NEWS SCAN: Flu and bipolar disorder, H7N3 in Mexico, sequester and food inspections, Rotary polio honors

May 8, 2013

Study: Flu in pregnancy may raise risk of bipolar disorder in offspring
A study published today in JAMA Psychiatry suggests that maternal influenza during pregnancy may increase the risk of bipolar disorder (BD) in her child. The finding comes from a case-control study of a birth cohort from the Child Health and Development Study (CHDS), which involved nearly all pregnant women who received obstetric care from the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care plan, Northern California Region, from 1959 through 1966. The researchers gathered data on treated maternal flu cases from the CHDS. They used several approaches to look for potential BD cases in the cohort, including searching databases of the CHDS, Kaiser Permanente, and a large county healthcare system; mailing a questionnaire to the CHDS cohort; and using an earlier psychiatric follow-up study on the cohort. The team identified 92 BD case-patients and 722 matched controls. Eight of the 92 BD case-patients (8.7%) were exposed to flu at any time during gestation, versus 19 of 722 controls (2.6%), which signaled an odds ratio of 3.82 (95% confidence interval, 1.58 to 9.24; P = .003). Adjustment for several potential confounders, including maternal age, race, and education, made little difference. The authors also found that exposure to maternal respiratory infections other than influenza was not linked to an increase in BD risk. "Although replication is required, the findings suggest that prevention of maternal influenza during pregnancy may reduce the risk of BD," the authors conclude.
May 8 JAMA Psychiatry abstract

New H7N3 outbreaks in Mexico destroy almost 900,000 poultry
Five outbreaks of H7N3 avian flu in poultry in Mexico's Jalisco, Guanajuato, and Puebla states have killed 40,010 birds and led to the culling of 850,005 others, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) reported today. Two of the outbreaks were in Jalisco, including one that began Mar 1 in a 16-bird backyard flock and one that affected 320,000 birds from Apr 29 to May 2 on a commercial layer farm. Two outbreaks in early April were confirmed in Guanajuato, one in a heavy breeder flock and one on a fattening farm. On one farm 319,398 birds were culled, and on the other 100,601 birds were culled to prevent disease spread. The final outbreak, in Puebla, began May 1 and was resolved yesterday. It involved by far the most poultry killed by the virus, 40,000, with 110,000 additional birds culled. All told, 890,015 poultry died in the five outbreaks and culls. About a month ago Mexican authorities said that recent H7N3 outbreaks had destroyed almost 4 million poultry and cost farmers about $32 million.
May 8 OIE report
Apr 2 CIDRAP News item on previous outbreak totals

Food inspections spared from automatic budget cuts
Food safety inspections will be spared from sequestration budget cuts, thanks to congressional action that prevents US Department of Agriculture (USDA) meat inspector furloughs and ensures Food and Drug Administration (FDA) budgeting to minimize the impact, Food Safety News (FSN) reported today. Earlier this year the White House warned that the budget cuts could threaten the safety of the nation's food supply and possibly lead to more foodborne illnesses. In March, however, Congress reinstated funding to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess told FSN that as the agency finds a way to absorb $209 million in cuts it will scale back on travel and training, with a goal of sparing food safety inspections. Regarding sequestration cuts, some stakeholders still have concerns that the lack of resources will hobble the ability of the FDA to move forward with implementing parts of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, according to FSN.
May 8 FSN story

Rotary International honors 5 US Congress members for polio efforts
Rotary International today recognized five members of the US Congress as Polio Eradication Champions for their efforts to eliminate polio. The group of worldwide business leaders recognized Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hi., Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., and Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., at the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Rotary International established the award in 1995 "to recognize heads of state, health agency leaders, and others who have made a significant contribution to the global eradication of polio," the group said in a news release.
May 8 Rotary news release

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