News Scan for Sep 01, 2015

Ebola vaccine in Sierra Leone
Avian flu outbreaks in Vietnam
Influenza A & B illness

Ebola ring vaccination expanded to Sierra Leone hot spot

The Guinea Ebola ring vaccination trial will be expanded to Sierra Leone and include contacts with the recently reported fatal case there, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday in a news release.

The new case, involving a 60-year-old woman, was detected in Kambia district in the northwest part of the country, bordering Guinea. Sierra Leone had gone almost 3 weeks without cases before the new case was announced on Aug 30.

A team of experts on ring vaccination traveled from Conakry, Guinea, on Aug 30 to join forces with a large team from the WHO and Sierra Leone's Ministry of Health that was already in the district. The source of the Ebola virus transmission is being investigated, and all the people who may have been in contact with the infected person are being traced, the WHO said.
Aug 31 WHO news release

In related news, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week updated its guidance for use of personal protective equipment (PPE) when treating Ebola patients.

Changes include expanding the rationale for respiratory protection, clarifying the role of the trained observer, suggesting a doffing assistant, modifying procedures for powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs), changing the order of boot cover removal, clarifying gown and coverall types, and emphasizing the importance of frequent cleaning in doffing areas.
Aug 27 CDC updated guidance


Vietnam reports H5N1, H5N6 outbreaks in poultry

Vietnam has confirmed two separate outbreaks involving H5N1 and H5N6 avian flu strains affecting more than 10,000 poultry, according to separate reports posted yesterday by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The H5N1 outbreak involved a backyard flock of 1,550 birds in Vinh Long province in the south. It began on Aug 24. Of the 1,550 poultry, 1,009 died from the virus, and the rest were culled to prevent disease spread.

The H5N6 outbreak began Aug 20 in a backyard flock of 8,600 poultry in Quang Ngai province in central Vietnam. A total of 1,056 died from their infections, and the rest were destroyed as a containment measure.

The premises are being disinfected in both outbreaks, among other response activities, the OIE reports said.
Aug 31 OIE report on H5N1 outbreak
Aug 31 OIE
report on H5N6 outbreak


French study finds influenza A, B clinical illnesses similar

Illness from influenza A is quite similar to illness from influenza B, according to a large study today in PLoS One.

French researchers analyzed data on 14,423 influenza cases from 2003 to 2013, 24% of which involved influenza B. Influenza A dominated in eight of the seasons studies, and influenza B dominated in the other two.

The team found only minor differences in the distribution of signs and symptoms across influenza virus and subtypes. They found that children aged 5 to 14 years were most likely to contract influenza B illness, while males and those diagnosed early in the season were less likely to be infected with "B" strains.

The authors conclude, "Despite differences in age distribution, the clinical illness produced by the different influenza virus types and subtypes is indistinguishable among patients that consult a general practitioner for acute respiratory infections."
Sep 1 PLoS One study

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