CDC says more H3N2v may be on the way, cautions at-risk groups
Last week's report of four variant H3N2 (H3N2v) influenza cases linked to a county fair in Indiana "may foreshadow a number of outbreaks this summer," like those last summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a Jun 28 update statement.
In view of the risk, the CDC renewed the advice it emphasized last year: that people at risk for serious flu complications should avoid pigs and swine barns at fairs.
Genetic sequencing on one of the Indiana H3N2v isolates confirmed that it is 99% similar to the H3N2v strain that circulated last summer, the CDC said. Last year there were 309 cases, with 16 hospitalizations and 1 death, the agency said. There were no hospitalizations or deaths in the Indiana outbreak.
Flu is believed to jump from pigs to people mainly via droplets from infected pigs that are sneezing and coughing, the CDC said. But it cautioned that pigs that look healthy can be infected and can spread flu viruses.
The agency also noted that children under the age of 10 have little or no immunity to the virus.
No H3N2v vaccine is available, but development of one is under way, the CDC noted. Antiviral drugs used to treat seasonal flu can also be used to treat H3N2v.
Jun 28 CDC statement
In other developments, Clinical Infectious Diseases today published a CDC-sponsored supplement on what was learned from the first wave of H3N2v cases, from July 2011 through April 2012.
One article profiles the 13 cases reported during that period, and additional articles use data from those cases to estimate the number of unreported cases and assess the pig-to-human transmissibility of the virus.
Jul 1 CID supplement on H3N2v
Nepal reports three more H5N1 outbreaks
Livestock officials in Nepal recently reported three H5N1 avian flu outbreaks, two in the country's Lumbini zone and one in the city of Bharatpur in Narayani zone, all in south central Nepal.
The outbreaks started at various times between May 28 and Jun 7, according to a report yesterday to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
The outbreaks in Lumbini zone affected backyard ducks and birds in a village and a small broiler farm. The event in Bharatpur, Nepal's fifth-largest city, involved household birds.
The three outbreaks killed 410 of 1,675 susceptible birds, and the remaining ones were destroyed to control the spread of the virus. Authorities are cleaning and disinfecting the outbreak sites, and intensive surveillance activities are under way, according to the report.
The new outbreaks follow a recent spate of outbreaks across different parts of the country that were reported at the end of May.
Jun 30 OIE report
Shanghai rolls out new rules for poultry sellers
In an effort to prevent the spread of H7N9 influenza in Shanghai poultry markets, the city's government on Jun 28 issued new rules, according to a Jun 29 report from Xinhua, China's state news agency.
Shanghai reopened poultry markets Jun 20 after they were temporarily shuttered to reduce H7N9 exposure to humans. The new laws require wholesale markets to close 1 day each week and retail markets to close 1 day every other week to allow operators to thoroughly clean and disinfect the areas.
The rules also urge poultry markets to be located away from residential complexes or crowded downtown areas. Wholesale and retail markets are now required to establish and maintain a bird tracking system, as well as to keep daily sales and disinfection records, according to the report.
Jun 20 Xinhua story