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News Reports for December 23, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 23:17:48 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!

United States
• KS: Number of flu cases on rise, health report says (Link)
• NC: GMH already reporting severe flu season  (Link)
• NY: Flu season arrives in Erie County (Link)

• WHO: Jordan cluster hints at milder coronavirus cases (Link)
• CIDRAP: Flu pace picks up in US, Canada, parts of Europe (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for December 23, 2012

News for December 22, 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 December 17, 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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WHO: Jordan cluster hints at milder coronavirus cases

Dec 21, 2012 (CIDRAP News) - The World Health Organization (WHO) says its recent investigation of illnesses associated with two confirmed novel coronavirus (CoV) infections in Jordan suggests that some cases can be relatively mild and that investigators are now more suspicious that the cluster involved person-to-person transmission. (snip)

[...] the investigators looked at a number of healthcare workers who had had pneumonia associated with the confirmed novel CoV cases. Their illnesses are now considered probable cases, the WHO said. (snip)

"[T]he appearance of pneumonia in some who provided care in at least two family members with direct personal contact increases the suspicion that person-to-person transmission may have occurred," the WHO said. (snip)

The WHO team found some other things that didn't match the pattern of the nine confirmed cases. One is that none of the patients in the [Jordan] cluster suffered renal failure, which occurred in 5 of the 9 confirmed cases.

In addition, one of the patients who had a confirmed case and died was found to have pericarditis (inflammation of the heart lining). And the other patient who died with a confirmed case had disseminated intravascular blood coagulation as a complication of his or her severe respiratory disease. (continued)

WHO statement from Dec. 21 is here.

CIDRAP: Flu pace picks up in US, Canada, parts of Europe
Dec 21, 2012 (CIDRAP News) - Flu activity in the Northern Hemisphere continued to climb last week, led by a vigorous pace of infections in the United States and Canada in the lead-up to the Christmas holiday season (Snip).

In its biweekly update, the WHO said flu activity in North America increased sharply compared with previous weeks, and while H3N2 is the dominant flu strain in both the United States and Canada, influenza B is playing a larger role in the US flu season so far than in Canada.

In Mexico the percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for flu remained high at 25%, though the most common virus detected was influenza B, followed by H3N2 (Snip).

In Europe, flu activity was low overall, but the pace of detections increased in a growing number of countries (Snip).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that most flu indicators continue to rise, with the highest activity levels in south central and southeastern states, though other parts of the country are also reporting increases. The number of states reporting widespread geographic spread rose to 29, compared with 18 the week before.

The proportion of doctor visits for flu-like illness was 3.2% last week, an increase from 2.8% the week before. The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for flu dropped slightly, to 28.3%.

CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a statement, "Today's report confirms that the U.S. flu season is off to an early start though it's too early to tell how severe our season might be." (Snip).

Deaths from pneumonia and flu were below the epidemic threshold. Two more pediatric flu deaths were reported, pushing the season's total to eight; one was linked to an unknown influenza A subtype and the other involved H3N2.

The WHO said the most recent report it received from Canada gave Ontario as the only region reporting widespread activity. (Snip) increased flu activity in Montreal and Alberta was pushing capacity at local emergency departments.

In Europe, the number of respiratory specimens testing positive for flu rose for the third straight week, reaching 17.2%, (Snip). Though many countries are still reporting stable flu trends, increasing activity was reported by nine countries: France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, and Wales.

Among viral isolates from both sentinel and nonsentinel sources in Europe last week, nearly 58% were influenza A, with about two-thirds of those the 2009 H1N1 virus.

Elsewhere, flu activity in northern Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean regions was low but increasing. In temperate areas of China flu activity remained low, with declining activity in tropical areas.

Flu activity also declined in Central America, the Caribbean, and tropical parts of South America, (Snip). Most of the activity was from the H3N2 virus, except in Cuba and Peru, where the 2009 H1N1 virus dominated. Continued with links: 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


US: GMH already reporting severe flu season (North Carolina)
Flu virus is running rampant locally and Gaston Memorial Hospital is restricting people ages 12 and under from visiting hospital patients. The majority of this season's flu cases treated at the hospital are children ages infant to 12 years, prompting GMH to temporarily restrict kids that age from visiting friends and family at the hospital.

Anyone, of any age, with flu-like symptoms should also not visit hospital patients at this time, hospital officials said. Some are being treated in the emergency room for the virus and then, depending on the severity of illness, either released or admitted.


Local cases spiraling

The lab at Gaston Memorial has seen 99 positive flu cultures in less than a month. During last flu season from October 2011 through March 2012, the lab only saw 11 positive cultures and the dramatically higher number this year has local health officials warning about the virus and how to prevent it from spreading.

Gaston County Health Department is urging people to receive a flu shot. Public information officer Shannon Clubb said the department has administered 3,096 flu shots in the past two months. That number nearly reaches the total flu shots given from October 2011 to June 2012.


The health department has conducted 278 rapid flu tests in the child health clinic this year, compared to 172 last year. Some of those tests do come back negative. Continued: http://www.gastongazette.com/g...

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


Thanks, Carol! Happy Holidays!
Thanks to you and all the news reporters - and for those who celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas to you all! Best wishes to all who celebrate other occasions, And let's hope the New Year is a healthy and happy one!

[ Parent ]
Happy Holidays to you to Cathy

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


[ Parent ]
US: Number of flu cases on rise, health report says (Snip)
Flu season started earlier than usual this year and has already surpassed previous the past two years, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's influenza surveillance report.

The department receives weekly reports from 43 sites across the state listing the number of patients at clinics with flu-like illnesses, said Charlie Hunt, Kansas state epidemiologist. In the past two years, patients with flu symptoms were under 1 percent of total clinical patients, Hunt said; this year, 2.7 percent of patients were reported as having a flu-like illness.

Hunt said ecology, animals, weather and changes in viruses contribute to the rise of flu-like illness. Over the past decade, flu season's timing and its severity have varied substantially from year to year, Hunt said.

"It's not unexpected this time of year," Hunt said. "It's going up this year compared to the last couple of years, 2010 and 2011 ... so it's hard to make direct comparisons. Last year the season was later than what we usually see; it didn't peak until March, and usually we see it in January or February."


"Right now in Kansas, there has been a slight jump up already in the second week of December," Colson said. "There has already been reports of flu cases, and that's a little earlier than normal." Continued: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2...  

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


New York: Flu season arrives in Erie County
December 23, 2012

Fifty-seven cases of influenza have been reported in the county so far this season, said Charlotte Berringer, R.N., director of community health for the Erie County Department of Health.

That's two more cases than were reported for the county's entire 2011-12 flu season, the mildest one since flu became a reportable disease in 2003. Erie County typically sees between 500 and 1,000 reported cases of flu each season


All but four of the county's flu cases this season have been reported since Dec. 5, Berringer said. Nearly half of the cases involve children ages 2 to 17.

full article

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