NEWS SCAN: H7N3 in Mexico, assessing 2009 H1N1 deaths, 3 new fungal infections

Feb 19, 2013

Spreading Mexican H7N3 avian flu outbreak deemed highly pathogenic
The recently reported H7N3 avian influenza outbreak on poultry farms in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato has been determined to be of the highly pathogenic variety, according to a report today from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). So far seven breeder farms and two commercial layer farms have been affected. The new report puts the number of infected birds at 53,553, with 34,889 dead, for a case-fatality rate of 65.15%. More than 612,000 birds have been destroyed to date as a control measure. A preventive vaccination effort on breeder and layer farms in Guanajuato has been launched, with more than 5 millions birds vaccinated so far. Early investigation suggests that the virus was introduced through fomites and breaches in biosecurity measures. The current outbreak is similar to a 2012 H7N3 outbreak in the neighboring state of Jalisco as well as isolated outbreaks last month there and in Aguascalientes state.
Feb 19 OIE report
Feb 15 CIDRAP News item on current outbreak
Jan 9 CIDRAP News item on last month's outbreaks
Jun 26, 2012, CIDRAP News story on 2012 outbreak

Scientists use hospital records to estimate 2009 H1N1 deaths
US researchers have devised a strategy to measure influenza mortality using traditional excess-mortality models applied to hospital records of patients dying from respiratory or cardiac causes. The technique could yield useful estimates well ahead of the release of national vital statistics, according to their study today in Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses. The team of Maryland researchers compiled data on age-specific deaths due to various causes from US state inpatient databases from 1990 through 2010 and national vital statistics from 1990 through 2009. They calculated excess deaths from flu per season based on Poisson regression models and found that their estimates fell within 11% and 17% of vital-statistics estimates for pandemic and seasonal flu, respectively, with high year-to-year correlation. Using this approach, the researchers attributed 14,800 excess respiratory and cardiac deaths (95% confidence interval, 10,000-19,650) to pandemic H1N1 flu (pH1N1) from April 2009 through April 2010, 79% of which occurred in people younger than 65. That compares with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated range of 8,870 to 18,300 pH1N1-related deaths during that time, with a mid-level estimate of 12,470.
Feb 19 Influenza Other Respi Viruses abstract
CDC pH1N1 case and death estimates

CDC reports 707 cases of fungal infection from contaminated steroids
The number of fungal infections from contaminated injectable steroids in the United States climbed by 3 over the past week to 707, the CDC reported today. The number of deaths increased by 1 to 47, and the number of affected states stayed the same, at 20. Of the total cases, 243 were meningitis only, 136 involved spinal or paraspinal infections with meningitis, 6 involved stroke without lumbar puncture, 289 were paraspinal or spinal infections only, 31 were peripheral joint infections only, and 2 involved a paraspinal or spinal infection along with a peripheral joint injection. Michigan continues to have the most cases, with 246, followed by Tennessee with 148 and Indiana with 82. Contaminated methylprednisolone acetate from New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., has been implicated as the cause. Cases began appearing last fall.
Feb 19 CDC updated case count

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