Avian Flu Scan for Feb 16, 2015

News brief

H5N1 infects 6 more in Egypt, one fatally

The H5N1 avian flu virus has sickened six people in Egypt over the past 4 days, one fatally, according to official sources.

Few details are available about the patients, who are from five different locations in Egypt, according to government and media sources that health department announcements and were translated by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.

The patients include a poultry seller from Al Sharqia governorate who is hospitalized in stable condition, a 28-year-old man from Dakahlia governorate who is hospitalized, a 2-year-old child from Asyut governorate who is hospitalized, and two people who are hospitalized in Cairo—a 32-year-old man and a 4-year-old girl.

The patient who died is a 22-year-old woman from Faiyum governorate, according to FluTrackers.

Egypt has had a gush of H5N1 cases this winter, and it's unclear how many cases and deaths have been recorded. The health ministry's statements have been irregular and difficult to reconcile with media reports and periodic updates from the World Health Organization (WHO). A running list kept by FluTrackers, which bases its total on official sources, notes that the new cases lift the country's total so far this year to 59 cases, which include 18 deaths.
Feb 13 FluTrackers thread on Al Sharqia case
Feb 15 FluTrackers thread on four health ministry–reported cases
Feb 16 FluTrackers thread on Asyut case


H7N9 hospitalizes another in China

Health officials in southern China's Guangdong province have reported another H7N9 infection, which struck a 45-year-old man from Meizhou, according to a Feb 14 statement from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP), which cites the provincial health department.

The man is hospitalized in critical condition.

Though several Chinese provinces have reported H7N9 cases this winter, Guangdong has been especially hard hit. The province has reported 50 cases so far from 15 of its 21 prefecture-level cities, Xinhua, China's state newspaper, reported on Feb 14. It said 12 deaths have been reported and that thousands of chickens have been culled and live-poultry trade has been curbed in several cities.

Guangdong province's new case edges the global H7N9 total to 593 infections, according to a case list maintained by FluTrackers.
Feb 14 CHP statement
Feb 14 Xinhua story
FluTrackers H7N9 case list


H5N8 strikes backyard flock in Oregon, commercial farm in California

Highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza has struck another backyard flock in Oregon and another commercial farm in California, continuing the outbreaks in those states and elsewhere that have resulted from incursion of the highly pathogenic virus into migratory birds in the Pacific Flyway that began last year.

The Oregon flock, comprising about 90 domestic birds including chickens, ducks, and turkeys, is near Tumalo, in Deschutes County. The property they inhabit adjoins ponds where migratory birds congregate, according to a Feb 14 Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) news release.

The property has been secured and a quarantine zone set up. Backyard bird owners are being encouraged by the ODA to try to prevent their birds from contact with wild birds, to monitor their birds closely, and to report any sick or dead birds.

In addition, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has asked people to report any observance of dead wild birds. The agencies state that the outbreaks pose no threat to public health.
Feb 14 ODA news release

Meanwhile, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has posted notification of another outbreak of H5N8 on a commercial chicken and duck farm in Kings County, California, in the same general region where a similar outbreak occurred in January.

The number of susceptible birds on the farm is listed as 114,000. No specific number of cases or deaths is given "because of missing information," but the flock experienced an increase in chicken mortality and the situation is being monitored, the report said.

The OIE notice says the US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and California agencies are continuing a "comprehensive epidemiological investigation and enhanced surveillance (including wild bird surveillance of hunter harvested birds)."

Introduction of H5N8 into the Pacific Flyway in 2014 has resulted in new combinations, with avian flu viruses of European and North American origin, including H5N2, explains the notice.
Feb 13 OIE report
Jan 26 CIDRAP News story on earlier outbreak


H5N1 virus strikes tigers in Chinese zoo

The highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu virus recently infected eight tigers at a zoo in southern China, killing two of them, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The zoo is in Nanning in the autonomous region of Guangxzi, which borders Vietnam, says a Feb 12 FAO notice. The illness in the tigers was first noted on Feb 5, and the virus was identified on Feb 12.

Yesterday's China's agriculture ministry indicated that no sick poultry had been found in the Nanning area, according to a machine translation of a statement posted today by the blog Avian Flu Diary.

H5N1 has been found in tigers, leopards, and domestic cats a number of times before. For example, several tigers and leopards at a zoo in Thailand died of the infection in 2003 and 2004.
Feb 12 FAO notice
Feb 16 Avian Flu Diary post
Feb 28, 2006, WHO statement on H5N1 in cats

News Scan for Feb 16, 2015

News brief

US measles outbreak cases rise; more measles in Ontario

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 4 new US measles cases related to Disney theme park visits, bringing the outbreak total to 125, according to a Feb 13 update in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

As of Feb 11, 125 cases of measles with symptom onset between Dec 28 and Feb 8 have been reported as part of the outbreak, 110 of which occurred in California residents. Out of the California cases, 39 people (35%) had visited a Disney theme park from Dec 17 to 20, and 34 people (31%) were exposed to confirmed case-patients.

Fifteen cases from seven other states are also linked to the outbreak. Nearly half (45%) of all case-patients were unvaccinated, 43% did not know their vaccination status, and 10% of cases occurred in infants too young to be vaccinated.

The CDC said that 24 million people visit Disney theme parks in California each year. Since 2011 and prior to the current outbreak, six measles cases related to theme park visits were reported to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
Feb 13 MMWR report

In related news, Ontario reported three measles cases over the weekend, bringing the total measles cases in the province to 11, according to a Feb 14 Canadian Press (CP) story.

The new Ontario case-patients are a 14-year-old girl from the Niagara region and two adults in Toronto. The girl had not been vaccinated against measles, and her case was linked to another unvaccinated case-patient, providing evidence of transmission in the region, the CP said. The Niagara case is not connected to the US outbreak or to the 10 measles cases reported in Quebec last week.

One of the Toronto adults had no history of recent travel, and travel history for the second adult patient is unknown. The vaccination status of both individuals is not known. None of the previous Ontario case-patients had traveled recently.

Manitoba also reported one measles case last week in an infant who had traveled to Canada from India.
Feb 14 CP story


Chikungunya cases rise by more than 5,000

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported 5,397 new cases of chikungunya in the Caribbean and Americas on Feb 13, bringing the outbreak total to 1,206,669.

The new total includes 1,176,216 suspected and 27,136 confirmed locally acquired cases and 3,317 imported cases.

French Guiana reported the largest increase, with 2,220 new cases, bringing its outbreak total to 18,499. French Guiana also reported its first death, and the outbreak fatality total now stands at 182.

El Salvador reported 1,119 new cases, bringing its outbreak total to 138,774. Colombia, which has seen dramatic case increases over recent months, reported no new cases.

Bolivia reported its first 13 locally acquired cases of chikungunya, all confirmed.
Feb 13 PAHO update

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