This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. I'm fine with this Cookie information

Avian influenza & MERS coronavirus


 

Avian influenza

Avian influenza infects wild and domestic birds over the world.  Zoonotic transmission can occur between humans who are in close contact with infected birds.  A/H5N1 and A/H7N9 have been associated with severe human disease and high fatality rates. Consider testing for avian influenza in a returning traveller who visited South East Asia, Egypt or Turkey 10 days prior to symptom onset and where close contact with live, ill or dead birds, for example in a bird market has occurred.

Further information and clinical algorithms can be found at: https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/a-to-z-of-topics/avian-influenza/ and https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/avian-influenza-guidance-data-and-analysis

The West of Scotland Specialist Virology Centre has both a real-time PCR assay for H5 viruses and H7 viruses.  Please contact the West of Scotland Specialist Virology Centre BEFORE the samples are sent to ensure no risk to laboratory staff accidently opening a respiratory sample suspected of carrying avian influenza. It is important to discuss a possible case of avian influenza with the virologist on clinical for a decision to be made on the urgency of the sample.

  • During working hours (9am to 5pm) contact the clinical team on 0141 201 8721 (38721 internal).
  • Out-of hours and weekends contact the on-call virologist via the switchboard (0141 211 4000).

 

Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome - coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

MERS-CoV is a respiratory virus which first emerged in 2012.  A wide range of symptoms can occur with MERS-CoV ranging from asymptomatic to pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).  Fatality rate has been reported at 30%.  There have been sporadic cases in returning travellers and nosocomial outbreaks.

MERS-CoV Regions

Cases have mainly been seen in the Saudi peninsula, therefore MERS-CoV should be considered in any returning traveller with pneumonia or ARDS who has travelled to the following regions:

Bahrain, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Yemen

Further information can be found at:

NHSGGC: https://www.nhsggc.org.uk/your-health/infection-prevention-and-control/mers-cov-information-hub/

Health Protection Scotland (for primary care and secondary care algorithms): https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/a-to-z-of-topics/middle-east-respiratory-syndrome-coronavirus/

If a patient has travelled to any of the regions above within the last 14 days and is exhibiting respiratory symptoms, please discuss with ID prior to calling the virology laboratory.

The West of Scotland Specialist Virology Centre has a specific MERS-CoV real-time PCR assay.

  • During working hours (9am to 5pm) contact the clinical team on 0141 201 8721 (38721 internal).
  • Out-of hours and weekends contact the on-call virologist via the switchboard (0141 211 4000).

Please contact the West of Scotland Specialist Virology Centre BEFORE the samples are sent to ensure no risk to laboratory staff accidently opening a respiratory sample from a suspected MersCoV patient. It is important to discuss a possible case of Mers-CoV with the virologist on clinical for a decision to be made on the urgency of the sample. No Mers-CoV test will be performed at the laboratory without prior agreement.

Specimen Type Required

 

  • Upper respiratory tract sample (nose and throat swab or nasopharyngeal aspirate) in VPSS container
  • Lower respiratory tract sample (induced sputum, endotracheal tube aspirate or bronchoalveolar lavage- if unable to get these samples a sputum would be sufficient
    • Lower respiratory tract sample is more sensitive for MERS-CoV testing and will be required for confirming a positive upper respiratory tract sample
  • Clotted blood (4.5ml yellow top container)

Transport of Sample

Specimens transported to the West of Scotland Specialist Virology Laboratory in a UN3373 Category B container (these boxes are distributed by ward 5C, QEUH and A+E Departments).

 Delivery details: https://www.nhsggc.org.uk/about-us/professional-support-sites/laboratory-medicine/laboratory-disciplines/microbiology-and-virology/west-of-scotland-specialist-virology-centre/urgent-testing/