News Scan for Jan 24, 2020

US flu uptick, kids' deaths
No new Ebola infections
Three Saudi MERS cases
Polio in Pakistan, elsewhere

CDC confirms 15 new pediatric flu deaths, slight ILI rise

In its weekly FluView update today, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 15 new pediatric deaths attributed to influenza. CDC estimates this season there have been at least 15 million flu illnesses, 140,000 hospitalizations, and 8,200 deaths from flu.

So far, the 2019-20 season has seen 54 pediatric deaths, 37 of which have been linked to influenza B, the dominant strain in the country. During the severe 2017-18 influenza season, the CDC tracked 188 pediatric deaths.

After two weeks of declining numbers, the CDC said flu activity was up slightly this past week, with influenza-like illness (ILI) rates going from 4.7 to 5.0. ILI activity was high in New York City, Puerto Rico, and 35 states, compared with 32 states the week before.

Data from public health laboratories last week showed 51.9% of positive lab specimens were influenza B, and 48.1% influenza A. Of subtyped influenza A samples, 94.4% were (H1N1)pdm09, and 5.6% were H3N2. Almost all (99.4%) of B viruses are from the Victoria lineage.

Hospitalization rates rose slightly this week, to 24.1 per 100,000, which is similar to the same period in other seasons.
Jan 24 CDC FluView


Third day in row with no new Ebola cases in DRC

For the third day in a row, no new cases were recorded on the World Health Organization's (WHO's) online Ebola dashboard, so the outbreak still stands at 3,416 cases, including 2,239 deaths. A total of 501 suspected cases are under investigation.

According to the latest Disease Outbreak News summary published by the WHO yesterday, transmission has stabilized in the DRC, with only nine cases—all in Beni—recorded from Jan 15 to 21.

"The number of new confirmed cases reported each week has remained stable over the past six weeks, with approximately 14 new EVD cases reported weekly," the WHO said. "In addition, improved surveillance indicators such as the proportion of cases listed as contacts and followed prior to detection, and the decreased time to isolation of cases are encouraging signs."

The WHO said the current transmission chain is comprised of 82 confirmed and probable cases reported. Half of those cases occurred because of exposure in the community, 37% were due to nosocomial transmission, and 2% of patients were exposed during community deaths or funerals.
WHO Ebola dashboard
Jan 23 WHO Disease Outbreak News report


Three new Saudi MERS cases reported, 2 in health workers

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) today reported three new MERS-CoV cases identified this week, including another healthcare worker from Abha city, the third healthcare infection noted in that city this week.

The woman from Abha is 36, and her infection with MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) is listed as "secondary," meaning she likely contracted the virus from another person. She is identified as a healthcare worker.

A 30-year-old man from Al-Kharj has also been diagnosed as having the coronavirus. His infection is listed as primary, meaning it is not likely he contracted the virus from another person. The MOH also said the patient had camel contact.

A 63-year old woman from Dhurma was also diagnosed as a primary patient. She did not have camel contact.

The three new cases raise Saudi Arabia's MERS-CoV total for January to nine cases. The WHO said in its latest monthly update that 2,499 cases have been lab-confirmed since the virus emerged in people in 2012, including 861 fatalities. The vast majority of the cases have been in Saudi Arabia.
Jan 24 Saudi MOH report


Six countries report polio cases, including first in 2020 (in Pakistan)

According to the weekly polio update from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) posted today, Afghanistan has one more wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case and Pakistan has two more WPV1 cases, including the world's first case of 2020.

All other cases add to the 2019 tally.

Three countries have more circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 cases: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (10), the Philippines (2), and Togo (1). Also, Malaysia has two more cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1.

The case in Afghanistan occurred in Herat province, and brings the total number of WPV1 cases reported in 2019 to 29. The two cases in Pakistan occurred in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and one of them is the first case diagnosed in 2020. There were 136 cases in 2019, GPEI said.

The DRC cases bring 2019's total to 73, and new cases in the Philippines bring that country’s 2019 total to 13.
Jan 24 GPEI report

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