NEWS SCAN: H5N1 reports from Nepal, possible H7N3 in Mexico, flu and RSV seasonality, NDM bacteria cluster

Feb 15, 2013

Nepal reports five recent H5N1 outbreaks
Livestock officials in Nepal today reported five H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks, four of which were noted earlier this week in media coverage, according to a report today to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Nepal has recently experienced a spate of outbreaks in the Kathmandu valley, plus one in Mechi zone, located in the eastern part of the country near the border with India. Today's OIE report included another outbreak in the Kathmandu valley, a commercial broiler flock located in Setidevi village. All of the outbreaks occurred at commercial farms except for the one in Mechi zone, which struck the affected village's backyard poultry. The five outbreaks killed 3,651 of 16,560 susceptible birds, and the remaining poultry were destroyed to curb the spread of the virus.
Feb 15 OIE report

Large Mexican poultry producer battling possible H7N3 avian flu
Mexico's largest poultry producer and processor yesterday announced a possible outbreak of H7N3 avian flu on five of its breeder farms in the state of Guanajuato. Work is ongoing to verify the outbreak and to implement sanitary measures if needed. The company, Industrias Bachoco, is one of the largest poultry producers in the world and has almost 100 breeder farms in Mexico that produce hatching eggs for producing chickens. A press release from the company says that it is reinforcing its biosecurity measures at all facilities, particularly its breeder farms, and "analyzing steps to mitigate possible negative effects." H7N3 avian flu was detected in the neighboring state of Jalisco in 2012 on farms owned by other poultry producers and led to the culling of millions of poultry. The virus again struck poultry farms last month in Aguascalientes state, directly north of Jalisco, as well as separate farms in Jalisco, leading to the culling of almost 700,000 birds.
Feb 14 Bachoco press release

Flu and RSV show temporal seasonality, even in much of the tropics
Many tropical regions worldwide, commonly thought to experience influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) year-round, actually have seasonal variations in the diseases similar to those in temperate climes, according to what is likely the first quantitative study of the subject on a global scale. The meta-analysis, which evaluated information gathered through the literature and electronic surveillance Web sites from 137 locations on five continents, was published yesterday in PLoS One. One third of the study's data came from tropical areas. The authors found the expected peaks during winter months for both flu and RSV in temperate areas, with some showing peaks in both winter and summer for flu and Northern Europe showing biennial cycles for RSV. Overall, 80% and 50% of tropical areas showed distinct seasons lasting 6 months or less for RSV and flu, respectively. Tropical areas of Southeast Asia fairly commonly showed semiannual peaks in activity for both viruses. Weak latitudinal gradients were apparent in the timing of epidemics of both flu and RSV, with peak activity later in the year with increasing latitude (P < 0.03). No location studied had constant respiratory activity throughout the year when individual years were considered.
Feb 14 PLoS One study

Denver cluster was biggest US outbreak of NDM-producing bacteria
Eight patients in a Denver hospital last year harbored Klebsiella pneumoniae carrying New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM), an enzyme that confers resistance to many antimicrobials, marking the biggest such outbreak in the United States so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The outbreak was first spotted with the detection of carbapenem-resistant K pneumoniae (CRKP) in respiratory samples from two patients in July and August, says an article in today's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Review of records and surveillance cultures identified six more cases. The patients had been hospitalized for a median of 18 days before CRKP was identified. Three of them were treated for CRKP infections, and five were found to be asymptomatically colonized. All of them survived. Tests revealed that the initial isolates were resistant to all antimicrobials except tigecycline. An epidemiologic investigation suggested that multiple transmission events had occurred and that "undetected, asymptomatically colonized patients were involved in some transmission routes." How the pathogen got into the hospital was unclear. Before this outbreak, only 16 isolates of NDM-producing carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) had been found in the United States, 14 of them in patients who had received medical care in South Asia. In a Health Alert Network advisory e-mailed to reporters today, the CDC said that, of the 37 unusual forms of CRE reported in the United States, 15 have been reported since July 2012. The agency called for healthcare providers to act aggressively to prevent the emergence and spread of these organisms.
Feb 15 MMWR article
Related Aug 15, 2012, CIDRAP News item

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