News Scan for Feb 02, 2018

Polio in Afghanistan
Zika journal supplement
Avian flu in South Africa, Taiwan

Two more polio cases reported in Afghanistan

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has received early reports of two new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases, both in Kandahar province, GPEI said in its weekly update today.

One involves a patient from Shawalikot district who had onset of symptoms on Jan 5, and the other is from Boldak district whose symptoms began on Jan 6. GPEI said the cases will be confirmed in next week's report, lifting Afghanistan's number of WPV1 cases for 2018 to three.

In its update, GPEI also said five new WPV1 environmental samples were reported in Afghanistan this week, two from Hilmand province and three from Kandahar province.

Meanwhile, three more WPV1 environmental samples were reported in Pakistan, in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
Feb 2 GPEI update


Special supplement tackles Zika health problems, impacts on families

The journal Pediatrics yesterday published a special supplement on Zika virus, much of it geared toward understanding the epidemiology of the disease and its impact on babies born with congenital infections and the impact the disabilities may have on them and their families.

The authors include researchers at RTI International and Brazil's Altino Ventura Foundation.

Six articles are included in the supplement: an overview of the epidemiology, a discussion of the public health approach to addressing the needs of affected children, a review of what's known about the problems related to congenital Zika syndrome, separate summaries of eye manifestations and motor abnormalities, and a review of the likely impact on families.

Don Bailey, PhD, with RTI's Center for Newborn Screening, Ethics, and Disability Studies, said yesterday in an RTI press release, "It's safe to say that most children with congenital Zika syndrome will have major impairments that will not be easily treated by surgery, medication or therapy services. This supplement synthesizes available information for pediatricians to inform their clinical practice, and will help guide the research agenda and shape public policy for addressing the impact of Zika going forward."

RTI and its Brazilian collaborators are currently following health and development outcomes in 200 infants severely affected by Zika virus in Recife, Brazil.
February Pediatrics supplement
Feb 1 RTI International press release


More avian flu outbreaks reported in South Africa, Taiwan

In the latest highly pathogenic avian flu outbreak developments, South Africa reported several more H5N8 events involving wild birds and commercial ostriches, and Taiwan reported more H5N2 outbreaks affecting poultry farms.

In South Africa, officials described 10 new outbreaks involving a variety of wild birds found dead—mostly swift terns, but also a jackass penguin and a buzzard—from Dec 27, 2017, to Jan 24. Nine of the findings were in Western Cape province, and one was in Eastern Cape province, according to report today from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

In a separate OIE report, South Africa's agriculture ministry described three more outbreaks involving commercial ostrich farms, all in Western Cape province. The events began between Jan 3 and Jan 16, sickening 24 of 2,204 susceptible birds.

Elsewhere, Taiwan yesterday reported four new H5N2 outbreaks, two involving native chickens at different slaughterhouses in Taipei City. The others involved a commercial duck farm in Yunlin County and a commercial poultry farm in Pingtung County. Taken together, the virus killed 1,100 of 15,831 susceptible birds.
Feb 2 OIE report on H5N8 in South African wild birds
Feb 2 OIE report on H5N8 in South African farm ostriches
Feb 1 OIE report on H5N2 in Taiwan

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