FLU NEWS SCAN: H5N1 in Kathmandu, H1N1 in health workers

Dec 1, 2011

Nepal reports another avian flu outbreak
Officials in Nepal have culled hundreds of chickens and domestic ducks after an outbreak of H5N1 avian flu killed 90 chickens on a farm in Kathmandu, the first avian flu outbreak in the nation's capital, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) story today. "Over 500 chickens and ducks have been slaughtered in the last three days. We also destroyed dozens of eggs and several kilos of poultry feed," Nepalese health official Narayan Prasad Ghimire said. He added that a rapid response team was operating on the outskirts of the city to prevent disease spread and that poultry production has been halted in the affected area. H5N1 was confirmed in the dead chickens by a UK lab, the story said. Earlier this week more than 500 birds were culled in nearby Bhaktapur district after 35 farm chickens died from avian flu. The country experienced its first avian flu outbreak in January 2009.
Dec 1 AFP story

Not wearing masks, respirators may have led to health worker pH1N1 cases
Not wearing masks or respirators may have put health care personnel (HCP) at risk of 2009 H1N1 influenza (pH1N1) during the earliest weeks of the 2009 pandemic, according to scientists from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and California. In the study, published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the team tracked 63 southern California HCP who had contact with six of the country's first eight cases of pH1N1 flu. Of these, 9 (14%) were seropositive for pH1N1, 6 (67%) of whom showed no symptoms. The highest attack rates occurred among outpatient HCP (6/19 [32%]) and technicians (8/33 [24%]). The researchers found that mask or N-95 respirator use was associated with remaining seronegative (P = .047). The authors conclude, "pH1N1 transmission likely occurred in healthcare settings early in the pandemic associated with inadequate PPE use." "The study also suggests that greater attention to infection control and preparedness, particularly among outpatient workers, is needed," said lead author Jenifer Jaeger, MD, MPH, of Massachusetts General Hospital in a press release from the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), which publishes the journal.
December Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol abstract
Nov 30 SHEA press release

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