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News Reports for February 16, 2010

by: NewsDiary

Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 23:48:07 PM EST

Reminder: Please do not post whole articles, just snippets and links. Thanks!!

United States
•  US: Flu expert sees signs of possible H1N1 resurgence (Link)
•  US: Puzzled doctors asking: Where is the flu? (Link)
•  US: Study links pandemic spread to gaps in paid sick leave (Link)
•  FL: Swine flu claims 13th victim in Palm Beach County (Link)

•  Epidemics kept under control (Link)

•  H1N1's Unintended Effect: Sanitizer High (Link)

•  H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for February 16, 2010

News for February 15, 2010 is here.

US Influenza-Like Illness Reports
Week ending Feb/ 6, 2010

Influenza-Like Illness Reports for England & Wales
Week ending Feb 7, 2010

Thanks to all of the newshounds!
Special thanks to the newshound volunteers who translate international stories - thanks for keeping us all informed!

Other useful links:
CDC A(H1N1) Site
WHO A(H1N1) Site
WHO H5N1 human case totals, last updated February 12, 2010
Charts and Graphs on H5N1 from WHO
Google Flu Trends (U.S.)
CDC Weekly Influenza Summary
Map of seasonal influenza in the U.S.
CIDPC (Canada) Weekly FluWatch
European CDC Influenza News
UK RCGP Weekly Data on Communicable and Respiratory Diseases
Flu Wiki Main Page

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Flu expert sees signs of possible H1N1 resurgence
Though flu activity remains low elsewhere, it remains at a higher level in Georgia and South Carolina, a sign that more might be coming, an Augusta flu expert said. Several clues point to what might be a third wave from the novel influenza A H1N1 virus, or what might turn out to be nothing, (Snip) No state was reporting the highest level of flu activity, widespread, for the week ending Feb. 6, but six -- including Georgia and South Carolina -- were at the next-highest level regionally, according to the (CDC).

Most of the remaining flu activity is concentrated in the Southeast, (Snip) If you look at the map of flu activity, "this looks a lot like the map did in August," he said. That's when a second wave of flu activity erupted out of the Southeast as children returned to school. There are a few other troubling signs, Wilde said:

-- The line charting flulike illness in Georgia "is not going down anymore," he said. "It's leveling or slightly going up."

-- Georgia reported four deaths from flu for the week that ended Tuesday, after averaging one the previous two weeks and none for four weeks before that, according to the Georgia Division of Public Health.

-- South Carolina saw a slight increase in flu activity, going from local to regional status, with the level of flulike illness going from 0.69 percent to 1.3 percent and the number of hospitalizations climbing from six to 10, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

-- A number of pediatricians and primary care providers are reporting several positive rapid tests for flu in their offices in the past couple of weeks, Wilde said.

Wilde called all of these factors "suspicious." What might mitigate the next wave is the number of people who have already been infected. The CDC estimated that by Jan. 16 about 57 million people had come down with the new virus, with nearly 12,000 deaths. Many of the uninfected elderly appear to be less susceptible to it. "Much of the fuel for this fire has already been consumed," (Snip) Add to that the number who have been vaccinated -- the CDC estimates it is about 70 million -- and the number of susceptible left is diminished. "It's quite possible we may not have any more flu this season," (Snip) The next two weeks will likely tell, (Snip) http://www.individual.com/stor...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


Vietnam: Epidemics kept under control
No positive cases of A/H1N1, A/H5N1 or acute diarrhoea have been reported across the country over the past three days, the Ministry of Health (MoH) says. The MoH Animal Health Department reports that the bird flu remains scattered in 7 provinces, namely Ca Mau, Dien Bien, Soc Trang, Kon Tum, Quang Tri, Nghe An and Nam Dinh.

The lethal strain of H5N1 virus was found in a flock of 45-day-old unvaccinated ducks raised by a farmer in Thanh Ninh hamlet, Thanh Thoi Thuan commune in Soc Trang province. More than 500 out of 630 sick ducks died. (Snip) In Nam Dinh province, the same virus was found in a flock of 270 ducks in Nghi An commune, Nam Truc district. (Snip) the ducks had just been given a shot of the bird flu vaccine. (Snip)

The MoH has asked its provincial and municipal departments of health to keep a close watch for further outbreaks, which are expected to emerge during the lunar New Year festival. It has also dispatched missions to inspect preparedness in Hanoi and Thai Binh, Hai Duong, Ha Nam, Nam Dinh and Ha Tinh provinces. http://english.vovnews.vn/Home...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


Puzzled doctors asking: Where is the flu?
United States - The swine flu has all but disappeared for the time being, but in its wake public health officials are facing a bizarre influenza season - there's almost no seasonal flu going around. This time of year is typically the peak of flu season, but doctors and health care clinics are reporting flu cases far below normal levels. The early spread of the swine flu last fall seems to have either delayed, or perhaps prevented entirely, the normal flu season.

"I have never seen a year when it's been this late in the season and there hasn't been any influenza activity yet," said Dr. Randy Bergen, clinical lead for the flu vaccine program for Northern California Kaiser. "It certainly isn't out of the question that seasonal flu could still show up, but for there to be no activity right now is pretty extraordinary."

In California, about 4 percent of visits to doctors' offices this time of year typically are for flulike illnesses, according to the state Health Department. But as of last week, less than 2 percent of visits were for flulike illnesses. And of those patients who were tested to determine what illness they had, almost none had any type of influenza - seasonal or swine flu. Continued: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


I've wondered about this too. I find
it just as puzzling as the doctors do. There are no seasonal flu shots being distrubted around various places  like there always is, and seasonal flu shots are not even being mentioned. I've heard zero about seasonal flu here. It's very strange to me.  

United we stand: Divided we fall

[ Parent ]
FL: Swine flu claims 13th victim in Palm Beach County
The Palm Beach County health department reported Monday the death of a 32-year-old woman due to the H1N1 swine flu virus - the 13th in the county since the outbreak. The victim was hospitalized as were 92 others infected with the virus to date, (Snip)

"We want to remind residents that this pandemic continues to claim lives and unfortunately the virus is still very much active," (Snip) The health department is still offering free swine flu vaccines to the public in Delray Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth and Greenacres this week. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/ne...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


H1N1's Unintended Effect: Sanitizer High
Addicts Abusing Hand Sanitizer after Product Flooded onto Store Shelves, Police and Social Groups Say

It's an unintended consequence of the fight against germs during the recent outbreak of the H1NI virus.

Police and social advocates say addicts are abusing hand sanitizer after the product flooded onto store shelves and into dispensers in most public buildings last year.

Sgt. Darrall Randy Kotchon, a Winnipeg police officer who works in a community support unit, said his officers have received reports that addicts are consuming the gel and have found a lot of discarded bottles of the stuff.
Experts say people are adding salt to the sanitizer, which separates pure alcohol from the product with potentially dangerous results.

At one of the city's main shelters workers have confiscated sanitizer bottles and stopped leaving salt out on tables so people have to ask to use it.

"It's similar to individuals who are using sniff, or they're using mouthwash, or they're using hairspray," said Kotchon.

And we thought the Influenza news cycle was slow;) n/t

[ Parent ]
US: Study links pandemic spread to gaps in paid sick leave

Feb 16, 2010 (CIDRAP News) - Employees without paid sick days were more likely to work when they were sick during the peak of the fall pandemic wave and may have extended the outbreak by infecting their coworkers, according to a research group.

Using data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Department of Labor, the investigators estimate that almost 26 million employed Americans age 18 and older may have been infected with the pandemic H1N1 virus from September through November. They projected that nearly 18 million took at least a part of a week off due to illness and that 8 million apparently worked while they were sick.

The researchers, from the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR), published their findings on Feb 8 on the organization's Web site. According to an earlier IWPR estimate, four fifths of low-wage workers lack defined paid sick days, a situation that is more likely to affect women, minorities, and young workers who are on the lower end of pay scales-categories that also match some of the groups at risk from H1N1 flu complications. (snip)

The United States is one of a few developed nations that doesn't have universal paid sick days, which the IWPR and others have said impairs the nation's response to infectious disease outbreaks. According to the IWPR, 89% of state and local government employees and nearly all federal employees have paid sick days, but only two of five private-sector employees have paid sick leave coverage. (snip)

Business perspectives
A. Bruce Clarke, an attorney who is president and CEO of Capital Associated Industries, a North Carolina non-profit with 1,000 member businesses, told CIDRAP News that one key flaw in the study is that it doesn't take into account that people come to work sick, regardless of their paid sick leave status. "Not many people stay home at the first sign. We are often mid illness before it makes any sense to be gone," he said. (snip)

See also:

Institute for Women's Policy Research press release

Feb 8 Institute for Women's Policy Research pandemic H1N1 sick leave study: http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/B284si...  

Gastrointestinal absorption of Tamiflu in critically ill patients with H1N1
An increased dosage of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) for patients with critical illness is unlikely to be required in the treatment of pandemic (H1N1) influenza, contrary to current international guidelines, found a new study http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/doi/10.... in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) www.cmaj.ca.

World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recommend that all critically ill patients should be treated with Tamiflu and if the patient was unresponsive to standard doses or critically ill, a higher dose should be considered. [snip]

"Studying the absorption ability of Tamiflu in the critically ill became a priority with the large number of patients needing ICU and ventilation support," writes lead author Dr. Anand Kumar, Health Sciences Centre, University of Manitoba and coauthors. "Also, the number of obese patients suffering from H1N1 related critical illnesses were large which raised the question about whether the dose should be adjusted upwards with increased body weight."

Blood sampling indicated that the 75 mg twice daily dosage of Tamiflu was well absorbed in critically ill patients with respiratory failure. Blood levels of the antiviral were similar or higher than levels in ambulatory patients with a similar dosage. Patients with kidney dysfunction requiring dialysis needed an adjusted dose but adjustment for obesity was not required.[snip]


"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."  Flannery O'Connor

European Medicines Agency And Swissmedic Agree Sharing Of Information On H1N1 Pandemic Medicines
The European Medicines Agency and Swissmedic will from now on be able to exchange confidential information about the authorisation and safety of medicines used in the context of the H1N1 pandemic influenza.

The confidentiality arrangement was agreed between the European Medicines Agency on the one side and the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products, Swissmedic, on the other side, on 12 February 2010.

The partners will be able to exchange confidential scientific and technical information to ensure the safety, quality, efficacy and post-authorisation follow-up of medicines used in the context of the pandemic.[snip]

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."  Flannery O'Connor

Please post new news stories to...

News Reports for February 17, 2010

Thank you!

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown



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