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News Reports for November 16, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 15:50:52 PM EST

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

• New South Wales: Australia quarantines farm to contain bird flu outbreak (Link)

• Maharashtra: 48-year-old succumbs to H1N1; toll 31 since April (Link)

• Dinkes Bengkulu Officer Bird Flu Alert (translated) (Link)

• Deadly Ebola, Central Africa's Recurring Menace, Hits Uganda Again  (Link)

United States
• CIDRAP: FDA panel endorses H5N1 vaccine with adjuvant (Link)
• GA: S.W. Georgia flu season is kicking in (Link)
• ID: Flu hits Treasure Valley early (Link)
• MD: Hospital Workers Who Refused Flu Shots Face Firing (Link)
• NY: Oneida County sees spike in flu cases (Link)
• TX: Should schools be closed during flu outbreaks? (Link)

• Canada: Growing concerns over 'in the air' transmission of Ebola (Link)

• Prevent passing the flu to your furry friends (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for November 16, 2012

News for November 15, 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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Australia quarantines farm to contain bird flu outbreak
SYDNEY - Australia's first outbreak of a highly pathogenic bird flu virus in 15 years should be contained by a cull of 50,000 chickens, authorities said on Friday, although they do not know what caused the case at an egg farm in New South Wales state.

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) said all chickens at the property in Maitland, 160 km (100 miles) north of Sydney, will be destroyed after the H7 virus was detected last week.


DPI Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth said the strain did not present any risks to food safety from poultry and eggs.

The owners of the infected farm have been quarantined as experts try to find the source of the virus, often wild birds.


"We're in the process now of doing the tracing and also surveillance in the area, and so far the tracing looks quite good. There hasn't been much potential for spread," he said. Australia's agriculture ministry reported the outbreak to the Paris-based animal health body OIE on Thursday.

Australia's Chicken Meat Federation said the industry produced around 1.12 million ton a year, worth around A$1.9 billion, with most used domestically and only around 5 percent exported.

Japan banned the import of poultry and eggs from Australia after the outbreak, the country's Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement late on Thursday. (Snip) Japan is asking Australian authorities to provide more details about the outbreak, the statement said.

Chicken Meat Federation executive director Andreas Dubs said most exports were for pet food, while chicken feet were exported to some countries where they are eaten by humans.


Major export destinations are Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Vietnam and South Africa. Producers typically earn about A$1 ($1.03) per kilogram for chicken products.

Many countries, including Japan, have automatic measures to stop imports when there is an outbreak of avian influenza (AI) and they will be in discussions with Australian authorities to check if the outbreak is contained and exports can be restored.

"It is a fairly normal thing for countries, when you have an outbreak of AI, a number of countries have requirements that you are free of AI," Dubs said. "It is a short-term reaction. It is not really a longer-term concern for us."

South Korea, which imported 5.2 ton of Australian poultry last year, is conducting a review, an official said. "The ministry is discussing whether to ban Australian poultry imports, though the volume is minimal. After reviewing the issue, we'll take appropriate safety and sanitary measures," said Chang Jae-hong, an official from the quarantine policy division at the South Korean agriculture ministry.

Hong Kong hasn't issued a ban on imports. China's quarantine bureau also has not issued a ban, but analysts said China is not a major poultry importer from Australia.

Australia faced an outbreak of a bird flu in February that led to a ban on Australian exports of poultry products to Japan, but that was not a highly pathogenic virus.

Most avian influenza viruses do not cause disease in humans. At least one type of H7 strain, the H7N7 subtype, can infect people and even kill, but the impact on humans usually tends to be mild, the World Health Organization said. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/glo...

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


India: 48-year-old succumbs to H1N1; toll 31 since April (Maharashtra)
PUNE: A 48-year-old woman from Purandar taluka succumbed to swine flu infection on Thursday. With this, the city's H1N1 death toll since April has gone up to 31. Two more persons with swine flu symptoms are current on ventilator support and are said to be critical.

The woman, a resident of Veer village, developed symptoms like cough from October 23 and fever from October 26. Her condition worsened and she developed breathlessness from October 28. This increased progressively, following which she developed respiratory failure. She had no other associated illness.

"The woman initially consulted a doctor in Baramati, where she stayed from October 23 and 25. As her condition did not improve, she consulted another doctor in Haveli taluka on October 26. Later, she consulted a third doctor in Hadapsar on October 29, who immediately referred her to the Noble hospital in Hadapsar for higher management. Her throat swab, sent to National Institute of Virology, tested positive for swine flu on October 31," (Snip).

The woman's condition worsened further and she developed acute respiratory distress and broncho plural fistula, abnormal passageway that develops between the large airways in the lungs (bronchial tree) and the membranes that line the lungs (pleura) usually following severe lung infection.

Her condition witnessed sudden deterioration, following which she was put on ventilator support on November 14. She died at 8.35 am.


(Snip) at least two or three people are detected with swine flu every day (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


US: S.W. Georgia flu season is kicking in
ALBANY, Ga. -- Based on the activity at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital's emergency center, it looks like this might be the year to get a flu shot.

Dr. Joel Holcombe, an emergency medicine physician at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, said the overall emergency center patient volume over the last five days has been 1,000 people, around 200 a day. Typically, officials would expect to see a daily volume of about 160. In the last two weeks, officials say there has been a 20-30 percent increase in volume at the emergency center. "This is not a typical flu season," said Holcombe. "It usually doesn't hit until later."

Holcombe said the Influenza A strain has made up many of the cases, with some cases of Influenza B. Among those who have received the flu vaccine but have come into the hospital with the flu, many have had a strain not among the two included in the vaccine, the physician said.

Usually, such a peak would not be expected until January or February rather than the October and November timeframe seen in the region this year. On Wednesday alone, Holcombe said there were 40 positive flu tests that came through Phoebe's emergency center.

"I don't think I've ever seen it this early," he said. "Last year, we tested and tested and were taken aback as to how long it took to get a positive test." Continued: http://www.albanyherald.com/ne...

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


US: Flu hits Treasure Valley early (Idaho)
BOISE, Idaho- Health officials with Idaho Department of Health and Welfare are already reporting early cases of influenza in schools and long-term care facility residents in Southwest Idaho.

"We are receiving the first reports of influenza illnesses in the state, which is a little bit earlier than last year,"  Continued: http://www.kboi2.com/news/loca...

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


Why "early"? Flu season starts in October
I'm a bit confused about these states reporting "early" flu - since the flu season starts in October, certainly they shouldn't be surprised in mid-November. Also, the reporters seems to be too casual/sloppy with terms - that other article about "seeing a peak" - there's no way to know if flu has peaked until it starts to go down! No wonder people are confused about the occurance and severity of flu near them... sigh...

Thanks for continuing to find all these, Carol!

[ Parent ]
US: Should schools be closed during flu outbreaks?
New report finds that closing schools during a flu epidemic could halt the spread of the illness and keep people out of the emergency room.

A new U.S. government study has found that closing schools during a flu epidemic may help control the spread of the illness and keep people - especially kids - out of the ER.

The study, which was published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases compared two Texas communities in their response to the H1N1 "swine flu" epidemic in 2009. In one area, schools were closed to prevent further spread of the illness; in the other, they remained open.

In the community were where schools closed, there were fewer ER visits for the flu than in the district where schools stayed open. And for kids age 6 and up, there was no increase in ER visits related to the flu, while that rate doubled in the community where schools were open.

At the time, many critics doubted that closing the Texan schools would decrease the spread of H1N1, arguing that kids would just congregate in other places - like shopping malls. But the study offers pretty good evidence to the contrary, proving that closing the schools did in fact control the spread of the illness and keep people out of the ER. Continued: http://www.mnn.com/health/fitn...

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


CIDRAP: FDA panel endorses H5N1 vaccine with adjuvant
Nov 15, 2012 (CIDRAP News) - A government advisory committee yesterday endorsed the safety and immunogenicity of an adjuvant-containing H5N1 influenza vaccine proposed for inclusion in the US pandemic emergency stockpile, signaling that it could become the first adjuvanted flu vaccine to win approval in the United States.

On two unanimous votes, the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) said the immunogenicity and safety data on GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK's) H5N1 vaccine are adequate to support its licensure for use in adults. The aim is to strengthen the US stockpile for the threat of an H5N1 pandemic.

The vaccine contains GSK's proprietary adjuvant AS03, which is used in several other GSK vaccines licensed in other countries. One of these, Pandemrix, used in Europe during the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, was linked with an increased risk of narcolepsy in children in Finland, Sweden, and Ireland.

The purpose of the adjuvant is to induce a stronger immune response with less antigen or active ingredient, which AS03 achieves, according to GSK. The vaccine contains 3.75 micrograms (mcg) of antigen, compared with 15 mcg in standard flu vaccines without adjuvants.

No seasonal flu vaccines used in the United States contain adjuvants, nor does the existing H5N1 vaccine in the US emergency stockpile. The government has acquired a supply of adjuvants for possible emergency use, but they are not part of a specific vaccine.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contracted with GSK to develop an H5N1 vaccine with antigen-sparing potential for use in the US Strategic National Stockpile, according to an FDA briefing document.

GSK has submitted a Biologics License Application to the FDA for the vaccine, which has no trade name but is known informally as Q-Pan H5N1, because it's made in Quebec and is intended for pandemic use.

The FDA is using its "accelerated approval process" to review the vaccine, which means that the licensing decision will be based on immunogenicity as evidenced by antibody response rather than actual protection against flu as demonstrated in clinical trials or observational studies.

GSK submitted data from an observational case-control study of the company's AS03-containing pandemic H1N1 vaccine in support of Q-Pan's effectiveness, the FDA document says. The agency concluded that the data did not provide a reliable estimate of Q-Pan's effectiveness to support traditional approval, but it said Q-Pan has met the immunogenicity criteria for licensing under accelerated approval.

The 14-member advisory committee heard lengthy presentations from GSK and FDA officials before voting on the vaccine. The meeting was streamed over the Web.

Two key trials..... 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


Canada: Growing concerns over 'in the air' transmission of Ebola
Canadian scientists have shown that the deadliest form of the ebola virus could be transmitted by air between species.

In experiments, they demonstrated that the virus was transmitted from pigs to monkeys without any direct contact between them. The researchers say they believe that limited airborne transmission might be contributing to the spread of the disease in some parts of Africa. They are concerned that pigs might be a natural host for the lethal infection.

What we suspect is happening is large droplets - they can stay in the air, but not long, they don't go far. But they can be absorbed in the airway"


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the infection gets into humans through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs and other bodily fluids from a number of species including chimpanzees, gorillas and forest antelope.

The fruit bat has long been considered the natural reservoir of the infection. But a growing body of experimental evidence suggests that pigs, both wild and domestic, could be a hidden source of Ebola Zaire - the most deadly form of the virus.

Now, researchers from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the country's Public Health Agency have shown that pigs infected with this form of Ebola can pass the disease on to macaques without any direct contact between the species. In their experiments, the pigs carrying the virus were housed in pens with the monkeys in close proximity but separated by a wire barrier. After eight days, some of the macaques were showing clinical signs typical of ebola and were euthanised. One possibility is that the monkeys became infected by inhaling large aerosol droplets produced from the respiratory tracts of the pigs.

Pigs could act as a host and amplify the Ebola virus
One of the scientists involved is Dr Gary Kobinger from the National Microbiology Laboratory at the Public Health Agency of Canada. He told BBC News this was the most likely route of the infection.

"What we suspect is happening is large droplets - they can stay in the air, but not long, they don't go far," he explained. "But they can be absorbed in the airway and this is how the infection starts, and this is what we think, because we saw a lot of evidence in the lungs of the non-human primates that the virus got in that way."

The scientists say that their findings could explain why some pig farmers in the Philippines had antibodies in their system for the presence of a different version of the infection called Ebola Reston. The farmers had not been involved in slaughtering the pigs and had no known contact with contaminated tissues. Continued: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/scie...

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


Speaking of Ebola...
Deadly Ebola, Central Africa's Recurring Menace, Hits Uganda Again

An outbreak of Ebola in Uganda has killed three people so far, and health officials are moving quickly to treat and quarantine any others who may be infected with the deadly disease.
Deadly Ebola, Central Africa's Recurring Menace, Hits Uganda Again

The outbreak occurred in the Luwero district, about 40 miles outside the capital city of Kampala. Two of the dead were members of the same family, and one of them had worked as a motorcycle taxi driver.  Up to 15 more people are being monitored in isolation, according to the Associated Press. (continued)

[ Parent ]
Prevent passing the flu to your furry friends
Infecting your friends and family with the flu shouldn't be your only concern this season; it's possible that you can pass the virus onto your pets.

Researchers from Oregon State University and Iowa State University are exploring cases of "reverse zoonosis" - when diseases are transferred from humans to animals.
A study published in the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in 2010 found that a domestic cat in Oregon died from the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus, most likely contracting it from his owner.

A total of 13 cats and one dog were identified in 2011 and 2012 having most likely contracted the H1N1 virus from humans.

All of these animals developed severe respiratory disease and reduced appetite, similar to flu symptoms in humans. But that doesn't mean the virus giving you flu symptoms is necessarily the same one making your pet sick. "There are a number of organisms capable of causing respiratory diseases in animals," said Dr. Ken Smith, veterinarian at the Leduc Vet Clinic.

"We've been dealing with outbreaks of respiratory disease in animals. Last fall we went through an especially prolonged stretch of respiratory disease after the summer holiday season."


Although most viruses are species specific, there is the danger of infections being passed within and between species, Smith added. "Zoonotic organisms [that] cross species are much more serious because their spread is much more encompassing," he said.

According to researchers at Oregon State, the concern is when the influenza virus moves from one species to another, the strain may become more harmful and easy to transmit. Continued: http://www.leducrep.com/2012/1...

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


US: Hospital Workers Who Refused Flu Shots Face Firing (Maryland)
FREDERICK, Md. (AP) - The operator of Frederick Memorial Hospital is threatening to fire 14 workers who refused to get flu shots.

The Frederick News-Post reported Friday that the Frederick Memorial Healthcare System told the hospital's 2,800 workers during the summer that they had to get the free shots. The policy also applies to volunteers, physicians and contractors. (Snip)

(Snip) the deadline for getting shots is Friday. Workers who don't comply could be terminated on Monday. Continued: http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/...  

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!
Your giggles 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


Dinkes Bengkulu Officer Bird Flu Alert
November 16, 2012
Bengkulu, Indonesia: Bengkulu City Health Department has alerted officers to monitor the possibility of transmission of avian influenza virus from poultry to humans.

"We alerted some officials of the Health Department and Community Health Center to monitor the possibility of people who have contracted bird flu," said Chief Medical Officer Mixon Syahbuddin Bengkulu City, Friday (16/11).

Teams on standby to deal with avian influenza virus transmission to humans are made up of managers and the officials who are in the 20 area health centers.

"The teams who are tasked with handling bird flu are monitoring symptoms of bird flu transmission to family poultry infected with bird flu, if one is suspected, they should be directly referred to the hospital," he said.

In addition to monitoring the residents, the Department of Health is also working to provide counseling to residents to monitor the symptoms of transmission to family or neighbors in the area who discovered with bird flu.

"Thank God, from March 2012 to the present there is no bird flu transmission to humans, and we hope not to get more people infected with bird flu," he said.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Bird Flu Disease Control Bengkulu Province, Emran Kuswadi, said the risk of transmission of avian influenza virus from poultry to humans in the area is high because most people are not willing to destroy their poultry voluntarily, although they are positive for the bird flu virus.

"As a result when live poultry with bird flu is not destroyed then there tends to be an increase in transmission to other birds and even the risk of transmission to humans," he said.

Transmission of avian influenza virus from poultry to humans may occur through the mucus in the mouth and nose as well as poultry manure that enters the human body through the eyes, nose or mouth of the patient.  When poultry are not infected with bird flu, especially during the rainy season, he asked the people to keep them in cages, avoid high humidity and disinfect cages that are provided by the Animal Husbandry Department.  Based on recent data, as many as 110 birds in the urban city of Bengkulu are positive for bird flu virus.  In addition, ten birds infected with positive bird flu were also found in the village Bandaratu Mukomuko district.

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

Map links for Bengkulu, Indonesia:


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


[ Parent ]
New York: Oneida County sees spike in flu cases

ONEIDA CO. -- Oneida County is seeing a spike in the number of confirmed cases of the flu, which is prompting health officials to urge people to get the flu shot.

"Within the past week we have had 94 confirmed cases of influenza reported in the county so it's safe to say the flu season has arrived," Patrice Bogan, Interim Director of the Health Department said in a media release.

"To put this in perspective, during last year's mild flu season the first confirmed case of flu in Oneida County was not reported until late December."

Almost all of the cases reported are Type A influenza


United we stand: Divided we fall

[ Parent ]
Flu season has it early in Upstate New York.
I've talked to people who got the flu shot last month and have gotten the flu this month. It's running through the schools as is the typical head/chest cold. It really is early for all this. Our weather is above average for this time of year. Sunny and mild.

United we stand: Divided we fall

[ Parent ]
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