggs. A few human cases have been linked to consumption of dishes made of raw, contaminated poultry blood. However, slaughter, defeathering, handling carcasses of infected poultry, and preparing poultry for consumption, especially in household settings, are likely to be risk factors (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Anthrax The Likely Cause Of 128 Bison Deaths In Canada
Date: July 6, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: UPDATE July 9: The 
Canadian Press reports twenty-three more bison carcasses have been found near Fort Providence in the Northwest Territories. Several of the new carcasses were found near Caen Lake.

The Northwest Territories Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (ENR) announced today the discovery of nearly 130 dead bison found in an area near Mills Lake, northwest of Fort Providence.

In a media advisory Friday, the ENR said the carcasses were found on July 3, 2012 during a routine anthrax surveillance flight.

The ENR has issued an anthrax emergency response plan to deal with the potential outbreak. The public have been advised to avoid any carcasses they come across and to notify the ENR.

Department spokeswoman, Judy McLinton told Canadian media, “A field test on a couple of carcasses did turn out positive, given the number of carcasses and the chance when they looked at them that it was probably or potentially anthrax, we activated our emergency response plan.”

Samples are being sent to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency lab in Lethbridge for confirmation testing.

The process of disposing of the carcasses will begin; however, due to the large number, it may take up to six weeks to finish.

Anthrax is an infectious disease due to a type of bacteria called Bacillus anthracis. Infection in humans most often involves the skin, gastrointestinal tract, or lungs.

Anthrax commonly affects hoofed animals such as sheep, cattle, and goats, but humans who come into contact with infected animals can get sick from anthrax, too. In the past, the people who were most at risk for anthrax included farm workers, veterinarians, and tannery and wool workers.

There have been two documented outbreaks of anthrax in the Northwest Territories between 1962 and 2010.

Routine aerial surveillance flights over the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary will continue until late August.

The Northwest Territories are nestled between the Yukon Territory to the west, Nunavut to the east and south of the Arctic Ocean in Northern Canada (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Louisiana Reports Three Additional Human West Nile Virus Cases
Date: July 7, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: In 2011, the state of 
Louisiana recorded only a dozen cases of West Nile Virus (WNV), the lowest number in a decade.

So far, in 2012 health officials put the number at four, with the recent announcement of three new cases this week.

In late June, they reported the first case of the year from an asymptomatic individual from St. Bernard Parish.

According to a Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) news release Friday, three additional human cases of West Nile Virus have been confirmed, one of them the potentially deadly neuroinvasive disease.

Health officials go on to say the neuroinvasive disease case was an adult in Vernon Parish and the two adult asymptomatic cases were in Tangipahoa Parish.

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause encephalitis, a brain inflammation. West Nile virus was first detected in North America in 1999 in New York. Prior to that it had only been found in Africa, Eastern Europe, and West Asia.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.

Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.

About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

There is no specific treatment for WNV infection.

"This is a reminder that West Nile Virus is once again here in Louisiana," said Dr. Ratard DHH State Epidemiologist. "It should always be taken seriously. In view of that, we should all take some simple precautions to avoid mosquito bites and to reduce mosquito populations in and around the home."

Louisiana health officials recommend the following preventive measures:

• If you will be outside, you should wear a mosquito repellent containing 20 – 30 percent DEET for adults and no more than 10 percent for children.
• Apply repellent on exposed skin and clothing. Do not apply under your clothes or on broken skin.
• To apply repellent to your face, spray on your hands and then rub on your face.
• Adults should always apply repellent to children.
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors for long periods of time.
• Avoid perfumes and colognes when outdoors for extended periods of time.
• Make sure that your house has tight-fitting windows and doors, and that all screens are free of holes.

In addition:

• Reduce the mosquito population by eliminating standing water around your home, which is where mosquitoes breed.
• Dispose of tin cans, ceramic pots and other unnecessary containers that have accumulated on your property. Turn over wheelbarrows, plastic wading pools or buckets that could collect water.
• Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers. Drainage holes that are located on the container sides collect enough water for mosquitoes to breed.
• Clean clogged roof gutters yearly. They are often overlooked, but can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
• Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left untended by a family that goes on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware that mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers 
(Examiner, 2012).

Title: Worst TB Outbreak In 20 Years Kept Secret
Date: July 8, 2012
Source: 
Palm Beach Post

Abstract: The CDC officer had a serious warning for Florida health officials in April: A tuberculosis outbreak in Jacksonville was one of the worst his group had investigated in 20 years. Linked to 13 deaths and 99 illnesses, including six children, it would require concerted action to stop.

That report had been penned on April 5, exactly nine days after Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill that shrank the Department of Health and required the closure of the A.G. Holley State Hospital in Lantana, where tough tuberculosis cases have been treated for more than 60 years.

As health officials in Tallahassee turned their focus to restructuring, Dr. Robert Luo’s 25-page report describing Jacksonville’s outbreak — and the measures needed to contain it – went unseen by key decision makers around the state. At the health agency, an order went out that the TB hospital must be closed six months ahead of schedule.

Had they seen the letter, decision makers would have learned that 3,000 people in the past two years may have had close contact with contagious people at Jacksonville’s homeless shelters, an outpatient mental health clinic and area jails. Yet only 253 people had been found and evaluated for TB infection, meaning Florida’s outbreak was, and is, far from contained.

The public was not to learn anything until early June, even though the same strain was appearing in other parts of the state, including Miami.

Tuberculosis is a lung disease more associated with the 18th century than the 21st, referred to as “consumption” in Dickensian times because its victims would grow gaunt and wan as their lungs disintigrated and they slowly died. The CDC investigator described a similar fate for 10 of the 13 people who died in Jacksonville.

They wasted away before ever getting treatment, or were too far gone by the time it began. Most of the sick were poor black men.

“The high number of deaths in this outbreak emphasizes the need for vigilant active case finding, improved education about TB, and ongoing screening at all sites with outbreak cases,” Luo’s report states.

Today, three months after it was sent to Tallahassee, the CDC report still has not been widely circulated.

Backer of Closing Hospital didn’t Know
Meanwhile the champion of the health agency consolidation, Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, said he had not been informed of the Jacksonville outbreak and the CDC’s role as of Friday.

Told the details, the chairman of the House Health Care Appropriations Committee vowed that there would be money for TB treatment.

“There is every bit of understanding that we cannot not take care of people who have a difficult case of TB,” Hudson said.

The governor’s office asked a reporter to foward a copy of the CDC letter on Saturday, but did not comment by press time.

Treatment for TB can be an ordeal. A person with an uncomplicated, active case of TB must take a cocktail of three to four antibiotics — dozens of pills a day — for six months or more. The drugs can cause serious side effects — stomach and liver problems chief among them. But failure to stay on the drugs for the entire treatment period can and often does cause drug resistance.

At that point, a disease that can cost $500 to overcome grows exponentially more costly. The average cost to treat a drug-resistant strain is more than $275,000, requiring up to two years on medications. For this reason, the state pays for public health nurses to go to the home of a person with TB every day to observe them taking their medications.

However, the itinerant homeless, drug-addicted, mentally ill people at the core of the Jacksonville TB cluster are almost impossible to keep on their medications. Last year, Duval County sent 11 patients to A.G. Holley under court order. Last week, with A.G. Holley now closed, one was sent to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. The ones who will stay put in Jacksonville are being put up in motels, to make it easier for public health nurses to find them, Duval County health officials said.

They spoke about CDC’s report Friday, only after weeks of records requests from The Palm Beach Post. The report was released late last week only after a reporter traveled to Tallahassee to demand records in person. The records should be open to inspection to anyone upon request under Florida Statute 119, known as the Government in the Sunshine law.

TB Strain Spreads beyond Homeless
In his report, the CDC’s Luo makes it clear that other health officials throughout the state and nation have reason to be concerned: Of the fraction of the sick people’s contacts reached, one-third tested positive for TB exposure in areas like the homeless shelter.

Furthermore, only two-thirds of the active cases could be traced to people and places in Jacksonville where the homeless and mentally ill had congregated. That suggested the TB strain had spread beyond the city’s underclass and into the general population. The Palm Beach Post requested a database showing where every related case has appeared. That database has not been released.

It was early February when Duval County Health Department officials felt so overwhelmed by the sudden spike in tuberculosis that they asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to become involved. Believing the outbreak affected only their underclass, the health officials made a conscious decision not to not tell the public, repeating a decision they had made in 2008, when the same strain had appeared in an assisted living home for people with schizophrenia.

“What you don’t want is for anyone to have another reason why people should turn their backs on the homeless,” said Charles Griggs, the public information officer for the Duval County Health Department.

Even the CDC was not forthcoming about the outbreak. An agency spokesperson declined requests from The Post when asked to make an expert available to discuss a CDC-authored scholarly paper on the possible origins of the Jacksonville outbreak, offering only general fact sheets on TB.

“After checking in with the Division of TB Elimination about your specific questions, they have suggested that you reach out to your health department,” wrote Salina Cranor of the CDC’s TB prevention office. . “They are really the best source for your questions.”

“With TB it’s a judgment call,” said Duval County Health Director Dr. Bob Harmon in a telephone interview Friday, after the state’s new surgeon general referred questions back to him.

“There have been TB outbreaks where we do alert the public, such as a school or a college,” Harmon added.

For weeks, there had been a dissonant message coming from the Department of Health press office in Tallahassee. It released overall numbers of Florida tuberculosis cases showing a marked decline statewide, supporting the argument that A.G. Holley had become irrelevant. Asked whether she had been aware of the severity of Jacksonville’s outbreak while delivering that message, she did not answer.

“Florida experienced a 10 percent decrease in cases for 2011 compared to 2010. For the period 2007—2011, there was a 24 percent decrease in cases,” wrote agency spokeswoman Jessica Hammonds in an emailed response to written questions on May 18. She declined, at the time, to make agency experts available for interview.

In an article published in June’s American Journal of Psychiatry, CDC experts Dr. Joseph Cavanaugh, Dr. Kiren Mitruka and colleagues described the apparent origins of the current outbreak, when a TB strain called FL 046 came to claim two lives and sicken at least 15 mentally ill residents of one assisted living facility in 2008.

A single schizophrenic patient had circulated from hospital to jail to homeless shelter to assisted living facility, living in dorm housing in many locations. Over and over, the patient’s cough was documented in his chart, but not treated. It continued for eight months, until he finally was sent under court order to A.G. Holley. That year, 2008-2009, a total of 18 people in that community developed active tuberculosis from the strain called FL 046 and two died. The CDC sent a $275,000 grant to help pay for the staff needed to contain it.

After the money ran out, Harmon said, staff were redeployed to other needs. But in 2011, suddenly, the number of active cases of FL 046 spiked, rising 16 percent to 30 cases of a specific genotype, the one seen in 2008.

“We thought after 2008 that we had it contained,” Harmon said. “It was not contained. In retrospect, it would have been better to inform the general population then.”

Harmon said the Duval County Health Department will need more resources if it is to contain the current TB outbreak. In 2008, when the TB outbreak hit, his department employed 946 staff with revenues of $61 million. “Now we’re down to 700 staff and revenue is down to $46 million,” Harmon said. “It has affected most areas of the organization.”

If he can raise at least $300,000, he will use the money to hire teams of experts — epidemiologists, nurses, outreach workers, to look under bridges, in fields — in all the places where Jacksonville’s estimated 4,000 homeless congregate, to track down the people who may still be infected unknowingly. Fortunately, only a few of the cases have developed drug resistance so far. The vast majority respond to the first-line antibiotics.

In downtown Jacksonville, in the homeless shelters and soup kitchens, the TB strain called FL 046 continues to spread.

On a recent June morning, 60-year-old Lilla Charline Burkhalter joined about 100 other poor and homeless guests being served a free hot meal of scrambled eggs, grapes, potatoes and butterless bread by a local church youth group.

The youth group was volunteering at the Clara White Mission, where a man with active tuberculosis had been identified just three weeks earlier.

Looking weary but friendly, Burkhalter described her life of late, sleeping in grassy fields and in shelter dormitories. She lived on a small Social Security disability check, she said. It had enabled her to pay for a room in an apartment, for a while. But her roommate had kicked her out for making his girlfriend jealous, she said, and she hadn’t been able to find any other accommodations. It had been a rough few months, she acknowledged. But she had been through tough times before.

As she spoke, she coughed often. It was her emphysema acting up, she explained.

Asked if she was fearful about the TB in the community, she shrugged.

“The health department tests me for TB once a year, so I know I don’t have it,” she said. “I’m not worried.”

The Clara White Mission is now playing a key role in helping Jacksonville fight TB. Its housing case manager, Ken Covington, had spent most of his career helping bank branches assimilate after mergers. Two months ago, he joined Clara White, charged with placing homeless veterans and recently released jail inmates into homes. But the job has became much larger.

Today, Covington is the new chairman of the Duval County TB Coalition. In his hands he holds a massive binder with the intimidating title, “Core Curriculum in Tuberculosis: What the Clinician Should Know.” It was given to him by Vernard Green, the CDC’s visiting TB liaison.

Covington said he was a banker, not a clinician. But he had learned what to watch for with TB – coughing up blood, night sweats, sudden weight loss. The coalition members were looking at buying air filtration equipment, drafting intake protocols, getting to know the TB experts in the community, and educating shelter staff on what to watch for and what to do if a client appeared ill.

“We’re trying to do what we can to rein it in, and stay in front of it, and not let it get any worse,” Covington said. “I take it as a very important role for the community.”

What the Post Unocovered 
In 2008, a schizophrenic patient contracted TB but went untreated for eight months, wandering among many places where the homeless congregate, infecting at least 17 others.

In 2012, the CDC was invited to help with a sudden spike in cases of the same rare strain the schizophrenic patient had. What they found is the worst outbreak they have investigated in 20 years, and it is not contained.

On the Trail of TB 
Hard to track: Homeless and mentally ill people and those they have come in contact with are especially hard to treat.

Long, tough treatment
Several pills a day of several virulent antibiotics for a minimum of six months, often up to two years.

What’s at stake: If treatment regimen isn’t strictly followed, antibiotic resistent strains emerge.

TB Basics
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.

How TB Spreads
TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected. 
TB is NOT spread by

  • shaking someone’s hand
  • sharing food or drink
  • touching bed linens or toilet seats
  • sharing toothbrushes
  • kissing

TB Symptoms
Symptoms of TB disease include:

  • a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
  • pain in the chest
  • coughing up blood or sputum
  • weakness or fatigue
  • weight loss
  • no appetite
  • chills
  • fever
  • sweating at night

TB Risk Factors
Once a person is infected with TB bacteria, the chance of developing TB disease is higher if the person:

  • Has HIV infection;
  • Has been recently infected with TB bacteria (in the last 2 years);
  • Has other health problems, like diabetes, that make it hard for the body to fight bacteria;
  • Abuses alcohol or uses illegal drugs; or
  • Was not treated correctly for TB infection in the past (Palm Beach Post, 2012)

Title: Dead Danish Drug User Tests Positive For Anthrax
Date: July 9, 2012
Source: 
Fox News

Abstract: Danish authorities say an intravenous drug user who injected heroin and died has tested positive for anthrax.

The Health Ministry suspects the drug was contaminated with the bacillus anthracis strain of anthrax. The 55-year-old addict died Sunday.

Terrorism is not suspected, and the health ministry says there is no risk of contagion because the bacteria cannot be passed from person to person.

Anthrax is a deadly disease that can be treated with antibiotics if caught early.

Officials said Monday they will compare the case to two similar deaths in Germany in June.

Last week, German officials said there may be a link between contaminated heroin found in Germany and an anthrax outbreak in Scotland in 2009 and 2010, which left 10 people dead (Fox News, 2012)

Title: India Reports More Than 100 Deaths Due To H1N1 Influenza
Date: July 9, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: The respiratory virus that swept the globe during the World Health Organization (WHO) - declared 2009 pandemic hasn’t totally gone away. Currently, for example, reported outbreaks in 
El Salvador and Bolivia have affected hundreds and taken several lives.

In Indiaaccording to a Zeenews.com report Monday, health officials have reported 102 fatalities in 13 states during the first half of the year. This compares to a total of 75 deaths reported for all of 2011.

Nationwide, 1,568 cases have been reported, with Maharashtra state reporting the most cases (544) and fatalities (25) in the first half of 2012.

Rounding out the top five states in terms of number of cases include 310 in Karnataka, 210 in Tamil Nadu, 150 in Rajasthan and 143 in Andhra Pradesh.

India experienced 1,763 fatalities in 2010 and 981 in 2009.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases last month reported revised estimates of the number of deathsdue to pandemic influenza A H1N1 may be about 15 times higher than the originally calculated number of 18,500 reported laboratory-confirmed cases (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Nearly 130 Bison Found Dead In Suspected Anthrax Infection In Canada
Date: July 9, 2012
Source: 
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: The government of Canada’s Northwest Territories recently warned people to stay away from the bodies of nearly 130 bison suspected of dying from anthrax infection.

The dead bison, located near Mills Lake northwest of Fort Providence, were discovered during a routine flight to monitor potential anthrax exposure in the territories. As a precaution, the N.W.T. Environment Department has activated its anthrax emergency response plans, according to BrandonSun.com.

Tissue samples from the bison have been sent to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Laboratory in Lethbridge, Alberta, for testing.

The region where the bison were found is considered to only be accessible by boat this time of year, but there are cabins located in the vicinity, and residents have been asked to notify officials if additional carcasses are discovered.

Between 1962 and 2010, there were two documented outbreaks of anthrax in the Northwest Territories.

Wet weather followed by a hot, dry spell can concentrate anthrax spores in low-lying areas, increasing the chances for infection. Bison are thought to contract the disease most frequently by inhaling contaminated soil while taking dust baths, BrandonSun.com reports.

Once introduced into an area, anthrax spores can remain viable in the soil for many years. Humans can develop skin, respiratory or intestinal infections from contact with an infected animal (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Florida Closes Only Tuberculosis Hospital Amid Worst US Outbreak In 20 Years
Date: July 9, 2012
Source: 
Guardian

Abstract: Health officials in 
Florida hastened their closure of the nation's only dedicated tuberculosis hospital on cost-cutting grounds as one of the worst outbreaks of the deadly disease in 20 years was taking a grip on the state, it has been revealed.

At least 3,000 people in Jacksonville may have been exposed to the highly contagious respiratory illness that claimed 13 lives in the city and left another 100 sick in the last two years, a report from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded.

But news of the severity of the outbreak never reached Florida's politicians, who voted in March to bring forward the closure of the 100-bed AG Holley state hospital in Lantana by six months to July 2.

As a result, patients once deemed too sick for contact with the public were released into the community and others newly diagnosed with the disease, mostly from the homeless population, are being put up in local motels in an effort to keep them on their medications.

"The high number of deaths in this outbreak emphasises the need for vigilant active case finding, improved education about TB, and ongoing screening at all sites with outbreak cases," states the report written by Robert Luo, a senior doctor with the CDC's epidemic intelligence service, and obtained by the Palm Beach Post following a public records request.

The CDC confirmed it was one of the worst outbreaks of TB anywhere in the United States for at least two decades.

Meanwhile, the Florida department of health expects to save up to $10m a year by closing AG Holley, which had treated patients with the most severe cases of the disease since 1950. The hospital discharged its last patients a week ago.

In a statement, the department defended the closure, insisting that patients in need of hospitalisation would receive adequate care at public hospitals in Miami and Jacksonville, which also agreed to take some of the most severe AG Holley cases.

"We move into the future with confidence that these patients will receive continued high quality care in settings closer to their communities," said Dr John Armstrong, Florida's surgeon general.

Yet before the closure was announced the department always claimed that patients admitted to AG Holley "cannot be treated and cured in the community".

In its 2013 health plan, it stated: "All of AG Holley's patients have failed treatment in their communities or have been diagnosed as medically complex requiring specialised care and treatment."

Of the patients discharged last week, 18 were released into the care of their own doctors, supervised by their county health departments. The state health board said that declining cases of TB statewide, 753 in 2011, a 10% decrease on the previous year, justified the hospital's closure.

Opponents have demanded an investigation by Florida governor Rick Scott, saying that the hospital's closure was rushed and that the need for a purpose-built facility with rooms with individual air and water systems to combat virulent airborne diseases was greater than ever.

Maria Lorts Sachs, a state senator who represents Lantana and a vocal long-term supporter of the hospital, told the Guardian: "Who knows how the vote would have been impacted by knowledge of this outbreak?

"It's a serious thing when a major fact is withheld from us. There needs to be an inquiry into whoever kept this secret and there needs to be an inquiry into why there was such a rush to close the hospital. The governor should stop everything, stop the closure and have a review. This is a dangerous thing and we need to make sure our people are safe."

The CDC's investigation into the Jacksonville outbreak revealed that only 253 people from about 3,000 exposed to the infection in Duval County's homeless shelters, prisons and mental health clinics had been traced and tested.

Effective treatment often requires regular, long-term uses of drugs, which officials acknowledge is often difficult to administer. If medications are not taken regularly, strains of the disease can become drug-resistant.

Charles Griggs, spokesman for the Duval County health department, said: "Since the identified outbreak cluster is primarily concentrated within at-risk individuals in Jacksonville's homeless community, we are concentrating our efforts in the most impacted areas of need.

"We are also trying to guard against the further negative stigmatisation of an already challenged population. There is no evidence to suggest that the identified cluster outbreak has had a significant impact on the local general population.

"The closure of AG Holley has very little impact on our local outbreak. Over the past two years, DCHD has been engaged in active TB outreach screenings at various locations that service our local homeless community.

"No patient who requires the level of treatment and care associated with hospitalisation are housed at local motels. Only low-risk clients who may require directly observed therapy as treatment are potentially housed in motels" (Guardian, 2012).

Title: Cuba Scrambles To Fight Rare Cholera Outbreak
Date: July 9, 2012
Source: 
Fox News

Abstract: Cuban authorities in the eastern province of Granma are in full prevention mode to contain a rare cholera outbreak amid fears that it may have spread to the capital.

People in the eastern city of Manzanillo say authorities are distributing chlorine and water purification drops, and hospitals are quaranting diarrhetic patients until they are diagnosed.

The precautions follow last week's announcement that three people in the area died from the disease. There has been no official information since then, though there have been unconfirmed reports that the outbreak has spread and may have claimed more lives (Fox News, 2012)

Title: Danish Drug Addict Tests Positive For Anthrax After Death
Date: July 10, 2012
Source: 
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: An intravenous drug user in Denmark who died after injecting himself with heroin recently tested positive for anthrax infection.

Danish health authorities confirmed that they suspect the 55-year-old’s heroin was contaminated with the bacteria Bacillus anthracis, according to SacBee.com.

There are an estimated 13,000 intravenous drug users in Denmark, with 8,000 living in Copenhagen, where the man was hospitalized and later died. The Gadejuristerne, an aid group dedicated to helping drug addicts, said not enough was being done to warn against the danger that infected drugs could still be on the street, according to CPHPost.dk.

The Health Ministry of Denmark said it does not suspect the death was related to terrorism. They intend to compare the case to similar deaths that occurred in Germany earlier in the summer.

German officials said that there may a link between contaminated heroin found in Germany and a 2010 anthrax outbreak among intravenous drug users in Scotland. The Robert Koch Institute, the German government’s center for disease control and prevention, said it now assumes that the circulation of contaminated heroin is more widespread than previously believed, according to RKI.de.

In response to the death in Denmark, health officials in the southern Swedish city of Skåne issued a warning to that country’s heroin users.

“Copenhagen and Malmö are very close so after the death in Denmark, we thought it best to warn heroin users here about the possible risks,” Håkan Ringberg, a Swedish infectious diseases specialist, said, TheLocal.se reports. “We’re advising users not to take heroin intravenously” (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Denmark Reports First Case Of IV Drug-Related Anthrax
Date: July 10, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: An intravenous drug user who injected 
heroinhas died from an anthrax infection in a Copenhagen hospital over the weekend, becoming the first such case in Denmark.

According to an Associated Press report Monday, the Denmark Health Ministry says a 55-year-old drug addict died Sunday from an anthrax infection believed to be from contaminated heroin.

According to a ProMed-mail posting, an infectious disease consultant from the university hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen says blood cultures on the HCV and HIV-positive IV drug user revealed the presence of the bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. Although the patient was treated with antibiotics, he eventually died from an irreparable shock.

Danish health officials report that terrorism is not suspected and that the infection cannot be passed person-to-person.

In late June, German officials also reported two fatal cases linked through exposure to heroin contaminated by Bacillus anthracis. Authorities there say the same batch of heroin in the 2009/2010 outbreak in Scotland, which left ten people dead, may be linked to the new German cases.

Swedish health officials also issued a warning Monday to the “thousands” of heroin users in the country. According to Dr. Håkan Ringberg, an infectious disease doctor with Smittskydd Skåne, "We're advising users not to take heroin intravenously" (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Illinois County Investigating First Probable Case Of Measles In 18 years
Date: July 11, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: Health officials from the northern 
Illinois county of Winnebago are investigating the first likely case of measles in nearly two decades.

According to a Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) news release Tuesday, a four-year-old child presented with a rash that began near the ears with an onset of 6/30/2012. The child also presented with conjunctivitis, fever, and Koplik spots, all symptoms of the respiratory illness.

Health officials say, if this case is confirmed, it will be the first confirmed case of measles in the county since 1994.

WCHD strongly urges all area health-care professionals to maintain a high index of suspicion for the appearance of additional measles cases in the coming weeks and report all suspect cases to WCHD.

Health authorities also advise to ensure you are up-to-date with vaccinations if traveling abroad. Many countries still have high rates of the disease and the concern of importing measles to the US is high.

In fact, Dr. Anne Schuchat, MD, Director, Office of Infectious Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease said in April, 200 of the 222 measles cases reported in 2011 were associated with importations from other countries.

Measles or rubeola, is an acute highly communicable viral disease that is characterized by Koplik spots in the cheek or tongue very early in the disease. A couple of days later a red blotchy rash appears first on the face, and then spreads, lasting 4-7 days. Other symptoms include fever, cough and red watery eyes. The patient may be contagious from four days prior to the rash appearance to four days after rash appearance.

The disease is more severe in infants and adults. Complications from measles which is reported in up to 20% of people infected include; seizures, pneumonia, deafness and encephalitis.

Winnebago County is located in northern Illinois bordering Wisconsin. The population according to the 2010 census is nearly 300,000 (Examiner, 2012).

Title: West Nile Virus Makes Appearance In The Big Apple
Date: July 11, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: 
New York City health officials are reminding residents to take necessary precautions against mosquito bites after surveillance revealed the presence of the virus in some mosquitoes in Staten Island.

According to a New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene press release TuesdayWest Nile Virus (WNV) infected mosquitoes were collected from the neighborhoods of New Dorp Beach and Bull’s Head on Staten Island.

Although there have been no human cases to date, the presence of the virus in mosquitoes should signal a warning for residents.

“West Nile Virus has been detected on Staten Island, but simple precautions can help protect you and your family,” said Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner. “Wear mosquito repellent when you’re outdoors, and cover your arms and legs if you’re outside at dawn or dusk. People over 50 should be especially cautious, as they are more likely to develop serious illness if they contract the virus.”

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause encephalitis, a brain inflammation. West Nile virus was first detected in North America in 1999 in New York. Prior to that it had only been found in Africa, Eastern Europe, and West Asia.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.

Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.

About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

There is no specific treatment for WNV infection.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recommend the following to reduce your exposure to mosquitoes:

• Use an approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under 3), or products that contain the active ingredient IR3535.
• Make sure windows have screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home, and repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
• Eliminate any standing water from your property since it provides breeding sites for mosquitoes, and dispose of containers that can collect water.
• Make sure roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty and covered when not in use, and drain water that collects in pool covers 
(Examiner, 2012)

Title: Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 460 In Thailand
Date: July 10, 2012
Source:
Outbreak News

Abstract: The total number sickened in the Chiang Mai Welfare School salmonella outbreak is at 460 
according to recent Bangkok Post report.

Thai health authorities have linked the outbreak to tainted three-day-old boiled eggs.

According to Dr Pornthep Siriwanarangsan, director-general of the Disease Control Department, said Chiang Mai Welfare School students became sick after eating donated eggs that were boiled three days previously and not reheated before they were consumed, allowing the bacteria to develop.

The report states that on Sunday evening, about 900 students of the school ate chilli curry and donated boiled eggs at the cafeteria. 75 students developed symptoms of food poisoning right after the meal.

As of Tuesday, the total number of sick students increased to 460. 123 kids required hospitalization and 8 are reported to be critically ill.

Public health officials have traced 10,000 donated eggs to Chiang Mai School and elsewhere (Outbreak News, 2012).

Title: Health Officials Confirm Two Cases Of Bacterial Meningitis In Kittitas County
Date: July 12, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), worldwide, the vast majority of cases of meningococcal 
meningitisis caused by 5 serogroups (A, B, C, Y, W-135) of the bacterium. In the United States, almost all cases are caused by serogroups B, C and Y.

According to a Kittitas County Public Health Department (KCPHD) press release Wednesday, the two potential cases of bacterial meningitis that was being investigated last week, has been laboratory confirmed as Neisseria meningitidis group B.

Health officials report the two patients are in stable condition and are currently recovering from the infection.

KCPHD officials point out that this strain of bacterial meningitis is different as there is currently not a licensed vaccine that protects against serogroup B in the U.S.

While meningococcal B disease can occur at any age, it most often strikes infants and young adults. In fact, adolescents are the primary carriers of the bacteria that cause the disease. On average, one in five adolescents who develop meningococcal meningitis will die from it. Those who survive are often afflicted with long-term disabilities, such as brain damage and hearing loss.

There are about 4,100 cases of bacterial meningitis per year in the United States, including 500 deaths.

KCPHD staff has contacted all potential close contacts of the patients to assess for exposure and symptoms. At this time, no other individuals have become infected; however, several have been given preventative antibiotics to reduce the chance of infection.

Meningococcal meningitis is caused by the bacterium, Neisseria meningitidis, which causes the most severe form of bacterial meningitis. Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can also be found in the bloodstream. This particular type of meningitis is very severe and can result in death if not treated promptly. Even in cases where treatment has been given, the fatality rate is around 15%.

The symptoms of bacterial meningitis are sudden, with fever, stiff neck, body aches and headaches. As the disease progresses other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, photophobia and seizures. A petechial rash seen on the trunk and lower extremities, bleeding complications, multi-organ failures and shock are usually final signs. This disease has the ability to kill within hours of getting it.

Up to 10-20% of older children and young adults carry this organism in the mouth and nose, though the carriage rate will vary with age and closeness of population. The majority of people that carry this bacterium have no clinical disease. The organism is spread person to person through respiratory secretions from the nose and mouth (coughing, sneezing and kissing). Experts are unsure why some people advance to meningitis disease while many do not.

Crowded living conditions facilitate the spread of the organisms and places like military barracks and college dormitories are well documented areas of concern with this disease.

If you have close contact with someone with meningococcal meningitis, see your doctor for prophylactic antibiotics.

Meningococcal meningitis is a devastating disease with epidemic potential. This disease is considered a medical emergency and if you have the classic symptoms see your health care professional. It can be treated with antibiotics, but without delay (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Taiwan Orders Imported Milk Formula From The Netherlands Off The Shelves Due To Salmonella
Date: July 13, 2012
Source: 
Outbreak News

Abstract: Taiwanese health officials have ordered two imported milk products off the shelves Friday due to possible salmonella contamination.

According to a Focus Taiwan news report,  Taiwan’s Department of Health was alerted to the possible problem by the European Union and notified Taipei’s health bureau on Thursday night that two products imported by Taipei-based Youluck International Inc may have been contaminated.

The products, imported from the Netherlands, are Youluck Growing-up Goat Milk Formula and Youluck Infant Milk Formula.

Health authorities found that more than 3,000 cartons (12 cans in a carton) have been imported since last year. The potentially tainted products have been ordered off the shelves of 160 stores in Taiwan.

Salmonella is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

In rare circumstances, infection with salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis (Outbreak News, 2012).

Title: Oyster Bay, N.Y. Shellfish Linked To Vibrio Parahaemolyticus Outbreak
Date: July 14, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: Harvesting of shellfish from certain areas of Oyster Bay, NY has been temporarily banned after reports of Vibrio infections in consumers in New York and three other states.

According to a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) press release Friday, the shellfish harvesting prohibition impacts approximately 1,980 acres on the north shore of the Town of Oyster Bay, including all the underwater lands in Oyster Bay Harbor that lie westerly of a line extending southerly from the stone house on Plum Point (Centre Island) to the northwestern most point of Cove Point on Cove Neck.

The closure was prompted after reported illnesses in three people who ate raw or partially cooked shellfish in Nassau County. In addition, five illnesses were reported to DEC by three other states that received shellfish harvested in Oyster Bay Harbor. The cause of the illnesses was due to ingestion of the naturally occurring marine bacteria, Vibrio parahaemolyticus.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saysVibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterium in the same family as those that cause cholera. It lives in brackish saltwater and causes gastrointestinal illness in humans. V. parahaemolyticus naturally inhabits coastal waters in the United States and Canada and is present in higher concentrations during summer.

V. parahaemolyticus causes watery diarrhea often with abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. Usually these symptoms occur within 24 hours of ingestion. Illness is usually self-limited and lasts 3 days. Severe disease is rare and occurs more commonly in persons with weakened immune systems.

In addition, the documented outbreak has caused the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) to issue a warning Friday to food establishments to check the tags on any shellfish that they sell to consumers or use in food preparation and to avoid using or selling any shellfish harvested from areas in the Town of Oyster Bay, N.Y. (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Minnesota Health Officials Investigate Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Denny’s
Date: July 14, 2012
Source: 
Outbreak News

Abstract: (A Salmonella montevideo outbreak which has affected at least four people is being investigated by the Olmsted County Public Health Services and the Minnesota Department of Health.

According to a PostBulletin.com report Saturday, the salmonella outbreak, currently consisting of 3 confirmed and 1 suspected case, is being linked to a Denny’s Restaurant in Rochester, MN.

The report states the confirmed cases all dined at Denny’s Restaurant between June 27 and July 5 and were hospitalized for Salmonella montevideo, which began between July 2 and 7.

Olmsted County health officials say that a specific food source has not been identified and the investigation is ongoing.

Shaylene Baumbach, with the Olmsted County Public Health Services said the restaurant is cooperating with the investigation.

In an unrelated investigation, the bacterium, Salmonella montevideo is currently the focus of a CDC investigation of live poultry from a Missouri hatchery, which has sickened at least 66 people.

Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis (Outbreak News, 2012).

Title: China On Alert As Disease Outbreak Kills 112 In June
Date: July 15, 2012
Source: 
AFP

Abstract: The Chinese province of Hunan urged parents on Sunday to seek immediate treatment for children showing symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease after official figures showed 112 people died from the illness last month.

The disease, which children are especially vulnerable to, also infected more than 381,000 people, the Ministry of Health reported last week.

"The disease incidence rate in June was much higher than that of last June, which has much to do with the high temperatures this summer," said Liu Fuqiang with the provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The province urged parents and teachers to send children to hospital as soon as they showed symptoms of the disease, including mouth sores, skin rashes or fever.

In June, 34,768 cases were reported and 17 people died from the disease in Hunan, the statement said.

According to the Ministry of Health, over 460,000 people were infected by the disease in May, leading to 132 deaths.

In recent days, health departments in numerous Chinese provinces and regions, including Gansu, Fujian, Jiangsu and Xinjiang have issued warnings over the outbreak of the disease, state press reports said (AFP, 2012)

Title: Cholera Declared An Epidemic In Bicol, Philippines
Date: July 15, 2012
Source:
Examiner

Abstract: C
ases of the dangerous, gastrointestinal disease, cholera have been seen at epidemic levels in the Bicol Region according to Department of Health (DOH) reports. The surge of cholera in the area has prompted health officials to declare an epidemic.

According to a Philippine Information Agency report Saturday, the number of people affected by cholera in the region stands at 3,158 for the first half of 2012. Of the 3,000-plus cases, 30 ended in death.

These numbers dwarf the first half of 2011 in the Region, which tallied 445 cases and only 4 deaths for the same period.

The DOH Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit say the province of Catanduanes has been hit the hardest by cholera with 1,831 cases and 14 deaths reported.

Cholera is an acute bacterial intestinal disease characterized by sudden onset, profuse watery stools (given the appearance as rice water stools because of flecks of mucus in water) due to a very potent enterotoxin. The enterotoxin leads to an extreme loss of fluid and electrolytes in the production of diarrhea. It has been noted that an untreated patient can lose his bodyweight in fluids in hours resulting in shock and death.

It is caused by the bacterium, Vibrio cholerae. Serogroups O1 and O139 are the types associated with the epidemiological characteristics of cholera (outbreaks).

The bacteria are acquired through ingestion of contaminated water or food through a number of mechanisms. Water is usually contaminated by the feces of infected individuals.

Drinking water can be contaminated at the source, during transport or during storage at home.

Food can be contaminated by soiled hands, during preparation or while eating.

Beverages and ice prepared with contaminated water and fruits and vegetables washed with this water are other examples. Some outbreaks are linked to raw or undercooked seafood.

The incubation for cholera can be from a few hours to 5 days. As long as the stools are positive, the person is infective. Some patients may become carriers of the organism which can last for months.

Cholera is diagnosed by growing the bacteria in culture. Treatment consists of replacement of fluids lost, intravenous replacement in severe cases. Doxycycline or tetracycline antibiotic therapy can shorten the course of severe disease.

There is an oral vaccine available in some countries but it is not available in the U.S. Cholera prevention is the same as in other causes of traveler’s diarrhea.

Dr. Nestor Santiago with the DOH issued an advisory last July 2 urging provincial, city and town executives to take necessary health interventions to avert the rising incidence of the disease (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Anthrax Outbreak Kills Nine Cows In Germany, 50 People On Antibiotics
Date: July 16, 2012
Source: 
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Experts in the eastern German region of Saxony-Anhalt are investigating the cause of an anthrax outbreak that is responsible for the deaths of at least nine cows and 50 people being place on antibiotics.

Scientists fear the outbreak may have been caused by dead animals buried in land used for grazing, according TheLocal.de.

Police in protective gear pulled one of the dead cows out of the Elbe River in the neighboring state of Brandenburg. The cow had fallen into the river after becoming separated from its herd, which had been placed under quarantine.

“The current of the river is so strong, that the chances of a human getting ill from going in the water are slim,” a government spokesperson said, TheLocal.de reports.

A state veterinarian said that the chances of the herd infecting other animals were also low, because close contact is generally needed to pass on the bacteria and the cattle have been isolated.

Heinrich Neubaue, the head of the institute for bacterial infection and zoonotic diseases at the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute, said the most likely reason for the outbreak is that the herd was grazing in a field where infected animals had been buried. Anthrax spores can survive for decades underground and in harsh environments, TheLocal.de reports.

Every year, approximately 2,000 people around the world die from naturally occurring anthrax infections, according to the World Health Organization (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: India: Man Has Tapeworm Larvae Removed From 'Voice Box'
Date: July 17, 2012
Source:
Examiner

Abstract: An Indian man who suddenly suffered with severe pain in the throat and a loss of voice, was diagnosed with an unusual parasitic condition.

In a Times of India (TOI) report Tuesday, it is reported that upon examination at the Columbia Asia Hospital in Hebbal, physicians discovered a mass in his “voice box” caused by a cysticerci from the pork tapeworm,Taenia solium.

Dr. Santosh S. Consultant ENT, Head and Neck Surgeon at Columbia Asia Hospital said of the case, "What made the treatment challenging was the fact that the worm was lodged right in his voice box. He underwent a surgery last week; where by a team of specialists removed the worm after a 2-hours long procedure."

The patient is recovering well after the surgery. Astonished, the patient noted, “I was quite taken aback by the diagnosis, I never thought that my condition was a result of a tapeworm in my vocal cords."

Human cysticercosis occurs either by the direct transfer of Taenia solium eggs from the feces of people harboring an adult worm to their own mouth (autoinfection) or to the mouth of another individual, or indirectly by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the eggs. When the person ingests the eggs, the embryo escapes from the shell and penetrates the intestinal wall, gets into the blood vessels, where they spread to muscle, or more seriously, the eyes, heart or brain.

The larval stage of the tapeworm, or cysticercus, occurs the vast majority of the time (>85%) in the brain or eyes. However, they may migrate to other areas such as the liver, heart and striated muscles.

The case reported in the TOI above, is quite rare but oral cysticercosis is not unheard of. Cases of cysticercosis have been reported from the facetongue and vocal cords.

The severity of cystercercosis depends on which organs are infected and the number of cysticerci. An infection consisting of a few small cysticerci in the liver or muscles would likely result in no obvious disease and go unnoticed. Those that form in voluntary muscle tend to be asymptomatic, but may cause some pain. On the other hand, a few cysticerci, if located in a particularly "sensitive" area of the body, might result in irreparable damage.

For instance, a cysticercus in the eye might lead to blindness, or a cysticercus in the brain (neurocysticercosis) could lead to traumatic neurological damage, epileptic seizures or brain swelling that can kill.

Depending on the site of the cysticercosis, treatment may involve medications to kill the parasites (antiparasitic treatments such as albendazole or praziquantel), powerful anti-inflammatories (steroids) to reduce swelling and surgery to remove the infected area.

Prevention of cysticercosis includes adequate cooking of meat and washing fruits and vegetables well. Good hygiene and hand washing after using the toilet will prevent self-infection in a person already infected with tapeworms in addition to contamination of foodstuffs by human feces (Examiner, 2012).

Title:
 Man Develops Bubonic Plague From Stray Cat Bite And Narrowly Escapes Death... But Will Have Fingers And Toes Amputated
Date: July 17, 2012
Source: 
Daily Mail

Abstract: A 59-year-old man is out of hospital after spending a month in intensive care due to infection from the bubonic plague.

Paul Gaylord, 59, developed the symptoms after he was bitten by a stray cat his family had adopted.

The cat, named Charlie, had caught a rodent which was stuck in his throat. It is thought that the rat was infected by fleas, which carry the disease.

Initially, Mr Gaylord thought he had the flu when he developed a fever after the bite.

After antibiotics failed to make him feel better, he was rushed to hospital when his lymph nodes swelled to the size of lemons.

He still faces surgery to remove his withered, blackened fingers and toes - one of the symptoms of the terrible disease that gave it the name, the 'black death'.

Although the welder will not be able to work again, he is lucky to be alive.

'They tell me I'm doing really good considering,' he told OregonLive.com from his hospital bed at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon. 

'I do feel lucky. I'm going to have a long row to hoe but at least I have one.'

Mr Gaylord's mother, Almeda, 81, explained how close her son came to death.

His heart stopped. His lung collapsed. They told us he wasn't going to make it,' she said.

Mr Gaylord spent nearly a month on life support and it was so touch-and-go at one point that his son, Jake, flew in from Austin, Texas, to say goodbye.

His wife organised a baptism as Mr Gaylord has always regretted not being christened as a child.

'I was delirious,' said Mr Gaylor of his memory of the month he spent in intensive care. 

'Things didn't seem real. The clock ran backwards.' 

Now he's recovered, Mr Gaylord will have to learn how to walk again and use his fingerless hands.

'It will be a long rehab,' he said. 'I have to learn to do everything again.'

Although the plague is generally connected to the Middle Ages, Mr Gaylor is the 17th person sickened by the disease in Oregon since 1934.

It causes an infection that kills cells, causing gangrene which often results in amputation, if not death (Daily Mail, 2012)

Title: Md. Woman Exposed To Rabies Following Deer's Kick
Date: July 17, 2012
Source: 
WTOP News

Abstract: It's strange enough to be kicked in the face by a deer, let alone one with rabies.

But that's what happened to one western Maryland woman this month.

Theresa Stevens, of LaVale, tells the Cumberland Times-News that she encountered the deer on July 6 after letting her dog out of the house.

Stevens says the deer rose on its hind legs, knocking her in the cheek with one hoof and on the shoulder with the other, before she pushed it away.

Stevens grabbed her dog, and awakened her husband, Larry, telling him she had been attacked by a deer.

When the Stevenses went back outside, the doe was lying beneath their Toyota Corolla.

She placed the animal's head in a bucket of water _ which she believes led her to be exposed to rabies.

The deer was euthanized. A laboratory test confirmed rabies.

Stevens, who says she developed muscle pain and a headache, will be taking shots into next month (WTOP News, 2012)

Title: Bay Cuisine Recalls Meat Products After Being Linked To Listeria Outbreak
Date: July 19, 2012
Source: 
Outbreak News

Abstract: The New Zealand meat company, 
Bay Cuisine, has recalled certain salami, pepperoni and ham products Wednesday after tests showed a possible link to a listeria outbreak that sickened four and left two patients dead at a New Zealand hospital.

Four patients with listeria presented at the Hastings hospital between May and June. Two of the elderly patients from  Hawke’s Bay died after contracting the Listeria.

According to Hwke’s Bay Today:

Four patients with symptoms of listeria went to hospital on May 9 and 18, and June 21 and 29. The two women, one aged in her 60s and one her 80s were both “immune-compromised” and died in June and July respectively, within a week to 10 days of first arriving, said Hawke’s Bay District Health Board Director of Population Health Dr Caroline McElnay.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is overseeing the recall. Andrew Coleman, Ministry for Primary Industries

Deputy Director General Compliance and Response said, ”MPI wants to ensure any unsafe food is not available for sale and that people do not eat any of the recalled products they may have bought already.”

MPI advises anyone who has any of the recalled products not to eat them and to return them to where they bought them, or dispose of them via the normal household rubbish.

Listeriosis, a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, is an important public health problem. . The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. However, rarely, persons without these risk factors can also be affected.

Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled. Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness, however, infections during pregnancy can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth (Outbreak News, 2012).

Title: South Carolina Boy Dies From Brain Amoeba
Date: July 19, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: A child from Sumter County, 
South Carolina has succumbed to a rare “brain-eating” amoebic infection according to health officials.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced Wednesday that laboratory results confirm that the unnamed boy died as a result of infection with the parasite, Naegleria fowleri.

DHEC Director Catherine Templeton said, “We are saddened to learn that this child was exposed to the deadly organism Naegleria fowleri. While this organism is present in many warm water lakes, rivers and streams in the South, infection in humans is extremely rare.Naegleria fowleri almost always results in death.

How do you get this microscopic creature and what exactly does it do to you? People typically get it by swimming, jumping or playing in freshwater and get the water up their nose. From there the parasite travels to the brain and spinal cord and necrotizes, or basically eats brain tissue.

The disease is known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) and it has a very rapid progression. Typical symptoms may start after a day or two; headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. Later symptoms may include seizures, irrational behavior, hallucinations and finally coma and death. The course of the disease typically last about a week. Because the symptoms are very similar to bacterial meningitis, PAM may not even be considered in the diagnosis.

Fortunately, it’s a pretty rare disease, with only approximately 32 cases in the past decade. Unfortunately, treatment is usually unsuccessful with only a handful of people surviving infection.

You should always assume there is some risk when swimming in freshwater. The location and number of amoeba present in a body of water varies from time to time. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommends these four steps to reduce your risk of infection:

• Avoid water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater, hot springs, and thermally-polluted water such as water around power plants.
• Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature and low water levels.
• Hold the nose shut or use nose clips when taking part in water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers, or hot springs.
• Avoid digging in or stirring up the sediment while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas 
(Examiner, 2012).

Title: Extremely Rare Outbreak Of Naegleria Kills 8 In Pakistan According To Reports
Date: July 20, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: In a extremely rare event, the Pakistan news source, 
The News Tribe reports an outbreak of the “brain-eating amoeba” in the Southern part of Pakistan which took the lives of 8 people.

According to the report, the eight victims all died in the past week from the parasitic disease. They were hospitalized at Agha Khan University Hospital and Liaquat National Hospital in Karachi.

There are no other details on the outbreak from the report.

Naegleria fowleri is a relatively rare, pathogenic amoeba found in warm or hot freshwater like lakes, rivers and hot springs. It is also possible to get it from dirty unchlorinated or under-chlorinated swimming pools. This parasite is found worldwide and in the United States, it is found  mainly in the southern-tier states.

People typically get it by swimming, jumping or playing in freshwater and get the water up their nose. From there the parasite travels to the brain and spinal cord and necrotizes or basically eats brain tissue. The disease is known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) and it has a very rapid progression.

Typical symptoms may start after a day or two; headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. Later symptoms may include seizures, irrational behavior, hallucinations and finally coma and death. The course of the disease typically last about a week. Because the symptoms are very similar to bacterial meningitis, PAM may not even be considered in the diagnosis.

Fortunately, it’s a pretty rare disease, with only approximately 30 cases in the past decade.

Unfortunately, treatment is usually unsuccessful with only a handful of people surviving infection.

You should always assume there is some risk when swimming in freshwater. The location and number of amoeba present in a body of water varies from time to time. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommends these four steps to reduce your risk of infection:

• Avoid water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater, hot springs, and thermally-polluted water such as water around power plants.
• Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature and low water levels.
• Hold the nose shut or use nose clips when taking part in water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers, or hot springs.
• Avoid digging in or stirring up the sediment while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas 
(Examiner, 2012).

Title: Cambodia Shuts All Schools To Fight Virus Spread
Date: July 20, 2012
Source: 
Guardian

Abstract: Cambodia is closing all kindergarten and primary schools two weeks before a regular vacation to try to stop the spread of a virus that has killed hundreds of young children around Asia.

Deputy Education Minister Mak Van said more than 2,700 kindergartens and 7,000 primary schools closed Wednesday to try to cope with the menacing form of hand, foot and mouth disease known as enterovirus 71 strain, or EV-71.

The victims sometimes suffer high fever, brain swelling, paralysis and respiratory shutdown, though they may have been infected by people with few or no symptoms. The recent deaths of almost 60 Cambodian children raised the alarm over the disease.

Vietnam and China have also had outbreaks. And in neighboring Thailand, three schools in Bangkok closed Wednesday over new cases in students (Guardian, 2012)

Title: Anthrax-Contaminated Heroin Spreads Across Europe After 47 Cases In The UK In 2010
Date: July 20, 2012
Source: 
Talking Drugs

Abstract: 
Health officials across Europe have issued warnings after 2 new cases of anthrax have been reported this week among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Denmark and France, in addition to 3 cases in Germany. Reported dates of onset in all 5 cases range between early June 2012 and 11 July 2012.

The cases in Germany have already been connected to an earlier outbreak in the UK in 2010, but no connection has yet been found in the most recent cases. The 2009-2010 anthrax outbreak among drug users, which primarily affected Scotland, was called the largest in the UK in 50 years, which is the reason behind grave concern regarding the most recent outbreak.

A report released in January 2012 by Health Protection Scotland (HPS) recorded a total of 119 anthrax cases during 2009-10, with a total of 14 deaths. HPS’ investigation determined that heroin use was “the vehicle for transmission of anthrax spores" and that exposure was by a variety of routes, particularly injection (cutaneous) but also by smoking (inhalation). The report also said that the outbreak was the first associated with heroin use anywhere in the world. HPS warned in their report that “as long as the trade in illegal drugs exists, so does the risk of a similar occurrence.”

During the 2010 outbreak, drug users were warned that they would not be able to tell whether or not a given supply of the drug was tainted and that either injecting or smoking the drug could be dangerous. But there was no further action taken to help those at risk, which has since raised questions about the connection to the recent cases.

Anthrax is a very rare but serious bacterial infection caused by the organism Bacillus anthracis. Bacillus anthracis infects most farm animals and is usually spread to humans through a break in the skin. Anthrax can be treated with antibiotics if caught early enough, and doesn’t usually spread from person to person. However, if left untreated, anthrax can be fatal.

It is thought that the current and previous cases derive from a common geographical source. There are dozens of strains of bacillus anthracis that exist naturally in the world, with certain types being endemic to specific geographic regions, all of which are distinguishable by their DNA. It was through studies like these that led experts to suspect that the anthrax-affected drug users from 2009-10 in Scotland and England were all infected by heroin that was contaminated while being smuggled through Turkey in an infected goat-hide. Health Protection Scotland concluded that a single batch must have come into contact with anthrax spores somewhere between the Af-Pak region and its destination, Scotland. Gordon Meldrum, director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency said in a statement: “Production processes (of heroin) can be basic and are often conducted in areas where there is contamination from animal carcasses or faeces.”

Following the latest reports of anthrax-related deaths among heroin users, health officials across Europe are on guard. The Danish authorities have already called for heroin users with skin lesions to report to a health clinic to be tested for anthrax, which is likely to be copied by other nations in the coming weeks. Officials have warned that “there can be difficulty in distinguishing anthrax lesions from frequent soft tissue infections common in intravenous users.” There are also concerns that users with lesions will switch from injecting to smoking, which could be more deadly coming from a batch that contains anthrax spores, so they are desperately urging governments and the public to take this issue as a serious health threat.

But what is quite disconcerting, is the general lack of public awareness about this critical endemic. Health officials are concerned that the outbreak is at risk of being categorised as being merely another skin or soft tissue infection, which are common health problems suffered by the IDU population. Therefore, most government officials have disregarded the importance of the outbreak, which could mean that it will continue to spread and worsen across the continent.

It is thus vital that governments act quickly to warn those who are most at-risk, particularly the IDU population. Too often in these cases government officials delay releasing critical information about drug supplies, despite enough warnings that the drug supply is tainted and potentially deadly. It should be the duty of local governments to act swiftly, respectfully and with accurate information for drug users. The IDU community are challenging to reach out to – therefore by taking this issue seriously it will be a large step in combatting the outbreak.

Examples of how this could be achieved were exemplified by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), who claim that the European authorities should consider providing more detailed information regarding healthcare and drug treatment, with descriptions of the symptoms of anthrax infection to ensure early treatment. They should also consider the provision of appropriately-dosed opiate substitution treatment to prevent further anthrax cases (Talking Drugs, 2012)

Title: CWD Found For First Time In Iowa
Date: July 20, 2012
Source: 
StarTribune

Abstract: A white-tailed deer at a hunting preserve in Iowa has tested positive for chronic wasting disease – the first such case in Iowa.

Here’s more from an Iowa DNR news release:

The positive sample was verified this week, and DNR is working closely with the State Veterinarian on this isolated incident.

There is no evidence that CWD can spread to humans, pets or domestic livestock such as pork, beef, dairy, poultry, sheep or goats.

The Davis County facility where the animal was held has been inspected by the Iowa  DNR and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) to ensure that any remaining deer remain contained.  The facility is surrounded by an 8-foot fence.  A quarantine has also been issued for the facility.

“Given all of Iowa’s surrounding states have confirmed cases of CWD, Iowa DNR was prepared to address this isolated incident,” said DNR Deputy Director Bruce Trautman.

The DNR and IDALS have a CWD response plan in place to address the disease.

“We have a CWD surveillance program in place to test deer, elk and moose at the facilities that raise farm deer and we have worked closely with DNR to plan for a possible finding of the disease,” said Iowa State Veterinarian Dr. David Schmitt.

Iowa has tested 42,557 wild deer and over 4,000 captive deer and elk as part of the surveillance program since 2002 when CWD was found in Wisconsin.

The DNR will increase testing of wild deer in the area by working with hunters and landowners to collect samples from hunter harvested deer beginning this fall.

CWD is a neurological disease that only affects deer, elk and moose.  It is caused by an abnormal protein, called a prion, which affects the brains of infected animals, causing them to lose weight, display abnormal behavior and lose bodily functions. Signs include excessive salivation, thirst and urination, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, listlessness and drooping ears and head.  

The prions can attach to soil and spread the disease among deer. Chronic wasting disease was first identified in captive mule deer at a research facility in Colorado in 1967.  Prior to the positive detection in Iowa, CWD had been detected in every bordering state (StarTribune, 2012)

Title: CWD Found For First Time In Iowa
Date: July 20, 2012
Source: 
StarTribune

Abstract: A white-tailed deer at a hunting preserve in Iowa has tested positive for chronic wasting disease – the first such case in Iowa.

Here’s more from an Iowa DNR news release:

The positive sample was verified this week, and DNR is working closely with the State Veterinarian on this isolated incident.

There is no evidence that CWD can spread to humans, pets or domestic livestock such as pork, beef, dairy, poultry, sheep or goats.

The Davis County facility where the animal was held has been inspected by the Iowa  DNR and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) to ensure that any remaining deer remain contained.  The facility is surrounded by an 8-foot fence.  A quarantine has also been issued for the facility.

“Given all of Iowa’s surrounding states have confirmed cases of CWD, Iowa DNR was prepared to address this isolated incident,” said DNR Deputy Director Bruce Trautman.

The DNR and IDALS have a CWD response plan in place to address the disease.

“We have a CWD surveillance program in place to test deer, elk and moose at the facilities that raise farm deer and we have worked closely with DNR to plan for a possible finding of the disease,” said Iowa State Veterinarian Dr. David Schmitt.

Iowa has tested 42,557 wild deer and over 4,000 captive deer and elk as part of the surveillance program since 2002 when CWD was found in Wisconsin.

The DNR will increase testing of wild deer in the area by working with hunters and landowners to collect samples from hunter harvested deer beginning this fall.

CWD is a neurological disease that only affects deer, elk and moose.  It is caused by an abnormal protein, called a prion, which affects the brains of infected animals, causing them to lose weight, display abnormal behavior and lose bodily functions. Signs include excessive salivation, thirst and urination, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, listlessness and drooping ears and head.  

The prions can attach to soil and spread the disease among deer. Chronic wasting disease was first identified in captive mule deer at a research facility in Colorado in 1967.  Prior to the positive detection in Iowa, CWD had been detected in every bordering state (StarTribune, 2012)

Title: 2 More Whooping Cough Cases Confirmed In RI
Date: July 20, 2012
Source: 
SFGate

Abstract: Officials have confirmed two more cases of whooping cough in North Kingstown, bringing the total to eight amid a national increase in the disease.

Health Department officials announced the new cases Thursday as the agency held a vaccination clinic at North Kingstown High School. Another clinic will be held there Monday from 4 to 7 p.m.

There have been 35 cases of whooping cough, also called pertussis, this year in Rhode Island, which sees about 60 cases per year.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly 18,000 pertussis cases have been reported nationwide this year, more than twice the number seen at this point last year. Nine children have died.

The North Kingstown cases include an adult and seven children ages 8 to 11. All are recovering (SFGate, 2012)

Title: Philippine Gov't Confirms Infant Infected With Enterovirus-71
Date: July 20, 2012
Source: 
Xinhua

Abstract: The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Friday a case of a one-year-and-seven-month-old boy infected with Enterovirus-71 (EV-71), an illness that killed at least 52 children in Cambodia.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona said the infant, who came from the southern city of Davao, was one of the eight suspected hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases reported to the DOH. HFMD is also caused by Enterovirus, including EV-71.

But the health chief said the boy survived from the illness.

"The boy developed fever and rashes on his hands, soles of feet, mouth, and buttocks last July 6. The boy had no history of travel outside the country. A consultation was sought at a local health facility. He was sent home and has since recovered very well. No other cases were reported in their household nor in the community, " Ona said.

He said that of the eight suspected HFMD cases, six tested positive for the screening test. After the confirmatory test, all but one was negative for EV-71. These will be further tested for Coxsackie A16, which is also associated with HFMD.

Ona reminded the public to be vigilant to prevent any illness.

"Prevention relies on individual personal hygiene and hand washing; shared toys or teaching tools in daycare should be cleaned, washed and disinfected as they easily become contaminated, " he said (Xinhau, 2012)

Title: DHH Confirms 4 New Cases Of West Nile Virus
Date: July 20, 2012
Source: 
Fox News

Abstract: Louisiana's health department says four new cases of West Nile virus bring this year's total to 14.

It says the new cases include the year's third nervous system infection -- the infection's most dangerous form. That patient is in St. Tammany Parish; earlier neuroinvasive cases were reported in Rapides and Vernon parishes.

The other new cases are an East Baton Rouge Parish patient with flu-like West Nile fever and two people without symptoms, found by blood donor screening in Bossier and West Baton Rouge parishes.

That brings the total to eight cases without symptoms and three with fever.

State epidemiologist Raoult Ratard says West Nile virus is a fact of life in Louisiana now, so everyone should take precautions against mosquito bites and mosquito breeding places (Fox News, 2012)

Title: Bangalore: 20 Sloth Bears Infected With TB
Date: July 23, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: As many as 20 of the 23 sloth bears screened for medical examination have been found positive for tuberculosis. Nine bears have died of TB since January this year and the condition of another ten is said to be ‘critical.’ In total, 100 sloth bears are housed at the Bear Rescue Centre in Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) in Bangalore.

Human contact, lack of food and stress are the main reasons for these wild animals becoming victims of TB. Unfortunately, despite repeated medical tests, the bears show the symptoms of TB only when the disease aggravates. No specific kit has been designed anywhere in the world to detect TB in bears. Veterinary doctors are using the kit which has been designed for elephants.

Over the last one or two years, tuberculosis has become a major killer of bears, especially of those which have been rescued from Kalandars (bear charmers). Following complaints from animal lovers on torture of sloth bears by Kalandars, the Supreme Court directed the BBP authorities to open the Bear Rescue Centre to house all bears which have been rescued from various parts of the country. Last year, after some bears died of TB, experts from National TB Institute, Delhi and Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Bio-Technology, Trivandrum, tested all bears which showed symptoms of TB. The experts were baffled after the medical test of some bears with symptoms of TB showed negative.

Wildlife Veterinary Officer, Bear Rescue Centre, BBP, Dr Arun told Express that a majority of bears are infected by Mycobacterium tuberculosis that also infects humans. So, the bears may have contracted TB because of constant interaction with people, he added. He also said that these bears were also taken to several places without food by the Kalandars. In the process they develop all kinds of infections. Another major hurdle in treating is that the age of these animals are not known as they were separated from their mother very early by charmers. Without proper age, medication is difficult as there are chances of overdose, he added.

Although the infected bears have been quarantined and treated, it is very difficult to say how long they will live. Unlike human beings, these bears show symptoms like absence of liquid from nostrils, fatigue and lack of activity only when the disease becomes serious. They stop taking food and face difficulty in breathing. Any treatment at this stage does not help. A post-mortem on one of the bears that died recently showed huge lumps of sputum in the lung. “The lumps of sputum makes it hard for the bear to breathe,” he said. He also informed that the authorities are planning another round of tests for all the bears of the rescue centre and will do whatever is possible to save them.

Executive director of BBMP Dr R Raju said that they are doing their best to save the bears from TB. The infected bears have been quarantined to contain the spread of TB. Extreme weather condition has also aggravated problems for these bears, he added (IBN Live, 2012).

Title: N.H. Expands Testing In Hepatitis C Outbreak Case
Date: July 24, 2012
Source: 
USA Today

Abstract: Health officials said Tuesday that they are casting a wider net as they look for people who might have contracted hepatitis C from a traveling medical technician accused of causing an outbreak that has infected 30 patients.

Public health director Dr. Jose Montero said testing now is being recommended for anyone who had surgery at Exeter Hospital or was admitted to its intensive care unit from April 1, 2011, to May 25, 2012, when David Kwiatkowski worked in the hospital's cardiac catheterization lab.

Kwiatkowski, who was charged with federal drug crimes last week, is accused of stealing anesthetic drugs from the lab, injecting himself and contaminating syringes that were later used on patients, 30 of whom have been diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C Kwiatkowski carries. According to the hospital, he occasionally moved patients to operating rooms or the ICU, but he wasn't involved with procedures or patient care.

"As health care providers, our focus is first and foremost on our patients' care and safety," said Nancy Baese, president of the hospital's medical staff. "We would rather that thousands of our patients be tested by the state even if they all turn up negative than to miss one patient who might have been infected by this alleged criminal."

Testing previously had been recommended for the fewer than 1,300 people who had been treated at the lab since October 2010; the new recommendation covers about 6,000 people, some of whom might have been covered in the previous testing, Montero said. The testing recommendation doesn't include patients of the hospital's ambulatory surgical center.

Kwiatkowski, who was scheduled to make his initial court appearance Monday afternoon, worked as a "traveler" sent by staffing agencies to hospitals around the country, usually for temporary jobs. Federal prosecutors say he has worked in at least six states since 2007.

Although authorities haven't publicly identified the other states, health officials in Michigan, Maryland, Kansas and New York have confirmed his employment.

Former co-workers in other states told investigators that Kwiatkowski was known for telling false stories, including saying that he had cancer. According to court documents, he was fired for falsifying his time sheets at one hospital, was accused of stealing an anesthetic drug from a hospital operating room in 2008 and aroused significant suspicion in Exeter, where co-workers said he sometimes looked like he was "on something."

In a statement Tuesday, Exeter Hospital said it was sad that those who reportedly noticed cases of drug diversion apparently failed to report them to law enforcement.

"This inaction allegedly resulted in Kwiatkowski being able to secure employment in other hospitals around the country, including Exeter Hospital, resulting in this hepatitis C outbreak that has touched thousands of individuals across the New Hampshire seacoast and beyond."

Montero said the state will be sending letters to affected patients this week inviting them to a public forum Thursday night at Exeter High School. Testing clinics will be held Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at the school where officials will be using a rapid-response blood test that will give results in 20 minutes rather than the customary several days or weeks. Those who test positive will need additional testing, however, Montero said (USA Today, 2012)

Title: Health Officials: Kids, Pigs At LaPorte County Fair Ill From Same Virus
Date: July 24, 2012
Source: 
WSBT News

Abstract: How would you feel if doctors diagnosed your child with a cough or a “
flu virus”, but instinct told you there was much more to it?  That's what happened to several LaPorte County parents whose kids got sick at the fair earlier this month, at the same time dozens of pigs became ill.  Turns out, lab results confirmed the pigs and kids were sick with the same rare virus.

The Indiana State Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and the USDA National Veterinary Services laboratory in Iowa found 4 people and all 12 randomly selected pigs from the LaPorte County Fair swine barn had what’s called influenza A (H3N2)v – a strain of influenza in the same family as swine flu.

However, that strain is so rare that before the recent LaPorte County outbreak, a release from ISDH to all Indiana health departments said only 13 reported cases of the strain have been reported in the United States in the past two years. 

But some LaPorte County parents whose children were sick are upset about how the local outbreak was handled.

It’s a July night at the fair Holly Hunt and her family won’t soon forget. 

“Me and my husband took [our 13-year-old daughter] to the emergency room and on the way from the campground to the hospital, she was almost unconscious,” Hunt recounted.  “I was slapping her face, asking her questions, trying to get her to stay awake.”

Once they arrived at the ER with Emma, who’d been taking care of her pigs in the swine barn, Hunt said she became even more alarmed by the reaction from doctors and nurses. 

“We told them we were in the swine barn and they immediately all put masks on, they started IVs in Emma and took blood cultures to be sent off.  It was just nerve wracking not knowing what was going on,” Hunt continued.

She wasn’t alone.  WSBT spoke with at least three other parents whose children also became ill at the fair with similar upper respiratory symptoms.  When members of the LaPorte County Fair Swine Committee checked the temperatures of all the pigs in the barn on July 13, 41 of the pigs had fevers so high that guidelines issued by the State Board of Animal Health kept them from being sold at the auction. 

But fair organizers didn’t quarantine the barn. 

“They really didn’t tell us anything,” Hunt said.  “They didn’t want anybody to know what was going on.”

Also on July 13, neither the LaPorte County Health Department nor the State Board of Animal Health knew humans were sick until WSBT called them.  They later launched a joint investigation into the human and swine illnesses.

“I’m angry now,” Hunt said, because she recently found out her daughter, at least two other children and one adult were officially diagnosed with influenza A (H3N2)v – the same virus all the tested pigs had.

“I got a $2,700 emergency room bill where they tested [Emma] for everything from a pregnancy test down to a cocaine test.  Yeah, I have insurance but why should I have to pay for something that's not my fault?  Our pigs weren't sick, the kids' pigs were sold fine, they never ran a fever,” she explained. 

The state and LaPorte County Health Departments said they are still investigating, trying to find out if more people were sick.  State Health Department Epidemiologist Pam Pontones declined to tell WSBT how many humans had been tested for the H3N2v virus. 

WSBT spoke with several parents off camera who said at least a dozen children who had similar symptoms as the pigs and other sick children were treated at local hospitals and doctor’s offices. 

However, it’s important to note that pork is safe to eat because this virus is not transmitted into food, said Indiana State Board of Animal Health Public Information Director Denise Derrer. 

Pigs have had various strains of flu circulating since the 1930s, she added, but what made this illness unusual was the fact that the same strain of the virus affected both animals and humans at the same time.   

St. Joseph County Health Officer Dr. Thomas Felger said H3N2v is a relatively new strain of influenza health officials are still trying to learn about.

“This is extremely rare,” Felger said.  “That's why there's not a lot of answers because there's not a lot of data.”

Felger stressed that humans have a very low risk of getting sick from it. 

“It’s impossible to say that there's no risk, but again it's extremely low and again, 13 cases in 2 years means it's not very contagious,” he added. 

To avoid getting sick from something such as H3N2v, a news release from the ISDH suggests washing your hands with soap and water before and after petting or touching any animal.  Never eat, drink or put anything in your mouth in animal areas.  Older adults, pregnant women,  young children and people with weakened immune systems should be extra careful around animals (WSBT News, 2012)

Title: Camp Simcha To Conclude Current Camp Session Due To Flu Breakout
Date: July 25, 2012
Source: 
TLS

Abstract: The following was released by Camp Simcha moments ago: On the advice of its medical director, Dr. Peter Steinherz, and its associate medical director, Dr. Leonard Wexler, both leading pediatric oncologists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Chai Lifeline has decided to conclude the current Camp Simcha session five days early.

Several children were diagnosed with viral flu influenza. They were immediately isolated from the rest of the camp population and they have already returned home. The final two sessions of camp have not been affected. The next session will begin on August 2.

“The medical directors have made this decision for the safety of all campers,” said Rabbi Simcha Scholar, executive vice president of Chai Lifeline. “Children fighting cancer have weakened immune systems, and our first priority is to safeguard their health. While no children are in danger, the medical staff has taken the prudent step of ending this session to ensure that no other children are exposed to the flu.”

While they are undoubtedly sad about missing even one day of camp, Camp Simcha’s campers will continue to find joy and camaraderie during Chai Lifeline’s year-round activities and programs and their ongoing friendships with counselors and bunkmates (TLS, 2012)

Title: Scottish Heroin Addict Contracts Anthrax
Date: July 26, 2012
Source: 
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: An intravenous drug user in Scotland was recently hospitalized after contracting anthrax.

The patient, a known heroin user from the county of Lanarkshire, is in stable condition, but few other details have been released about how he may have acquired the illness, according to STV.tv.

Public health officials worry that there is an infected supply of heroin in circulation the area.

“It is possible that heroin contaminated with anthrax may be circulating in Lanarkshire and potentially other parts of Scotland,” Dr. David Cromie, consultant in public health medicine at NHS Lanarkshire, said, STV.tv reports. “There have been recent reports of anthrax from contaminated heroin in other Western European Countries, the most recent reported outbreak being in Germany.

“It is important that drug users are aware of the particular dangers involved when they are injecting heroin. Clinicians and microbiologist are on alert to the possibility of anthrax in heroin users who present with appropriate signs and symptoms. Injecting drug users known to Lanarkshire addiction services are being contacted to raise their awareness.”

Scotland faced a similar series of anthrax infections among heroin users in 2010. At that time, a contaminated batch of the drug is believed to have caused 119 infections and 14 deaths. A report concluded the anthrax outbreak was the first of its kind associated with heroin use. Since then, there have been similar cases in Germany and Denmark, according to the BBC (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Hepatitis Outbreak In New Hampshire Strikes Fear In 7 Other States
Date: July 26, 2012
Source: 
CNN

Abstract: Hospitals in at least eight states want to know how many hundreds or thousands of their patients have come in contact with a lab technician accused of spreading hepatitis C.

The man, David Kwiatkowski, has the disease, which can pass through contact with contaminated blood, most often via shared needles. Authorities say the Michigan native injected himself with painkillers meant for patients when he worked at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire and left the syringes for reuse.

He was arrested this month in connection with spreading the disease at Exeter and has been charged with obtaining controlled substances by fraud and tampering with a consumer product, according to an affidavit filed in federal court. He is suspected of stealing fentanyl, a powerful analgesic that is substantially more potent than morphine, the affidavit said.

Thirty Exeter patients have been diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C that Kwiatkowski has. Now, officials want to be sure that outbreak has not spread past New England.

Kwiatkowski, 33, worked as a traveling medical technician on a contract basis for hospitals in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania in the past five years, hospitals and health officials in those states confirmed.

Asked Wednesday whether anyone in the health care industry ever reported anything about Kwiatkowski, he said: "Many health care practitioners view drug diversion as a problem that requires treatment only. It does require treatment, but it's also incumbent on someone to report it to law enforcement authorities. This may be a big teaching moment for the industry."

Authorities in the states where Kwiatkowski worked want patients who may have come in contact with the man to be tested for the disease. Kwiatkowski told authorities he found out he had hepatitis C in May 2012, but further investigation revealed he tested positive for the disease in June 2010.

Hepatitis C is considered to be among the most serious of hepatitis viruses. It is typically asymptomatic, going undetected until liver damage shows up, according to the Mayo Clinic website.

New Hampshire's health department is asking that anyone who was a patient in Exeter's operating rooms and the intensive care unit between April 1, 2011, and May 25 of this year be tested.

Those are two areas that Kwiatkowski visited during his "routine duties to transport patients," Exeter Hospital said in a written statement. But it added that he "was not involved with procedures or patient care."

The hospital said "there is an extremely small chance that anyone will be found to have been infected with a hepatitis C strain that is genetically linked to Kwiatkowski outside of the Cardiac Catheterization Unit."

"However, as we continue to learn about Kwiatkowski's history in other states from the ongoing criminal investigation, and out of an abundance of caution, Exeter Hospital supports the (health department's) decision to offer expanded testing to patients treated in these two other areas even though Kwiatkowski had no formal role supporting procedures in those areas."

Kacavas said his office interviewed employees at Exeter who said they had seen Kwiatkowski sweating profusely and with bloodshot eyes.

"One of them described him as unfit to provide medical care and his supervisor sent him home," Kacavas said. "He provided a plausible explanation for his condition, which was that he had been crying his eyes out because his aunt had died and he was an emotional wreck."

According to state and hospital officials, he worked in as a radiology technician and in cardiac catheterization labs in the following locations:

-- Oakwood Annapolis Hospital in Wayne, Michigan, January to September 2007;

-- Saint Francis Hospital, Poughkeepsie, New York, November 2007 to February 2008;

-- UPMC Presbyterian, Pittsburgh, March 2008 to May 2008;

-- Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center, May 2008 to November 2008;

-- Southern Maryland Hospital, Clinton, Maryland, December 2008 to February 2009;

-- Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, July 2009 to January 2010;

-- Maryland General Hospital, Baltimore, January 2010 to March 2010;

-- Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia, April 2010;

-- Hays Medical Center, Hays, Kansas, May 2010 to September 2010;

-- Houston Medical Center, Warner Robins, Georgia, October 2010 to March 2011.

Arizona health authorities and Maricopa County, Arizona, public health officials have been told the man worked briefly in Maricopa County during 2009 and 2010 "for a temporary health care staffing agency." It is not known exactly where he worked.

"We are in the process of confirming details so that we may accurately inform the public of any potential risk and actions to take," said Bob England, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health

Johns Hopkins is calling in about 200 patients who had a procedure at the lab during the time Kwiatkowski worked there. About 460 patients had procedures at the lab in Kansas during Kwiatkowski's stint there.

But the number of people who may be tested might change as officials peruse medical records and see who needs to be seen.

These and the other institutions are calling old patients in and offering free testing. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is helping state health officers and hospitals tackle the problem.

Like Exeter and New Hampshire, other hospitals and states are, as Johns Hopkins puts it, "erring on the side of patient safety and contacting anyone who came in during that time."

"He didn't necessarily have contact with all patients who were at the lab during that time period," said a statement from Johns Hopkins.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary and State Health Officer Robert Moser said he understands patient concerns but is reassuring people that "we have no reason to be concerned about additional risks to the public" because Kwiatkowski worked in Kansas two years ago.

Authorities across the United States want to know as much as they can about Kwiatkowski's whereabouts since he became infected. The New York health department asked the state's hospitals and radiology facilities to identify any place where Kwiatkowski might have worked since January 1, 2007, either as a facility employee or as a "traveler" employed by a contracting agency.

Kwiatkowski was arrested earlier this month in a Massachusetts hospital where he was being treated. He is now being held in the Strafford County, New Hampshire, jail. He could face more than 20 years in prison if convicted.

"The evidence gathered to date points irrefutably to Kwiatkowski as the source of the hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital. With his arrest, we have eliminated the menace this 'serial infector' posed to public health and safety," U.S. Attorney John P. Kacavas in New Hampshire said.

Kwiatkowski appeared in New Hampshire federal court Tuesday and waived his right to a detention hearing. Kacavas said it is possible more charges could be filed.

A negligence complaint and a class action lawsuit have been filed in U.S. District Court in Omaha, Nebraska, against Triage Staffing, a health care company that hired and placed Kwiatkowski at Exeter.

One of the cases, filed by Seabrook, New Hampshire, resident Robert Oliver Fowler claimed Kwiatkowski was negligently hired and retained.

"Triage failed to exercise reasonable care in view of all of the circumstances surrounding the job Mr. Kwiatkowski was to perform at Exeter Hospital. Triage failed to exercise the degree of care required related to the severity of risk to Mr. Fowler. Triage knew or should have known of Mr. Kwiatkowski's likelihood of causing harm to Mr. Fowler when it supervised Mr. Kwiatkowski. Triage failed to conduct a reasonable investigation that could have found Mr. Kwiatkowski's likelihood of causing harm to Mr. Fowler," the suit said.

Joe M. Grillo, a spokesman for Triage Staffing, told CNN in an e-mail that "we are aware of issues involving a former contract medical technologist at Exeter Hospital. Given that there is an ongoing criminal investigation, as well as pending civil litigation, it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time."

Fowler's attorney, Domenic Paolini of Boston, said firms like Triage need to perform due diligence in vetting employees. At present, he said, a cashier at a hardware store gets "more scrutiny" for hiring than people working in important health care jobs.

Firms that employ traveling health care workers need to rethink their hiring procedures, he said, and "hospital policies and procedures need to be changed as well" (CNN, 2012)

Title: Italian Olives Linked To Botulism Case In The UK
Date: July 27, 2012
Source:
Globalist Dispatch

Abstract: Health officials in the UK have confirmed the presence of botulinum toxin in a jar of Italian olives after a Oxfordshire resident was admitted to the hospital  after developing botulism.

This event prompted the British Food Standards Agency (FSA) to issue a Food Alert for Action.

According to a Health Protection Agency (HPA) news release Wednesday, the implicated olives are “Olive Bella Di Cerignola” produced by ‘I Divini’. These are large green olives from the Puglia region of Italy and are packaged in brine in glass jars with a lot number of 161/11 and best before date of 10/06/2014. This type of olive is distributed under a number of different brand names but only the I DIVINI di Chicco Francesco brand is associated with this incident.

Investigations are focusing on delicatessen shops where this product could be on sale.

Botulism is a rare disease in the UK with only33 cases reported in the past 23 years, 27 of the cases were linked to a single outbreak.

Food borne botulism is a severe intoxication caused by eating the preformed toxin present in contaminated food.

Food borne botulism occurs when the bacterium Clostridium botulinum is allowed to grow and produce toxin in food that is later eaten without sufficient heating or cooking to inactivate the toxin. Botulinum toxin is one of the most potent neurotoxins known.

Growth of this anaerobic bacteria and the formation of the toxin tend to happen in products with low acidity and oxygen content and low salt and sugar content. Inadequately processed, home-canned foods like asparagus, green beans, beets, and corn have commonly been implicated.

However, there have been outbreaks of botulism from more unusual sources such as chopped garlic in oil, chili peppers, improperly handled baked potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil and home-canned or fermented fish. Garden foods like tomatoes, which used to be considered too acidic for the growth of Clostridium botulinum, is now considered a potentially hazardous food in home canning.

Though more common in home-canned foods, it does happen occasionally in commercially prepared foods.

Typically in a few hours to several days after you eat the contaminated food you will start to show the classic symptoms; blurred vision, dry mouth, and difficulty in swallowing. Gastrointestinal symptoms may or may not occur. If untreated, the paralysis always descends through the body starting at the shoulders and working its way down.

The most serious complication of botulism is respiratory failure where it is fatal in up to 10% of people. It may take months before recovery is complete.

If the disease is caught early enough it can be treated with antitoxin. If paralysis and respiratory failure happen, the person may be on a ventilator for several weeks.

The FSA is asking people who have bought the implicated jar of olives not to eat them and contact their local authority environmental health food safety team who will arrange collection of the product.

The person taken ill with botulism is recovering in hospital. No other cases of illness have been reported (Globalist Dispatch, 2012).

Title: First West Nile Case Reported In NY As Virus Hits 17 States
Date: July 27, 2012
Source: 
Fox News

Abstract: A 50-year-old Staten Island man is the first person in New York to be diagnosed with West Nile virus this year, according to a statement from the New York City Health Department.

That brings the total number of states reporting cases of West Nile in 2012 to 17. Most cases have occurred in southern states, including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma, but the disease has been reported in Minnesota and South Dakota, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Not including the New York man, 182 people have been reported to have West Nile, and two have died from the disease, the CDC says. The deaths were reported in Texas and Arizona.

Cases of West Nile, which is transmitted by mosquitos, typically increase during the summer.

West Nile virus can cause mild flu-like symptoms, or more severe disease. The most common symptoms are headache, fever, muscle aches and extreme fatigue.

In some people, particularly those over age 50, the virus can cause a life-threatening infection of the brain and spinal cord, the NYC Health Department says. The New York man was hospitalized with this condition, called viral meningitis.

The best way to protect yourself from West Nile virus is to avoid mosquito bites, according to the CDC. The CDC advises people to use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants (especially at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active), use window screens, and get rid of standing water, such as buckets and barrels, as these can serve as mosquito breeding sites (Fox News, 2012)

Title: Officials: Ebola Breaks Out In Uganda
Date: July 28, 2012
Source: 
USA Today

Abstract: The deadly Ebola virus has killed 14 people in western Uganda this month, Ugandan health officials said on Saturday, ending weeks of speculation about the cause of a strange disease that had many people fleeing their homes.

The officials and a World Health Organization representative told a news conference in Kampala Saturday that there is "an outbreak of Ebola" in Uganda.

"Laboratory investigations done at the Uganda Virus Research Institute…have confirmed that the strange disease reported in Kibaale is indeed Ebola hemorrhagic fever," the Ugandan government and WHO said in joint statement.

Kibaale is a district in midwestern Uganda, where people in recent weeks have been troubled by a mysterious illness that seemed to have come from nowhere. Ugandan health officials had been stumped as well, and spent weeks conducting laboratory tests that were at first inconclusive.

On Friday, Joaquim Saweka, the WHO representative in Uganda, told The Associated Press that investigators were "not so sure" it was Ebola, and a Ugandan health official dismissed the possibility of Ebola as merely a rumor. It appears firm evidence of Ebola was clinched overnight.

Health officials told reporters in Kampala that the 14 dead were among 20 reported with the disease. Two of the infected have been isolated for examination by researchers and health officials. A clinical officer and, days later, her 4-month-old baby died from the disease caused by the Ebola virus, officials said.

Officials urged Ugandans to be calm, saying a national emergency taskforce had been set up to stop the disease from spreading far and wide.

There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola, and in Uganda, where in 2000 the disease killed 224 people and left hundreds more traumatized, it resurrects terrible memories.

Ebola, which manifests itself as a hemorrhagic fever, is highly infectious and kills quickly. It was first reported in 1976 in Congo and is named for the river where it was recognized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Scientists don't know the natural reservoir of the virus, but they suspect the first victim in an Ebola outbreak gets infected through contact with an infected animal, such as a monkey.

The virus can be transmitted in several ways, including through direct contact with the blood of an infected person. During communal funerals, for example, when the bereaved come into contact with an Ebola victim, the virus can be contracted, officials said, warning against unnecessary contact with suspected cases of Ebola.

In Kibaale, some villagers had started abandoning their homes in recent weeks to escape what they thought was an illness that had something to do with bad luck, because people were quickly falling ill and dying, and there was no immediate explanation, officials said.

Officials said now that they've verified Ebola in the area, they can concentrate on controlling the disease. Ebola patients were being treated at the only major hospital in Kibaale, said Stephen Byaruhanga, the district's health secretary.

"Being a strange disease, we were shocked to learn that it was Ebola," Byaruhanga said. "Our only hope is that in the past when Ebola broke out in other parts of Uganda it was controlled."

The challenge, he said, was retaining the services of all the nurses and doctors who are being asked to risk their lives in order to look after the sick.

"Their lives are at stake," he said.

Officials also worry that other villagers suffering from other diseases might be afraid to visit the hospital for fear of catching Ebola, he said (USA Today, 2012).

Title: West Nile Kills Mom Of 4 On Child's Birthday
Date: July 30, 2012
Source: 
Fox News

Abstract: A Dallas woman on Friday became the third resident of the city to die of West Nile virus, MyFoxDFW reported.

Rosalinda Benavides, a 43-year-old mother of four, died at Baylor Medical Center at Irving at 5:30 a.m., according to family members.

Family members said the woman, who had received a kidney transplant three years ago, first complained of symptoms on July 3 and was soon hospitalized. They said she had slipped into a coma for a time and was taken off life support yesterday.

Benavides died on the birthday of her youngest child – a 15-year-old boy. Her oldest child is 25 (Fox News, 2012)

Title: Denmark Reports Second Anthrax Case In Heroin User
Date: July 30, 2012
Source: 
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: A second case of anthrax has been reported in Copenhagen, Denmark, as a result of tainted heroin, according to country’s board of health.

The State Serum Institute confirmed on Saturday that a 39-year-old drug addict tested positive for Bacillus anthracis, the deadly anthrax bacterium. The patient first visited a doctor on Wednesday and the anthrax diagnosis was confirmed by Friday, Jyllands-Posten reports.

The infected patient is currently being treated in Copenhagen for anthrax.

The incident follows a fatal case of anthrax in the country earlier in July, when a 55-year-old heroin user became infected after using tainted drugs.

“It underlines the risk of the use of heroin, where it appears that it may be contaminated with the anthrax bacteria,” Arne Scheel Thomsen, the chief medical officer of the National Board of Health Ritzau, said, according to Jyllands-Posten.

Heroin users have been affected elsewhere in Europe, with anthrax cases reported in France, Germany and Lanarkshire, Scotland.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anthrax is a disease caused by the spore-forming Bacillus anthracis bacterium, which can infect humans and animals through the skin, lungs or digestive system. Humans can become infected by handling products from infected animals. Anthrax was used as a weapon in the United States in 2001 when it was deliberately sent through the mail (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: 6 More Ugandans Admitted With Possible Ebola
Date: July 30, 2012
Source: 
USA Today

Abstract: Six more patients suspected to have Ebola have been admitted to the hospital days after investigators confirmed an outbreak of the highly infectious disease in a remote corner of western Uganda, a health official said on Monday. 

Stephen Byaruhanga, health secretary of the affected Kibaale district, said possible cases of Ebola, at first concentrated in a single village, are now being reported in more villages.

"It's no longer just one village. There are many villages affected," Byaruhanga said.

In a national address Monday, Uganda's president advised against unnecessary contact among people, saying suspected cases of Ebola should be reported immediately to health officials.

Officials from Uganda's Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization announced on Saturday that the deadly Ebola virus killed 14 Ugandans this month, ending weeks of speculation about the cause of a strange illness that had some people fleeing their homes in the absence of reliable answers.

If the six new cases are confirmed as Ebola, it would bring to 26 the number of Ugandans infected with Ebola.

This is the fourth occurrence of Ebola in Uganda since 2000, when the disease killed 224 people and left hundreds more traumatized in northern Uganda. At least 42 people were killed in another outbreak in 2007, and there was a lone Ebola case in 2011.

Investigators took nearly a month to confirm Ebola's presence in Uganda this year. In Kibaale, a district with 600,000 residents, some villagers started abandoning their homes to escape what they thought was an illness caused by bad luck. One family lost nine members, and a clinical officer and her 4-month-old baby died from Ebola, Byaruhanga said.

D.K. Lwamafa, of Uganda's Ministry of Health, told reporters on Saturday that one Ebola patient from Kibaale had been referred to the national hospital in the capital but had then died in Kibaale.

The confirmation of Ebola's presence in the area has spread anxiety among sick villagers, who are refusing to go the hospital for fear they don't have Ebola and will contract it there. All suspected Ebola patients have been isolated at one hospital where patients admitted with other illnesses fled after Ebola was announced. Only the hospital's maternity ward still has patients, officials said, highlighting the deadly reputation of Ebola in a country where the authorities do not always respond quickly and effectively to emergencies and disasters.

Barnabas Tinkasimire, a lawmaker from the area, said that some nurses refused to look after Ebola patients after one clinical officer died and another was taken ill.

"They are saying, 'We can't remain here if there is no sufficient allowance,'" Tinkasimire said of medical officers handling Ebola cases.

The lawmaker said the government's response so far has been poor and that it would have been worse without the technical support of organizations such as the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It took long for the government to respond, and up to now many people don't know how to guard against Ebola. We need sensitization," he said.

Ebola, which manifests itself as a hemorrhagic fever, is highly infectious and kills quickly. It was first reported in 1976 in Congo and is named for the river where it was recognized. A CDC factsheet on Ebola says the disease is "characterized by fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. A rash, red eyes, hiccups and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients."

Scientists don't know the natural reservoir of the virus, but they suspect the first victim in an Ebola outbreak gets infected through contact with an infected animal.

The virus can be transmitted through direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person, or objects that have been contaminated with infected secretions. During communal funerals, for example, when the bereaved come into contact with an Ebola victim, the virus can be contracted, health officials said (USA Today, 2012)

Title: New Avian Flu Virus Jumps From Birds To Mammals, Kills New England's Baby Seals
Date: July 31, 2012
Source: 
MedicaXpress

Abstract: A novel avian influenza virus has acquired the ability to infect aquatic mammals and was responsible for an outbreak of fatal pneumonia that recently struck harbor seals in New England, according to scientists at the Center for Infection & Immunity (CII) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, New England Aquarium, USGS National Wildlife Health Center, SeaWorld and EcoHealth Alliance. 

This research is published in mBio. Wildlife officials first became concerned in September 2011, when seals with severe pneumonia and skin lesions suddenly appeared along the coastline from southern Maine to northern Massachusetts. 

Most were infants (less than 6 months), and a total of 162 dead or moribund seals were recovered over the next 3 months. Pathogen screening was conducted in a subset of afflicted seals, using sensitive diagnostic tools developed at the CII, and a new strain of avian H3N8 influenza virus was identified as a culprit. 

"When initial tests revealed an avian influenza virus, we asked the obvious question: how did this virus jump from birds to seals?" says Simon Anthony, D.Phil, postdoctoral research scientist at the CII and the lead author of the study. Based on full genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis, seal H3N8 descended from an avian strain that has been circulating in North American waterfowl since 2002, which implies recent transmission from wild birds to seals. 

Accordingly, seal H3N8 has acquired the ability to bind sialic acid receptors that are commonly found in the mammalian respiratory tract. Mutations in the HA and PB2 genes – required for cell entry and replication, respectively – suggest enhanced virulence and transmission in mammals, but these putative attributes require further investigation. Given these findings along with the long history of the spread of avian influenza to humans—most notably H1N1 and H5N1—seal H3N8 could pose a threat to public health. 

"Our findings reinforce the importance of wildlife surveillance in predicting and preventing pandemics, says W. Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity and John Snow Professor of Epidemiology, at the Mailman School of Public Health. "HIV/AIDS, SARS, West Nile, Nipah and influenza are all examples of emerging infectious diseases that originated in animals. Any outbreak of disease in domestic animals or wildlife, while an immediate threat to wildlife conservation, must also be considered potentially hazardous to humans" 
(MedicaXpress, 2012)

Title: Emergence Of Fatal Avian Influenza In New England Harbor Seals
Date: July 31, 2012
Source: 
mBio

Abstract: From September to December 2011, 162 New England harbor seals died in an outbreak of pneumonia. Sequence analysis of postmortem samples revealed the presence of an avian H3N8 influenza A virus, similar to a virus circulating in North American waterfowl since at least 2002 but with mutations that indicate recent adaption to mammalian hosts. These include a D701N mutation in the viral PB2 protein, previously reported in highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza viruses infecting people. Lectin staining and agglutination assays indicated the presence of the avian-preferred SA
α-2,3 and mammalian SAα-2,6 receptors in seal respiratory tract, and the ability of the virus to agglutinate erythrocytes bearing either the SAα-2,3 or the SAα-2,6 receptor. The emergence of this A/harbor seal/Massachusetts/1/2011 virus may herald the appearance of an H3N8 influenza clade with potential for persistence and cross-species transmission.

Importance 
The emergence of new strains of influenza virus is always of great public concern, especially when the infection of a new mammalian host has the potential to result in a widespread outbreak of disease. Here we report the emergence of an avian influenza virus (H3N8) in New England harbor seals which caused an outbreak of pneumonia and contributed to a U.S. federally recognized unusual mortality event (UME). This outbreak is particularly significant, not only because of the disease it caused in seals but also because the virus has naturally acquired mutations that are known to increase transmissibility and virulence in mammals. Monitoring the spillover and adaptation of avian viruses in mammalian species is critically important if we are to understand the factors that lead to both epizootic and zoonotic emergence (mBio, 2012)

Title: State Confirms Variant Flu Case On Maui 
Date: July 31, 2012
Source: 
Hawaii Department of Health (PDF)

Abstract: Local and federal officials are investigating the cause of a confirmed variant flu case on Maui. The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is working with federal and state partners, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture (HDOA) to find the source of how a Maui resident adult contracted the virus, known as H3N2v virus. 

The resident sought medical attention after experiencing symptoms consistent with the regular flu, including fever, cough, and body aches. Because the patient's primary care doctor is a participant in DOH’s influenza-like illness sentinel network (ILINet), a respiratory specimen was sent to the State Laboratories Division for testing.  Lab results for H3N2v virus were confirmed by CDC late last week. The resident has since fully recovered without need for hospitalization. 

"Fortunately, we have a robust surveillance network and our State Laboratory detected this variantvirus and conferred with federal partners," stated Health Director Loretta Fuddy.  "Thanks to the excellent cooperation of Hawaii's healthcare providers, participation in our sentinel network exceeds CDC recommendations.  In addition to our state laboratory’s ability to identify unusual flu strains, sentinel physicians contribute to our ability to catch incidents such as this, which might otherwise fall below the radar." 

The H3N2v virus identified in this case shares genetic similarities to variant flu viruses which have been identified in several other states in the past year.  The H3N2v virus has rarely infected humans and has caused only limited human-to-human infection.  The small number of previous Maui infections has occurred mostly among children and those who work closely with pigs (e.g.,livestock farmers).  In this case, preliminary DOH findings suggest the latter exposure, although the investigation is ongoing in collaboration with HDOA.

“The virus seems to be behaving as previously observed in other cases, with illness similar to seasonal flu and with no sustained community transmission,” noted State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “Still, anyone who develops flu-like illness within a week after close contact with domestic pigs should see their healthcare provider.”

Additionally, children, pregnant women, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems should be especially careful around pigs and practice good hand washing habits; those who work closely with pigs should take appropriate protective measures, including hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, and regular influenza vaccination.

“This particular virus is mainly transmitted through exposure to infected swine and is nottransmitted through properly cooked pork,” said HDOA state veterinarian Dr. James Foppoli. 

“HDOA veterinarians will be taking samples to investigate the status of swine herds potentially associated with this case.  The total number of human cases of swine derived influenza virus suggests that viral transmission from swine to humans is extremely uncommon.  However, as in the past, we continue to emphasize that pig farmers and others having close contact with live swine practice good hygienic measures, such as frequent hand washing.”

Animal samples taken by HDOA will be tested by the DOH State Laboratory as part of their work as a member of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (Hawaii Department of Health, 2012)

Title: Hawaii Confirms H3N2 Variant In Maui Resident
Date: August 1, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: An influenza variant virus recognized to be circulating in swine since last year has infected a Maui resident according to 
Hawaii health officials.

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) said in a news release Tuesday:

The resident sought medical attention after experiencing symptoms consistent with the regular flu, including fever, cough, and body aches. Because the patient's primary care doctor is a participant in DOH’s influenza-like illness sentinel network (ILINet), a respiratory specimen was sent to the State Laboratories Division for testing. Lab results for H3N2v virus were confirmed by CDC late last week. The resident has since fully recovered without need for hospitalization.

Hawaii Health Director Loretta Fuddy commended the entire health network in discovering this case, "Fortunately, we have a robust surveillance network and our State Laboratory detected this variant virus and conferred with federal partners.

Thanks to the excellent cooperation of Hawaii's healthcare providers, participation in our sentinel network exceeds CDC recommendations. In addition to our state laboratory’s ability to identify unusual flu strains, sentinel physicians contribute to our ability to catch incidents such as this, which might otherwise fall below the radar."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says a “variant influenza virus” is when an influenza virus that normally circulates in swine (but not people) is detected in a person.

Most of the recent human H3N2v virus infections have occurred after contact with pigs, although in some cases, the virus seems to have spread from person-to-person.

A human infection with H3N2v virus resembles symptoms seen in regular seasonal flu infections, which may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, diarrhea, and vomiting.

“The virus seems to be behaving as previously observed in other cases, with illness similar to seasonal flu and with no sustained community transmission,” noted State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “Still, anyone who develops flu-like illness within a week after close contact with domestic pigs should see their healthcare provider.”

Hawaii health officials warn however, that children, pregnant women, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems should be especially careful around pigs and practice good hand washing habits.

State, local and federal health authorities are investigating to find the source of the virus.

To report a suspected case of H3N2v virus infection, clinicians should contact the Disease Investigation Branch at  (808) 586-4586 . Laboratory questions should be directed to the State Laboratories Division at  (808) 453-6700  (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Health Officials Investigating Flu Illnesses From Butler County Fair 
Date: August 1, 2012
Source: 
Ohio Department of Health (PDF)

Abstract: The Ohio Departments of Health (ODH) and Agriculture (ODA), along with the Butler County Health

Department are actively investigating human illnesses associated with the Butler County Fair. Preliminary laboratory results on ten samples indicate similarities to the influenza virus, (H3N2)v. All individuals in Butler County’s investigation also had direct contact with swine, however the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not yet confirmed any of the cases.

Butler County Health Department continues to collect information and is working with ODH and CDC to determine the extent of the illnesses. ODA is asking fair exhibitors to take precautions and is alerting attending veterinarians to closely monitor swine as they arrive on the fairgrounds for signs of influenza.

Fair attendance is safe; visitors should remember to always wash their hands after being in close-proximity to livestock and to keep food and drink out of animal exhibits. All fair animals, especially pigs, are monitored for illness and signs of flu-like symptoms and are checked by veterinarians every day they are at the fair. This is to protect the health of both the people visiting the fair and the other animals in the barns.

Influenza viruses such as H3N2 and its variants are not unusual in swine and can be directly transmitted from swine to people and from people to swine in the same way that all viruses can be transmitted between people. When humans are in close proximity to live infected swine, such as in barns and livestock exhibits at fairs, movement of these viruses can occur back and forth between humans and animals. Influenza viruses cannot be transmitted by eating pork or pork products. 

Individuals should always wash hands with soap and water before and after petting or touching any animal.  Never eat, drink, or put anything in your mouth in animal areas.  Older adults, pregnant women, young children, and people with weakened immune systems should be extra careful around animals.

Ohioans who have direct, routine contact with swine, such as working in swine barns or showing swine at fairs, and have experienced cough or influenza-like illness should contact their health care provider or local health department.  Symptoms include cough, sore throat, fever, body aches, and possibly other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea (Ohio Department of Health, 2012).

Title: Ebola Deaths In Uganda Rise To 15
Date: August 1, 2012
Source: 
Yahoo News

Abstract: At least 15 people have died in Uganda from the deadly Ebola virus with the toll likely to rise further, the health ministry said Wednesday.

Ebola broke out in early July in Uganda's western Kibale district, some 200 kilometres (120 miles) from Kampala, and around 50 kilometres from the border with Democratic Republic of Congo.

"Two more deaths were last evening recorded at Kagadi Government Hospital in Kibale district... The first death was a female who had earlier tested positive for Ebola," said Dennis Lwamafa, Uganda's director general for health services.

The other death, a "new admission", was feared to have also been due to Ebola, although tests had yet to confirm the exact cause, Lwamafa said in statement.

A health worker from western Uganda last week fell sick and travelled to Kampala, later dying in hospital. It was the first time the killer virus, one of the most virulent diseases in the world, had hit the city of 1.5 million.

A sample has also been collected from a patient in Mbarara, another district of western Uganda, some 100 kilometres from Kibale -- and it is currently being analysed.

In Kibale, health workers are monitoring "two confirmed cases of Ebola and 16 unconfirmed admitted at the hospital isolation facility," Lwamafa said.

In addition, 178 people remain under surveillance in the district, he added.

Ebola, which can cause both internal and external bleeding, spreads by direct contact with the blood or other body fluids of infected persons, according to the World Health Organisation.

The rare haemorrhagic disease, named after a small river in DR Congo, killed 37 people in western Uganda in 2007 and at least 170 in the north of the country in 2000.

Neighbouring nations -- including Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania -- have also moved to reassure the public, warning people to report to health centres in case of Ebola-like symptoms.

"The people are advised not to panic, as so far we have not received any case within our borders," Tanzanian health ministry official Regina Kikulishe said.

"We advise them to report to a nearby health centre in case they come across anyone with Ebola symptoms."

South Sudan's Minister of Health Michael Milly Hussein said health workers were alerted to "ensure that all suspected cases are detected on time."

Kenya and Rwanda made similar warnings (Yahoo News, 2012)

Title: Swine Flu Found In Pigs At Monroe County Fair
Date: August 1, 2012
Source: 
Fox 59 News

Abstract: Monroe County Fair officials broke the news to 4-Hers and their families Tuesday, July 31.  Vets have been checking the health of every pig at this year's fair.  Some pigs are being sent home after showing signs of the 
Swine Flu.

The threat of Swine Flu has spread to this year's Monroe County Fair.

"Some children have become ill after visiting the fair." said Amy Thompson with Purdue Extension.  "But at this point, those illnesses can not be tied to the hog issue." 

Hundreds of people once again packed the midway.  As a precaution, there was one place the public could not be, up close with the pigs in the swine barn. 

"Some hogs are leaving now, we are screening hogs, checking their temperatures to see if they are in line with the protocols that the Indiana Board of Animal Health has given us as guidance," said Thompson.

There were four confirmed cases of Swine Flu at this year's La Porte County Fair.  There have been unconfirmed cases in: Hendricks, Jackson and now Monroe Counties.

Dana Ooley's daughter showed pigs this year.  He said the threat of Swine Flu put a damper on this year's fair for the entire family.

"It is a let-down," said Dana Ooley.

Ooley said the real impact will be felt when it comes time to auction off the animal.  He said many 4-Hers use the auction money they make to pay for next year's project.

"The auction is going to be hurt, so the project next year may or may not happen because of the sale," said Ooley.  "It is a tough deal for the families involved."

But will there even be an auction if sick pigs are being removed from the grounds?  4-Hers, Katherine Ramage said she and others have taken pictures with their pigs, to possibly give to potential bidders.

"So I guess we are going to walk in with that and say, 'this is our pig, who wants to bid on it?'  But then again, we may be taking our pigs in and selling them…it depends on who's pig is sick, and who's pig is not," said 4-Her Katherine Ramage 
(Fox 59 News, 2012)

Title: Ireland Reports First Ever Case Of Hantavirus
Date: August 2, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: The Emerald Isle is reporting its first ever case of the rodent borne virus in a German visitor earlier this year. Human Hantavirus infection has not previously been diagnosed in 
Ireland.

According to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre publication, Epi- Insight, released on August 1, a thirty year-old tourist from Germany presented in the Mid West Regional Hospital in Limerick earlier this year with renal failure and respiratory symptoms.

The German visitor was managed with supportive therapy and was discharged and returned to Germany once he had made a full recovery.

Hantavirus is a potentially life-threatening disease spread to humans by rodents that has symptoms similar to influenza.

Rodents, especially deer mice, carry Hantavirus. The virus is found in their urine and feces, but it does not make the animal sick.

It is believed that humans can get sick with this virus if they come in contact with contaminated dust from mice nests or droppings. You may come in contact with the dust when cleaning homes, sheds, or other enclosed areas that have been empty for a long time.

Hantavirus does not spread between humans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) divides the symptoms of hantavirus between “early” and “late” symptoms.

Early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders. These symptoms are universal.

There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, andabdominal pain. About half of all HPS patients experience these symptoms.

Four to 10 days after the initial phase of illness, the late symptoms of HPS appear. These include coughing and shortness of breath, with the sensation of, as one survivor put it, a “…tight band around my chest and a pillow over my face” as the lungs fill with fluid.

HPS has a mortality rate of 38% according to the agency.

Although Ireland has never seen hantavirus before, Irish health officials report there were an exceptional number of cases reported in Germany and in other countries in Europe during the winter of 2011 and spring of 2012.

Epi-Insights goes on to say:

In May 2012, Health Protection colleagues in Germany reported a significant rise in the number of cases of human hantavirus infection notified there between October 2011 and April 2012. In total 852 cases had been reported, 68% of cases in the Baden-Württemberg region alone, the region that the tourist was from. The tourist also reported that his partner had had hantavirus infection in Germany last year. It was concluded, therefore, that the case confirmed in Ireland was linked to the German outbreak (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Health Officials Confirm 11 Cases of Flu Illness Statewide
Date: August 3, 2012
Source: 
Indiana.gov

Abstract: Health officials have confirmed six additional cases of variant influenza A, bringing the total case number to 11 statewide. All cases have been linked to swine. The Indiana State Department of Health and local health departments continue to investigate potential new cases.

The additional cases were identified in Tipton, Jennings and LaPorte counties. Jackson County has also experienced four cases.

“We haven’t seen any transmission from person to person at this point,” said State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin, M.D. “All of the confirmed cases have had direct contact with swine. As Hoosiers visit fairs around the state this summer, they should take extra care to practice thorough hand washing and avoid eating when around animals.”

Flu symptoms usually include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, and runny nose, and possibly other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.  Symptoms usually last about two to five days.

Variant Influenza A virus can be directly transmitted from swine to people and from people to swine. Human infections are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to live infected pigs, such as working with them in barns and livestock exhibits at fairs.  Influenza viruses are not transmitted by eating pork and pork products. 

While influenza is not an uncommon diagnosis in pigs, the State Board of Animal Health encourages swine owners to contact a veterinarian if their animals show signs consistent with flu, including coughing, respiratory illness, off-feed and fever. Most county fairs have a private veterinary practitioner on call for on-site assistance.

Hoosiers are encouraged to wash hands with soap and water before and after petting or touching any animal.  Never eat, drink, or put anything in your mouth when visiting animal areas.  Older adults, pregnant women, young children, and people with weakened immune systems should be extra careful around animals. 

The best way to prevent spread of influenza is to practice good hygiene.  Wash your hands frequently. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow.  If possible, avoid contact with those who are ill.  Stay home if you develop influenza symptoms and contact your health care provider (Indiana.gov, 2012)

Title: New Virus Related To Deadly Hendra And Nipah Viruses Found In Black Flying Foxes At Cedar Grove Near Beaudesert
Date: August 3, 2012
Source: 
Herald Sun

Abstract: A new virus closely related to the deadly Hendra and Nipah viruses has been found in black flying foxes at Cedar Grove near Beaudesert.

The find by CSIRO and Biosecurity Queensland has excited scientists because it could help them unravel secrets of Hendra and Nipah viruses.

The viruses kill more than 70 per cent of humans and animals they infect, yet little is known about how they interact with their hosts.

There are no concerns about the new virus infecting humans, although it can't be ruled out.

Gary Crameri, a CSIRO virologist at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, said bats carried more viruses than other species, perhaps because they were such a broad group of ancient mammals, ranging from micro-bats weighing a few grams to large flying foxes that lived in many different environments.

Scientists were intrigued why they could carry deadly viruses but not become diseased themselves. If this could be worked out, bats could provide humankind with medicines to fight viruses and help weakened immune systems.

"They're an incredibly important group of animals and the risk of the virus spilling over to humans is incredibly low," Mr Crameri said. "Even if it did, it might go unnoticed - perhaps like a gentle cold. All experiments indicate Cedar's nowhere near as deadly as Hendra."

Named for where it was found, the Cedar virus had not caused illness in tests on mice, guinea pigs and ferrets which were susceptible to Hendra and Nipah.

Cedar had caused mild infections in laboratory animals but no signs of disease.

A survey of flying foxes showed 25 per cent had antibodies to Cedar, a similar number to that seen with Hendra.

Researchers were investigating how the virus might impact on domestic animals, including livestock.

Its discovery would have no impact on the development of a Hendra horse vaccine (Herald Sun, 2012)

Title: Arizona Prisoners Hospitalized With Suspected Botulism Linked To Homemade Alcohol
Date: August 4, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: Homemade prison alcohol is the suspected culprit for the hospitalization of four Arizona inmates Friday. The prisoners are being treated for suspected botulism.

The Arizona Republic reports, Three were reported in stable condition Friday night. The condition of the fourth was not known late Friday. The sickened inmates are being treated with botulism anti-toxin.

All four inmates had been housed in the maximum-security Eyman complex in Florence.

Although it has not been confirmed yet, county officials believe it to be contraband prisoner-made alcohol. According to Corrections Officer Michelle Barfield, the prison contraband alcohol is not unusual, in fact, she once found about two gallons of homemade alcohol in a garbage bag.

Sometimes inmates make the alcohol using fruit and other items from their meals to ferment their illicit brew.

Food borne botulism occurs when the bacterium Clostridium botulinum is allowed to grow and produce toxin in food that is later eaten without sufficient heating or cooking to inactivate the toxin. Botulinum toxin is one of the most potent neurotoxins known.

Growth of this anaerobic bacteria and the formation of the toxin tend to happen in products with low acidity and oxygen content and low salt and sugar content. Inadequately processed, home-canned foods like asparagus, green beans, beets, and corn have commonly been implicated.

However, there have been outbreaks of botulism from more unusual sources such as chopped garlic in oil, chili peppers, improperly handled baked potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil and home-canned or fermented fish. Garden foods like tomatoes, which used to be considered too acidic for the growth of Clostridium botulinum, is now considered a potentially hazardous food in home canning.

Though more common in home-canned foods, it does happen occasionally in commercially prepared foods.

Typically in a few hours to several days after you eat the contaminated food you will start to show the classic symptoms; blurred vision, dry mouth, and difficulty in swallowing. Gastrointestinal symptoms may or may not occur. If untreated, the paralysis always descends through the body starting at the shoulders and working its way down.

The most serious complication of botulism is respiratory failure where it is fatal in up to 10% of people. It may take months before recovery is complete.

If the disease is caught early enough it can be treated with antitoxin. If paralysis and respiratory failure happen, the person may be on a ventilator for several weeks (Outbreak News, 2012).

Title: Colorado Confirms First Case Of Vesicular Stomatitis Since 2006
Date: August 4, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: Although an outbreak of the animal viral disease, vesicular stomatitis, 
has been reported in New Mexico earlier this year, the virus has not been seen in the state of Colorado in 6 years. This event caused State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr to say, “This Colorado case represents a northern movement of the virus that has been typical in past years.”

According to a Colorado Department of Agriculture press release Thursday, a horse tested positive for vesicular stomatitis (VS) in Las Animas County requiring the premises to be quarantined.

The horse had not recently traveled and is believed to have been infected by insects.

This prompted the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s State Veterinarian’s Office to issue a travel requirement for horses, mules, cattle, bison, sheep, goats, swine, and camelids entering the state from states with confirmed cases of VS.

The travel requirements include health certificates that specifically give the all-clear for VS for the animal.

Dr. Roehr says this will help ensure that vets are aware of the possibility of VS and increase the vigilance of looking for signs of the virus.

According to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service:

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that primarily affects cattle, horses, and swine and occasionally sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas.

While vesicular stomatitis does not generally cause animals to die, it can still cause economic losses to livestock producers. The diseaseis particularly significant because its outward signs are similar to (although generally less severe than) those of foot-and-mouth disease.

In affected livestock, the incubation period for vesicular stomatitis ranges from 2 to 8 days. Often, excessive salivation is the first sign of the disease. Close examination of the mouth initially reveals blanched and raised vesicles or blister-like lesions in affected livestock. These blister-like lesions can form in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves, and teats. The blisters swell and break, leaving raw tissue that is so painful that infected animals show signs of lameness and generally refuse to eat or drink. Severe weight loss may follow. Body temperature may rise immediately.

In horses, vesicular lesions generally occur on the upper surface of the tongue, the lips, around nostrils, corners of the mouth, and gums. Lesions in horses may also be expressed as crusting scabs on the muzzle, lips, or ventral abdomen.

The Colorado Agriculture department also issued advice for veterinarians, livestock owners and animal shows and fairs (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Stoke-On-Trent Legionnaires’ Outbreak Now At 20 Cases
Date: August 5, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: The tally in the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the Staffordshire, England city, not surprisingly, continues to rise as people continue to show symptoms to the bacterial infection.

According to a British Health Protection Agency (HPA) press release Friday, an additional case of Legionnaires’ disease occurred bringing the total to 20 cases.

The patient has already been discharged from the hospital and is recovering at home.

Health officials believe the probable source of the outbreak, first announced two weeks ago, is a hot tub based at JTF Warehouse, City Road, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, although they emphasize that the investigation is still ongoing.

According to an earlier press release, the samples from the hot tub at JTF Warehouse were confirmed by the Health Protection Agency’s specialist laboratory in Colindale as being an unusual strain of legionella bacteria. The strain matched those taken from patients. JTF warehouse are fully cooperating with

Dr Sue Ibbotson, regional director, Health Protection Agency West Midlands said, “We have identified the probable source of the Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Stoke. We have the evidence from DNA fingerprinting of samples from the hot tub and the patients being caused by the same previously unseen strain of legionella. The HPA also took detailed histories from the confirmed cases and we know that 17 of the 18 confirmed cases visited this warehouse in the two weeks before they fell ill. Added to that we know that spa pools are known to be effective mechanisms for spreading legionella infection.

JTF Warehouse decommissioned the hot tub on 24 July.

Seeing the newest case Friday is not surprising as HPA officials note, “It can take up to two weeks following exposure for people to develop symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease and a further few days before they go to see their health care practitioner” (Examiner, 2012).

Title: 
Minnesota Whooping Cough Cases Eclipse 2000 Cases
Date: August 5, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: Just two weeks ago, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in a briefing that the number of pertussis, or 
whooping cough cases are double this year as compared to the same time in 2011. It’s so bad in Washington, the health secretary declared a pertussis epidemic in the state a few months back.

Minnesota has also been hit hard by the current nationwide outbreak of the vaccine-preventable disease. According to a Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Pertussis Disease Statistics update Thursday, the total number of cases now stands at 2,039.

To put this in perspective, in the state of Minnesota all of last year, only 662 cases were reported.

Health officials say the current outbreak is on pace to exceed levels not seen since the 1940s.
The counties hit the hardest by pertussis are Hennepin with 556 cases, Anoka (291) and Dakota with 133.

Whooping cough is caused by the bacterium, Bordetella pertussis. This vaccine-preventable disease is spread through direct contact with respiratory discharges via the airborne route.

Pertussis goes through a series of stages in the infected person; initially a irritating cough followed by repeated, violent coughing. The disease gets its nickname by coughing without inhaling air giving the characteristic high-pitched whoop. Certain populations may not have the typical whoop like infants and adults.

It is highly communicable, especially in very early stages and the beginning of coughing episodes, for approximately the first 2 weeks. Then the communicability gradually decreases and at 3 weeks it is negligible, though the cough my last for months.

This very serious disease can be fatal, though this is not common. Complications to pertussis include hypoxia, seizures and pneumonia. Most deaths occur in infants under 6 months who have not completed primary immunizations.

Pertussis is an endemic disease found worldwide. According to the CDC, outbreaks in this country occur approximately every 3-5 years.

Those that are not immunized are susceptible to this disease. Young infants and school-aged children (who are frequently the source of infection for younger siblings) are at greatest risk (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Area Health Officials: No Major Threat Looming
Date: August 5, 2012
Source: 
WBIB News

Abstract: Five human cases of influenza A associated with pigs have been confirmed in Indiana.

Dan Davis, of The Tribune reports, they include one case involving a Jackson County resident, the State Board of Health reports.

Although precautions are urged, the larger concern appears to be have passed locally, Dr. Kenneth Bobb, the county's public health officer, said Thursday.

"We're not seeing any new cases, and the fair is over," Bobb said.

A common thread among those sick in Jackson County is that they had exhibited swine at the county fair or had visited the swine area, Bobb said. Cases started showing up July 26 and July 27 as the fair neared its end Saturday night.

Several patients were treated by an area doctor and the emergency room at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, triggering submission of patient swabs for testing with the state health department, Bobb said.

He earlier warned the hospital and doctors to be aware of a possibility for the flu because of similar reports involving the LaPorte County Fair in northern Indiana.
While the flu appears to be spread from people to swine and from swine to people, Bobb said, it does not appear to be spreading between people.

"That's one of the good things about it," Bobb said. "It doesn't seem highly contagious from human to human." had visited the swine area, Bobb said. Cases started showing up July 26 and July 27 as the fair neared its end Saturday night.

Several patients were treated by an area doctor and the emergency room at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, triggering submission of patient swabs for testing with the state health department, Bobb said.

He earlier warned the hospital and doctors to be aware of a possibility for the flu because of similar reports involving the LaPorte County Fair in northern Indiana.

While the flu appears to be spread from people to swine and from swine to people, Bobb said, it does not appear to be spreading between people.

"That's one of the good things about it," Bobb said. "It doesn't seem highly contagious from human to human."

The flu is related to the human flu viruses seen in the 1990s, Bobb said, so adults may have some immunity. But younger children do not.

Efforts are under way to develop a vaccine, the health department said, but no decision has been made on whether to mass produce it.

Although only one local case of influenza A has been confirmed by the state, others have been sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more testing, Bobb said.

"They were inconclusive," he said of state tests.

Ken Severson of the Indiana Department of Health said the Jackson County case was confirmed Wednesday. As of 3 p.m. Thursday, the number of cases statewide remained at five.

Bobb said he spoke with a veterinarian familiar with the swine barn at the fair and was told there had been no reports of ill pigs.

And Dr. Ron Harrison, a large-animal veterinarian in Brownstown, said Thursday he's spoken with several local swine breeders and producers this week. None had reported problems with the flu among their pigs, he said.

"I've heard of ... nothing consistent with swine flu," Harrison said Thursday.

That's the case for hog farms working in cooperation with Jackson-Jennings Co-op.

"Everything right now is normal," Dan Vague said Thursday. He is the co-operative's feed plant manager in Brownstown.

"Health status on the hogs is fine right now," Vague added.

Hoosiers should not be worried about eating pork, Harrison and Bobb said.

"The flu is not transmitted by eating pork products," Bobb said.

Although flu is not an uncommon diagnosis among hogs, the state Board of Animal Health suggests swine owners contact a veterinarian if their animals show signs consistent with flu, including coughing, respiratory illness, off-feed and fever.

On Wednesday, state Board of Animal Health spokeswoman Denise Derrer said all swine arriving for today's start of the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis would have their temperatures taken. Any with temperatures of 105 or greater would be returned to their farms.

The Monroe County Fair shut down its swine building Tuesday because of a suspected outbreak of flu among swine and people, The Associated Press reported.

Flu occurs sporadically throughout the year, Bobb said, so it's not necessarily unusual to see flu reported this summer.

Lin Montgomery of Jackson County Health Department said only six cases of influenza A were reported in the state during 2011. None was reported in Jackson County last year, and this recent case is the first reported in the county this year, she added.

The state health department said flu symptoms usually include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough, sore throat and runny nose, and possibly other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Symptoms usually last about two to five days.

Most local patients have complained of respiratory problems and scratchy throats, Bobb said.

He said prevention comes down to the basics -- thoroughly wash your hands often, cover your coughs and sneezes in your arm or elbow and, if you are sick, stay home.

"People who work with or handle swine, older adults, the chronically ill and pregnant women should be especially vigilant," Bobb said (WBIB News, 2012)

Title: Cryptosporidium Outbreak Reported In Idaho
Date: August 9, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: During a normal year, health officials in District 4, the Central District, which includes the counties of Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley report about 10 cases of cryptosporidium annually.

However, the Central District Health Department (CDHD) said in a news release Thursday, during the past 10 days, they have seen 21 cases of cryptosporidiosis (crypto).

Health authorities say that Crypto cases have been reported in Boise and Meridian, but the disease appears to be widespread in the community.

This has prompted the CDHD to issue a warning urging the public to take precautions to prevent the spread of the parasitic disease.

Because crypto can spread through swimming pools and other recreational water, the CDHD has advised area swimming pool operators of the situation and many responded by hyper-chlorinating the pools, a technique that kills the parasite.

Kimberly Link, Program Manager for Communicable Disease Control at CDHD said, “If you’ve been ill with diarrhea we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to stay out of recreational waters for at least two weeks after your symptoms resolve.”

Cryptosporidium is a protozoan parasite (a tiny organism) that causes an infection called cryptosporidiosis affecting people and cattle.

The most common symptom is watery diarrhea, which can range from mild to severe.

Although it’s most frequently seen in young children, cryptosporidium can affect anyone. People with weak immune systems are likely to be most seriously affected.

Cryptosporidium is found in soil, food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with infected human or animal feces. Transmission occurs through animal-to-human or human-to-human contact. Consuming contaminated water or food, swimming in contaminated water and children visiting petting zoos are common ways people contract the parasite.

It is typically a self-limiting illness in otherwise healthy individuals.

Because crypto can survive for days even in properly chlorinated pools, CDHD is urging everyone to follow these six steps to help reduce the spread of recreational water illnesses:

• PLEASE don’t swim when you have diarrhea. This is especially important for kids in diapers. If you have been diagnosed with crypto, please stay out of swimming pools and recreational waters for at least two weeks after symptoms are gone.

• PLEASE don’t swallow the pool water. In fact, avoid getting water in your mouth.

• PLEASE practice good hygiene. Take a shower before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.

• PLEASE take your kids on regular bathroom breaks or change diapers often, and use swim diapers. Waiting to hear “I have to go” may mean that it’s too late.

• PLEASE change diapers in a bathroom; not at the poolside. Germs can spread to surfaces around the pool and spread illness.

• PLEASE wash your child thoroughly (especially the rear end) with soap and water before swimming. Everyone has invisible amounts of fecal matter on their bottoms that ends up in the pool (Examiner, 2012).

Title: CDC Confirms 145 Cases Of Swine Flu
Date: August 9, 2012
Source: 
Fox News

Abstract: Despite an uptick in cases of pig to human transmission of an influenza A variant (H3N2v) virus, federal health officials say there is no immediate need to close swine shows at agricultural fairs.

"Because the confirmed cases that we know about have direct exposure to pigs in these settings, we think we have a good strategy to prevent that transmission," said Dr. Joseph Bresee, an influenza expert with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That strategy includes aggressively screening swine for signs of illness, and urging people to wash their hands before and after contact with pigs and avoid eating or placing fingers near their mouths while visiting animal areas.

On Thursday, the CDC confirmed 145 human cases of H3N2v since July, most of them involving persons exhibiting pigs, their family members, or people visiting fairs where swine are present.

"At this point, there's no evidence of sustained, efficient human to human spread in the community," Bresee said.

Of the 145 cases reported nationally, 113 are in Indiana, 30 in Ohio, one in Hawaii and one in Illinois.

Children appear to be most susceptible to the virus and account for the vast majority of cases. So far, the cases have been generally mild, with most patients exhibiting symptoms similar to seasonal flu and usually recovering on their own.

Two patients required hospitalization, but have since been discharged. There have been no deaths reported in connection with this particular outbreak which began in July (Fox News, 2012)

Title: 9-Year-Old Dies From Brain Infection Caused By Amoeba
Date: August 9, 2012
Source: 
Fox News

Abstract: Health officials have closed Lily Lake to swimmers until further notice while the Minnesota Department of Health investigates the death of a boy who appears to have died from a rare form of meningitis caused by an amoeba found in warm freshwater, myfoxtwincities.com reported.

Officials suspect 9-year-old Jack Ariola was killed by primary amebic meningoencephalitis, also known as PAM; however, they are still waiting confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He was taken off life support  Tuesday.

The boy's father, Jim Ariola of Wyoming, Minn., told the St. Paul Pioneer Press his son swam in Lily Lake early to mid-last week, where he frequently swam with his sisters. Ariola says his son was traveling with his mother in Grand Marais when the infection took hold Friday.

"He didn't -- he didn't know who I was," Jim Ariola said.

Ariola said his son loved hockey and wrestling. He was getting ready to start fourth grade in Stillwater this fall, and was set to start a hockey clinic on Wednesday night.

PAM is caused by an organism known as Naegleria fowleri, a microscopic amoeba that is commonly found in warm freshwater and soil across the world. It infects humans by entering through the nose -- usually while swimming or diving, and it causes a severe brain infection that is nearly always fatal.

Officials stress that infections are very rare. In fact, the last known case of PAM in Minnesota was reported in August 2010 after a 7-year-old girl named Annie Bahneman died from the same brain infection after swimming in Lily Lake.

"The risk of infection from Naegleria in Minnesota is very low," said Richard Danila, assistant state epidemiologist, in a statement. "We do not want to discourage people from swimming. Rather, simply avoid swimming, diving or other activities in obviously stagnant water while temperatures are high and water levels are low."

PAM infections, while extremely rare, usually occur in warm, southern states. Between 2001 and 2011, 40 cases were reported in the United States (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Anthrax Outbreak In Canada Kills More Than 400 Bison
Date: August 9, 2012
Source: 
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: The number of bison dead from an anthrax outbreak in Canada’s Northwest Territories has increased to 429.

Todd Vermillion, the manager of wildlife and environment for the South Slave region for Canada’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said that the increase in dead bison stems from newly found carcasses and not an increase in the number of infections, according to CBC.ca.

“The way it worked out is we found such a large number right off the bat,” Vermillion said, CBC.ca reports. “We had to start dealing with those and did more reconnaissance flights and flew more in the area with rotary helicopters coming up on more carcasses and dealing with those as we went along.”

As of last week, the number of dead bison was estimated at 340, already making it the largest outbreak of the illness among bison ever recorded in the territory.

More than 150 carcasses were initially found in one large group near the town of Fort Providence. They are currently being incinerated to ensure the anthrax spores will not contaminate the area’s soil, CBC.ca reports.

A large anthrax outbreak among bison occurred in 1994, infecting approximately 172 animals. Anthrax bacteria are found naturally in soil. During and after prolonged dry periods, bison are more likely to inhale anthrax spores and acquire the infection (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: 
Chinese Villagers Infected With Anthrax
Date: August 9, 2012
Source: 
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Two villagers from eastern China’s Jiangsu Province are being treated at a local hospital for anthrax infection.

The two were sent to the city of Lianyungang’s Number Four People’s Hospital with swollen hands and blackened skin after slaughtering a sick bull that was purchased from another province, according to GlobalTimes.cn.

“There are indeed two villagers who have diagnosed of anthrax in the county, but we are not very clear on the details,” a staffer from the Disease Control and Prevention Center of Lianyungang said, GlobalTimes.cn reports.

Laboratory testing confirmed the presence of anthrax. In response, five villages have been placed under quarantine as a precaution.

Three other villagers who participated in slaughtering the sick bull have not shown symptoms of infection, but are taking preventative medication as a precaution.

Hoofed animals, including cattle and sheep, can acquire anthrax by eating soil containing anthrax spores that germinate in the body. China records naturally occurring cases of the illness, which is usually treated with antibiotics, every year, according to Guokr.cn.

The symptoms of anthrax infection differ depending on how the spores are acquired. In humans, infection most often involves the skin, gastrointestinal tract or lungs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Experts Cautious Of Ohio Swine Flu Outbreak
Date: August 9, 2012
Source: 
WKBN News

Abstract: As the Ashtabula County Fair continues its run through the weekend, there have been no signs of the flu bug that's made at least 30 people sick at other fairs in Ohio this summer.

"This is not the swine flu that we had the outbreak of. This is a different virus," said Dr. Cheryl Beinhardt.

Beinhardt is the veterinarian for the fair in Jefferson. She said authorities in Ashtabula County are well aware of the influenza strain that can be transferred from pigs to humans. She said the hot, humid conditions this summer have left some animals more susceptible.

"The heat and the close quarters. All these hogs came in a big group. They're all real close to each other and it's been very hot for quite a long time," she said.

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control has recorded close to 160 cases of the H3-N2 strain, most of them in Indiana and Ohio.

"The percentage of cases that are children are going to be over 90 percent," said Dr. Joseph Bresee of the Influenza Division of the CDC.

And experts believe the jump in cases and the ties to state and county fairs isn't coincidental.

"The kids are in the pens with the pigs. You know, they'll hug them and kiss them and eat right after they've touched them," Beinhardt said.

As a precaution, fair directors have put up signs warning people to practice good hygiene and use hand sanitizers frequently. In the meantime, doctors with the Center for Disease Control predict the flu could start spreading between humans.

"We wouldn't be surprised if over the next few weeks we do see some of these cases. But so far, all the cases have been associated with close or indirect exposure to swine," Bresee said (WKBN News, 2012).

Title: U.S. Swine Flu Outbreak Spikes
Date: August 10, 2012
Source: 
Scientific American 

Abstract: Today the US 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the number of reported cases in an ongoing outbreak of a strain of the H3N2 animal influenza virus (H3N2v) that transmits between pigs and humans has jumped to 145 in the past week.

On 3 August, CDC officials reported 16 total cases of H3N2v infection. In all cases, patients interacted with pigs either in their occupation or at local agricultural fairs, suggesting that the virus has not yet evolved the ability to efficiently transmit between humans. CDC first reported the variant in a 12-case outbreak from July to December 2011, with two instances of suspected weak human-to-human transmission. This week’s surge may be partially due to a change in protocol: states can now confirm positive test results before further CDC testing. But, CDC influenza division chief Joseph Bresee warned in a press teleconference today, “We’re seeing a big increase, and we think it’s a real increase.”

The outbreak covers four states, with one case in Hawaii, one in Illinois, 30 in Ohio and 113 in Indiana. Indiana’s count rose to 120 today, according to the state’s health department, and Bresee expects a continued increase in the coming weeks. The symptoms are mild and similar to those of seasonal flu, and so far the outbreak has resulted in only two hospitalizations. More than 90% of the cases have been in children — probably because many adults may have antibodies that can handle the strain.

Virologists suspect that the H3N2v strain arose from swine flu strains exchanging genetic material in a process called reassortment. What raises eyebrows is that the H3N2 virus carries a gene found in the H1N1 strain that caused a swine flu pandemic in 2009. This matrix, or M, gene may influence transmissibility. If so, the current strain offers an opportunity to study how transmission evolves over the course of an outbreak. “This is still unfolding, and we have a lot to do to understand both the biology in the natural host, pigs, and the sporadic human infections,” says Ruben Donisa virologist with the CDC’s influenza division.

According to Bresee, the seasonal flu vaccine probably won’t be affective against the strain, but it could be a reason that adults are less susceptible. A vaccine candidate for H3N2v is slated for clinical trials this year (Scientific American, 2012)

Title: Anthrax Could Be Responsible For 50 Colo. Cattle Deaths
Date: August 10, 2012
Source: 
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Anthrax caused the death of one cow in Logan County, Colorado and may be the cause of 50 other cattle deaths as well, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Department officials confirmed that one part of the state tested positive for anthrax but that none of the cattle from the area entered the food chain. All potentially exposed livestock are currently in quarantine, KDVR reports.

“The risk is minimal outside the affected ranch,” Keith Roehr, the state veterinarian, said, according to KDVR. “We believe, at this point, that anthrax is confined to that specific premises.”

The one confirmed case of anthrax is the first reported case in the state in 31 years.

Roehr said the disease is not uncommon in the western part of the United States and that the disease develops naturally in soil. Anthrax spores can become active during extreme climate changes. Extreme heat leading to a drought in the state could lead to such a scenario, according to KDVR.

While anthrax is difficult to contain among livestock because it can spread amongst herds, the immediate focus is to ensure it does not come into contact with humans.

“We are currently contacting individuals that have been involved with the livestock,” Roehr said, according to KDVR. “Anthrax is not spread from person to person and exposure is limited only to those who had contact with the affected cattle or the immediate area” (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Influenza A (H3N2v) Health Alert Update
Date: August 10, 2012
Source: 
CDPH

Abstract: This Health Alert Update replaces the Health Alert issued on August 9, 2012 at 9:00am PST.

A recent increase in human cases with influenza A (H3N2v) infection has been reported in several states. Since July 2012, a total of 145 persons with confirmed H3N2v infection have been reported. The majority of cases have been in children with mild self-limiting illness similar to seasonal influenza. No fatalities from H3N2v have been reported to date. National H3N2v case counts will be updated by the CDC every Friday at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/swineflu/influenza-variant-virusesh3n2v.htm

No H3N2v cases have been detected in California to date.

All cases reported nationwide since July 2012 had contact with swine prior to the onset of illness. There is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission of H3N2v in the community at this time. Exposure to swine at agricultural fairs appears to be a significant risk factor; individuals should take action to prevent the spread of viruses between people and also between people and pigs.

The seasonal influenza vaccine is unlikely to provide protection against H3N2v; however, influenza vaccination is still recommended for protection against seasonal influenza viruses which are much more common causes of illness in humans than H3N2v.

Treatment with oseltamivir or zanamivir is effective for H3N2v and recommendations for antiviral use are the same as with seasonal influenza.This Health Alert Update provides information and recommendations regarding enhanced surveillance for H3N2v, including testing and reporting guidelines (CDPH, 2012)

Title: Drakes Bay Oysters Linked To Vibrio Infections In California
Date: August 11, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: 
California health officials issued a warning to the public concerning the bacterial risks associated with eating shucked and in-shell raw oysters from Drakes Bay Oyster Company in Marin County.

According to a California Department of Public Health (CDPH) advisory Friday, three Californians have been sickened with the gastrointestinal bug, Vibrio parahaemolyticuslinked to Drakes Bay oysters.

The Inverness, California company initiated a voluntary recall of the following affected products:

1. The shucked oysters are packaged under the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm label and sold in 9 ounce, 1-pint, 1-quart and half-gallon jars or tubs. The affected shucked products are labeled with lot numbers 363 through 421.

2. The in-shell raw oysters are sold individually or in bags ranging in size from 1 dozen to 10 dozen. In-shell raw oyster tags are marked with harvest dates ranging from July 17, 2012, through August 8, 2012.

Health officials advise consumers who purchased the affected oyster products to throw them away immediately.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saysVibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterium in the same family as those that cause cholera. It lives in brackish saltwater and causes gastrointestinal illness in humans. V. parahaemolyticus naturally inhabits coastal waters in the United States and Canada and is present in higher concentrations during summer.

V. parahaemolyticus causes watery diarrhea often with abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. Usually these symptoms occur within 24 hours of ingestion. Illness is usually self-limited and lasts 3 days. Severe disease is rare and occurs more commonly in persons with weakened immune systems.

CDPH recommends consumers experiencing any ill effects after consuming these products should consult their health care provider. Consumers that observe the product being offered for sale are encouraged to report the activity to the CDPH toll-free complaint line at (800) 495-3232 (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Louisiana Records The Most Neuroinvasive WNV Cases Since 2006
Date: August 12, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: The number of West Nile Virus (WNV) cases continues to rise in the Bayou State as health officials report another 15 cases of the mosquito borne disease along with four more fatalities.

This brings the totals to 68 human cases of WNV and six deaths so far this year according to a Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) Friday press release.

In addition, a troublesome figure reported is that more than half of the cases seen this year in Louisiana have been the more serious type, neuroinvasive disease (NID).

The DHH reports 37 cases of NID as of Friday making this the worst year for this type in six years.

Eight of the 15 new cases reported were NID and were from the following parishes: Bossier, Caddo, Concordia, Jefferson, Tangipahoa, Union, Washington and Webster.

So far this year, St. Tammany Parish has reported the most West Nile Virus infections, with six neuroinvasive disease cases, four West Nile fever cases and one asymptomatic case.

DHH State Epidemiologist, Dr. Raoult Ratard warns the public about the seriousness of WNV saying, "We know from 10 years of surveillance that this disease is active in every corner of the state, and people are at risk of getting it regardless of whether cases or deaths occurred in their parishes. Everyone should own their own health and take precautions against mosquito bites."

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause encephalitis, a brain inflammation.

West Nile virus was first detected in North America in 1999 in New York. Prior to that it had only been found in Africa, Eastern Europe, and West Asia.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.

Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.

About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

There is no specific treatment for WNV infection (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Bird Flu Claims 9th Victim This Year In Indonesia
Date: August 13, 2012
Source: 
Fox News

Abstract: The Health Ministry says bird flu has killed a 37-year-old man in central Indonesia, marking the country's ninth fatality this year.

The Ministry's website said Monday that the man died July 30 in Yogyakarta province after being hospitalized for five days.

It confirmed that the man who lived near a chicken slaughterhouse was infected with the H5N1 virus after apparently coming into contact with sick birds.

The virus, which began ravaging poultry across Asia in 2003, remains entrenched in Indonesia. Experts fear it could mutate into a form that passes easily among people, potentially sparking a pandemic. But most human cases have been linked to contact with sick birds.

The World Health Organization says 359 people have died from it worldwide. Indonesia remains the hardest-hit country, accounting for 159 deaths (Fox News, 2012)

Title: Oklahoma Reports A Surge In West Nile Virus Cases
Date: August 13, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: West Nile Virus (WNV) appears to have a strong grip on areas of the South Central United States including Texas, Louisiana and 
Oklahoma.

As of Friday, things have got so bad in Dallas County that a state of emergency was declared in a move to get more assistance from the state in battling the mosquito borne disease.

Texas’ neighbor to the north is also seeing a spike in WNV cases according to an Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) news release Friday.

Health officials report 31 cases of the disease have been confirmed over the past few weeks. Authorities say this is more cases than were seen in the years 2008 to 2011 combined.

Due to remarkable increases in West Nile virus (WNV) cases over the past few weeks, public health officials are warning Oklahomans to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

The counties with the highest numbers of cases include Tulsa (9), Oklahoma (6), and Carter (5) County. Most cases have been neuroinvasive WNV disease, the severe form of the disease.

Health department surveillance reveals the following stats:

• Most WNV cases this year have occurred in Oklahomans over 40 years of age with 26 percent occurring among persons 70 to 79 years old.
• The age range of WNV disease cases is 17 to 90 years.
• Nearly all patients interviewed (96%) say their home county was the likely location of exposure.

In response to the 2007 WNV numbers in Oklahoma, in which 107 cases of West Nile virus and 8 associated deaths were reported, State Epidemiologist Kristy Bradley told NewsOK.com, “We are concerned that we are currently outpacing 2007. So if we match the frequency of the number of case by week that we (had) in 2007, we may have 200 cases or greater in Oklahoma by the season's end.”

More about West Nile Virus:

• WNV is not spread though person-to-person contact or directly from birds to humans.
• Most mosquitoes do not carry the virus.
• In most cases, people who are infected with West Nile virus never become sick, or have only very mild symptoms that include fever, headache, nausea, body aches, and a mild skin rash.
• Symptoms of WNV could appear within three to 12 days after infection.
• Fewer than one in 150 people who are bitten by an infected mosquito become severely ill, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In these rare cases, the virus can cause encephalitis and even death.
• People over 50 years of age and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk for developing severe symptoms, which may require hospitalization.
• Recovery from any infection with the virus can take months to years, and some individuals may never fully recover.
• There is no specific treatment for this disease.

The OSDH advises the public to take the following precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites:

• Use an insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors. (Insect repellent with permethrin should be used on clothing only.)
• Place mosquito repellent in a handy and visible location in the home for easy access.
• Repair or install window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
• Prevent items such as buckets, cans, flower pots, and tires from holding standing water so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed.
• Empty, clean and refill your bird baths and pet’s outdoor water bowl daily.
• Clean leaves and debris from rain gutters regularly to ensure they are not clogged 
(Examiner, 2012)

Title: Naegleria Confirmed As Cause Of Illness in Minnesota Boy
Date: August 14, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: In a 
follow-up to a story last week, theMinnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced the confirmation of the very lethal amoebic parasite as the cause of the illness that killed a 9-year-old boy last Tuesday.

According to an MDH news advisory Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted confirmatory clinical testing for the organism, Naegleria fowleri, and confirmed it as the cause of the illness that claimed the life of Jack Ariola Erenberg.

Just last Friday, Minnesota health officials confirmed the presence of Naegleria fowleri in Lily Lake water samples, a place where the boy went swimming a few days before he became ill with the rare form of meningitis, primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) according to a Patch.com report.

The MDH advisory noted that even prior to the testing the cause of the illness had been 99 percent certain before, but the CDC test results made it 100 percent certain.

< For more on Naegleria, check out video on left panel courtesy of Paul Cochrane of Cochrane and Associates

However, they point out that it will never be possible to know for sure where the child was infected, but the timing of the illness and other factors point to Lily Lake in Washington County.

The death of Jack Ariola Erenberg follows the deaths of young children in South Carolina and Oklahoma. All three cases occurred within a month of each other.

The CDC describes the parasite as follows:

Naegleria is a microscopic ameba (single-celled living organism) that can cause a very rare, but severe, infection of the brain. The ameba is commonly found in warm freshwater (for example, lakes, rivers, and hot springs) and soil. Only one species (type) of Naegleria infects people:Naegleria fowleri.

Naegleria fowleri infects people by entering the body through the nose. This typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers. In very rare instances, Naegleria infections may also occur when contaminated water from other sources (such as inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water or heated tap water <47°C) enters the nose. Once the ameba enters the brain, it causes a usually fatal infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Nebraska Health Officials Investigate Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Care Center
Date: August 14, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: Public health officials from the South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) along with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is investigating an outbreak of Salmonellosis associated with the Blue Hill Care Center in Webster County.

According a SHDHD news release Monday, there have been 17 confirmed cases and 2 probable or suspected cases reported in residents, staff or visitors.

In addition, four residents were temporarily hospitalized after showing symptoms. A visitor is still hospitalized.

The SHDHD says the Blue Hill Care Center is cooperating fully with the investigation to help identify the source and eradicate the issue.

Blue Hill is a city in Webster County, located in south central Nebraska.

Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis (Examiner, 2012).

Title: More Swine Flu Cases Reported In Ohio
Date: August 14, 2012
Source: 
WDTN News

Abstract: More swine flu cases are now confirmed in Champaign County just days after the end of the county fair there.

Eight people are sick in Champaign County, bringing the statewide total to 54 confirmed cases. That according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The outbreak is mild, but five people have been treated and released from hospitals.

Officials say all of the sick came into contact with pigs at a fair, so if you come in contact with them, wash your hands, especially before eating (WDTN News, 2012)

Title: Washoe County Issues Hand-Foot-Mouth Alert
Date: August 14, 2012
Source: 
RGJ News

Abstract: Washoe County’s health and school districts sent out alerts Monday night about an outbreak of a rare new hand, foot and mouth disease, which can be passed easily from children to adults.

More than 400 self-reported cases of Coxsackie A6, which arrived in the U.S. in December, have been received by the health district in 2012.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that predominantly affects children 5 and younger.

The health district sent its first alert March 30 when there were about 30 cases of the unusual Coxsackie A6, which included six adults.

Some of the symptoms include a rash that may appear as small pimply sores at first progressing to larger sores (some fluid filled) that scab over after a day or two, according to the health district’s website.

The sores do not usually itch but can be painful as they emerge and may appear on parts of the body other than the hands, feet or mouth, including groin, buttocks, torso, arms and face. Sores in the mouth and/or throat may cause loss of appetite and/or dehydration.

“This strain is not just on the hands, feet and mouth,” said Phil Ulibarri, public information officer for the health district. “It’s also seen on the elbow, the knees, the arms, buttocks, legs and in the genital area.”

Ulibarri said the Coxsackie A6 strain also can cause finger and toe nail shedding after other symptoms subside.

The school district sent a message to parents via its ConnectEd automated phone system at the request of the health district.

It asked parents to familiarize themselves with the information so that if their child developed symptoms consistent with this strain, they will be prepared with the information needed to stop its spread.

“We want kids to stay home until the sores dry up or scab over,” Ulibarri said. “We don’t want to see people having person to person contact if they’re still contagious.”

He said with children, especially younger children, the disease can spread as they share objects, such as toys, eating utensils and cups.

Dana Balchunas, director of the school district’s student health services, said it began sending literature to the school nurses and other staff at the end of last school year. It was sending another round of alerts in advance of the traditional school year beginning Aug. 27, he said.

“We communicate with nurses what they should look for, and they in turn tell the principals and teachers,” Balchunas said. “It’s an ongoing process.”

Some of the year-round schools have reported cases of students with the virus, she said.

“It’s not a high number of reports from schools,” Balchunas said.

The health district says that a student must be kept home until there are no new sores for two days, all sores are dry or scabbed over, and no fever for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications.

A person infected should rest, take food and fluids as they are able, use fever reducing medications appropriately and consult a physician if needed. With no treatment or vaccine for the disease, the best defense is prevention (RGJ News, 2012)

Title: West Nile Virus Spreads Faster
Date: August 14, 2012
Source: 
USA Today

Abstract: 
West Nile virus is spreading faster than it has in years, and the pace of the mosquito-borne disease is getting worse, health officials report. 
States are reporting more cases than usual, says Marc Fischer, a specialist in mosquito-borne diseases with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (
CDC) in Fort Collins, Colo. "There's been a lot of mosquito activity in most states" this year, Fischer says.

Texas is getting the worst of it.

Sixteen people have died of West Nile virus this summer in Texas. That's out of 381 cases of the illness. "We're on track to have the worst year ever," says Christine Mann, spokeswoman for the Department of State Health Services in Austin.

Nationwide there have been at least 693 cases and 28 deaths, according to the CDC and state numbers released Tuesday. That's up from 390 cases and eight deaths last week.

A mild winter and ample spring rains allowed the mosquito population to build up early. Heat and scant rainfall are creating stagnant water pools, which make great breeding grounds, says Michael Merchant, an entomologist at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Dallas.

Thirty-two states have had cases of West Nile, the CDC says.

Louisiana has had six deaths in 68 cases, Oklahoma one death in 55 cases, and Mississippi one death in 59 cases. In Arizona, there's been one death in seven cases.

California had 23 cases, one of which was fatal, andSouth Dakota had one fatality in 37 cases.

It's going to get worse, says David Dausey, a professor of public health at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa. He says climate change means warmer winters, milder springs and hotter summers, all of which "create a longer season for mosquitoes to breed and ideal conditions for them to survive." That will mean more West Nile and, public health workers worry, other mosquito-borne diseases such as yellow fever, malaria and dengue fever, Dausey says.

Most people who are infected with the West Nile Virus, 70% to 80%, never know they have it. Twenty percent to 30% develop West Nile fever, with headaches, fever, joint pains, vomiting or diarrhea and rash.

Less than 1% of those infected with the virus develop West Nile neuroinvasive disease involving inflammation of the brain, spinal cord or the tissue surrounding the brain. About 10% of those will die, Fischer says. People over 50 and those with compromised immune systems are more likely to develop this form (USA Today, 2012).

Title: Seven Cases Of Anthrax Confirmed In China’s Liaoning Province
Date: August 15, 2012
Source: 
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Seven cases of cutaneous anthrax have been confirmed in northeast China’s Liaoning province, according to local health officials.

Three cases occurred in a village in Liaozhong county, which is currently under quarantine – no livestock or meat products may enter or leave its boundaries, China Daily reports.

So far none of the cases has proven fatal.

Two cases of cutaneous anthrax have also been reported in Lianyungang in east China’s Jiangsu province. Skin irritations were found on seven villagers, according to ministry spokesman Deng Haihua, China Daily reports. Five villagers not diagnosed with anthrax have been placed under medical observation, though their symptoms were not typical.

All seven villagers are in stable, non-serious condition, Deng said, China Daily reports.

The villagers were reported to have come taken part in the killing of a sick cow.

Anthrax is least serious in its cutaneous form. Humans can contract this form after a cut or sore on the skin comes into direct, unprotected contact with anthrax spores on sick or dead animals.

Medical teams arrived on the scene shortly after the events were reported to treat villagers and sanitize the farm and their residences, Deng said, China Daily reports.

The health department is expected to strengthen their monitoring for anthrax in order to help contain the spread of the disease.

“We will closely follow the development of these cases and make sure the disease is under control,” Deng said, China Daily reports (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Canadian Mushrooms Recalled Due To Listeria Concerns
Date: August 15, 2012
Source:
Examiner

Abstract: Leamington, Ontario grower, Highline Mushrooms is voluntarily recalling certain Sliced White Mushrooms products because they may be contaminated with 
Listeriamonocytogenes.

According to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) health hazard alert Monday, both Highline Mushrooms and the CFIA are warning the public not to consume the following products:

Highline Mushrooms and Compliments sliced white mushrooms, sold in 227 gram containers bearing a lot code: L4100805 and a best before date of 12AU15.

The affected products were distributed in Ontario and possibly other provinces.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

Listeriosis, a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteriumListeria monocytogenes, is an important public health problem. . The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnantwomen, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. However, rarely, persons without these risk factors can also be affected.

Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled. Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness, however, infections during pregnancy can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

For more information, consumers and industry can call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Two More Cows Die From Anthrax In Colorado
Date:
 August 16, 2012
Source: 
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Colorado’s first anthrax outbreak in 31 years has expanded to three ranches in one week, with the deaths of two cows from anthrax exposures in northeast Colorado.

Last week on a Logan County ranch, 60 cows died with anthrax positively identified in one animal. It is likely they all died of anthrax, Businessweek reports.

The two most recent cow deaths were positively identified as stemming from anthrax. The cows came from two adjacent ranches, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

All three ranches involved share fences, according to State Veterinarian Keith Roehr. He added that the new cases likely came from cows grazing in an area with soil containing anthrax spores, according to Businessweek.

No cows have left the ranches and none have entered the food supply and no cases of human infection have been reported, Roehr said, according to Businessweek. Additionally, neighboring herds have been vaccinated.

Anthrax requires quick treatment, Roehr said, adding that the disease can kill livestock and decimate herds within hours of infection.

Anthrax is caused by a bacterium that forms in spores and can lie dormant in soil for decades until ingested. Humans most commonly get anthrax when a cut or abrasion on the skin comes into direct contact with infected animals. The disease can be treated very effectively with antibiotics. Personnel on the affected ranches are being treated with antibiotics.

Agriculture officials and the Northeast Colorado Health Department are investigating the case. All the infected carcasses have been incinerated, a process that kills anthrax spores.

“At this point we really don’t anticipate any health threat for the residents in northeast Colorado in regards to anthrax or from the smoke or plume from the incineration of the carcasses,” Tony Cappello, the district public health administrator for the Northeast Colorado Health Department, said, Businessweek reports.

Roehr said that it is unclear why anthrax has suddenly surfaced for the first time in the area in more than 30 years. Though the area in which the ranches are located experienced floods followed by drought and the region has alkaline soil types, all characteristics favorable to anthrax spores (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Two New Anthrax Cases Confirmed On Different Ranches In Logan County
Date: August 16, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: In a 
follow-up to a story late last week, Colorado agricultural officials are now reporting the confirmation of two more confirmed cases of anthrax on two additional ranches in Logan County.

According to a Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) media release Wednesday, the new cases are located adjacent to the original case where up to 60 cattle likely died from anthrax.

Colorado State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr said Wednesday, “This is not an uncommon occurrence with anthrax because adjacent properties may also contain the anthrax spores in the soil; we certainly hoped there wouldn’t be other herds affected but this is the nature of the disease. We will expand our efforts onto the adjacent premises to protect the health of these cattle. At this time, all of the neighboring herds have been vaccinated for anthrax and affected herds are being treated.”

Neighboring herds have been vaccinated. No cows left the affected ranches so none entered the food supply and no human infection has been reported, Roehr said.

Colorado public health officials say the risk to humans is low. "Anthrax is not transmitted person to person," said Dr. Cappello, the district public health administrator for the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD). "In this instance the exposure risk for humans is isolated to those who had direct contact with the infected cattle or the immediate ground around those cattle."

Any person at risk for a possible exposure to anthrax receives prophylactic antibiotics to prevent the disease.

Capello said health officials will continue to monitor the situation and follow up with those individuals that have been exposed through contact, but at this point there has been no human illness associated with this outbreak in cattle.

The NCHD and CDA have been working together to ensure the proper disposal of the infected carcasses. According to the release, all of the initially infected carcasses have been incinerated; incineration kills anthrax spores and is the best means of disposal of the carcasses.

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual:

Anthrax is a zoonotic disease caused by the sporeforming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax is most common in wild and domestic herbivores (eg, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, antelopes) but can also be seen in humans exposed to tissue from infected animals, contaminated animal products or directly to B. anthracis spores under certain conditions.

In herbivores, anthrax commonly presents as an acute septicemia with a high fatality rate, often accompanied by hemorrhagic lymphadenitis.

B.anthracis spores can remain infective in soil for many years. During this time, they are a potential source of infection for grazing livestock, but generally do not represent a direct infection risk for humans. Grazing animals may become infected when they ingest sufficient quantities of these spores from the soil. In addition to direct transmission, biting flies may mechanically transmit B.anthracis spores from one animal to another. The relative importance of this mode of transmission during epizootics or epidemics has yet to be quantified but is frequently suspected (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Hillsborough County Health Officials Issue Vibrio Vulnificus Warning
Date: August 16, 2012
Source:
Global Dispatch

Abstract: The death of two Hillsborough County, Florida residents has prompted health officials to issue a warning about a potentially deadly bacterial infection contracted from eating raw or undercooked oysters or swimming in local waters with open wounds.

According to a BayNews9 report Tuesday, in addition to the two fatalities, the Hillsborough County Health Department (HCHD) said an additional five other cases of Vibrio vulnificus have been reported in the county.

Throughout the Tampa Bay area and the state of Florida, raw oyster bars are everywhere and the places are packed with patrons. However for a certain group of people, the bacterium that lurks in the oyster can cause a rapid and extremely serious illness.

As the summer comes and the waters start getting warmer, the waters where oysters, clams, crabs and finfish are harvested appear to become more concentrated with Vibrio vulnificus.

Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that is found in all coastal waters of the United States. It has also been found in brackish waters of some interior states. It may be normal flora in salt water and acquiring this organism from shellfish or water exposure does not imply that the water is contaminated by sewage. Most infections that happen are attributed to consuming raw oysters harvested in the Gulf of Mexico during the summer. Because the oysters are shipped all over the country, infections are not limited to the Gulf States.

Oysters are sedentary bivalve mollusks that feed by filtering plankton (small plants and animals) from estuarine water. Because Vibrio vulnificus occurs naturally in the same waters that oysters feed, the bacteria is ingested and becomes assimilated and concentrated in the animal’s tissues.

Healthy, non at-risk individuals are not at risk for serious infection. Non at-risk patients with gastroenteritis have a relatively mild illness consisting of vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps and rarely require hospitalization.

However there are certain medical conditions that can put you at risk for very rapid, serious and possibly deadly disease. Individuals with diabetes, liver disease like cirrhosis, leukemia, AIDS or those who take immunosuppressive drugs or steroids are particularly susceptible to primary septicemia, a serious “blood poisoning”. In these individuals the bacteria gets into the bloodstream resulting in septic shock and death in more than 50% of those infected.

Wound infections are another problem with Vibrio vulnificus. These infections result either from contaminating an open wound with sea water harboring the organism, or by lacerating part of the body on coral, fish, etc., followed by contamination with the organism.

This infection can be diagnosed by isolating the organism in stool, wound or blood cultures. It can be treated with a antibiotic regimen and supportive care.

What can you do to prevent this infection? Patients with chronic liver disease or immunocompromising conditions are particularly vulnerable to infection and are advised to avoid raw or undercooked seafood. Persons with open wounds should avoid contact with warm seawater.

Here is a list of preventive measures recommended in the journal American Family Physician:

• Avoid contact with raw seafood juices; use separate cutting boards and knives for seafood and nonseafood
• Avoid eating raw oysters or seafood, especially if an immunocompromising condition or chronic liver disease is present; the risk is highest with seafood harvested in the summer
• Cook shellfish thoroughly:
• In the shell: boil until the shells open, then boil for another five minutes; or steam until the shells open, then steam for another nine minutes (do not eat shellfish that do not open during cooking)
• Shucked oysters: boil for at least three minutes, or fry for at least 10 minutes at 375°F (191°C)
• Promptly refrigerate leftover seafood
• Wear gloves when handling raw oysters or shellfish
Persons with open wounds:
• Avoid contact between open wounds and seawater, especially if water temperature is more than 68°F (20°C), or raw seafood
• Wash any wound that is exposed to seawater with soap and clean water
• Immediately seek medical care for any wound that appears infected
(Global Dispatch, 2012)

Title: Leptospirosis Alert In Barbados
Date: August 16, 2012
Source:
Plenglish.com

Abstract:  Barbados health authorities decreed a state of alert this today due to an increase in leptospirosis cases detected in the country since last month.

  According to a report by the Ministry of Health, five people contracted this bacterial infection in July, bringing the number of patients to 18 this year.

The text warned of the possibility the disease may be spreading not only through rodents, but also other animals such as pigs, horses, cows and dogs.

The disease, which includes flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, chills, nausea and vomiting, eye inflammation and muscle pain, can be contracted by contact with water, moist soil or vegetation contaminated with urine of infected animals.

The bacteria can also enter the body through skin sores.

The ministry urged people to use protective clothing, mainly gloves and boots for work outdoors such as gardening and construction, which may cause involuntary exposure to contaminated water
(Plenglish.com, 2012).

Title: State Reports Human Case Of WNV Infection
Date: August 16, 2012
Source:
Connecticut Mosquito Management Program

Abstract: The State Mosquito Management Program today announced that a New Haven resident tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) infection. This is the first case of human illness associated with WNV infection reported in Connecticut this year.

The person, between 30-39 years of age, had onset of illness during the first week of August and was hospitalized the following week with meningitis related to the WNV infection. Symptoms included headache, stiff neck, nausea, and muscle weakness. The person has been discharged from the hospital and is recovering. Infected mosquitoes have been repeatedly trapped in New Haven and surrounding communities from July 12 through August 8.

“August and early September is the time of the year when people are at greatest risk of illness associated with West Nile virus infections,” said Dr. Randall Nelson, State Public Health Veterinarian with the Department of Public Health. “DPH urges everyone to take the warnings of the risk of mosquito-transmitted illness seriously and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.”

From June 27 to August 8 the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) has identified WNV positive mosquitoes in 40 towns: Bethel, Bridgeport, Cheshire, Chester, Danbury, Darien, East Haven, Fairfield, Farmington, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Groton, Hamden, Hartford, Killingworth, Meriden, Milford, Monroe, New Britain, New Canaan, New Haven, Newington, Newtown, North Branford, North Haven, Norwalk, Old Lyme, Shelton, South Windsor, Southington, Stamford, Stratford, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Hartford, West Haven, Westbrook, Westport, Wethersfield, and Wilton. Mosquitoes positive for eastern equine encephalitis were trapped in Chester on August 8.

Monitoring and risk assessment for WNV emphasizes mosquito trapping and testing results. The CAES maintains a network of 91 mosquito-trapping stations in 72 municipalities throughout the state. Mosquito traps are set Monday – Thursday nights at each site every ten days on a rotating basis. Mosquitoes are grouped (pooled) for testing according to species, collection site, and date.  Each pool is tested for the presence of viruses of public health importance. Positive findings are reported to local health departments and on the CAES web site at www.ct.gov/caes.

For information on West Nile virus and what you can do to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program Web site at www.ct.gov/mosquito (Connecticut Mosquito Management Program, 2012)

Title: WNV Update: State Reports Second Human Case Of West Nile Virus
Date: August 17, 2012
Source:
Connecticut Mosquito Management Program

Abstract: The State Mosquito Management Program today announced that a Stamford resident tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) infection. This is the second case of human illness associated with WNV infection reported in Connecticut this year.

The person, between 60-69 years of age, had onset of illness during the third week of July and was hospitalized the following week with fever and severe muscle weakness related to the WNV infection. The person remains hospitalized but is improving. Infected mosquitoes have been repeatedly trapped in Stamford and surrounding communities from June 27 through August 8.
 
“DPH urges everyone to take the risk of mosquito-transmitted illnesses seriously and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites,” said Dr. Randall Nelson, State Public Health Veterinarian with the Department of Public Health. “The mosquito trapping and testing program has been very effective in providing an early warning of the threat of infections in people.”

The state announced the first human case in a New Haven resident yesterday. Last year, there were nine reported cases of WNV infection in Connecticut residents. So far this season, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) has identified WNV positive mosquitoes in 40 Connecticut towns.

For information on West Nile virus activity across the nation, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website athttp://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile.

For information on West Nile virus and what you can do to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program Web site at www.ct.gov/mosquito (Connecticut Mosquito Management Program, 2012). 

Title: Indiana Melons Linked To Salmonella Outbreak
Date: August 17, 2012
Source: 
USA Today

Abstract: Health officials in Indiana and Kentucky say they are investigating farms, distributors and retailers after an outbreak of salmonella that has killed two and sickened at least 141 people nationwide was linked to cantaloupe grown in southwestern Indiana. 

Officials Friday advised all Indiana residents to discard cantaloupes purchased since July 7.

The Kentucky Department of Public Health warned people not to eat the cantaloupes. Tests found the fruit carried the same strain of salmonella that has killed two and sickened more than 50 in Kentucky.

Salmonella infections result in diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Most people recover without treatment, but severe infections can occur in infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says 31 have been hospitalized in this outbreak that has hit 20 states (USA Today, 2012)

Title: Washington Reports Thirty Vibrio Illnesses This Summer
Date: August 17, 2012
Source:
Examiner

Abstract: Three commercial shellfish growing areas in
Washington State have been closed for the rest of the summer due to a rash of bacterial infections according to health officials.

According to a Washington State Department of Health (WSDH) news release Thursday, the three affected areas are Totten Inlet near Olympia, North Bay and Dabob Bay in north Hood Canal. Health officials say that 30 people have been sickened by the gastrointestinal bacterium, Vibrio parahaemolyticus this summer. The bacterium is increased in the warm summer waters.

Health authorities say the growing areas will be reopened in October when waters cool down.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterium in the same family as those that cause cholera. It lives in brackish saltwater and causes gastrointestinal illness in humans. V. parahaemolyticus naturally inhabits coastal waters in the United States and Canada and is present in higher concentrations during summer.
People get vibriosis from eating raw or undercooked oysters that have Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria in them.

V. parahaemolyticus causes watery diarrhea often with abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. Usually these symptoms occur within 24 hours of ingestion. Illness is usually self-limited and lasts 3 days. Severe disease is rare and occurs more commonly in persons with weakened immune systems.

The WSDH advise about the proper cooking of shellfish. Cooking shellfish until the shells just open is not enough to kill Vibrio bacteria. Shellfish should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F for at least 15 seconds. Don’t rinse cooked oysters in seawater, which can re-contaminate them.

In addition, consumers should put shellfish on ice or refrigerate immediately after you buy or harvest them this summer. Make sure you’re buying from a reputable source that handles shellfish correctly with good cooling practices (refrigeration or ice) (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Oklahoma Reports Two More Deaths Of West Nile Virus
Date: August 17, 2012
Source: 
China Daily

Abstract: The health department of the US state of Oklahoma confirmed Thursday two more deaths of West Nile virus, bringing the state's death toll to three this week.

The latest two deaths happened this week in Oklahoma county and Seminole county, with both victims being octogenarians, said The Oklahoman, the largest daily newspaper in Oklahoma.

On Tuesday, an Oklahoma county man aged above 80 was confirmed as the first person in the state who died of West Nile virus this year.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health has already issued a public health warning because of an surge in West Nile Virus cases this year.

Since Jan. 1, 2012, there have been 61 confirmed cases of West Nile virus disease, of which, 22 cases were West Nile fever and 39 cases West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease.

The age of patients ranged from 12 to 90, and the health department has warned that people older than 50 are at the highest risk of developing the most severe symptoms.

Meanwhile, the Arkansas State Department of Health confirmed Thursday that West Nile virus cases are also on the rise in the state.

The Arkansas state has seen nine confirmed cases this year, up sharply from only one case in 2011.

So far this year, 693 cases of West Nile virus have been reported in 32 states, with the death toll amounting to 26, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Texas, which tops the list in both total cases and fatalities, is battling an outbreak of the epidemic. A total of 17 people have died of the virus and 465 more have been sickened this year.

West Nile virus, first identified in Uganda in 1937, is a mosquito-borne illness that leads to serious neurological disease in some cases, and its symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, nausea, dizziness and muscle weakness.

Commonly seen in temperate and tropical regions, West Nile virus mainly infects birds, but is also known to infect human bodies mainly through mosquito biting. Scientists say about 80 percent of infections are symptomless.

The World Health Organization said that treatment of this virus often involves hospitalization, intravenous fluids, respiratory support and prevention of secondary infections (China Daily, 2012)

Title: Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus Infections In Employees Of A Rodent Breeding Facility
Date: August 17, 2012
Source: 
CDC

Abstract: In late April 2012, an infectious disease physician contacted CDC regarding a patient with aseptic meningitis who worked at a rodent breeding facility in Indiana. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection was suspected, and LCMV-specific antibody was detected in blood and cerebrospinal fluid from the patient, confirming the diagnosis. LCMV is an arenavirus carried by the common house mouse. Persons become infected through close contact with infected rodents, through infected organ transplantation, or from mother to fetus. In immunocompetent adults, symptoms can range from mild febrile illness to meningeal symptoms (e.g., headache, stiff neck, or sensitivity to light). Congenitally infected infants can have a range of severe birth defects including hydrocephalus, chorioretinitis, blindness, and mental retardation (1). Infections in organ recipients, who are immunosuppressed, can have a case-fatality rate approaching 90% (2).

CDC notified the Indiana State Department of Health of a potential outbreak of LCMV infection at the rodent breeding facility and subsequently notified county health officials and the Indiana Board of Animal Health. A serosurvey was performed; 52 current and former employees of the facility consented to serum testing. Of the 52 tested, 13 (25%) demonstrated recent LCMV infection as evidenced by the prescence of immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgG by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Nine employees who showed laboratory evidence of recent exposure reported experiencing a clinical illness consistent with LCMV; symptoms ranged from severe influenza-like illness to meningeal symptoms that required hospitalization. Of the persons experiencing illness, 89% were male; ages ranged from 20 to 48 years. No employees, including those not tested, were known to be pregnant at the time of the serosurvey. All employees who experienced clinical illness have since recovered. Three additional employees had evidence of a previous LCMV infection, with detectable anti-LCMV IgG and no IgM.

The rodent facility bred and raised mice and rats for sale as live and frozen feeder animals for reptiles or birds of prey. The facility housed approximately 155,000 adult mice and 14,000 adult rats. A representative sample of healthy-appearing adult rodents was tested for evidence of LCMV infection by ELISA and polymerase chain reaction. Of 1,421 mice tested, 296 (20.8%) had detectable anti-LCMV IgG, and 10 (0.7%) had detectable LCMV RNA. Of 399 rats tested, none were positive by ELISA or polymerase chain reaction. All living mice at the facility were euthanized. All rodents remaining in cold storage at the time of diagnosis also were disposed of in accordance with local environmental regulations. The buildings and equipment housing the mice were cleaned and disinfected. Used litter and contaminated feed were disposed of in accordance with local environmental regulations. Live mice distributed from the facility before the LCMV diagnosis currently are being followed to the point of purchase through an ongoing investigation.

Any persons with direct or indirect contact with these animals should be made aware of the public health risk and should seek medical evaluation if they have had any recent illness. Pregnant women or immunocompromised persons should be cautioned to avoid contact with rodents in general. Wild mice in the United States have a prevalence of LCMV estimated at 3.9%–13.4% (3). Any additional rodent populations that have come into direct contact with potentially infected mice should be depopulated.

Employers of rodent breeding facilities of all kinds should make their employees aware that working with rodents can expose them to LCMV and should educate workers regarding risks for exposure, including potential health effects. Employers also should work with their local health departments to develop guidance material on disease prevention and provide the recommended personal protective equipment for employees. Routine serologic testing of rodents can be used to detect and control LCMV infections. Evidence of LCMV infection in rodents should be dealt with promptly to prevent human illness from occurring. Purchasers of frozen rodents used to feed another pet should be reminded to always wear plastic gloves when handling the rodents and to wash their hands afterward (CDC, 2012)

Title: Anthrax Drug Death Sparks Fear Of Europe-Wide Pandemic
Date: August 18, 2012
Source: 
RT

Abstract: A drug addict in Blackpool, UK, died from an anthrax infection, sparking concerns of a pan-European outbreak of the rare disease.

Medical experts suggested that the death was caused by contaminated heroin, Reuters reported. The incident comes in the wake of similar anthrax outbreaks in Europe. The Blackpool infection is the only fatal case thus far.

Since June, three incidents were recorded in Germany, two in Denmark and one in France. A heroin addict was also hospitalized in Scotland a month ago.

“It's likely that further cases among PWID [People Who Inject Drugs] will be identified as part of the ongoing outbreak in EU countries. The Department of Health has alerted the NHS of the possibility of people who are injecting drugs presenting to emergency departments and walk-in clinics, with symptoms suggestive of anthrax” Dilys Morgan, an expert at the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) told the Guardian.

Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by the Bacillus anthracis bacteria. Infection in humans is rare, usually involving the skin, gastrointestinal tract or lungs. Anthrax commonly affects animals such as sheep and goats, but humans who come into contact with infected cattle may also become infected. People traditionally considered to be at high risk of anthrax infection include farm workers and veterinarians.

Since 2009, drug users have also come into contact with the deadly bacteria. A wave of 124 anthrax infections swept the UK in 2009 and 2010, resulting in 19 deaths. Scientists traced the outbreak to an infected goat in Turkey, which was used to transport heroin to Europe. There are fears that the batch responsible for the current incidents could be linked with the 2009-2010 cases, Wired magazine reported.

The UK healthcare system has responded to the potential threat by posting public warnings, and increasing national educational programs that explain the dangers of the rare bacteria and drug use.

The disease, which has a death rate of up to 75 percent once contracted, “can be cured with antibiotics, if treatment is started early. It is, therefore, important for medical professionals to know the signs and symptoms to look for, so that there are no delays in providing the necessary treatment," Morgan said (RT, 2012)

Title: Woman Battles Lepto, Malaria, Dengue To Deliver Healthy Girl
Date: August 18, 2012
Source:
Hindustan Times

Abstract: Anjali Nagda was a miracle baby for many reasons. Her mother Vidya Nagda, 24, tested positive for three monsoon ailments – malaria, dengue and leptospirosis in July, the eight month of her pregnancy. The triple infection affected the Vasai resident's kidneys, liver and heart, putting the life of her unborn child at risk.

Doctors had never seen dealt with such a case. But on July 11, after undergoing 15 platelet transfusions and a heavy antibiotic treatment, Anajli was born at JJ Hospital, healthy and happy.

Nagda was earlier admitted to a private hospital in Vasai with high-grade fever and chills. As Nagda was pregnant, doctors at the hospital screened her for monsoon-related ailments and she tested positive for all three. "They (doctors) told us that her condition was deteriorating and we should take her to a bigger hospital," said her husband, Dinesh Nagda who works in a ration shop.

On August 1, Nagda was brought to JJ Hospital where doctors put her on antibiotic drugs to treat the infection. As many drugs are not advised during pregnancy, doctors had to carefully select a high dose of antibiotics to treat the triple infection.

"This is the first time that we have seen a pregnant woman suffering from three monsoon-related ailments at the same time. Her platelet count had dropped to 15,000 units, which should ideally be more two lakh. Her kidneys and liver functions were also abnormal which could have proved fatal for the foetus as well as the mother," said Dr Ashok Anand, professor from the gynecology department of JJ Hospital.

"Malaria and dengue can lead to the death of a pregnant woman and her child. Pregnant women should take utmost care to avoid such infections. Putting mosquito nets and avoiding breeding grounds go a long way in protecting oneself from such infections," Dr YS Nandanwar, head of Sion hospital's gynecology department.

"We were trying for a second child for a long time. Vidya was completely fine till the eight month and suddenly her condition was worsened. We had lost all hopes," added Dinesh (Hindustan Times, 2012)

Title: CDC: H3N2v Cases Top 200 Since July
Date: August 19, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: The number of cases of the H3N2 variant virus continues to rise in the United States this summer, with exposure to pigs still the main factor according to federal health officials.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Friday that 71 additional cases of H3N2v were reported this week, bringing the total cases since July to 224.

According Dr. Joseph Bresee, Chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch in CDC’s Influenza Division, “We expect the number of H3N2v cases to rise since this virus has been found in pigs in a number of U.S. states per the USDA and there is so much interaction between people and pigs in fair settings at this time of year.”

Although the cases are rising, Bresee states that the numbers are not as important as how the virus is spread and the severity of illness with this strain of influenza.

The CDC reports the newest 71 cases are from: Illinois (2), Indiana (18), Michigan (1), Ohio (41), Pennsylvania (4), West Virginia (3) and Wisconsin (2).

The strain of H3N2v virus circulating contains genes from avian, swine and human viruses. It has also acquired the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus M gene. The virus was found in U.S. pigs in 2010 and in people in 2011.

Because of the M gene, the H3N2v virus may spread more easily to and between humans, compared with other variant influenza viruses. This is a cause of concern for CDC officials keeping a close eye on the situation.

The situation in the United States has prompted other nations to take action in case of importation of the virus.

In Hong Kong for example, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health amended the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance to include variant influenza A (H3N2) as one of the statutorily notifiable diseases.

A CHP spokesman said Friday, "Recently in the US, a significant increase in the number of variant influenza A (H3N2) cases has been reported. In order to prepare in advance for possible importations of this infection into Hong Kong and their consequences, there is public health justification to strengthen the surveillance over this type of influenza to enable effective public health preventive and control measures be implemented locally. It is considered necessary to amend the Ordinance to include variant influenza A (H3N2) in the list of scheduled infectious diseases, with effect from August 17, 2012" (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Majority Of West Nile Virus Cases In The U.S. Come From Two Texas Counties
Date: August 19, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently 
released a West Nile update that said the total number of human cases of the mosquito borne disease is now at 693.

Of this total, two Texas counties alone make up 441 of the total cases nationally.

According to a Dallas County “West Nile Watch” issued Friday, 242 human cases have been reported. Approximately one month ago, Dallas County Health and Human Services director Zachary Thompson called Dallas County the “epicenter” of West Nile in the U.S.

In fact, it has got so bad in that part of Texas that Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins declared a Public Health Emergency slightly more than a week ago.

To battle the surge of West Nile virus, Dallas County began aerial spraying to kill the mosquito population on Thursday. This method of mosquito control hasn’t been done in the county in 45 years according to a CBS News report.

In neighboring Tarrant County, things aren’t much better. According to a Tarrant County West Nile update Friday, health officials report 199 human cases of West Nile virus.

To the east in Louisiana, the total number of human cases increased by 24, bringing the total cases to 92 in the Bayou State. More than half of the cases there are of the more serious neuroinvasive variety.

According to the CDC, over 80 percent of the cases have been reported from six states (Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and California) (Examiner, 2012)

Title: E.Coli-Tainted Pickled Cabbage Linked To The Deaths Of At Least Seven In Japan
Date: August 19, 2012
Source:
Examiner

Abstract: In what Japanese health officials are calling “the deadliest mass food poisoning in a decade”, at least seven people have died and more than 100 have been sickened after eating a popular Japanese side dish.

According to a Japan Today report Sunday, the implicated food in this E. coli outbreak is lightly pickled Chinese cabbage produced by Sapporo-based company, Iwai Shokuhin on the northern island of Hokkaido.

Health authorities report six of the seven fatalities were in elderly women who consumed the cabbage at a Sapporo nursing home, while the other death was a Sapporo child. A total of 103 have were infected by the bacterial pathogen according to the report.

Japanese health official, Seiichi Miyahara says, "It is not easy to determine how the bacteria were mixed with the pickles. We don't know yet whether there was any major problem in sanitary control at the company."

Prior to this E.coli outbreak, the worst food poisoning event was in 2002, when nine people died from E. coli bacteria poisoning after eating a marinated chicken and vegetable dish at a hospital and its annex, a nursing home for the aged, in the provincial city of Utsunomiya, north of Tokyo.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says Escherichia coli are a bacterium that is commonly found in the gut of humans and warm-blooded animals. Most strains of E. coli are harmless. Some strains however, such as enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), can cause severe foodborne disease. It is transmitted to humans primarily through consumption of contaminated foods, such as raw or undercooked ground meat products and raw milk.

Symptoms of the diseases caused by EHEC include abdominal cramps and diarrhea that may in some cases progress to bloody diarrhea. The infection may lead to a life-threatening disease, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is characterized by acute renal failure, hemolytic anemia and thrombocytopenia. It is estimated that up to 10% of patients with EHEC infection may develop HUS, with a case-fatality rate ranging from 3% to 5% (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Deadly Ebola Outbreak: Nine Killed In DR Congo
Date: August 19, 2012
Source: 
RT

Abstract: Nine people have died from an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo, only weeks after the virulent disease was declared “under control” in neighboring Uganda, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported.

The new cases of the Ebola virus were detected near the country’s northwestern town of Isiro, the Congolese health minister said.

A group of specialists from various international organizations – the WHO, Doctors Without Borders and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – are working in the country alongside local doctors. They are conducting a detailed epidemiological investigation, and are attempting to quarantine people who may have been in contact with those infected.

The new outbreak comes just weeks after another Ebola epidemic in neighboring Uganda – roughly 30 miles from its border with DR Congo – was declared to be over. The Ugandan outbreak killed 16 people in July. The two epidemics are not believed to be linked, since the strain found in DR Congo is different from the one identified in Uganda, Doctors Without Borders reported.

Ebola is a rare hemorrhagic virus, first discovered in 1976 in Zaire (now known as DR Congo). The disease was named after a small river in the country. Symptoms of Ebola infection include a sudden onset of fever, weakness, headaches, vomiting and kidney failure.

The virus is reportedly fatal in 50-90 percent of cases. In the most severe infections, victims bleed from bodily orifices before dying. There is no treatment and no vaccine for Ebola, which is transmitted by close personal contact. It can also be transmitted to humans through the handling of infected animal carcasses, including monkeys and birds.

Congo's last major Ebola epidemic in 1995 killed 245 people. Recent Ebola outbreaks were recorded in Uganda, when 37 people were killed in the western part of the country in 2007, and when at least 170 died in the nation’s northern region in 2000 (RT, 2012)

Title: Heroin User’s Anthrax Death Sparks Outbreak Fear In England
Date: August 20, 2012
Source: 
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: The recent death from anthrax of a British drug user has led to concern in Europe that the outbreak of the rare infection among people who inject heroin may be worsening.

The drug user could have been infected by contaminated heroin while at least seven other similar cases have been seen across Europe, the Health Protection Agency said, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The HPA’s Dilys Morgan said that more cases will be identified, though the HPA said anthrax in drug users was very rare. The HPA was set up to guard against infection diseases and environmental hazards.

A 2009-2010 outbreak in Europe was also traced to contaminated heroin, though the only other case reported before then was a single occurrence in Norway in 2000, the Chicago Tribune Reports.

The HPA reported that since June of this year several new cases of anthrax among heroin users have been seen – three in Germany, two in Denmark, and one each in France and Scotland.

“It is unclear as yet whether this (death) and a case in Scotland at the end of July are linked to the outbreak in Europe but the HPA will continue to monitor the situation,” the HPA said, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The British victim died in a hospital in Blackpool, northern England, though no further details were given.

Anthrax is a fairly common bacteria with spores that can be used as a biological weapon, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Anthrax rarely infects humans, but if spores are inhaled the infection can take hold quickly. The infection often takes hold before symptoms show, making antibiotic treatment much more difficult and less likely to succeed.

Anthrax infection can come in several forms, including skin anthrax, lung anthrax and gastrointestinal forms. It can also progress to blood infection and death. The disease is not transmitted directly from one infected person to another (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Porn Industry Announces Moratorium After Syphilis-Case Reports
Date: August 20, 2012
Source: 
LA Times

Abstract: Jolted by the possibility of a 
syphilis outbreak among its ranks, a Los Angeles-based trade group that represents the adult film industry announced a nationwide moratorium on X-rated productions while more than 1,000 porn performers are tested.

The Free Speech Coalition issued the call on its website after reporting that one performer tested positive for syphilis, a 
sexually transmitted disease, and had begun notifying sexual partners of that information.

The moratorium was announced Saturday, a day after Los Angeles County's Public Health Department said it was investigating a cluster of possible syphilis cases within the porn industry. The agency said it had received reports of at least five cases involving adult performers within a week.

The head of the coalition would not agree to an interview, but on its website, the group said that it was calling for a temporary halt to film shoots while the "entire population" of performers is examined by doctors.

"A determination will be made by the doctors on the appropriate time to lift the moratorium as more information is revealed," the group said.

Michael Weinstein, president of the 
AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said Monday the developments show that adult film companies are incapable of policing themselves. His group said the syphilis incident would be used as part of the campaign for Measure B, a proposal on the Nov. 6 countywide ballot mandating the use condoms during professional X-rated shoots. And it accused adult film productions of being "bad corporate citizens," saying that no other business would tolerate transmission of any diseases, sexual or otherwise.

"We don't settle for that in food preparation. We don't settle for that in factories," said Tom Myers, general counsel for the group. "I can't think of any other [workplace] where there's an acceptable level of transmissible diseases as a normal course of business "

The number of syphilis cases in California jumped 18% from 2010 to 2011, according to state health officials. If left untreated, the bacterial disease can cause permanent damage to the heart, brain, and other organs. In Los Angeles, officials are trying to map out a strategy for inspecting adult film shoots, part of an ordinance passed by the City Council this year.

City officials are hoping voters will approve Measure B, which would allow the city to rely on the county's health department to conduct spot inspections.

Weinstein said city officials had overcome the "ick factor" surrounding the condom issue and are making progress developing an enforcement strategy. But Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, criticized them for devoting taxpayer resources on the matter.

"In a time when multiple California cities are going bankrupt, L.A. itself has a significant budgetary problem, and city services are being cut drastically, I find it unconscionable that the city would create a new bureaucracy to monitor condoms on adult film performers," she said in a statement.

Duke also said in an email that Measure B would ultimately endanger porn performers by pushing adult film shoots "underground" or out of the county. She also accused Weinstein's group of waging "a relentless attack on the adult industry" since 2009.

Weinstein, in turn, accused the adult film industry of doing too little to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. He said producers make performers pay for their own testing and require that syphilis screening be done only twice a year.

"If we look at the fact that syphilis has up to a 90-day incubation period and the fact that the industry only tests these employees every six months … a person could go as long as nine months without being diagnosed" with syphilis, he said 
(LA Times, 2012)

Title: California Supplier Recalls Lettuce Over E. Coli Fears
Date: August 20, 2012
Source: 
Fox News

Abstract: A Northern California produce supplier said Sunday it is voluntarily recalling romaine lettuce that was shipped to 19 states, Puerto Rico and Canada over fears about possible E. coli contamination.

Salinas-based Tanimura & Antle said the recall is limited to a single lot of its Field Fresh Wrapped Single Head Romaine that was available at retail stores starting Aug. 2. The lettuce is packed in a plastic bag with the UPC number 0-27918-20314-9, and it may have a "best by" date of Aug. 19.

The company said some 2,095 cases were potentially affected. Of those, 1,969 cases were shipped to Puerto Rico and the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

The product was packed with either 12 or 18 heads per case.

The recall was being conducted in consultation with Food and Drug Administration, and was based on the testing of a random sample by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. There have been no reported illnesses associated with consumption of this product (Fox News, 2012)

Title: Forsyth County Infant Dies From Whooping Cough
Date: August 20, 2012
Source: 
My Fox 8

Abstract: A Forsyth County infant has died as a result of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

DHHS officials on Monday said the 2-month-old infant’s passing is the first pertussis-related death in North Carolina in 2012.

State health officials are urging parents to do the following as cases of whooping cough spread across the country:

  1. Make sure your child is current on his or her vaccinations. The DTaP vaccination series is recommended for children starting at 2 months of age, and continuing at 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months and 4-6 years of age.
  2. Insist that the adults in your children’s lives are vaccinated also. Whooping cough spreads easily from person to person, and young babies especially are not fully protected until they receive the full series of shots.
  3. Ask about your children’s caregivers. Babysitters, child care providers, family members, etc. who come in close contact with your children should be vaccinated.
  4. Don’t forget booster shots. By age 11, children should receive the Tdap booster. It’s never too late for teenagers or adults to receive the booster if they haven’t already.

“Babies and young children are not fully immunized until they have finished a series of vaccinations, so their only protection against whooping cough is the people around them,” N.C. Health Director Dr. Laura Gerald said. “Anyone who lives with or will be around a baby should be vaccinated.”

For more information about getting vaccinations, visit immunize.nc.gov (My Fox 8, 2012)

Title: Swine-Origin Influenza A(H3N2) Variant Viruses In North America: ECDC Risk Assessment
Date: August 20, 2012
Source:
ECDC

Abstract: Human infections with a novel influenza A(H3N2) variant virus of swine origin (A(H3N2)v) including a genetic component from the 2009 pandemic virus have been reported in the United States since July 2011. Following substantial increased reporting this summer, ECDC 
updated its risk assessmentfrom last year.

From July 2011 to April 2012, 13 cases were reported, while a further 153 cases have been reported between July and 9 August 2012. Although most cases occurred in Indiana and Ohio, nine US States were involved (Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia, Hawaii, Illinois, and Ohio).

The majority of the persons infected had contact with swine or attended an agricultural fair where swine were present. However, some limited human-to-human transmission has been reported in households and a child care setting.

The majority of infections occurred in children and adolescents under 18 years. No serious complications or deaths have been reported, and most of the cases resulted in symptoms similar to uncomplicated seasonal influenza infection, such as fever, cough, pharyngitis, rhinorrhea, myalgia and headache. Influenza A(H3N2)v infections can therefore not be distinguished in their clinical features from seasonal influenza.

In EU/EEA Member States the novel influenza A(H3N2)v viruses have not been identified in pigs, and no human influenza A(H3N2)v virus infections have been reported. Therefore, there is currently no known risk of becoming infected with the influenza A(H3N2)v viruses in Europe (EU/EEA countries).

As transmission of the disease is mainly related to direct contact with infected pigs, travellers to the affected states in the USA who have contact with pigs in farms or visit agricultural exhibitions may be at risk of being infected. In case they develop influenza-like symptoms after swine exposure, clinicians should consider and sample for the influenza A(H3N2)v viruses.

It is possible that these variant virus infections will appear in Europe, particularly if there is more human-to-human transmission or travellers visiting US agricultural exhibitions, which could lead to imported cases. It is important to ensure that there is at least capacity in one national centre for detecting these viruses in EU/EEA countries. ECDC and the Community Network of Reference Laboratories (CNRL) have initiated work to assess and strengthen laboratory capacity in Europe for detecting influenza A(H3N2)v, should it appear in persons in Europe (ECDC, 2012).

Title: West Nile Virus Claims Its 27th Victim As Judge Declares Epidemic A Public Emergency In Dallas
Date: August 20, 2012
Source: 
Daily Mail

Abstract: An Illinois man has been killed by the West Nile virus, sparking fears the deadly disease is spreading.

76-year-old William Mueller died on Saturday, two weeks after being hospitalised.

Serving as president of Lombard Village, Mueller was described by his family as 'an amazing dad, husband and grandpa'.

He becomes the 27th person to be killed by the mosquito-borne virus in the U.S., of 694 cases - the sharpest spike in case numbers seen since 2004 that is baffling experts.. 

'It is not clear why we are seeing more activity than in recent years,' Marc Fischer of the CDC told CNN

'Regardless of the reasons for the increase, people should be aware of the West Nile virus activity in their area and take action to protect themselves and their family.'

There is no medication to treat West Nile virus, symptoms of which include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash.

No vaccinations exist, either.

The Majority of cases have been recorded in Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma. 

In Dallas panic has deepened since a judge declared the epidemic to be a public health emergency.

An aerial assault was launched on the blood-sucking insect population for the first time in 45 years in a bid to combat the spread.

Aircraft loaded with insecticide have sprayed parts of the north east of Dallas County, after the virus killed 10 people and left at least 230 more ill.

Although commonplace in other major cities, the efforts have provoked a debate in the Dallas area between health officials trying to reduce the risk of disease and residents concerned about the dangers posed by the chemical cloud drifting down from above them.

'I cannot have any more deaths on my conscience because we did not take action,' Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings said. 

Aerial spraying is also being used elsewhere, including in neighborhoods in New York City and Sacramento, California, to combat the spread of West Nile virus.

Cases of West Nile Virus have also been reported in the Chicago area, with officials spraying the nearby town of Skokie with insecticide.

Two people have been taken ill with the virus in Skokie, while the Chicago suburb of Lake County has reported its first case.

Nearly half of all West Nile cases in the United States so far this year are in Texas, however, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

If the trend continues, 2012 will be the worst West Nile year in the southern state's history.

The hot, dry weather has created ideal conditions for some species of mosquito.

The heat speeds up their life cycle, which accelerates the virus's replication process. 

And during a drought, standing water can quickly turn stagnant when it's not flushed away by rain or runoff.

Both the mayor and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins have declared a state of emergency and voiced their support for the use of aircraft to battle the virus.

Yet even with the threat of infection, the spraying has sparked widespread opposition from people who fear the chemicals could be harmful. 

Because of the severity of the outbreak, the Texas Health Department is stepping in to oversee the effort and to pay for it.

'This year is totally different from the experience Texas has had in the past,' state Health Commissioner Dr. David Lakey said. 'If it's nuisance mosquitoes, we ask the city or county to pay part of that.

But in the midst of this disease outbreak, it's easier for us to go ahead and do it.'

A national spraying company called Clarke was set to deploy two to five Beechcraft King Air twin-engine planes for three hours of spraying.

Critics have questioned whether the approach is scientifically proven to reduce West Nile cases.

But at least one study in California concluded that the odds of infection are about six times lower in treated areas than in those that are untreated. 

Still, some residents fear the chemicals could harm their children, pets and useful insects such as honeybees and ladybugs.

Chemical released from the planes, synthetic pyrethroid, mimics a naturally occurring substance found in chrysanthemums.

The Environmental Protection Agency has said that pyrethroids do not pose a significant risk to wildlife or the environment, though no pesticide is 100 percent safe.

About eight-tenths of an ounce of chemical is applied per acre.

The insecticide's common name is Duet Dual-Action Adulticide.

The label says it's toxic to fish and other types of aquatic life, and it contains distilled petroleum. 

Kelly Nash, who lives in Dallas and works for an environmental consulting firm, has questioned the move.

'One ounce an acre doesn't sound like much, but we will spray at least 2,000 gallons all over the city,' Nash said.

'A 2,000-gallon oil spill would be significant.

'I'm concerned that we're breeding resistant mosquitoes that next time will have Dengue fever or something worse.'

Harris County, which includes humid, mosquito-filled Houston, has used aerial spraying once a year since 2002, the year the virus was first detected in Texas. 

The county uses ground spraying first and moves to aerial spraying as the virus spreads.

'We can't be everywhere at all times,' Mosquito Control Director Dr. Rudy Bueno said.

'Aerial treatment is a way to supplement what we do on the ground.'

Most people infected with West Nile virus won't get sick, but about one in 150 people will develop the severe form of the illness. 

Symptoms include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. 

Jordan Conner, 14, spent eight days in intensive care with the most severe form of West Nile virus.

Her mother, Ebonie Conner of Arlington, said she doesn't approve of aerial spraying and wishes local leaders would do more to educate the community. 

'We've been desensitized to West Nile virus,' Mrs Conner said.

'It's been ingrained in us that it affects older people and infants. 

'I think they need to pass out insect repellent, mention it in back-to-school drives' (Daily Mail, 2012)

Title: Update On New Swine Flu In The US
Date: August 21, 2012
Source:
HPA

Abstract: The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is aware there have been nearly 250 human cases of swine-origin influenza A(H3N2)v virus in the recent USA outbreak since it was first identified in August 2011.

The virus has mainly affected children and young adults and is mild in nature. Most cases have documented contact with pigs, although in one small cluster of six cases reported in December 2011, there may have been limited human to human transmission. This virus has not been identified in pigs or humans in the UK.

The HPA has recommended that returning travellers with an influenza-like illness who have had contact with pigs in the USA within five days of the onset of their illness, should be investigated further. The HPA is contacting GPs to ensure they are aware of this recommendation in light of this outbreak and we are updating the website with information on this new strain.

The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised this summer that in the US, those at increased risk of the complications of influenza, including older people, small children and those with chronic diseases, should consider avoiding pigs and swine barns.

The strain of H3N2 in the current seasonal flu vaccine is different to the A(H3N2)v although, since the virus is related to the human H3N2 influenza virus that was circulating in the 1990s, studies suggest that adults may have some immunity to this virus whereas children will not.

Professor Nick Phin, from the HPA’s influenza department said:

“There are no UK cases of this strain of H3N2 in humans or pigs and it has not spread to other countries in Europe, so the threat to the UK public is very low. We are keeping a very close watch on the situation in the US and are in contact with our American colleagues to regularly assess the risk.

“We are reassured that there is little evidence to support human to human spread and that virtually all of the cases can be associated with direct contact with pigs.

“We are now approaching this year’s flu season and so I want to take this opportunity to remind anybody who is in an ‘at risk’ group to ensure they get their flu vaccination as soon as the vaccination programme begins to ensure the best protection over the coming winter” (HPA, 2012).

Title:
 An Increase In Cases And Deaths Reported In Congo Ebola Outbreak
Date: August 21, 2012
Source: Examiner

Abstract: The number of cases, deaths and health zones has all increased since the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Ebola outbreak was first reported last Friday.

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Alert and Response (GAR) published Tuesday, as of 20 August 2012, a total of 15 (13 probable and 2 confirmed) cases with 10 deaths have been reported in Province Orientale in Eastern DRC. This is up from 10 suspected cases and 6 deaths late last week.

In addition to reporting cases in the Isiro and Dungu Health Zones of Province Orientale, there are now at least two cases and 1 death in the Pawa health zone.

The Congolese Ministry of Health has convened a National Task Force and is working with several partners including WHO, UNICEF, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) Suisse, MSF Belgique and the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The outbreak in the DRC follows an outbreak in neighboring Uganda late last month where at least 16 people died from the lethal virus (Examiner, 2012).

Title: The Cholera Epidemic In West Africa Kills 250, Kibaale Reports New Outbreak
Date: August 21, 2012
Source: 
Examiner

Abstract: On the Atlantic coast of Western 
Africa, the countries of Guinea and Sierra Leone have been battling a cholera epidemic since it was declared in February.

According to a Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) news release Monday, more than 13,000 people have been admitted to hospitals in the capital cities of Freetown and Conakry since February.

In addition, MSF’s medical teams have treated nearly 4,600 patients in Sierra Leone and Guinea, which share a reservoir near the coast that is a breeding ground for the disease. “This ‘coastal cholera’ has already killed some 250 people," says MSF epidemiologist Michel Van Herp. "The water reservoir allows the Vibrio cholerae bacteria to survive and go on to infect the population."

Once people are infected through contaminated water or food, the disease spreads quickly, accelerated by poor hygiene and lack of sanitation.

On the heels of the Ebola outbreak in Kibaale, Uganda, health officials are now reporting a new cholera outbreak, which has already claimed two lives.

The Ugandan news source, the Daily Monitor reports, on Saturday, eight people were confirmed to have contracted the disease, two of which died.

District health officer, Dr. Dan Kyamanywa says cholera has been a recurrent problem along the Lake Albert shores which is mainly attributed to the disposal of waste in the lake by the fishing communities. “It is embarrassing because these people lack latrines and they defecate in the waters of Lake Albert [which they] consume,” said Dr Kyamanywa.

Cholera is an acute bacterial intestinal disease characterized by sudden onset, profuse watery stools (given the appearance as rice water stools because of flecks of mucus in water) due to a very potent enterotoxin. The enterotoxin leads to an extreme loss of fluid and electrolytes in the production of diarrhea. It has been noted that an untreated patient can lose his bodyweight in fluids in hours resulting in shock and death.

It is caused by the bacterium, Vibrio cholerae. Serogroups O1 and O139 are the types associated with the epidemiological characteristics of cholera (outbreaks).

The bacteria are acquired through ingestion of contaminated water or food through a number of mechanisms. Water is usually contaminated by the feces of infected individuals.

Drinking water can be contaminated at the source, during transport or during storage at home.
Food can be contaminated by soiled hands, during preparation or while eating.

Beverages and ice prepared with contaminated water and fruits and vegetables washed with this water are other examples. Some outbreaks are linked to raw or undercooked seafood.

The incubation for cholera can be from a few hours to 5 days. As long as the stools are positive, the person is infective. Some patients may become carriers of the organism which can last for months.

Cholera is diagnosed by growing the bacteria in culture. Treatment consists of replacement of fluids lost, intravenous replacement in severe cases. Doxycycline or tetracycline antibiotic therapy can shorten the course of severe disease.

There is an oral vaccine available in some countries but it is not available in the U.S. Cholera prevention is the same as in other causes of traveler’s diarrhea.

The MSF notes, while eliminating cholera altogether may still be impossible in many African countries, targeted vaccinations play a role in the fight against the disease.

According to the World Health Organization, there were 85,000 cholera cases and 2,500 deaths from cholera recorded in Africa in 2011 (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Tattoo Infections In U.S. Linked To Contaminated Ink
Date: August 22, 2012
Source:
Reuters

Abstract: Contaminated tattoo ink caused at least 22 skin and soft tissue infections last fall in four U.S. states, according to an analysis released on Wednesday.

The infections prompted an investigation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that uncovered 22 confirmed cases, 4 probable cases and 27 possible cases of contamination-related infections in New York, Washington, Iowa and Colorado.

Products from four companies were implicated during the probe. None of the companies is identified in a CDC report, released in conjunction with a New England Journal of Medicine study of the New York cases.

"People who get tattoos must be made aware of this risk and seek medical attention" if they get a rash or other abnormalities at the site, according to a commentary in the journal from a team led by Pamela LeBlanc of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The bacteria got into the containers when the manufacturer used distilled or reverse-osmosis water, which is not necessarily sterile. In the New York cases, which led to a recall by the Arizona-based manufacturer, the water was used to dilute black ink into various shades of gray.

The New York cases involved infection with a bug called Mycobacterium chelonae, which caused reddish or purple raised bumps in the areas tattooed with gray. The infection can mimic an allergic reaction and be difficult to treat.

"They were not getting better" with standard care, said Dr. Byron Kennedy of the Monroe County Department of Public Health in New York, the chief author of the New England Journal of Medicine study. "You had some folks who were on treatment for 6 months or more."

The FDA does not directly regulate tattoo ink because it is regarded as a cosmetic, but it can intervene when a product has been adulterated or is regarded as unsafe.

Currently, no FDA regulation specifically requires tattoo ink to be sterile, but some local jurisdictions, such as Los Angeles County, do require that sterile water be used when inks are diluted, according to the CDC report.

CDC is encouraging doctors to keep track of such infections and report them to the FDA.

About one in five Americans has tattoos, according to a 2012 Harris Interactive poll. SOURCES:bit.ly/PwHriF New England Journal of Medicine, August 23, 2012, and 1.usa.gov/10AZNP MMWR, August 22, 2012 (Reporting by Gene Emery in Providence, Rhode Island; Editing by Ivan Oransky and Cynthia Osterman) (Reuters, 2012)

Title: 26 Dead In Texas Due To West Nile Virus
Date: August 22, 2012
Source: 
NBC New York

Abstract: U.S. health officials say there's been an alarming increase in the number of West Nile cases with Texas being hit hardest.

So far there have been more than 1,100 cases reported through the middle of August. That's three times as many as usually seen at this point in the year. About half the cases are in Texas.  Most West Nile infections are reported in August and September.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the new numbers Wednesday. They say the mild winter, early spring and very hot summer have fostered breeding of the mosquitoes.

But, according to the Star-Telegram, the CDC numbers may be delayed compared to the cases actually detected in North Texas. Analysis by the paper claimed the numbers from the federal health officials could be underreporting fatalities by 70 percent.

NBC 5's own record-keeping of the total number of West Nile human cases reported by local health officials brings the total number to 662 as of Aug. 21CDC numbers only reference 537 infections in the entire state.

Four more West Nile virus deaths have been reported in Texas, bringing the state's 2012 total to at least 26.

Houston health officials report their second and third West Nile deaths of the year.

Two more were reported in the Dallas area, which has been the focus of this year's U.S. outbreak. One death in Dallas County and one in Collin County brings the Dallas-Fort Worth area's death toll to 18, by far the most in the country.

More than 270 human cases have been confirmed in Dallas County alone, which has begun aerial spraying for mosquitoes.

Harris County officials have scheduled aerial spraying for Wednesday in northwestern Harris County.

Mosquitoes spread the virus from birds to people.

West Nile virus was first reported in the United States in 1999.

Complete coverage of the West Nile virus outbreak in North Texas can be found in our Special Section (NBC New York, 2012)

Title: Chicago: Three Cases Of Legionnaires’ Disease Linked To JW Marriott Chicago Hotel
Date: August 22, 2012
Source: 
Global Dispatch

Abstract: hicago health officials say that up to 8,500 guests of popular, downtown hotel may have been exposed to the potentially serious bacterium in light of reports of  three confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in patrons of the hotel.

According to a Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) news release Tuesday, since August 14, CDPH has received reports of three confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease among people who stayed at the hotel during this time frame suggesting that the hotel is the common exposure setting.

Health officials believe the source has been identified and there is currently no ongoing health risk at the hotel. However, CDPH is asking people who stayed at the hotel during July16-August 15 and who are experiencing symptoms consistent with Legionnaires’ disease or who have been diagnosed with pneumonia to contact their healthcare provider to discuss whether treatment is needed or whether any current treatment to be modified.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the JW Marriott Chicago Hotel, 151 W. Adams St., is mailing letters to customers who might have been exposed. About 65 percent of the letters had been mailed as of Tuesday, a hotel spokesman said.

“We don’t feel there is an ongoing threat at the hotel, however what is important right now is diagnosing and treating anybody that may have been exposed as soon as possible because that can help shorten the recovery period and prevent serious complications.” said Dr. Kathleen Ritger, Medical Director over Communicable Disease, Chicago Department of Public Health.

Dave Grissen, President of the Americas for Marriott International said, “We have been in regular contact with the Chicago Department of Public Health since they’ve notified us and have taken all precautions, according to their advice; including draining the pool, hot tub and fountain. We care deeply about the safety of our guests and employees, and want them to be fully advised of our actions to protect their health.  The CDPH believes the source of the bacteria has been identified and the situation has been remedied.  We thank our guests for their loyalty and understanding and would like to salute CDPH and our employees for their quick action.”

Anyone with symptoms should contact their doctor. Those who might have been exposed can call a public health hotline at 312-746-4835 on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

What is Legionnaires’ disease?

Legionnaires’ disease gained national notoriety in 1976 when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered it during an epidemic of pneumonia among American legion members at a convention in Philadelphia.

The causative organism is the bacteria, Legionella pneumophila. Other species have also been implicated in Legionnaires’ disease. The legionella bacteria are found throughout nature, because of this most people become exposed to it but few develop symptoms.

The primary place in nature it’s found is water sources particularly at warmer temperatures; lakes, rivers and moist soil.

It is also found in man-made facilities (frequently the source of outbreaks) such as air-conditioning ducts and cooling towers, humidifiers,whirlpools and hospital equipment.

People get exposed through inhaling infectious aerosols from these water sources. There is no transmission from person to person.

The infection can appear in two clinical forms: Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever.

Both conditions are typified by headache, fever, body aches and occasionally abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Legionnaires’ disease is the cause of pneumonia where a non productive cough is typical. Fatality rates of this form of the infection are around 15 % even with improvements in treatment.

Pontiac fever is a self limiting flu-like illness that does not progress to pneumonia or death. Diagnosis is usually made by typical symptoms in a outbreak setting.

Diagnosis of Legionnaires’ disease depends on identifying the bacteria in microbiological culture, detecting the antigen in urine samples or a fourfold increase in antibody titer.

Certain health conditions make you more susceptible to infection to include increasing age, smoking, chronic lung disease, malignancy anddiabetes mellitus.

Legionnaires’ disease is treatable with antibiotics.

To following things can be done as preventive measures: cooling towers should be drained when not in use and cleaned to remove scale and sediment and biocides can be used to limit bacterial growth. Tap water should not be used in respiratory therapy devices (Global Dispatch, 2012).

Title: CDC: More Than 1,100 Cases Of West Nile Reported Through August
Date: August 22, 2012
Source: 
Fox News

Abstract: The Centers for Disease Control said Wednesday this is shaping up to be the worst year ever for West Nile Virus infections and deaths in the U.S. The virus, transmitted by mosquitoes, is now to blame for 41 deaths across the country with more than 1,100 people infected -- and those numbers are expected to climb.  

The number of cases has risen dramatically in the past few weeks.  CDC officials say numbers are alarming given there were only 25 cases reported nationwide this time last month.  The only states that do not have reported cases of the virus are Hawaii, Alaska and Vermont.

“There have been more cases reported to us at this time of year than ever before,” said Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, director of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases for the CDC. “This will be amongst the biggest or the biggest break we’ve had in the United States.”

Texas officials are working closely with the CDC to get a handle on the outbreak.  Dr. David Lakey, commissioner for the Texas Department of Health, said his state is the center of the outbreak.  Statewide, there are 586 reported cases with 21 deaths.  Lakey said there were four more reported cases and one additional death yesterday, but those have not officially been confirmed.

Dallas County, which includes the city of Dallas, is under a public health emergency with the largest number of cases in the state.  For the first time in decades, county officials have been spraying pesticides over the city and its suburbs overnight. The last round of spraying took place Monday after weather had delayed the treatment last week. Lakey said the spraying is the best way to get a handle on this public health epidemic. He said state officials support the localities that request the aerial spraying.

During a conference Wednesday he said there is no evidence the aerial spray poses a threat to humans.

Why this Year?
There are a number of factors which contribute to an outbreak. Experts are not willing to pin-point one specific reason for the outbreak of 2012, but they point to studies that prove warmer temperatures lead to higher instances of virus transferability in mosquitoes.  Peterson said our mild winter, early spring and unusually hot summer likely have allowed the mosquitoes to thrive more than in past years.  In Dallas, the heat combined with stagnant water creates a perfect mosquito breeding ground.

What to Look for?
Symptoms of the virus vary, and according to the CDC, four out of five people never feel sick. The most serious symptoms show only a small percentage of people, about one in 150. Those symptoms could include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors and convulsion – even vision loss, and paralysis. Milder symptoms could include fever, headaches, and body aches as well as vomiting.

It takes anywhere between three to 14 days before symptoms show, but when the symptoms do show up, it hits hard (Fox News, 2012)

Title: Rare White Buffalo Dies From Blackleg According To Veterinarian
Date: August 22, 2012
Source: 
Global Dispatch

Abstract: The rare and sacred white buffalo who died in May named Lightning Medicine Cloud, died from a lethal bacterial  infection according to veterinarians and was not the victim of a hate crime as originally speculated by it’s owner.

Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks said a veterinarian made the determination and that photographs indicate the calf wasn’t skinned. He said the investigation is closed unless new evidence surfaces.

“Officials obtained what evidence was available and consulted with a veterinarian in reference to the manner of death,” Meeks said. “We conducted a thorough investigation, interviewed over 25 people and looked at every angle in this matter such as hate crimes, vengeance, hunters, etc.”

According to an Associated Press report, Arby Little Soldier, owner of the ranch near Greenville, reported finding the calf skinned and believed it had been killed as part of a hate crime.

Also on Tuesday, investigators said two other calves died of similar infections after the passing of Lightning Medicine Cloud.

The calf was named Lightning Medicine Cloud — a reference to the thunderstorm that marked the arrival of his birth as well as a tribute to a white buffalo born in 1933 named Big Medicine.

Buffalo woman, the mother of Lightning Medicine Cloud was found dead a day after the calf’s death.

According to Lakota Sioux lore, the goddess of peace once appeared in the form of a white buffalo calf.

What is Blackleg?
According to the 
Merck Veterinary Manual:

Blackleg is an acute, febrile disease of cattle and sheep caused by Clostridium chauvoei characterized by emphysematous swelling, usually in the heavy muscles (clostridial myositis). It is found worldwide.

C. chauvoei is found naturally in the intestinal tract of animals. Spores remain viable in the soil for many years and are purported to be a source of infection. Outbreaks of blackleg have occurred in cattle on farms in which recent excavations have occurred or after flooding. The organisms probably are ingested, pass through the wall of the GI tract, and after gaining access to the bloodstream, are deposited in muscle and other tissues (spleen, liver, and alimentary tract) and may remain dormant.

In cattle, blackleg infection is endogenous, in contrast to malignant edema.  Lesions develop without any history of wounds, although bruising or excessive exercise may precipitate some cases. Commonly, the animals that contractblackleg are of the beef breeds, in excellent health, gaining weight, and usually the best animals of their group. Outbreaks occur in which a few new cases are found each day for several days. Most cases are seen in cattle from 6–24 mo old, but thrifty calves as young as 6 wk and cattle as old as 10–12 yr may be affected. 

Usually, onset is sudden, and a few cattle may be found dead without premonitory signs. Acute, severe lameness and marked depression are common. Initially, there is a fever but, by the time clinical signs are obvious, body temperature may be normal or subnormal. Characteristic edematous and crepitant swellings develop in the hip, shoulder, chest, back, neck, or elsewhere. At first, the swelling is small, hot, and painful. As the disease rapidly progresses, the swelling enlarges, there is crepitation on palpation, and the skin becomes cold and insensitive with decreased blood supply to affected areas. General signs include prostration and tremors. Death occurs within 12–48 hr. In some cattle, the lesions are restricted to the myocardium and the diaphragm.

Terry Hensley, a Texas A&M extension office veterinarian, said a blackleg vaccine is available for cattle but has not been approved for buffalo. Some experts say the cattle vaccine has been effective in buffalo, Hensley said (Global Dispatch, 2012).

Title: Bug-Infested Witness Shuts Down Detroit Court Room
Date: August 23, 2012
Source:
CBS Detroit

Abstract: A court room in Detroit’s 36th District Court is closed after officials say a bug-infested man showed up for proceedings.

Judge Cylenthia Miller chose to evacuate the court and send her staff home after a bailiff spotted the man with insects crawling on him.

His daughter told the Detroit News he has a bedbug problem at his home, but a court staffer talking to WWJ Newsradio 950 said it’s not yet clear what kind of bugs were on the man — indicating that they also could have been cockroaches or fleas.

The man was reportedly there to serve as a witness in a case.

A pest control company has been called in to spray.  It was unclear when Judge Miller’s court room would reopen (CBS Detroit, 2012)

Title: Hundreds Of Residents Being Tested For Tuberculosis
Date: August 23, 2012
Source:
News Channel 10

Abstract: Hundreds of people who come in and out of the Potter County Jail are now being tested for tuberculosis.

The Potter County Sheriff's Office tell us preliminary autopsy results for the inmate who died in jail on August 15th show he had tuberculosis.

Now the city is actively testing detention center staff and inmates who were potentially exposed to the disease.

Sometimes you may not test positive for TB even though you have contracted it and that's why follow-up tests will be done eight weeks from now.

Health officials say the inmate had a unique type of infection, due to underlying medical conditions it spread all over his body.

We're told TB is easily treatable and very rarely fatal if diagnosed early.

"We will be sending letters and we will be making phone calls to remind people who might have been exposed to him during his stay and their stay to go get a TB skin test. So we'll be doing that follow-up work. It's a lot of work and it's going to take weeks," says Matt Richardson, Department of Public Health, City of Amarillo.

Results for TB tests take 48 to 72 hours and at that point patients will be alerted if they need to have a chest x-ray done.

The city is closely working with the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services to report any positive cases (News Channel 10, 2012).

Title: Plague Confirmed In Palomar Mountain Squirrels
Date: August 23, 2012
Source:
Examiner

Abstract: Health officials are advising campers and hikers in the Palomar Mountains to take precautions to protect themselves from exposure to squirrels after three ground squirrels tested positive for the bacterium that causes 
plague.

According to a County of San Diego news release Wednesday, officials said the squirrels represented a low risk of transmission because their blood tests showed their exposure to the bacteria was not recent, and because they did not carry large numbers of the fleas that could transmit the disease.

The squirrels that tested positive were trapped at two different campgrounds; Cedar Grove and Doane Valley.

Jack Miller, director of the County Department of Environmental Health (DEH) advises campers and hikers to avoid coming into contact with squirrels by ensuring tents are set up away from squirrel burrows and telling your children of the importance of not playing with squirrels.

Other advise given by health officials include keeping pets on a leash or leaving them home and do not touch or handle sick or dead animals.

The DEH posted warning signs in areas where rodents test positive for plague.

Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium,Yersinia pestis. It is found in animals throughout the world, most commonly rats but other rodents like ground squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, rabbits and voles. Fleas typically serve as the vector of plague. Human cases have been linked to the domestic cats and dogs that brought infected fleas into the house.

Bubonic plague is the most common form of plague. In this form, the bacteria typically enter the body through the bite of an infected flea or rodent. Here the bacteria infect the lymphatic system. After a few days to week, the person will experience fever, chills, weakness, and swollen lymph glands. These are called buboes. Untreated bubonic plague is fatal about half the time.

Yersinia pestis is treatable with antibiotics if started early enough (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Manila Hospitals Under Code Blue Alert Due To Influx Of Leptospirosis Patients
Date: August 24, 2012
Source:
Examiner

Abstract: The Philippines Department of Health (DoH) put government hospitals in the Metro 
Manila area under “Code Blue” preparing for the inpouring of leptospirosis patients. Code Blue puts all medical personnel on 24 hour duty to accept and treat the incoming patients.

As of yesterday, 20 hospitals in the capital city reported 783 leptospirosis cases, 34 of which resulted in death according to a Rappler.com report Thursday.

DOH Assistant Secretary Dr Eric Tayag said the influx of patients is not a surprise in light of the massive flooding that paralyzed the National Capital Region (NCR) during the beginning of the month; however, Tayag notes it is possible that many of the cases were from the provinces but they were only brought to Metro Manila for treatment.

DoH officials warned the public ad nauseum about the dangers of wading in flood waters.

Dr. Tayag says one tragic statistic they’ve seen is the amount of patients being seen with kidney failure. During the past week, at least 51 patients were already brought to the DOH-run National Kidney and Transplant Institute, some for expensive dialysis treatment.

Today, the DoH also released the case numbers for leptospirosis nationwide. According to the statistics, a total of 2,374 leptospirosis cases in the country has been recorded from January 1 to August 11, 2012.

This is 70.18 percent higher than the 1,395 cases reported in the same period last year.

The NCR is not the only area battling the spirochetal infection. North of Manila, in the province of Pangasinan, the city of Dagupan has reported three fatalities from the bacterial disease in the past week.

With all the bad news about the increases in leptospirosis on the archipelago, the DoH did have some good news about another infectious disease, in which the numbers have dropped precipitously.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona announced Friday that the Philippines has seen the lowest level of malaria in 42 years.

PhilStar.com reports malaria cases in the country dropped by 80 percent in 2011 as compared to those recorded in 2003. A total of 9,642 cases were recorded in 2011 as compared to the 43,441 cases in 2003 (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Dole Recalls Bagged Salad, Possible Listeria Contamination
Date: August 24, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: Dole Fresh Vegetables, a division of Dole Food Co. (DOLE), is voluntarily recalling 1,039 cases of bagged salad due to a random sample testing positive for Listeria monocytogenes, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The product affected is 10 oz. Dole Italian Blend coded  0049N2202008, with a use-by date of Aug. 20 and UPC 7143000819, and was distributed in Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Mississippi and Virginia.

No other salads are included in the recall.

The recall follows a sample of the Italian Blend salad testing positive for listeria in a random sample test conducted by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.

The company said it is working closely with regulatory officials and that no illnesses related to the recall have been reported.

Listeria can cause foodborne illness in those who eat contaminated food. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea or diarrhea, and primarily affects pregnant women and adults with weakened immune systems (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Louisiana Reports Influx Of Over 50 New West Nile Cases In Past Week
Date: August 25, 2012
Source:
Examiner

Abstract: While much of the national media attention has been on 
the center of the West Nile outbreak in Texas, for good reason, Louisiana has also been seeing large increases in the mosquito-borne virus from week to week.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) reported 53 new human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) this week, approximate one-third of the total cases seen so far this year according to a Friday news release.

This brings the total number of cases to 145. This is the highest number of cases seen in the state in the past several years.

In addition, the DHH reported three more deaths from WNV, bringing the total fatalities this year to nine.

The large increases of WNV in the state and nationwide, has prompted DHH health officials to hold a press conference earlier to emphasize to the public the personal responsibility in protecting yourself and your family from this preventable disease.

DHH Office of Public Health Assistant Secretary J.T. Lane said, “This is an easy illness to avoid - if you know you'll be outside, take a few minutes to apply repellant. We want people to be especially mindful of this because we are just getting to the time of year when people are spending more time outside tailgating, going to football games and having cookouts. Be aware of West Nile, and do what you need to do to protect yourself."

Of the 53 new cases reported this week, 31 were of the more serious neuroinvasive type.

West Nile virus was first detected in North America in 1999 in New York.

First discovered in Uganda in 1937, West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause encephalitis, a brain inflammation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.

Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.

The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

There is no specific treatment for WNV infection.

According to the DHH, the most active year for West Nile cases in Louisiana was 2002, when the state experienced 328 cases and 24 deaths.

Health officials in the Bayou State remind residents “Fight the Bite”:

• Local mosquito control partners and abatement districts remain vigilant in keeping the population of infected mosquitos under control, but everyone has a personal responsibility to avoid mosquito bites. Health officials recommend:

• If you will be outside, you should wear a mosquito repellent containing DEET. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that repellents should contain no more than 30% DEET when used on children. Insect repellents also are not recommended for children younger than 2 months. CDC recommends that you always follow the recommendations appearing on the product label when using repellent.

• People should be especially vigilant if they are outside at dawn and dusk. The mosquitoes that carry West Nile are most active at that time. But, people should take precautions against mosquitoes if they are outside at any time of day.

• Apply repellent on exposed skin and clothing. Do not apply under your clothes or on broken skin.

• To apply repellent to your face, spray on your hands and then rub on your face.

• Adults should always apply repellent to children.

• Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors for long periods of time.

• Avoid perfumes and colognes when outdoors for extended periods of time.

• Make sure that your house has tight-fitting windows and doors, and that all screens are free of holes.

In addition, another effective way to prevent mosquito bites is to drain stagnant water from around homes and property to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and swarming:

• Dispose of tin cans, ceramic pots and other unnecessary containers that have accumulated on your property. Turn over wheelbarrows, plastic wading pools or buckets that could collect water.

• Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers. Drainage holes that are located on the container sides collect enough water for mosquitoes to breed.

• Clean clogged roof gutters yearly. They are often overlooked, but can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.

• Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.

• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. An unattended swimming pool can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware that mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Mangoes Likely Distributed Throughout Canada May Be Contaminated With Salmonella
Date: August 25, 2012
Source:
Examiner

Abstract: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a public health warning Friday concerning the potential 
Salmonella risk associated with a certain brand of Mexican mangoes.

In conjunction with North American Produce Sales, the CFIA is warning the public not to consume the Daniella brand Mangoes described below because they may be contaminated with Salmonella Braenderupbacteria. North American Produce Sales of Vancouver, BC has voluntarily recalled the potentially tainted mangoes.

According to a CFIA health hazard alert Friday, the affected Daniella brand Mangoes, product of Mexico, were sold as individual fruit with a sticker bearing PLU# 4959 and other information. These mangoes were sold at various retail stores between July 12 and August 14, 2012.

The above mangoes may have been distributed to several provinces to include British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon.

Canadian health officials report several confirmed illnesses associated with the consumption of these mangoes.

Salmonella is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

For more information consumers and industry can call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday) (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Outbreak Of Legionnaires’ Disease In Quebec May Be biggest, Deadliest In Canada In Last 25 Years
Date: August 25, 2012
Source:
Montreal Gazette

Abstract: Quebec City’s outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease — which has claimed six lives — is believed to be the biggest and deadliest in Canada in the last 25 years.

As of Saturday, a total of 102 people have been infected by the Legionella pneumophila bacteria, which is suspected to have contaminated cooling towers in an undetermined number of office buildings in the provincial capital.

Legionnaires’ disease acquired its name after an outbreak of pneumonia killed 34 people who had attended a convention of the American Legion at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia in July 1976. A total of 221 people had fallen ill.

Legionnaires is a non-contagious lung disease that is contracted when one inhales the bacteria through mist in water or ventilation systems.

Quebec and other parts of Canada have been witness to a number of Legionnaires outbreaks. Among them:

An outbreak plagued Montreal’s Royal Victoria Hospital during a three-month period in 1985. Seven patients are thought to have died of the disease out of a total of 12 people who had fallen ill.

That same year, three patients died of Legionnaires at the Prince County Hospital in Prince Edward Island. A positive culture of Legionella bacteria was traced to water pipes supplying a whirlpool bath and a humidifier on the fourth floor where the patients got sick.

In 1996, an outbreak struck Quebec City, infecting 11 people, one of whom died.

In 1997, Ste. Justine Hospital was forced to cancel patients’ baths and showers after the Legionella bacteria was found to have spread through the building’s water system. A two-month-old baby, who was suffering from multiple illnesses, died after being infected by the bacteria.

Internationally, an outbreak swept through a hospital in the industrial town of Strafford, England, in 1985, killing 39 people and sickening more than a hundred others. The source of the outbreak was discovered in the air conditioning system in the hospital’s outpatient clinic.

And in June of this year, an outbreak in Edinburgh, Scotland, killed two men and was suspected to have infected dozens of people (Montreal Gazette, 2012).

Title: Texas Health Officials Report 30 West Nile Virus Deaths To Date
Date: August 26, 2012
Source:
Examiner

Abstract: The number of human West Nile virus (WNV) cases and fatalities in the Lone Star State continue to climb and easily account for more than half of all cases nationwide 
as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to a Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) news update Friday, 723 human cases of West Nile illness have been confirmed in Texas so far this year.

In addition, health officials say there have been 30 fatalities as a result of this mosquito-borne virus.

A majority (392 cases or 54%) of the WNV cases reported are the more serious neuroinvasive type which can result in brain inflammation conditions such as meningitis and encephalitis.

Dallas and Tarrant counties still lead the state in the number of cases by a long shot with 210 and 174 cases respectively.

Dallas County, recently called the “epicenter” of the current WNV outbreak, accounts over one-third of fatalities statewide.

According to the DSHS, West Nile is a mosquito-borne virus. There are two forms of the illness, West Nile neuroinvasive disease (WNND) and West Nile fever (WN fever). The symptoms of severe infection from West Nile neuroinvasive disease include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. West Nile fever is the milder form of the illness. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, and occasionally a skin rash on the trunk of the body and swollen lymph glands (Examiner, 2012)

Title: Ohio Reports 98 Human Cases Of H3N2v Influenza
Date: August 26, 2012
Source:
Examiner

Abstract: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 
reported Friday that with the addition of 52 new human cases of H3N2vinfluenza, the total number of cases seen nationwide since July is 276.

Of that total, more than one-third of the cases are in Ohio.

According to an Ohio Department of Health (ODH) news release Friday, the number of human cases of this strain of swine flu stands at 98.

The counties of Butler, Champaign and Gallia account for the most confirmed cases with 17, 15 and 11 reported respectively.

Ohio health officials say the confirmed cases of H3N2v are in people between the ages of 6 months and 51 years old. To date, several of the confirmed cases in Ohio were hospitalized, but they have since been treated and released.

According to CDC investigations, the main risk factor for this infection is exposure to pigs, mostly in fair settings; however, CDC also is reporting three instances of likely human-to-human spread of this virus during the current outbreaks.

CDC Medical Epidemiologist, Dr. Joseph Breese says the virus does not spread easily from person-to-person.

The H3N2v influenza was first found in pigs in 2010 and first detected in humans in July 2011; this H3N2 variant virus appears to be more transmissible from pigs to people than other variant viruses (Examiner, 2012)

Title: 8 Dead In Legionnaires' Outbreak
Date: August 27, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: Canadian health officials say eight people have died in a rare outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the province of Quebec, having identified more than 100 cases of the dangerous strain of pneumonia since July.

Aiming to stop the outbreak, public health workers have inspected and disinfected about 89 cooling towers in Quebec City, the provincial government said in a release on Sunday. All told, 104 cases have been identified so far.

Legionnaires' disease is caused by bacteria that can grow in cooling towers, showers and other water sources. It mostly affects people already in poor health, spreading as they inhale small droplets of contaminated water suspended in the air.

The illness, named for a 1976 outbreak at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia, is rare in Canada, with only about 75 cases reported each year, according to a fact sheet from the federal public health agency (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Second Person Dies After Contracting Rare Rodent-Borne Disease At Yosemite
Date: August 28, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: A second person has died of a rare, rodent-borne disease after visiting Yosemite National Park earlier this summer and park officials are warning past visitors to be aware of some flu-like aches and symptoms as fears of a possible outbreak mount.

Health officials learned this weekend of the second hantavirus death, which killed a person who visited the park in June, spokesman Scott Gediman said in a statement.

There is one other confirmed case of the illness, and a fourth is being investigated.

Park officials are warning visitors who stayed in tent cabins at Curry Village from mid-June through the end of August to beware of any symptoms of hantavirus, which can include fever, aches, dizziness and chills. An outreach effort is under way to contact visitors from that period who stayed in "Signature Tent Cabins," which have more insulation and amenities than other tent cabins.

Federal health officials say symptoms may develop up to 5 weeks after exposure to urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents. There is no specific treatment for the virus, and about one-third of people who contract it will die.

After-hours calls to Yosemite officials seeking further details were not immediately returned Monday night.

The first death was reported earlier this month.

Following the first death, state health officials advised anyone with symptoms to seek medical attention and let doctors know if they were camping in Yosemite. Officials said thousands of people visit the park every month, so it would be impossible to track everyone who had set foot in Curry Village.

Curry Village is the most popular and economical lodging area in the park, a picturesque assemblage of rustic cabins at the base of the 3,000-foot promontory Glacier Point.

Gediman told the San Francisco Chronicle that of the 408 tent cabins in the village, 91 are of the "signature" variety where the sick stayed, which feature more insulation and amenities than the others.

It was not clear how many people stayed in the cabins in the period in which park officials are warning visitors.

Gediman said contractors are working on the signature cabins to protect park-goers.

"They're doing everything they can to eliminate areas where mice can get into the cabins," Gediman told the San Francisco Chronicle. "This was never because the cabins were dirty, it was never because we didn't take care of them. This is just because approximately 20 percent of all deer mice are infected with hantavirus. And they're here in Yosemite Valley."

This year's deaths mark the first such deaths in park visitors, although two others were stricken in a more remote area in 2000 and 2010, officials said (Fox News, 2012)

Title: 2 Die In Legionnaires' Outbreak Linked To Chicago Hotel
Date: August 28, 2012
Source:
Chicago Tribune

Abstract: Two people have died after contracting Legionnaires' disease in an outbreak linked to a downtown Marriott hotel this summer, Chicago Department of Public Health officials said Monday.

The two dead are among eight people who came down with Legionnaires' after staying in the JW Marriott at 151 W. Adams St. between mid-July and mid-August.

None of the eight people who contracted the disease are from the Chicago area or are being treated here, but city officials declined to provide any further information about them, citing privacy laws. The conditions of the six surviving people who caught Legionnaires' is not known.

The city's health department and hotel officials first announced three cases of the disease last week. At the time, the hotel said it had mailed letters about the outbreak to an estimated 65 percent of the 8,500 guests who stayed at the hotel between July 16 and Aug. 15.

As of Monday, 80 percent of those guests had been notified, and efforts were being made to reach the rest, Marriott spokesman Jeff Flaherty said. Current guests are being informed of the outbreak, although the city's health department says there is "no ongoing health risk at the hotel." Marriott has cooperated with the investigation, health officials said.

Because the Legionella bacteria that cause the disease are usually found in water, the hotel drained its pool, whirlpool and fountain and closed parts of its spa. Water can be tested for Legionella, but such testing is expensive and can take weeks to receive results.

Legionnaires' is a severe form of pneumonia characterized by headache, high fever, chills, cough, chest pain and shortness of breath. It is not spread from person to person. Most people exposed to the Legionella bacteria do not become ill, but the elderly, smokers and people with chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems are more vulnerable.

Between 8,000 and 18,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized each year with Legionnaires', according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease can be fatal for 5 to 30 percent of those who became sick, the CDC said.

In 2010, eight people contracted Legionnaires' through a decorative fountain at a Wisconsin hospital. All survived. Thomas Haupt, a respiratory epidemiologist with the Wisconsin Division of Public Health who led a study of that outbreak, said Legionella is common but can become dangerous under certain conditions.

"Legionella bacteria are everywhere," he said. "Anytime you have warm water, if you look hard enough, you could find Legionella."

Haupt said the Wisconsin fountain became a conduit for the bacteria in part because it was adjacent to a fireplace and heated by lamps.

The bacteria got its name as the result of a 1976 outbreak at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia, where 221 people were infected and 34 died.

Locally, a Naperville woman died of Legionnaires' in 1994, and seven people were infected in McHenry County in 1997.

People who have stayed at the JW Marriott and are experiencing symptoms associated with Legionnaires' or been diagnosed with pneumonia should contact their doctors, health officials said. Those who might have been exposed can also call a public health hotline at 312-746-4835 on weekdays (Chicago Tribune, 2012).

Title: New 'Heartland' Virus Discovered in Sick Missouri Farmers
Date: August 29, 2012
Source:
Yahoo News

Abstract: Two men in Missouri who became severely ill after sustaining tick bites were found to be infected with a new type of virus, according to a study from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Both men were admitted to hospitals after experiencing high fevers, fatigue, diarrhea and loss of appetite. They were originally thought to be suffering from a bacterial infection, but doubts arose when they didn't improve after being treated with antibiotics.

Further tests revealed their blood contained a new virus, which the researchers dubbed the Heartland virus. It belongs to a group called phleboviruses, which are carried by flies, mosquitoes or ticks, and can cause disease in humans.

While the genetic material of Heartland virus appears similar to that of other phleboviruses, the particular proteins it produces are different enough to call it a new species, said study researcher Laura McMullan, a senior scientist at the CDC.

Because the Heartland virus causes such general symptoms, it could be "a more common cause of human illness than is currently recognized," the researchers wrote in the Aug. 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

More studies are needed to identify the natural hosts of the virus, learn how many people are infected with it and find risk factors for infection, McMullan said.

Because both men experienced tick bites shortly before they became ill — one man, a farmer, reported receiving an average of 20 tick bites a day — the researchers said it's likely that the Heartland virus is spread by ticks, although more research is needed to confirm this.

The new virus's closest relative is another tick-borne phlebovirus, called SFTS virus, which was identified last year in China, and causes death in 12 percent of cases.

The Missouri men, who were both infected in 2009, recovered after 10 to 12 days in the hospital, although one of the men has reported recurrent headaches and fatigue in the two years since his hospitalization.

The researchers suspect a species of tick commonly found in Missouri, called Amblyomma americanum, is one of the hosts of the Heartland virus.

For now, taking precautions to prevent tick bites is the best way to avoid the virus, McMullan said. To prevent tick bites, the CDC recommends using repellents that contain 20 percent or more DEET, as well as avoiding wooded areas or areas with high grass (Yahoo News, 2012)

Title: U.S. Cases Of West Nile Virus Set Record, Deaths Soar-CDC
Date: August 29, 2012
Source:
Reuters

Abstract: A total of 1,590 U.S. cases of West Nile virus, including 66 deaths, have been reported through late August this year, the highest human toll reported since the mosquito-borne disease was first detected in the country in 1999, health officials said on Wednesday.

The toll is rising quickly and "w e think the numbers will continue to rise," said Dr. Lyle Petersen, director of the U .S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's D ivision of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases.

Through last week, 1,118 cases and 41 deaths had been reported, and the updated figures represent a 40 percent in crease in the number of cases and a 61 percent spike in the number of deaths.

In hard-hit Texas, the number of confirmed cases soared to 733, up 197 from last week, said Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. Deaths reached 31, up 10 from last week.

"It looks like it is going to be our worst year ever," said Lakey. "As I look at the data, I'm not convinced we have peaked" (Reuters, 2012)

Title: Colorado Reports First Case Of Human Plague In 6 Years
Date: August 29, 2012
Source:
Examiner

Abstract: An Archuleta County resident is currently being hospitalized in a Denver pediatric ICU for a case of septicemic plague.

According to a San Juan Basin Health Department (SJBHD) news release Tuesday, the individual is believed to have contracted the disease while recreating with family northwest of Pagosa Springs in the Cimarrona Campground near Williams Creek Reservoir in the San Juan National Forest; however, the investigation is in progress.

Health officials say this is the first confirmed case of human plague in Colorado since 2006. The last human case in Archuleta County was in 1998.

According to a posting on ProMED mail by a Pagosa Springs Medical Center physician, the case is described as follows:

A 7-year-old girl, a resident of Archuleta County, CO, presented to a small community emergency room (ER) with a fever of 107 F and seizures on the evening of 24 Aug 2012. She was transported to a pediatric ICU in Denver, where she deteriorated into severe septic shock. Further history revealed that she was playing with a dead skunk near her home some days before the onset of fever, and that she received multiple flea bites from fleas on the skunk carcass. Blood cultures have confirmed Yersinia pestis and clinically she has septicemic plague. She remains in critical condition.

San Juan Basin health authorities report although there has not been a human case of plague in six years, six animals (including squirrels, household cats, and prairie dogs) tested positive for plague in Colorado in 2011 and two animals have tested positive for plague so far in 2012.

Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. It is found in animals throughout the world, most commonly rats but other rodents like ground squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, rabbits and voles. Fleas typically serve as the vector of plague. Human cases have been linked to the domestic cats and dogs that brought infected fleas into the house.

People can also get infected through direct contact with an infected animal, through inhalation and in the case of pneumonic plague, person to person.

Yersinia pestis is treatable with antibiotics if started early enough.

There are three forms of human plague; bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic.

Bubonic Plague
This is the most common form. In this form, the bacteria enter the body through the bite of an infected flea or rodent. Here the bacteria infect the lymphatic system. After a few days to week, the person will experience fever, chills, weakness, and swollen lymph glands. These are called buboes.

In the U.S., bubonic plague is sporadic, primarily in the West. Typically, there are around 10 cases annually in this country.

Untreated bubonic plague is fatal about half the time.

Septicemic Plague
This form is also contracted from a flea or rodent bite. Sometimes it appears subsequent to untreated bubonic or pneumonic plague. It involves bloodstream dissemination to all areas of the body. Buboes do not occur. Symptoms are endotoxic shock and disseminated intravascular coagulation. Untreated septicemic plague is nearly always fatal.

Pneumonic Plague
Probably the most serious form of plague and it’s when the bacteria infect the lungs and cause pneumonia. It is contracted when the bacteria is inhaled (primary) or develops when bubonic or septicemic plague spreads to the lungs.

Pneumonic plague is contagious and can be transmitted person to person. It is highly communicable under appropriate climate conditions, overcrowding and cool temperatures. Untreated pneumonic plague is frequently fatal.

The SJBHD advises the public to take the following precautions to prevent contracting plague:

• Avoid contact with all sick and dead rodents and rabbits. Look for the presence of blow flies or dead animal smell as evidence of animal die-offs. Prairie dog colonies that suddenly are not active may also be due to plague activity in the area. Report such die-offs to San Juan Basin Health Department at 335-2052

• While hiking, treat pants, socks, shoe tops, arms and legs with insect repellents.

• DO NOT ever touch a dead wild animal. Do not approach or pick-up wildlife. If you see an animal that appears to be sick in southwestern Colorado, please call Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 970-247-0855 .

• Keep your pets from roaming and hunting and talk to your veterinarian about using an appropriate flea control product.

• Sick pets should be examined promptly by a veterinarian.

• If you hunt or trap rabbits or carnivorous wild animals, such as coyotes and bobcats, protect your hands and face while skinning or handling these animals. Fresh pelts may be treated with flea powder.

• Bites from wild carnivores and from cats and dogs have caused human plague. Such animals may be infected, carry the bacteria in their mouths or may transport infective fleas.

•DO NOT feed or entice any rodent or rabbit species into your yard, back porch, or patio.

• Eliminate rodent habitat, such as piles of lumber, broken cement, trash and weeds around your home or recreational cabin.

• Make sure that houses and outbuildings are as rodent-proof as possible. Keep foundations in good repair and eliminate overhanging trees from roof and windows.

• When outdoors, minimize exposure in rodent-infested areas. Do not catch, play with, or attempt to hand feed wild rodents.

• The incubation period is two to six days. Consult a physician if sudden unexplained illness occurs within that period (Examiner, 2012).

Title: Mysterious New 'Heartland Virus' Discovered In Missouri
Date: August 29, 2012
Source:
NPR

Abstract: Two Missouri farmers have been infected with a brand-new tick-borne virus that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling the Heartland virus.

The men recovered but suffered serious illness that required hospital care and weeks of convalescence. Symptoms included fever, severe fatigue, headache and nausea. Their platelet counts plummeted, but even though platelets are necessary for blood clotting, the men didn't suffer abnormal bleeding.

report on the new virus is in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

So far, the Missouri men are the only known cases of Heartland virus in the world. But experts are sure they'll find more.

After all, the men lived 60 miles apart and got infected independently. That means there must be more of the mysterious new virus in the northwest Missouri environment.

"We expect to find new cases," Dr. William Nicholson of the CDC told Shots. "We expect this thing may be wider in geographic distribution than we currently know."

The virus is dubbed "Heartland" not only because that's where it was discovered, but because of who found it: an astute infectious disease doctor named Scott Folk who works at Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Mo.

Folk is well-known to the CDC. "Whenever he sends us a sample, we pay attention because we're likely to find something," Nicholson says. In this case, Folk sent samples from 14 patients back in 2009.

Two of them puzzled the CDC experts — and then surprised them when electron microscope studies revealed a novel virus now called Heartland. The other dozen cases involved a more common tick-borne bacterial infection called ehrlichiosis.

"We're pretty excited about it," Nicholson says about the Heartland virus. "It's not every day that you find something new — particularly in the world of tick-borne diseases. We often work with what might be considered antique diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever."

Nicholson says the new virus is in the phlebovirus family, which contains more than 70 members. And here's another twist: Heartland virus appears to be a cousin of another new human virus called severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus, discovered last year in China. Another possible cousin may be Bhanja virus, a little-studied virus that has been found in some mammals, birds and reptiles in Asia, Africa and Europe.

Nicholson says the CDC, working with Folk, is looking for other people with symptoms similar to the two Heartland victims to see if they're infected with the same virus. The researchers are also analyzing thousands of samples from Missouri ticks, other crawling insects, and animals wild and domestic to see if any harbor Heartland virus (NPR, 2012).

Title: Michigan Reports First Case Of H3N2v Virus, From A Fair
Date: August 29, 2012
Source:
Farm World

Abstract: Michigan officials have reported the state’s first case of H3N2v, or influenza A variant. As with most other cases of it, the victim is someone who came into contact with pigs at a county fair.

The case is a girl from Washtenaw County who attended the Ingham County Fair. She had mild flu symptoms and wasn’t hospitalized, according to an announcement from the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) on Aug. 15.

“There have been limited cases of human-to-human transmission, but the majority have been human-to-swine contact,” said Angela Minicuci, a spokeswoman for MDCH. “There’s no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission. This is not something you can get from pork or eating pork; it’s not a food safety issue.”

She added once the virus goes from swine to humans it’s called “variant” because the virus changes a little. Cases of this strain of influenza have also been reported in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The vast majority of cases have been in Indiana and Ohio; Minicuci said she doesn’t know why that is.

So far there have been 13 hospitalizations and still no deaths from the disease nationwide, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of Friday, the total number of cases nationwide was 276.

Although it’s not clear why the disease spread so much this season – it’s been around for at least a year – the immediate cause is human contact with exhibit pigs. According to the CDC website, people get the virus from pigs much the same way they get a common cold or flu virus from another person.

When an infected pig coughs or sneezes, droplets with virus in it are spread in the air and could land on a person’s nose or mouth and then be inhaled. Also, a person who touches a pig and then touches their mouth could get it. A third way would be to inhale dust containing the virus.

“We’re recommending taking protective actions for anyone who touches pigs, especially people who go to county fairs,” Minicuci said.

She added people who touch pigs should wash their hands before they touch their mouths. She stated this year’s human flu vaccine is available, but this strain is not covered in the vaccine.

Public health officials don’t seem to be concerned about hog farmers’ exposure to pigs. “As far as full-time, large-scale hog operators, we have no cases,” said Steven Halstead, chief veterinarian for Michigan.

“We don’t have any evidence that those hogs have this strain of influenza.”

Halstead explained there is a “pretty strong separation between commercial pigs and exhibit pigs.” In recent years, he stated, commercial hog farmers have become more aware of the threat to their operations from zoonotic diseases. Thus, gone are the days when commercial hog farmers exhibit their pigs.

Further, anyone who works around commercial hogs and goes to a pig exhibit must wait a period of time, usually 48 hours, before coming into contact with commercial pigs again, he said (Farm World, 2012)

Title: State Health Officials Report Increase In Influenza Cases Linked To State, County Fair Attendence
Date: August 30, 2012
Source:
WDHS

Abstract: Confirmed Wisconsin cases of the variant H3N2 influenza virus infection, H3N2v, has risen to 14, according to state health officials. All cases occurred in individuals who were exposed to or in proximity to pigs at either the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, or county fairs in Kenosha, Dodge and Manitowoc counties. The majority of cases are children, with an average age of 10-years-old. All affected individuals recovered or are currently recovering from their illnesses. One child was hospitalized briefly.

Due to the strong correlation between these cases and exposure to swine exhibits, health officials urge caution for people attending county fairs. “While this strain of influenza appears to cause an illness similar to seasonal strains, keep in mind that any influenza can cause very severe illness in certain people,” said Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer. “Because H3N2v infections have been associated with four Wisconsin fairs already, we are recommending that older adults, pregnant women, young children, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions should avoid entering swine barns at fairs this season.” Anderson noted that the fair season is ongoing in Wisconsin until mid-September.

Symptoms of H3N2v include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people also have reported runny nose, sore throat, eye irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Most cases have resolved without treatment. Contact your health care provider if you are experiencing flu symptoms and let them know if you have had direct contact with or been in close proximity to swine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 276 cases of human infections with H3N2v influenza since July, with 10 states now affected. While nearly all of the human infections occurred in individuals directly or indirectly exposed to pigs, mostly in agricultural fair settings, the CDC is also reporting three instances of likely human-to-human spread of the virus during the current outbreak. However, there is currently no evidence of sustained person-to-person transmission within communities. Also, influenza has not been shown to be transmitted by eating properly handled and prepared pork or other products derived from pigs.

When an influenza virus that normally circulates in swine is detected in a person, it is called a variant influenza virus. Influenza viruses such as H3N2 and its variants are not unusual in swine and can be directly transmitted from swine to people and from people to swine. When humans are in close proximity to live infected swine, such as in barns and livestock exhibits at fairs, movement of these viruses can occur back and forth between humans and animals. Even pigs that appear healthy can harbor and transmit the influenza virus (WDHS, 2012)

Title: Queensbury H.S. Student, Jonathan Vasiliou, Dies From Possible Bacterial Meningitis
Date: August 30, 2012
Source:
Global Dispatch

Abstract: School officials with the Queensbury Union Free School District had the tough task today of announcing the sad and untimely death of one of it students.

According to a Queensbury Union Free School District news release Wednesday, district officials were notified that 16-year-old Jonathan Vasiliou, a Queensbury High School student/athlete, was taken to the Albany Medical Center on the evening of Monday, Aug. 27, with a very serious infection. Last night, district officials sadly learned that he passed away.

Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Douglas W. Huntley said, “On behalf of the entire district, I extend my heartfelt sympathy to Jonathan’s family at this difficult time. Jonathan was very involved in our school and will be missed for many reasons. He was a great kid, someone who was well respected by faculty, staff and students alike.”

Although it has not been confirmed, Warren County health officials suspect based on his symptoms, he may have died from bacterial meningitis.

Because of the potential of bacterial meningitis and the fact the high school junior was a member of the varsity football team, school physician, Dr. Dan Larson is recommending all Queensbury football players receive a single dose of the prophylactic antibiotic, ciprofloxacin as a preventive measure.

Meningococcal meningitis is caused by the bacterium, Neisseria meningitidis, which causes the most severe form of bacterial meningitis. Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can also be found in the bloodstream. This particular type of meningitis is very severe and can result in death if not treated promptly. Even in cases where treatment has been given, the fatality rate is around 15%.

The symptoms of bacterial meningitis are sudden, with fever, stiff neck, body aches and headaches. As the disease progresses othersymptoms may include nausea, vomiting, photophobia and seizures. A petechial rash seen on the trunk and lower extremities, bleeding complications, multi-organ failures and shock are usually final signs. This disease has the ability to kill within hours of getting it.

Up to 10-20% of older children and young adults carry this organism in the mouth and nose, though the carriage rate will vary with age and closeness of population. The majority of people that carry this bacterium have no clinical disease. The organism is spread person to personthrough respiratory secretions from the nose and mouth (coughing, sneezing and kissing). Experts are unsure why some people advance to meningitis disease while many do not.

Crowded living conditions facilitate the spread of the organisms and places like military barracks and college dormitories are well documented areas of concern with this disease.

If you have close contact with someone with meningococcal meningitis, see your doctor for prophylactic antibiotics.

Meningococcal meningitis is a devastating disease with epidemic potential. This disease is considered a medical emergency and if you have the classic symptoms see your health care professional. It can be treated with antibiotics, but without delay.

Other student/athletes who may have had contact with Jonathan are encouraged to consult their local health department and family physician. According to Dr. Larson and Warren County Public Health officials, a bacterial meningitis infection is transmitted only through close contact with an infected person. Click here or contact Warren County Public Health at 761-6580 for more information.

As a preventative measure, the high school custodial staff has increased cleaning and disinfection measures in all potentially affected school areas.

School counselors are also available to help all students, faculty, staff and parents through this loss throughout the week. For more information, call the Guidance Office at 824-4604.

Calling hours for Johnathan are Monday, September 3, from 3-7 p.m. at the Regan & Denny Funeral Home. At this time the district does not yet have information about the Funeral Mass. More information will be provided as it becomes available (Global Dispatch, 2012)

Title: West Nile Virus Cases Increase 40 Percent In A Week According To CDC
Date: August 30, 2012
Source:
Global Dispatch

Abstract: Health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services 
gave a telebriefing today updating the public on the current West Nile Virus (WNV) outbreak in the United States.

The director of the division of vector-borne infectious diseases at the CDC, Dr. Lyle Petersen started out by releasing the latest numbers.

As of August 28th, 2012, a total of 48 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds or mosquitoes. Only Alaska and Hawaii have reported no West Nile virus activity.  Forty-three states have reported at least one human case of West Nile virus disease. CDC received reports of 1,590 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 66 deaths. Of these, 889 (56 percent) were classified as neuroinvasive disease, such as meningitis or encephalitis; and 701 (or 44 percent) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.  These numbers represent a 40 percent increase over last week’s report of 1,118 total cases, 629 neuroinvasive disease cases, and 41 deaths.  The 1,590 cases reported thus far in 2012, is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to the CDC through the last week in August since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999.  More than 70 percent of the cases have been reported from 6 states, which in descending order are Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Michigan.  Nearly half of the cases are from Texas.

Although it is impossible to tell, Peterson believes the 2012 case numbers may come close to or even exceed the total number reported in the epidemic years of 2002 and 2003, when about 3000 cases of neuroinvasive disease and more than 260 deaths were reported each year.

Dr. Peterson also tried to assure the public by saying that the CDC is working closely with state and local governments to contain the outbreak.

Peterson was followed by Dr. David Lakey, Commissioner for the Texas Department of State Health Services who stated he does not believe the WNV outbreak has peaked.

According to Texas Health Department data, there have been 783 state confirmed cases of West Nile disease.  That’s up 197 from last week.  In addition, there have been 31 deaths,  up 10 from  last week.

Texas, a state that loves their football, has even started displaying Public Service Announcements at certain high school football games scoreboards.

Lakey specifically spotlighted the “epicenter” of the WNV epidemic, Dallas County.

He noted as of this morning, Dallas city health department have reported 309 cases.  152 of those were the West Nile neuroinvasive disease and Dallas County, alone, has 12 deaths (Global Dispatch, 2012)

Title: Salmonella Braenderup Outbreak Linked To Daniella Mangoes Account For 105 Infections
Date: August 30, 2012
Source:
Outbreak News

Abstract: The multistate outbreak of Salmonella Braenderup associated with Mexican mangoes has stricken at least 105 individuals in 16 states according to the 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Twenty-five of those infected required hospitalization.

The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: California (80), Delaware (1), Hawaii (3), Idaho (1), Illinois (1), Louisiana (1), Maine (1), Michigan (1), Montana (1), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), New York (3), Oregon (1), Texas (2), Washington (6), and Wisconsin (1).

In addition, the Public Health Agency of Canada has reported 21 cases to date, 16 in British Columbia and 5 in Alberta.

Recalls of Daniella mangoes have occurred in the United States and Canada.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advise consumers who are buying or have recently bought Daniella mangoes should ask their retailers if they were distributed by Splendid Products of Burlingame, California.  The FDA advises consumers not to eat these mangoes, and if they have purchased some, they should throw them away.

If consumers believe they have Daniella mangoes from this distributor, they should not try to wash the harmful bacteria off the manoges as contamination may be both on the inside and outside of the fruit. Cutting, slicing and dicing may also transfer harmful bacteria from the fruit’s surface to the fruit’s flesh. When in doubt, throw it out.

Consumers who show any signs of illness from salmonellosis should consult their health care provider. The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call             1-888-SAFEFOOD       or consult the fda.gov website.

Salmonella is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis (Outbreak News, 2012)

Title: Oregon Reports First Animal Anthrax Case In 50 years
Date: August 31, 2012
Source:
Examiner

Abstract: For the first time in more than half a century, the state of 
Oregon is reporting the cause of death of some steer was from naturally occurring anthrax.

According to an Oregon Health Authority (OHA) news release Friday, one steer died from a herd in Klamath County. Oregon Department of Agriculture officials have been working to protect neighboring cattle. The steer identified with anthrax died August 22. Two other steers died at around the same time.

Oregon health officials say the anthrax cases pose no human public threat, the task will be to prevent cattle and other animals on neighboring ranches from being infected.

According to Oregon state veterinarian, Brad Leamaster, D.V.M., “The risk is minimal outside the affected ranch. Oregon has not had an anthrax case in animals in more than 50 years, but anthrax outbreaks are not uncommon in other parts of the Western United States.”

Officials with the OHA say although the risk to humans is next to zero, their focus is preventing human exposure specifically among those who have handled the animals, like the vets and others who had contact with the infected animals (Examiner, 2012)

Title: The Number Of Hantavirus Cases Linked To Yosemite Now At Six
Date: August 31, 2012
Source:
Examiner

Abstract: In a 
follow-up to a report Tuesday, California health officials report additional hantavirus cases in people who visited Yosemite National Park bringing the total cases to six, including 2 fatalities.

According to a California Department of Public Health (CDPH) press release Thursday, to date, HPS has been confirmed in six persons who visited the park between early June and mid July 2012. Five are California residents and one is a resident of Pennsylvania. The PA patient and one CA patient have died, three have recovered and one is currently hospitalized but improving.

Two-thirds of the victims, including the two fatalities, were believed to have been infected while staying in one of 91 "Signature" tent-style cabins in Yosemite's popular Curry Village in the Boystown area.

Reuters reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that about 10,000 people stayed in the 'Signature Tent Cabins' from June 10 through August 24, 2012, and they may be at risk of developing Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in the next several weeks.

California health officials say the affected individuals are from the Sacramento region, San Francisco Bay area, Southern California and one from Pennsylvania.

All the tent cabins in the Boystown area have been closed indefinitely per CDPH recommendations (Examiner, 2012)

Title: 3rd Death Tied To Chicago Legionnaires' Outbreak
Date: August 31, 2012
Source:
Chicago Tribune

Abstract: A third visitor to a downtown hotel earlier this summer has died after contracting Legionnaires’ disease, city officials announced Friday.

Media in Ireland are reporting that the man was a retired plumber who was in Chicago to celebrate his 40th wedding anniversary when he apparently contracted the disease.

Newly released test results indicate the primary source of the Legionnaires' outbreak at the JW Marriott at 151 W. Adams St. was a decorative fountain in the hotel’s main lobby.

The Irish Examiner reported that Thomas Keane, 66, shared a meal with his wife at the JW Marriott during their July trip to Chicago. 

The father of three from Limerick and his wife were marking their anniversary by visiting another son who lives in the Chicago area, the Examiner reported.

In addition to the third death, the Chicago Department of Health reported two more cases of Legionnaires' disease linked to the hotel, bringing the total to 10.

Those testing positive for the disease visited or stayed at the JW Marriott between July 16 and Aug. 15.

Hotel officials have removed the decorative fountain that test results showed was the primary cause of infection. Tests also showed that the pool, the spa’s whirlpool and both the men’s and women’s locker rooms contained “the same species of Legionella as were found in the ill patients.”

Those areas “have either been disabled or made inaccessible to the public,” the health department said. Shower heads in guest rooms tested negative for the bacteria.
 
Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia, comes from Legionella bacteria, which can thrive in warm water.

Parts of the spa were closed and the fountain, whirlpool and pool were first drained after three cases of the disease were reported among hotel guests last week.

Health officials do not believe there is an ongoing risk of infection at the Marriott. They said the hotel, which remains open, is cooperating with the investigation.

Keane, who died Wednesday, is the first person to contract the disease to be publicly identified. After returning to Ireland in late July, the Examiner reports, Keane became ill and was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. The Examiner is a national daily newspaper based in Cork. An email sent to Richard Keane wasn’t returned Friday.
 
A spokesman with Health Service Executive, Ireland’s national health care provider, said he couldn’t comment on specific cases because of confidentiality concerns. Chicago’s public health department declined to confirm if Keane was one of the outbreak’s victims.

Local officials have not provided information on the identities of the ovictims, beyond saying that one person who contracted the disease and survived is from Illinois, and that the eight victims confirmed earlier in the week ranged in age from 49 to 82.
 
CBS-TV Chicago reported earlier this week that a physician from Florida died after being infected. That report could not be confirmed. Health officials in Virginia and Minnesota each told the Tribune they had tied one non-fatal case of Legionnaires’ to Chicago.

A spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Health said his state has also confirmed one case of Pontiac fever, a less severe infection caused by the same bacteria, in a person who visited the Marriott. “Many other” Minnesotans who stayed at the hotel have symptoms consistent with Pontiac fever, the spokesman said.

Between 8,000 and 18,000 people are infected with Legionnaires’ every year in the U.S., according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and between 5 and 30 percent of those who get sick later die. Most people exposed to Legionella do not become ill. The disease cannot be transmitted from person to person
(Chicago Tribune, 2012)

Title: First Death Linked To New Swine Flu Is Ohio Woman, 61
Date: August 31, 2012
Source:
Fox News

Abstract: Health officials say the death of a 61-year-old Ohio woman is the first associated with a new swine flu strain.

The Ohio Department of Health says the woman died this week. It says that she had other medical conditions but that the H3N2v influenza virus may have contributed to her death.

She was not identified but lived in Madison County. She became ill after contact with hogs at the Ross County Fair.

Federal health authorities report 288 cases of the strain this summer. The state health director says most of Ohio's cases have been mild.

He's urging at-risk groups to avoid swine exhibits and take other precautions. Those groups include young children, older residents, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems or other medical conditions (Fox News, 2012)