Flu Scan for Aug 03, 2015

AI in Vietnam and Taiwan
Flu vaccine cost saving

High path AI outbreaks in Vietnam, Taiwan

Veterinary officials in two countries reported highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks from different strains, H5N6 in Vietnam and H3N2 in Taiwan.

In Vietnam, the H5N6 virus struck village birds in Quang Ngai province, located on the country's central coast, according to a report today to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The virus killed 115 of 1,200 susceptible birds, and the remaining 1,085 were culled to control the spread of the virus.

In late July, the same virus was responsible for an outbreak in backyard birds in Nghe An province, in northern Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Taiwan authorities reported four more H5N2 outbreaks in two different counties, two of them in Changhua and two in nearby Yunlin, according to a Jul 31 report to the OIE.

All of the occurred on commercial farms, with outbreak start dates ranging from Jul 14 though Jul 21. The events involved native chickens, turkeys, and ducks. Of 72,528 susceptible poultry, the virus killed 22,518, and the remaining 50,010 were destroyed.

Taiwan has been battling both low-pathogenic and highly pathogenic H5N2 outbreaks over the past several months, in addition to several involving highly pathogenic H5N8.
Aug 3 OIE report
Jul 31 OIE report


Flu vaccine saves healthcare costs in elderly; LAIV uptake varies in kids

Seasonal influenza vaccination was found to avert deaths and save healthcare and other costs among people 65 and older, according to a study published Jul 31 in Public Library of Science (PLoS) One.

Researchers from CDC analyzed costs associated with healthcare, productivity loss, and mortality during four influenza seasons (2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2008-09). They found that vaccine uptake among people 65 and older was associated with cost savings during all four seasons.

Receipt of flu vaccine among the elderly saved $828 million in 2005-06, $1.02 billion in 2006-07, $388 million in 2007-08, and $994 million in 2008-09. During the 2007-08 flu season, averted deaths and other costs in the elderly group resulted in cost savings for all age groups.

Researchers estimated that flu vaccination of people 65 and older prevented 8,484 hospitalizations in this age group during the 2005-06 flu season and 20,225 hospitalizations during the 2007-08 season.

Vaccination was also associated with preventing 549,329 flu cases requiring medical attention among the elderly in 2005-06 and 549,329 cases requiring medical attention during 2007-08.

Researchers noted that consideration of influenza’s societal burden and effect on productivity losses was important to consider, as an analysis of medical costs alone did not show that the vaccine was cost-saving.

The study’s findings are limited by the fact that influenza costs vary significantly by season and the fact that researchers did not account for vaccine effectiveness or the effects of herd immunity.
July 31 PLoS One study

Another CDC study published Aug 1 in Vaccine found that receipt of live, attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) among children was associated with age, race, and poverty level.

Researchers analyzed data reported by parents to the National Immunization Survey-Flu (NIS-Flu) for the 2011 through 2014 flu seasons. During the 2013-14 season, 33.3% of children ages 2-17 received LAIV, and this rate was comparable to the 2012-13 (32.1%) and 2011-12 (32.2%) seasons.

Children were more likely to have received LAIV during all three seasons if they were between the ages of 2-8, identified as white, and had a family income of at least $75,000.

During the 2013-14 season, children ages 2-8 were 1.5 times more likely to receive LAIV (1.38-1.63; 95% CI). White children were 1.22 times more likely than black children to receive LAIV (1.11-1.34; 95% CI), and children living above the poverty line were 1.16 times more likely to receive LAIV (1.06-1.28; 95% CI) during the 2013-14 season.

Researchers note that further study is needed into preferences and barriers related to receipt of LAIV and inactivated (injectable) flu vaccine in various demographic groups.
Aug 1 Vaccine study

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