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News Reports for January 2, 2013

by: NewsDiary

Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 14:01:39 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!

Denmark
• Many are still bedridden due to the Christmas flu outbreak (Link)

India
• Haryana and Punjab: 3 cases of swine flu in city, all PGI staffers (Link)

Nepal
• Kathmandu: Farmer buried bird flu-ailed chickens by himself: Report (Link)
• Kathmandu: Third bird flu case in capital (Link)

Norway
• Norway health authorities discourage flu alarm (Link)

United States
• AZ: Cases of flu in AZ, across US already signal busy season (Link)
• MA: Influx of Flu Cases Hitting Western Massachusetts (Link)
• MN: Flu surge has Minnesota health officials worried (Link)
• MN: Earlier and More Intense Flu Season Hits Twin Cities Families (Link)
• SC: Early flu peak swamping medical offices (Link)
• TX: Local Hospitals Enact New Rules to Keep Flu From Spreading (Link)


• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for January 2, 2013

News for January 1, 2013 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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US: Flu surge has Minnesota health officials worried
A sudden spike in flu cases over the holidays is filling emergency rooms and urgent care centers across the state and has health officials fearing this could be one of the worst influenza seasons in years.

More than 120 Minnesotans were hospitalized with the flu in the week that ended Dec. 22 -- nearly twice the number of the previous week and more than a third of the total so far this year. The number of cases confirmed by laboratory testing also surged during the same week, reaching peaks reported much later in the previous two flu seasons. (Snip). "That suggests this has the potential to be severe," she said.

Since Dec. 22, the number of ill people showing up at emergency rooms and clinics has continued unabated, (Snip). And some say it's just as bad as it was at the same time of year during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic when 1,800 people in Minnesota were hospitalized over a 12-month period. Since the official start of the flu season in October, 297 people have been hospitalized. (Snip). "It's the highest number of patients with flu since H1N1," said Dr. Brent Asplin, chief clinical officer for Fairview Health Services. "Over the weekend all our community hospitals were at or near capacity."

Hospital emergency rooms and urgent care centers are especially busy, hospital officials said, and though the number of infected people who have to be hospitalized is small relative to the number who are ill, some hospitals are scrambling.

The Mayo Clinic's hospital in Mankato now has 15 patients with the flu, said Kevin Burns, director of public affairs for Mayo Health System. They are all in one unit, in part to control the spread of infection, which is standard procedure, he said. "But what is unusual is the timing," he said. "It's quite a bit earlier than we would normally see." (Snip) Patients are spanning the age range, from children to the elderly, officials said.

So far, hospitals have been able to handle the extra cases. But some have added staffed beds to accommodate the extra demand, and the Health Department is tracking the availability on a daily basis. "A number of hospitals are at very high capacity," (Snip). "No one is turning patients away, but some are adding extras wings and using those types of strategies to absorb additional demand."

But at a number of hospitals, staff members are also coming down with the virus, adding to the pressure. "We are seeing high numbers of sick calls for both staff and their kids," said Asplin. (Snip).

This year's most common strain, H3N2, is also causing more severe symptoms than normal, said Ehresmann, and that could be contributing to the number of people showing up in emergency rooms and urgent care centers reporting fever, fatigue and a cough.  "A number do look quite ill," (Snip).

But doctors said that only children under 2, the elderly, people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes or heart failure, or those who live with those people should seek anti-viral medication from a physician. Otherwise-healthy people who don't live with someone at risk would not be treated, Asplin said. Their best option is to stay home, rest and take over-the-counter medications to control their symptoms, he said.

Continued: http://www.startribune.com/lif...

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

     


US: Earlier and More Intense Flu Season Hits Twin Cities Families (Minnesota)
Many Minnesotans are dealing with an unwanted gift this holiday season, the flu. Doctors offices and hospitals are keeping busy right now, taking care of patients with respiratory viruses and flu related symptoms. The flu is hitting harder and earlier than in the past few years.

"We are seeing widespread influenza in Minnesota at this point, our numbers for influenza are higher than they've been at any time in the recent past," said Dr. Stephen Swanson, medical director of the Inpatient Pediatric Unit at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Urgent care centers in the Metro have been busy as well. Express Healthcare in Blaine started seeing a bump in sick traffic about 10 days ago. Continued: http://www.kstc45.com/article/...

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

     


[ Parent ]
Nepal: Farmer buried bird flu-ailed chickens by himself: Report
 
KATHMANDU, DEC 31 - The final report by a committee formed to investigate into the 'disappearance' of bird-flu-infected chickens from a farm in Ramkot-6, Kathmandu, on December 25 states that a majority of the fowls were buried on the farm premises.

Following the confirmation of bird flu (Snip) a rapid response team from the Department of Livestock Services had reached the site to exterminate the chickens, only to discover that the infected birds had 'disappeared'. Basnet said he had killed and buried all the poultry, but the officials suspected foul play. (Snip).

(Snip) chief of the District Veterinary Office, said they recovered over 1,600 buried chickens from the farm on Thursday. The Kathmandu District Administration Office had, on Wednesday, formed a seven-member committee headed by Acharya to investigate the matter. (Snip) the report will be submitted to Kathmandu Chief District Officer Chudamani Sharma on Tuesday and possible action against Basnet will be decided as per the Bird Flu Control Order (2007).

However, many officials expressed dissatisfaction at the report, claiming that the owner was reluctant to show them the area where the chickens were buried. "Whatever the report claims, the administration should take the matter seriously so that no other poultry owner follows suit," said a probe team member requesting anonymity. http://www.ekantipur.com/the-k...

(Note: I think a lot of those dead and sick H5N1 infected chickens ended up in the markets and on dinner plates. JMO)

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

     


Nepal: Third bird flu case in capital
KATHMANDU, Jan 2: A case of bird flu has been confirmed in a poultry farm in Sitapaila, in a third such incidence in just over a week in the capital, on Wednesday morning.

(Snip)  

A DoAH team culled bird flu-tainted 2,640 chickens and destroyed 550 eggs at the farm this morning, Ghimire said, adding another 200 chickens had died Tuesday night due to the avian influenza.

The poultry farm lies some 500 meters from another farm (Snip) in Sitapaila-1, where some 2,240 chicken were destroyed in December 26 after the virus was detected in the farm.

Before that, the disease was confirmed (Snip) at Ramkot-6, where all 2,500 chicken had died. Veterinary technicians had destroyed over 19,000 eggs from the farm.

All three infected poultry farms lies within less than one kilometers´s distance. http://www.myrepublica.com/por...

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

     


US: Early flu peak swamping medical offices (South Carolina)
Flu season has hit the state hard, with some medical practices forced to bring on extra staff to handle the volume of cases.

"Overwhelmed is a pretty accurate description," Dr. Jim Ellis, medical director of MD 360 Convenient Care practices (Snip). "We've had to increase our staff."

Statewide, flu was first categorized as widespread on Nov. 24, said (Snip) the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. Thirteen deaths have been confirmed since Sept. 30 (Snip).

In neighboring North Carolina, 14 people have died from the flu, according to The Associated Press.
Ellis said it started the week before Thanksgiving.

"We've seen a pretty dramatic increase in volumes," he said. "And it's not showing any signs of slowing down."The MD 360 locations in Simpsonville and Greenville were averaging 65 flu patients a day and are now seeing more than 90 a day, he said. In Greer, it's doubled from about 40 to 80 a day, he said.

As a result, Ellis said, additional doctors and nurses have been brought on to care for all the ailing patients. Continued: http://www.greenvilleonline.co...

(Note: This is the area of SC that I live in. The flu is very bad here and shows no sign of decreasing. Several people I know are sick with the flu or are just getting over it and they had a flu shot.)

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

     


US: Cases of flu in AZ, across US already signal busy season (Arizona)
All but two Arizona counties have reported cases of the flu in what is turning out to be an early and busy season. A total of 581 flu cases of the flu have been laboratory confirmed by the Arizona Department of Health Services this season, state data show. At this time last year only 10 cases had been confirmed statewide.

The U.S. overall is experiencing its earliest regular flu season in nearly a decade, and the primary strain that is circulating tends to make people sicker than other types. The most common subtype of flu this season so far is H3N2, federal data show. The subtype is generally associated with more severe flu seasons.

Every county in Arizona, with the exception of Gila and La Paz counties, has reported cases of the flu. Pima County has had 62 confirmed cases so far this season.

There have been no pediatric deaths in Arizona this season.

The cases reported represent a small portion of the true number. Many people do not visit the doctor when ill, and doctors are not expected to run tests on all patients exhibiting influenzalike symptoms. Continued: http://azstarnet.com/news/scie...

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

     


Local Hospitals Enact New Rules to Keep Flu From Spreading
January 2, 2013
http://everythinglubbock.com/f...
Lubbock, Texas:  University Medical Center tells us this flu season is one of the worst they've seen in years. They're now taking extra precautions to prevent spreading the virus in their hospital.

"This year it's been mandatory that all employees need to have the flu shot," said UMC Spokesman Eric Finley.  "And so those that don't like to not to have the flu shot, they are required to wear a mask while they're seeing patients in the hospital.  We've also required all our vendors who are frequently in and out of the hospital to receive that flu shot as well."

Finley said requiring the staff get the shot has helped so far. UMC is also trying to avoid spreading the flu outside the hospital.

"We've also offered any patients who have not had the flu shot we've offered that flu shot to them before they leave to try to control that once they get out of the hospital," said Finley.  
(more)


"I am opposed to any form of tyranny over the mind of man."  Thomas Jefferson


Norway health authorities discourage flu alarm
According to regional paper Nordlys, there are many incidents of the Swine Flu in Nord-Norge. Eastern Norway's Bærum hospital personnel tell local paper Asker og Bærums Budstikke two younger non-risk group people have been admitted there.

State broadcaster NRK reports, Wednesday, 24 people in southern Norway have been diagnosed with the illness, though senior medical staff says they do not believe their conditions to be serious.

"What we can say is that we do have some cases of this type of influenza, but these are just part of many respiratory diseases total," Hanne Nøkleby, division of infectious diseases director tells The Foreigner.

In Rogaland, western Norway, Stavanger University Hospital's infectious diseases physician Jon Sundal tells NRK that, "there are a large number of patients with respiratory disease. It may be common pneumonia and can be influenza."

The FHI's Hanne Nøkleby to The Foreigner that the situation looks worse because "there is a lot of pressure on hospitals at the moment, but H1N1 is only part of this. "Many labs have been closed due to the Christmas holidays, meaning a lower rate of testing."

"We are also really just at the start of this year's influenza season, which begins in October, but we do expect a rise in flu cases during the next few weeks. We're now in the third week of about eight before the rate starts to decline," she adds, stating there is no indication the current H1N1 strain is different to 2009's.

NRK writes there have been 181 cases of Swine Flu at Ahus University Hospital since November last year, 72 in the last two weeks before Christmas.

An 11-year-old Porsgrunn boy died last week after being admitted with the Swine Flu to Oslo's Rikshospitalet University Hospital. Continued: http://theforeigner.no/pages/n...

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

     


Denmark: Many are still bedridden due to the Christmas flu outbreak.
Although the Christmas holidays have now ended, many Danes are still away from work due to the outbreak of flu that hit Denmark up to the Xmas period.

The Capital Region Influenza Committee says that the outbreak is the worst to hit Denmark since November 2009, when the Swine flu or H1N1 pandemic hit the country.

Greater Copenhagen seems to have been worst hit over the Xmas holidays, with emergency doctors having to call in extra staff to answer the many calls from an ailing general public.

(Snip)

Despite the extra work, Lundgren says he is happy that people appear to have been taking the outbreak seriously.

"If flu develops into, for example, pneumonia, it is a serious matter and can be life threatening," he says, adding that some people have been admitted to intensive care wards. "We will not know quite how many have been admitted to intensive care wards, or have died as a result of complications, before next week at the earliest," he says. Continued: http://politiken.dk/newsinengl...  

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

     


US: Influx of Flu Cases Hitting Western Massachusetts
REGION (WGGB) - There are some alarming new numbers from Baystate Medical Center about a sudden influx of flu cases being diagnosed. The numbers are way up and one reason may be the low number of people getting their flu shots.

Early indications are pointing to a dramatic increase in the number of flu cases being diagnosed.

(Snip) statewide, there have been 3,736 cases of the flu, compared to just 126 cases this time last year.

(Snip)

"We don't know how many people were vaccinated. Of course that could be part of it, if fewer people were vaccinated, that could lead to more people getting the flu," says Skiest. Continued: http://www.wggb.com/2013/01/02...

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

     


India: 3 cases of swine flu in city, all PGI staffers (Haryana and Punjab)
Chandigarh - Three positive H1N1 Influenza A (Swine Flu) cases have been reported in the city in the past two weeks from the department of Cytology Gynae Pathology at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research.

According to officials of the UT Health department, all three cases are employees of the institute who work in the Cytology department. Officials said that the first case was reported about two weeks back and the other two cases were reported from the same department within a gap of two days.

"While it is not known as to how the the first patient got the disease, the other two were infected due to close proximity," said the Health department official. The first patient incidentally had no travel history in the recent past.

A PGI faculty member of the Department of Virology said that health workers are always at a risk of getting such infections, "...but there is no need to panic as proper medicines and isolation helps in speedy recovery."

Dr Anil Garg, nodal officer for National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme, UT, said: "All three patients have recovered after they were house quarantined and were also given Tami Flu, the medicine to be taken during this flu. Their family members were also given the medicines." Continued: http://www.indianexpress.com/n...

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

     


The city of Chandigarh
serves as the capital for both the states of Haryana and Punjab.

Map link: http://maps.google.com/maps?hl...

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

     


[ Parent ]
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