NEWS SCAN: Low-path H5N1 in Germany, cutting West Nile monitoring, response to adverse vaccine events

Apr 22, 2013

Low-path H5N1 strikes two German turkey farms
Animal health officials in Germany yesterday reported low-pathogenic H5N1 avian flu outbreaks at two turkey farms in Lower Saxony state, located in the northwestern part of the country, according to a report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The two farms, which raised fattening turkeys, had 25,050 susceptible birds, of which 20 showed signs of disease. The remaining birds were culled to control the spread of the virus. So far, investigations haven't determined the source of the outbreak. The disease was last detected in Germany in August 2011, according to the OIE report.
Apr 22 OIE report

Budget cuts halt state mosquito testing for West Nile in Ohio
Budget cuts have prompted the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to stop monitoring mosquitoes for West Nile virus (WNV), which means local public health agencies will have less information to guide their WNV prevention efforts, the Columbus Dispatch reported today. A reduction in federal money led to the decision to drop the mosquito testing program, which had an annual budget of $265,000, said ODH spokeswoman Tessie Pollock. Historically, some counties have trapped mosquitoes and sent them to the state for WNV testing, while others have done their own testing, the story said. Last year the state tested 187,000 mosquitoes from 26 counties and found that 1,218 mosquito pools in 15 counties were positive for the virus. Joe Ebel, health commissioner in Licking County, just east of Columbus, said his county can't afford to test mosquitoes, so he will have to make educated guesses about where to spray for them. He said spraying will be guided by where Culex mosquitoes, the WNV carriers, are found. Meanwhile, Columbus Public Health will now do its own testing, at an estimated cost of $10,000 this year, spokesman Jose Rodriguez told the newspaper.
Apr 22 Dispatch story

WHO Europe offers manual for responding to adverse vaccine events
Vaccine program managers and public health officials need to know the many facets of communications response when adverse vaccine-related events occur, according to a manual today from the Vaccine-Preventable Diseases and Immunization Programme (VPI) of the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. The 67-page publication covers the gamut of issues and response, including communications planning, developing the message, selecting the medium, handling a crisis, dealing with rumors, and even whether or not to communicate. As an example of some of the many tips offered in the manual, the VPI's advice for working in the "new communications environment," which entails rapid information release via the Internet, includes using the same channels that anti-vaccine messengers use, creating a rapid-response plan to prevent vaccine scares from becoming crises, and demystifying how vaccines work.
Apr 22 VPI manual landing page
Full VPI report

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