News Scan for Mar 16, 2016

H7N9, other novel flu cases in China
French H5N9 outbreak
PCV13 effectiveness in kids

H7N9 sickens 2 more in China; report notes H9N2 and H1N1v cases

Two new H7N9 avian flu infections have been detected in China, both in Guangdong province, and the World Health Organization (WHO) in its latest overview of zoonotic flu infections has noted a handful of recent illnesses from China involving different strains.

The new H7N9 cases were noted today in a notice from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP), which cites mainland health officials. The patients are a 56-year-old man from Shantou and a 39-year-old woman from Zongshan. No other details were available, but most of the H7N9 cases from China have been linked to live-poultry-market exposure.

The new cases put the global H7N9 total at 766, according to a case list kept by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.
Mar 16 CHP statement
FluTrackers H7N9 case list

Meanwhile, the WHO noted a previously unreported H9N2 case in China along with  three variant H1N1 (H1N1v) cases in the country, all noted in the latest flu at the animal-human interface report, covering zoonotic cases reported from Jan 21 to Feb 25.

The H9N2 case involves a 57-year-old woman with chronic health conditions from Sichuan province who was hospitalized on Feb 9 after longstanding chronic cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath. A respiratory sample tested positive for H9N2 on Feb 16.

The woman is still hospitalized, and an investigation into the source of her illness is ongoing. The WHO said 28 confirmed H9N2 infections, which are typically mild, have been reported globally, none of them fatal.

The three H1N1v cases all involve young children, a 2-year-old boy from Hunan province and two girls, ages 4 and 5, from different cities in Yunnan province.

The boy was sick last June after exposure to pigs and was hospitalized for pneumonia. The girls were both sick in the last half of November, with their cases detected through sentinel surveillance. Their exposure histories aren't known.

The WHO said the cases bring the number of H1N1v cases in China to seven and that the virus hemagglutinin in the three recent cases groups with swine H1N1 viruses circulating in China.
Feb 25 WHO monthly zoonotic flu report


Tests turn up H5N9 at French duck farm

Animal health officials in France yesterday reported another H5N9 outbreak, part of ongoing activity since December in the southwestern part of the country involving different highly pathogenic viruses, which also include a new strain of H5N1 as well as H5N2.

The latest outbreak was detected as part of a surveillance activity at a breeding duck farm in the Landes department city of Montgaillard, according to a report posted yesterday by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Landes has already reported several outbreaks. The 800 susceptible birds will be culled to curb the spread of the virus.

The new event brings the number of H5N9 detections in France to 76.
Mar 15 OIE report


Thirteen-strain pneumococcal vaccine found effective in young children

One or more doses of 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) is very effective in protecting infants and young children from invasive pnuemococcal disease and its complications, according to findings published Mar 14 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. PCV13 replaced the 7-valent PCV in 2010.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) matched 722 children younger than 5 years with invasive pneumococcal disease to 2,991 controls from 2010 to 2014.

Nearly one-third of cases (30%, or 217) involved pneumococcal disease caused by one of the serotypes included in PCV13. Case-patients were significantly less likely to have received one or more PCV13 doses (67%) compared with controls (76%) and were more likely to have an underlying chronic condition or asthma.

Overall PCV13 effectiveness was 86% (95% confidence interval, 75.5%-92.3%), and effectiveness in children with invasive pneumococcal disease was 88.6%. Effectiveness resulted entirely from three serotypes introduced in PCV13 in 2010, yielding effectiveness rates of 85.6% for serotype 19A, 96.5% for serotype 7F, and 79.5% for serotype 3.

Among matched pairs, one dose of the vaccine was 30.2% effective among infants 7 months or younger, 90.3% effective for children 12 to 23 months, and 91.3% effective when given to children 24 months or older.

The researchers said that further research is needed on effectiveness of individual serotypes included in the vaccine and dose schedules in infants and children.
Mar 14 Lancet Respir Med study

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