News Scan for Dec 31, 2015

News brief

H7N9 sickens another in China

Health officials in China's Jiangxi province today announced an H7N9 avian influenza infection in a 46-year-old man from the city of Ganzhou, according to a provincial health department statement translated and posted by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.

The case is the eighth in China's fourth wave of illnesses and Jiangxi's first case since May.

So far the pace of H7N9 illness at this point in the year appears to be running well below that for the same time last year during the early part of the third wave. However, health officials have said they expect more H7N9 cases in the months ahead, and China has reported an uptick in H7N9 infections linked to increased poultry sales and travel in advance of early February Lunar New Year celebrations.

The latest case raises the global H7N9 total to 693, according to a running case list kept by FluTrackers.
Dec 31 FluTrackers thread
FluTrackers H7N9 case list


Global flu activity remains low, with hot spots in Middle East and Americas

Asia, Europe, North America, and North Africa continue to report influenza detections below normal seasonal levels, with the exception of several countries in the Middle East and the tropical Americas, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Dec 28 in its global update.

Flu hot spots in the Middle East and western Asia include Iran and Oman, which are both reporting elevated levels of 2009 H1N1 and influenza B detections. Levels of H3N2, 2009 H1N1, and influenza B in Qatar are declining but remain elevated.

Elsewhere in Asia, Mongolia is reporting increased detections of 2009 H1N1, and Sri Lanka is reporting high levels of influenza A. Cases related to influenza B and H3N2 have declined in Thailand, yet still remain elevated, the WHO said.

Flu activity in the Caribbean and Americas remains low, except for Costa Rica and Cuba, which are reporting elevated levels of H3N2. Nicaragua reported increased detections of 2009 H1N1, and a slight increase in flu activity in Bolivia is due to circulating 2009 H1N1 and H3N2.

Slight increases in flu activity have been observed in central and northern Asia and eastern and northern Europe. Detections in the US remain below seasonal levels, while Canada has reported sporadic detections of H3N2.

At the global level as of Dec 13, 6% (2,590) of the 40,491 specimens tested were positive for influenza viruses, 2,158 (83.3%) of which were influenza A and 432 (16.7%) were influenza B. Of the subtyped influenza A viruses, 1,375 (82.7%) were 2009 H1N1, and 287 (17.3%) were H3N2. Of the subtyped influenza B viruses, 100 (75.8%) were from the Yamagata lineage, and 32 (24.3%) were of the Victoria lineage.
Dec 28 WHO update


France reports more avian flu outbreaks, raising total to 64

France's Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) yesterday reported a new outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the southwestern region of Dordogne. The MOA also reported an outbreak of HPAI in the Gers region on Dec 22, bringing the current outbreak total to 64.

The Dordogne outbreak involved the H5N1 (European lineage) strain and occurred on a farm containing 30 chickens, 150 pigeons, and 4 peacocks in the town of Celles.

In the Gers region, an unspecified H5 strain was implicated in an HPAI outbreak in a flock of 415 geese in the town of Montaut.

All 64 outbreaks have occurred in the southwest of France, with the Landes region being hit the hardest (27 outbreaks), followed by Dordogne (13), Gers (10), Pyrénées Atlantiques (10), Hautes-Pyrénées (3), and Haute-Vienne (1).

French officials have confirmed new strains of HPAI H5N1, H5N2, and H5N9 in the outbreaks, none of which are currently transmissible to humans.
Dec 31 Avian Flu Diary blog post
Dec 22 Avian Flu Diary blog post
Dec 22 CIDRAP News scan on outbreaks

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