Though the number of transfusion-transmitted WNV cases has decreased dramatically since testing began, a report in the Feb 2 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report detailed the cases of two South Dakota patients whose disease probably came from a single infected donor whose screening tests were negative at the time of donation. The CDC said the cases underscore the importance of clinical recognition, effective WNV blood screening strategies, and investigation coordination. The Procleix TIGRIS system, developed by Gen-Probe, Inc., San Diego, and marketed by Chiron Corp., Emeryville, Calif., was approved by the FDA on Mar 2 and uses Gen-Probe’s Procleix WNV assay, which is already being used in the company’s semiautomated screening system, Gen-Probe said in a March 2 press release. Mar 9, 2007 (CIDRAP News) The first fully automated test to screen donors of blood, tissue, and organs for West Nile virus (WNV) was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The automated system allows blood centers to process 1,000 individual blood samples in about 14 hours, Gen-Probe said. Blood testing sites typically use pooled samples to screen for WNV, then switch to individual donor testing once predetermined WNV prevalence triggers are met, the company said. “This is the latest step forward in what has been a very successful industry-government effort to keep blood safe from the emerging threat of West Nile virus,” he said in the press release. Mar 2 Gen-Probe press release WNV was first detected in the United States in 1999 and has since become endemic. For the 2006 season, 4,256 cases of West Nile virus have so far been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); 1,449 cases involved West Nile encephalitis or meningitis, and 165 were fatal. People usually catch WNV from the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the pathogen from an infected bird or animal. Most people experience no symptoms or only mild illness, but the virus can cause serious infections of the brain and nervous system. Mar 2 FDA press release Development of a WNV blood test began in 2002 when researchers discovered that the virus could be transmitted in blood, and nationwide screening for the virus began in 2003. Testing detected about 1,400 potentially infectious blood donations from 2003 to 2005, according to the CDC. Feb 2 MMWR article on South Dakota caseshttp://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5604a4.htm CDC 2006 West Nile virus figures See also: The advantages of a fully automated system are that it can reduce the potential for human error, speed up donor screening, and enhance the safety of blood and tissue products, said Jesse Goodman, MD, director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, in a March 2 FDA press release.
–Company optimistic of successful eventTHE Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) yesterday bowled off their inaugural Tapeball tournament at the National Park tarmac, featuring over 100 teams.Matches will continue today at the same venue (National Park), while matches will also be played on July 22 at the Uitvlugt Community Centre Ground. The finals is slated for July 30 at the GCC Ground.Two Hundred Thousand dollars ($200,000) will be awarded to the winning team, while second and third place teams will pocket $100,000 and $50,000 respectively.The seven-a-side tournament will be played on a ‘win or go home’ basis, until the top two sides remain. According to the rules of the tournament, matches will be played based on entry of teams to each zone or as assigned by the coordinators.Exit from the competition may be a result of losing matches or by disqualification. The rules also states that a batsman cannot be given out via LBW; all other forms of dismissal may apply based on the decision of the umpire. Bowlers are allowed to bowl a maximum of two overs.Meanwhile, after bowling the tournament’s first ball, GTT Chief Executive Officer, Justin Nedd stated that the event is being used by the company to give back to the communities, while adding that “this will also bowl off the cricket season, since GTT is also the proud sponsor of the Guyana Amazon Warriors. ““This Tapeball cricket is going to be a success because we’ve seen an overwhelming response of teams that are vying for more than $300,000 in prizes, so I encourage all to enjoy, have a good time, support the warriors and support GTT,” Nedd told the gathering of teams at the National Park yesterday.