Congenital rubella syndrome: 28 cases identified during rubella outbreak in Romania 2011-12
Eurosurveillance, Volume 21, Issue 38, 22 September 2016
Table of Contents
Zika virus (ZIKV) is an ongoing global public health emergency with 70 countries and territories reporting evidence of ZIKV transmission since 2015. On 27 August 2016, Singapore reported its first case of local ZIKV transmission and identified an ongoing cluster. Here, we report the genome sequences of ZIKV strains from two cases and find through phylogenetic analysis that these strains form an earlier branch distinct from the recent large outbreak in the Americas.
Although widely recommended, influenza vaccination of children is part of the national vaccination programme only in few countries. In addition to Canada and the United States (US), in Europe Finland and the United Kingdom have introduced live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) for healthy children in their programmes. On 22 June 2016, the US Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices, voted against further use of LAIV due to no observed vaccine effectiveness (VE) over three consecutive influenza seasons (2013/14 to 2015/16). We summarise the results of a nationwide, register-based cohort study (N=55,258 of whom 8,086 received LAIV and 4,297 TIV); all outcome (laboratory-confirmed influenza), exposure (vaccination) and confounding variable data were retrieved from four computerised national health registers, which were linked via a unique personal identity code assigned to all permanent Finnish residents regardless of nationality. Our study provides evidence of moderate effectiveness against any laboratory-confirmed influenza of the quadrivalent LAIV vaccine (VE: 51%; 95% confidence interval (CI): 28–66%) as well as the inactivated trivalent vaccine (VE: 61%; 95% CI: 31–78%) among two-year-olds during the influenza season 2015/16 in Finland. Based on these data, Finland will continue using LAIV for young children in its National Immunisation Programme this coming influenza season.
The United Kingdom (UK) is in the third season of introducing universal paediatric influenza vaccination with a quadrivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). The 2015/16 season in the UK was initially dominated by influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and then influenza of B/Victoria lineage, not contained in that season’s adult trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV). Overall adjusted end-of-season vaccine effectiveness (VE) was 52.4% (95% confidence interval (CI): 41.0–61.6) against influenza-confirmed primary care consultation, 54.5% (95% CI: 41.6–64.5) against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and 54.2% (95% CI: 33.1–68.6) against influenza B. In 2–17 year-olds, adjusted VE for LAIV was 57.6% (95% CI: 25.1 to 76.0) against any influenza, 81.4% (95% CI: 39.6–94.3) against influenza B and 41.5% (95% CI: −8.5 to 68.5) against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09. These estimates demonstrate moderate to good levels of protection, particularly against influenza B in children, but relatively less against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09. Despite lineage mismatch in the trivalent IIV, adults younger than 65 years were still protected against influenza B. These results provide reassurance for the UK to continue its influenza immunisation programme planned for 2016/17.
In summer 2013, an excess of paediatric cases of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) in a southern region of Italy prompted the investigation of a community-wide outbreak of Shiga toxin 2-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O26:H11 infections. Case finding was based on testing patients with HUS or bloody diarrhoea for STEC infection by microbiological and serological methods. A case–control study was conducted to identify the source of the outbreak. STEC O26 infection was identified in 20 children (median age 17 months) with HUS, two of whom reported severe neurological sequelae. No cases in adults were detected. Molecular typing showed that two distinct STEC O26:H11 strains were involved. The case–control study showed an association between STEC O26 infection and consumption of dairy products from two local plants, but not with specific ready-to-eat products. E.coli O26:H11 strains lacking the stx genes were isolated from bulk milk and curd samples, but their PFGE profiles did not match those of the outbreak isolates. This outbreak supports the view that infections with Stx2-producing E. coli O26 in children have a high probability of progressing to HUS and represent an emerging public health problem in Europe.
We describe a rubella outbreak that occurred in Romania between September 2011 and December 2012. During this period 24,627 rubella cases, 41.1% (n=10,134) of which female, were notified based on clinical criteria, and a total of 6,182 individuals were found serologically positive for IgM-specific rubella antibody. The median age of notified cases was 18 years (range: <1–65) and the most affected age group 15 to 19 years (n=16,245 cases). Of all notified cases, 24,067 cases (97.7%) reported no history of vaccination. Phylogenetic analysis of 19 sequences (739 nucleotides each), from 10 districts of the country revealed that the outbreak was caused by two distinct rubella virus strains of genotype 2B, which co-circulated with both temporal and geographical overlap. In addition to the 6,182 IgM-positive rubella cases, 28 cases of congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) were identified, including 11 neonatal deaths and one stillbirth. The outbreak underscores the need to encourage higher vaccination uptake in the population, particularly in women of reproductive age, and to strengthen epidemiological and laboratory investigations of suspected rubella cases. Genetic characterisation of wild-type rubella virus is an essential component to enhance surveillance and here we report rubella virus sequences from Romania.
In 2014, H5N8 clade 22.214.171.124 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses of the A/Goose/Guangdong/1/1996 lineage emerged in poultry and wild birds in Asia, Europe and North America. Here, wild birds were extensively investigated in the Netherlands for HPAI H5N8 virus (real-time polymerase chain reaction targeting the matrix and H5 gene) and antibody detection (haemagglutination inhibition and virus neutralisation assays) before, during and after the first virus detection in Europe in late 2014. Between 21 February 2015 and 31 January 2016, 7,337 bird samples were tested for the virus. One HPAI H5N8 virus-infected Eurasian wigeon (Anas penelope) sampled on 25 February 2015 was detected. Serological assays were performed on 1,443 samples, including 149 collected between 2007 and 2013, 945 between 14 November 2014 and 13 May 2015, and 349 between 1 September and 31 December 2015. Antibodies specific for HPAI H5 clade 126.96.36.199 were absent in wild bird sera obtained before 2014 and present in sera collected during and after the HPAI H5N8 emergence in Europe, with antibody incidence declining after the 2014/15 winter. Our results indicate that the HPAI H5N8 virus has not continued to circulate extensively in wild bird populations since the 2014/15 winter and that independent maintenance of the virus in these populations appears unlikely.
Eurosurveillance Edition: 22 September 2016
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