Bear Flu

MISMS researchers identify the cause of sloth bear deaths at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC: human-to-bear transmission of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza A virus. Full article.

Impacts
  • An infection of a sloth bear with the pH1N1 (2009) influenza A virus is confirmed for the first time. Human origin of infection is strongly suspected.
  • Recurring pH1N1 epidemics in humans present an ongoing threat to a wide variety of animals, including threatened species.
  • Increased awareness of the risk of reverse zoonosis in zoological settings supports enhanced biosecurity measures, including annual influenza vaccination for staff with animal contact.

PLoS Comp Biol: drivers of spread of seasonal influenza in the US during 2002-2010

MISMS researchers analyzed fine-grain insurance claims data on influenza-like-illnesses over eight seasons in ~300 locations throughout the United States. Using statistical methods, they found that seven of eight epidemics likely originated in the Southern US, that influenza spatial transmission is dominated by local traffic between cities, and that seasons marked by novel influenza virus circulation had a particularly radial, localized spatial structure. The findings are in stark contrast to prevailing theories of influenza spatial transmission that suggest that transmission is favored in low humidity environments and that spread is a dominated by air traffic between populous hubs. The findings are published in PLoS Computational Biology.

Save the date for ANISE African influenza meeting, Nov 13-17, Antananarivo, Madagascar

6th ANISE (African Network for Influenza Surveillance and Epidemiology) Meeting 

Antananarivo, Madagascar

November 13 to 17, 2017

at Hotel Carlton

 

Please register and submit your abstract on-line (due August 15) to the meeting website: www.anise-network.org

The agenda is in progress, but we plan to hold plenary sessions from November 13- 15 and training workshops November 16-17.

 

 

MISMS researchers examine use of Big Data for infectious disease surveillance in JID supplement

Big data derived from electronic health records, social media, the internet and other digital sources have the potential to provide more timely and detailed information on infectious disease threats or outbreaks than traditional surveillance methods. A team of scientists led by MISMS researchers Cecile Viboud and Gerardo Chowell reviewed the growing body of research on the subject and has published its analyses in a special issue of Journal of Infectious Diseases.

[NIH press release]

Spotlight: MISMS collaborator Andrew Bowman’s studies in US exhibition swine

Last week, the work of Dr Andrew Bowman, Ohio State University, was highlighted in Yahoo news.  Dr Bowman has been tracking influenza viruses in US exhibition swine since 2009.  In 2016, Dr Bowman co-authored two studies with MISMS researchers examining how novel viruses with pandemic potential evolve in exhibition swine.  One study, published in January 2016 in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, identified the active role of exhibition swine in the evolution of novel variant viruses that have infected over 300 humans in the United States since 2011.  A second study, published online in September 2016 in the Journal of Virology, traces long-term evolutionary trends of influenza viruses in exhibition swine and demonstrates how these can be used to predict outbreaks of variant swine viruses in humans.

front-matter

2009 swine flu pandemic originated in Mexico, researchers discover

Researchers from the Fogarty International Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Laboratorio Avi-Mex have used genetic sequencing to show that the 2009 global H1N1 influenza pandemic began in central Mexico, originating in pigs and spreading to humans. Mexico is not typically considered a source of novel influenza strains, and the findings demonstrate how long-distance trade of live swine can move viruses between continents and regions to generate novel reassortant viruses. The new findings appear online in the journal eLIFE.

Save the Date – MISMS Influenza Workshop – Bethesda

SAVE THE DATE

MISMS Influenza Workshop:

Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health

November 7-10, 2016, Bethesda, MD

Read more

H1N1 Pandemic May Have Killed Nearly 300,000

Journal offers insights on flu pandemics back to 1889