News Scan for Oct 20, 2016

New Saudi MERS case
H7N9 serology study

Saudi Arabia reports new MERS case in Abha

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported a new MERS-CoV case, the country's fifth in 6 days.

The latest MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) case involves a 53-year-old Saudi man in Abha, in the far southwest, the capital of Asir province. His case is listed as "primary," meaning he apparently did not contract the disease from another patient. Officials are investigating whether he had contact with camels or other risk factors.

The man is hospitalized in critical condition. Abha had not reported a MERS case since April.

The new case brings Saudi Arabia's total to 1,462 cases, including 612 fatalities. Five patients are still undergoing treatment.
Oct 20 MOH update


Study shows little evidence of poultry-worker infection early in H7N9

Less than 2% of poultry workers in China early in the epidemic showed evidence of previous infection of H7N9 avian flu in their bloodstreams, according to a serology study today in Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses.

Chinese health officials and their counterparts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed sera from 1,480 people in the general population, 1,866 poultry workers, and 178 contacts of confirmed H7N9 cases in nine Chinese provinces. The samples were collected from March 2013 to May 2014. China reported the first human H7N9 cases in March 2013, and since then has confirmed more than 800 cases.

None of the members of the general public tested positive for H7N9 antibodies. The researchers, however, determined that 28 (1.5%) of the poultry workers had hemagglutination inhibition (HI) titers of 20 or higher for H7N9 antibodies, with 2 (0.1%) testing positive by microneutralization (MN) assay. Among 61 healthcare and 117 non-healthcare contacts' sera, 5 (2.8%) had HI titers 20 or greater, but all were negative by MN.

The authors conclude, "There was no evidence of widespread transmission of influenza A (H7N9) virus during March 2013 to May 2014, although A(H7N9) may have caused rare, previously unrecognized infections among poultry workers."
Oct 20 Influenza Other Respir Viruses abstract

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