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News Reports for April 13, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Wed Apr 11, 2012 at 00:32:07 AM EDT


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

Australia
• Australia: Flu shots offered to populations at risk at the beginning of season (Link)

Egypt
• WHO confirms fatal human H5N1 case (Link)

India
• Karnataka: 19 test positive for H1N1 (Link)
• Top Govt officials meet to review swine flu preparedness (Link)
• New Delhi: Govt hospitals told to re-open swine flu wards (Link)
• Karnataka: Rising swine flu cases worry government (Link)

United States
• CIDRAP: Study - Variant H3N2 risk greatest in kids under 10 (Link)
• UT: Swine flu case worries U.S. scientists (Link)
• VT: Vermont reporting late-season surge in influenza cases (Link)

Research
• Preliminary study: Flu vaccine was 43% effective against H3N2 in Europe (Link)
• Bird Flu Research Flies Into Export Laws, Crashes, Then Burns (Link)
• More Evidence for Mild Influenza H5N1 Infections (Link)


• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for April 13, 2012

News for April 12, 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 April 12, 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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Egypt: WHO confirms fatal human H5N1 case
http://www.who.int/csr/don/201...

Avian influenza - situation in Egypt - update

12 April 2012 - The Ministry of Health and Population of Egypt has notified WHO of a new case of human infection with avian influenza A (H5N1) virus.

The case is a 36 year-old female from Giza governorate. She developed symptoms on 1 April 2012 and was admitted to a hospital on 7 April 2012 and died on the same day.

The case was confirmed by the Central Public Health Laboratories; a National Influenza Center of the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network.

Epidemiological investigations into the source of infection indicate that the case had exposure to backyard poultry.


CIDRAP: Study - Variant H3N2 risk greatest in kids under 10
Apr 12, 2012 (CIDRAP News) - The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today released more details about a new H3N2 variant (H3N2v) case in Utah, along with results of a serum study that suggests children younger than 10 are likely to be at greatest risk for contracting the novel virus.

Yesterday, officials with Utah's Weber-Morgan Health Department announced the confirmation of a new H3N2v case, and today the CDC said the patient is a child who had exposure to swine, pushing the nation's number of similar cases since 2011 to 13 and the number affected states to six.

The CDC said more investigations are under way to identify the source of the infection and to determine if there are more human cases. So far 12 of the 13 H3N2v infections involved children, and about half of the cases had a history of swine exposure. However, because others did not, the CDC has said the cases probably reflect limited human-to-human exposure.

The latest case was detected during routine surveillance. The patient had sought medical care for a fever, was treated with oseltamivir (Tamiflu), and recovered at home. The CDC said none of the viruses in the 13 cases had genetic markers of resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors, the most commonly used class of antiviral drugs against flu. The triple-reassortant swine-origin H3N2v strain includes the M (matrix) gene from the pandemic 2009 H1N1 (pH1N1) virus.

Earlier this year, a research group from the CDC and Harvard tested four H3N2v viruses that have been linked to human cases in the United States since 2009 to gauge how well they spread in ferrets, which is a measure of possible pandemic potential. The viruses were similar to seasonal H3N2 viruses: They spread by respiratory droplets, causing disease that wasn't lethal. The group also found that the virus replicated well in human bronchial cells.

The group concluded that the virus had pandemic potential, but more information was needed to determine what cross-reactive immunity the general population has to the new viruses.
Continued: http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidr...  

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

     


CIDRAP: Preliminary study - Flu vaccine was 43% effective against H3N2 in Europe
A preliminary study from eight European countries suggests that this year's flu vaccine was 43% effective against H3N2 viruses, with antigenic drift cited as a possible contributor to the limited vaccine effectiveness (VE). The study, reported today in Eurosurveillance, was conducted by the Influenza Monitoring Vaccine Effectiveness in Europe (I-MOVE) Network in France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Spain. It focused on people in flu-vaccination target groups.

Over the last 5 weeks of 2011 and the first 7 weeks of this year, providers recruited 2,090 patients with flu-like illness, 575 of whom were in the target groups. Of 935 confirmed flu cases, 867 were H3N2 viruses. Because of the small sample size, the study focused on this subtype only. Of 538 cases included in the analysis, there were 208 H3N2 infections and 330 negative controls. Among the 533 patients with known vaccination status, 179 (33.5%) had been vaccinated. The adjusted VE was found to be 43% (95% confidence interval, -0.4% to 67.7%). "The low to moderate VE we observed may be explained by a limited match identified between the circulating influenza A(H3) virus strains and the vaccine strain," Continued: http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidr...

Apr 12 Eurosurveillance report: http://www.eurosurveillance.or...
 

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

     


India: 19 test positive for H1N1 (Karnataka)
BANGALORE: As many as 19 people have tested positive for H1N1 in various parts of Karnataka on Thursday, 16 of them in the jurisdiction of BBMP. (Snip) no death was reported due to swine flu in the state on Thursday. The virus has claimed 7 lives since January (Snip) and 106 cases have (Snip) tested positive this year. 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: Rising swine flu cases worry government (Karnataka)
Worried over the increasing number of A(H1N1) cases in the State, experts in the frontline of combating the disease now feel that general practitioners and doctors of all specialities should be sensitised on how to identify A(H1N1) symptoms in patients and provide them timely treatment.

The State Health Department conducted a meeting with representatives from private nursing homes in the city on Thursday to sensitise the doctors and create awareness about early detection of cases. Representatives from more than 75 nursing homes, apart from top health officials from the Health Department and BBMP and virologists, attended the meeting.

"The role of general practitioners is important now because treatment can be effective only if it is started on time. We have adequate stocks of Tamiflu, the only anti-viral drug for A(H1N1) and vaccines. But the medicines can be effective only if they are administered on time," (Snip)

While 19 more cases tested positive for the disease on Thursday, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the State to 126 (Snip) One death was reported in Davangere on Wednesday, taking the total toll to seven from January till date. Of the 19 new cases, 16 are from Bangalore. We are ready to handle the situation better now, Dr. Malagi said.

H. Paramesh, president of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes' Association (PHANA), said although the disease was under control compared to last year, the number of positive cases increased in the last one month. (Snip) http://www.thehindu.com/news/c...  

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

     


[ Parent ]
India: Top Govt officials meet to review swine flu preparedness
New Delhi:  With 689 cases of swine flu resulting in 35 deaths reported in the last two months across the country, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth on Thursday chaired a meeting of the Committee of Secretaries to review the preparedness to contain the incidence of H1N1 virus.

(Snip) a Central team was deputed to Pune on April 8 to investigate the outbreak of H1N1 and their preliminary report shows that the cases and deaths reported from Pune and Pimpri-Chinchiwad are sporadic in nature.

(Snip) from March 1 to April 9, 689 cases of H1N1 were reported from Maharashtra (392 cases), Karnataka (104), Andhra Pradesh (66), Rajasthan (84), Tamil Nadu (28), Delhi (6), Gujarat (5) and one each in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. During this period, 35 deaths have been reported, of which 15 were from Maharashtra, nine from Rajasthan, six from Andhra Pradesh, two from Gujarat and one each from Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has been asked to monitor the situation on a day-to-day basis and take all possible steps to ensure the drug and vaccine are available in sufficient stock.

(Snip) a central stockpile of Oseltamivir tablets (anti-viral drug) is being maintained and Department of Pharmaceuticals is monitoring availability of raw ingredients for making the drug. Continued: http://www.ndtv.com/article/ci...

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

     


Bird Flu Research Flies Into Export Laws, Crashes, Then Burns
Apparently international research (Snip) is now threatened by international laws restricting export of information relating to potential agents of biological warfare according to this report on NPR. The problem concerns research conducted by researchers in the United States and the Netherlands which resulted in a controversial paper concerning alterations in the virus that would make it more contagious. There was some concern that this information might be useful to terrorists and rogue states interested in biological warfare agents. Continued: http://www.exportlawblog.com/a...

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

     


US: Vermont reporting late-season surge in influenza cases
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - (Snip) Health officials say there have been confirmed cases and outbreaks of the flu in long-term care facilities in Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Lamoille, Rutland, Windsor and Chittenden counties.

Deputy State Epidemiologist Susan Schoenfeld says that so far this has been a relatively mild flu season, but that the illness is unpredictable.

The Health Department issued a health advisory on Wednesday advising health care providers to give antiviral treatment to long-term care residents who have confirmed or suspected influenza. Continued:  http://www.10tv.com/content/st...
 

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

     


Australia: Flu shots offered to populations at risk at the beginning of season
With the oncoming flu season people are flocking medical centers across Brisbane and Ipswich to get immunized.

All Care Inala Medical Centre doctor Michael Ho said flu shots were becoming more popular each year. "Flu seasons tends to begin in late March early April to June," he said. "More and more people are opting to get vaccinations because they are promoted well within the community." He added, "It is particularly important for elderly people to be immunized because their immune system is already not at its best. This is also the case for people who have chronic medical conditions like diabetes, severe asthma, or heart disease. With their current condition, if they catch the flu they can end up with a worse outcome."

Dr Ho also advised carers or heath care workers to be immunized to protect the patients they look after. However he said vaccinations were not recommended for healthy children. "Their immune system should be strong enough to fight it - and they need to build up their immunity," he said. Continued: http://www.news-medical.net/ne...

(Note: I strongly disagree with this statement:
"However he said vaccinations were not recommended for healthy children." "Their immune system should be strong enough to fight it - and they need to build up their immunity,")

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

     


India: Govt hospitals told to re-open swine flu wards (New Delhi)
The Delhi government on Thursday sent an e-mail notification to all its hospitals, directing the re-opening of swine flu wards and screening centres in government hospitals. (Snip) "It has become mandatory for us to activate the screening centres and designated wards in all the hospitals." The Health department has also asked government hospitals to provide records of their stocks in the swine flu units, "at top priority", including details on the "status of Tamiflu" (Snip) http://www.expressindia.com/la...

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

     


More Evidence for Mild Influenza H5N1 Infections
Influenza H5N1 virus frightens many because of the widely quoted case fatality ratio of >50%, which is based on the number of deaths among the fewer than 600 cases confirmed by the World Health Organization. Such fear is misguided, because it is likely that the fatality ratio is far lower. (Snip) studies of >7,000 healthy individuals have revealed that about 0.5% of them carry antibodies to the virus in their blood, indicating that mild or asymptomatic infections do occur. T-lymphocytes that recognize influenza H5N1 virus have now been detected in a high-risk cohort of individuals in Vietnam, providing additional evidence for asymptomatic human infections.

Viral infection of a healthy host usually leads to the production of both antibodies and lymphocytes. Antibodies generally bind to virus particles in the blood and at mucosal surfaces, blocking the spread of infection. In contrast, T-cells recognize and kill infected cells. The presence of specific antibodies has historically been used as an indicator of viral infection, partly due to the simplicity of the assay.

(Big Snip)

The Vietnamese patients used for this study were part of a rural community where human and avian infections with influenza H5N1 had been previously documented. Twenty-four of of 747 individuals had evidence for the presence of T-cells that recognize peptides from the H5 HA more strongly than peptides from H3 or H1 HA. Another 111 samples had T-cells that react with H5, H1, and H3 peptides. If all positive patient samples (those lead to production of interferon gamma) are included, then one can conclude that 20% of the patients respond to H5 peptides. (Snip)

Curiously, only four subjects had both antibody and T-cell responses to H5N1 virus. The timing of sample acquisition with respect to infection is likely to be important for detecting responses. For example, antibody to H5N1 virus may not be detected earlier than 3 weeks after onset of disease, and T-cell responses may wane with time. It is also possible that abortive H5N1 infections in humans may lead to production of T-cells but not antibodies, as is seen in some individuals infected with HIV-1.

These findings provide additional evidence for subclinical human infection with influenza H5N1 virus. Exactly how many of people in the Vietnamese cohort were infected cannot be determined. Some of the H5-specific responses likely arose from previous H5 infection, while others may represent cross-reactivity with epitopes shared among H1, H3, and H5 viruses. The study also raises the interesting question of whether T-cell assays can be used as diagnostic tests for viral infections. http://watchingthewatchers.org...

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

     


Swine flu case worries U.S. scientists
After a lull of several months, an influenza virus that is sporadically jumping from pigs to people in the United States has made another appearance. U.S. public health officials have reported a new human infection with the swine-origin H3N2 virus - officially called H3N2v (for variant) virus. The case is a young girl living in Utah; she is the 13th person known to have been infected with this new virus since it was first spotted last July. (Snip) Twelve of the 13 cases have been children under 18. In this case, state officials are asking that the girl's precise age not be revealed.

She was taken for medical care because of a fever in late March. When she tested positive for influenza she was given the flu drug (Snip) Tamiflu, and has since recovered. Members of her family and close contacts were tested for flu, but no additional cases were found.

The girl is believed to have become infected when she visited a swine processing plant in the week before she became ill, Dr. Michael Jhung of the Centers for Disease Control said in an interview.

This is the first of these cases seen in Utah, and the farthest west this virus has been spotted. Previous human cases have been reported in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Maine, Iowa and West Virginia. About half of the cases had some exposure to pigs. But the rest did not and the CDC has acknowledged some limited person-to-person spread of the virus has likely taken place in some of these infections.

Utah is not a major pork producing state. In fact, it ranks 27th in hog production (Snip) But the processing plant the child visited handled pigs from other states, Jhung said. He declined to specify which ones.
(Snip)
Flu experts are keeping a close eye on this virus, which contains a gene from the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus; that gene, the M gene, is believed to enhance the ability of flu viruses to infect people. It remains unclear what kind of a threat the swine H3N2 - a distant cousin of the human H3N2 virus - poses to people. http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/...

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

     


Bronco Bill, it's Friday joke time!
I love the last one that is posted. Your jokes are here:  http://www.newfluwiki2.com/dia...

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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