FLU NEWS SCAN: H5N2 in Canada, H5N1 in Vietnam, Australia's pandemic response, H1N1 co-infections, antiviral-resistance mutation

Nov 29, 2010

Avian flu in Manitoba turkeys identified as low-path H5N2
The influenza virus that struck a turkey farm in southern Manitoba last week has been identified as a low-pathogenic H5N2 strain, according to a report that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) filed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The report said the Rockwood farm has been quarantined and all the turkeys would be destroyed. Most of the 7,400 turkeys were lethargic, and their egg production decreased, but none died, the CFIA report said. The outbreak marks the first instance of notifiable avian influenza in the province. The source of the virus is unknown, but the closest matches in the Genbank database are to H5N2 viruses from North American wild birds, the CFIA said. In a Nov 25 press release, the CFIA said a hatchery and two poultry farms that had contact with the affected farm have been quarantined. H5N2 outbreaks have occurred on Canadian turkey farms before, most recently in British Columbia's Fraser Valley in January 2009.
Nov 25 OIE report
Nov 25 CFIA press release

H5N1 strikes poultry in Vietnam again
H5N1 avian influenza has struck poultry in three Vietnamese provinces recently, according to Vietnamese news outlets. Hoang Van Nam, chief of the country's Department of Animal Health, said 300 ducks in the northern province of Nam Dinh tested positive for the virus, according to a Nov 25 story from Thanh Nien News. On Nov 27, the Communist Party newspaper Saigon Daily reported that avian flu struck in two other northern provinces, Nghe An and Ha Tinh, both of which were hit by floods this month. The story said 600 birds were infected in the Dien Chau district of Nghe An. Earlier last week, government officials said Vietnam had had no avian flu outbreaks since July, the News story said.
Nov 25 Thanh Nien News story
Nov 27 Saigon Daily story

Australian post-H1N1 report calls for national disease-control agency
The decision-making and communication dimensions of Australia's response to the 2009 flu pandemic were generally good, but it may be time to set up a national disease-control agency in the country, says a review by health officials from Western Australia state. Writing in Australian Health Review, the officials said that communications were generally effective but need to be better coordinated between the national government, the states, and clinicians. The authors also said plenty of expert advice was given by groups and individuals, but there was some doubt at times about the role of standing expert committees, such as the Communicable Disease Network Australia, in relation to committees convened especially for the pandemic. "The time seems right to consider the potential role of an independent, authoritative national disease-control agency in Australia, as a clear source of expert advice," they wrote. The review covers the time from the virus's emergence to the delivery of the vaccine.
Australian Health Review article

Study: One fourth of novel H1N1 samples had other pathogens
A study published today found that, of 3,110 clinical respiratory samples from 23 US states that tested positive for pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza, 28% contained at least one other pathogen, most commonly Staphylococcus aureus. Among the H1N1-positive samples, of which more than 95% were nasopharyngeal swabs, the most commonly detected co-pathogens were bacterial: S aureus (in 14.7% of samples), Streptococcus pneumoniae (10.2%), Haemophilus influenzae (3.5%), and Acinetobacter baumannii (1.1%). In contrast, the most common viral co-infections were found much less often: coxsackievirus, 0.4%; rhinovirus, 0.2%; and parainfluenza, 0.1%.
Nov 29 Emerg Infect Dis study

Novel mutation found in Tamiflu-resistant novel H1N1 case
Researchers from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Seoul found the neuraminidase (NA) H275Y mutation in all 10 pandemic 2009 H1N1 cases they studied that showed resistance to antiviral treatment, but they also found a novel mutation in one of them. They write that "a novel NA (I117M) substitution that may be associated with oseltamivir resistance was detected in specimens from 1 patient (patient G) who had myelodysplasia and received oseltamivir and peramivir." All 10 patients had been treated using oseltamivir (Tamiflu) alone or combined with other antiviral drugs. The authors conclude that their finding "indicates that continuous surveillance is required to evaluate emergence and circulation of drug-resistant pandemic (H1N1) 2009 viruses and possible reassortment with other viruses that have oseltamivir resistance."
Nov 29 Emerg Infect Dis report

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