Flu Scan for Feb 24, 2015

News brief

H7N9 sickens three more in China

Two of China's provinces—Anhui and Guangdong—reported a total of three new H7N9 avian influenza cases today, according to separate health department reports.

Anhui province reported two of the case-patients, a 48-year-old man from Ma'anshan and a 75-year-old man from Wuhu, according to a provincial report translated and posted by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board. Both are in critical condition and had been exposed to live poultry before they got sick.

The two infections are Anhui province's first H7N9 cases in the third wave of illnesses that started in October.

Guangdong province's patient is a 58-year-old man from Zhaoqing who is hospitalized in critical condition, according to FluTrackers' translation of an official provincial report.

The three new cases lift the global H7N9 total to 611, according to a case list maintained by FluTrackers.
Feb 24 FluTrackers thread on Anhui province cases
Feb 24 FluTrackers thread on Guangdong province case
FluTrackers H7N9 case list


Egypt confirms 5 new H5N1 cases

Egyptian authorities have confirmed five new cases of H5N1 avian flu, continuing an unusual flood of cases in recent weeks, according to a Ministry of Health and Population statement translated and posted today by FluTrackers.

The cases involve a 34-year-old man in Faiyum governorate, a 36-year-old man in Cairo governorate, a 38-year-old man and a 3-year-old girl from Asyut governorate, and a 27-year-old man from Minya governorate. The 34-year-old is being treated at a Faiyum hospital, while the other four patients have been treated and released, the health ministry said.

The statement said eight H5N1 patients remain hospitalized in the country. Egypt has now confirmed 69 cases this year, according to a list maintained by FluTrackers. In all of last year the country reported 30 H5N1 cases, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data. The previous high was in 2006, when Egypt had 55 WHO-confirmed cases.
Feb 24 FluTrackers thread on the cases
FluTrackers H5N1 case listing
WHO global H5N1
case counts


H3N2 dominates global flu picture, but H1N1 and B make headway

Flu activity is rising in many parts of the world, including Europe, Mongolia, South Korea, and parts of tropical Asia such as southern China and India, the WHO said yesterday in an update.

Though H3N2 is still the dominant strain globally, the 2009 H1N1 virus has been responsible for a sharp increase in activity in India and has been increasing in other countries such as Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia, as well as in southwestern Europe, the WHO said. Infections from influenza B are increasing in some parts of the world, such as the United States and Europe.

In North America, flu activity seems to have peaked in the United States and Canada, but flu detections are increasing in Mexico. The WHO said flu activity also appears to have peaked in parts of eastern Asia, including northern China and Japan.

In Europe, many countries are reporting high flu activity, with a higher mortality in people age 65 and older than seen in the previous four flu seasons. Southern China's flu activity, and that of Hong Kong, is also increasing, with a mix of H3N2 and influenza B responsible for most of the activity in that part of China and Hong Kong seeing H3N2 dominate.

Flu detections in Africa remained low, but some areas are reporting some influenza B activity.

In Southern Hemisphere countries, flu activity is at interseasonal levels, the WHO said.

Globally, 81% of flu detections are influenza A, with 87.5% of the subtyped "A" strains being the H3N2 virus. Of the influenza B strains, 97.3% belonged to the Yamagata lineage.
Feb 23 WHO global flu update
Feb 23 WHO FluNet summary

News Scan for Feb 24, 2015

News brief

Chikungunya cases rise by more than 41,000

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported 41,424 new cases of chikungunya in the Caribbean and Americas in a report dated Feb 20 but posted yesterday, with more than 33,000 of those cases in Colombia, bringing the outbreak total to 1,248,093.

The new total includes 1,217,093 suspected and 27,529 confirmed locally acquired cases and 3,471 imported cases of the mosquito-borne disease.

Colombia, which reported no new cases in the Feb 13 PAHO update, reported 33,755 new cases last week, bringing the country's outbreak total to 177,213.

Brazil reported 3,163 new cases, bringing its outbreak total to 6,743, and El Salvador reported 3,015, bringing its outbreak total to 141,789.

The United States reported a modest increase of 148 new imported chikungunya cases, bringing the country's outbreak total of imported cases to 2,506. Puerto Rico reported a death due to chikungunya, bringing the territory's fatality total to 15. The outbreak has caused 183 total deaths, according to PAHO.
Feb 20 PAHO update


Study notes 5% seroprevalence in SFTS-endemic village in China

Chinese scientists yesterday reported that more than 5% of farmers living in a village in which severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) had antibodies to the virus, according to a study in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The researchers collected serum samples from 363 farmers in a village in the western province of Shaanxi, which is where the first-ever case of the tick-borne disease was noted in 2009. They found antibodies to the SFTS virus (SFTSV) in 20 of them (5.5%), with no statistically significant difference between men and women.

The authors conclude, "SFTSV readily infects humans with outdoors exposures. Our serological study indicates that the virus circulates widely in Shaanxi Province. SFTSV represents a public health threat in China."
Feb 23 Int J Infect Dis abstract

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