Flu Scan for Oct 23, 2018

News brief

Low-path H5N2 detected in Minnesota turkeys; Laos reports H5N1

In avian flu outbreak developments, the United States reported the detection of low-pathogenic H5N2 in a Minnesota turkey flock and Laos reported a highly pathogenic H5N1 outbreak in backyard birds.

The low-path H5N2 detection in Minnesota occurred on Oct 19 at a turkey farm in Kandiyohi County in the west central part of the state during enhanced surveillance in the spring and fall following devastating outbreaks in 2015 that involved highly pathogenic H5N2 at commercial turkey farms, according to a notification from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The flock was healthy and didn't show any clinical signs. Partial genetic sequencing suggests a low-pathogenic North American wild bird lineage, and further characterization will be done pending virus recovery.

Officials have quarantined the farm and are conducting an epidemiologic investigation. The 40,000 turkeys housed on the farm will be depopulated through controlled marketing.
Oct 22 OIE report on
low-path H5N2 in Minnesota

In Laos, the highly pathogenic H5N1 outbreak began on Oct 10 in Sekong province in the south, according a separate OIE report. The virus killed 18 of 45 susceptible birds, and the surviving ones were culled to curb the spread of the disease. Laos's last H5N1 outbreak occurred in September 2017.
Oct 22 OIE report on H5N1 in Laos


FDA approves Afluria for kids ages 6 months and up, expanding age range

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Afluria Quadrivalent, a four-strain flu vaccine, for use in children over the age of 6 months, expanding its use beyond those age 5 and older, according to Seqirus, the makers of the vaccine. Approval for a trivalent (three-strain) formulation of the same vaccine was also expanded to include children 6 months to 5 years old.

The vaccine was first approved for use in adults over the age of 18 in 2016.

"Younger children, who are more at risk for getting the flu because of their weaker immune systems, are a priority population for Seqirus," said Gordon Naylor, president of Seqirus, in a press release.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all children over the age of 6 months get the flu vaccine before the end of October.

Afluria is available in single-dose, preservative-free pre-filled syringes and multi-dose vials.
Oct 23 Seqirus press release

News Scan for Oct 23, 2018

News brief

CDC: 63 more Salmonella cases linked to JBS Tolleson beef, 120 total

In an update today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced 63 more cases of Salmonella illnesses connected to tainted beef products from JBS Tolleson, Inc. The outbreak, caused by the Newport strain of the bacterium, now stands at 120 cases in 22 states.

Thirty-three people have been hospitalized during this outbreak, but no deaths have been reported. The most recent illness started on Sep 28, and 66 (93%) of 71 people interviewed during this outbreak reported eating ground beef at home in the week prior to illness. According to the CDC, ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 88, with a median age of 42, and 59% are men.

The outbreak is widespread across the United States, with California, Colorado, and Arizona reporting the most cases with 27, 23, and 21, respectively. Six states reported cases for the first time: Hawaii, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington.

On Oct 4, JBS Tolleson, of Tolleson, Ariz., recalled 6.5 million pounds of raw beef products, including ground beef, that were possibly contaminated with Salmonella Newport and sold through several retailers, including Walmart, Cedar River Farms Natural Beef, and Showcase. Recalled beef products were produced and packaged from Jul 26 to Sep 7.

The CDC urged people to throw out any recalled beef and practice safe handling of all ground beef products to reduce the risk of Salmonella infection. Ground beef should be cooked to 160°F (71°C) internal temperature to avoid illness.
Oct 23 CDC update

Oct 4 CIDRAP News story "FSIS recalls beef, ham in Salmonella, Listeria outbreaks"


France, Spain confirm 9 cases of locally transmitted dengue

Both France and Spain have recorded locally transmitted dengue cases in three separate outbreaks earlier this month, according to a risk assessment yesterday by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Three cases were recorded in Spain, and six in France, the first autochthonous dengue cases reported in the European Union since 2017.

"There is no epidemiological link between the two outbreaks in France (five cases in Saint Laurent du Var, one case in Montpellier), and it is uncertain whether the cases in Spain were infected in the region of Murcia or in the Province of Cadiz," the ECDC report said. "The virus was likely to have been introduced into these areas through viraemic travellers returning from endemic areas."

This is the first recorded cluster of locally transmitted dengue in Spain; France has seen small outbreaks of locally transmitted dengue since 2010. Dengue is not endemic in Europe and is instead imported by travelers in areas were Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are established.

Ae albopictus mosquitoes are active in France and Spain through December. Though visitors to the affected areas could in theory be infected with dengue, experts said the risk is very low.
Oct 22 ECDC


Inhaled prime-boost tularemia vaccine promising in rabbit study

A prime-boost regimen of a recombinant attenuated aerosol vaccine against Francisella tularensis, which causes tularemia, protected rabbits in challenge experiments, a team based at the University of Pittsburgh reported yesterday in Public Library of Science (PLOS) One.

F tularensis is considered a tier one select agent and is also known to cause sporadic zoonotic and lab-acquired infections, but an investigational vaccine has never been licensed because of concerns about safety and efficacy, and scientists have been exploring other approaches.

Few studies of other vaccine candidates have moved beyond mouse models. In the current study, researchers sought whether two F tularensis mutants, when used in prime-boost vaccination, could improve survival after aerosol challenge in New Zealand white rabbits.

They found that the vaccine provided strong protection that was nearly complete, even at high challenge doses. "Future efforts will build on the results detailed here, particularly to determine the immunological mechanisms and antigens important for this protection," they wrote.
Oct 22 PLOS One abstract

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