Posted by: Amin Etemad | October 2, 2012

GI Bug Sickens German Kids

Source: John Gever, Senior Editor, MedPage Today

Thousands of German schoolchildren fell ill last week (Sept 2012), all of whom ate school lunches provided by the same catering company. Also this week: an anti-IL-17 drug shows promise in psoriasis. Nearly 7,000 schoolchildren in eastern Germany had fallen ill with gastrointestinal symptoms as of Friday, tied to lunches served at their schools, the German publication Der Spiegel reported on its website.

Diarrhea and vomiting were the principal symptoms in the outbreak, which began earlier this week. The afflicted children had all eaten lunches served at schools supplied by a single catering company, Sodexo. Officials of the firm, which also does business in the U.S., said they did not believe Sodexo’s food was responsible. Der Spiegel quoted a spokesman as saying “less than 5% of the schools we supply have been affected.”

 

The Robert Koch Institute in Berlin was seeking to identify the causative agent, with noroviruses, Salmonella, or chemical toxins the leading suspects. It had not reached a conclusion as of late Friday, German media reported.

The anti-IL-17 antibody drug secukinumab (AIN457) appeared significantly effective against moderate to severe psoriasis affecting the hands and feet in a phase II study, its manufacturer said.

New analyses from a previously reported 404-patient randomized trial showed that symptoms in the hands and feet were substantially reduced in 54% of patients receiving secukinumab after 1 month, compared with 19% of placebo-treated patients (P=0.005), Novartis said in a statement.

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