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News Reports for March 31, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sun Mar 25, 2012 at 18:32:49 PM EDT

Reminder: Please do not post whole articles, just snippets and links, and do not post articles from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Thanks!

• Madhya Pradesh: Another suspected swine flu death (Link)
• Karnataka: H1N1 threat looms over Belgaum (Link)
• Tamil Nadu: Two cases of swine flu detected in city (Link)
• Swine flu rears its head in India again; govt calls deaths isolated (Link)
• Man dies of swine flu in Tamil Nadu (Link)
• West Bengal: First swine flu case of the year in Vizag district (Link)

•  H5N1 - 20,000 turkeys from the same coop culled (Link)
• ProMED-mail Rapporteur Mary Marshall: Health officials plan 20 000-turkey cull after bird flu found (Link)

Republic of Ireland
• Outbreak of bird flu puts health officials on high alert (Link)
• Tests continue and restrictions remain after avian flu outbreak in Cork (Link)

• Vietnam battles lingering bird flu threat (Link)

Bird-Flu Research Gets U.S. Panel's Green Light for Publication (Link)

• ProMED: Influenza (21): update (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for March 31, 2012

News for March 30, 2012 is here.

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:
WHO A(H1N1) Site
WHO H5N1 human case totals, last updated March 26, 2012
Charts and Graphs on H5N1 from WHO
Google Flu Trends
CDC Weekly Influenza Summary
Map of seasonal influenza in the U.S.
CIDPC (Canada) Weekly FluWatch
UK RCGP Weekly Data on Communicable and Respiratory Diseases
Flu Wiki Main Page

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Ireland: Outbreak of bird flu puts health officials on high alert
HEALTH and agriculture officials were last night on high alert after the first case of bird flu was detected here in 14 years. Measures are being put in place to prevent the spread of bird flu to humans after the virus was discovered in a flock of pheasants kept by a gun club in Clonakilty in West Cork.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre said last night it was mainly an animal-health issue with no risk to the general public. However, precautions, including the provision of anti-viral preventive medicine, were being taken for those coming into contact with infected birds. The pheasants, which had been kept in an enclosed premises, were slaughtered yesterday and a 1km restriction zone has been put in place around it to test for further cases.

The United Nations warned on Thursday that a new mutant strain of the deadly H5N1 virus was circulating in south-east Asia where eight people have died of it already this year.

However, the department here said preliminary tests this week had indicated that while the Cork pheasants had the H5 strain of avian flu, it was not the deadly H5N1 strain. Although nothing can be ruled out until final tests results are in, it would be "highly unusual" for a new strain from Vietnam to suddenly spread to Ireland as no cases had been reported anywhere inbetween, a department spokesperson said. Further laboratory test results to confirm the exact strain are expected within days.

Avian flu caused a major health scare in Ireland in 2006 to 2007, as worldwide cases spiralled, leading to 331 human deaths globally. However, despite high alerts and dire warnings of the risks it was not detected in this country, and the last Irish outbreak was in 1998 involving a less pathogenic strain.

Chicks on a poultry farm close to the new outbreak in Clonakilty are being tested for avian flu and they will not be allowed move from the farm or enter the food chain until they are found to be safe. Continued: http://www.independent.ie/nati...

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


Tests continue and restrictions remain after avian flu outbreak in Cork
Tests continue to determine the exact strain of so-called bird flu although initial testing determined it is the H5 strain and not the more deadly H5N1 strain. It could be next week before full results are known.

Around 100 game birds on the premises are being slaughtered as a precautionary measure.

Yesterday the Department said that a one kilometre avian influenza temporary restriction zone has been implemented around both premises affected with necessary bio security measures also being put in place.


[ Parent ]
Vietnam battles lingering bird flu threat
HANOI: Vietnam may have contained the fatal bird flu outbreak that raged in the late 2000s but it is still struggling with new cases of the disease that have puzzled experts in the communist country. Since January, bird flu outbreaks have occurred in 14 provinces. About 65,000 chicken and ducks have died or been culled. Authorities have confirmed four human cases, of which two have been fatal.

It's a long way from the peak in 2003 to 2009 when the virus infected millions of fowl and killed 57 people -- making Vietnam the second worst-hit country after Indonesia, according to the World Health Organisation. In 2011, the country reported no new human cases, but the virus was still there, less threatening but not eradicated.

"Bird flu has a harmful impact on agriculture, on people's lives, with the reappearance of new weaker strains," said Hoang Van Nam, director of the animal health department at the agriculture ministry. Outbreaks happen nationwide, he said, adding this was due to a mix of "the family structure of farming, a lack of information and gaps in vaccination and farm control programmes."

Concerns about avian influenza have risen in the region with China, Cambodia and Indonesia all reporting deaths from the H5N1 strain of the virus this year. But traders at Hanoi's Ha Vi market, where between 80 and 100 tonnes of live birds are sold every day, say they are not concerned.

"Who said there is a bird flu epidemic here? This doesn't interest me. They exaggerate these things. I know only that all my chickens are in good health," market vendor Do Thi Thanh Hoa told AFP. She said neither she nor her colleagues had to provide certificates of origin or vaccination for the birds they sell. "Since the market opened, no one has been infected with H5N1. In this market, even when there is a ban, we still buy chickens and eat meat. Everyone is fine," said Dao Thi Ngoc, another farmer.

"The TV keeps talking about H5N1. Where is it happening?". State television regularly runs reports on the dangers of transporting poultry that has not been vaccinated, warning of the risks of buying birds smuggled in from China. Continued: http://www.brecorder.com/world...

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


India: Another suspected swine flu death (Madhya Pradesh)
BHOPAL: In another suspected case of swine-flu, a middle aged woman died on Friday a few hours after a sample was sent for testing for the disease.

The deceased, Sia Bai, 52, is a resident of Begumganj in Raisen district. After she complained of respiratory trouble on March 28, she was brought to LBS Hospital in the city. On Friday, her sample was sent to the Regional Medical Research Centre for Tribals (RMRCT), Jabalpur, for swine flu test. But she died in a few hours after her sample was sent (Snip) The patient, suffering from pneumonia, was on ventilator. (Snip)

(Snip) "Another sample is expected to be received from Hamidia Hospital tomorrow of a small child. As of now, it seems to be a case of meningitis. The sample would be sent for confirmation."

The CMHO also stressed wearing masks was ineffective from protection against swine flu as the H1N1 virus spread from cough droplets. He said, "Masks will be only effective when a person affected by the swine flu wore it so that others don't contract the disease. N95 masks are the effective and those of cloth do not serve the purpose." He added, "Crowded places like New Market should be avoided. Also, frequent hand washing should be done throughout the day. Maintaining an arm's distance from person's suffering from cough is another precaution that should be followed."

"Private nursing homes have also been asked to alert the administration immediately and send the samples if there are suspected swine flu cases. The family members should also be quarantined," the CMHO said. Continued: http://timesofindia.indiatimes...

(Note: "The CMHO also stressed wearing masks was ineffective from protection against swine flu as the H1N1 virus spread from cough droplets." IMO, the CMHO is giving bad advice!!

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


India: H1N1 threat looms over Belgaum (Karnataka)
The onset of summer has brought with it the fear of spread of H1N1 influenza. As many as 200 cases have been reported in the neighboring city of Pune and so far nine people have reportedly succumbed to the virus. These numbers and the lack of screening of passengers from Pune for H1N1 before they enter the city has put residents here at risk.

Pune is just 350 km from Belgaum and there is considerable movement of people from Pune to Belgaum. Any laxity in initiating quarantine measures may lead to spread of the influenza. Despite this, the Health department is yet to take measures to screen passengers at entry points of the State and quarantine them to prevent the spread of the flu. Continued: http://www.deccanherald.com/co...

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


Bird-Flu Research Gets U.S. Panel's Green Light for Publication
A panel of scientists that earlier warned the U.S. government about the risks of disclosing two research papers reversed course Friday, recommending that two studies on avian influenza be published in journals.

In December, the same panel advised federal officials to ask two major journals, Science and Nature, to withhold details of the studies, sparking dueling debates over whether potentially dangerous research should be pursued at all, and what role the government should play in policing its dissemination.
The panel reviewed revised versions of the two papers - by Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands and Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin - on Thursday and Friday and decided the latest copies were fit for publication.

"The data described in the revised manuscripts do not appear to provide information that would immediately enable misuse of the research in ways that would endanger public health or national security," according to a statement released by the panel. Dr. Kawaoka's paper got a unanimous thumbs up from the reviewers, while Dr. Fouchier's was recommended for publication by a 12-6 vote. Continued: http://blogs.wsj.com/health/20...

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


India: Two cases of swine flu detected in city (Tamil Nadu)
CHENNAI: Doctors said two patients have tested positive for the H1N1 virus in Chennai, in the first reported cases of swine flu in the state in 18 months. (Snip) The patients have been prescribed Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and domestic quarantine.

Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh have reported 21 deaths due to H1N1 this year, and Karnataka and Gujarat have reported cases in the past few weeks.

State health department officials said there was no cause for alarm, but advised people with symptoms of cold, cough and fever to consult doctors. (Snip) "One patient travelled to Delhi by air and could have been infected during the journey. But the other did not travel out of Chennai. We are trying to determine how he contracted the infection," (Snip) http://timesofindia.indiatimes...

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


India: Swine flu rears its head in India again; govt calls deaths isolated
NEW DELHI: Swine flu has reared its head in India again with several states reporting instances of the deadly H1N1 in their daily health rosters. (Snip) more than 20 persons died after being infected by swine flu in the states of Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat, all states located in central India.

(Snip) authorities reported over 300 cases this year and has issued directions to all state government to keep people suffering from flu under observation.

(Snip) States where cases had been reported have been advised to step up surveillance to control further spread of the virus," (Snip) While the union health ministry has still classified the latest outbreak as "isolated", the volumes of deaths reaped by the killer disease over the last few years are forcing medical authorities to be cautious this time round. (Snip)  50000 reported cases of H1N1, 2,800 plus people died from the swine flu virus since 2009. http://bikyamasr.com/64448/swi...

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


ProMED: Influenza (21): update
In this report:

[1] WHO: Global activity

[2] ECDC weekly report

[3] USA (DE) - Tamiflu resistance

Influenza virus activity in the world

Based on FluNet reporting (as of 27 Mar 2012, 14:00 UTC) during weeks 10 to 11 (4 Mar 2012 to 17 Mar 2012), National Influenza Centres (NICs) and other national influenza laboratories from 88 countries, areas or territories reported data. The WHO GISRS laboratories tested more than 50 919 specimens. 15 214 were positive for influenza viruses, of which 11 559 (76 percent) were typed as influenza A and 3655 (24 percent) as influenza B. Of the sub-typed influenza A viruses, 957 (15 percent) were influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and 5351 (85 percent) were influenza A(H3N2). Of the characterized B viruses, 420 (45 percent) belong to the B-Yamagata lineage and 509 (55 percent) to the B-Victoria lineage.


During weeks 10 and 11 in 2012, laboratory confirmed influenza activity continued to increase in many countries in the northern hemisphere with regional and widespread outbreaks reported in a number of countries.

Influenza A(H3N2) continued to be the predominant virus subtype detected globally. In general, influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 remained low with the exception of a few countries. Influenza B virus activity was high in a number of countries and was the predominant virus detected in Canada and China.

In Europe, outbreaks of influenza A(H3N2) were reported with increasing co-circulation of influenza B in some countries. In northern Africa, influenza A(H3N2) activity decreased with local outbreaks reported only in Algeria.

In the United States of America, influenza A(H3N2) remained the predominant virus subtype while in Canada influenza B detections continued to increase and surpassed the number of influenza A viruses reported. A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses remained the predominant virus subtype in Mexico. A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses were reported in increasing proportions in some regions in the United States of America. In Central America, influenza activity increased in Guatemala with A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses the main circulating virus subtype.

In Asia, A(H3N2) and B virus influenza activity remained high, with B viruses predominating in China, China Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Republic of Korea. Influenza A(H3N2) viruses remained predominant in Japan with some co-circulation of influenza B. In the Middle East, A(H1N1)pdm09 activity increased in Qatar.

In the southern hemisphere, influenza activity continued to be low with the majority of the sporadic virus detections identified as influenza A(H3N2).

Continued: http://beta.promedmail.org/dir...

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


Isreal: H5N1-20,000 turkeys from the same coop culled
Health officials plan 20,000-turkey cull after bird flu found Discovery at Moshav Zavdiel is third case in recent weeks
By Joshua Davidovich March 30, 2012, 10:38 am

The Agriculture Ministry plans to slaughter 20,000 turkeys from the same coop after avian flu was discovered there.

The coop, on Moshav Zavdiel, near Lachish in the lower Judean plain, is the third farming community discovered in Israel in recent weeks with an avian flu outbreak.

Officials hope they can stem the spread of the disease by killing the birds.

A number of cats were found dead before the last cull, with signs pointing to them having eaten the carcasses of infected turkeys near Shalva, in the south, according to a report by the World Organization for Animal Health.

In 2006, southern Israel's poultry industry was brought nearly to the brink of collapse, growers said, after a number of culls following the discovery of bird flu.


United we stand: Divided we fall

ProMED-mail Rapporteur Mary Marshall
[According to reliable sources, the above event is related to the sighting, by a veterinary inspector, of a truck transporting 6-week-old turkeys from location(s) within the HPAI H5N1 protection zone (10 km around the infected village Shalva; see map at 20120312.1068423) to Moshav Zavdiel which is situated 10.5 km to the north of Shalva, just beyond the 10-km boundary. Investigation was undertaken at the destination site; it included sampling of the transported turkey poults. These samples were found in the national laboratory (Kimron Veterinary Institute) positive to H5N1 by the real time PCR test. Remarkably, the positive birds, which were apparently transported to a farm outside the declared zone for further fattening there, did not show clinical signs of disease and would not have been tested if their illegal transportation would not have been detected.

Though, most likely, the virus involved is similar to the causative agent of the earlier HPAI H5N1 outbreak in Shalva, its pathogenicity has yet to be demonstrated. The absence of clinical signs in these PCR-positive birds deserves clarification. In this context, subscribers are referred to a 2009 paper (see ref 1), according to which, chickens inoculated with H9N2 (a virus known to circulate in
the Israel/Middle East) showed 90-100 percent survival after
inoculation 1 to 35 days later with HPAI H5N1 virus. Chickens that survived did not show signs of disease but did shed lethal H5N1 virus from the cloaca. It would be interesting to note if the turkey poults in the above consignment were have been tested also for H9N2; if affirmative - results, as well as the pathogenicity rate of the relevant H5N1 virus, are requested.


[ Parent ]
India: Man dies of swine flu in Tamil Nadu
In the first case of a swine flu death in Tamil Nadu in two years, a 72-year-old farmer from a village near the textile hub of Tirupur died of the H1N1 virus on Saturday.

With reports of swine flu cases trickling in from Chennai and Coimbatore - two fresh cases have been reported in Chennai - the state Health Department has sounded an alert and asked all government hospitals to be prepared for mass screening of patients.  ...

According to Kandasamy's relatives, he had not travelled outside Tamil Nadu for the past two months though he had come in contact with people from neighbouring Karnataka at his daughter's wedding in February.


India (West Bengal)
First swine flu case has been detected in the district in a thirty-year-old man who is battling for life at a private hospital here, district authorities said on Saturday. ...

In 2009, a total of 29 swine flu cases were reported in the district and five persons died of swine flu while undergoing treatment at various hospitals in the city limits while in 2010, a total of 16 swine flu cases registered in the district and four persons succumbed to the virus.


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