#2: FDA Approves Investigational Yellow Fever Vaccine for Travelers
As the yellow fever outbreaks grow in Brazil and Angola, supplies of the standard yellow fever vaccine, YF-VAX, are becoming depleted.
The yellow fever outbreak in Brazil has been ongoing since December 2016, and has continued to infect and claim lives. Until now, there have been more than 3,000 suspected cases in the country, and more than 400 deaths. But it doesn’t stop there. The outbreak has also infected non-human primates, causing around 3,660 deaths in the population.
Recently, Brazil has administered more than 24 million doses of the standard YF-VAX vaccine, which has led to a staggering 95% coverage rate in 285 municipalities, and between 74% and 94.9% in 375 others. This has led Sanofi Pasteur to announce that YF-VAX will not be available until mid-2018, leaving many travelers without any infection prevention options.
Now, in an effort to provide an option for infection prevention for travelers wishing to visit yellow fever-endemic areas, the US Food and Drug Administration granted approval for another vaccine, Sanofi Pasteur’s Stamaril, to be used under the Expanded Access Investigational New Drug Application. However, this vaccine has been in use in more than 70 other countries to date.
Read more about yellow fever vaccines here
#1: Norovirus Outbreaks Take California Schools by Storm
Norovirus outbreaks have been sweeping “Eureka” state schools since May 1, and have infected thousands of students and staff.
Among the affected schools, those in Yolo County have been hit hardest, with around 3,400 infected. In addition, 2 schools closed their doors on May 26 due to a high number of cases. In a recent statement, Tom Pritchard, interim superintendent stated, “While we have enhanced our cleaning efforts and worked to limit student interactions on campus, we need to take an even more aggressive approach at these two schools to end the outbreak.”
However, these are not the first large-scale norovirus outbreaks to hit California this season. In early spring, hundreds of students (and their family members) in Santa Monica and East Bay area schools came down with the infection.
To limit the number of cases, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has advised that those individuals who present with norovirus-like symptoms stay home from school and avoid contact with others, so as to not spread infection, for 2 days until symptoms subside. Proper hand hygiene and surface disinfection are highly recommended.
In a statement, Karen Smith, MD, MPH, the CDPH director stated, ““Norovirus is very infectious and can spread rapidly wherever people congregate and share food and bathroom facilities. Fortunately, most people with norovirus infection will recover quickly, usually in one to three days.”
Read more about these outbreaks here
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