News Scan for Oct 24, 2014

H3N2v case plus flu death in child
;
MERS in Saudi Arabia
;
More EV-D68 cases
;
Polio-free India

CDC reports H3N2v case, 1st pediatric flu death of season

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today reported another case of variant H3N2 (H3N2v) influenza, the third this year, and noted the first flu death in a child of the 2014-15 flu season.

The H3N2v case was in Wisconsin, the CDC reported in its weekly FluView update, and the patient has fully recovered. He or she had close contact with swine in the week before symptom onset, which is typical in H3N2v cases.

This is the first H3N2v infection reported for the 2014-15 flu season, which began on Sep 28, the agency said. Ohio reported two cases in August.

The flu-related death in a child occurred during the week that ended Oct 4 and was caused by an H3 strain, the CDC noted. The agency also reported a child's death associated with influenza B that occurred last season, raising the 2013-14 pediatric death toll to 109. That compares with 171 in 2012-13 and 37 in 2011-12.

The CDC said that, of 8,412 specimens tested last week, 403 (4.8%) were positive for flu. Of those, two-thirds were positive for influenza A and one-third for influenza B. Among type A viruses that were subtyped, 96 were H3 and 3 were 2009 H1N1.

US regions reported low flu activity last week, and 5.3% of all deaths reported were due to pneumonia and flu, which is below the epidemic threshold of 6.0%. In addition, 1.4% of outpatient visits were for influenza-like illness, below the baseline of 2.0%.
Oct 24 CDC FluView report

 

Saudi Arabia reports two more MERS cases

The confirmation of two more MERS-CoV infections in Saudi Arabia continues the upswing in cases over recent weeks after a summer slowdown. Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) announced one new case yesterday and one today, bringing the country's total to 774, with 329 deaths.

The new case yesterday was in a 73-year-old woman in Riyadh. She is hospitalized and had a preexisting disease. She had no other known risk factors (being a healthcare worker, exposure to animals, or contact with suspected or confirmed cases).

Today's MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) case involves a 45-year-old man from Taif, site of at least 16 cases just since Sep 1. He also had preexisting disease and is being treated in intensive care. He is not a healthcare worker but did have contact with a suspected or confirmed case in a hospital or clinic setting, the MOH reported.

The MOH update today also lists the recovery of an 82-year-old man from Alkharj who had preexisting disease when he became infected, leaving 13 active cases in Saudi Arabia presently. Of the total 774 cases since June 2012, 432 patients have recovered.
Oct 23 MOH update
Oct 24 MOH update

In other MERS-CoV news, the World Health Organization (WHO) today officially recognized the case of a 42-year-old Turkish man who had the first MERS-CoV infection reported in that country.

The man became ill in late September while working in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He returned to Turkey by air on Oct 6 while ill, and he died Oct 11 in the city of Hatay. The WHO notice says the man's contacts, including people on his flight, are being monitored.

The WHO lists a total of 883 confirmed MERS-CoV cases worldwide, with 319 deaths.
Oct 24 WHO update
Oct 20 CIDRAP News story on case in Turkey

 

US EV-D68 cases approach 1,000

With 25 more cases of enterovirus 68 (EV-D68) confirmed, the US total has reached 998, the CDC reported today.

Almost all the cases, which involve severe respiratory illness, have been in children, many of whom have asthma, the CDC said. They have occurred in 47 states and Washington, DC. The agency said that last week 8 states reported elevated cases and 1—Mississippi—reported increasing activity.

The CDC expects cases to decline by late fall.

Of the more than 1,900 specimens the CDC has assayed, about half have tested positive for EV-D68. About one-third have tested positive for a different enterovirus or a rhinovirus.
CDC EV-D68 outbreak page
CDC EV-D68 activity by state

 

Report: Innovative vaccinations, surveillance key to India's polio efforts

Innovative vaccination methods to target high-risk populations and significant surveillance efforts were key to India's earning polio-free status early this year, scientists from the WHO and the CDC said in a report today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Tactics that led to India's success included holding house-to-house vaccination campaigns in the populous states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, reaching mobile populations at public areas and migrant camps, using eight laboratories to monitor acute flaccid paralysis cases and environmental occurrence of wild polio virus, and conducting ongoing vaccine research throughout the vaccination campaigns.

Engagement efforts such as gaining district government support and involvement, including women and community members on vaccination teams, and working with Rotary International volunteers and funding also played a significant role in vaccinating high-risk children, the authors said.

The 11-country WHO South-East Asia Region, which includes India, was declared polio-free by the WHO in March, signifying 3 years without polio cases.
Oct 24 MMWR report
Mar 27
CIDRAP News scan on Southeast Asia polio elimination

 

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