Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hong Kong: Surveillance in Pigs finds virus that is a combo of Pandemic H1N1 & Swine Influ. H3N2

Published on: 2011-08-26

Hong Kong (HKSAR) - The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) today (August 26) announced results of the regular influenza virus surveillance programme on pigs conducted by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) for May to July at the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse. Among some 1,300 samples tested, no human swine influenza virus (pandemic H1N1) was detected. However, 16 samples taken in June and July were found to contain a virus that was essentially a swine influenza H3N2 virus but had picked up some genes of human swine influenza virus.

A spokesman for the CFS said, "A case of swine influenza H1N1 virus carrying the genes of the human swine influenza virus was also found in the surveillance programme early last year.

There have been reports from many parts of the world showing similar findings."

According to Professor JSM Peiris, the HKU expert in charge of the surveillance programme, it is unlikely that this swine influenza H3N2 virus, which carried the genes of the human swine influenza virus, will cause any major human health risk or problems in food safety.

The spokesman said, "Given the fact that the human swine influenza virus has spread worldwide in humans and pigs have also been infected by this virus, the recent finding is not a cause for surprise. HKU is conducting further tests to learn more about this particular strain.

"The CFS would continue to monitor reports of the HKU surveillance programme and make announcements on a regular basis. Results will be announced immediately if there are significant public health impacts."

Under the regular influenza virus surveillance programme for pigs, the CFS has been helping HKU researchers to collect blood and tracheal and nasal swabs from pigs at the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse twice a month to monitor influenza virus activity in pigs.

According to the World Health Organization, the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, human swine influenza would not be contracted by consuming pork and pork products that are handled properly and thoroughly cooked.

Members of the public are advised that it is safe to eat pork and pork products that are cooked to an internal temperature of 70 degrees Celsius or above.

The CFS spokesman said that all imported live pigs from the Mainland come from registered farms and are accompanied with animal health certificates issued by the Mainland authorities.

"The FEHD inspects the certificates and health of the imported pigs at the boundary control points.

Both imported and local pigs also have to go through ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections in the slaughterhouses. Only pigs that pass the inspections can be supplied to the market and sold for consumption," he said.

Apart from the enhanced inspection of imported live pigs, the FEHD has reminded slaughterhouse staff and people who might be in contact with live pigs to pay attention to personal hygiene and to wear masks and appropriate protective gear at work.

The CFS has been keeping close liaison with the Mainland authorities over any abnormal situation concerning Mainland farms supplying live pigs to Hong Kong, and farm inspection would be stepped up when necessary, the spokesman added.

In addition, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department also closely monitors the health situation of pigs in Hong Kong and regularly reminds local pig farmers to maintain good farm and personal hygiene and report to the Department any abnormality in farms.

Source: HKSAR Government

ProMed: Australia (NS) H275Y mutation cluster


A cluster of oseltamivir-resistant A(H1N1)2009 influenza cases with onset between May and August 2011 has been detected in the Hunter region of New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Viruses from 25 of 184 (14 percent) A(H1N1)2009 cases from the Hunter New England region exhibited highly reduced oseltamivir sensitivity due to the H275Y substitution in the neuraminidase. The H275Y mutation is a well-established substitution previously reported to confer oseltamivir resistance in N1 neuraminidases and was present in the widespread oseltamivir resistant pre-pandemic seasonal A(H1N1) virus. 15 of the 1st 16 cases lived within a 50-km radius of the regional centre of Newcastle. 16 of the 25 patients have been interviewed, and none had received oseltamivir prior to influenza specimen collection. Only 5 were hospitalised at the time of specimen collection. None of the 16 had a history of immune suppression; 3 cases were pregnant. No one was admitted to ICU or had a fatal outcome. Further interviews with cases and virological analyses are ongoing.

Tamiflu-Resistant Flu Outbreak Reported in Australia’s Newcastle, WHO Says

More than two dozen cases of H1N1 swine flu resistant to Roche Holding AG (ROG)’s Tamiflu pill were reported in Australia in the largest outbreak of the drug- evading influenza strain.

Viruses from 25 of 184 patients in the Newcastle area of eastern Australia infected with the pandemic germ had a genetic mutation that reduces the potency of Tamiflu, scientists said in a report distributed today by the International Society for Infectious Diseases’ ProMED-mail program.

The cases, first reported in May, raise concern that the resistant strain may spread, leaving doctors without their preferred treatment for influenza. GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK)’s Relenza drug is effective against the mutant strain, which is still found in the Newcastle area, according to the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre for Influenza in Melbourne.

Continued (click on title for full article)

Australia reports oseltamivir-resistant 2009 H1N1 cluster

Lisa Schnirring * Staff Writer

Aug 26, 2011 (CIDRAP News) – Australian public health officials yesterday reported a cluster of oseltamivir (Tamiflu)-resistant 2009 H1N1 infections, one of the largest to date, centered in one region of New South Wales state.

Between May and August, 25 (14%) of 184 2009 H1N1 cases in the Hunter New England region of New South Wales have shown reduced sensitivity to oseltamivir due to the H275Y mutation, the group said in a report posted on ProMED Mail, the online reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.

Though smaller clusters of oseltamivir-resistant 2009 H1N1 infections have been detected mainly in healthcare settings where patients were treated with antivirals, none of the 16 patients interviewed so far had been treated with the drug.

Five were hospitalized when specimens were collected, and none had a history of immune suppression, the authors reported. Three of the cases were in pregnant women. None of the patients were admitted to the intensive care unit or died.

Fifteen of the first 16 cases live within a 50-km radius of Newcastle, the regional center.

Further interviews with the patients who had oseltamivir-resistant infections are ongoing, and more detailed virologic analysis of the isolates is under way, according to the report.

Dr Jennifer McKimm-Breschkin, an antiviral expert at Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization in Melbourne, said the Australian cluster is the largest to date involving the H275Y mutation and the 2009 H1N1 virus, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. She said the report suggests that the virus can transmit efficiently and without drug pressure and speculated that a treated patient may have passed the variant on to others.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a June surveillance update that the detection rate for oseltamivir-resistant 2009 H1N1 viruses is very low, at 1.5%, based on routine testing at five of its collaborating centers. Overall, the monthly detection rate increased slightly after October 2010, then declined in March. It added that patterns vary at different centers.

Clinical history has also varied by region, the WHO reported. In Japan most oseltamivir-resistant cases involved patients who received treatment of prophylaxis, but in the United Kingdom the percentage of resistant infections with no known exposure to the drug increased from 11% during the 2009-10 season to at least 28% during the 2010-11 season.

Dr Ian Barr, deputy director of the WHO's Collaborating Center for Influenza in Melbourne told Bloomberg that the cluster is only worrisome if it spreads beyond the Newcastle area. "Fortunately, we're heading toward the end of our flu season," he added.

Global update shows some hot spots
In a global influenza update today, the WHO said flu activity in Australia is increasing, based on rising levels of doctors' visits for flu-like illness and the number of lab-confirmed flu infections. It said the 2009 H1N1 virus and influenza B are co-circulating in the country, with varying distribution.

In neighboring New Zealand, where influenza B is the dominant strain, flu activity is at expected levels for this time of year, the WHO said. The Southern Hemisphere's flu season usually runs from May through October.

Flu activity is low in tropical locales, except in a few areas of the Americas, Western Africa, and Southern Asia. Hot spots include Cuba and Honduras, where the influenza A (H3N2) virus is dominant. Flu transmission continues in the Dominican Republic, which is now seeing a larger proportion of influenza B. Elsewhere, flu transmission is increasing in Cameroon, which is reporting mostly influenza B, with some circulation of 2009 H1N1.

The areas of greatest flu activity in South Asia include Bangladesh, India, and Thailand, which are reporting mainly H3N2 with smaller numbers of influenza B and 2009 H1N1.

Northern Hemisphere countries are reporting low or no flu activity, which is typical for the interseasonal period, the WHO said.

US flu markers stay low
In the United States, flu markers showed very low flu activity, with doctors' visits for flu-like activity at 0.5%, putting it well below the 2.5% baseline, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in its report for the week ending Aug 20. Deaths for flu and pneumonia were also well below the baseline for this time of year, and no pediatric flu deaths were reported.

See also:

Aug 25 ProMed post

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Six-year-old dies of bird flu in Cambodia: WHO

The child, from eastern Kampong Cham province, died on August 14 after contracting H5N1 avian influenza, the health ministry and WHO said in a joint statement.

"The girl is the 18th person in Cambodia to become infected with the H5N1 virus and the 16th to die from complications of the disease," since 2005 they said, adding that she had been in contact with sick or dead poultry before falling ill.

All eight of Cambodia's bird flu cases since January have been fatal. Seven of the victims were children.

The H5N1 strain of avian influenza has killed 331 people worldwide since 2003, the statement said

AI Landa Sinjai

Eastern Tribune - Wednesday, August 24, 2011 22:38

Sinjai, Tribun-TIMUR.COM - a huge number of chicken farms in six villages in the District of North Sinjai, Sinjai regency, South Sulawesi, reportedly hit by bird flu virus. Kelurahan is, sub Bongki, Balangnipa, Lappa, Biringere, and AlehanuaE and Lamatti Rilau.

Of the six villages, recorded two commercial farms were affected. Hundreds of chickens owned by residents were reported dead

A number of chickens that examined the team from the Animal Husbandry Department was sentenced Sinjai tested positive for H5N1 virus. After reporting the death of chickens crow, the other events popping up with the same case, the sudden death of chickens

Monday, August 22, 2011

40 Cambodian kids die of dengue fever in first 7 months

Monday, 22 August 2011 16:59 DAP-NEWS

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Forty Cambodian children died of dengue fever in the first seven months of this year, an increase from 37 such deaths in whole last year, Minister of Health Mam Bunheng said Monday.

From January to July this year, some 7,867 cases of dengue fever had been reported, exceeding the whole year 2010 of 5,497 cases, the minister told reporters during visit to dengue fever patients at the National Pediatric Hospital in Phnom Penh.

"The disease has claimed more Cambodian children's lives this year than in last year, so I'd like to appeal to parents to let their children sleep under mosquito nets and if their kids have symptom that is suspicious of the disease, they should urgently send them for medical attention," he said.

Dengue is an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include headache, fever, exhaustion, severe muscle and joint pain, swollen glands and rash.

In Cambodia, the outbreak of dengue fever usually takes place in the rainy season from May to October.

Cambodia: Concern over eighth bird flu death this year

Health officials yesterday called for increased vigilance following the latest death from bird flu, the eighth so far this year and the 17th since the H5N1 virus was first detected in a person in Cambodia in 2005. Every case this year has been fatal.

The latest victim, a six-year-old girl from a village in Kampong Cham province, had died on August 14, the Ministry of Health said on Friday.

She developed symptoms of the disease on August 7 after having been in contact with sick poultry, but was not admitted to hospital until August 12, the ministry said.

“We are concerned about the very high mortality rate. The situation calls for vigilance,” Dr Nima Asgari, a public health specialist at the World Health Organisation, said yesterday.

He added, however, that health officials’ biggest concern, transmission of the virus from one person to another, had not yet occurred.

Moreover, no mutations in the virus had been detected.

Cases of bird flu during the rainy season were not consistent with patterns from previous years, when the threat of bird flu was restricted to the dry season, Dr Asgari said.

Srou Sroeurn, an animal health expert at Kampong Cham’s Agricultural Department, said a swift response was under way.

Officials had sprayed disinfectant at 105 homes in Taing Thloeung village, in Batheay district’s Mepring commune, where the girl had contracted the disease, he said.

Chickens and ducks had also been tested for the disease, and transport of poultry in the area has been suspended.

More than 1,500 village health volunteers and village livestock volunteers had been alerted to increase their monitoring of dead or sick poultry and report any cases immediately, Srou Sroeurn said.

Dr Sok Touch, director of the communicable disease control department at the Ministry of Health, said 15 people in the village had been tested last week but none were infected.

Dr Asgari said his officials were working closely with the ministry to find ways to increase public awareness of H5N1.

“People are forgetting about avian influenza,” he said. “People should not be eating dead or sick chickens.”