News Scan for Nov 11, 2015

News brief

China H7N9 total for the season rises to four

China has acknowledged two more H7N9 avian flu infections, both of which occurred in October, increasing the total in the early phase of what appears to be a fourth wave of infections to four. The cases, reported by China's National Health and Family Commission, were noted in a statement today from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP).

The agency said the cases were in Zhejiang province and involved a 62-year-old woman from Shengzhou and a 51-year-old woman who works as a farmer in Hangzhou. Both had been exposed to poultry and are in serious condition.

A Hong Kong health department spokesman said in the statement that, based on earlier seasonal patterns, it's likely that avian influenza activity will increase in the coming winter months, requiring increased vigilance. In mid October the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that a fourth wave of H7N9 began in early October after two cases were reported in Zhejiang province, China's first since July.

The number of infections so far this season coincides with a running tally kept by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board. FluTrackers noted that the 62-year-old woman's illness was first reported in early October in a Chinese media report, a Taiwan government report, and a city government announcement.

According to FluTrackers' count, the global H7N9 total is 689 cases since the virus was first detected in China in March 2013.
Nov 11 CHP statement
FluTrackers H7N9 case list


Officials note Zika cases in Suriname, surge in Colombia

The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed 2 cases of Zika virus infection in Suriname, while Colombian officials have reported that its outbreak has climbed to 239 cases.

The WHO said in a statement that Suriname officials on Nov 2 notified the WHO's regional office, the Pan American Health Organization, of two locally acquired cases of the mosquito-borne disease. The organization recommended that countries in the Americas should establish and maintain capacity to detect Zika infections, prepare healthcare systems for a potential surge in cases, and implement an effective public health response.

Colombia, meanwhile, now has 239 Zika cases, according to a Nov 3 report from the Spanish-language Semana newspaper translated and posted yesterday by ProMED-Mail, the news reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases. On Oct 21 the WHO had reported just 9 lab-confirmed cases in Colombia.

The country's Vice Minister of Health, Fernando Ruiz, said there have been 103 cases in Bolivar department and 37 each in Antioquia and San Andres y Providencia departments.
Nov 11 WHO statement
Nov 10 ProMED-Mail post


Hawaii dengue outbreak jumps by 6 cases, to 33

The number of locally acquired cases of mosquito-borne dengue fever on the big island of Hawaii has increased by 6 in just 1 day, to 33, the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) said yesterday in an update.

Of the 33 confirmed cases, 25 are in Hawaii residents and 8 are in visitors. Illness-onset dates range from Sep 11 to Nov 2.

Two of the 6 new cases are in children, raising that total to 4. The other 29 cases involve adults.

The HDOH said, "Dengue is not endemic to Hawaii. However, it is intermittently imported from endemic areas by infected travelers. This is the first cluster of locally-acquired dengue fever since the 2011 outbreak on Oahu."
Nov 10 HDOH update
Nov 10 CIDRAP News scan on previous update

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