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News Reports for December 31, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 21:28:34 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!

Canada
• Ontario: Surge in Ontario flu cases reported by doctors (Link)
• Ontario: Woman suffering flu-like symptoms dies on Via Rail passenger train, three others taken to hospital (Link)
• Ontario: Influenza outbreak persists at hospital (Midland) (Link)

Palestine
• Palestinian health official: Swine flu outbreak kills 9 people, infects hundreds (Link)

United States
• Flu cases hit record level in Central Florida (Link)
• MA: Flu hitting Central Mass. early, hard (Link)
• OH: Flu outbreak hits Ohio earlier than in previous years (Link)

Yemen
• Yemen health officials on alert after five deaths from H1N1 virus (Link)

General
• ProMED:  Avian influenza, human (64): 2012 case count (Link)


• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for December 31, 2012

News for December 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 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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Canada: Surge in Ontario flu cases reported by doctors
There has been a significant surge in the flu virus around Ontario this year, warn the province's top doctors, especially during this last week. "We're noticing a significant load of influenza not seen since H1N1 [broke out in 2009]," (Snip).

The flu shot offers about 60 per cent protection each year, research suggests. (Snip) The strains of flu viruses that are circulating vary in North America this year.

In Canada, the influenza A(H3N2) strain predominates, while in the U.S., a mix of A(H3N2) and influenza B have been detected. In Mexico, influenza B is predominant (Snip).

(Snip)

In Toronto, some walk-in clinics reported about a quarter of their patients suffering from the influenza...... Continued: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/...

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

     


US: Flu hitting Central Mass. early, hard (Massachusetts)
Area hospitals are seeing more cases of flu-like illness as influenza activity increases in Massachusetts.

Infection control experts at Central Massachusetts medical centers said this week that they were admitting a number of patients with the seasonal illness and sending others home with instructions to rest, drink fluids and take over-the-counter pain relievers to bring down fevers.

"I haven't been this busy with the flu in 10 years," said Jeannie M. Sanborn, a registered nurse and director of infection prevention at Heywood Hospital, a 153-bed community hospital in Gardner that had six patients hospitalized with flu last week. "The flu season has started earlier this year, not just here, but across the nation." Continued: http://www.telegram.com/articl...

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

     


US: Flu outbreak hits Ohio earlier than in previous years
LOGAN - Flu season appears to be in full swing here in Ohio, peaking much earlier in the season than it usually does. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ohio and many of the surrounding states have "widespread" outbreaks of influenza for the week ending in Dec. 15, which is the latest date information is available.

Shannon Libby, spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Heath, noted on Friday that the widespread designation usually doesn't come until January or February in most years, however this year it happened in early December.

The ODH uses the same classification format as the CDC. At this time last year, the designation of "sporadic" was given.

(Snip)

The states have five different categories that describe the geographical spread of influenza.

If there is no activity, then there aren't any laboratory confirmed cases or a reported increase. Sporadic indicates that there are small numbers of confirmed cases or a single outbreak has been reported. Local indicates that that there are outbreaks of influenza and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in a single region. Regional outbreaks indicate that a laboratory recently confirmed influenza in at least two, but less than half of the regions of the state. Widespread indicates that at least half of the regions are experiencing activity. It should be noted that these designations are only on geographical areas, and not the severity of the outbreak.

Libby said that the ODH (Ohio Department of Health)  only tracks information when people are hospitalized, or if there is a pediatric death. Continued: http://www.telegram.com/articl...

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

     


The above link is incorrect.
This is the correct one: http://www.logandaily.com/news...

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

     


[ Parent ]
Canada: Woman suffering flu-like symptoms dies on Via Rail passenger train, three others taken to hospital
A woman with flu-like symptoms who died on a cross-Canada train on the weekend complained of feeling ill before boarding (Snip). The 86-year-old woman, whose identity has not been released, boarded the train in Edmonton with two relatives, and suddenly died near Parry Sound, Ontario (Snip).

Two cabins on the train, which had departed from Vancouver on Dec. 25, had been quarantined after the passengers said they were feeling ill (Snip) it was a decision made by both train officials and the passengers themselves to stay in their cabin.

"When [these passengers] boarded the train, they indicated to our employees that they were not feeling good. That they had flu-like symptoms, and it was decided that they would be quarantined," (Snip). "Which means that they would stay in their cabin, and all of the services would come to them." http://news.nationalpost.com/2...

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

     


ProMED: Avian influenza, human (64): 2012 case count
30 Dec -
Avian Influenza, Egypt, Humans
Avian Influenza, Indonesia, Humans
Avian Influenza, Vietnam, Humans
Avian Influenza, Bangladesh, Humans
Avian Influenza, Cambodia, Humans
Avian Influenza, China, Humans

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there have been 32 cases of avian A(H5N1) influenza virus infection in humans so far this year [2012], 20 of whom have died.

(Snip) published by WHO on 17 Dec 2012, most of the victims were in Egypt (11 cases; 5 deaths) but there were also 9 cases in Indonesia, 4 in Viet Nam, 3 in Bangladesh and Cambodia, and 2 in China.

Last year, 2011, there were 62 cases, of whom 34 died.

Since the emergence of H5N1 influenza in 2003, 610 people are reported to have become infected, 360 of whom have died. Continued: http://www.healthmap.org/a.php...

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

     


Comment: How do we know these numbers are accurate?
IMO, we don't! Egypt quit reporting all information on H5N1 cases many months ago. I don't think Indonesia is being truthful about the number of human cases they have. I don't believe the Chinese government has ever been truthful about either human or poultry H5N1 cases. It's hard for me to believe that as endemic as H5N1 is in Bangladesh and India that there haven't been multiple cases there. We get zero reports from countries like Laos and North Korea and few reports from Myanmar. And for the record, I don't trust the WHO. Of course, all 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 ]
Not to mention...
1. The fact that the majority of pneumonia deaths even in these frequently-reporting countries probably aren't tested for H5N1 unless there has been a report of H5N1 in poultry (or known exposure to sick poultry)

2.  H5N1 is endemic in poultry in Egypt, but has never been reported in any other adjacent countries in north Africa, where there is far less government oversight, vaccination of poultry and access to healthcare.  IMO, it's very likely that there have been outbreaks in poultry (and probably cases in humans) in Syria, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia that have not been identified.

3.  We know that H5N1 is endemic in Indonesia and Vietnam, with outbreaks & cases occasionally reported in Burma, Cambodia and China (when the news leaks out).  If you look at a map of SE Asia, it's hard to believe that there are no outbreaks or cases in any of the countries that are surrounded by these reporting countries, such as Malaysia, Thailand and Laos.


[ Parent ]
Excellent analysis!
I totally agree with everything you stated here.

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

     


[ Parent ]
Canada (ON): Influenza outbreak persists at hospital (Midland)
http://www.simcoe.com/news/art...

MIDLAND - Further visitor restrictions have been implemented at Georgian Bay General Hospital as a result of an ongoing influenza A outbreak.  

Effective Dec. 31 and until further notice, the hospital has put in place a "No Visitors" policy on the 1 North long-term-care unit at the Midland site. In exceptional circumstances, one visitor will be allowed, but only with a mask and gown.  

The outbreak is limited at this time to the one unit, where a number of cases of cough, fever and congestion have been reported. (continued)


Yemen health officials on alert after five deaths from H1N1 virus
SANAA, Yemen, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Public health officials in Yemen say they are setting up an operations center to deal with a potential outbreak of swine flu after the deaths of five people. The most recent death from the H1N1 virus occurred Thursday at the Saudi German Hospital in Sanaa (Snip)

(Snip) Another four people died from the illness at the Science and Technology Hospital, and he said all five victims had advanced stages of the disease. Kohlani said the patients might have survived if they had sought medical help earlier.

The country's health ministry decided Sunday to establish an operations center that would gather reports about potential swine flu cases from health facilities and hospitals throughout Yemen.

Both Kohlani and a World Health Organization representative in Yemen, Dr. Mohammed Osama, urged citizens not to panic. (Snip). Yemen health officials on alert after five deaths from H1N1 virus

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Wo...  

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

     


US: Flu cases hit record level in Central Florida
The number of flu cases in Central Florida hit a record level during Christmas week, as 637 confirmed cases rolled in the region's 21 CentraCare clinics.

That number is the highest on record since the Florida Hospital-owned clinics began tracking flu cases six years ago. The previous record of 569 was set in 2009 when the H1N1 virus was hitting hard, said Dr. Tim Hendrix, medical director for CentraCare.

Across the country, 31 states including Florida have reported "widespread" flu activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It's pretty incredible to see the numbers," Hendrix said. "I wasn't expecting the numbers to go this high this quick."

The week prior, the clinics confirmed 450 cases.

By comparison, this time last year, the clinic had seen 20 confirmed case. However, last year's flu season was comparatively mild, he said. Even during the season's peak week last year, the clinics only saw 150 cases. Continued: http://www.orlandosentinel.com...

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

     


Palestine: Palestinian health official: Swine flu outbreak kills 9 people, infects hundreds
RAMALLAH, West Bank - A Palestinian health official says an outbreak swine flu has killed nine people.

Deputy Health Minister Asad Ramlawi also said Monday more than 225 people have been infected by the H1N1 influenza strain, known as swine flu. He said more than 25,000 vaccinations have been administered this year to prevent it. The West Bank has 2.5 million residents.

The West Bank has been struck by swine flu before. Dozens died in the Palestinian territories during the 2009 worldwide pandemic. Continued: http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

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

     


Please post new news stories ...
...to News Reports for January 1, 2013

And Happy New Year!


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