ARCHIVED - Infectious Diseases News Brief - May 20, 2011


Canada Communicable Disease Report
CCDR Weekly

Measles Cases Appearing In USA, Large Outbreaks In Europe And Other Parts Of The World

Measles cases are rising dramatically in France, Germany, Belgium, Romania, UK and even in some parts of the USA. Californian health authorities say that non-immunized Californians are becoming infected after travelling abroad and infected foreigners travelling from abroad into California are infecting local people. The World Health Organization, which thought the world was close to eliminating measles, has postponed the date for that target to 2015 - which most experts believe is far too early. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been 98 reported cases of measles in the USA so far this year - twice as many as one would expect in a whole year. Measles used to kill approximately 500 people each year in America. In 2000, the country declared the virtual elimination of the disease. Current measles cases in the USA are caused by unvaccinated people who have travelled abroad. France has had over 5,000 confirmed cases of measles so far this year, and the UK is becoming alarmed as the January to April figure reached 275. Most of the patients are children and young adults. Measles is endemic is many parts of Asia and Africa. Last year large measles outbreaks were reported in Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Nigeria, Malawi, Lesotho, Ethiopia, and Angola. Over 2000 cases have been reported in the Philippines this year.

Source: Medical News Today 16 May 2011

Epidemiology of syphilis in Australia: moving toward elimination of infectious syphilis from remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?

Objective: To describe the epidemiology of infectious syphilis among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) people in Australia.

Design and setting: The researchers assessed trends in national infectious syphilis notification rates from 2005 to 2009 using Poisson regression, with a focus on geographic and demographic differences by Indigenous status. They compared Indigenous and non-Indigenous rate ratios over the study period and summarised the annual changes (summary rate ratio).

Main outcome measures: Crude notification rates and summary rate ratios by Indigenous status, jurisdiction, sex, age group and area of residence.

Results: From 2005 to 2009, in the Indigenous population, there was a substantial decline in the notification rate for infectious syphilis nationally; as well as in the following subgroups: females, 15–29 year olds, and people living in outer regional and remote areas in the Northern Territory and Queensland. In contrast, there was a significant (P < 0.001) upward trend in the notification rate in the non-Indigenous population nationally; as well as in males, in people aged 20 years and over, and in residents of metropolitan and regional areas, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. The highest summary rate ratios were seen in remote/very remote areas (86.33; 95% CI, 57.45–129.74), in 15–19 year olds (64.65; 95% CI, 51.12–81.78), in females (24.59; 95% CI, 19.73–30.65), and in Western Australia (23.89; 95% CI, 19.82–28.82).

Conclusion: These data demonstrate that Australia has two distinct patterns of infectious syphilis: a substantially declining occurrence in Indigenous remote communities and an increasing incidence in males residing in urban and regional areas. Given the decline in notification rates in Indigenous remote communities, now might be the right time to move toward eliminating infectious syphilis from Indigenous communities.

Source: The Medical Journal of Australia May 2011; 194 (10): 525-529

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