Journal NewsPouch - 4 May 2015


  • Avian Influenza  
  • Ebola 
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)
  • Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Zoonoses and One Health


Rapidly Expanding Range of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Viruses

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

The movement of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8) virus across Eurasia and into North America and the virus’ propensity to reassort with co-circulating low pathogenicity viruses raise concerns among poultry producers, wildlife biologists, aviculturists, and public health personnel worldwide. Surveillance, modeling, and experimental research will provide the knowledge required for intelligent policy and management decisions.

Detecting Spread of Avian Influenza A(H7N9) Virus Beyond China

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

During February 2013–March 2015, a total of 602 human cases of low pathogenic avian influenza A(H7N9) were reported; no autochthonous cases were reported outside mainland China. In contrast, since highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) reemerged during 2003 in China, 784 human cases in 16 countries and poultry outbreaks in 53 countries have been reported. Whether the absence of reported A(H7N9) outside mainland China represents lack of spread or lack of detection remains unclear. 

Pathologic Changes in Wild Birds Infected with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N8) Viruses, South Korea, 2014

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

In January 2014, an outbreak of infection with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N8) virus began on a duck farm in South Korea and spread to other poultry farms nearby. During this outbreak, many sick or dead wild birds were found around habitats frequented by migratory birds. To determine the causes of death, we examined 771 wild bird carcasses and identified HPAI A(H5N8) virus in 167. Gross and histologic lesions were observed in pancreas, lung, brain, and kidney of Baikal teals, bean geese, and whooper swans but not mallard ducks. 

Rapid Emergence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Subtypes from a Subtype H5N1 Hemagglutinin Variant

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

In 2014, novel highly pathogenic avian influenza A H5N2, H5N5, H5N6, and H5N8 viruses caused outbreaks in Asia, Europe, and North America. The H5 genes of these viruses form a monophyletic group that evolved from a clade 2.3.4 H5N1 variant. This rapid emergence of new H5Nx combinations is unprecedented in the H5N1 evolutionary history.

Transmission Potential of Influenza A(H7N9) Virus, China, 2013–2014

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

To determine transmission potential of influenza A(H7N9) virus, we used symptom onset data to compare 2 waves of infection in China during 2013–2014. We found evidence of increased transmission potential in the second wave and showed that live bird market closure was significantly less effective in Guangdong than in other regions.

Influenza A(H5N8) Virus Similar to Strain in Korea Causing Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Germany

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8) virus, like the recently described H5N8 strain from Korea, was detected in November 2014 in farmed turkeys and in a healthy common teal (Anas crecca) in northeastern Germany. Infected wild birds possibly introduced this virus.

Full-Genome Sequence of Influenza A(H5N8) Virus in Poultry Linked to Sequences of Strains from Asia, the Netherlands, 2014

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

Genetic analyses of highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N8) virus from the Netherlands, and comparison with strains from Europe, South Korea, and Japan, showed a close relation. Data suggest the strains were probably carried to the Netherlands by migratory wild birds from Asia, possibly through overlapping flyways and common breeding sites in Siberia.

Genetic Characterization of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N8) Virus from Domestic Ducks, England, November 2014

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

Genetic sequences of a highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8) virus in England have high homology to those detected in mainland Europe and Asia during 2014. Genetic characterization suggests this virus is an avian-adapted virus without specific affinity for zoonoses. Spatio-temporal detections of H5N8 imply a role for wild birds in virus spread.

Novel Eurasian Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A H5 Viruses in Wild Birds, Washington, USA, 2014

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

Novel Eurasian lineage avian influenza A(H5N8) virus has spread rapidly and globally since January 2014. In December 2014, H5N8 and reassortant H5N2 viruses were detected in wild birds in Washington, USA, and subsequently in backyard birds. When they infect commercial poultry, these highly pathogenic viruses pose substantial trade issues.  Listen to Audio podcast version   


Monitoring of Ebola Virus Makona Evolution through Establishment of Advanced Genomic Capability in Liberia

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

To support Liberia’s response to the ongoing Ebola virus (EBOV) disease epidemic in Western Africa, we established in-country advanced genomic capabilities to monitor EBOV evolution. Twenty-five EBOV genomes were sequenced at the Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research, which provided an in-depth view of EBOV diversity in Liberia during September 2014–February 2015. These sequences were consistent with a single virus introduction to Liberia; however, shared ancestry with isolates from Mali indicated at least 1 additional instance of movement into or out of Liberia. 

Postmortem Stability of Ebola Virus

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

The ongoing Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has highlighted questions regarding stability of the virus and detection of RNA from corpses. We used Ebola virus–infected macaques to model humans who died of Ebola virus disease. Viable virus was isolated <7 days posteuthanasia; viral RNA was detectable for 10 weeks.

Ebola and Psychological Stress of Health Care Professionals

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

To the Editor: Providing medical care for Ebola virus–infected patients entails physical and psychological stress, extended shift times, and risk for infection. In addition, the wearing of personal protective equipment impairs communication and performance of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Lessons learned from outbreaks of other infectious diseases indicate that such challenging treatment environments require the monitoring of health care professionals for psychological distress (e.g., anxiety, depression, fatigue, and social isolation) to prevent personal exhaustion and reduced job performance (1).

Using Lessons Learned from Previous Ebola Outbreaks to Inform Current Risk Management

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

Connecting Organizations for Regional Disease Surveillance (CORDS), together with the Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance, organized an emergency meeting (September 1–2, 2014, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) to gather and collate first-hand experience from past Ebola outbreaks. The major aim was to identify key lessons that could inform current risk management. This meeting brought together a unique assembly consisting of scientists, policymakers, community and religious leaders, traditional healers, and media representatives from eastern and central Africa. They elucidated 3 major lessons that focus on improving communication, working with communities, and building and strengthening local capacity.

The Use of TKM-100802 and convalescent plasma in 2 patients with Ebola virus disease in the United States

Oxford Journals, Clinical Infectious Diseases, April 2015

The current West Africa Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak has resulted in multiple individuals being medically evacuated to other countries for clinical management. We report two patients who were transported from West Africa to the United States for treatment of EVD. Both patients received aggressive supportive care measures, as well as an investigational therapeutic (TKM-100802) and convalescent plasma.


New MERS-CoV sequences April-Nov 2014 and preliminary analysis

Virological, 15 April

In a collaborative effort between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) Ministry of Health, King Saud University, Riyadh, King Khalid University Hospital, Riyadh, the U.S. CDC, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, we are monitoring the evolution and transmission patterns of MERS-CoV

MERS-CoV in Upper Respiratory Tract and Lungs of Dromedary Camels, Saudi Arabia, 2013–2014

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

To clarify the temporal dynamics of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in dromedary camels, specimens were collected at 1–2 month intervals from 2 independent groups of animals during April 2013–May 2014 in Al-Ahsa Province, Saudi Arabia, and tested for MERS-CoV RNA by reverse transcription PCR. Of 96 live camels, 28 (29.2%) nasal swab samples were positive; of 91 camel carcasses, 56 (61.5%) lung tissue samples were positive.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus “MERS-CoV”: Current Knowledge Gaps

Paediatric Respiratory reviews, April 2015

The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) that causes a severe lower respiratory tract infection in humans is now considered a pandemic threat to the Gulf region. Since its discovery in 2012, MERS-CoV has reached 23 countries affecting over 1000 people, including a dozen children, and claiming over 400 lives. 

A sensitive and specific antigen detection assay for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus

Emerging Microbes & Infections, April 2015 

Since its emergence in 2012, more than 900 laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) have been reported with a fatality rate of more than 30%. However, no antigen detection assay for commercial use is available for diagnosis. In this study, the full-length nucleocapsid protein (NP) gene of MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. A MERS-CoV NP capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using two MERS-CoV-NP-specific monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) generated was developed. 



ECDC: Annual epidemiological report 2014 - Antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections

ECDC Scientific Publication - Apr 2015

ECDC publishes the antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections chapter of the Annual Epidemiological Report 2014. It includes data from 2012 on antimicrobial resistance, antimicrobial consumption and healthcare-associated infections. The Annual Epidemiological Report is a key ECDC publication on the epidemiology of communicable diseases of public health significance in Europe. The 2014 edition of the Annual Epidemiological Report is being published a disease group at a time and will later be compiled into one comprehensive report.

Antimicrobial Drug Resistance of Vibrio cholerae, Democratic Republic of the Congo

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

We analyzed 1,093 Vibrio cholerae isolates from the Democratic Republic of the Congo during 1997–2012 and found increasing antimicrobial drug resistance over time. Our study also demonstrated that the 2011–2012 epidemic was caused by an El Tor variant clonal complex with a single antimicrobial drug susceptibility profile.

Journal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance, March 2015 Issue

Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control (Overview of Articles)


Culex torrentium Mosquito Role as Major Enzootic Vector Defined by Rate of Sindbis Virus Infection, Sweden, 2009

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

We isolated Sindbis virus (SINV) from the enzootic mosquito vectors Culex torrentium, Cx. pipiens, and Culiseta morsitans collected in an area of Sweden where SINV disease is endemic. The infection rate in Cx. torrentium mosquitoes was exceptionally high (36 infections/1,000 mosquitoes), defining Cx. torrentium as the main enzootic vector of SINV in Scandinavia.

Getah Virus Infection among Racehorses, Japan, 2014

CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases - May 2015

An outbreak of Getah virus infection occurred among racehorses in Japan during September and October 2014. Of 49 febrile horses tested by reverse transcription PCR, 25 were positive for Getah virus. Viruses detected in 2014 were phylogenetically different from the virus isolated in Japan in 1978.