NEWS SCAN: H5N1 reports, no SARS or avian flu in train passenger in Russia, flu season slows

Apr 17, 2009

H5N1 strikes farm in Bangladesh
Bangladeshi media reports said today that animal health authorities culled 2,300 chickens at a commercial poultry farm in Savar district, according to Xinhua, China's state news agency. The virus was detected on Apr 15 after bird deaths were reported at the farm. The poultry farm is located about 20 miles north of the capital Dhaka. Bangladesh's last H5N1 outbreaks were reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in early March.
[Apr 17 Xinhua story]

WHO confirms Egypt's latest H5N1 case
The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed Egypt's latest H5N1 avian influenza case, a 33-year-old woman from Kafr el-Sheikh governorate who is hospitalized in critical condition. Her illness raises Egypt's H5N1 case count to 64, of which 23 were fatal. She got sick on Apr 7 and was hospitalized on Apr 15, the same day she started receiving oseltamivir (Tamiflu). An investigation into the source of her illness revealed she had contact with sick and dead poultry before she became ill. The WHO's confirmation pushes the global H5N1 count to 418 illnesses and 257 deaths.
[Apr 17 WHO statement]

Russian officials rule out SARS, H5N1 in woman's death
The Chinese woman whose Apr 15 death on a train from China to Russia touched off a SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) scare did not have the disease or any dangerous influenza strains, Russia's chief sanitary officer Gennady Onischchenko told the country's news agency, Itar-Tass, today. He told a Russian TV news channel that a biopsy of the woman's lungs, intestines, and brain revealed no SARS, and no influenza H1, H3, H5, H9, or B strains. In a report a few hours later from Itar-Tass, Onischchenko said the woman died from double bacterial pneumonia. "I'm stating that the dead Chinese citizen had no particularly dangerous afflictions," he said.

Flu season continues to slow
Influenza activity continued its decline last week, with only one state—New York—reporting widespread flu activity, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today. Fourteen states reported regional activity, and 22 reported local activity. Eight pediatric influenza deaths were reported, one each from Delaware and Tennessee and two each from Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas, bringing the season's total to 53. Of the 264 influenza B strains that were characterized, the number of those belonging to the Victoria lineage not included in this year's flu vaccine continued to outpace those belonging to the Yamagata lineage, 214 versus 50. Of influenza A/H1N1 viruses that were characterized, 99.3% showed antiviral resistance.

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