If there is any good news to be had in Taiwan’s massive avian flu outbreak, it is that despite monitoring hundreds of people who have had contact with infected birds, as of January 20th no human infections have been reported.
While sharing some of the gene segments with the hard-to-catch but often-deadly H5N1 virus, H5N8 derived viruses (including Taiwan’s new H5N2 & H5N3) have not demonstrated the ability to infect humans.
That could change, of course, as the virus evolves or reassorts with other viruses – but for now it is reassuring news.
Last spring, during Korea’s major outbreak of H5N8 - while no human cases were detected - 11 dogs at 2 poultry facilities developed antibodies to the virus. Hopefully, a few weeks from now, serological tests will be performed on these `contacts’ to see if any of them display raised antibody titers for these new viruses.
This from Taiwan’s CDC.
( 2015-01-21 )
In response to the occurrence of avian influenza infections in local poultry farms, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) will continue to closely monitor the health status of poultry farm workers and disease control personnel. As of January 20, 2015, a total of 1,377 people are being monitored and followed up for influenza-like symptoms. At the time of writing, no bird-to-human transmission of avian influenza has occurred. Poultry workers working at poultry farms where avian influenza infections have occurred are urged to voluntarily notify the local health bureau when respiratory symptoms develop during the health monitoring period for assistance in seeking medical attention.
The ongoing avian influenza outbreak in poultry continues to persist. Although no bird-to-human transmission of H5N2, H5N8, and H5N3 has occurred, Taiwan CDC is monitoring everyone who has been exposed to the poultry farms where avian influenza outbreaks have occurred for influenza-like symptoms for 10 days as a precaution. Those who develop influenza-like illness will be further evaluated and tested for influenza. Of the 1,377 people being monitored and followed up, 32 people have developed influenza-like symptoms. Specimens have been collected from 22 of them (1 is positive for seasonal influenza and the other 21 are negative), while the other 10 people are still being monitored for their health status. 3 other persons have been removed from surveillance.
Taiwan CDC has been maintaining an effective communication channel with the Council of Agriculture to frequently exchange information concerning animal and human influenza outbreaks, including the location of the outbreak, the type of the virus that caused the outbreak, and the contact information of the people involved in the outbreak. As soon as Taiwan CDC was notified of the recent avian influenza outbreaks in local poultry farms by the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, Council of Agriculture, Taiwan CDC has been implementing relevant disease control measures correspondingly and according to the standard operation procedures outlined under the “Animal Influenza Preparedness and Response Guidance” in the “Handbook for the Control and Prevention of Novel Influenza A Virus Infections”, including proactively investing the disease outbreaks, conducting relevant health education, compiling lists of contacts, issuing health-monitoring notices, and proactively monitoring and following up on potentially exposed individuals who have developed influenza-like symptoms.
Taiwan CDC reminds poultry workers to take additional preventive measures to prevent infection. If fever or influenza-like symptoms develops, please put on a mask and seek immediate medical attention. Moreover, poultry workers must inform the physician of their job and exposure history to facilitate diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit the Taiwan CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov.tw or call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Consultation Hotline, 1922 (or 0800-001922).
- Last modified at 2015-01-21
- Data from Division of Planning and Coordination