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News Reports for November 21, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 21:42:05 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: Bird flu outbreak eradicated after cull (Link)

H5N1 strikes Bangladesh poultry farm (Link)

• Ontario: Influenza hits Brantford General Hospital (Link)

• UK: Funding into poultry viruses announced (Link)

• CIDRAP: FAO sees signs of decline in H5N1 outbreaks (Link)
• Flu vaccine effectiveness exaggerated, scientists claim (Link)
• How close are we to a global health disaster? (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for November 21, 2012

News for November 20, 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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UK: Funding into poultry viruses announced
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has announced it will be funding a new research project studying viruses in poultry.

The project will aim to improve recognition of emerging viruses before widespread infections occur; prepare for possible new types of avian influenza and help the process of developing better vaccines for poultry and humans. The funding will also help to establish emerging British poultry virologists.

He added that the study of poultry viruses made an important contribution to the overall study of virology. "Isolation and diagnosis of viruses is often conducted in eggs or avian cells, and some important human vaccines, including those for seasonal and pandemic influenza, are produced in them." Continued: http://www.fwi.co.uk/Articles/...

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


Australia: Bird flu outbreak eradicated after cull (New South Wales)
An outbreak of bird flu in the NSW lower Hunter region has been eradicated after authorities culled 50,000 chickens at an egg farm.

Tests from 12 nearby properties confirmed the virus hadn't spread, but the Maitland facility would remain quarantined while disinfection and surveillance were completed, The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) said.

The virus detected at the Maitland facility was not the H5N1 strain that can fatally infect humans. But the particular type of virus detected, H7, caused deaths in birds and could have a devastating impact on poultry and egg producers, a DPI spokesman told AAP. Continued: http://www.skynews.com.au/tops...  

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


H5N1 strikes Bangladesh poultry farm
Livestock officials in Bangladesh yesterday announced an H5N1 avian influenza outbreak at a commercial poultry farm in Dhaka division (Snip). The outbreak, which began on Oct 23, killed 156 of 4,191 susceptible birds, and the remaining ones were culled (Snip). Officials haven't yet determined how the flocks were infected. The country's last H5N1 outbreak occurred in April, when the virus struck nine poultry farms in Dhaka, Khulna, and Rajshahi divisions. http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidr...

Nov 19 OIE report http://www.oie.int/wahis_2/pub...

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


FAO sees signs of decline in H5N1 outbreaks
Nov 19, 2012 (CIDRAP News) - The number of reported H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks in poultry and wild birds has decreased since mid 2011 and was down sharply in the second quarter of this year, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a quarterly update on the ongoing situation.

Six countries reported a total of 98 domestic poultry outbreaks and 5 wild bird cases or outbreaks from April through June of this year, which was far below the 508 outbreaks reported in the second quarter of 2011, the FAO said. The affected countries were Bangladesh, Cambodia, China (including Hong Kong), Egypt, India, and Indonesia.

The global number of H5N1 outbreaks dropped from 2003 to mid 2008, increased again from mid-2008 to mid-2011, and has dropped since then, according to the FAO figures.

Factors in the second-quarter decline included lower numbers reported from Egypt and Indonesia and an absence of reported outbreaks in countries where the disease has occurred sporadically, such as Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam, the agency reported.

But the FAO cautioned that not all outbreaks are reported, making it difficult to tell if the world has actually made progress in H5N1 control.

"Clinical signs [of disease] can be masked by the use of regular vaccination in poultry populations. As a result, outbreaks are underreported," the report says. Also, some countries have little information on the disease status in their commercial poultry sectors, it adds.

(Snip)  From January through March there were 198 outbreaks in 11 countries.

Egypt reported 19 outbreaks in the second quarter, including 15 in mostly unvaccinated household flocks and four in vaccinated commercial flocks, the report says.

Among 374 Egyptian commercial farms where active surveillance was conducted, the virus was found on only three. Active surveillance conducted in household poultry in 103 villages produced two positive samples, the FAO said.

The report also notes that 76 samples from commercial farms in 11 Egyptian governorates tested positive for low-pathogenicity H9 flu 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


I don't think a lower number of reported cases is significant because I don't believe either Indonesia or Egypt are being honest in reporting outbreaks in poultry or human cases. We don't really know anything about the situation in China, Laos, Myanmar or North Korea. Bangladesh and Nepal seem to have poor testing and reporting systems. I am concerned about the changes in the H5N1 virus in Egypt.

Cottontop posted this article about that in yesterday's news diary: "H5N1 dual-use workshop, H5N1 strains in Egypt" http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidr...

According to the findings stated in that article, H5N1 in Egypt has made progress in adapting to mammals. I've always said, when the chickens stop dying then we are in serious trouble because it will no longer be a "bird" flu.

Of course, all of this is just my own personal opinion.

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


[ Parent ]
Flu vaccine effectiveness exaggerated, scientists claim
The flu vaccine millions of people receive each year in Britain is "over-hyped" and "over-promoted", scientists have claimed.

Its effectiveness at protecting against the illness is said to have been exaggerated, especially regarding the amount of protection it provides to older people.

The belief that current flu jabs are highly effective is also stopping experts from producing better vaccines (Snip).


Michael Osterholm, director of the Centre and professor of environmental health sciences, told the Independent: "I have been a strong proponent of vaccination in general and flu vaccine in particular for many years. I still recommend its use as the best we have. "But we have over-promoted this vaccine. For certain age groups in some years its effectiveness has been severely limited relative to what has been previously reported." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/hea...

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


Over-hyped because the public need large pushes
IMO, some of the over-hype comes from trying to get the attention of a populace saturated in messages from waaaay over-hyped ads for everything else! If they touted flu shots in the preferred scientific terminology (ie: "decreases your chances of getting flu, decreases your risk of hospitalization") it would seem too lukewarm to folks.

And people not getting flu shots affects not just them but whoever they come in contact with when they are symptomatic. The fact is, some people need a major kick in the b*tt to get them moving, even if it's for their own good... so - don't blame the authorities for overhyping and then blame them for a sudden, nasty flu season! We need a new term - a "monday morning quarterback" for the health profession "post-op pundit"?? ;-)

Thanks, Carol, for good work as usual!

[ Parent ]
How close are we to a global health disaster?
The recent 'superbug' outbreaks, Swine Flu, SARS and Bird Flu, all threatened to cause an epidemic on the international community.

Spread largely due to the increase in international trade and travel, scientists expect more such threats. The common characteristic of these epidemics is their resistance to common drug treatments. However, these diseases are all caused by viruses; these have always been difficult to treat and humanity has always survived. Will it be our ignorance and complacency towards bacteria, which we believed we had conquered with antibiotics, that leads us to the brink of medical disaster?

Antibiotic resistance is now an alarming threat to global health. Resistance is the ability of a bacterium to survive exposure to one or more types of antibiotic. This means that infections caused by resistant bacteria can no longer be treated with the normal, formally effective treatment. The international population could face a future of untreatable infections if action is not taken now.

Since Fleming discovered penicillin and heralded the advent of modern medicine, banishing the final vestiges of the era of leeches and powdered rabbit's foot, antibiotics have been man's greatest weapon against illness. Arguably the most important discovery of the twentieth century, are we now looking at the eradication of its efficiency, less than one hundred years after its introduction?

Continued with lots more.... http://www.freshties.com/wp/?p...  

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


Canada: Influenza hits BGH (Ontario)
Influenza has hit Brantford General Hospital. Hospital officials announced Tuesday that there are three patients with confirmed cases of influenza in BGH.

"Unlike most influenza seasons, which begin in mid-winter, we have seen significant activity already this season," Dr. Tom Szakacs, an infectious disease specialists at BGH, said. "There are numerous outbreaks within nursing homes in Brantford and the surrounding area."

The hospital is taking all infection control precautions including restricting visitors to the patients with influenza. The patients are on B2 and C2 unites and visitation to patients in those units is being restricted to two.


"We expect a surge of influenza patients, particularly amongst those presenting to the emergency room," Szakacs said. "Accordingly, we will be extremely diligent in proper isolation of patients who meet the acute respiratory infection criteria."


So far the majority of the influenza A strains are a good match with the strain found in the current vaccine, he said.

(Snip) http://www.parisstaronline.com...

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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