FLU NEWS SCAN: Spotting H1N1 pneumonia, H1N1 in ferrets, H5N1 in Vietnam

Mar 9, 2011

Researchers suggest how to tell H1N1 pneumonia from CAP
British researchers have come up with a method for quickly distinguishing 2009 H1N1 flu-related pneumonia from non-flu-related community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in adults, with the aim of permitting quick decisions on antiviral treatment. Writing in Thorax, the researchers say they derived the method by collecting data on patients with confirmed 2009 H1N1 flu at 75 hospitals over a 9-month period and comparing them with data from a prospective study cohort of adults who had CAP in an earlier period. Using a logistic regression model, the authors identified five variables that were significantly associated with H1N1 infection: age of 65 or younger, mental orientation (absence of confusion), temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) or higher, leukocyte count of 12 billion/liter or lower, and bilateral consolidation on lung radiography. With each of these variables worth one point, a score of 4 or 5 predicted H1N1 pneumonia with a positive likelihood ratio of 9.0, while a score of 0 or 1 put the likelihood ratio at 75.7 against the virus. The model is valid only for H1N1-related pneumonia, the authors say.
March Thorax report

H1N1 sweeps through ferrets at vet hospital
Editor's note: This item was corrected Mar 10 to clarify that the ferret shelter was separate from the veterinary clinic.
The 2009 H1N1 influenza virus recently swept through a group of ferrets at a shelter in Kentucky, after one of the personnel there had a flu-like illness, according to a statement from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). An old ferret showed respiratory distress on Feb 10, and radiography at the Erlanger (Ky.) Veterinary Hospital showed the animal had severe pneumonia. The ferret was euthanized a day later after treatment failed to help, and subsequent lab tests indicated a viral infection such as canine distemper or H1N1. Over the next 2 days, the 16 other ferrets in the shelter showed lethargy, sneezing, coughing, and nasal discharge. A pharyngeal swab from one of the ferrets was tested at a state lab in Lexington and was positive for 2009 H1N1. The ferrets were treated and were recovering, the statement said. Before the first ferret got sick, a "member of the shelter personnel" had had mild flu-like symptoms, but no fever.
Mar 7 AVMA release

H5N1 hits two Vietnamese provinces
Vietnam's agriculture ministry yesterday reported two H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks, one at farm in Ha Nam province and the other at a village in Quang Ninh province, according to a notice from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Both are in northern Vietnam.  In the first outbreak, which began on Feb 27, the virus killed 74 of the farm's 90 birds. The remaining ones were destroyed. In the village in Quang Ninh, the virus killed 1,200 of 2,000 susceptible birds starting on Feb 12, and 800 more were culled to control the spread of the virus. Outbreak investigations suggested that the source of the virus was likely the introduction of new live animals, illegal animal movement, or fomites.
Mar 8 OIE report on Vietnam outbreaks
In other avian flu developments, Romania's veterinary officials today reported a low-pathogenic H3N2 outbreak in a small goose flock that was kept at Babes-Bolyai University in Tulcea county for avian influenza research. Tulcea is in the southeastern part of the country. The area where the geese are kept is surrounded by several lakes and other bodies of water. An investigation suggested that the source of the virus was contact with wild birds.
Mar 9 OIE report on Romania outbreak

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