Jun 29, 2011
Study plots Canadian and US flu waves
A study of influenza over 10 seasons in North America showed a slight tendency for epidemics to occur earlier in the southwestern United States and progressively later in regions to the north and east, with the latest epidemics in northeastern Canada. The findings, based on Canadian FluWatch and US FluView surveillance, appeared yesterday in PLoS One. The study covered the flu seasons from 1997-98 through 2006-07. Epidemic waves spread across the United States more quickly than Canada, and epidemic peaks generally appeared to occur earlier in the United States. The researchers found that epidemics in different regions were more likely to be synchronized in the US than in Canada, and there was little delay in epidemic peaks between large cities and surrounding rural areas. They concluded that spread between regions didn't seem to produce consistent patterns in the direction and timing of flu transmission and that local lab-based surveillance is therefore the best tool for assessing community flu activity.
Jun 28 PLoS One study
South African ostrich farmers seek disaster declaration for H5N2 toll
Ostrich farmers from South Africa's Western Cape were expected to meet with government officials today to discuss the possibility of a national disaster declaration because of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza outbreaks that have decimated the local industry, the South African Broadcasting Corp. (SABC) reported. So far more than 23,000 birds have been culled, and ostrich meat from the area has been banned. State veterinarians are conducting another round of surveillance for the disease to assess the current status. Since mid April the country has reported 21 H5N2 outbreaks to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
OIE reports on South Africa's H5N2 outbreaks