Friday, February 12, 2010

Mumps in NYC Update

Via ProMED-mail: the CDC reports that the mumps outbreak in New York/New Jersey has reached 1,521 reported cases, with no apparent end in sight. They also speculate about possible demographic causes of the outbreak in a relatively well-vaccinated community:

Like the mumps outbreaks that occurred in 2006 (2), much of the current outbreak is occurring in congregate settings, where prolonged, close contact among persons might be facilitating transmission. Within the affected religious community, cases have occurred predominantly among school-aged boys, who attend separate schools from girls. The higher rate among boys might be a result of the additional hours that boys in this community spend in school compared with girls, including long periods in large study halls, often face-to-face with a study partner.
In addition, transmission in the community overall might be facilitated by relatively large household sizes. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the mean household size in one of the affected communities was 5.7, compared with a mean U.S. household size of 2.6. The limited transmission to persons outside the community might be a result of the relatively less interpersonal contact between persons inside and outside the community.
Although the school settings and large household sizes might be promoting transmission, the high vaccination coverage in the affected community likely is limiting the size of the outbreak. In addition, high vaccination coverage in surrounding communities is the most plausible reason that the few cases outside of the affected community have not caused other outbreaks.

PlagueBlog recommends letting the boys out for recess more frequently and sending them home earlier, poor things.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mumps in NYC

Via ProMED-mail: the mumps outbreak in New York City continues, with over 900 cases identified so far. See the link for MMR clinics serving the apparently under-vaccinated population. The NYC Department of Health notes that:

Each site will have separate entrances for women and men and will have separate staff members to vaccinate them. The staff will be culturally sensitive and respectful.

At the risk of sounding culturally insensitive, PlagueBlog must state that there are worse things than getting an MMR shot from a member of the opposite sex who's just doing their job--for example, orchitis.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Mmm-mmm Melamine, Part MI

Via ProMED-mail: melamine has once again been detected in milk products in China. AsiaNews reports that the scandal has widened to six dairy companies, one of which was still in operation as of Friday.

China has also banned independent reporting of the scandal and jailed a food-safety activist:

Zhao Lianhai is a 37 year old former government employee from Beijing, who was recently arrested and charged with provoking social disorder.
His son was one of 300,000 kids poisoned by contaminated milk across China.
Mr Zhao used to work for the country's food quality and safety authority, so he started a website advising parents of affected children and campaigned to take responsible companies to court.

In other melamine news, on Friday a federal court sentenced the Chinese-American couple for importing the melamine-tainted wheat gluten from the 2007 pet-food scandal.