NEWS SCAN: H5N1 in Bangladesh, flu in Hong Kong, FDA finalizes food detention rule

Feb 5, 2013

H5N1 hits Bangladeshi poultry farm
Livestock officials in Bangladesh today reported that H5N1 avian flu has struck another commercial farm in Dhaka division, according to a report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The outbreak began in the middle of December in Gazipur district and killed 8,509 birds. Officials culled the farm's remaining 144,968 poultry to prevent disease spread. The farm where the outbreak occurred is approximately 30 miles northwest of Dhaka, the country's capital. The source of the outbreak hasn't been determined. The country's last H5N1 outbreak in poultry occurred in October 2012 and also involved a commercial farm in Gazipur district.
Feb 5 OIE report

Flu season kicks into gear in Hong Kong
The winter influenza season has begun in Hong Kong, health officials announced yesterday, with seven severe cases, including two deaths, in recent weeks. Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said in an update that the number of influenza-like illness (ILI) outbreaks at institutions and schools rose from zero in the week ending Jan 5 to eight in the week ending Feb 2, affecting 141 people. Weekly consultation rates for ILI in outpatient clinics increased from 1.9 in the week ending Jan 5 to 4.9 in the week ending Jan 26. In private physician offices, the numbers rose from 34.2 to 43.6 during that span. Since Jan 18 Hong Kong has confirmed 7 severe cases, including 2 in children and 2 deaths. More than half of circulating flu viruses are 2009 H1N1 (54.9%), followed by H3N2 (42.1%) and influenza B (3%).
Feb 4 HPA update

FDA finalizes administrative food detention rule
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday announced a final rule that amends the criteria for administrative detention to block potentially unsafe food from reaching the marketplace. An interim version of the rule was first announced in May 2011 and took effect that July. The regulation was one of the first new authorities the FDA gained with passage of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. The FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition said in its announcement that the final rule adopts the interim one without change. The new rule allows the FDA to hold food products for up to 30 days, allowing it time to determine if it should seize the products or seek a court order to halt distribution. Under older rules, the FDA often had to work with states to hold food products until federal enforcement actions were cleared by federal courts. Also, under the previous rule the FDA could detain food only if it had credible evidence that it was a serious health threat to humans or animals. The new rule allows the FDA to hold products if it believes the food is adulterated or misbranded.
Feb 4 FDA announcement

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