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MMWR – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

 

1. Antibodies Cross-Reactive to Influenza A (H3N2) Variant Virus and Impact of 2010–11 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine on Cross-Reactive Antibodies — United States

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The increase in the number of human cases of H3N2v virus infection identified in the United States in 2011 prompted CDC to better understand the risk for human infection with H3N2v viruses and to determine if current seasonal influenza vaccines protect against them. In this study, CDC researchers investigated whether antibodies reactive with H3N2v virus were present in human populations or whether the seasonal flu shot caused people to develop such antibodies in addition to antibodies against the seasonal H3N2 viruses the vaccine is intended to protect people against. Such antibodies are called “cross-reactive antibodies.” Three different age groups were studied (pediatric 6-35 months, adults 18-49 years old, and older adults >65 years old), to see if there were any differences in their ability to make “cross-reactive antibodies” after vaccination. The results of this study suggest that young children are the most susceptible to infection with H3N2v influenza viruses and that seasonal influenza vaccination would not be expected to provide full protection against H3N2v virus infection in all age groups.

2. Rabies Risk Assessments after Exposure to a Bat in an Airplane Cabin — United States, 2011

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Public transit, such as commercial airliners, can serve as a site of exposure to zoonotic pathogens, such as rabies. A bat flew through a commercial airplane carrying 50 passengers and 3 flight crew, potentially exposing them to rabies virus.  Public health investigations included risk assessments of passengers and crew associated with the airplane and an environmental assessment of the airport or origin.  This investigation highlighted the difficulty that arises when exposures of relatively short duration occur in populations originating and traveling to different locations and contact information is limited.  Preventing these mass exposures and increasing public and employee awareness of public health risks of exposures should be emphasized.  Detailed record keeping can promote successful public health response to such events.

3. Human Orf Virus Infection from Household Exposures — United States, 2009–2011

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Persons who engage in household meat processing and animal slaughter for religious observance are at risk for orf virus exposure and should be counseled regarding use of non-permeable gloves and hand hygiene to prevent infection. Four cases of human orf associated with household meat processing or animal slaughter for religious observances have been identified. Orf is a zoonotic infection caused by a parapoxvirus that commonly infects sheep and goats. Infection in humans produces an ulcerative skin lesion and typically is associated with occupational animal contact. These nontraditional exposure histories have led to delayed diagnosis of human orf infection and unnecessary treatments. It is important to include orf virus infection in the differential diagnosis of patients with clinically compatible skin lesions and a history of household meat processing or animal slaughter. Persons and communities with these exposure risks also should receive counseling regarding the use of nonpermeable gloves and hand hygiene to prevent infection.

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