22 Jul 2014

#Listeria prompts #nationwide #fruit #recall at Costco, Trader Joe's (Christian Science Monitor, July 22 2014)

[Source: Christian Science Monitor, full page: (LINK).]

Listeria prompts nationwide fruit recall at Costco, Trader Joe's [      ]

A possible listeria outbreak prompted a California company to issue a fruit recall of some of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines, and pluots. The recalled fruit with possible listeria was packed and shipped to retailers, including Costco and Trader Joe's, from June 1 through July 12.




The @WHO’s Regional #Director Dr Sambo calls for accelerated #efforts to #control #Ebola (WHO AFRO, July 22 2014)

[Source: World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa, full page: (LINK). Edited.]

The World Health Organization’s Regional Director Dr Sambo calls for accelerated efforts to control Ebola [      ]

Monrovia, 22 July 2014

The World Health Organization’s Regional Director for Africa Dr Luis Sambo began official visits to the three West African Countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

On the first leg of the visit, the Regional Director arrived in Liberia on Monday 21 July 2014 to review current outbreak response and challenges, and explore the best ways to rapidly contain the EVD outbreak in West Africa.

The Regional Director held official meetings with the President of Liberia H.E. Mrs Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the Minister of Health Dr Gwenigale and other high ranking Government officials. The President and the Regional Director also participated in the Ebola national coordination meeting at the Ministry of Health.

Her Excellency Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf President of Liberia, called all sectors of government and country to get involved in the response to contain Ebola. “There’s no time for denial. This is serious and real”, she said.

Addressing the meeting, Dr Sambo stressed the need to step up implementation of key outbreak containment strategies, including community engagement and involvement, effective contact tracing, cross-border collaboration and effective coordination.

He said: “The situation is quite serious and it should be addressed as an emergency”.

The Regional Director underscored the need to strengthen social mobilization activities to raise awareness on Ebola within the communities, as well as to enhance the protection of health workers, and to work with cross border collaboration. He reiterated WHO’s commitment to continue to work with the Government of Liberia and partners to mobilize adequate resources to address the Ebola epidemic.

In Liberia, the Minister of Health Dr Walter Gwenigale pointed out the challenges they are facing in the response. The need for more support to contain the outbreak in the country, especially in counties that have not yet been affected was highlighted.  The WHO Regional Director commended the health authorities for their efforts to control the outbreak. “I believe it is possible to stop the transmission and reduce the number of cases, but we still have a lot to do”, he added.

The Regional Director later held discussions with the international and local non-governmental organizations, UN Agencies and other stakeholders to enhance collaboration and effective coordination. He called upon all the partners to be fully involved in the EVD outbreak response and announced that a Sub-Regional Control Center in Guinea has been set up as a coordinating platform to consolidate and harmonize the technical support to West African countries by all major partners.

The Regional Director and the UN Special Representative to the Secretary General, Karen Landgren, also held a meeting to analyze the situation and the response to the outbreak.

The first wave of Ebola epidemic in Liberia occurred on 30 March 2014. The country is currently facing a second wave of cases since May 2014. WHO continues to provide support to the Ministry of Health and Social welfare in Liberia in the areas of coordination, treatment of patients; surveillance and advocacy for human logistical and financial, and resources.

For media inquiries you can contact:

    • Dr Nestor Ndayimirije WHO Representative, Liberia, Email: Ndayimirijen@who.int  - Tel: 00 231 886530047
    • Ms Leticia Linn Communications Officer, Liberia , Email: Linnl@who.int - Tel: 00 231 886494347
    • Ms Christina Banluta Communications Officer, Liberia , Email: Banlutac@who.int - Tel: 00 231 886462239
    • Mr C. Boakye-Agyemang Communications Officer, Email: Boakyeagyemnagc@who.int - Tel: 00 242066142401

Useful links:



#Saudi Arabia reported no new #MERS-CoV cases in the last 24 hours (@SaudiMOH, July 22 2014)

[Source: Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health, full page: (LINK). Edited.]

#Saudi Arabia reported no new #MERS-CoV cases in the last 24 hours [      ][      ]



New Cases:

  • No reports

Earlier reported cases discharged from hospital:

  • No reports

Deaths in previously announced cases:

  • No reports





#WestNile Virus #Activity Detected in #Utah (DoH, July 22 2014)

[Source: State of Utah Department of Health, full page: (LINK).]

West Nile Virus Activity Detected in Utah [      ]

In partnership with Utah's Public Health Departments

(Salt Lake City, UT)

Public health officials across Utah are reminding all residents who will be outside over the holiday to protect themselves from mosquito bites.  So far, no human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) have been reported in Utah, but some positive mosquito pools have been identified.

West Nile virus activity has been detected in mosquito pools in Box Elder and Uintah counties. Even though no human cases of West Nile virus have been reported, public health official urge Utahns to avoid complacency.

UDOH epidemiologist JoDee Baker warns, “There is no vaccine for humans. So, taking simple precautions to avoid mosquito bites is the key to reducing your risk for infection.” 

While West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, not all mosquitoes carry the virus. The mosquitoes that carry the virus are typically out from dusk to dawn.

“The best way to reduce your risk is to use an insect repellent with DEET when you’re outside,” says Baker.  Adults and children older than 2 months of age can safely use repellents that contain up to 30% DEET,” Baker added. Repellents are not recommended for children younger than 2 months of age.

Other precautionary measures include:

  • Wear long sleeved shirts and pants while outdoors.
  • Remove any puddles or standing water around your home where mosquitoes can breed, including birdbaths, swimming/wading pools, old tires, buckets and plant containers.
  • Report bodies of stagnant water to the local Mosquito Abatement District (MAD). Visit http://www.umaa.org/ for a list of MADs.
  • Contact a veterinarian for information on vaccinating horses.

While most people infected by this virus won't notice any symptoms, some people may experience flu-like symptoms or worse. The elderly and people with poor immune systems are at higher risk for symptomatic disease. The most serious cases can lead to hospitalization, disability, or death. Symptoms of the severe form of West Nile virus include: high fever, severe headache and stiff neck, disorientation and confusion. If you are experiencing symptoms of West Nile virus, please contact your health care provider immediately.

West Nile virus surveillance in Utah is underway and will continue into the fall. For more information, call your local health department or visit www.health.utah.gov/wnv. Throughout the West Nile virus season, the UDOH web site will be updated each Wednesday with available detection information.

Media Contact: Rebecca Ward, (o): 801-538-6682, (c): 801-647-5421



#Influenza #H1N1pdm09 #resistance and cross-decreased susceptibility to #oseltamivir and #zanamivir #antiviral #drugs (J Med Virol., abstract, edited)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

J Med Virol. 2014 Jul 21. doi: 10.1002/jmv.23986. [Epub ahead of print]

Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 resistance and cross-decreased susceptibility to oseltamivir and zanamivir antiviral drugs. [      ]

Correia V1, Santos LA, Gíria M, Almeida-Santos MM, Rebelo-de-Andrade H.

Author information: 1Department of Infectious Diseases, National Health Institute Doutor Ricardo Jorge, Lisbon, Portugal.



Neuraminidase inhibitors (NAIs) oseltamivir and zanamivir are currently the only effective antiviral drugs available worldwide for the management of influenza. The potential development of resistance is continually threatening their use, rationalizing and highlighting the need for a close and sustained evaluation of virus susceptibility. This study aimed to analyze and characterize the phenotypic and genotypic NAIs susceptibility profiles of A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses circulating in Portugal from 2009 to 2010/2011. A total of 144 cases of A(H1N1)pdm09 virus infection from community and hospitalized patients were studied, including three suspected cases of clinical resistance to oseltamivir. Oseltamivir resistance was confirmed for two of the suspected cases. Neuraminidase (NA) H275Y resistant marker was found in viruses from both cases but for one it was only present in 26.2% of virus population, raising questions about the minimal percentage of resistant virus that should be considered relevant. Cross-decreased susceptibility to oseltamivir and zanamivir (2-4 IC50 fold-change) was detected on viruses from two potentially linked community patients from 2009. Both viruses harbored the NA I223V mutation. NA Y155H mutation was found in 18 statistical non-outlier viruses from 2009, having no impact on virus susceptibility. The mutations at NA N369K and V241I may have contributed to the significantly higher baseline IC50 value obtained to oseltamivir for 2010/2011 viruses, compared to viruses from the pandemic period. These results may contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between phenotype and genotype, which is currently challenging, and to the global assessment of A(H1N1)pdm09 virus susceptibility profile and baseline level to NAIs. J. Med. Virol. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

KEYWORDS: A(H1N1) 2009 pandemic variant; NA H275Y; NA I223V; Portugal; neuraminidase inhibitors; susceptibility testing

PMID: 25042157 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]



From #SARS to #MERS: #Crystallographic #studies on coronaviral #proteases enable #antiviral #drug design (FEBS J., abstract, edited)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

FEBS J. 2014 Jul 17. doi: 10.1111/febs.12936. [Epub ahead of print]

From SARS to MERS: Crystallographic studies on coronaviral proteases enable antiviral drug design. [      ]

Hilgenfeld R.

Author information: Institute of Biochemistry, Center for Structural and Cell Biology in Medicine, University of Lübeck, Ratzeburger Allee 160, 23538, Lübeck, Germany.



This review focuses on the important contributions that macromolecular crystallography made over the past 12 years to elucidating structures and mechanisms of the essential proteases of coronaviruses, the main protease (Mpro ) and the papain-like protease (PLpro ). The role of X-ray crystallography in structure-assisted drug discovery against these targets is discussed. Aspects dealt with in this review include the emergence of the SARS coronavirus in 2002/2003 and of MERS coronavirus 10 years later and the origins of these viruses. The crystal structure of the free SARS-CoV Mpro and its dependence on pH is discussed, as are efforts to design inhibitors on the basis of these structures. The mechanism of maturation of the enzyme from the viral polyprotein is still a matter of debate. The crystal structure of the SARS-CoV papain-like protease (PLpro ) and its complex with ubiquitin is also discussed, as is its orthologue from MERS-CoV. Efforts at predictive structure-based inhibitor development for bat coronavirus Mpro s to increase the preparedness against zoonotic transmission to man are described as well. The paper closes with a brief discussion of structure-based discovery of antivirals in an academic setting. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS: 3C-like protease; Middle-East respiratory syndrome; Severe acute respiratory syndrome; autoprocessing; bat coronaviruses; high-throughput screening; main protease; papain-like protease; protease maturation; structure-based inhibitor design

PMID: 25039866 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]



A #Scenario-Based #Evaluation of the #MERS #Coronavirus and the #Hajj (Risk Anal., abstract, edited)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Risk Anal. 2014 Jul 14. doi: 10.1111/risa.12253. [Epub ahead of print]

A Scenario-Based Evaluation of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus and the Hajj. [      ][      ]

Gardner LM1, Rey D, Heywood AE, Toms R, Wood J, Travis Waller S, Raina MacIntyre C.

Author information: 1School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, 2052, Australia; NICTA, Sydney, NSW, 2052, Australia.



Between April 2012 and June 2014, 820 laboratory-confirmed cases of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been reported in the Arabian Peninsula, Europe, North Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and the United States. The observed epidemiology is different to SARS, which showed a classic epidemic curve and was over in eight months. The much longer persistence of MERS-CoV in the population, with a lower reproductive number, some evidence of human-to-human transmission but an otherwise sporadic pattern, is difficult to explain. Using available epidemiological data, we implemented mathematical models to explore the transmission dynamics of MERS-CoV in the context of mass gatherings such as the Hajj pilgrimage, and found a discrepancy between the observed and expected epidemiology. The fact that no epidemic occurred in returning Hajj pilgrims in either 2012 or 2013 contradicts the long persistence of the virus in human populations. The explanations for this discrepancy include an ongoing, repeated nonhuman/sporadic source, a large proportion of undetected or unreported human-to-human cases, or a combination of the two. Furthermore, MERS-CoV is occurring in a region that is a major global transport hub and hosts significant mass gatherings, making it imperative to understand the source and means of the yet unexplained and puzzling ongoing persistence of the virus in the human population.

© 2014 Society for Risk Analysis.

KEYWORDS: Epidemiology; Hajj; MERS-CoV; mass gatherings; models

PMID: 25041625 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]



Use of fractional factorial design to study the compatibility of viral ribonucleoprotein gene segments of human #H7N9 virus and circulating #human #influenza subtypes (Influenza Other Respir Viruses., abstract, edited)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2014 Jul 9. doi: 10.1111/irv.12269. [Epub ahead of print]

Use of fractional factorial design to study the compatibility of viral ribonucleoprotein gene segments of human H7N9 virus and circulating human influenza subtypes. [      ][      ]

Chin AW1, Mok CK, Zhu H, Guan Y, Peiris JS, Poon LL.

Author information: 1Centre of Influenza Research and School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.



Avian H7N9 influenza viruses may pose a further threat to humans by reassortment with human viruses, which could lead to generation of novel reassortants with enhanced polymerase activity. We previously established a novel statistical approach to study the polymerase activity of reassorted vRNPs (Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2013;7:969-78). Here, we report the use of this method to study recombinant vRNPs with subunits derived from human H1N1, H3N2, and H7N9 viruses. Our results demonstrate that some reassortant vRNPs with subunits derived from the H7N9 and other human viruses can have much higher polymerase activities than the wild-type levels.

© 2014 The Authors. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

KEYWORDS: Fractional factorial design; H7N9; influenza polymerase



#Chinese #city sealed off after #bubonic #plague death (@Guardian, July 22 2014)

[Source: The Guardian, full page: (LINK).]

Chinese city sealed off after bubonic plague death [      ]

by Agence France-Presse in Beijing  

30,000 residents of Yumen are not being allowed to leave and 151 people have been placed in quarantine after man's death / A Chinese city has been sealed off and 151 people have been placed in quarantine since last week after a man died of bubonic plague, state media said.




#Chine : la #peste bubonique fait un #mort, la ville de Yumen coupée du monde (@francetvinfo, July 22 2014)

[Source: France TV, full page: (LINK).]

Chine : la peste bubonique fait un mort, la ville de Yumen coupée du monde [      ]

La ville de Yumen, dans le nord-ouest du pays, est bouclée après la mort d'un homme, vraisemblablement contaminé par un animal mort.