Study tracks genetic changes in 2016 fair-lined H3N2v cases
A detailed look at variant influenza cases from seven agricultural fairs in Michigan and Ohio in 2016 found that of 18 variant H3N2 (H3N2v) cases in humans, 16 were infected with a reassortant that contains the hemagglutinin gene from the 2010-2011 seasonal H3N2 strain in humans, a strain increasingly seen in US swine herds.
Researchers from The Ohio State University reported their findings on Aug 15 in Emerging Infectious Diseases. The team sampled 161 pigs at seven fairs in Ohio and Michigan that were associated with human H3N2v cases that summer. They isolated H3N2 from more than one pig at each of the fairs. Widespread flulike illness in pigs was present at only two of the fairs, which the researchers said underscores that subclinical illness in the animals continues to pose a public health threat.
Genetic analysis showed that the viruses isolated from pigs were nearly identical to the ones found in patients and that there were two distinct H3 lineages, one of which was responsible for two human cases and was similar to the H3N2v infections detected between 2011 and 2013.
The other 18 human cases were related to a relatively new H3 lineage in swine, which contains the HA from the earlier human H3N2 seasonal strain and has reassorted with swine influenza A viruses, yielding novel viruses in US swine herds.
Researchers said detection of genetically identical influenza A viruses from swine exhibits in two states shows how rapidly viruses can move in the highly mobile swine exhibit population, posing a risk to people as well as pigs.
Aug 15 Emerg Infect Dis report
Study finds certain workers have higher levels of Campylobacter, Salmonella infection
A study that examined occupational patterns in Campylobacter and Salmonella infections found that they are more common in certain workers, such as those in agricultural, healthcare, food, and personal care jobs. Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and their partners in Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia reported their findings today in the latest issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
Based on findings from an earlier Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) report of 63 Campylobacter infections at a poultry processing plant over a 3-year period, federal and state health officials set out to further explore the issue and assess if infection rates are higher in any other occupations. They looked at Campylobacter and Salmonella 2014 reports from the three states in people over age 16, classifying them into 27 occupational groups.
Occupation information was available for 60% of the nearly 2,977 Campylobacter cases and 67% of the 2,259 Salmonella cases. More than half of each group was employed.
Compared to other groups, people involved in farming, fishing, forestry, healthcare, and technical occupations were at significantly higher risk for both illnesses. The team also found that those in food preparation and serving and in personal care and service jobs were also at higher risk.
They concluded that the findings in agricultural workers isn't surprising, and that disease transmission through the fecal-oral route might explain the higher level seen in healthcare, personal care, and food workers. Clinicians should consider the conditions when workers in those jobs have compatible symptoms.
Aug 19 MMWR report
H5N8 found wild birds in South Africa, Switzerland
In the latest high pathogenic avian influenza developments, two countries reported H5N8 detections in wild birds over the last few days, according to reports from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
South African animal health officials said the virus was detected in 3 house sparrows, one found dead, and 2 southern masked weavers at a location in Mpumalanga province, an area in the country's eastern region that has recently been hit by outbreaks in commercial poultry. The outbreak involving the wild birds began on Jul 21.
Meanwhile, Swiss officials said officials said today that H5N8 has been detected in two mute swans found dead on Aug 10 in Vaud canton in the southwest of the country. Several countries in Europe battled H5N8 outbreaks over the winter and spring, which have mostly tailed off, but the region continues to report sporadic detections of the virus in poultry and wild birds.
Aug 16 OIE report on H5N8 in South Africa
Aug 17 OIE report on H5N8 in Switzerland