NEWS SCAN: H5N1 cases in Egypt, Indonesia; GSK funds for flu surveillance; more sprout-linked cases; SARS scare

Feb 24, 2012

Egypt, Indonesia report H5N1 cases, one fatal
The World Health Organization (WHO) today reported a new H5N1 avian flu infection in Egypt, and media sources from Indonesia are reporting the H5N1 death of a 12-year-old child from Bali. The patient from Egypt is a 1-year-old girl from Gharbia governorate who got sick Feb 14 and was admitted to the hospital the next day, where she was treated with oseltamivir (Tamiflu). She is in good condition, according to a WHO statement. An investigation into the source of her infection is under way, but authorities noted backyard poultry were kept at her home. The girl's illness pushes Egypt's number of H5N1 cases to 160, including 55 deaths. Her case is Egypt's third this year; none have been fatal.
Feb 24 WHO statement
Feb 24 WHO global H5N1 case count
Elsewhere, the Indonesian media, quoting hospital sources, are reporting the H5N1 death of a 12-year-old child from Bali, according to a notice on the Bali Discovery Tours Web site, which referenced the foreign-language news site Radar Bali. Indonesia's health ministry confirmed that case today, according to a translation on Flutrackers, an infectious disease Web message board. The ministry said the patient was a boy who became ill on Feb 11, was hospitalized a few days later, and died on Feb 21. It said an investigation into the source of the virus is unclear. If the WHO confirms the Indonesian case, the new reports would push the global H5N1 total to 588, including 347 deaths. Confirmation would also push Indonesia's H5N1 cases this year to three, all fatal.
Feb 23 Bali Discovery Tours story
Flutrackers thread

GSK funds $12 million for Canadian flu surveillance
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced yesterday it is putting $12 million toward keeping a flu surveillance network in Canada going for 3 more years, according to a press release from the company. The Serious Outcomes Surveillance (SOS) Network, which includes 40 hospitals throughout Canada, is designed to monitor the effectiveness of flu vaccines and track the severity of the disease in hospitalized patients. The network was launched in 2009 with government support and involves a team of researchers led by experts at Capital Health, Halifax, and Dalhousie University. Dr Shelly McNeil, from Capital Health, Halifax, said in the press release that the funds "will help ensure that the key infrastructure we began building 3 years ago will continue to serve Canadians." Paul Lucas, GSK president and CEO, said the research-based pharmaceutical industry should be part of the solution to healthcare sustainability challenges, "And GSK is prepared to make investments in strong collaborations."
Feb 23 GSK press release

E coli outbreak tied to Jimmy John's sprouts reaches 14 cases, 6 states
A multistate outbreak of Escherichia coli O26 illnesses linked to clover sprouts served at Jimmy John's restaurants has grown by two cases to 14 since the outbreak was first announced Feb 15, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today. The outbreak has also grown to six states, as both newly reported cases are from Michigan. Two of the patients were hospitalized, and illness-onset dates range from Dec 25 to Feb 7. Ages range from 9 to 19 years, and all patients are female. None have developed the potentially deadly kidney condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can affect those infected with pathogenic E coli, and no deaths have been associated with the outbreak. The case breakdown by state is as follows: Iowa (5), Missouri (3), Kansas (2), Michigan (2), Arkansas (1), and Wisconsin (1). "Preliminary results of the epidemiologic and traceback investigations indicate eating raw clover sprouts at Jimmy John's restaurants is the likely cause of this outbreak," the CDC said.
Feb 24 CDC update
Feb 15 CIDRAP News story on initial outbreak notice

Chinese adenovirus outbreak sparks SARS rumors
Health officials in Hong Kong and Taiwan have been fielding rumors about a possible SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak in mainland China's Hubei province, and today Taiwanese officials cited mainland Chinese officials as saying that an outbreak there was caused by adenovirus, not SARS, FocusTaiwan news reported today. Yesterday Hong Kong's Center for Health Protection (CHP) said in a statement that it had contacted the mainland about the SARS rumors and were told there was no outbreak, according to a CHP press release. It said China's health ministry would release more details later. A spokesman for the CHP said there are well-established communication systems between the region and mainland China, including a SARS notification system.
Feb 24 FocusTaiwan news story
Feb 23 CHP press release

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