NEWS SCAN: Seasonal flu vaccine for babies, H5N1 outbreaks, Salmonella recall

Feb 4, 2010

Seasonal flu vaccine safe and effective in young babies
The seasonal flu vaccine is safe and effective in infants as young as 6 to 12 weeks, according to a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study in the February issue of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. The study involved 1,375 infants. Half received two doses of trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine made by Sanofi Pasteur or placebo 1 month apart along with other childhood vaccines. Researchers found no safety outcome differences between the flu and placebo vaccines. Antibody responses to other childhood vaccines were similar in both groups. Increased antibody response to the three flu strains were seen in flu vaccine recipients, with the highest responses to influenza A strains. The investigators concluded that administering flu vaccine to young infants is safe and effective. Seasonal flu vaccines aren't currently licensed for babies younger than 6 months, and protecting them from flu has depended on immunizing their caregivers.
Feb Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal study

Nepal, Egypt report H5N1 outbreaks
Veterinary officials in Nepal today said tests have confirmed an H5N1 avian influenza outbreak in ducks and chickens in Pokhara, the Himalayan Times reported. Located in the central part of the country, Pokhara is Nepal's third largest city. The samples were positive in preliminary tests conducted in Pokhara on Jan 26 and were sent to London for further testing. About 10,000 poultry are kept in the area, but the article did not say how many died or specify if the remaining birds would be culled. A response team has been sent to disinfect the outbreak vicinity, and officials have stopped the movement of birds in the area. The outbreak is Nepal's first since January 2009, according to the World Organization for Animal Health. Meanwhile, Egyptian livestock officials said birds in several more locations have tested positive for the H5N1 virus. Details of 18 new outbreaks since Jan 19 or later appear on the Web site of Egypt-based Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response (SAIDR). All except one occurred in household chickens and ducks. The lone farm outbreak occurred at a broiler breeding operation in Dakahliya governorate where the birds had been vaccinated.  The outbreaks spanned seven different governorates, and six occurred in Dakahliya.

Salmonella outbreak prompts recall of more sausage products
A Rhode Island sausage company at the center of a widespread Salmonella outbreak expanded its recall to include about 24,000 more pounds of salami products that include 3-oz packages of Daniele salami coated with coarse black pepper and 6-lb packages of Daniele salami coated with pork fat and pepper, according a statement today from the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Yesterday Rhode Island health officials announced that its further tests on black pepper revealed Salmonella in black peppers from a second distributor. It also said hundreds of environmental swabs and tests on employees have come back negative for the pathogen.  In related developments, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said today that federal and state officials continue to investigate the Salmonella Montevideo outbreak.  The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday that it has received four more reports of illnesses linked to the outbreak, raising the total to 207. The number of affected states stayed the same, at 42.
Feb 4 FSIS recall update
Feb 4 FDA statement
Feb 3 CIDRAP News story

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