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News Reports for December 28, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 19:08:53 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!

• Health Warnings Over New Strain of Avian Influenza (Link)
• Thousands of Chickens Infected with Avian Flu (Link)

United Kingdom
• Wales: Vaccination urged as winter flu cases rise (Link)

United States
• AR: Columbia County flu outbreak strikes immunized and non-immunized alike (Link)
• FL: Flu Reports Rise Across Bay Area (Link)
• NC: Pardee Hospital Institutes Patient Visitor Limitations Due To Flu (Link)
• WA: New flu strain tougher than prior (Link)
• WA: 3 flu deaths reported in Washington (Link)
• WA: Three Western Washington deaths linked to flu (Link)

• Humidity Levels Explain U.S. Flu Winter Peak  (Link)

• Editorial: Bird flu scare (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for December 28, 2012

News for December 27, 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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Nepal: Editorial - Bird flu scare

The presence of bird flu virus has been found in a poultry farm in Sitapaila in Kathmandu. If the avian flu spreads to humans it can prove to be fatal. What is a matter of immense concern is that within the past one year the country has witnessed bird flu in eight different places.

The bird flu virus was first detected in Jhapa, and after that the menace has been detected every year including the capital. It has caused much apprehension as in one year the incidence of bird flu has been detected two times each in Kathmandu and Lalitpur, and once in Bhaktapur.

However, no concrete efforts have been made by the concerned to avert the spread of the virus. According to the Directorate of Animal Health, the virus has been detected in the crisis zone. The bird flu infected chickens were claimed to have been destroyed together with about 19,000 eggs in the poultry farm at some distance from the affected Sitapaila poultry farm, where the flu was first detected. However,the directorate could find no trace of bird flu from where the affected chicken were claimed by the poultry farm owner to have been buried giving rise to fears that he had sold the infected chicken. If this is true, it is indeed a serious health hazard, and the authorities should immediately take remedial measures.

A probe commission should immediately be formed to investigate the anomalies in the interest of public health. Since the flu is a serious threat to humans, the public should be acquainted with the symptoms of the disease and precautions to keep themselves safe.

Those at high risk are the workers in the poultry farms and those selling chicken meat. Their health status should be continuously monitored. Those partaking of chicken should see to it that it is well-cooked to be on the safe side. The eggs too should not be eaten raw or half cooked as a precaution. The avian flu spreads rapidly from the droppings of chicken. Meanwhile, in order to avoid panicking the public, the directorate should reassure them that they are doing the needful. It should be constantly monitoring the 20 high-risk and 18 medium-risk districts in the country. The directorate says that it is doing this by way of surveillance.

The affected site should be disinfected. Among other measures that the authorities should take is to prevent the disease from percolating from neighbouring countries. Therefore, it is in order to ban the import of chicken from the border areas including from India and Bangladesh. However, this is not found to be done in practice and many fowls and eggs are being smuggled into the country thereby heightening the risk of the avian flu spreading. Continued: http://www.thehimalayantimes.c...

(Note: I posted an article on the 26th about that farm and this was my comment then: "All the chickens were dead and had been buried by the owner? It wouldn't surprise me to learn he sold at least some of them." Apparently, I'm not the only one who suspects they are being bought and consumed.)

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


Humidity Levels Explain U.S. Flu Winter Peak
Cases of the flu peak in winter in the U.S. But why? A new study suggests it's not the heat, but the humidity. Or lack thereof. Because in temperate regions, the influenza virus fares best when the weather is dry. (Snip)

Scientists have long debated why flu erupts when the days grow chilly. Is it that we spend more time cooped up together indoors? Or is there something about the virus that likes it cold and dry? To find out, researchers suspended influenza virus in a solution that mimics human mucus. They incubated this infectious soup at different humidities and measured viral survival.

(Snip) at low humidity, the fake mucus dries up and the virus does just fine. But when the humidity tops 50%, the droplets only partially evaporate, leaving behind a solution that's too salty for the virus to thrive.

(Snip) the virus does well again when the humidity reaches 100 percent, evaporation stops and the salinity of the mucus bath is juuust right. That could explain why the flu prefers to hit the tropics in rainy season. And why you should always keep your nose clean, but moist. http://www.scientificamerican....

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


US: Columbia County flu outbreak strikes immunized and non-immunized alike (Arkansas)
Flu cases are being reported in Columbia County.

Magnolia Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Karen Weido said the hospital is seeing flu in patients, whether they had a flu shot earlier this year or not.

"We have had 26 positive flu cases hospital-wide beginning December 19. We have had eight inpatient admissions with flu due to patients having underlying health issues prior to getting the flu," she said.

"Patients with flu-like symptoms presenting to the (emergency room) are being treated as if they do have the flu. All positive flu cases are reported to the Arkansas Department of Health," (Snip).


Melinda Harrell, administrator of the Columbia County Health Unit, said that she's also hearing about several flu cases among immunized people. The flu strain that appears to be causing the most trouble in the Magnolia area is apparently not the same strain for which this year's immunization was designed.

The health unit has given flu shots to thousands of students, and to 751 people who attended the annual Magnolia flu clinic in October.

On Thursday, the Magnolia Reporter page on Facebook asked readers to report on their experience with the flu this season. The inquiry led to several responses about flu hitting households this past weekend, and continuing through the Christmas holiday.

The Arkansas Department of Health reported the season's first flu-related death in the state in mid-December. Continued: http://www.magnoliareporter.co...

(Note: I have now seen several articles from different areas of the country that states people who got the flu shot are still contracting the flu. Either there are strains circulating that the CDC is not reporting or the CDC is full of bullshit by continuing to say "this year's flu shot is 90% effective". Of course, this is just my own personal opinion on this.)

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


Comment: For the record..........
I believe everyone should get a flu shot because it is the best protection we have during flu season. Even if the vaccine is only 50% effective, that is so much better than no protection at all!

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


[ Parent ]
US: Pardee Hospital Institutes Patient Visitor Limitations Due To Flu (North Carolina)
HENDERSONVILLE, NC -- Hendersonville's Pardee Hospital has placed a restriction limit for visitors due to the high risk during the flu season. (Snip) the visitor restriction policy will limit patient's visitation to only immediate family and no one under the age of 18.


Hospital officials say that the policy was put in action based off information released from the Center of Disease Control. They cited the statewide data of the 72 samples submitted to the State Laboratory of Public Health for viral testing during the past week, 50 of which tested positive for influenza. They added that one person tested positive for influenza B and one for H1N1.

Hospital officials said that everyone six months of age and older should get vaccinated against influenza each year. Continued: http://www2.wspa.com/news/2012...

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


US: New flu strain tougher than prior (Washington)
(Snip) this season's H3N2 strain of influenza promises to be more aggressive than the H1N1 virus that plagued the nation three years ago. The good news is Idaho and Washington health departments are well-stocked with a formidable vaccine.

The flu has already hit western Washington, killing two elderly King County residents and one Pierce County child, (Snip). http://dnews.com/local/article...

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


US: 3 flu deaths reported in Washington

OLYMPIA -- Flu activity has picked up across Washington, especially in western Washington, the state Health Department said Thursday.

A Pierce County boy and two older adults in King County were the first influenza deaths in the state this season, the department said. The boy, who was younger than 12, was the first death, earlier in December. A man in his 80s and a woman in her 70s in King County died in the past two weeks.

[ Parent ]
Three Western Washington deaths linked to flu

By Gale Fiege, Herald Writer

The flu-related deaths of a Pierce County child and two King County seniors this month were reported just as the flu season was picking up in greater numbers in the state and across the nation. In Snohomish County, 23 people are hospitalized because of the flu, Goldbaum said. That's more people than were hospitalized in each of the past two flu seasons, he said.
Flu is transmitted primarily by young people, and they need to be especially protected. People need to think of others, not just about their own health, Goldbaum said.

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]

[ Parent ]
UK: Vaccination urged as winter flu cases rise (Wales)
CASES of influenza in Wales doubled in the run-up to Christmas Day, according to new figures, confirming the beginning of the flu season.

GPs reported seeing nearly 19 cases per 100,000 consultations, both within their surgeries and out of hours up to last Sunday - an increase from 9.7 the previous week. The highest number of cases was for those aged between 35 and 44.

Public Health Wales said that although the figures are around average for the time of year, the increase in the number of cases in just a few days caused concern for those in at-risk groups.

People in these categories, including over 65s, pregnant women and those with certain chronic conditions, are now being encouraged to take up the vaccine to avoid the potentially life-threatening illness.

Last week, officials said the rise in the levels of the virus meant they were now at the stage where they would issue antiviral medication in some cases.
The Welsh Government's target is for 75% of people in the at-risk groups to take up the flu vaccine. However, recent figures have shown that this has been missed by all of these categories. Continued: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/n...

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


US: Flu Reports Rise Across Bay Area (Florida)
The achy, feverish pains of flu season are making the rounds in the Tampa Bay region, say public health officials, who are urging residents and holiday visitors to be careful not to spread sickness.

On Christmas Day in Hillsborough County, emergency rooms treated about 33 percent more people suffering from the symptoms of flu than expected under surveillance models based on prior year statistics, said Steve Huard, spokesman for the Hillsborough County Health Department.

Not all were confirmed cases of the flu, he noted. But sufferers no doubt felt just as miserable.


Hillsborough was among more than a dozen Florida counties reporting moderately high levels of flu activity last week, according to statewide reports for the week ending Dec. 15, the most recent data available. At a Hillsborough elementary school, 21 students and three teachers all became sick with flulike symptoms.

Although some people think flu viruses aren't serious, severe infections routinely lead to hospitalizations and even death. Influenza kills thousands of Americans each year. Continued: http://www.theledger.com/artic...

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


Indonesia:Health Warnings Over New Strain of Avian Influenza
December 28, 2012

Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi has revealed that there is a new strain of the avian flu virus killing tens of thousands of ducks in East, Central and West Java but no indication that the new virus affects humans.

The minister said the virus found in poultry across Indonesia has mutated from clade 2.1 to 2.3.2, affecting and killing ducks that were previously impervious to the old subtype.

"Previously ducks were considered immune," she said on Thursday. "But the new clade is very deadly on the bird."

This new clade has been blamed for the deaths of thousands of poultry in the three provinces but cases of avian flu-linked deaths in humans have only been attributed to the 2.1 clade. There have been nine deaths linked to the 2.1 clade of avian flu virus this year.

Nafsiah said her office is anticipating the possibility that the new strain would also affect humans by developing more laboratories to identify the new virus.

"Right now we are increasing the capabilities of laboratories. That means there shouldn't just be one laboratory in Jakarta which can detect [the new clade] but also our network of 42 laboratories across Indonesia," the minister said.

full article

United we stand: Divided we fall

Indonesia: Thousands of Chickens Infected with Avian Flu
Thursday, 27 December, 2012

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta: The Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed that thousands of chickens that suddenly died last week were contracted with the bird flu virus. However, it cannot be confirmed whether the virus is a new variant of the N5H1 virus or a pre-existing type.

Director of Animal Health at the Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health, Pujiatmoko, said that test results showed the cause of death of the chickens is bird flu. "The clade or code is not necessarily the same as the one which infected the ducks the other day," he said after a seminar on "Prospects of Agricultural Development 2013", at Tower 165 in Jakarta, yesterday.

Pujiatmoko explained that the chickens which died in Tangerang and Bogor were in the same cage as the ducks that were infected with bird flu. Therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture immediately gave out memos to prevent the virus from spreading.


Prior to these deaths, the government was preoccupied by the death of hundreds of thousands of ducks in a number of areas due to a new type of avian flu virus.
The Avian influenza or bird flu virus has been an endemic in Indonesia since 2003. The virus - coded Clade 2.1 Sub-Clade 2.1.3, only attacks chickens. But the AI virus that attacks ducks is of a different type, coded Clade 2.3.2, which causes high mortality among ducks.


United we stand: Divided we fall

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News Reports for  December 29, 2012

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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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