Flu Scan for Nov 18, 2015

News brief

Vietnam reports H5N1, H5N6 outbreaks; Hong Kong finds H5 in songbird

Vietnam reported small outbreaks of H5N1 and H5N6 avian flu in backyard poultry flocks, according to reports posted yesterday by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), while Hong Kong officials said they had detected an H5 avian flu virus in a dead Oriental magpie robin.

The H5N1 outbreak in Vietnam began Nov 11 in Ca Mau province in the south. Of 600 susceptible birds, 94 died from the virus, and the rest were culled to contain the outbreak.

The H5N6 outbreak began Nov 16 in Son La province in the north. That backyard flock had 100 deaths among 326 poultry, and the rest were euthanized. Response steps like disinfection and control of bird movement have begun in response to both outbreaks.

Vietnam had reported an H5N6 outbreak on Nov 13, while its previous H5N1 outbreak was noted by the OIE on Oct 10.
Nov 17 OIE report on H5N1 in Vietnam
Nov 17 OIE report on H5N6 in Vietnam

In Hong Kong, meanwhile, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said preliminary testing revealed that the dead magpie robin was infected with an H5 strain of avian flu, and confirmatory tests are under way.

The bird was found on the second floor of a public housing development in Hong Kong's Kwai Chung area of Kwai Tsing district. An AFCD spokesman said the area where the dead bird was found has been disinfected, and area farmers notified. The agency said there are no farms within 3 kilometers of the housing complex.
Nov 18 Hong Kong press release


Study: 4-strain nasal-spray flu vaccine 82% effective against 1 'B' strain

Quadrivalent (four-strain) live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV, which is administered via nasal spray) showed 82% protection against flu B/Yamagata strains in children but none against 2009 H1N1 in the 2013-14 flu season, while cases of H3N2 and B/Victoria flu were too few for determining effectiveness for those strains, according to a Nov 14 study in Vaccine.

US investigators analyzed data on 1,033 children and adolescents, among whom 145 (14%) developed lab-confirmed influenza. Of those cases, 108 (74%) were caused by 2009 H1N1, 31 (21%) by B/Yamagata, and 6 (4%) by H3N2, which, like H1N1, is an "A" strain.

LAIV showed no protection against 2009 H1N1 but 82% effectiveness against B/Yamagata, though numbers of cases for that strain were fairly small. The study also found that inactivated flu vaccine—the flu shot—was 70% effective against the Yamagata strains and 74% effective against 2009 H1N1.

The authors recommended a different H1N1 strain be used for subsequent LAIV compositions.
Nov 15 Vaccine study

News Scan for Nov 18, 2015

News brief

CDC lowers Chipotle E coli outbreak from 50 cases to 37

Federal and state officials yesterday downgraded the number of Escherichia coli cases linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington and Oregon to 37, down from 50 on Nov 12.

In its update yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that Washington has confirmed 24 cases with the E coli O26 outbreak strain, and Oregon has confirmed 13, numbers that coincide with updates from the Washington State Department of Health (WSDH) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

Of the 37 patients, 13 have been hospitalized: 9 in Washington and 4 in Oregon. Chipotle has reopened its restaurants in Washington and Oregon that had been temporarily closed in the wake of the investigation.

In response to a CIDRAP News query about the drop in cases, CDC press officer Kate Fowlie said, "The CDC is now only reporting ill people that have been confirmed by PulseNet as being infected with the outbreak strain of E coli O26." PulseNet is the national database of foodborne illness pathogens typed by 87 labs across the country.

Fowlie added, "There are additional illnesses that were part of the 50 that [Washington and Oregon] were reporting previously that are still being investigated/undergoing laboratory testing and may be confirmed as the investigation continues."
Nov 17 CDC update
Nov 17 WSDH update
Nov 17 OHA update


Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis all rose in 2014, CDC says

For the first time since 2006, cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis all increased in 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, the CDC said yesterday in its yearly report on sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Chlamydia cases climbed to more than 1.4 million last year, 2.8% more than in 2013 and a rate of 456.1 cases per 100,000 population, making it the most common STD reported. Gonorrhea increased 5.1%, to 110.7 cases per 100,000. And P&S syphilis—the most infectious stage of the disease—rose 15.1%, for a rate of 6.3 per 100,000.

P&S syphilis has been increasing in men who have sex with men (MSM) since 2000, and the group accounted for 83% of P&S syphilis when the sex of the partner is known, the CDC said in a press release. What's more, 51% of MSM with P&S syphilis were also HIV-positive.

"Syphilis is currently the only STD for which information on the sex of the sex partner is reported," the CDC said in the release. "However, a growing body of evidence indicates that MSM are experiencing similar increases in gonorrhea and chlamydia infections—underscoring the need to further understand what is contributing to the rise."

The 2014 data also show that teens and young adults are still at the highest risk of acquiring an STD, especially chlamydia and gonorrhea. Despite being a relatively small portion of the sexually active population, people 15 to 24 years old had the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea and almost two thirds of all cases.
Nov 17 CDC report
Nov 17 CDC fact sheet
Nov 17 CDC news release

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