CDC: A new bird flu may make the rounds this fall
ATLANTA — Be prepared, this fall season may be especially active with consumers seeking flu shots with news that a new form of bird flu is making its rounds — the HPAI H5 virus. There are no confirmed flu cases in humans of the highly pathogenic virus yet and the risk is considered relatively low, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned last week, but the agency is urging clinicians to be on the lookout for flu-like symptoms.
No human vaccines for HPAI (H5N1), (H5N2) or (H5N8) are available in the United States. Efforts are underway to develop vaccines against these HPAI H5 viruses, CDC reported. Seasonal influenza vaccines do not provide any protection against human infection with HPAI H5 viruses.
According to the agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed more than 200 findings of birds infected with an avian influenza virus between Dec. 15, 2014, and May 29, 2015. The majority of these infections had been detected in poultry, including backyard and commercial flocks. "USDA surveillance indicates that more than 40 million birds have been affected (either infected or exposed) in 20 states," the CDC stated. "These are the first reported infections with these viruses in U.S. wild or domestic birds."
While these recently identified HPAI H5 viruses are not known to have caused disease in humans, their appearance in North American birds may increase the likelihood of human infection in the United States. Human infection with other avian influenza viruses, including a different HPAI (H5N1) virus found in Asia Africa, and other parts of the world; HPAI (H5N6) virus; and (H7N9) virus, has been associated with severe, sometimes fatal, disease, the CDC noted.
"CDC considers the risk to the general public from these newly-identified U.S. HPAI H5 viruses to be low; however, people with close or prolonged unprotected contact with infected birds or contaminated environments may be at greater risk of infection," the agency stated. "Until more is known about these newly-identified HPAI H5 viruses, public health recommendations are largely consistent with guidance for influenza viruses associated with severe disease in humans … currently, CDC considers these newly-identified HPAI H5 viruses as having the potential to cause severe disease in humans."
The CDC recommended that:
- Clinicians should consider the possibility of HPAI H5 virus infection in persons showing signs or symptoms of respiratory illness who have relevant exposure history. This includes persons who have had contact with potentially infected birds; direct contact with surfaces contaminated with feces or parts of potentially infected birds; and persons who have had prolonged exposure to potentially infected birds in a confined space;
- State health departments are encouraged to investigate potential human cases of HPAI H5 virus infection and should notify CDC within 24 hours of identifying a case under investigation. Rapid detection and characterization of novel influenza A viruses in humans remain critical components of national efforts to prevent further cases, evaluate clinical illness associated with them and assess any ability for these viruses to spread among humans;
- People should avoid unprotected exposure to sick or dead birds, bird feces, litter or materials contaminated with suspected or confirmed HPAI H5 viruses;
- People exposed to HPAI H5-infected birds (including people wearing personal protective equipment) should be monitored for signs and symptoms consistent with influenza beginning after their first exposure and for 10 days after their last exposure;
- Influenza antiviral prophylaxis may be considered to prevent infection;
- Persons who develop respiratory illness after exposure to HPAI H5-infected birds should be tested immediately for influenza by the state health department and be given influenza antiviral treatment. State health departments are encouraged to investigate all possible human infections with HPAI H5 virus and should notify CDC promptly when testing for avian influenza in people.
Human infection with avian influenza viruses has not occurred from eating properly cooked poultry or poultry products, the agency noted.
Merz North America officially opens new HQ
RALEIGH, N.C. – Merz North America on Thursday announced the official opening of its new headquarters in Raleigh, N.C. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory was present at the event to officiate at the ribbon cutting ceremony and formally welcome Merz to the Triangle business community.
“By centralizing their North American operations in Raleigh, Merz has reaffirmed their commitment to North Carolina and their belief that this is a great place to do business,“ McCrory said. “Merz is a family-owned company with a strong focus on growth and innovation, and North Carolina’s talented workforce and thriving business climate will help them to achieve even greater success.“
“The opening of our new headquarters is a key moment in Merz North America’s success story. Our progress over the past three years has been fueled by significant internal success and execution, as well as two recent strategic acquisitions,“ said Bill Humphries, president and CEO of Merz North America. “Now, as a result of our move to Raleigh, we are able house all of our core business functions in one place, giving us the opportunity to become an even more significant player in our industry.“
Merz first established its U.S. presence in 1995. Prior to their move to Raleigh in January 2015, Merz North America was based in Greensboro, N.C. from 1995 to 2014.
Start-up seeks capital for fish-friendly hemp oil omega supplement
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – In an effort to help save the world’s fish population, a new company on Thursday launched a healthy and fish-friendly alternative to fish oil. Envision Naturals has created a hemp seed oil in soft gel form that provides consumers with the omega essential fatty acids they require for a proper diet.
Envision Naturals, in an effort to increase awareness for their product and raise some initial capital, has launched a KickStarter campaign that will run through July 3 with the goal of raising $75,000 Canadian ($59,800 U.S.) to finance the first production run.
“It is about providing an environmentally friendly, healthy product that will help people,” said Chris Dollard, co-founder of Envision Naturals. “The growing awareness of the importance of omega EFAs has led to an explosion in their consumption but this explosion is not without its risks. It is our goal to mitigate these risks to the environment and provide people with an alternative that gives them the Omega EFAs they require.”
“We realized something needed to be done and figured there had to be an alternative,” said Anton Mattadeen, co-founder of Envision Naturals. “We partnered with a researcher at the University of BC and realized that hemp could provide that solution.”
Hemp, which the company is quick to point out is not marijuana, is made from cold-pressed hemp seeds and is considered to be a good source of EFAs for the human body. It is vegan-friendly, and is certified organic by Pro-Cert Organic Systems, certified Kosher by the Orthodox Union and certified Halal by the Halal Product Development Services, Envision Naturals reported.
Loading Post Please Wait...