News Scan for Jun 01, 2017

News brief

First H7N9 avian flu case reported in China's Inner Mongolia province

In another sign of further northward spread, China's Inner Mongolia province has reported its first human H7N9 avian flu case, Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said today in a statement. The development comes just a few weeks after H7N9 was detected for the first time in live-bird markets in Inner Mongolia province. The province mainly borders Mongolia, with a small part abutting Russia.

The patient, a man from Bayannur City, is listed in stable condition. An investigation revealed the source of his infection was probably poultry raised at his home.

China is still in its fifth and biggest wave of H7N9 activity, which has so far resulted in more than 700 illnesses, more than 200 of them fatal. This season's cases have been marked by a wide geographic spread, which has included a late-season surge of poultry outbreaks and cases in northern provinces.
Jun 1 CHP statement


Pertussis vaccine in pregnancy shows 90% effectiveness in infants

A study today conducted in Spain showed that babies born to women who received the pertussis vaccine in pregnancy were at least 90% less likely to contract pertussis (whooping cough) during their first 3 months of life compared with peers born to unvaccinated mothers.

The study was published in this week's Eurosurveillance and used lab-confirmed cases of pertussis in newborns to calculate risk. Cases were non-vaccinated infants less than 3 months of age at disease onset; for every case, three unvaccinated controls were selected. Twenty-two cases and 66 controls were used in the study. The authors found that maternal vaccination during pregnancy had a vaccine effectiveness (VE) of 95.4%, and the VE improves slightly with breastfeeding, to 96.7%.

"Around 90% of the cases in newborns under 3 months-old might be avoided by vaccinating their mother in the third trimester of pregnancy. Second, the results also suggest a possible protective effect of breastfeeding in the absence of vaccination," the authors concluded.
Jun 1 Eurosurveillance study  


Sapovirus variant found in large foodborne disease outbreak in Sweden

An investigation into a large gastroenteritis outbreak last year linked to food served in a Swedish school kitchen turned up a variant of sapovirus, a relative of norovirus, that wasn't found during standard polymerase chain reaction screening, researchers reported today in Eurosurveillance.

More than 650 students and teachers in the city of Sollentuna were among the suspected case-patients, and the school kitchen that was thought to be the source served 2,700 meals per day. Though symptoms were consistent with calcivirus infection, a virus family that includes both norovirus and sapovirus, tests on stool samples of 15 patients were negative for 12 different types of foodborne pathogens, including sapovirus.

An environmental and Web-based survey suggested that the source was a salad buffet served on a specific day, but it didn't single out a specific food item. Electron microscopy of stool samples, however, followed by whole-genome sequencing, revealed a variant of sapovirus genogroup 5.

Researchers said the sapovirus outbreak appears to be the biggest since a 2010 event in Japan. In 2012, a team from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that sapovirus was found in 21 of 93 gastroenteritis outbreaks in Oregon and Minnesota, many of them at nursing homes.

The Swedish researchers note that the investigation shows the importance of coupling epidemiologic analysis with standard and new microbiological techniques, especially for identifying new variants.
Jun 1 Eurosurveill report

Zika Scan for Jun 01, 2017

News brief

Number of US babies born with Zika defects grows to 72

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today reported 8 more babies born in the United States with Zika-related birth defects, raising the total to 72. The number of pregnancy losses related to the virus remained at eight. So far 1,579 of 1,883 women who are part of the US Zika Pregnancy Registry have completed their pregnancies, with or without birth defects.

In a related development, a Florida health official said seven babies have been born in the state with Zika-related complications, the Orlando Sentinel reported on May 30. Celeste Philip, MD, MPH, Florida's surgeon general, said the locations of the affected babies won't be revealed because of privacy concerns, according to the report. She said the state has hired extra staff to help connect families to appropriate healthcare.

According to the Florida Department of Health (Florida Health), 344 Zika infections have been detected in pregnant women in the state.
Jun 1 CDC Zika pregnancy outcome update
May 30 Orlando Sentinel story
Florida Health Zika page


WHO announces new vector-control program

The World Health Organization (WHO) introduced a new vector-control program today, which aims to make mosquito control a priority to help beat back the threat of dengue, Zika, chikungunya, malaria, and other mosquito-borne viruses.

The Global Vector Control Response (GVCR) 2017-2030 outlines several goals and activities to reduce mortality from vector-borne diseases by at least 75% and incidence by at least 60% by 2030 and to prevent epidemics worldwide. The WHO said approximately 80% of the world's population is at risk for these diseases.

"Rapid unplanned urbanization, massive increases in international travel and trade, altered agricultural practices and other environmental changes are fuelling the spread of vectors worldwide, putting more and more people at risk," the WHO said in an announcement.

The GCVR's initial budget is $330 million US per year, which is less than 10% of what is currently spent each year controlling vectors that spread malaria, dengue, and Chagas disease.

In addition to strengthening surveillance, the GCVR will invest in new technologies, including spatial repellents and odor-baited traps, and developing a common bacterium (Wolbachia) that stops viruses from replicating inside mosquitoes.
Jun 1 WHO announcement

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