FLU NEWS SCAN: H5N1 death in Vietnam, antiviral drug safety

Apr 9, 2013

Vietnamese 4-year-old dies of H5N1 avian flu
A 4-year-old boy in Vietnam has died of H5N1 avian flu, the country's first human case this year, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. The boy developed a fever and other symptoms Mar 23 after his family slaughtered chickens that were bought in a village that was later confirmed to have an H5N1 outbreak in poultry, health official Doan Tan Buu said. The boy died Apr 4 after being hospitalized in Dong Thap province in southern Vietnam. The country's last previous H5N1 case was in March 2012, and its previous H5N1 death was in February 2012, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data. The country has had 123 WHO-confirmed H5N1 cases since 2003, third-highest in the world, including 61 deaths. Last year, however, Vietnam had only 4 cases—2 fatal—and in 2011 it had none. The WHO, which now announces H5N1 cases monthly, last updated its global case count on Mar 12, when cases stood at 622 and deaths at 371. Since then health officials have confirmed 4 additional H5N1 cases, 1 each in Egypt, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and now Vietnam, 2 of which have been fatal.
Apr 9 AP story
Mar 12 WHO global H5N1 case count

Study shows antiviral drugs safe during pregnancy in H1N1 pandemic
A cases series study of 669 pregnant Japanese women who received oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic found that the antiviral drugs did not adversely affect the women's fetuses and newborns. Scientists, writing today in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AJOG), evaluated 624 infants born to 619 women given oseltamivir and 50 infants born to 50 women given zanamivir. They found the overall rate of congenital malformations was 14 of 670 (2.1%), with the rate for infants exposed in the first trimester at 1.3% (2/156) for oseltamivir and 0% (0/15) for zanamivir. The rate climbed to 2.6% (12/464) for those exposed to oseltamivir in the second and third trimesters but stayed at 0% (0/35) for zanamivir. They also found a 0.9% rate (3/322) of miscarriage when antiviral drugs were taken before gestational week 22, a 5.5% (33/600) preterm delivery rate, 8.7% (58/670) of babies born weighing less than 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds), and an 8.4% rate (56/670) of small-for-gestational-age infants. There were no stillbirths and only 1 neonatal death. All these rates are within normal limits, the researchers concluded.
Apr 9 AJOG abstract

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