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News Reports for October 31, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 20:00:25 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!

•  Suspended Vaccine Back in Use in Ontario (Link)

• Karnataka: Culling begins, State government bans movement of poultry (Link)
• Karnataka: 19K birds culled, no sales till November 15 (Link)
• Karnataka: Avian flu - Docs say not to panic (Link)
• Avian flu: When a scientist's warnings and suggestions went totally unheard (Link)

United Kingdom
• Drugs Giant Roche Accused of Sitting on Trial Data for Flu Treatment (Link)

• US: Fair Flu Viruses Closely Matched (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for October 31, 2012

News for October 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 August 10, 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

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India: Culling begins, State government bans movement of poultry (Karnataka)

Culling of chickens is under way at the Central Poultry Development Organisation (CPDO) at Hesaraghatta near here, which has been hit by an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1). (snip)

Following Monday's decision to cull more than 33,000 birds (chicken, duck and emu) at the unit, 19,154 chickens were culled on Tuesday. The remaining, officials said, will be culled and disposed of over the next 8 to 10 days. (continued)

India: 19K birds culled, no sales till November 15 (Karnataka)

Deputy Commissioner Bangalore Urban M K Aiyyappa extended the ban on sale and transport of poultry products to and from the surveillance zone till November 15. The school in the CPDO campus and those within a one-km radius of it will stay shut for 15 days.

Officials from the Department of Animal Husbandry said 33,277 birds will be culled by 25 Rapid  Response Teams. Also, 52 poultry sheds in the CPDO farm will be sanitised.

A source from the department said the culled birds are put into gunny bags with limestone. They are then buried in a 20-ft deep pit containing some limestone.

The source also said the members who were quarantined are home sick as they have been inside the CPDO for nearly a week.

Principal secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare, M Madan Gopal said the Rapid Response Team and quarantined officers at CPDO are being isolated and are likely to be kept under observation for a week after the culling. Nearly 250 officers involved in these operations have been administered a course of Tamiflu as a precaution.

Although no cases have been reported in the surveillance zone outside CPDO, 175 serum samples have been sent to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal for tests. http://newindianexpress.com/st...

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


India: Avian flu: Docs say not to panic (Karnataka)
The outbreak of avian flu (H5N1) at the Central Poultry Development Organisation (CPDO) in Hesarghatta has understandably sent a scare among residents of the Bangalore city, but doctors say that there is no need to panic.

Dr Shashidhar Buggi, director, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, says only those who are in close contact with the affected birds need to be a little careful. He said the bird flu virus first transmits from bird to bird and then from bird to man through the air just like any other flu. The flu detected in Hesarghatta is only at the bird stage. If basic precautions are taken, it is safe to eat chicken too (Snip).

Those living or working close to poultry farms should be alert to symptoms such as high fever, body ache, sore throat, headache, and sneezing and immediately report to the health authorities. There is not a single case of avian flu at either his institution or NIMHANS, Dr Buggi said.


An official in the State Health and Family Welfare Department said that the department is prepared to handle any emergency and has adequate stocks of Tamiflu, which is used to treat the disease.

"Our doctors are conducting medical check-ups of those who are involved in the culling operations on a daily basis. We have already started giving them prophylactic doses of Tamiflu as a preventive measure," he said. http://www.deccanchronicle.com...

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


CIDRAP: US - Fair Flu Viruses Closely Matched
Strains of the influenza A virus found in pigs at an Ohio county fair are almost genetically identical to the version found in human fair goers (Snip). The findings suggest that there are little or no biological barriers to transmission between pigs and humans.

(Snip) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 107 human cases of H3N2v influenza in Ohio since July 2012. The majority occurred in young people involved at agricultural fairs, where flu-infected pigs with no obvious symptoms are exhibited. Most of the human illnesses were mild, but one infected person, who had a compromised immune system, died.

(Snip) researchers at Ohio State University sequenced the genomes of H3N2 viruses recovered from pigs exhibited at fairs and from several visitors who were infected with the human variant. They found that the genomes were more than 99 percent identical.

"This study presents clear molecular evidence that pigs and humans were concurrently infected with the same strain of influenza A virus at an Ohio county fair in July 2012," (Snip) "The lack of difference between the genotypes of these isolates suggests that there are virtually no innate species barriers preventing bidirectional interspecies transmission of [the] viruses between humans and pigs." http://www.the-scientist.com/?...

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


Canada: Suspended Vaccine Back in Use in Ontario
Straight from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care:
Dr. Arlene King, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health has advised doctors, nurses and pharmacists to begin administering two previously suspended vaccines - Fluad and Agriflu - as part of the province's seasonal flu immunization campaign. Health Canada lifted the suspension on the two vaccines this morning after a review determined the vaccines remained safe to use.

"Our number one priority is and always will be the health and safety of Ontarians," said Dr. King. "The flu shot remains the most effective and safe way to ensure you and your family avoid getting sick with the flu this season."

Drugs Giant Roche Accused of Sitting on Trial Data for Flu Treatment
October 31, 2012
United Kingdom:  The pharmaceutical giant Roche is being accused of irresponsibly withholding key trial data about a vital flu drug on which governments around the world have spent billions of pounds.  The anti-flu drug Tamiflu has been stockpiled by countries against the outbreak of a flu pandemic since 2004. The UK alone has spent £500m.  Yesterday, the British Medical Journal launched a campaign to persuade Roche to give doctors and patients the full data on Tamiflu, three years after doubts about its safety and efficacy emerged.

In 2009, researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration found that results of eight out of 10 key trials of Tamiflu were never fully published and concluded there was "insufficient data" to show it reduced complications - a vital factor in a pandemic which could save lives.  Roche promised to release the full data, but then reneged on its promise, according to the BMJ. The journal's editor, Fiona Godlee, published an open letter to Sir John Bell, the Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University and a board member of Roche, in which she appeals to him to use his influence to persuade the company to release the data "for independent scrutiny". The two trials that have been published, she says, "were funded by Roche and authored by Roche employees and Roche-paid external experts" and "could not be relied on".

The European Medicines Agency announced last week that it was investigating Roche's alleged failure to report side-effects of some of its drugs in as many as 80,000 patients, following a review by the UK Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency. If found guilty, the company could be fined up to 5 per cent of its sales in the EU - which amounted to 8.2bn Swiss francs (£5.4bn) in 2011.  In the Commons, the Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston, a GP, called last week for drug companies to publish all clinical trial results, saying it was "vitally important for patient safety" and would give a "completely different evidence base for medicine."

"I am opposed to any form of tyranny over the mind of man."  Thomas Jefferson

India: Avian flu - When a scientist's warnings and suggestions went totally unheard

While the occurrence of the dreaded H5N1 avian influenza has been confirmed at the CPDOTI at Hesaraghatta, near the city, the state government might not have the necessary know-how or the facilities to tackle it effectively, warns Prof R Uma Shaanker, a crop physiologist from the University of Agricultural Sciences who had, as early as 2006, advised the state government to place contingency plans to tackle the disease through a guest editorial on the scientific journal, Current Science.

For one, the very suddenness with which the avian influenza took the authorities by surprise showed that forecasting the disease had completely failed, he said. There needs to be a good monitoring and forecasting system in place by the government, said Shaanker. The forecasting programme can be built on any number of epidemiological models that are available.

However, Shaanker's editorial in Current Science had failed to attract the attention of the state government in being prepared for the worse-case scenarios. He lamented the lack of manpower to "undertake epidemiological studies" (studies pertaining to effect of a certain disease on a population and its spread trends), which are necessary for forecasting disease outbreaks and spreads.

"I am afraid that right now the government does not have any such programme in place," he said. Although he told DNA on Tuesday - six years after the article appeared - that the warning applies even more now than ever before, the civic and health machinery in Bangalore has not budged an inch, leaving all the work to the state department of animal husbandry to primarily restrict disease spread from birds in the epicentre zone outwards.

"The forecasting programme with avian flu is very different from weather forecasting because you won't be able to forecast when there will be a disease strike. But once there is bird flu occurrence, you can forecast the probability of neighbouring areas that are likely to be affected by this and how and in what conditions it might spread around. That will give the government a good handle to follow up on the outbreak. Better to prevent it rather than wait for it to affect other areas as well," he said.

Sadly, when DNA spoke to the authorities on Monday, it was clear none of them within Bangalore city were prepared for this. Devaki Umesh, health commissioner, BBMP denied that the issue (bird flu outbreak) came under the BBMP as it had occurred outside its jurisdiction. "The state health department is supposed to look into the matter. It does not come under the BBMP," she had said.

And Dr Dhanya Kumar, director, state department of health and family welfare, said, "As per the guidelines of government of India, the animal husbandry department is supposed to take care of it." The animal husbandry department is indeed taking all precautions to restrict the disease within the 10-km radial zone around CPDOTI, and has also began culling birds within 1-km radius of the disease-struck institute. "But there there needs to robust and current data so the government can mitigate action with immediacy and accordingly make decisions but I am afraid that does not exist right now," Shaanker said.

He also touched upon the probability of disease spread among the human population, saying that if people are afflicted by the disease, their sustenance has to be ensured. "What sort of insurance systems can be put in place? How are these systems implementable? The last time there was an outbreak of bird flu there were no such contingencies in place," he said. Continued: http://www.dnaindia.com/bangal...

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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