Prominent jazz pianist Matija Dedić performed the program last night, July 26, at the 67th Dubrovnik Summer Festival in the crowded atrium of the Rector’s Palace – Matija plays Arsena, as a musical hommage to his late father, top musician and class chansonnier Arsen Dedić.Jazz reading topics from The Glembays i In the registry, as well as Moderate Cantabile i House by the sea which have also been turned into exemplary examples of piano jazz and songs like Your tender years i Everything you know about me they found their place on the album as well as at the concert at the Palace. The album is actually much more than that homage Matija to his father, he represents the exclamation of the soul of one great artist to another, which especially touched the festival audience at a very emotional concert at the Rector’s Palace – in the same place where Arsen Dedić performed at the 65th Dubrovnik Summer Festival and performed some of these eternal compositions .Matija Dedić started playing the piano at the age of five. He graduated from the Jazz Academy in Graz in 1997 in the class of Professor Harald Neuwirth. Growing up in a family of artists, surrounded by pop but also classical musicians, at an early age he began to listen to different musical styles and soon began to write music for television and theater, and occasionally perform with famous Croatian musicians. He received an award for the album from the Croatian Society of Composers Octopussy in the category of the best young Croatian composer and author in the last 10 years.
Aurea Fest 2016 in Požega which lasts from 28. to 3. September, was ceremoniously opened with the Festival of Customs, which this year, thanks to the numerous guardians of tradition, successfully united the beauty of customs and the splendor of bečar and bečar. Aurea Fest Požega is a successful combination of modern and traditional events, as evidenced by the seven-day events on the Holy Trinity Square and the Promenade Zone in Požega, which gather year after year more and more visitors throughout the region.The song, top wines, gastronomic offer, concerts, exhibitions, sports competitions, folklore festivals and many other entertainment programs will be held in Požega from August 28 to September 03, 2016 under the slogan 7 days, 7 nights.It all starts with a program that will take place in the promenade zone of the festival as an open musical morning called “Happy Valley” which will bring together a large number of music amateurs, music enthusiasts, music professionals and music lovers in one thematic unit. The desire is to break the Guinness Book of Records in the most massive performance of a single song. It will be a song by Queen We will rock you. The plan is to gather more than seven thousand people in one year to perform one song, and in that way promote Požega, Aurea Fest, but also the love of music.On the main stage at St. The Trinity program begins with the Festival of Customs, with a traditional folklore procession and Požega grape harvest. The festival procession is attended by historical units, city music, cultural and artistic societies of Požeština, horsemen and carriages, as well as winemakers, fruit growers and honey producers of Požeština. The opening ceremony of the festival begins at 19:00, followed by the Aurea Fest of customs, which will show and perform various customs, music and dances from the life of the people living in Slavonia. On the same evening, we will always see a witty selection for the most glamorous Šokica and the winners of the Golden Voice of the Golden Valley Kaptol 2016. Aurea Fest of street musicians and magicians will follow. various bastards, singers and musicians who will make this unusual program truly special. At the end of the program, guests will be able to watch the great feature film “Sun Kid of Recent Times” on the main stage, which shows the specifics of children with Down syndrome and how we can all change the world starting from ourselves.Aurea Fest of dance called “Let’s dance through all styles and colors” is planned for Tuesday, where various dance groups of contemporary dance, hip hop, jazz and classical ballet will perform, introducing the audience to various styles through words, movement and colors. The program begins with a program of excellent Požega majorettes who will perform with the City Music Trenkovi panduri. After the dance part of the program, “Aurea Fashion” begins – a fashion show of the guild of hairdressers and beauticians of the Association of Craftsmen of the City of Požega and the Crafts School of Požega. Wednesday, August 31st is a big treat of the Festival, the Aurea Fest Jazz. We invite you to experience the warmth of summer outdoor jazz with the top Big Band Požega who will warm up this evening and make a great introduction to the rest of the program featuring the first lady of the Croatian jazz and blues scene Zdenka Kovačiček and the fantastic International Greenhouse Blues Band.Aurea Fest of choreographed folklore, which will feature the best cultural and artistic societies of Slavonia with attractive choreographies of Croatian dances, secured their place on Thursday, September 1 on the main stage of the Festival, on Trg sv. Trinity, known for the beautiful baroque bolts that dominate this square. On the same Square, we will have a big concert by Miroslav Škora called “They call me tambourines”. Aurea Fest electronic music, which will be presented by significant representatives of electronic and house music, you will be able to visit from 24:00 in Platinum In.On Friday, 2016 famous singers of this style of music will perform at the Požega Popular Music Festival 16, and in the second part, each will perform one of their hits from one of the previous festivals in the form of a show program. The mentioned program will be able to be watched live via Agricultural Television, live stream.Aurea Fest of the Golden String of Slavonia Požega 2016 – tamburitza music festival, traditionally the most famous festival we present so far. The festival brings 16 most popular soloists and tamburitza ensembles in Croatia. The program consists of two parts, the first part of which will feature new songs, and the second part of the program hits from the past Golden Strings of Slavonia, with a live broadcast on Croatian Radio Television. The program also included daily events in the pedestrian zone from 17:00 pm to 23:00 pm with numerous tamburitza ensembles, jugglers, magicians, performers and street musicians. And every night in the agreed bars and restaurants, music of different styles and genres will be played.You can watch the live broadcast of all 7 days of the Festival on the link available on the official website of Poljoprivredna TV Požega, and you can watch the live broadcast of Aurea Fest popular music and Aurea Fest Zlatne žice Slavonije via Croatian Radio Television.All videos related to the festival can be found at the links www.aurea-fest.com.
The story goes something like this… The Lumiere brothers who made films in Opatija, Isadora Duncan who danced inspired by the flickering wind of the Opatija palm trees, Empress Sissy who was officially never in Opatija, but “unofficially” hid in her villas in the company of lovers and many other celebrities from the history of this area “come to life” again in mid-July thanks to the stage and music event “Opatija – Imperial City” which makes the whole city a stage for a fantastic spectacle that gathers thousands of visitors.”During this event, tourists have the opportunity to get acquainted with Opatija’s past, explore the hidden secrets of its history, check why this city has become and remains a favorite destination of world celebrities, but also feel the spirit of the time when Opatija began its rise to the throne of European tourism. The event “Opatija – Imperial City” is held throughout the city center, along the main street, coastal promenade, beautiful parks and impressive villas and on the terraces of hotels and restaurants. ” point out from the Opatija Tourist Board. This award is a great recognition of Opatija as well as an additional incentive for further development of innovations in the projects of the Tourist Board of Opatija, and for Advent in Opatija will use special multimedia effects such as 3D holograms and mapping that will provide a unique experience for all visitors.Quality content, story, rounded tourist product and excellent performance can generate a motive for arrival and a quality tourist story.The Tourist Board of the City of Opatija recently received the award “Simply the Best” in the category of innovative project in tourism for the project “Opatija – Imperial City” which was realized with the use of multimedia. “We are returning to the golden age of Opatija tourism and Opatija is becoming one big stage. The program is held on several stages, with numerous extras, dance groups and animators. In three days Opatija becomes one small Austro-Hungary”Suzi Petričić, director of the Tourist Board of the City of Opatija, points out and adds that the event is visited by thousands of tourists from the entire region. A story that takes us back to the past and through the concept of living history shows, ie revives history as it once was in Opatija during the end of the 19th century.Quality content, story, rounded tourist product and excellent performance can generate a motive for arrival and a quality tourist story. Our biggest tourist advantage is precisely our diversity, which we have to pack nicely and tell a story.Tourism consists of emotions, experiences and stories. Tell stories.
Share on Twitter People who participate in arts and craft activities and who socialize in middle and old age may delay the development in very old age of the thinking and memory problems that often lead to dementia, according to a new study published in the April 8, 2015, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.People age 85 and older make up the fastest growing age group in the United States and worldwide.“As millions of older US adults are reaching the age where they may experience these memory and thinking problem called Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), it is important we look to find lifestyle changes that may stave off the condition,” said study author Rosebud Roberts, MB, ChB, MS, of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “Our study supports the idea that engaging the mind may protect neurons, or the building blocks of the brain, from dying, stimulate growth of new neurons, or may help recruit new neurons to maintain cognitive activities in old age.” The study involved 256 people with an average age of 87 who were free of memory and thinking problems at the start of the study. The participants reported their participation in arts, such as painting, drawing and sculpting; crafts, like woodworking, pottery, ceramics, quilting, quilling and sewing; social activities, such as going to the theater, movies, concerts, socializing with friends, book clubs, Bible study and travel; and computer activities such as using the Internet, computer games, conducting web searches and online purchases.After an average of four years, 121 people developed mild cognitive impairment. Participants who engaged in arts in both middle and old age were 73 percent less likely to develop MCI than those who did not report engaging in artistic activities. Those who crafted in middle and old age were 45 percent less likely to develop MCI and people who socialized in middle and old age were 55 percent less likely to develop MCI compared to those who did not engage in like activities. Computer use in later life was associated with a 53 percent reduced risk of MCI.On the other hand, risk factors such as having the APOE gene, having high blood pressure in middle age, depression and risk factors related to blood vessels increased the risk of developing MCI. Pinterest LinkedIn Share on Facebook Email Share
Share on Twitter The mission of neural stem cells located in the hippocampus, one of the main regions of the brain, is to generate new neurons during the adult life of mammals, including human beings, of course, and their function is to participate in certain types of learning and responses to anxiety and stress. Using an epilepsy model in genetically modified mice, the researchers have discovered that hippocampal neural stem cells stop generating new neurons and are turned into reactive astrocytes, a cell type that promotes inflammation and alters communication between neurons.This research work has also made it possible to confirm the hypothesis in a previous piece of research by these researchers; this hypothesis established that even though neuronal hyperexcitation does not go as far as to cause convulsions, it does induce the massive activation of neural stem cells and their resulting premature exhaustion; as a result, neurogenesis (generation of new neurons) in the hippocampus ends up chronically reduced.Juan Manuel Encinas, who is leading the study, highlights the fact that “this discovery has enabled us to gain a better understanding about how neural stem cells function. We have shown that in addition to generating neurons and astrocytes, neural stem cells in the adult hippocampus can generate reactive astrocytes following an epileptic seizure”. Pinterest Share LinkedIn Email Share on Facebook Even though the work has been carried out on experimental animals, this discovery has clear implications in clinical practice and in the quest for new therapies for epilepsy given that the generation of new neurons (neurogenesis) is a process that is negatively affected in epileptic seizures located in the hippocampus. “If we can manage to preserve the population of neural stem cells and their capacity to generate new neurons in humans, it may be possible to prevent the development of certain symptoms associated with epilepsy and very likely to mitigate the damage that is caused in the hippocampus,” pointed out Juan Manuel Encinas.In this ambitious, multidisciplinary project they have collaborated with research groups attached to institutions such as the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston (United States), the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium), the Achucarro centre itself, and the UPV/EHU’s Genetic Expression Service.
Share on Facebook LinkedIn Share on Twitter Share Pinterest Email For nearly 15 years, Shisheva’s laboratory has studied the cellular functions of two enzymes, PIKfyve and Sac3, and one accessory protein ArPIKfyve – the three proteins originally discovered by her group from 1999 to 2007 – and the role these proteins play in disease mechanisms. Previous work by Shisheva’s team revealed that if the Sac3 enzyme is not bound and protected by ArPIKfyve, it is prone to a quick demise inside the cell. In addition, they found that this double ArPIKfyve-Sac3 protein complex is a part of a bigger, triple assembly incorporating the PIKfyve enzyme as well. The triple complex controls the production and turnover of one rare phospholipid molecule that controls the traffic of membranes towards the digestive system of the cell.It has remained a mystery why the Sac3 mutations are associated with neurodegeneration in humans, whereas the human mutations in PIKfyve are currently linked only to a relatively benign disease of the cornea. This led Shisheva’s team to believe that the double ArPIKfyve-Sac3 complex has separate functions in the brain. Shisheva’s group sought to identify brain-specific proteins that physically interact only with the double complex ArPIKfyve-Sac3.In a recent paper, “The protein complex of neurodegeneration-related phosphoinositide phosphatase Sac3 and ArPIKfyve binds the Lewy-body-associated Synphilin-1 preventing its aggregation,” published online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Shisheva and her research team characterized a novel interaction partner of the ArPIKfyve-Sac3 complex in the brain. The Journal of Biological Chemistry is the world’s largest and most cited journal based on PageRank algorithm.“We uncovered that the ArPIKfyve-Sac3 complex binds Synphilin-1, a protein already implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease through its interaction with alpha-synuclein,” said Shisheva. “As alpha-synuclein, Synphilin-1 is also entrapped in the abnormal Lewy body deposits. Our study revealed that the ArPIKfyve-Sac3 complex is an effective inhibitor of aggregate formation by Synphilin-1.”In addition, Shisheva’s team found that excessive levels of Sac3 cause protein self-aggregation and further facilitate the clumping by Synphilin-1. Not surprisingly, researchers in Japan have recently found that excessive Sac3 accumulates in Lewy bodies. Therefore, the ArPIKfyve-Sac3 complex may precipitate Parkinson’s disease manifestation in two ways: when it is too low and when Sac3 is disproportionally high. These observations raise the possibility that increasing the levels of the ArPIKfyve-Sac3 complex may have a beneficial effect in Parkinson’s disease.According to Shisheva, the ArPIKfyve-Sac3 complex could shift Synphilin-1 distribution from a form of multiple aggregates towards the soluble form. Future attempts to block aggregate formation or to break down formed aggregates of Synphilin-1 and, possibly, of alpha-synuclein, based on the ArPIKfyve-Sac3 complex may prove beneficial as a therapeutic approach in reducing neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease. The current study provides new insights into the neurodegeneration mechanisms and important clues about novel molecular means for reducing cytoplasmic aggregates in Parkinson’s diseases. More than one million people in the United States are afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive disorder of the brain that affects movement and coordination. The cause is typically unknown, and presently there is no cure for the disease.Scientists have discovered that the hallmark sign of Parkinson’s disease is the intraneuronal accumulation and progressive spreading of clumps in certain areas of the brain, known as Lewy bodies. These Lewy body inclusions are formed mainly through the accumulation of a protein, called alpha-synuclein. Because of a correlation between the extent of Lewy body clumps and the severity of the Parkinson’s clinical symptoms, it has been largely accepted that these inclusions accelerate the disease process. Therefore, identifying molecules and conditions which decrease or halt the formation of alpha-synuclein-containing toxic inclusions may be beneficial for Parkinson’s disease patients.A research team led by Assia Shisheva, Ph.D., professor of physiology in Wayne State University’s School of Medicine, has made breakthrough advancements on a new molecular mechanism that may provide a means to “melt” these pathological clumps.
Share on Facebook Share Share on Twitter Email A single dose of psilocybin, the major hallucinogenic component in magic mushrooms, induces long-lasting decreases in anxiety and depression in patients diagnosed with life-threatening cancer according to a new study presented today at the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.Patients who receive a cancer diagnosis often develop debilitating symptoms of anxiety and depression. Reports from the 1960s and 1970s suggest that hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD may alleviate such symptoms in cancer patients, but the clinical value of hallucinogenic drugs for the treatment of mood disturbances in cancer patients remains unclear.In this new study, Roland Griffiths and colleagues from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine investigated the effects of psilocybin on symptoms of anxiety and depression in individuals diagnosed with life-threatening cancer. LinkedIn Five weeks after receiving a dose of psilocybin sufficiently high to induce changes in perception and mystical-type experiences, patients reported significantly lower levels of anxiety and depression compared with patients that received a low dose of the drug. The positive effects on mood persisted in the patients at 6 month follow-up.The authors suggest that a single dose of psilocybin may be sufficient to produce enduring decreases in negative mood in patients with a life-threatening cancer. Pinterest
LinkedIn Less than half of all people in the United States adopt their parents’ political party affiliation, according to new research published in the British Journal of Political Science. The study also discovered some factors that appear to influence whether parents successfully transmit their partisan identities to their children.“Most parents want to raise their children with the ‘right’ values. What is right, of course, depends upon the parent but understanding what factors might aid or harm a parent’s ability to successful transmit their values to their children is important to many, particularly in this era of hyper polarization,” said study author Pete Hatemi, a distinguished professor at Penn State University.“Generally speaking, if there has been one constant in the study of political behavior it was the belief that political orientations are reliably transmitted from parents to children. The problem is that the evidence of this belief has almost entirely relied upon the concordance between self-reported parent and child values.” Share on Twitter Email Share on Facebook Share “Basically, researchers have simply treated parent-child correlation as evidence of parent-to-child transmission. Moreover, the generally held view has been that parent-child agreement on political orientations is the norm — a majority of children know and want to adopt their parents’ values, and parents simply instill values into children. Oddly enough, these assumptions have hardly been tested.”The researchers examined data from 4,852 parent–child dyads. The data came from three large longitudinal studies: the Youth-Parent Socialization Study, the Health and Lifestyles Study and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Importantly, the studies not only assessed the party identification of parents and their children, they also assessed children’s perceptions of their parents’ political beliefs and included measures of the parent-child relationship.Hatemi and his colleagues found that fewer than half of the children correctly perceived and subsequently adopted their parents’ party identification. “That is, most parents do not successfully transmit their values to their children,” he told PsyPost.“There are at least two steps to transmitting values to children. First, children must accurately perceive their parent’s values, then they must choose whether or not to adopt those values. This is important because almost all prior approaches have overstated parent-to child transmission — they treated children who correctly perceived and adopted their parents values as the same as those who misperceived and rejected those values (and vice versa).”“The number of false positives and false negatives was considerable. On average, 28% of children misperceived their parents’ values and 35% of children rejected whatever they perceived their parents to be. That is, the perception of parental values, not the parents’ actual values, is the most important factor in a child adopting their parents’ political party identification,” Hatemi explained.The researchers also uncovered several factors related to a child’s rejection or acceptance of their parents’ party identification.“We found that while a more politicized home increases the ability of children to know their parent’s values, it does not have any role in motivating a child to adopt their parent’s values. Parent-child closeness and the intensity of parents’ political opinions appear to influence children to want to be more like their parents, but oddly enough they do nothing to improve a children’s ability to know their parents’ values.”“This is important because we found that the children who often want to be like their parents end up adopting the wrong values because they actually believed their parents to be completely different. And education, previously thought to have little role in transmission, does not influence a child’s ability to know their parents’ affiliation, but appears to make children more likely to reject whatever that they believe their parents to be.”All research includes some limitations, and the current study is no exception.“Our data mainly covers the 70s, 80, and 2000s but there is a real lack of studies that have parent-child cross reports. Our next step is to collect data from 2020 forward to see if this pattern holds true,” Hatemi noted.“Our models are designed to offer a first step, a baseline model if you will. Additional factors, such as institutions, differing political contexts, including other countries, global conditions and more information on the children and parents is needed, particularly emotional and cognitive aspects.”“The current study focused mainly parent to child transmission, but a critical next step is to address the role of child to parent transmission, which is increasingly prevalent in first-generation families. A growing literature is concentrating on child-driven discussion in which child experiences bring new information into the home and allows parents to become more politically aware,” Hatemi said.The study, “The Role of Child Perception and Motivation in Political Socialization“, was authored by Peter K. Hatemi and Christopher Ojeda. Pinterest
Pinterest Share on Twitter LinkedIn Share “This study was motivated by a paper published by Carin Perilloux and Rob Kurzban in Psychological Science in 2012. The conclusion of that paper was that men have evolved the tendency to overestimate women’s sexual interest, and women under-estimate that of men’s,” Lee told PsyPost.“My thought on this was that there are a lot of differences between men and women that could explain this bias without appealing to inherent sex differences. For instance, people (regardless of their sex) who are interest in short-term sexual encounters may be more likely to overestimate sexual interest, it just so happens that men tend to be more interested in these types of relationships.”A speed-dating study was conducted among a sample of 1,226 heterosexual young adults with an average age of 19. Each participant met around three to four members of the opposite sex for a total of 3 minutes each, adding up to 3,850 interactions. After each meeting, subjects rated their sexual interest in their partner and the perceived sexual interest of their partner. Subjects also completed the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory which measured their willingness to partake in uncommitted sex by assessing their past experiences, their attitudes towards casual sex, and their desire for sex. Finally, subjects rated their own attractiveness.Results were consistent with previous studies, showing that men, overall, perceived higher levels of sexual attraction from women than women did from men. Effects were also found for each of the three potential mediators. When it came to sociosexual orientation, those with an inclination towards short-term relationships perceived more sexual interest from their partners. As the authors point out, this could indicate that people who are more open to casual sex overperceive other’s interest in them in order to maximize opportunities for mating.Next, those who rated themselves as higher in attractiveness also perceived greater sexual interest from their partners.“If we assume that individuals have some insight into their own attractiveness (indeed, self-rated attractiveness was positively associated with received sexual interest from partners in our sample), this finding could suggest a learning effect in which individuals who have received interest in the past raise their internal representation of their own attractiveness, which in turn influences their perceptions of sexual interest from potential partners in future interactions,” Lee and associates say.The final and largest effect on perceived interest from a partner was the rater’s own sexual interest. In fact, subjects’ perceptions of a partner’s sexual interest were more strongly associated with their own interest in that partner than the partner’s actual sexual interest. This effect is consistent with the idea that people tend to project their sexual interest onto others, and could “reflect a broader tendency for individuals to assume that others think like themselves” rather than an evolutionary adaptation.Importantly, when researchers took the three mediators into account, the effect for sex disappeared. This suggests that sex differences in perception of sexual interest can be completely explained by the factors of sociosexual orientation, self-ratings of attractiveness, and projected sexual interest. This challenges the idea that sex differences in misperceptions of sexual interest have evolved solely to accommodate the different mating strategies of men and women.“There doesn’t appear to be an inherent difference between men and women regarding perceptions of sexual interest, and any misperceptions in sexual interest appear to be more due to more individual differences, such as that in motivation,” Lee said.“While our particular paper identified some individual differences that helped explain differences in misperceptions in sexual interest, we did not investigate an exhaustive list.”The study, “Sex Differences in Misperceptions of Sexual Interest Can Be Explained by Sociosexual Orientation and Men Projecting Their Own Interest Onto Women”, was authored by Anthony J. Lee, Morgan J. Sidari, Sean C. Murphy, James M. Sherlock, and Brendan P. Zietsch. Email Share on Facebook New research suggests that men’s tendency to overestimate women’s sexual interest is more than just an evolutionary adaptation. The study found that differences in sociosexual orientation and the tendency to project one’s interest onto others completely explained sex differences in the misperception of partner’s interest. The study was published in Psychological Science.Previous research has consistently found that when it comes to gauging a partner’s sexual interest, men and women display different biases. Men tend to overestimate women’s sexual interest, while women underestimate men’s sexual interest. Some researchers have speculated that these differences have evolved to serve the mating strategies of each sex. From an evolutionary perspective, men have more to lose by underestimating a partner’s interest and potentially missing a mating opportunity than women do. Women, on the other hand, have more to lose by overestimating a man’s interest and engaging in sex with an uncommitted man.Study author Anthony J. Lee, a lecturer at The University of Stirling, and his team wanted to explore whether there might be other factors involved that can explain men’s and women’s differences in perceptions of sexual interest.
Nov 13, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Today’s weekly influenza reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contain some hints that the fall wave of H1N1 flu may have crested, though cases are still widespread over most of the country.Visits to the CDC network of sentinel doctors for influenza-like illness (ILI) declined last week for the second week in a row, and the number of states with widespread flu activity dropped from 48 to 46, the agency reported.On the other hand, the percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia and flu both continued to climb, the CDC said. In addition, another 26 pediatric deaths linked to confirmed H1N1 cases were reported, bringing the total since April to 156.ILI-related visits last week made up 6.7% of all visits to doctors, which is down from 7.7% the week before, the CDC said in its detailed weekly FluView report. Visits dropped in all regions except New England.”This is the second week of national decreases in ILI after four consecutive weeks of sharp increases,” the agency said in its general H1N1 Situation Update. “While ILI declined nationally, visits to doctors for influenza-like illness remain higher than what is seen during the peak of many regular flu seasons,” the agency update said.The CDC says that all states except Hawaii, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Texas had widespread cases last week; those states had regional activity. Only two states had less-than-widespread activity the previous week.The proportion of deaths related to pneumonia and flu in the CDC’s 122-city mortality reporting system reached 7.7% last week, which was above the epidemic threshold of 6.8% for the week. The percentage has been above the threshold for 6 weeks in a row, the agency said.However, charts in the FluView report show that the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths related to influenza of all types both dropped last week compared with the week before. The charts indicate something in excess of 3,000 hospitalizations and between 100 and 150 deaths last week. The CDC says that more than 99% of viruses in circulation are the 2009 H1N1.Thirty-five children’s deaths related to flu were reported last week. Of those, 26 were linked to confirmed H1N1 infections, while 8 involved influenza A viruses that were not subtyped, and one involved type B, the CDC reported.The number of pediatric deaths attributed to confirmed H1N1 cases since April has reached 156; another 23 cases involved confirmed flu viruses that were not subtyped.The total of 156 is higher than the number for any seasonal flu epidemic of the past 5 years, according to numbers listed in today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The article says the highest pediatric death toll in that span was 153, with an average of 82.The FluView report says deaths due to confirmed flu from Aug 30 to Nov 7 totaled 877, and there were 22,364 hospitalizations related to confirmed flu in that period.Those numbers include only confirmed flu cases. Yesterday the CDC presented a new estimation method, in part to allow for untested cases. Using that method, officials estimated total US H1N1 deaths since April at 3,900.The number of oseltamivir-resistant H1N1 isolates found in the United States through October is 14, out of 256 isolates tested, according to the MMWR article. Twelve of the 14 patients had received the antiviral drug for treatment or prevention.See also: CDC H1N1 Situation Update pagehttp://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/update.htmCDC’s weekly FluView reporthttp://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/CDC. Update: Influenza activity—United States, August 30–October 31, 2009. MMWR 2009 Nov 13;58(44):1236-41 [Full text]
Jul 20, 2012ECDC sounds alarm about increase in drug-resistant gonnorheaCases of gonorrhea and syphilis are increasing in Europe as gonorrhea is becoming more resistant to antimicrobial drugs, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warned yesterday in Eurosurveillance. In 2010, 32,000 cases of gonorrhea, 18,000 cases of syphilis, and more than 345,000 cases of chlamydia were reported across Europe, according to an editorial. Separate reports in the issue deal with increases in sexually transmitted diseases in Germany, England, and Sweden in 2011. The increases probably reflect a combination of increased testing and an increase in risky sexual behavior by men who have sex with men and by young adults, according to the editorial. It says that Neisseria gonorrhoeae has developed resistance to most of the antimicrobial drugs introduced over the years. Surveillance from 2009 and 2010 shows that resistance to cefixime is spreading across Europe, and resistance to ceftriaxone also appears to be increasing. “These results are extremely worrying as the loss of both cefixime and ceftriaxone as treatment options for gonorrhoea would have a significant impact on public health,” the editorial states. The authors call for close monitoring of the rising rates of gonnorrhea and syphilis and targeting of public health interventions at the affected groups. The ECDC statement follows a World Health Organization (WHO) warning in June that urgent action is needed to prevent the spread of untreatable gonorrhea.Jul 19 Eurosurveillance editorialJun 6 WHO statementStudy: Source of hospital Klebsiella infections was down the drainResearchers from Toronto report that a sink was the pathogen reservoir for a persistent cluster of infections with an antimicrobial-resistant strain of Klebsiella oxytoca, a mainly healthcare-associated pathogen acquired from environmental surfaces. From October 2006 to March 2011, 66 patients in a Toronto hospital were infected with class A extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing K oxytoca with one of two DNA fingerprints, according to the researchers’ report in Emerging Infectious Diseases. New cases continued to crop up despite reinforcement of infection control measures and other precautions. When the investigators cultured samples from a sink in the intensive care unit, they found K oxytoca strains that matched those in the patients. New cases stopped after the sink drain was modified, cleaning frequency was increased, and an antimicrobial stewardship program was launched. “Sinks should be considered potential reservoirs for clusters of infection caused by K oxytoca,” the report states.Jul 18 Emerg Infect Dis reportWild Indonesian orangutans show evidence of Ebola, Marburg infectionsIn a study in Indonesia, almost one fifth of wild orangutans tested had antibodies to Ebola virus and a much smaller percentage had antibodies to Marburg virus, according to a report in PLoS One. Indonesian and Japanese researchers analyzed serum samples from 353 healthy Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) on Kalimantan Island, Indonesia, from December 2005 to December 2006. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with recombinant viral surface glycoprotein antigens, they found seropositivity for Ebola virus in 18.4% (65/353) of the animals and seropositivity for Marbug virus in 1.7% (6/353). In addition, most Ebola-positive samples showed specificity to Zaire, Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, or Bundibugyo viruses, all of which have been found so far only in Africa. “These results suggest the existence of multiple species of filoviruses or unknown filovirus-related viruses in Indonesia, some of which are serologically similar to African” Ebola viruses, the authors wrote. No confirmed human Ebola virus infections have been reported outside Africa, though the Ebola Reston strain has been found in monkeys imported to the United States and Italy from the Philippines, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Jul 18 PLoS One reportCDC information about EbolaECDC heightens surveillance for OlympicsThough infectious diseases aren’t likely to pose major problems at the upcoming 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, the ECDC said yesterday that it, along with its partners, are enhancing surveillance for the events as part of ongoing communicable disease assessment. The group said in a statement that the biggest risk to visitors is likely to be food and waterborne diseases from improper food handling and poor hand hygiene practices. The ECDC added that it isn’t aware of any major public health problems that occurred at the recent EURO 2012 soccer tournament in Poland and the Ukraine. For the upcoming Games, the ECDC said it has adapted media screening tools to quickly flag threats in the UK and in participating countries and is exploring the use of social media and blogs in monitoring disease developments. As part of joint activities with global health partners, the ECDC and the UK’s Health Protection Agency will each have liaison officers to share risk assessments affecting those attending the Games as well as the wider EU community. Member states will receive a daily bulletin of relevant public health events. The Olympic Games run from Jul 27 through Aug 12 and the Paralympic Games from Aug 29 through Sep 9.Jul 19 ECDC statementBattelle wins 10-year US contract to test infectious-disease countermeasuresBattelle Memorial Institute announced this week that it has won a 10-year federal contract worth up to $102.5 million to evaluate and test vaccines and other biologics for infectious diseases. The work will support the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in developing medical countermeasures, including those for emerging and biodefense pathogens, the institute said in a press release. The work will be conducted at Battelle’s biosafety level 3 laboratories and new toxicology research facility in West Jefferson, Ohio. The contract provides for preclinical, nonclinical, and clinical testing as needed to obtain data that will contribute to decisions by the Food and Drug Administration about product safety and efficacy, the statement said. Battelle, based in Columbus, Ohio, describes itself as the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization.Jul 18 Battelle press release
Dec 10, 2012CDC framework assesses emerging flu pandemics for both spread and severityA key lesson learned from the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic was that plans and severity scales did not address the severity of the novel strain. In response, a team of CDC experts has developed an evidence-based framework for assessing the public health impact of flu pandemics as they emerge, with a two-tier approach recognizing that transmissibility and severity are hard to assess early in a pandemic, according to a report in Emerging Infectious Diseases. The team reviewed data from past flu seasons and pandemics to characterize severity and transmissibility based on the US experience. They outlined an approach to assessing the potential effects of a novel influenza virus using a broad dichotomous scale in the initial assessment but then refining the tool with more precise values as more data become available. This more refined assessment would have scaled values of severity and transmissibility plotted along an x-axis and y-axis, respectively, and could be stratified by age to reflect different effects on different age-groups. “By organizing and prioritizing data collection,” the authors write, “this approach may inform an evidence-based assessment of pandemic effects and guide decision making.”Dec 8 Emerg Infect Dis reportSanofi trial supports immunogenicity, safety of quadrivalent flu vaccineSanofi Pasteur’s quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIV) containing two influenza B strains performed comparably to two trivalent vaccines (TIVs) in a phase 2 clinical trial assessing immunogenicity and safety, according to a report in Vaccine. The company in October filed for US approval of the vaccine. (A quadrivalent intransal vaccine from MedImmune was approved in February.) TIVs contain just one B strain, but it’s difficult to predict which of the two influenza B lineages—Victoria or Yamagata—will be more common each flu season. The trial compared the QIV with the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasonal flu vaccines, which contained single B strains (one Victoria, one Yamagata). Adults, 190 in each group, were randomly assigned to receive one of the three vaccines. Antibody titers (measured by hemaggluination inhibition) in the QIV group were noninferior to those in the TIV groups. In addition, rates of seroprotection (antibody titer over 40) and seroconversion (a fourfold or greater rise in titer after vaccination) were similar in all three groups. The QIV left recipients with substantially higher B antibody levels than each group of TIV recipients had for the B strain not contained in their vaccine. As for safety, the incidence and severity of solicited injection-site and systemic reactions and adverse events were similar in all the groups.Dec 8 Vaccine reportOct 18 CIDRAP News item about Sanofi filing for its QIVOIE chief repeats call for destruction of rinderpest lab stocksThe chief of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) today repeated calls for most laboratories to destroy remaining stocks of rinderpest virus, which causes a devastating disease in cattle and was eradicated in 2011, the first time humans have ever snuffed out an animal disease in the wild. Bernard Vallat, DVM, OIE director-general, made the comments at the Biological Weapons Convention Meeting of States Parties in Geneva, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. In July the OIE and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) issued a joint call for labs across the world to destroy any remaining virus samples or ship them to high-security OIE/FAO labs for storage. Vallat told AFP that dozens of labs house the virus, including some that don’t adhere to strict biosafety standards, which poses a risk of an accidental or intentional release.Dec 10 AFP storyJul 23 CIDRAP News scan “OIE, FAO call for destruction of rinderpest virus stores”In related news, Vallat today urged weapons convention members to strengthen veterinary services as a way to protect the world from biologic threats related to animal pathogens, according to an OIE press release. “The best way to protect the entire world from rising bio-threats linked with animal pathogens is to ensure that all national veterinary services comply with OIE international standards on quality. This must be a basis for bio risk management policies,” Vallat said in the statement.Dec 10 OIE press releaseHurricane flooding sparks more cholera in CubaParts of Cuba are experiencing a rise in cholera and dengue infections in the wake of flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy, according to a Dec 8 report from the Miami Herald that quoted several dissidents in the country. The spike in activity follows a summer outbreak centered in the eastern city of Manzanillo that was Cuba’s first in a century. The current wave of infections has targeted the eastern third of Cuba, and though the government hasn’t issued any public statements about the outbreak, it has established hand and shoe disinfection stands at the entrances of government buildings, with some public health workers going to houses to assess for disease symptoms and distribute water purification tablets. Sources told the Herald that at least 12 deaths had been reported and that cholera cases have recently led to quarantines at hospitals and prisons and closures at schools and restaurants. Also, the report said police stationed at hospitals are asking visitors to keep quiet about cholera and other diseases, apparently to avoid hurting Cuba’s tourism industry.
Study: Flu symptoms less severe in vaccinated elderly peopleHealth officials have been heard to say that even though influenza vaccine doesn’t provide complete protection against flu, it may reduce symptoms if you do get sick. Now a study out of Wisconsin offers some evidence in support of that view.In a 4-year-study reported in BMC Infectious Diseases, researchers found that elderly people who had received influenza vaccine but contracted flu anyway had less severe symptoms than did elderly flu patients who had not been vaccinated.The team, led by Edward Belongia, MD, of the Marshfield Clinic as senior author, examined not only the effect of flu vaccination on flu severity but also whether flu was associated with more severe symptoms than other acute respiratory illnesses (ARIs).From flu seasons 2007-08 through 2010-11, they prospectively enrolled patients with ARIs and tested them for flu using polymerase chain reaction. The patients were asked to rate each of eight symptoms on a scale of 0 to 3, yielding a severity score ranging from 1 to 24.Of 2,374 patients enrolled, 324 tested positive for flu. The mean symptom severity score was 12.3 points, and the most common symptoms were cough (92%), fatigue (91%), and nasal congestion (84%), the report says.For adults with flu, the association between influenza vaccination and symptom severity was affected by age: Among those 65 or older, symptom severity was 31% lower in those who were vaccinated than in those who were not vaccinated.In the overall findings, flu was the strongest independent predictor of a higher severity score, with a mean increase of 1.7 points compared with those who tested negative (P < .001)."Influenza is associated with more severe symptoms of acute respiratory illness," the authors conclude. "The association between influenza vaccination and reduced symptom severity in older adults should be confirmed and explored further in other populations and seasons."May 1 BMC Infect Dis abstract Report confirms Pandemrix link in Irish narcolepsy casesIrish researchers today confirmed an increased risk of narcolepsy in Irish children and adolescents who received the Pandemrix 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine, adding to the list of European countries such as Sweden, Finland, England, France, and Norway that have reported similar findings.The group reports its findings today in Eurosurveillance. Pandemrix, made by GlaxoSmithKline, contained the AS03 adjuvant.The team conducted a retrospective population-based cohort study that included narcolepsy cases with onsets between Apr 1, 2009, and Dec 31, 2010. They looked at narcolepsy patients' medical records and obtained pandemic vaccination status from vaccine databases. Of 32 narcolepsy cases identified during that time period, 28 were in children and adolescents.The narcolepsy incidence was 5.7 per 100,000 young people vaccinated with Pandemrix, versus 0.4 per 100,000 who weren't vaccinated. The authors said the narcolepsy risk was 13.9 fold higher in kids who received the pandemic vaccine, a significant increase. They noted that the finding is similar to that of a study in Finland, which found a 12.7-fold higher risk in those who got the pandemic vaccine.The immunogenic mechanism of narcolepsy and how the vaccine might have contributed to it requires more study, the team said.A recent study probing the relationship between narcolepsy and the vaccine suggested that an immune response to a protein on the 2009 H1N1 virus may play a role. Other possible causes that have been suggested include a genetic predisposition and manufacturing differences between Pandemrix and other similar vaccines.May 1 Eurosurveill studyDec 19, 2013, CIDRAP News item "Immune study yields clues in H1N1 vaccine-related narcolepsy" Study finds differences in adult hospital cases of pandemic, seasonal fluCompared with adults hospitalized with seasonal flu, those hospitalized with 2009 H1N1 infections were more likely to be younger and to have lower respiratory complications, shock or sepsis, or organ failure, according to a large study that explored the differences in impact between pandemic and seasonal flu.The study, led by researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, included more than 9,000 adults whose hospitalization data were tracked through the Emerging Infections Program Influenza Surveillance Network from 2005 through 2010. Researchers published the findings yesterday in Clinical Infectious Diseases.The median age for adults hospitalized with the 2009 H1N1 virus during the pandemic period was 47, versus 68 for those with seasonal flu, according to the study. Those hospitalized during the pandemic were only slightly less likely to have an underlying medical condition, but the profiles of chronic illness were different for the two types of flu.For example, adults with severe 2009 H1N1 infections were more likely to have asthma or be pregnant, but less likely than their seasonal flu counterparts to have COPD or other chronic lung diseases, cardiovascular disease, or metabolic disease. Some of the less frequent complications in the pandemic patients were acute respiratory distress syndrome, acute heart failure, hemoptysis, and encephalopathy.Adults with severe pandemic flu were more likely to require intensive care unit treatment or mechanical ventilation or to die during hospitalization.The team concluded that though the 2009 pandemic is viewed as generally mild compared with other pandemics, many serious complications occurred in those with severe infections. They said the findings can help guide clinicians toward the most effective clinical management and help them know what to expect from the virus in the future.Apr 29 Clin Infect Dis abstract Tests in suspected hantavirus cluster reveal influenza B, strep AVirginia health officials yesterday said lab tests in the wake of unexplained deaths of a Pulaski County woman and her teenage daughter were positive for influenza B and invasive Streptococcus group A, not hantavirus or other pathogens, according to a New River Health District (NRHD) statement e-mailed to journalists.The illness also hospitalized three other family members and a close family contact, the Roanoke Times reported yesterday. The family and local officials originally suspected hantavirus, because the mother and daughter had cleaned out a mouse-infested trailer 2 weeks before they died.Molly O'Dell, MD, director of the NRHD, said in the statement, "This type of co-infection is exceedingly rare, and it doesn't appear to pose a threat to the community at large." She said flu and strep are common illnesses that continue to circulate in the area this season.Tests also ruled out Legionella and tularemia, according to the NRHD statement.Some states on the East Coast have reported a late-season spike in influenza B infections, a pattern that isn't unusual. Invasive bacterial infections involving influenza B have been reported in the medical literature. For example, a case series of 19 strep A coinfections in southern England during the 2010-11 flu season included four that involved influenza B, three of which were fatal.Apr 30 Times story Feb 3, 2011, Eurosurveillance report H7N9 sickens two more in ChinaChinese media outlets, citing provincial officials, reported two new H7N9 influenza cases today, in a 74-year-old woman from Hunan province and a 23-year-old man from Jiangxi province. The reports in Chinese were translated and posted by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.Both patients are hospitalized, and the man is listed in stable condition. FluTrackers noted that official notices had not yet appeared on provincial health ministry Web sites. Once the notices are posted, the FluTrackers' outbreak count would rise to 435 cases, with 299 reported in the second wave of activity, compared to 136 in the first.In other developments, the World Health Organization (WHO) today provided more details about three H7N9 reports it received from China on Apr 25 and 28. They include a 51-year-old man from Jiangsu province, a 75-year-old woman from Jiangxi province, and a 55-year-old man from Anhui province. All three are hospitalized, two of them in critical condition. Illness onset dates ranged from Apr 12 to 15.Investigations revealed that two of the patients had been exposed to poultry before they got sick, but exposure history wasn't available for the third patient.May 1 FluTrackers thread May 1 WHO update H5N8 outbreaks affect 100,000 more South Korean poultryOfficials yesterday confirmed three outbreaks of H5N8 avian flu in March and April that affected more than 100,000 domestic chickens and geese in central South Korea, according to a report filed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).In the first outbreak, in the southern region of Gyeonggi province, the virus killed 370 birds on a farm housing 30,000 breeding chickens. The remaining birds were destroyed to control the outbreak, which began on Mar 6.The second outbreak began Mar 10 on a farm with 70,000 breeding chickens near Sejong city in North Chungcheong province. H5N8 killed 100 of the poultry, and the rest were culled to prevent disease spread.In the third outbreak, which began on Apr 21, the virus killed 300 geese on a small farm in North Chungcheong province north of Sejong. The remaining 400 geese were culled.All told, 770 poultry were killed by the virus and 99,930 were culled, for a total of 100,700 affected birds. The country has culled more than 10 million poultry because of H5N8 outbreaks this year.Apr 30 OIE report
Qatar has first MERS case of 2014; Saudi Arabia has 3 moreQatar has reported its first MERS-CoV case this year, according to media reports, while Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed three new cases in as many days, all in men, none of whom are healthcare workers.Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health said the case there involves a 71-year-old Qatari man who fell ill while in Saudi Arabia, according to a report yesterday in The Peninsula, a newspaper in Qatar. He was traveling to Al-Ahsa by road when he got sick. He was hospitalized and was later flown by air ambulance back to Qatar, where he remains hospitalized, the story said.The new case raises Qatar’s MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) count to 10, including 5 deaths, according to a case list maintained by FluTrackers. The last case was reported in November 2013.In Saudi Arabia, the first of the three MERS cases, reported on Oct 11, is in a 50-year-old expatriate in Najran in the southern part of the country. He was symptomatic and is hospitalized, but not in an intensive care unit (ICU). He has no underlying medical conditions, the MOH said.The second patient, whose case was confirmed yesterday, is a 70-year-old Saudi man from Taif in Mecca province. He is receiving ICU care and has pre-existing disease.The third patient is a 44-year-old national from Riyadh who also has pre-existing disease and is in an ICU. None of the three men reported recent animal exposure.The cases bring the country’s MERS total for the month so far to 7, 4 of which have been in Taif. The MOH reported 11 MERS cases in September, 5 of which were in Taif. All told, Saudi Arabia has detected 762 MERS cases, including 324 fatal ones.On Oct 11 the MOH also reported that a previously confirmed case-patient in Taif recovered from his illness. The 65-year-old Saudi man’s case matches one confirmed by the MOH on Sep 19.Oct 12 Peninsula story Oct 11 MOH update Oct 12 MOH update Oct 13 MOH update Sep 19 CIDRAP News scan on previous case in Taif Caribbean chikungunya outbreak grows by more than 9,700 casesEditor’s Note: The headline and first paragraph of this scan were revised on Oct 17 to correct misstated PAHO numbers.Last week’s increase in suspected and confirmed chikungunya cases in the ongoing outbreak in the Caribbean and neighboring parts of the Americas numbered 9,711, bringing the total to 759,948, according to an Oct 10 update from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).The areas reporting the greatest increases were Puerto Rico with 2,437 new cases, French Guiana with 1,960, Guadaloupe with 1,690, and Guatemala, reporting its first 424 cases.Only 11,545 cases have been confirmed.In the United States, imported cases now number 1,326, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Oct 7 update. PAHO puts the US number as of Oct 10 at 1,340. In addition, 11 locally transmitted cases, all of them in Florida, have occurred in the United States.Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have seen 428 and 45 locally transmitted cases and 25 and 5 travel-associated cases, respectively, says the CDC report.In related news, the CDC last week announced a new interactive, Web-based tool for predicting where chikungunya-infected travelers are likely to arrive and what geographic areas are at risk for local transmission. Dubbed Nowcast, the model will be updated monthly using the most recent month’s data, the CDC said.Oct 10 PAHO update Oct 7 CDC update Oct 7 CDC press release on NowcastFecal microbiota capsules may effectively treat C diffA small, preliminary study has shown that oral capsules containing frozen fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) material may be as much as 90% effective in treating Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) diarrhea, according to a new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).The study involved 20 patients with at least three episodes of mild to moderate CDI and failure of a 6- to 8-week taper with oral vancomycin or at least two episodes of CDI requiring hospitalization. They received 15 capsules on 2 consecutive days and were followed up for symptom resolution and adverse events for up to 6 months.Among the 20 volunteers, 14 (70%) had resolution of diarrhea after the treatment and remained symptom free 8 weeks later. All 6 whose diarrhea did not resolve were re-treated an average of 7 days after the first procedure, and 4 experienced resolution of diarrhea, resulting in an overall 90% success rate.The researchers, from Massachusetts General Hospital and elsewhere, observed no serious adverse events attributed to FMT. They said that, after larger studies, the treatment may provide an alternative to more invasive administration of FMT.”Numerous reports have shown that FMT is effective in treating active C difficile infection and preventing recurrences in patients whose infections failed to respond to standard treatments,” said lead author Ilan Youngster, MD, of Boston Children’s Hospital, in a Massachusetts General Hospital press release. “The procedures that have been used before—colonoscopies, nasogastric tubes, even enemas—all have potential risks and discomforts for patients. The use of capsules simplifies the procedure immensely.”Oct 11 JAMA abstract Oct 11 Massachusetts General Hospital news release Oct 11 JAMA press release Germany reports low-path H5N2 in poultryLow-pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza struck a farm in Germany last week, according to an Oct 10 report filed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).The farm, near Laer in North Rhine-Westphalia, housed 1,732 poultry. One of the birds died on Oct 7 and tested positive by polymerase chain reaction for H5N2 on Oct 9. The remainder of the flock was culled to prevent disease spread.No poultry or poultry meat was moved from the farm, the report said, and disinfection was completed on Oct 9.Oct 10 OIE report
H7N9 sampling study finds temporary benefits for market closuresTemporary poultry market closures can drop environmental levels of H7N9 and other avian flu viruses, but after stalls reopen, contamination quickly returns to preclosure levels, Chinese researchers reported yesterday in Emerging Infectious Diseases.The study took place in Guangzhou, the largest city in southern China’s Guangdong province, during the second wave of human illnesses.In response to rising numbers of human infections in the city in the first months of 2014, officials ordered a 2-week closure of live-poultry markets from Feb 15 to Feb 28. The markets were cleaned and disinfected at the start of the closure, and the team collected environmental samples from different areas of the markets before, during, and after the closure. Samples were tested by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rT-PCR) and culture.During the closure period, H7N9 RNA detections fell by 79% and isolation decreased by 92%. The investigators also found that viable virus could still be cultured from wastewater about 2 days after poultry market closure. Chopping boards, often located at the front of the stalls, had the highest contamination rates of any other sampling site in the markets.Investigators found, however, that virus returned to preclosure levels when the markets opened again, a rebound that requires further investigation, they wrote. The group added that, given little support for permanent poultry market closures, health officials could consider more ways to minimize risks to humans, including putting a screen between customers and the chopping board or redesigning stalls to limit transmission to humans.Sep 3 Emerg Infect Dis study Variant H3N2 case reported in MichiganVariant H3N2 influenza (H3N2v) has been detected in a Michigan resident who was hospitalized in June with an infection and has now recovered, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today in its weekly flu update.An investigation into the case found no human-to-human spread of the virus, and the patient had close contact with pigs in the week before illness onset.The case is the second involving H3N2v this year. On July 24 the CDC reported a case from Minnesota, which also involved a patient who had contact with swine the week before symptoms began. That patient was also hospitalized, and no other infections were detected in contacts.The virus was first detected in humans in 2011 and spiked to 306 cases the following summer, much of them linked to swine exhibit exposure.Cases have declined rapidly since then, however, with sporadic detections of H3N2v as well as H1N1v.Sep 4 CDC FluView Jul 24 CIDRAP News scan “H3N2v case reported in Minnesota” CDC study notes risk factors for MRSA after hospital dischargeColonization of resistant bacteria and discharge to a nursing home are among the risk factors for developing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) after discharge after hospitalization for acute care, according to a study yesterday in Clinical Infectious Diseases.A team led by CDC researchers analyzed data on 194 patients who developed MRSA after hospital discharge from Feb 1, 2011, to Mar 31, 2013, and 388 matched controls. The median time between discharge and positive MRSA culture was 23 days, with a range of 1 to 83 days.They found these factors independently associated with post-discharge MRSA: MRSA colonization, discharge to a nursing home, presence of a chronic wound, and discharge with a central venous catheter (CVC) or a non-CVC invasive device.The authors concluded, “Prevention efforts should target patients with MRSA colonization or those with invasive devices or chronic wounds at hospital discharge. In addition, MRSA prevention efforts in nursing homes are warranted.”Sep 3 Clin Infect Dis abstract
The World Health Organization (WHO) today released the names of 6 candidates for the role of the agency’s next director-general, 4 of whom are from Europe, with 1 each from Asia and Africa.The current director-general, Margaret Chan, MD, MPH, will step down next June, after more than 10 years of service. The new director-general will start the position on Jul 1, 2017.The director-general is the de facto head of the WHO, overseeing all technical and administrative tasks for the organization. The WHO’s 194 member states had 5 months to submit nominations.The candidates are Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, from Ethiopia; Flavia Bustreo, MD, from Italy; Philippe Douste-Blazy, MD, from France; David Nabarro, MD, from the United Kingdom; Sania Nishtar, MD, from Pakistan; and Miklos Szocska, MD, of Hungary.The candidates have some similar backgrounds; five are medical doctors, and all but Nabarro and Bustreo have served as health ministers in their home countries. Nabarro is currently a special adviser to the United Nations on sustainable development, and Bustreo is an assistant director-general at the WHO.Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), which publishes CIDRAP News, said the next director-general faces “immense” challenges given the WHO’s lack of funding and organization.”There hasn’t been a fundamental change in structure at the WHO even post-Ebola,” said Osterholm. “Until we get serious about [the] shortcomings of the WHO, it’s a mistake to pin too much on the director-general.”The pool of candidates will be narrowed down to three through interviews with the WHO’s executive board by next January. An election will be held in May of 2017 at the World Health Assembly.See also:Sep 23 WHO news release