News Scan for Apr 21, 2014

H7N9 cases in China
Ebola outbreak update
Meningococcal vaccine study

China reports 3 more H7N9 cases, 1 more death

The number of patients sickened by H7N9 influenza in China grew by three over the past 3 days, according to reports from three different provinces.

One case is in a 35-year-old woman from Jiangsu province who is hospitalized in critical condition, according to an Apr 19 health department statement translated and posted by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.

The second patient is a 55-year-old woman from Guangdong province who is also hospitalized in critical condition, according to a health department statement posted by FluTrackers. Provincial health officials also said a patient whose illness was first confirmed on Apr 10 died on Apr 15. That patient appears to be a 79-year-old man with underlying medical conditions who had been hospitalized in critical condition in Guangzhou.

The newest case, announced today by the health department in Hunan province, involves a 50-year-old man who is hospitalized in Yongzhou.

Taken together, the developments lift the outbreak's overall case total to 428 and the unofficial fatality count to 129. So far 292 illnesses have been reported during the outbreak's second wave, which is ongoing, compared with 136 in the first wave last spring.
Apr 19 FluTrackers thread
Apr 20 FluTrackers thread
Apr 21 FluTrackers thread
FluTrackers human H7N9 case list


Guinea reports 1 new Ebola case, 4 new deaths

Guinea's number of Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases has reached 203, including 129 deaths, according to the latest update, on Apr 19, from the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa. The numbers represent an increase of 1 case and 4 deaths since the previous update on Apr 17.

So far 109 of 158 patients tested had lab-confirmed infections. Of the deaths, 61 are lab confirmed.

The latest outbreak total includes three patients who were isolated on Apr 17, one with a lab-confirmed infection. The numbers also reflect four deaths among those with existing illnesses, three of them with confirmed infections, according to the statement.

Three isolation units that have been set up to treat EVD patients in Guinea contain 29 people, and 15 of them recovered and have been discharged from the hospital. Health workers are currently monitoring 230 contacts. The WHO emphasized that the numbers of cases and contacts are likely to change, as officials consolidate cases, contact, and lab data, enhance surveillance, and continue lab tests.

Liberia's health ministry has reported no new illnesses or deaths. According to the most recent update on Apr 18, the country had reported 27 EVD infections, 13 of them fatal. Six cases had been confirmed by lab tests.
Apr 19 WHO update


Princeton students recruited for meningococcal vaccine study

Researchers are recruiting Princeton University students who received the meningococcal B vaccine after an outbreak there to participate in a study evaluating its effects, the university said in a news release.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the use of Novartis's Bexsero vaccine late last year after eight Princeton students contracted meningococcal disease caused by serogroup B, a strain not covered in US-approved meningococcal vaccines. Bexsero is approved for use in Europe, Canada, and Australia.

This March a fatal meningitis case in a Drexel University student was also tied to the Princeton outbreak.

Eligible Princeton students have received an e-mail invitation to participate in the study, designed by Princeton researcher Nicole E. Basta, PhD.

"The use of the meningitis B vaccine at Princeton provides an unprecedented opportunity to evaluate its impact," Basta said in the Princeton news release. "The more we can learn about the vaccination in the context of Princeton's outbreak, the better prepared we'd be in the future to prevent and control meningococcal serogroup B outbreaks."

Of about 5,800 Princeton students, faculty, and staff eligible to receive the vaccine, 5,139 received the full two doses, the university said.
Apr 18 Princeton news release

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