News Scan for Feb 11, 2021

Second DRC Ebola case
Rabies treatment in kids
H5N8 avian flu in European poultry

Second fatal Ebola case reported in DRC resurgence

A second fatal Ebola case was reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in a person from North Kivu province, where the first case was recently reported in the wife of an Ebola survivor, according to media reports that cited a joint statement from the DRC and the World Health Organization (WHO).

African media reports said the second case involves a 60-year-old woman from Lubero in North Kivu province. who had contact with the first case.

Also, the WHO yesterday posted new details about the first patient, whose illness resulted in   high-risk exposures. The 42-year-old woman sought care for nasal bleeding on Jan 25 and was referred to two different health centers as her symptoms worsened. Health workers obtained a blood sample for Ebola testing, given that her husband was an Ebola survivor. His samples have tested negative since Sep 28.

She was admitted to an intensive care unit near Butembo on Feb 4, where she died the same day. On Feb 5, she was buried without Ebola safety protocols, and the following day her samples tested positive for Ebola. So far, 117 contacts have been identified for follow-up.

The WHO said resurgence is not surprising because of exposure to animal hosts or to body fluids of Ebola survivors, who may harbor the virus in immune protected body sites, including the testes and eyes.
Feb 11 NPR report
Feb 11 7SUR7 media report
Feb 10 WHO statement


Study confirms safety, effectiveness of rabies treatment in children

Results from the first and only pediatric trial of a human rabies immunoglobulin treatment currently available in the United States show it's safe and effective in children under the age of 17, according to a new study in Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics.

The treatment, known as KEDRAB (Rabies Immune Globulin [Human]), is currently used to prevent rabies in adults as part of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

Now, based on study results from Israel and the United States, data on PEP with KEDRAB are being submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration for review as the first rabies treatment for the pediatric population.

"Evidence from this KEDRAB US Pediatric Trial confirms that this product addresses an unmet need in children who may have been exposed to rabies, and gives healthcare providers confidence when preventing this deadly condition in countless numbers of young patients across the US," said first author Nicholas Hobart-Porter, DO, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children's Hospital, in a press release from Taylor & Francis, publisher of the journal.

In the study, 30 participants who had suspected or confirmed rabies exposure received KEDRAB over an 84-day period (including a 3-month follow-up). The participants received 20 IU/kg KEDRAB infiltrated into detectable wound sites, with any remainder injected intramuscularly, and at the same time began the four-dose series of rabies vaccine. None of the participants developed active rabies infections. There were no significant adverse events recorded.

Rabies, transmitted through animal bites, is 100% fatal, and children account for 40% of the world's rabies cases, according to the World Health Organization.
Feb 9 Hum Vaccin Immunother
Feb 9 Taylor & Francis
press release


H5N8 avian flu strikes more poultry farms in Europe

European countries reported more highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu outbreaks in poultry, with Latvia the latest of many to report a detection of the virus in wild birds, according to notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Germany reported three more outbreaks at turkey and broiler farms in two different states, one in Brandenburg and two in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The events began from Feb 5 to Feb 8, and taken together, the virus killed 5,127 of 77,500 susceptible birds.

Ukraine reported an outbreak in backyard birds in Donetsk, which began on Feb 7, killing 23 of 48 birds. Also, Poland reported three outbreaks in three provinces, which started from Feb 2 to Feb 4, killing 952 of 21,237 birds.

Meanwhile, Latvia reported H5N8 in two mute swans found dead on Feb 9 in Jurmala, not far from Riga. And in other developments, Bulgaria reported four H5 outbreaks at poultry farms in Pleven province, which began from Feb 5 to Feb 8. Among all the locations, the virus killed 1,647 of 320,011 susceptible birds.
Feb 9 OIE report on H5N8 in Germany's Bradenburg state
Feb 9 OIE report on H5N8 in Germany's Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state
Feb 10 OIE report on H5N8 in the Ukraine
Feb 10 OIE report on H5N8 in Poland
Feb 10 OIE report on H5N8 in Poland
Feb 10 OIE report on H5N8 in Latvia
Feb 9 OIE report on H5 in Bulgaria

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