Ivory Coast and Vietnam report new H5N1 outbreaks
Animal health officials in Ivory Coast reported a highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza outbreak at a commercial chicken farm in Abidjan district, located in the southern part of the country, according to a report today from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
The event began on Jul 27, striking a facility housing 70,000 pullets and layers and killing 44,634 of the birds. The remaining ones were culled to control the spread of the virus. Other response steps included cleaning, disinfection, and temporarily limiting the trade of poultry and poultry products.
The report said the source of the outbreak isn't known, but it may be linked to the introduction of new animals.
Ivory Coast is among a handful of African countries that have reported a recent resurgence in H5N1 activity after a several-year hiatus.
Oct 3 OIE report
Elsewhere, Vietnam's agriculture ministry reported an H5N1 outbreak in backyard birds in Ca Mau province, in the far south of the country, according to a separate OIE report yesterday.
The outbreak started on Sep 25 and killed 300 of 800 susceptible birds in the flock. The remaining ones were stamped out, and other control measures included vaccination, enhanced surveillance, and establishing a protective zone around the location.
Vietnam reported its last H5N1 outbreak at the end of May.
Oct 2 OIE report
H7N8 from Indiana turkey outbreak can sicken mammals, but spread limited
The H7N8 virus that turned up in commercial turkey farms in Indiana earlier this year—the first time in North America—can infect mammals and cause severe disease, but doesn't transmit effectively, according to experiments using human airway cells and mouse and ferret models. Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the findings Sep 28 in the Journal of Virology.
In the Indiana outbreaks, officials isolated highly pathogenic H7N8 and the closely related low-pathogenic version. Researchers used both in their experiments.
Both versions replicated easily in human cells and in the two animal models, but highly pathogenic H7N8 was more infectious, virulent, and lethal. In ferrets, both viruses replicated similarly, but symptoms such as weight loss, lethargy, and death were seen only with highly pathogenic H7N8.
In direct contact experiments with the ferrets, limited transmission was seen with low-pathogenic H7N8, with no transmission observed for the group infected with the highly pathogenic virus.
The ability of the H7 subtype to transmit to mammals and evolve to a more virulent strain is a cause for concern and sheds light into the potential threat of emerging H7 viruses, which required close monitoring for possible human health risks.
Sep 28 J Virol abstract
Study: Lower flu vaccine use among children who use alternative medicine
Children who use complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) are more likely to skip the seasonal flu vaccine, according to a study today in the journal Pediatrics. The authors suggest educating this population and their CAM providers on the benefits of the flu vaccine.
The rise of pediatric CAM has matched the rise of vaccine hesitancy in parents. One third of American adults used CAM in 2012, while 12% of children did, based on the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), the most recent NHIS to include the Child Complementary and Alternative Medicine File (CAL). The authors of the study used the 2012 CAL survey results of 9,000 children to determine how CAM influenced the decision to vaccinate against influenza.
Overall, 43% of sample children received an influenza vaccine in the previous 12 months, but only 33% of children who had used alternative medical systems (acupuncture, chiropractic care, naturopathy) were vaccinated. Alternatively, children who used multivitamins were more likely to get the flu vaccine (45%).
"US children are an extremely important population pertaining to influenza," the authors wrote. "They experience the highest rates of infection and serve as a major source of transmission in the family and community."
Oct 3 Pediatrics study