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30.06.2014 Outbreak of Salmonella from laboratory (USA)

A multistate Salmonella enterica outbreak, which has sickened 41 people in 13 states since last November 2013, has been linked to clinical and college and university teaching microbiology laboratories, according to a CDC  investigation. The cases have been reported from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. The CDC investigation reveals via laboratory testing that the outbreak strains are indistinguishable from commercially available S. enterica strains used in laboratory settings for teaching or quality control purposes. These commercially available strains are known to be present in several teaching laboratories associated with ill persons. Information gathered from interviews from those infected shows 18 (86 percent) of 21 ill persons interviewed reported being enrolled in either a human biology course or microbiology course. 15 (83 percent) of these 18 ill persons were students, and 3 (22 percent) were employees. Many ill persons reported several behaviours while they were working in the laboratory that would increase the risk of acquiring salmonellosis, including not wearing gloves or lab coats, lack of hand washing, and using the same writing utensils and notebooks outside of the laboratory. Additionally, many ill persons did not recall receiving laboratory safety training. This is not the 1st reported outbreak linked to college laboratory classes. In 2011, a total of 109 illnesses with one of these same strains of S. enterica were linked to exposure to clinical and teaching microbiology laboratories. Findings of that investigation indicated that teaching and clinical microbiology laboratory instructors should enhance training of students and staff on Biosafety measures necessary in the laboratory. [ProMed]

31.03.2014 New Norovirus on cruise ship

A new strain of stomach bug was the virus responsible for almost 700 recent illnesses on a Caribbean cruise ship. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the new Sydney strain of norovirus was the cause of the illnesses on board Royal Caribbean's "Explorer of the Seas." The ship, carrying 3050 passengers, docked in New Jersey after 630 passengers and 54 crew members grew ill during a Caribbean cruise. It was one of the largest norovirus outbreaks on a cruise ship in the last 20 years. The Sydney strain emerged within about the last 2 years. It's not considered unusually dangerous, but has quickly become a common cause of cases of vomiting and diarrhea that last a few days. It is likely that the strain of norovirus responsible for the outbreaks in cruise ships this year (2014) in the Caribbean is the GII variant which has appeared recently. Latest testing of the most recent outbreaks has shown that Sydney 2012 has overtaken all other strains to become the dominant strain. Sydney 2012 was 1st seen in Australia and was also recorded in France, New Zealand and Japan. This new strain does not cause more serious illness than others, and the methods of managing cases and outbreaks are the same as for any strain of norovirus. These measures include washing the hands thoroughly and regularly, particularly after using the toilet and before eating. It is likely that the norovirus responsible for the outbreaks occurring in Carribbean cruise ships is a derivative of this virus. Noroviruses mutate rapidly, and new strains are constantly emerging. There is no specific treatment for norovirus infection other than to let the illness take its course, with symptoms usually lasting around 2 days. [ProMed]