Flu Scan for Jun 07, 2013

H5N1 in Egypt
Host-response virus study

H5N1 death in Egypt raises global total to 630 cases

The World Health Organization's (WHO's) latest monthly update on human H5N1 avian flu infections reported cases in a Cambodian girl whose illness was already reported by the WHO's Western Pacific regional office on May 17 and in an Egyptian woman who died from her illness.

The 25-year-old woman was from Egypt's Sohaq governorate. She got sick on Apr 25 and died May 1. An investigation found that she had been exposed to sick and dead backyard poultry.

The woman's H5N1 infection is Egypt's fourth so far this year, three of which were fatal. The new case puts Egypt's overall H5N1 total at 173 cases and 63 deaths, according to the WHO's latest tally.

Cambodia's case is in a 5-year-old girl whose illness was detected during fever surveillance. She has since recovered.

The WHO said all 11 cases reported from Cambodia this year have occurred in the southern part of the country and appear to represent sporadic infections related to contact with sick poultry.

The two new cases raise the official global total to 630 cases, including 375 deaths.
Jun 4 WHO monthly update
Jun 3 WHO global H5N1 case count
May 17 WHO update on Cambodian case

NIH funds $18 million host-response study of avian flu, Ebola, West Nile

The National Institutes of Health has funded a team of US scientists, including flu researcher Yoshihiro Kawaoka, DVM, PhD, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, to lead an $18.1 million effort to study how humans respond to serious viruses, such as avian influenza strains, Ebola, and West Nile, the university said yesterday in a press release.

Scientists from Washington University in St. Louis and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., will also play key roles.

The study will assess, using high-throughput screening, the many molecular events that occur when the viruses infect their hosts, with hopes of gaining insight for developing new drugs.

"When an animal is infected with a virus, all kinds of things happen during the course of infection," Kawaoka said in the release, "so the host response is a very important component of the study."

Kawaoka noted that there are no antiviral agents approved for Ebola and West Nile.
Jun 6 University of Wisconsin news release

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