Vol. III, No. 8 ~ EINet News Briefs ~
June 9, 2000
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In this edition:
- Infectious disease information
from ProMED and other sources
- Updates from previous bulletins
- How to join the EINet listserv
1. OVERVIEW OF INFECTIOUSDISEASE
INFORMATION FROM PROMED
Below is a biweekly summary of AsiaPacific EID issues based on postings
to the ProMED Electronic Network and other sources. ProMED is the prototype
for a communications system that monitors emerging infectious diseases globally,
an initiative of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), and cosponsored
NIPAH VIRUS IDENTIFIED AS A NEW GENUS OF VIRUSES
Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the University
of Malaya Medical Center (Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia), and Australia's Commonwealth
Scientific and Industrial Research Organization have identified the
Nipah virus as a new viral species capable of infecting animals and
Genetic analysis confirmed a close relationship between
the Nipah virus and a virus called the Hendra virus. Tests revealed
a strong reaction between the Nipah virus and antiserum for the Hendra
The Nipah virus led to over 100 fatalities in outbreaks
in Malaysia and Singapore during 1998 and 1999. The virus may cause
severe encephalitis and ultimately, death.
[REUTERS HEALTH 5/26/00; AP WIRE 5/25/00]
SINGAPORE HIVINFECTED SPOUSES
Singapore will relax its stance on a law ordering HIVinfected foreign
spouses to leave the country by allowing almost a dozen repatriated
HIVinfected spouses to return; appeals of similar cases will also be
considered. The decision followed media reports about HIVinfected foreigners
married to Singaporeans facing expulsion or nonrenewal of their visas,
and the subsequent calls on government to allow the families to remain
Since April 1999, 12 spouses (11 women and 1 man) from
Thailand, Indonesia, China, and the Phillipines have been repatriated.
[REUTERS HEALTH 5/31/00; BBC NEWS 5/29/00]
USA HEPATITIS C: THE SILENT EPIDEMIC
Almost 4 million people nationwide are infected with Hepatitis C virus;
however, only 30% of all existing cases have been diagnosed. Experts believe
that Hepatitis C infection has reached epidemic proportions because of
a lack of testing years ago when most patients were probably infected,
and more effective testing today.
About 80 to 85% of people who come into contact with Hepatitis C become
longterm carriers of the virus. Within 10 to 30 years of infection, the
virus can grow and replicate in the body, thereby leading to liver inflammation,
fibrosis or liver scarring, cirrhosis and liver cancer. Early detection
and treatment are considered the best measures to remain complicationfree.
Hepatitis C can be transmitted through blood products or other bodily
fluids. Approximately 35,000 to 185,000 are infected annually.
USA POSSIBLE E.COLI CONTAMINATION
Kraft Foods has voluntarily recalled 11,000 cases of Breakstone's and
Light 'n' Lively cottage cheese after E. coli 0157 was discovered in several
product samples. The recalled cottage cheese products were made on the
same production line as the contaminated samples.
Containers affected by the recall are stamped with the code "06 JUN 00
W". The products include: 16oz and 24oz containers of Breakstone's Free
smallcurd fatfree cottage cheese, 16oz and 24oz containers of Breakstone's
4% milk fat minimum Smooth & Creamy cottage cheese, 24oz containers of
Light 'n' Lively Free fatfree and Light 'n' Lively 1% reducedfat cottage
cheese with calcium.
[REUTERS HEALTH 6/5/00]
CANADA (ONTARIO) STUDY WARNS ABOUT RISK OF E.COLI INFECTION
A study conducted by Health Canada in 1995 identified neighboring counties
in southwestern Ontario, including Walkerton, as 'hot spots' for E. coli
infection. Among 3000 cases of E. coli reported in the province between
1990 and 1995, a majority occurred in rural areas between May and July.
A strong and persistent association between E. coli infection and cattle
density was discovered, providing support to other studies that identified
cattle manure as a chronic source of E. coli contamination of food and
water in the United States, Scotland., Argentina, and Canada.
[GLOBE AND MAIL 5/31/00]
WARNING ABOUT ANTIBIOTIC TREATMENT FOR E.COLI
A study conducted at the Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center
in Seattle (U.S.A.) has presented strong evidence for an association between
antibiotic treatment for E. coli infection and E.colirelated complications.
Among 71 cases (<10 years of age) with diarrhea caused by bacterial infection
between 1997 and 1999, 56% (n=9) developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)
after antibiotic treatment, compared to .08% (n=62) who did not receive
HUS, a rare complication in children, usually destroys red blood cells
and causes kidney failure. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC), HUS occurs in 2ף% of E. coli 0157:H7 cases.
[NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, PREPUBLICATION RELEASE 5/23/00;
NOTE: FINAL VERSION TO BE PUBLISHED 6/29/00]
WATER BORNE DISEASES REEMERGING ON CRUISE SHIPS
Three recent outbreaks that led to over 1300 cases of gasteroenteritis
(collectively) on cruise ships have been linked to E.coli infection. Health
officials believe that E.coli contaminated water was taken aboard the
ship in foreign ports. The outbreaks were associated with consumption
of iced beverages; unbottled water was an additional cause of 2 outbreaks.
It is suspected that the water treatment systems failed briefly on at
least two of the ships.
In addition to standards set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) for treatment of drinking water on cruise ships that
dock in U.S. ports, improved waterhandling practices on cruise ships
and careful monitoring of water quality have been advised.
[REUTERS HEALTH 6/5/00; J INFECT DIS 2000; 181:1491]
RUSSIA (MOSCOW) MALARIA
Public Health and epidemic monitoring authorities are concerned about
a mass outbreak of malaria in Moscow. Since the beginning of the year,
over 14 cases have been treated in isolation hospitals. It is feared that
the situation may worsen if the municipal disinfecting station does not
effectively treat stagnant ponds where larvae of malaria mosquitoes (anopheles)
have been found.
In 1999, anopheles mosquitoes were exterminated manually by scattering
bacterial insecticides on all the local areas of water. To date, funding
for mosquito control has not been provided this year.
[BBC MONITORING 5/23/00]
2. UPDATES FROM PREVIOUS BULLETINS
RUSSIA HEMORRHAGIC FEVER
Since April, the number of suspected cases of CongoCrimean Hemorrhagic
fever (CCHF) virus has increased threefold to 22 in the Stavropol region.
Fever cases reported in May have been registered in 9 additional districts.
Patient medical examinations have confirmed ticks as the primary source
of infection; ticks have become increasingly active lately, due to current
weather conditions in the Stavropol region.
[ITARTASS NEWS AGENCY 5/23/00]
USA ADDITIONAL FUNDING TO PREVENT WEST NILE VIRUS
The Clinton administration will provide an additional $5 million for
states and local communities to expand surveillance activities for West
Nile Virus (WNV). The funding will be used to enhance the capacity of
state and local health departments to detect WNV activity, meet increasing
requests for technical assistance and training from state and local health
departments, and expand the capacity to perform reference lab work and
conduct data analyses.
Earlier this year, $2.7 million was granted for prevention efforts in
New York City, the District of Columbia, and 17 states along the Atlantic
and Gulf coasts that were affected by last year's outbreak, or are at
higher risk for WNV spread this year due to bird migratory patterns.
WORLD FEDERATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION'S 9TH INTERNATIONAL
CONGRESS (BEIJING, CHINA)
"Challenges for Public Health at the Dawn of the 21st Century (September
2ע, 2000) will include a range of speakers, plenaries, symposia, workshops,
and poster sessions on many important global health issues. Topics will
range from the role of public and private sectors and the environment,
the economy, and high tech communications. Among the speakers invited
are Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director, Dr. George Alleyne;
International Red Cross President, Dr. Kollenberger; U.S. Surgeon General
Dr. David Satcher; and former United States president Jimmy Carter.
Further information and registration for the Congress is available at
www.apha.org/wfpha, or contact Brooke Lundquist, program planning assistant,
The WebMD Foundation, in collaboration with the United Nations and the
World Health Organization (WHO), has proposed the development of an international
internet infrastructure to address global health issues. The specific
objectives of the Health Internetwork are to disseminate health and medical
information to developing countries, and to facilitate the flow of surveillance
and health data.
The network will enhance public health and improve population health
status and outcomes in developing countries through routine and sustainable
access to stateoftheart medical and health care information.
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