Flu Scan for Feb 03, 2016

Flu vaccine uptake in kids
Avian flu in Taiwan, South Africa, Macao

Study: Flu vaccine coverage up in young kids but still below 50%

Although complete flu vaccine coverage increased dramatically from 2002-03 to 2011-12 in kids under 2 years old, it still falls well below 50% and is even lower in minority groups, according to a study yesterday in Pediatrics.

Scientists from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Leidos Inc of Atlanta analyzed National Immunization Survey data on children 6 months to 23 months of age over 10 influenza seasons beginning in 2002-03. They found that complete flu vaccination in that age-group increased from 4.8% in 2002-03 to 44.7% in 2011-12.

They also found that, in all the seasons, vaccination uptake was lower in African-American and Hispanic children compared with white kids.

The authors conclude, "More implementation of evidence-based strategies that increase the percentage of children who are fully vaccinated is needed."
Feb 2 Pediatrics study


Avian flu outbreaks reported in Taiwan, South Africa, and Macao

In separate reports posted by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) yesterday, officials confirmed H5N2 and H5N8 avian flu in Taiwanese poultry and H7N3 in South African ostriches, and a media report today noted an H7 strain in the Chinese region of Macao.

H5N2 was confirmed on three farms near Tainan City in southwestern Taiwan and in Taoyuan County in the northwest, according to the first report. The flocks ranged in size from 3,000 to 23,000 ducks or geese, and all outbreaks began in the first part of January. Of 34,630 poultry on the four farms, 17,287 birds died from the virus, and the rest were culled to prevent outbreak spread.

The H5N8 outbreak in Taiwan, in contrast, involved just one small flock at an abattoir in Kaohsiung County in the southwestern part of the island. On Jan 22, 1 chicken of 426 died of the virus, and the rest were euthanized as part of response efforts. Polymerase chain reaction tests confirmed H5N8 on Jan 25.

The OIE report from South Africa detailed two outbreaks of H7N3 involving farm flocks of 612 and 3,835 ostriches in Western Cape province in the far south that happened last fall. The smaller flock saw 232 deaths from the virus, and the larger had 366 bird fatalities. No surviving birds were culled, but quarantine and other measures have been implemented.

In Macao, an area of China near Hong Kong, meanwhile, an H7 avian flu strain was detected in samples from poultry sold at a street market, local officials reported, according to Xinhua, China's state news agency. Authorities said 15,000 live chickens had been imported recently from Guangdong province and have been euthanized. They also suspended live-poultry sales for 3 days.
Feb 2 OIE report on H5N2 in Taiwan
Feb 2 OIE report on H5N8 in Taiwan
Feb 2 OIE report on H7N3 in South Africa
Feb 3 Xinhua story

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