November 2017

Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 23, No. 12, December 2017

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The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the April 2017 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature Emerging Viruses. The articles are embargoed until November 15, 2017, at 12 p.m. EDT.

1.     Avian Influenza A(H7N2) Virus in Human Exposed to Sick Cats, New York, 2016
A. Marinova-Petkova et al.

Avian influenza viruses occasionally infect mammals, including humans, that have been exposed to infected birds and/or contaminated environments. In 2016, an avian influenza virus spread directly from one mammal (a cat) to another (a human). The human patient was a veterinarian who had cared for virus-infected cats during an avian influenza A(H7N2) virus outbreak at an animal shelter in New York City. When the patient became sick with influenza-like symptoms, a sample was collected and a virus was isolated that was found to be genetically related to virus isolated from a shelter cat that died. Both viruses isolated from the human and cat were determined to be low pathogenicity avian influenza A(H7N2) viruses. Genetic analysis indicated that the viruses were genetically related to viruses previously detected in poultry in the USA in the early 2000s. Circulation of this virus, especially among common companion animals, such as domestic cats, is a public health concern. Specific genetic changes detected in this virus might be useful for assessing risks posed by other viruses that can spread from animals to people.

Contact: CDC Press Office, or 404-639-3286.

2.   Group B Streptococcus Infections Caused by Improper Sourcing and Handling of Fish for Raw Consumption, Singapore, 2015–2016, M.L. Chau et al.

During the first half of 2015, a total of 238 people in Singapore became ill during a major outbreak of group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacterial infection associated with eating a Chinese-style raw fish dish (yusheng). Yusheng is typically made from 2 types of fish (sliced Asian bighead carp and snakehead) and is served as a side dish with porridge by food stalls within larger eating establishments. During and after the outbreak, researchers investigated safety and quality of fish sold in the Singapore market. They traced the source of the implicated GBS strain and provided risk-assessment data to support outbreak control and prevention measures. Their findings led to new policies in Singapore, including banning the use of freshwater fish in raw ready-to-eat dishes and requiring procurement of saltwater fish from suppliers of raw fish approved by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore. Food stalls and food establishments providing catering services were required to stop selling raw ready-to-eat fish dishes until they complied with practices required for preparing these dishes. The lessons learned from the 2015 Singapore GBS outbreak can help with development of guidelines for the handling of fish meant for raw consumption in other countries.

Contact: Lee C. Ng, Environmental Health Institute, National Environment Agency, Singapore, via


Page last reviewed: November 15, 2017