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News Reports for December 1, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 15:16:07 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!

India
• Swine flu claimed 344 lives in India in 2012(Link)
• Maharashtra: Woman dies of swine flu, toll 34 since April (Link)

Kuwait
• 20 medical staff members diagnosed with 'swine flu' (Link)

Philippines
• Philippines bans Australian poultry imports (Link)

United States
• U.S. Plans for New H5N1 Science Reviews Ruffle Researchers (Link)
• WI: Wis. reports increase in flu case numbers(Link)

General
• Flu Forecasting Model Can Predict Spikes in Cases Up to Seven Weeks in Advance (Link)

Commentary
• Recombinomics: WHO Corrects Novel Beta Coronavirus Guideline Errors (Link)


• H(Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for December 1, 2012

News for November 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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U.S. Plans for New H5N1 Science Reviews Ruffle Researchers
The U.S. government is proposing special reviews for experiments that might increase the risk posed by the H5N1 avian influenza virus.

Researchers are giving mixed reviews to a draft U.S. government plan to subject some grant requests for studies involving the H5N1 avian influenza virus to special reviews-and perhaps even require the work to be kept secret.

Elements of the plan have been "very controversial within [the] U.S. government" committee that developed it, Amy Patterson, associate director for science policy at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, told a meeting of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) earlier this week. Patterson unveiled the proposal-formally known as A Proposed Framework for Guiding HHS Funding Decisions about Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 Gain-of-Function Research at the 27 November meeting of NSABB, which advises the U.S. government on overseeing "dual use" biological research that could be used for good and evil.

Although it would now apply to just a handful of potential studies, the framework "is going to raise a lot of questions and concerns among researchers," predicts microbiologist Ron Atlas of the University of Louisville in Kentucky who has worked on biosecurity policy issues for more than a decade for the American Society for Microbiology.

Some influenza scientists are already calling the plan "misguided," while others predict it will make it impossible to obtain NIH funding for an entire subset of potentially useful studies. Others, however, say it represents a needed "step forward" in government efforts to reduce the terrorism and public safety risks associated with H5N1 studies.

Continued with much more on this:  http://news.sciencemag.org/sci...

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

     


US: Wis. reports increase in flu case numbers (Wisconsin)
MADISON - Wisconsin health officials are encouraging residents to get their flu shots and to tell their family and friends it's not too late to get protection against the flu.

(Snip) the number of influenza cases in Wisconsin is running higher than last year at this time. State Health Officer Dr. Henry Anderson says Wisconsin's flu season started early this year.

National Influenza Vaccination Week is next week, Dec. 2-8. (Snip) health officials are asking everyone to take the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's flu vaccination pledge by getting their flu shot and encouraging others to do the same.

(Snip) there have been 113 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases reported in Wisconsin this season, compared with seven cases at this time last year. http://www.wausaudailyherald.c...

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

     


Flu Forecasting Model Can Predict Spikes in Cases Up to Seven Weeks in Advance
Scientists could one day predict flu seasons like they predict weather, allowing communities to stock up on vaccines and antiviral drugs, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Using real-time data from the Centers for Disease Control, humidity forecasts, and historical flu season data, Columbia University researcher Jeffrey Shaman, who studies the environment's effects on infectious disease transmission for the university's Mailman School of Public Health, says his model can predict the height of flu season with reasonable accuracy up to seven weeks before it hits.

"It's a skillful forecast, meaning we can assign confidence to it - it's like if the weatherman says there's an 80 percent chance of rain, you'll plan differently than if there's a 20 percent chance of rain," Shaman says. "Just like the weather, the predictions that are sooner are usually much better." Continued: http://www.usnews.com/news/art...  

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

     


Swine flu claimed 344 lives in India in 2012
New Delhi: Swine flu claimed 344 lives this year even though the pandemic has subsided in the country, Union Health Ministry told the Lok Sabha on Friday.

(Snip)

"The pandemic of influenza A H1N1 has subsided. According to WHO, it has moved into post-pandemic period. The pandemic influenza A H1N1 virus is now circulating as seasonal influenza A H1N1 virus and sporadic outbreaks are reported from across the country," Azad said.

He also gave the figures related to number of swine flu cases and deaths thereupon in the country during the present year. Total 4,568 cases of swine flu were registered in the country this year, with the highest number of 1493 infections being reported from Maharashtra.

Karnataka and Kerala witnessed 810 and 619 cases of infection. The National Capital recorded 72 cases with only one death from January to November this year.

Maharashtra also reported maximum number of 125 deaths, followed by 44 fatalities in Karnataka. In Kerala, 14 people died because of the infection. 33 people died in Andhra Pradesh where 310 cases of infections were reported this year.

Uttar Pradesh, which reported 124 people infected, surprisingly had no deaths due to swine flu. Tamil Nadu also succeeded in controlling the outbreak of the disease. While 590 infections were reported in Tamil Nadu, the number of people who succumbed to it was only 29. Continued: http://www.ndtv.com/article/in...

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

     


finally - a whole number
Okay - they finally released a number that we can compare with. While of course it's sad to have those 344 deaths, that seems like a small number to call a "pandemic". With India's huge population, there must be thousands of deaths annually from other illnesses... so I really don't get the panic they have shown through the year - unless they were always on guard that it might mutate and/or be bird flu. What is everyone else's take on this? Isn't this just a typical flu season?

[ Parent ]
Hi Cathy
I followed the flu news in India all year and I posted a lot of articles on deaths. Not all of them made the news. I think the number they gave is a whole lot lower than the actual number of people who died. Also, India only appeared to test the most ill people, even of the ones in the hospitals so I think they really have no idea how many people died from H1N1. I suspect there were a lot of flu cases throughout India and that the strain there was a bad one and that is what made the people react so strongly to this year's flu season. JMO

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

     


[ Parent ]
thanks, Carol!
So it was a case of the people noticing how many were sick around them, vs. the "official numbers" - that makes sense. Sigh... seems like it is very unlikely that we flu-watchers will get any helpful official counts, especially from some parts of the world. Hence our need to keep checking the world news for clues! I appreciate all your work!

[ Parent ]
WHO Corrects Novel Beta Coronavirus Guideline Errors
Recombinomics Commentary

Four patients developed acute renal failure; one of these died. The remaining three patients had pneumonia that required intensive support, without renal failure, and recovered. Three confirmed cases and the one probable case all belong to the same family and were living in the same household.

Of the seven confirmed cases, five developed acute renal failure and three of these died. The remaining two confirmed cases had pneumonia that required intensive support, without renal failure, and recovered. Three of the seven confirmed cases and the one probable case all belong to the same family and were living in the same household.

The above comments (#1) are from the WHO updated guidelines (dated November 28) for testing cases which may be infected with the recently described novel betacornavirus, (Snip).  These comments were inconsistent with the November 23 WHO update, which cited two additional fatal cases (one confirmed and one awaiting testing) which increased the number of fatal cases to three including two from the same family - an AP report indicated both developed renal failure prior to death).  These inconsistencies were noted yesterday (Snip).

Today, the WHO has corrected (#2) the update to increase the number of fatalities to three (from one), and the number with renal failure to five (from four).

Last night CIDRAP had cited additional detail for the third confirmed cases, reported by the KSA MoH on November 4.  A published paper noted that the case was a 45 year old male, who developed symptoms on October 9 and was on dialysis from October 15-22.

The correction to the WHO update removes the inconsistencies with these additional reports and the corrections highlight the similarities with clinical presenations and outcomes in the current cases and the SARS CoV cases in 2003.

(Snip) release of the ages of the additional confirmed and probable cases, as well as the disease onset dates for the four family members (3 confirmed and 1 probable) in the Riyadh cluster, would be useful. http://www.recombinomics.com/N...

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

     


Kuwait: 20 medical staff members diagnosed with 'swine flu'
KUWAIT CITY, Nov 30: Twenty medical staff members including nurses and doctors at the Al-Sabah Maternity Hospital have been diagnosed with the 'swine flu' (Snip).

Those infected with the virus have been given precautionary sick leave to prevent the disease from spreading among pregnant women at the hospital.

(Snip) the sources said the rate of infection is under control.

(Snip) the cause of the spread of disease is the onset of winter following the pilgrimage season and in addition to the failure and lack of attitude in applying precautionary measures inside the hospital. http://www.arabtimesonline.com...

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

     


Philippines bans Australian poultry imports
Authorities in the Philippines have temporarily suspended the importation of Australian poultry due after an outbreak of a strain of avian flu.

The virus, which is not the deadly H5N1 strain, was discovered in New South Wales two weeks ago.

The World Organisation for Animal Health confirmed the outbreak of the H7 strain of avian flu on an egg farm in the Hunter Valley.

(Snip)

The indefinite ban will be enforced immediately.

Mr Alcala also ordered the suspension of veterinary quarantine clearance for poultry and poultry products from Australia, as well as confiscation of such shipments arriving in Philippines ports. http://www.abc.net.au/news/201...

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

     


India: Woman dies of swine flu, toll 34 since April (Maharashtra)
PUNE: A 35-year-old woman from Pashan succumbed to the H1N1 infection in the city on Wednesday. The woman's throat swab, sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) before she died, tested positive on Friday. (Snip) the city's H1N1 toll has gone up to 34 since April this year.

(Snip) "the woman did not seek medical advice and treatment till five days after developing the illness," (Snip).

The woman developed an influenza like illness from November 23. She had fever, cough and a sore throat for five days and was feeling breathlessness from November 27. (Snip) her condition worsened, she was intubated and put on ventilator support around 11 pm on November 28. But her condition further deteriorated and she died at 11.55 pm the same day.

(Snip) three more people tested positive for swine flu infection in the city on Friday. Besides, the condition of one patient with swine flu is critical and he has been put on ventilator support. http://timesofindia.indiatimes...

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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