News Scan for Mar 10, 2017

More H7N9 cases in China
European H5N8 outbreaks
Lassa fever in Africa

China's H7N9 total grew by 22 cases last week, 3 deaths

Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) in a regular update today said the mainland from Mar 3 to Mar 9 reported 22 more H7N9 avian influenza cases, 3 of them fatal. The pace of infections in China's fifth and biggest wave has slowed some since illnesses peaked in February, but the country continues to report a steady stream of cases.

Illness onsets for patients in the latest cases range from Feb 19 to Mar 4. The people are from nine provinces, with almost half reported in Henan, Jiangxi, Guangxi, and Sichuan. Eighteen have a history of exposure to poultry or poultry markets.

Results from environmental sampling at 98 Guangdong province poultry markets from Feb 27 to Mar 5 found that 8.3% of 989 isolates were positive for H7 avian flu.

China as now reported at least 494 cases in the fifth wave, and Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao have also reported H7N9 infections from the mainland.
Mar 10 CHP report


Poland, Romania, Slovakia report more H5N8 avian flu outbreaks

Three countries in Europe—Poland, Romania, and Slovakia—reported more highly pathogenic H5N8 outbreaks in poultry and wild birds, according to the latest updates from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Poland reported two poultry outbreaks on farms in Wielkopolska province in the west central part of the country. The events began on Mar 6 and Mar 8, and the virus killed 1,504 of 19,748 susceptible birds.

In Romania, officials reported four more outbreaks, three in wild birds and one in backyard poultry, affecting Bucharest, the country's capital, and two other provinces. The poultry outbreak began on Mar 8 in Teleorman county, killing 141 of 155 birds.

In two separate reports, Slovakia noted two more H5N8 outbreaks, one in wild birds and the other involving backyard poultry. The wild bird outbreak involved a greylag goose found dead in a pond in Trnava region in the west on Feb 28. The poultry outbreak began on Mar 6 at a holding in Nitra region in west central Slovakia, killing 11 of 51 birds.
Mar 10 OIE report on H5N8 in Poland
Mar 10 OIE report on
H5N8 in Romania
Mar 10 OIE report on
H5N8 in Slovakian wild birds
Mar 10 OIE report on
H5N8 in Slovakian poultry


WHO notes Lassa fever cases in Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso

The World Health Organization (WHO) today said three African nations—Benin, Togo, and Burkina Faso—have reported recent cases of Lassa fever that could foretell more outbreaks in the region.

Though Lassa fever is both seasonal and endemic in the region, these cases have occurred in regions with highly mobile populations. On Feb 11, a pregnant mother tested positive for Lassa in Benin, and subsequently her baby tested positive for the viral hemorrhagic fever in Togo. The mother died the day after a cesarean, but the baby remains in stable condition. Sixty-eight contacts in Benin and 29 contacts in Togo have been linked to these cases.

On Feb 26, the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso notified the WHO of a Lassa case in north Togo. The case, involving another pregnant woman, originated in Burkina Faso. She died after miscarrying on Mar 3. Contact tracing is ongoing, but at least 7 contacts in Togo and 135 in Burkina Faso have been found.

Finally on Mar 2, a man in Togo was admitted to a hospital where he tested positive for Lassa fever. The man and his relatives are being treated and surveyed at home, and a total of 18 contacts have been identified.

Lassa fever is spread to humans via infected rodents. It is endemic to Nigeria and some parts of West Africa.
Mar 10 WHO update

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