Link between Zika Fever and birth defects in BrazilDec012015

dengue 9183_loresThe Brazilian health ministry has confirmed a link between a mosquito-borne virus from Africa, Zika Fever, and a high incidence of birth defects.

The fever, it said, is behind a spike in cases of micro-encephalitis – an inflammation of the brain contracted in the first months of pregnancy.

It has recorded two adult deaths and 739 cases of the disease, which can stunt the growth of the foetus’s head.

A World Health Organization team arrives in Brazil next week.

Read the full story


Canada Communicable Disease Report: focus on antibiotic resistanceNov192015

In the latest issue of CCDR, read about how normal flora can now be manufactured to treat Clostridium difficile and potentially other conditions, learn how optimal vaccine use can minimize the need for antibiotics, and see how the Canadian Institutes of Health Research has been funding research on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) innovation. In the ID News section read about the use of nanotechnologies to treat HIV, tuberculosis and yeast infections, and learn about a new protein inhibitor to treat malaria. This is the last in a series of theme issues to highlight the three pillars of Canada’s Federal Action Plan on AMR: Surveillance, Stewardship and Innovation.

CCDR: Volume 41S-5, November 19, 2015


Antibiotic resistance: gene that enables resistance to spread between bacteriaNov192015

ecoli 12166_lores_crop

The last line of antibiotic defence against some serious infections is under threat, say experts who have identified a gene that enables resistance to spread between bacteria in China.

The gene, called mcr-1, allows a range of common bacteria, including E coli, to become resistant to the last fully functional class of antibiotics, the polymyxins. This gene, they say, is widespread in bugs called Enterobacteriaceae carried by both pigs and people in south China and is likely to spread worldwide.

The gene is easily transferred from one strain of bacteria to another.Enterobacteriaceae are capable of causing a range of diseases, from pneumonia to serious blood infections. Some of the strains of Enterobacteriaceae with the gene have epidemic potential, say experts in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

Read the full news story on:

The journal article can be found in:

The Lancet Infectious Diseases
Emergence of plasmid-mediated colistin resistance mechanism MCR-1 in animals and human beings in China: a microbiological and molecular biological study
Yi-Yun Liu et al, 2015



Meningitis A vaccine in AfricaNov162015

The MenAfriVa, introduced into Africa in 2010, has been a huge success: the caseload of Meningitis A has plummeted to zero in 16 countries that organized mass vaccination campaigns. However, health experts now worry that this one-off success will not, at least in some countries, be followed by the introduction of MenAfriVac into routine schedules of infant vaccination. A study just published in Clinical Infectious Diseases by Andromachi Karachaliou of Cambridge University and her colleagues shows what this could lead to: Ms Karachaliou’s computer model predicts that the epidemics will return with a vengeance in about 15 years if MenAfriVac does not become a routine childhood jab, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends it should.

Read the full story in The Economist online

Meningitis Belt