Flu Scan for Jan 03, 2022

News brief

US flu markers continue steady rise

US flu markers rose again last week, though reporting may be impacted by holiday-related delays, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in its weekly update, which covers the week ending Dec 25.

The eastern and central parts of the country are reporting the bulk of the infections, which have been dominated by H3N2. After mainly affecting younger age groups earlier in the season, illnesses are now being reported across a wider range. The CDC has also noted that other respiratory viruses are circulating, which could influence influenza-like illness (ILI) surveillance.

Overall, the percentage of clinic visits for ILI rose to 3.8%, up from 3.1% the previous week. At clinical labs, 6.2% of respiratory specimens tested positive for flu, up from 5.6% the week before.

Nineteen states are reporting very high or high flu activity, an ILI clinic visit marker, which is up sharply from eight reported the week before.

No new pediatric flu deaths were reported, keeping the season's total at two. For hospitalizations, the cumulative rate at sites the CDC and its partners track is 1.8 per 100,000 population, more than double the flu hospitalization rate seen during the 2020-2021 season.
Jan 3 CDC FluView update


Eurasian H5N1 detection in Canadian birds prompts warnings

Following a highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza outbreak at an exhibition farm in Newfoundland and Labrador, officials announced H5N1 detection in wild birds near St. John's, the CBC reported, citing government wildlife sources.

The arrival of the H5N1 virus in Canada has prompted warnings of a threat to birds in other Americas countries.

OFFLU, the animal influenza expert network from the World Organisation for Animal Health and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, in a Dec 29 statement said the recent detection in Canada marks the first identification of the highly pathogenic (goose/Guangdong/1/96-lineage) H5 virus in the Americas since 2015. It said confirmation of the Eurasian strain is a cause for concern for wild birds, zoos, and poultry operations in the Americas, and it noted that some East Coast states in the United States are home to very large poultry operations.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said in a recent wildlife update that recent wildlife sampling of nearly 6,000 samples turned up no high path avian influenza viruses, but it said the detection of H5N1 in Canada warrants increased vigilance in the United States.
Dec 27 CIDRAP News scan
Dec 29 OFFLU
Dec 29 USGS
wildlife bulletin

News Scan for Jan 03, 2022

News brief

CDC reports new E coli outbreak linked to leafy greens

Late last week the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted an outbreak notice about an Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak related to mixed leafy greens.

The mixed greens, identified as Simple Truth Organic Power Greens and Nature's Basket Organic Power Greens, are sold at grocery store chains across the country, including Fred Meyer, QFC, and Giant Eagle.

So far a total of 13 people from 6 states have been sickened, with 4 hospitalizations. No deaths have been linked to this outbreak. Washington state has the most illnesses with 7, followed by Alaska (2). California, Oregon, Ohio and Mississippi have each reported a single case.

"Six people ate Simple Truth Organic Power Greens, and one sick person ate Nature's Basket Organic Power Greens," the CDC said. "Investigators are working to determine if additional products may be contaminated."

So far, there have been no recalls.

The contaminated greens have a "Best if used by" date through Dec 20, 2021. All products with a date before on or before Dec 20 should be thrown away, the CDC said.
Dec 30 CDC report


Candida auris infections identified in Oregon

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced last week that it's investigating the state's first cases of the multidrug-resistant fungus Candida auris.

The C auris cases were identified in three Salem Health patients. The first case was identified on Dec 11 in a patient who had recent international healthcare exposure, and the second and third cases had no international healthcare exposure but were epidemiologically linked to the first case, indicating healthcare-associated spread.

Salem Health officials say the infections appear to be responding to current treatments and that the hospital is working with OHA, local public health partners, and the CDC to identify additional cases and ensure appropriate infection control procedures are in place.

"Salem Health is working with OHA and the CDC to execute a rigorous plan, implementing aggressive eradication measures that have been shown in other hospitals to be successful in eliminating Candida auris," Jasmin Chaudhary, MD, Salem Health's medical director of infection prevention, said in an OHA press release. "These include proactive steps that will assist in preemptively identifying new cases to prevent spread."

In its most recent update, the CDC reported a total of 938 confirmed C auris infections in 21 states from September 2020 through August 2021, along with 3,034 patients colonized with the organism. The multidrug-resistant yeast, which spreads easily in healthcare settings and can cause severe and deadly invasive infections in immunocompromised patients, was first identified in Japan in 2009 and first appeared in the United States in 2013.
Dec 28 OHA press release
Oct 27 CDC Candida auris


MERS sickens 4 more in Saudi Arabia, 2 fatally

Saudi Arabia reported four more MERS-CoV cases, two patients who got sick in December and two whose symptoms began in October and November, according to separate statements recently posted by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The two patients who were sick in December include a 49-year-old man from Taif in the country's west, as well as a 79-year-old man from Riyadh who died from his infection. No camel exposure or link to earlier cases was found in either case.

Also, the MOH announcements include a 45-year-old man from Riyadh who was sick in November and didn't have any links to camels or others with known Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infections. The fourth case involves a 50-year-old man from Hafr Al-Batin in the northeast who was sick in October, had contact with camels, and died from his illness.

The cases raise Saudi Arabia's MERS-CoV total for the year to 17.

In the middle of December, the World Health Organization (WHO) said since 2012 when the first cases were detected in humans, it has received reports of 2,583 MERS-CoV cases, at least 888 fatal. Most are from Saudi Arabia.
Dec 29 Saudi MOH report on Taif case
Dec 12 Saudi MOH report on
Riyadh case
Nov 8 Saudi MOH report on
Riyadh case
Oct 31 Saudi MOH report on
Hafr al Batin case


African countries report more vaccine-derived polio cases

Six African countries reported more polio cases last week, all involving vaccine-derived poliovirus strains, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) said in its latest weekly report.

Five of the nations added to their circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) totals for the year. The Democratic Republic of Congo reported four cases, all from Maniema province, lifting its total to 17. Ethiopia reported one more case, which affected a patient from Oromiya, putting its total at 10. Nigeria reported 64 more cases, roughly half from Kebbi state, with illnesses reported from seven other states, pushing its number for 2021 to 385. Senegal reported one case from Matam, making 17 for the year, and Yemen reported two more—both from Saadah—bringing its count to nine.

Elsewhere, Madagascar reported one circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (cVDPV1) case, involving a patient from Sofia, lifting its total to 11 this year.

Dec 28 GPEI update

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