NEWS SCAN: Australian H7 outbreak, more West Nile cases, Ebola in Uganda, repeat Lyme infections

Nov 15, 2012

H7 avian influenza strikes Australian egg farm
Australia's agriculture ministry today reported a highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza outbreak at a commercial layer hen farm in New South Wales, according to a report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The outbreak started on Nov 9, killing 5,000 of 50,000 susceptible birds. Authorities have started culling the remaining hens. The birds are free-range layers on a farm that contains several dams that attract wild birds. Officials have established a 3-km restricted area and a 7-km control area around the property, which has been quarantined. So far the source of the virus is unknown, and lab testing is still under way to determine the strain's neuraminidase type. The outbreak is Australia's first H7 event since 1997.
Nov 15 OIE report

US West Nile cases reach 5,128, including 229 deaths
The US West Nile virus tally for this year has reached 5,128 cases in 48 states, including 229 deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday. The numbers represent 74 new cases since last week and 1 additional death. As the agency reported before, the number is the highest at this time of year since 2003. Almost 80% of the cases have been reported in 12 states (Texas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois, South Dakota, Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona, and Ohio), and Texas has accounted for more than a third of all cases.
Nov 14 CDC update
Latest CDC case count by state

New Ebola outbreak hits Uganda
Uganda's health ministry today announced a new Ebola virus outbreak, which has struck the central region on the country near the capital Kampala and killed three people, according to media reports. The latest outbreak in Uganda comes on the heels of an Ebola outbreak in the western part of the country in July and a Marburg virus outbreak last month. Two of the patients who died are from one family in the Luwero district, north of Kampala, Reuters reported today. Uganda's health minister Christine Ondoa said that five more suspected cases are being monitored, including two at an isolation center at Mulago Hospital in Kampala. Joaquim Saweka, a country spokesman with the World Health Organization (WHO), said testing confirmed the outbreak on Nov 13 and that the WHO has dispatched a team to assess the situation and set up an isolation unit, according to a report yesterday from Xinhua, China's state news agency. The type of Ebola responsible for the latest outbreak is the Sudan strain, the same as in the earlier outbreak.
Nov 15 Reuters story
Nov 14 Xinhua story
Nov 15 Associated Press story

Study: Repeat Lyme disease attacks usually signal reinfection, not relapse
Using genetic sequencing, US researchers have concluded that a repeat episode of Lyme disease is likely to be caused by reinfection, not by a relapse of the original case. Lyme disease recurrences are not unusual, and the view that they usually are caused by reinfection remains controversial, the researchers write in the New England Journal of Medicine. The investigators studied samples from 17 patients who between them had 22 pairs of Lyme cases (initial and second) manifested by erythema migrans. The researchers used various techniques to analyze the gene encoding outer surface protein C of Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme organism. The genotypes of isolates from the initial and second cases were found to be different in all the patients. In one patient the same genotype was found in two infections, the first and third, but a different genotype was associated with the patient's second and fourth infections.
Nov 15 N Engl J Med abstract

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