NEWS SCAN: Low-path avian flu, Q fever pathogen in US, polio spread

May 19, 2010

Netherlands reports low-pathogenic avian flu
A single farm in Deurne in the southern Netherlands has experienced an outbreak of H7 low-pathogenic avian influenza, according to the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The 28,000 laying hens on the farm were culled on Sunday, and a 3-kilometer no-transport zone has been established around it. The transport ban covers any birds, eggs, litter, and manure, as well as any cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, or horses coming from or going to farms in the zone that house poultry. Surveillance of 20 other local farms, and premises that may have done business with the affected farm, is scheduled for this week.
May 18 OIE report
May 16 ProMED-mail post

Environmental study shows Q fever bacterium common in US
An environmental study determined that Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of Q fever, is fairly common in the United States, suggesting that exposure to the bacterium may be more common than what is suggested by the number of reported cases of Q fever. Researchers collected more than 1,600 environmental samples from six states and found C burnetii DNA in 6% to 44% of them. Overall, 24% of the samples tested positive. C burnetii DNA was detected in areas with livestock as well as places with human activity, such as schools, stores, and post offices. The organism is highly infectious, can survive in a variety of conditions, is present in domestic and wild animal populations, and has been weaponized. On May 12 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health alert on Q fever for those who have recently traveled to the Netherlands or Iraq.
May 14 Appl Environ Micobiol study
May 12 CDC health alert

Polio spreads further in central Asian republics
The government of Uzbekistan has launched a nationwide campaign to immunize every child younger than 5 against polio, in hopes of blocking the spread of the disease from neighboring Tajikistan, and the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan are considering similar campaigns. Polio continues to spread in Tajikistan, where an outbreak has been flaring since mid-April; the World Health Organization (WHO) told Reuters Wednesday that 108 cases of polio have been confirmed in the former Soviet republic and more confirmations are expected. Two children from Tajikistan who had traveled to different cities in Russia have also been confirmed with polio; one had developed paralysis, and the other had no symptoms. The WHO's European Region, which includes Central Asia, was certified polio-free in 2002, and the Tajikistan outbreak represents the first cases seen there since then.
May 18 Reuters story

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