Flu Scan for Jun 18, 2013

CDC scales down H7N9 response
H5N1 alert phase

CDC steps down emergency operations for H7N9

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Jun 14 deactivated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) response to the novel H7N9 flu outbreak in China, the agency said today in a Twitter post. However, the CDC said it would continue to watch the H7N9 virus closely, given that flu is known for its constant changes and evolution.CDC tweet announcing the deactivation of the EOC

The number of new H7N9 cases in China has tailed off since early May, and flu experts suspect that the warmer weather and poultry market closures may have played a role. Chinese cities have stepped down their response activities.

No new H7N9 cases have been reported from China since May 29, the CDC said. So far the outbreak total stands at 132 cases, with 39 deaths.

The CDC had activated its EOC for the H7N9 outbreak on Apr 8, about a week after China reported its first cases. The action was designed to provide resources, logistical support, and quick communication with international partners.
CDC Flu Twitter feed


WHO puts H5N1 at 'alert' in pandemic phase system

Following the recent release of a new pandemic alert system, the World Health Organization (WHO) today posted a notice that said the current phase for H5N1 avian influenza is "alert," the second notch on its four-tiered system.

The "alert" phase signifies that a new influenza subtype has been identified and increased vigilance and risk assessment are warranted.

The WHO unveiled the new alert system, which is designed to focus more on disease risk than geographic spread, on Jun 10. The new phases are meant to encourage countries to develop more flexible pandemic plans that are centered around the current national and local situation, the WHO said.

Presumably, the world would be at "alert" level for new pathogens such as H7N9 influenza and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), as well.
WHO global phase alert for H5N1
Jun 10 CIDRAP News story "WHO proposes new pandemic flu alert levels"

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