Low-path H5N2 detected in Minnesota turkeys; Laos reports H5N1
In avian flu outbreak developments, the United States reported the detection of low-pathogenic H5N2 in a Minnesota turkey flock and Laos reported a highly pathogenic H5N1 outbreak in backyard birds.
The low-path H5N2 detection in Minnesota occurred on Oct 19 at a turkey farm in Kandiyohi County in the west central part of the state during enhanced surveillance in the spring and fall following devastating outbreaks in 2015 that involved highly pathogenic H5N2 at commercial turkey farms, according to a notification from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
The flock was healthy and didn't show any clinical signs. Partial genetic sequencing suggests a low-pathogenic North American wild bird lineage, and further characterization will be done pending virus recovery.
Officials have quarantined the farm and are conducting an epidemiologic investigation. The 40,000 turkeys housed on the farm will be depopulated through controlled marketing.
Oct 22 OIE report on low-path H5N2 in Minnesota
In Laos, the highly pathogenic H5N1 outbreak began on Oct 10 in Sekong province in the south, according a separate OIE report. The virus killed 18 of 45 susceptible birds, and the surviving ones were culled to curb the spread of the disease. Laos's last H5N1 outbreak occurred in September 2017.
Oct 22 OIE report on H5N1 in Laos
FDA approves Afluria for kids ages 6 months and up, expanding age range
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Afluria Quadrivalent, a four-strain flu vaccine, for use in children over the age of 6 months, expanding its use beyond those age 5 and older, according to Seqirus, the makers of the vaccine. Approval for a trivalent (three-strain) formulation of the same vaccine was also expanded to include children 6 months to 5 years old.
The vaccine was first approved for use in adults over the age of 18 in 2016.
"Younger children, who are more at risk for getting the flu because of their weaker immune systems, are a priority population for Seqirus," said Gordon Naylor, president of Seqirus, in a press release.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all children over the age of 6 months get the flu vaccine before the end of October.
Afluria is available in single-dose, preservative-free pre-filled syringes and multi-dose vials.
Oct 23 Seqirus press release