Influenza H3 – US CDC Health AdvisoryApr012019

Dear Colleagues –
The US CDC‎ has issued an official health advisory through their health alert notice (HAN) related to the late-season increase in H3N2 that they are also experiencing, see: 
Note that vaccine effectiveness (VE) against H3N2 viruses is less than 40% on average, including among working age adults. We have highlighted that low H3 VE‎ this season as reported earlier from Europe (see page 13 of our weekly surveillance bulletin, another of which was issued yesterday). FYI, interim findings from Canada are also consistent with low H3 VE this season. 
In that context, note that the US CDC is reinforcing early empiric antiviral treatment for those with suspect or confirmed influenza and this is particularly important for those at high risk of serious influenza A(H3N2) complications, notably elderly adults.
Please share this message as appropriate with your colleagues.
Best wishes,
Danuta Skowronski MD, FRCPC

Epidemiology Lead

Influenza & Emerging Respiratory Pathogens

BC Centre for Disease Control

Ph: 604-707-2511

Fx: 604-707-2516

Infection Control News: March 18-22, 2019Mar252019

Canadian experts say prolonged antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease ‘harmful’. News

Children’s noses ‘hold clues’ to serious lung infections. News

Drug-resistant superbugs may have found a new foe in the Irish soil. News

Nearly four in 10 US HIV infections from people unaware of infection. News

Being in outer space can have some odd effects on the body, including triggering dormant herpes viruses to reawaken, according to a recent review study. News

Pacemaker envelope cuts post-surgery infection by 40 percent: Cleveland Clinic study. News

Ukraine measles outbreak tops 30,000 cases year to date. News

Alberta father of boys with weak immune systems pushes for measles vaccinations. News

Pakistan pilots hepatitis C therapy in bid to wipe out silent epidemic. News

Vaxart Commences Bivalent Norovirus Vaccine Phase 1b Clinical Trial. News

The World Health Organization says Ebola has spiked in Congo in recent days because of “increased security challenges. News.

Poverty, deprivation driving up TB rates among Manitoba First Nations. News.

A recall has been added to the CFIA’s Food Recall Report. Reason for Recall:  Salmonella. Product: Janes brand Pub Style Chicken Nuggets. Recalling Firm: Sofina Foods Inc. Distribution: National. Report.

After waiting an extra month to decide on the H3N2 strain, WHO vaccine advisors today finalized their recommendations on strains to include in the Northern Hemisphere 2019-20 flu vaccines. Report.

Why we are all complicit in the rise of the anti-vaxxers. News 

B.C. launches measles immunization catch-up program. The program will run from April to June with the goal of reaching a 95 per cent immunization rate province-wide. News 


Infection Control News: March 11-15, 2019Mar182019

A mother died of acquired infection (Strep A) in hospital during the postpartum period.  The hospital experienced an Strep A outbreak. News. Learn more about the complicated factors that contribute to the GAS after delivery. Study.

Ebola; Seroprevalence in central Africa. An international team of researchers, hoping to get a better handle on serologic prevalence of Ebola and the geographic range of hemorrhagic fever viruses.Study.

Bacteria ‘trap’ could help slow down antibiotic resistance. News 

A New Discovery Upends What We Know About Viruses: A plant virus distributes its genes into eight separate segments that can all reproduce, even if they infect different cells. News

Vancouver health officials say there’s no shortage of measles vaccine and urge people to get immunized. News.

What dog owners need to know about brucellosis after recent cases in Ontario: The infection can be spread to humans. News.

Audio. Last week, Facebook announced it would lower its search rankings of groups and pages that promote anti-vaccination content. In this audio, CBC explore how social media is being leveraged to sow doubt about the safety of vaccinations, and how it’s creating a hesitancy to vaccinate that threatens us all. Audio.

Tunisia. 12 infants die of hospital-acquired infection. Severe blood infections from tube feedings likely killed the premature babies, the Tunisian Society of Pediatrics said in a statement. News.

DRC reports 2 new Ebola cases. The cases lift the outbreak total to 927, which includes 862 confirmed and 65 probable cases. No new deaths were reported, keeping the fatality count at 584.News.


Infection Control News: March 4-8, 2019Mar112019


UNICEF warned of a resurgence of measles in the world, noting that ten countries, including Brazil, Ukraine and France, were responsible for about three quarters of the total increase in cases in 2018. News.

Fraser Health confirms new case of measles in Metro Vancouver area, bringing total to 17. News.

The N.W.T.’s chief public health officer has declared a measles outbreak in Inuvik, according to a Wednesday press release. News.

How much does a measles outbreak cost when 10 healthcare workers are involved? Study.


The DRC health ministry reported three new cases. The latest confirmed cases lift the outbreak total to 888. Communique.

Traditional African healers may be adding to Ebola problems. News.

New Brunswick. An outbreak of whooping cough has been declared at Moncton High School. News.

Ebola. Attacks may worsen Ebola epidemic in Congo, officials warn. Re-infections could happen in places where the outbreak was brought under control, WHO warns. News.


A London man appears to be free of the AIDS virus after a stem cell transplant, the second success including the “Berlin patient,” doctors reported. News.

A massive study undertaking in Denmark demonstrates no connection between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Study.

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health recorded 4 more cases of MERS-CoV, including 1 case in a large hospital-based outbreak. Update.

For the 4th consecutive week, Nigeria has reported declining case counts in an ongoing Lassa fever outbreak. Despite the progress, 23 cases and 6 deaths were reported in the most recent week recorded. WHO report

Zika. A study confirms the Zika-microcephaly link, finding that women infected with Zika during the early stages of pregnancy are 17 times more likely to have a child with the condition compared with uninfected pregnant women. Study.

The practice of feeding dogs a raw meat-based diet is on the rise. Is it possible that the risk of transferring harmful bacteria to the owner is increased as well? Look for answers in this study from BMJ. Study.

The PHAC originally developed the Marburg vaccine. It is now up to the US Department of Health and Human Services to partner with Public Health Vaccines LLC to develop a vaccine. The virus is a potential bioterrorism threat according to Homeland Security. Press release.

WHO has outlined several reforms aimed at modernizing and strengthening its role as a world leader in public health. News.

Tuberculosis rates in the North are 290 times those in the rest of Canada. News.

Madagascar. At least 922 people – mostly children – have died of measles since October 2018, despite an emergency program that has vaccinated 2.2M of the 26M population so far. Now, parents trudge for miles to vaccinate their kids against it. News.

USA. An unvaccinated boy contracted Oregon’s first tetanus case in about 30 years. It cost over $800,000. Read this to learn how a simple vaccine could prevent a lot of complications. News.