Vol. III, No. 9 ~ EINet News Briefs ~
July 5, 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
To date, dengue fever has claimed at least 11 lives and caused nearly
280 hospitalizations in Kalimantan province. Approximately 130 people
have also been hospitalized in neighboring Balikpapan.
Over the past 5 months, 8 fatalities have been recorded
in the provincial capital of Samrinda; while, in Jakarta, the number
of people dying from dengue fever has fallen to 22 (n=646).
[JAKARTA POST 6/2/00]
MALAYSIANIPAH VIRUS ALERT
Over 1,700 pigs have been slaughtered after the Nipah virus was discovered
at a pig farm in Gopeng, located in the northern state of Perak. Health
officials fear that the pigborne virus is reemerging. Random tests
conducted on May 23 and 27 at another pig farm in Gopeng revealed 6
pigs to be positive (n=30). The government is currently awaiting the
results of blood samples collected randomly from 188 farms throughout
the state; according to Perak Veterinary Services, all pigs in the state
will be culled if the blood samples are found positive.
There is speculation that Nipah virus has returned amid
smuggling activities of piglets from previously affected farms, and
inadequate practices of animal husbandry. Since last October, a nationwide
operation to conduct random examinations of pig farms has been enforced.
The Malaysian Cabinet has ordered the relevant ministries to contain
the situation, particularly with closer surveillance into pig farming
[THE STRAITS TIMES 6/22/00; YAHOO! ASIA NEWS 6/20/00; THE STAR ONLINE
Over 6,000 people in 8 prefectures fell ill after drinking contaminated
milk produced from the country's biggest dairy product maker, Snow Brand
Milk Product. The source of the outbreak is believed to be a milk solid
found inside a valve in the plant production line (Osaka). The contaminant
was described as the size of a 10 yen coin.
Presumably, bacteria inside the valve were not detected
during onthespot inspection as a result of the the company's failure
to report on the facilities it used to recycle leftover products (i.e.
temporary pipes, spare tanks).
An outbreak of E.coli 0157 infection has been reported in Fuinomachi
(Kenagawa Prefecture), a hospital and home for the elderly. Between
June 14㪩, a total of 21 cases from the hospital or home reported diarrhea;
isolation of E.coli 0157 bacteria and Vero toxin have been confirmed
in 6 patients by the public health center of the local government. The
number of recognized and suspected patients has since risen to 52. The
source of contamination has not yet been identified.
[NEWS MEDIA, JAPAN 6/22/00]
USA & CANADAPOTENTIAL E.COLI CONTAMINATION
Over 200 tons of ground beef have been voluntarily recalled by the world's
largest meat packing company, IBF Inc. after E.coli contaminated samples
were found by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Costco Wholesale
Corp. The recall involved lean ground beef produced in May at packing
plants in Illinois (USA), and Alberta (Canada).
RUSSIACHILDREN CONTRACT SMALLPOX
Eight children have contracted a mild form of smallpox after playing with
glass ampoules of smallpox vaccine dumped outside a public health clinic
in Vladivostok, a far eastern port.
The smallpox vaccine is made from vaccinia virus, a member of the family
of viruses to which smallpox belongs; however, it is different from the
virus that causes smallpox. As a result, the children are not at risk
to develop fullblown smallpox. The negligence of the local epidemiologic
center not to incinerate the ampoules before discarding them has been
[REUTERS 6/20/00; THE TIMES 6/20/00]
WHOANTIMICROBIAL USE IN FOOD ANIMALS
The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a report, "Global Principles
for the Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance due to Antimicrobial Use
in Animals Intended for Food", to address the overuse and misuse of antimicrobial
Report recommendations include:
- Termination or rapid phasingout of the use of antimicrobials for
growth promotion if they are also used for treatment of humans in the
absence of a public health safety evaluation
- Creation of national systems to monitor antimicrobial usage in food
- Monitoring of resistance to identify emerging health problems and
timely corrective actions to protect human health
- Guidelines for veterinarians to reduce overuse and misuse of antimicrobials
in food animals
Salmonella, and other enterococci infections, were noted bacteria that
have become resistant to all available antimicrobials.
[REUTERS MEDICAL NEWS 6/14/00; WHO PRESS RELEASE WHO/43 6/13/00]
WHOMISUSE OF ANTIBIOTICS
According the World Health Organization (WHO), the increasing misuse of
antibiotics may lead to the emergence of new "superbugs" that resist all
drugs. The alarming rate by which drug resistance continues to spread
has been attributed to overuse of antibiotics in wealthy nations, incomplete
and underuse of medications in poor nations, and the widespread practice
of feeding livestock low levels of antibiotics to promote growth.
The WHO has advised health professionals to reduce the number of antibiotic
prescriptions. Other recommendations include a major international effort
to bring more antiinfection medications to poor nations, and to avoid
use of antibiotics for human treatments as growth promoters for animals.
[WASHINGTON POST 6/13/00; BBC NEWS 6/13/00; FOX NEWS COM 6/13/00; WHO
REPORT ON INFECTIOUS DISEASES 2000 6/12/00 WHO/CDS/2000.2]
LIVES CLAIMED BY DISEASE EXCEED THAT OF WAR
A report published by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red
Crescent Societies cited a deterioration of public health services, evidenced
by 13 million deaths from preventable diseases last year. An estimated
150 million people have died from AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria
alone since 1945, compared to 23 million in wars. In 1999, 160 times more
people died of AIDS, malaria, respiratory diseases, and diarrhea, than
the total number killed in natural disasters (including the massive earthquake
in Turkey and the floods in Venezuela).
Funding for health has plummeted since 1991. In poor countries, public
health expenditure on health averages 1% of the gross domestic product
(GDP), compared to 6% in richer countries. The report concluded that changing
people's attitudes and behavior will save more lives than expenditure
on expensive institutions and equipment.
[DESERET NEWS 6/28/00]
2. UPDATES FROM PREVIOUS BULLETINS
**CORRECTION** NIPAH VIRUS IDENTIFIED AS A NEW GENUS OF VIRUSES
Dr. KB Chua of the University of Malaya Medical Center, and researchers
at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Australia's Commonwealth
Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, have identified Nipah
Virus as the etiologic agent of an outbreak of severe encephalitis in
Malaysia in 1998. The virus was first isolated by Dr. KB Chua.
Genetic analysis confirmed a close relationship between Nipah Virus and
the recently discovered Hendra Virus, which sickened horses and killed
2 people in Australia in 1994. Tests revealed a strong reaction between
Nipah Virus and antiserum for Hendra Virus. The Nipah Virus, apparently
spread by coughing pigs, killed over 100 people in Malaysia and Singapore
during 1998 and 1999.
[SCIENCE 2000 (288): 1432㪻 REUTERS 5/26/00]
*Special thanks to Prof. Lam Sai Kit (Dept. of Medical
Microbiology, University of Malaya) for sharing this information with
USA (NEW YORK)LOCALLY ACQUIRED MALARIA
The New York State Health Department has confirmed two epidemiologically
linked cases of Plasmodium vivax reported in Suffolk county last
summer. Both cases involved 11 yearold boys who attended summer camp
during the same week in August; symptoms appeared within 4 days of each
other. No other malaria cases at the camp or in the surrounding areas
Health officials believe that the infections were caused by a bite of
a locally infected Anopheles mosquito.
[MMWR 2000; 49: 495𤯢]
PHILLIPINESELECTRONIC FORUM LAUNCHED
PinoyRHan electronic forum about sexual and reproductive health in the
Phillipines is a service that disseminates information about reproductive
health issues (i.e. maternal mortality and family planning). PinoyRH also
encourages subscribers to share information. PinoyRH messages may be written
in Filipino or English. To join, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
[SEA AIDS 6/21/00]
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