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News Reports for November 1, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 20:01:10 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!

• Hong Kong: Mutating virus calls for more changes (Link)

• Karnataka: Anti-bird flu warriors grope in the dark (Link)
• Andhra Pradesh: Officials: no bird flu threat in AP (Link)
• Maharashtra: Man dies of swine flu; experts call for caution (Link)
• NIV braces for bird flu outbreak in state (Link)

• CIDRAP: CDC profiles wide range of global flu activities (Link)
• CIDRAP: Canada, Switzerland resume Novartis flu vaccine distribution (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for November 1, 2012

News for October 31, 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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China: Mutating virus calls for more changes (Hong Kong)
Hong Kong is likely to change its bird flu vaccine for poultry more regularly, as the H5N1 virus keeps on mutating, according to veterinarian and epidemiologist Howard Wong Kai-hay.

Wong helped test the mainland-developed Re-5 vaccine on two Hong Kong farms in early November 2010. The government has decided to use its latest version, the Re-6, from later this month in the fight against bird flu. "Re-5 and Re-6 are identical apart from the fact that the antigen, the viral seed, is different," Wong said.

"In terms of its production and quality control all that is basically the same. Like the human flu vaccine, you just change the seed each year to match the strain." (Snip). "Almost 10 years down the line the virus has changed quite a lot," Wong said.


The Intervet vaccine's effectiveness is becoming less effective as the virus mutates. The Re-6 vaccine will be used at Hong Kong's 30 chicken farms. Some 1.2 million chickens produced at the farms in three-month cycles will have to be vaccinated at eight days old and then a month later.

"They will be then be bloodtested before sending to the market to ensure that their antibody levels are sufficiently high to protect them," (Snip). The first batch of poultry vaccinated with Re-6 will be ready for the Lunar New Year. (Snip)  http://www.thestandard.com.hk/...

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


India: Anti-bird flu warriors grope in the dark
(Note: This is a very disturbing report, IMO.)

The confirmation of avian influenza among the birds housed at Central Poultry Development Organisation & Training Institute (CPDOTI) in Hesaraghatta near here has only worsened the situation, with fears of it leading to a further outbreak among birds and - in a more scary scenario - among humans too.

This is because while confirming that the samples of chickens, ducks and emus had tested positive for avian influenza, the scientists at the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal have not been able to identify precisely whether the virus infecting the CPDOTI birds is a mutation or not. Nor have they been able to determine how rapidly this virus can infect humans, or even the pace of disease spread among birds.

The situation is scary because as per scientists at HSADL who preferred to remain anonymous, a year ago a dangerous mutation of the H5N1 virus (the virus that causes avian flu) had occurred in July-August 2011.


The H5N1 virus with the mutation, identified only as H5N1-, was detected in North and Central Vietnam. Last year, a chief veterinary officer of Food and Agricultural Organisation, had identified poultry sector in India among those of neighbouring nations to be at extreme risk of being hit by this mutant virus.

No one in Bangalore or at HSADL in Bhopal know for sure whether the infecting virus now is the basic H5N1 virus, the deadly mutated H5N1- virus, or a deadlier mutation than that.

What is further worrying is this: The possibility of it being a mutant would mean that a range of antibodies used for developing human vaccines (in case required) would be rendered useless. This, because most human vaccines for H5N1 virus have been derived from 2004 strains of the virus, much before the deadly mutations were recorded.

The experts also point to another worrying scenario. The H5N1- virus was found to become more and more dominant with such vaccines against it -- a role-reversal compared to vaccines formed with weaker germs strengthening blood cells that fight them.

CPDOTI scientists are tight-lipped about how they are planning to deal with the situation. However, experts at HSADL said they would be groping in the dark and only make matters worse if they had to try and tackle the virus with the existing vaccines. "And it could turn disastrous if the virus that has attacked the birds now is a further mutated one," said one of the scientists. (Snip) http://www.dnaindia.com/india/...

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


CIDRAP: CDC profiles wide range of global flu activities
Oct 30, 2012 (CIDRAP News) - An annual report released yesterday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) profiles a wide range of CDC influenza-related projects around the world, from flu surveillance in Indonesia to vaccine effectiveness studies in El Salvador and epidemiology training in Ghana.

The 268-page report describes the CDC's collaborations with the World Health Organization (WHO), outlines projects it supports in about 40 countries, and describes specific studies undertaken in many of those countries. It also lists international training conferences it has sponsored and describes the CDC program for sharing diagnostic test kits and reagents.

The report, covering 2011, is the third annual account of the agency's global flu activities, which have expanded greatly in the past decade.

The CDC's international flu efforts began with the first human infections with the H5N1 avian flu virus in Hong Kong in 1997, when the agency helped investigate the outbreak, the report explains. But the major spur to the programs came with the re-emergence of H5N1 and human H5N1 cases in China, Vietnam, and Thailand in 2003 and 2004. Those events pointed up yawning gaps in flu surveillance, laboratory and epidemiologic capacity, and collaboration between animal and human health authorities. 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: Canada, Switzerland resume Novartis flu vaccine distribution
Canadian officials have cleared two Novartis seasonal flu vaccines for immediate use after conducting its own safety review of the products, which the company temporarily pulled due to concerns in other countries, according to a statement today from Health Canada. The agency temporarily suspended distribution of the products on Oct 26. Health Canada said it based the clearance decision on tests and a risk assessment, along with reviews from European partners and from Novartis. None of the data pointed to a safety issue, according to the statement. 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


India: Officials - no bird flu threat in AP (Andhra Pradesh)
Kerala has issued a red alert after the outbreak of bird flu at a poultry farm near Bengaluru (Bangalore), but there is no such fear in the state here. Animal husbandry officials say there is no need for worry since poultry in the state is not imported from the neighbouring states.

Officials said that the state is ready to handle any emergency situation, if it arises. All district officials have, however, been alerted and instructed to monitor the situation and report any unusual bird death. (Snip) "As of today, no bird has been affected by bird flu, but we are monitoring the situation. Every month, poultry is screened and their health monitored."

However, the department is preparing itself for any eventuality. Kits required for tackling the flu, which include equipment for field staff, sample collection kits and so forth, are being procured. Vets are also being trained and officials say a video conference for vets from all districts has been scheduled at the Secretariat for Thursday.

The collectorate will also convene a meeting to take stock of the situation. The preparation regime is expected to be completed before November 6.

A control room has also been created in the head office of the department of the animal husbandry. Dr Rao, however, said there is no reason to panic.

Poultry from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu was denied entry into Kerala on Wednesday and inspections have been ordered at border check posts. Continued:  http://www.asianage.com/hydera...

(Note: Andhra Pradesh borders the state of Karnataka where the H5N1 outbreak is located.)

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


India: Man dies of swine flu; experts call for caution (Maharashtra)
PUNE: A 42-year-old resident of Tilak Road died of swine flu on Wednesday night taking the number of casualties in the city in October to 12. Rajendra Rawade died (Snip) with acute respiratory disorder syndrome (ARDS).

Experts says that at least two or three people are detected with swine flu every day, mostly because basic precautions to keep the infection at bay are not being followed. Be it avoiding crowd, washing hands or vaccination, they are unanimous in their stand that people are not taking enough precautions.

"Swine flu virus has not mutated, hence there is no change in its virulence. But people should exercise caution to ward off the infection," said Mandeep Chadha, deputy director, National Institute of Virology ( NIV).

(Snip) "The general inclination among people to vaccinate themselves has gone down. Vaccination is a prudent decision to protect oneself from the infection." One must not get infected by a pathogenic virus if there is an alternative as one may not gain immunity from a so-called 'natural' infection, he said. Agarkhedkar said that the immune system may not have a strong enough response to the infection, and may not be able to guard the body against future infection.


"If one analyses swine flu casualties, it will become clear that most people who died had underlying medical conditions. In about 50% to 60% cases, people had some other disease but since he/she also had swine flu, it was considered a swine flu casualty. But that does not mean that healthy people should not exercise caution. A total of 35% to 40% swine flu deaths are seen in healthy people," (Snip). http://timesofindia.indiatimes...

(Note: The count now stands at 12 deaths in Pune? Really? I've been following the news on swine flu throughout  India all year and I keep seeing deaths but the numbers given by the officials don't seem to climb with what I've been seeing!)

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


India: NIV braces for bird flu outbreak in state
The recent death of 3,000 turkeys and other birds at Hesaraghatta near Bangalore has put NIV on alert to brace for an avian flu (H5N1) epidemic. "The Centre has requested us to pitch in with help in case there is any outbreak of bird flu in Maharashtra and Gujarat," NIV director Dr A C Mishra told Newsline This is a lethal virus and has been gaining a stronghold in the country. There have been outbreaks earlier in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Continued: 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


Please post new news stories to...

News Reports for November 2, 2012

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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