Flu Scan for May 19, 2015

Avian flu in Iowa
H5N1 in Egypt
Global flu update

H5 outbreaks strike four more Iowa farms

Iowa agriculture officials today reported four more highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza outbreaks, with testing under way to confirm that they are part of a string of H5N2 outbreaks that has now affected up to 60 of the state's farms.

The newly affected locations include a turkey farm in Buena Vista County that houses 24,000 birds, and three sites in Sioux County, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) reported.

The Sioux County sites are a commercial egg-laying facility with 150,000 chickens, a pullet farm housing 100,000 birds, and a backyard flock of 15 chickens, the agency said.

Monitoring activities related to another outbreak detected the virus at the pullet farm, while increased mortality triggered testing and detection at the other three sites.

Confirmatory tests are being done by the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
May 19 IDALS press release


WHO details recent H5N1 illnesses in Egypt

The World Health Organization (WHO) today provided more details about reports of 14 H5N1 avian influenza cases it received between Apr 1 and May 1, including 13 from Egypt and 1 from China. The details were included in the WHO's monthly report on zoonotic flu infections.

Over the past several months Egypt has experienced an unprecedented gush of H5N1 infections, but the WHO said cases have declined since its last report last month. Three days ago the WHO reorted that exposure to infected poultry, lack of awareness, and prevention gaps were probably the main disease drivers, rather than changes in the virus or the epidemiology of the disease.

In the new update, posted yesterday, the WHO said the reasons for the drop in human cases in Egypt since its last update are unclear, but the decline is probably the result of multiple factors, including fewer poultry outbreaks, greater awareness, and seasonal factors.

Of the 13 patients from Egypt in the WHO report, 9 had illness onsets in March and 4 got sick in April. The people were from eight different governorates and ranged from 3 to 58 years old. Three are children younger than 10. Slightly more females were sickened by the virus than males. All were exposed to poultry before they became ill.

All but one the patient, a 43-year-old man,  recovered from their infections. All of the country's patients received oseltamivir, often the day they were hospitalized.  The WHO added that the proportion of fatal cases has consistently been lower in Egypt than in other countries, especially in kids.

The 14th case the WHO noted was that of a 6-year-old boy from China's Yunnan province, whose illness has already been reported. Few details were available, other than that he recovered.
May 18 WHO monthly flu at the human-animal interface report
May 15 CIDRAP News item "
Global panel: H5N1 surge in Egypt likely due to more poultry contact"


WHO: Global flu levels low in lead-up to Southern Hemisphere season

The Northern Hemisphere flu season is nearing its end, with influenza B dominant as the disease makes its exit many countries, while flu activity in the Southern Hemisphere was low in the lead-up to the start of its season, the WHO said yesterday in an update.

Amid the overall decline, 2009 H1N1 detections rose in some countries, especially Jordan. Other sparks of activity were reported in Guatemala, which saw a slight increase in H3N2 detections, and some West African countries; Ivory Coast is reporting H3N2 and 2009 H1N1 activity, and Ghana is seeing all three strains cocirculate.

In the temperate Southern Hemisphere countries, South Africa is reporting a slight increase in flu, with all three strains detected. In Australia and New Zealand, however, flu levels are still below the seasonal threshold, with sporadic identification of all three strains. That region's flu season typically runs from May through October.

At the global level, among samples tested in the 2 weeks leading up to May 2, nearly 74% of positive specimens were influenza B, mostly belonging to the Yamagata lineage. Of the subtyped influenza A viruses, 54% were 2009 H1N1 and 46% were H3N2.
May 18 WHO global flu update


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