News Scan for Jul 19, 2013

News brief

WHO reports increasing flu activity in South America, southern Africa

Influenza activity is up "considerably" in South America and southern Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today, while other scattered regions are also seeing some increase.

Most tropical South American nations saw 2009 H1N1 overtake respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) as the main detected respiratory virus, the agency reported in its weekly update. Temperate South America has also experienced a higher percentage of flu viruses detected, but RSV continued to predominate there.

The WHO also reported high or relatively high flu levels in India, Vietnam, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, with a decreasing trend in the latter two. Flu levels have begun to increase in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, while levels remain low in Oceania, which includes Australia and New Zealand.

Northern Hemisphere regions, as expected, are reporting inter-seasonal flu levels, the WHO said.
Jul 19 WHO update


West Nile cases climb to 23

Cases of West Nile virus (WNV) infection reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) total 23 as of Jul 16, 9 more than last week, according to a CDC update. Ten cases have involved neuroinvasive disease, doubling last week's number, and one more patient has died, bringing the total deaths to three.

New states reporting cases since last week are Arizona, with one case, and Iowa, with two. Other states with cases are California (1), Colorado (1), Mississippi (6), Nevada (5—3 more than last week), South Dakota (4—3 more than last week), Tennessee (1), and Texas (2).

In addition to the cases, three presumptive viremic blood donors (meaning asymptomatic people attempting to donate blood but found upon screening to be positive for WNV), have been identified thus far. They are from Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas. None of them developed clinical symptoms, says the CDC report.
Jul 16 CDC update


Salmonella cases from baby poultry grow by 28

As of yesterday, 28 new cases of human Salmonella linked to live baby poultry from an Ohio hatchery had been reported to the CDC since the agency's last update Jun 20, bringing the total to 125.

The strains involved in this outbreak, which was first reported in April, are Salmonella Infantis, Lille, Newport, andMbandaka. Cases come from 26 states, with the new cases in Arizona (3), Colorado (2), Delaware (1), Georgia (1), Illinois (2), Indiana (1), Massachusetts (2), New York (2), North Carolina (5), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (1), Tennessee (3), West Virginia (2), and Wisconsin (1).

Illnesses began from Mar 4 to Jul 5. The CDC points out that illnesses occurring after Jun 23 may not have been reported as of yet. Patient ages range from less than 1 year to 91 years, with 41% aged 10 or under. There have been no deaths.

Epidemiologic investigation has linked the cases to checks, ducklings, and other live baby poultry from Mt. Healthy Hatchery in Ohio.

This outbreak is unrelated to a large, ongoing outbreak caused by Salmonella Typhimurium, also linked to live baby poultry.
Jul 18 CDC update
Jul 3 CIDRAP News item on Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak

CDC updates recommendations for varicella postexposure prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today updated its guidance for administering an immune globulin preparation after varicella exposure to align with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, according to an update in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

VariZIG, a varicella zoster immune globulin preparation (Cangene Corp., Winnipeg, Man.), should be administered within 10 days of exposure to varicella zoster, the virus that causes chicken pox and shingles. The agency also updated what groups should receive it.

In December the Food and Drug Administration made VariZIG, which is made from the plasma of people exposed to varicella, the only varicella zoster immune globulin formulation approved for US use. The CDC previously recommended that it be administered within 4 days of exposure but now has expanded that to 10 days on the basis of new data. (The agency still maintains that more immediate use is best.)

The CDC said the decision to administer VariZIG depends on three factors: (1) lack of patient immunity to varicella, (2) likelihood of varicella infection, and (3) elevated risk for varicella complications.

The agency recommends VariZIG for these groups:

  • Immunocompromised patients without evidence of immunity
  • Newborns whose mothers have signs and symptoms of varicella near delivery
  • Certain hospitalized premature infants
  • Pregnant women who have no evidence of immunity

The recommendations reflect the research of an Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices working group.
Jul 19 MMWR update


Thailand, Micronesia report dengue outbreaks

Thailand has reported 6,013 new dengue cases, according to media reports, and today's issue of MMWR highlights a recent dengue outbreak in Micronesia.

The new cases in Thailand, reported from Jul 9 through 16, bring the country's dengue total so far this year to 73,902, Bernama, Malaysia's national news agency, reported yesterday. That figure is three times higher than at this time last year and includes 73 deaths.

Cases are expected to climb in the coming weeks because of heavy rains and more dengue-carrying mosquitoes, the story said, citing the Thai News Agency. Officials are mounting mosquito control efforts, Bernama reported.
Jul 18 Bernama story

Meanwhile, from Sep 26, 2012, to Mar 14, 2013, a hospital in Kosrae state of Micronesia reported 729 suspected dengue cases, with 242 (33.2%) patients admitted. Twenty-five patients (3.4%) had poor peripheral perfusion or hemodynamic instability.

Of 728 patients who had rapid diagnostic testing, 206 (28.3%) tested positive for dengue.

Those most affected by the outbreak were 15 to 39 years old, with the highest suspected case rate (171.5 per 1,000 population) in the 20- to 24-year-old age-group. The highest rate of positive test results (83.6 per 1,000 population) was in the 35- to 39-year-old age-group.
Jul 19 MMWR report

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