Avian Flu Scan for Jan 14, 2015

News brief

Egypt sees second H5N1 death of 2015

A 65-year-old woman from the city of Asyut in central Egypt has died as a result of complications from H5N1 avian flu, according to a report today from Egypt's news agency Al-Ahram. She is the country's second H5N1-related fatality this year.

Egypt's Ministry of Health and Population announced the woman's death today and also reported that a 3-year-old boy from the northern town of Beheira has recovered from H5N1.

H5N1 cases in Egypt have increased sharply over recent weeks, and the country has reported 12 avian flu cases this year. In addition to the deaths, three people have recovered and seven cases are still active, the story said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) attributes the recent increase in H5N1 human cases in Egypt to a rise in outbreaks of the virus among poultry. Since 2003, Egypt has seen 203 cases of H5N1 avian flu and 72 deaths, according to WHO data as of Jan 6.
Jan 14 Al-Ahram story
Related Jan 13
CIDRAP News story
Jan 6 WHO global H5N1 case count


China reports 2 additional H7N9 cases

The number of cases of H7N9 avian flu in southern China's Guangdong province continues to rise, with two new infections reported today by Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP).

The two cases involve a 52-year-old woman and a 37-year-old man, both from the city of Dongguan. Both people were diagnosed as having H7N9 yesterday, the CHP said, bringing to nine the total cases in Guangdong this year.

The woman has a history of pulmonary tuberculosis and is hospitalized in critical condition, and the man has a history of hypertension and is hospitalized in serious condition, according to a translated provincial ministry report posted today on FluTrackers, an infectious disease message board.

The CHP also officially announced today 14 other H7N9 cases that had been reported by Chinese provincial authorities and had previously been documented by FluTrackers. The report includes 5 cases from Fujian province, 4 each from Jiangsu and Zhejiang, and 1 from Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The group comprises 7 men and 7 women, all between the ages of 20 and 83. Three of the 14 have died, and the remaining 11 are in critical condition, the CHP said.

The two new Guangdong cases bring the Chinese H7N9 confirmed case total to 493 since 2013, according to a case list compiled by FluTrackers.
Jan 14 CHP
Jan 14 FluTrackers post

H7N9 case list
Jan 13
CIDRAP News scan on H7N9 in China


Utah finds H5N8 in wild duck; more outbreaks reported in Asia

Utah has become the third western US state to find an H5N8 avian influenza virus in a wild bird, with its discovery in an American widgeon duck, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) reported in a press release yesterday.

The bird was found in Davis County in north-central Utah, the UDAF said. The virus's presence was confirmed by the US Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratory on Jan 9.

Utah officials said several other wild birds taken by hunters near the Great Salt Lake in Davis County are also being tested.

The find follows the detection of H5N8 in a gadwall duck in northern California last week and in a captive gyrfalcon in northwestern Washington state in mid-December. H5N8 outbreaks in farm poultry have been reported recently in Europe and Asia, but not in North America.

Utah's acting state veterinarian, Warren Hess, DVM, said the H5N8 detection is not unexpected, since Utah sits on a major migratory bird flyway. "The possibility of the disease being transmitted to domestic backyard bird flocks remains high, and we advise bird owners to take extra biosecurity measures to protect their flocks," he added.

No human cases of H5N8 have been reported anywhere, but Utah officials said hunters should take precautions when handling wild game.
Jan 13 UDAF press release

Meanwhile, avian flu outbreaks caused by H5 viruses have been reported on two poultry farms in South Korea, at Busan and Anesong, according to a story from the Yonhap news agency today. It said tests to determine if the viruses are H5N8 were pending.
Jan 14 Yonhap story

In addition, H5N8 outbreaks have hit three more goose farms in Taiwan, according to a Jan 12 story from Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA). It said the farms are in Chiayi County, the site of an outbreak reported Jan 11 that killed 3,683 of 5,200 breeding geese. Taiwan officials said that event was Taiwan's first H5N8 outbreak.

Taiwan also has been battling H5N2 outbreaks in poultry.
Jan 12 CNA story

News Scan for Jan 14, 2015

News brief

Note: The measles item was corrected on Jan 15, because the female traveler who had measles was mistakenly called the index patient. We apologize for the error.

Saudi Arabia confirms 2 new MERS cases, 1 recovery

Two new cases of MERS-CoV were recorded today by the country's Ministry of Health (MOH), the first since Jan 8, bringing the total for this year to 10 for the country and the total since June 2012 to 835.

The new case-patients are a 67-year-old man from Taif and a 93-year-old man from Riyadh, neither one is a healthcare worker, and both having preexisting medical illnesses and are in critical condition.

The patient in Taif has had no recent contact with known or suspected MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) patients in either the community or the healthcare setting, but he does have a history of animal exposure.

The patient in Riyadh has no known animal exposure or contact with MERS patients in the community, but his exposure in the hospital or clinic setting is under investigation.

In today's update, the MOH also lists the recovery of one MERS-CoV patient, a 91-year-old man in Riyadh whose case was previously reported. He is not a healthcare worker but did have preexisting illness.

His case brings to 469 the number of patients who have recovered from MERS-CoV in Saudi Arabia. The number of deaths stays steady at 358, and 8 cases are currently active, the MOH said.
Jan 14 MOH update
Most recent (Jan 9) CIDRAP News MERS scan


Measles patient took 2 flights after leaving Disney

A woman in her 20s who is part of a Disney-linked 26-case measles outbreak flew from Orange County, Calif., to Seattle and back again before she was diagnosed as having the highly contagious disease on Jan 8, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

The unvaccinated woman visited Disneyland in December then fell ill and became contagious on Dec 28, the story said. She flew from Orange County to Seattle via Alaska Airlines on Dec 29 and returned on a Virgin America flight on Jan 3. She visited family in Snohomish County, Wash., in the interim.

(In an e-mail exchange on Jan 15 to clarify the situation, Eric McDonald, MD, MPH, deputy public health officer, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, said an unknown index patient exposed others on Dec 18 at Disneyland. Measles patients who were infected after attending Disneyland visited the theme park between Dec 17 and Dec 20, the LA Times reported.)

In addition, an unvaccinated man picked up measles after visiting Disneyland and was treated at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colo., and recovered. But officials warned that people might have been exposed to the virus on Jan 3 and are contacting people about possible exposure.

As previously reported yesterday, 26 people have contracted measles in the outbreak, 22 in California, 2 in Utah, and 1 each in Washington and Colorado.
Jan 13 LA Times story
Jan 13 CIDRAP News scan on outbreak


Survey finds modest awareness of modified-mosquito plan

In spite of outreach and media efforts about possibly releasing genetically modified mosquitoes after a 2009-10 dengue outbreak in Key West, Fla., only about half the community was aware of the proposal, which met with support from more than half of those with knowledge of the plan, according to a study today in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Of 386 Key West residents surveyed, 195 (51.1%) said they had heard of the proposed release of mosquitoes modified to make them sterile, which would have made it the first such release in the United States. The survey was conducted in June 2012, after 80 media and outreach activities had been conducted on Key West and neighboring Stock Island.

Among the 195 who had heard of the proposal, 22.1% were supportive and 34.9% strongly supportive, for a total of 57%. Only 8.2% opposed and 9.7% strongly opposed the plan. In addition, 25.1% described themselves as neutral.

The most common reasons for opposing the release were that it would disturb nature and that it was an unproven technology. Most supporters of the release expressed a desire to do anything to eradicate mosquitoes or preferred the method to chemicals and spraying.

The proposed release is undergoing inspection by the US Food and Drug Administration and has not yet occurred, the authors noted.
Jan 14 Emerg Infect Dis study

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