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News Reports for January 21, 2013

by: NewsDiary

Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 20:01:00 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!

• Beijing report within two weeks 60,000 ILI, (3) deaths in a stream (translated) (Link)

• 95 cases of H1N1, including 2 deaths registered in Jordan (translated) (Link)

United States
• Fighting off the flu (Link)
• Senior health - Staying one step ahead of the flu (Link)
• IL: Flu outbreak continues to spread (Link)
• PA: Flu outbreak leading to more severe cases this season (Link)
• SD: Fighting the flu (Link)
• WV: WVU Hospitals alter rules to avoid flu (Link)

• 4 swine flu deaths in Taiz, 9 confirmed cases (Link)

• Flu relief especially tricky for moms-to-be, experts say (Link)
• Flu-conomics: The next pandemic could trigger global recession (Link)
• Am I Still Contagious? (Link)
• Pregnant Women Must Take Vaccine Even If Flu Peak is Passed (Link)
• Why does a flu shot cost so much? (Link)
• Swine flu kills 24 in Middle East (Link)
• A Parent's Guide to Coughs (Link)

• Recombinomics: Increased US Pediatric Flu Deaths In Week 2 (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for January 21, 2013

News for January 20, 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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Flu relief especially tricky for moms-to-be, experts say

Ron Heflin  /  AP file
Pregnant women should get flu shots, health experts say, but they've got to be more careful than others about over-the-counter medications for relief.

By Corey Binns
NBC News correspondent
updated 1/20/2013 12:44:39 PM ET

[Snip]when you're expecting a baby, forget those familiar flu drugs. Avoid ibuprofen, and most over-the-counter cough and cold medicines, until talking with your obstetrician, experts say.


"If pneumonia develops in a pregnant woman with the flu, her lungs work less effectively and her baby may get less oxygen than needed," she adds.

Pregnant women have a high risk of hospitalization and even death if they get the flu while pregnant, says Dr. Geeta Swamy, director of obstetrics clinical research at Duke University. "They are at risk for delivering their babies prematurely as well as significant risks for fetal and infant death."


A study this week confirmed the flu shot's safety during pregnancy, and found vaccinated moms-to-be actually miscarried less often than pregnant women who weren't vaccinated.

"Many women have concerns about the safety of influenza vaccine, and vaccines in general, during pregnancy for themselves but moreover for their unborn baby," says Swamy. "However, scientific evidence has shown exactly the opposite."

Women who receive the flu vaccine during pregnancy have a lower chance of getting the flu, which reduces the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight of their unborn babies, Swamy says. What's more, when an expectant mother gets a flu shot, it protects her baby after birth by reducing the chance that the infant will get the flu during first six months of life, thanks to the antibodies passed through the placenta -- and possibly through breast milk after birth.


"Tamiflu, the standard treatment for the flu, is safe during pregnancy and most effective if it is started within the first 48 hours of symptom onset," says Swamy. "Tamiflu is also recommended if a pregnant woman has had a significant exposure to someone else with flu-like symptoms or has been diagnosed for the flu."

Yemen: 4 swine flu deaths in Taiz, 9 confirmed cases
TAIZ, Jan. 20 - Four people have died of the H1N1 virus - commonly known as swine flu - in Taiz governorate over the last two days, according to Dr. Abdulanaser Al-Kebab, the Health Office director of the governorate.  Three of the victims were not from Taiz, but went to seek treatment in the governorate before succumbing to the disease.  

All four were males and ranging from 30 to 67-years-old.  

(Snip) there are currently 9 other confirmed cases of the virus in Taiz governorate.

(Snip) the confirmed cases are being treated with care and are not currently worrying. However, he urges citizens to report any suspected cases and seek medical treatment immediately. The doctor also recommends avoiding crowded places to curb the spread of germs.  

(Snip) five people died of the virus in Sana'a at the end of December. http://www.yementimes.com/en/1...

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

(Note: Either they have many more cases and aren't testing for confirmation or they have a very serious problem!That's a CFR one would expect to see with H5N1, not H1N1 swine flu.)

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


Jordan: 95 cases of H1N1, including 2 deaths registered in Jordan

The number of Jordanians infected with influenza A H1N1 totaled 95 people since the beginning of winter (Snip) Two fatal cases have been reported so far (Snip).

A 26 year old man, infected by the H1N1 virus, died early January in Irbid in northern Jordan and Jordan is 40 years died last week, the minister said. http://french.peopledaily.com....

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


China: Beijing report within two weeks 60,000 ILI, (3) deaths in a stream

(Snip) the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control Center to inform the media, Beijing is in the peak of influenza virus activity, and there is no sign of abating. ILI reports of the first two weeks of January, the city's medical institutions over the two reached a total of more than 60,000 cases of the second week of the number of reports over the first week; report centralized fever epidemic occurred in schools; (H1N1) The death report of influenza cases increased to three cases. The next period of time, the intensity of influenza virus activity in Beijing will continue to maintain a higher level.

The notification said that the trend shows a constant rise since December 2012, the reporting of cases of flu-like in Beijing. (Snip) the population of emergency department visits, flu-like illness accounted for 3.72% (Snip). Pathogen monitoring this stage in Beijing flu epidemic of H1N1 influenza virus and influenza A H3N2 influenza virus is common popular become the dominant strain of H1N1 influenza virus. Influenza A (H1N1) prognosis, mortality similar to normal seasonal influenza, the risk factors for severe and death is also more consistent.

(Snip) the near future does not rule out the possibility of the flu causes severe, critical and fatal cases continue to occur, especially in high-risk groups of children, the elderly and those with chronic underlying diseases such as influenza. In schools, childcare institutions, collective units and crowded places, centralized fever epidemic caused by influenza may continue to appear. http://info.pharmacy.hc360.com...

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


US: Flu outbreak continues to spread (Illinois)
SPRINGFIELD -- Doctors aren't taking the flu outbreak lightly. They're asking everyone to get vaccinated.

(Snip) there's a good reason why. Since flu season started, 50 people have died, and another nearly 500 have been hospitalized. Many of the victims were over 50 years old.

Reports show only 40% of people actually get the shot. That means more than half are going unprotected. (Snip). http://illinoishomepage.net/fu...  

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


US: WVU Hospitals alter rules to avoid flu
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Ruby Memorial Hospital and WVU Children's Hospital have new rules for visitors to help curtail the spread of the flu.

Starting Sunday, patients are limited to two visitors at any given time. Children under 12 are discouraged from visiting. Hours are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

WVU Hospitals president and CEO Bruce McClymonds says the changes will help protect patients, staff and the community at large.

He says the more exposure is limited, the less the flu will spread. Continued: http://www.observer-reporter.c...  

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


Flu-conomics: The next pandemic could trigger global recession

[Note: This article is best read in toto. It enumerates some of the direct and indirect costs of a large scale epidemic, but admits that there is really no way to anticipate the full economic effects of a serious epidemic/pandemic.

In the early days of this forum there was great debate on the effects of a high fatality pandemic. Our consensus was that it could/would cause major societal breakdowns if severe enough. Personally, I most fear widespread breakdowns in our electric infrastructure and the internet. I think it has been pretty well proven how fragile and outdated our electric infrastructure is.]

By Sharon Begley
Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:07am EST
(Reuters) - A high body count is not the only meaningful number attached to a pandemic. The potential cost of a global outbreak of the flu or some other highly contagious disease, however ghoulish to calculate, is essential for government officials and business leaders to know. Only by putting a price tag on such an occurrence can they hope to establish what containing it is worth.

Fighting off the flu

Posted: Jan 21, 2013 4:38 AM MST
Updated: Jan 21, 2013 7:29 AM MST
By: April Kellogg, FOX 13 News - bio

TAMPA (FOX 13) -
We know this flu season has been a bad one so far, and we know that children and the elderly are most at risk. However, federal officials are stressing right now that we all need to be armed. And we all need to do our part to not spread the virus.

We are now about half way through this flu season and already leaders with the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention are saying this is shaping up to be worse-than-average season. It has been particularly bad among the elderly.

Health officials expect to see both the number of hospitalizations and deaths rise in the next week or so as the flu epidemic progresses. That is why federal officials are working right now to get more flu medicines. The FDA is now letting Tamiflu's maker distribute 2 million additional doses of capsules that have an older version of the package. They say it is not outdated, and they expect it will be needed.

"We're seeing a very high hospitalization rate for the elderly this year for flu. For laboratory proven flu, it's 82 per 100,000 people 65 years of age and older," stated Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director for the Centers for Disease Control.

Am I Still Contagious?

By Ella Brooks

The Common Cold
You're still contagious: From one day before your first symptom to about three days after it.
You can catch the common cold from over 200 different viruses that lurk in the air and on common surfaces. You can be contagious before such telltale symptoms as sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat and coughing even begin. That means stellar hygiene is key 24/7, not just when you feel under the weather. And remember that a cold must run its course -- there is no cure for this common respiratory infection.

Seasonal Flu
You're still contagious: From one day before your first symptom to up to seven days after it.
The flu hitches rides on sneeze and cough droplets. "You're most infectious during the first three days that you're sick with the flu, because that's when you experience the most nasal secretions," says Dr. Linda Meloy, a pediatrician and professor in the division of general pediatrics at Virginia Commonwealth University Children's Medical Center in Richmond, Va. This period also usually corresponds to when your fever is highest. An antiviral medication may shorten the stretch that you're contagious, so see your doctor at the first sign of symptoms: fever, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, runny nose or sore throat.

Strep Throat
You're still contagious: From the first day of symptoms to 24 hours after you start taking antibiotics.
The streptococcal bacteria is the culprit behind the classic symptoms: sudden sore throat, pain when you swallow, fever over 101 F, swollen tonsils, swollen lymph nodes, and white or yellow spots on the back of the throat. Unlike when you have a cold or the flu, you need an antibiotic to get well, so it's crucial to visit your doctor for a strep test and a treatment plan that includes prescription antibiotics. Although you're typically not contagious after a full day on the medication, it's important to complete the entire course of treatment to eradicate the infection completely.

You're still contagious: From the first day of your first symptom to up to 7 days after it.


You're still contagious: From the first day of your first symptom to 24 hours after you start taking antibiotics.


You're still contagious: Never.


Flu outbreak leading to more severe cases this season

[Note: I would think any person having trouble breathing should see the doctor. I don't see any maybe to it. This may just be the reporter being less than accurate.]

Written by Craig Layne and Radio Pennsylvania | Jan 21, 2013 4:00 AM

(Harrisburg) -- At least nine people in the midstate have died as a result of this year's flu, and doctors say the disease will likely cause many who get sick to seek the care of their family doctor or visit a hospital.

Dr. Ralph Riviello is the president of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. He says certain symptoms should be red flags to see a physician: "severe vomiting, or vomiting so much that they're starting to get dizzy and lightheaded. Maybe??? if they're having some trouble breathing, a lot of chest or abdominal discomfort. More than you would expect from just coughing a little bit with the flu."

Riviello says rest, staying at home, drinking fluids, and taking over-the-counter medicines will be enough to combat most flu cases.

The illness has killed 40 Pennsylvanians since flu season began in October. Lancaster County leads the midstate and has the fifth-highest number of cases statewide at 729.

Fighting the flu

Posted: Monday, January 21, 2013 12:15 am
Kristi Noem U.S. Representative | 0 comments
With colder temperatures often come runny noses, sore throats and unfortunately, the flu. Families across South Dakota who are trying to get back into a normal routine following the holidays may not have taken the time to ensure that kids and parents alike are vaccinated for the flu this season.

This week, South Dakota was moved into the "widespread" flu classification by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), leading hospitals and businesses to take extra precautions. In total, eleven South Dakotans have died from the flu and the state has reported almost 600 cases of flu so far this season.

It's time to take the flu seriously. I encourage all South Dakotans to not only get vaccinated, but to stay home from work or school if you have symptoms, such as a cough or fever. The typical incubation period for the flu is an average of two days and adults can be infectious for a week, starting with the day before symptoms began. Children can be contagious for even longer.

Senior health | Staying one step ahead of the flu

Jan. 20, 2013 5:21 PM,   |   0 Comments
Written by Robert Preidt | HealthDay

The nasty flu season in the United States this year poses a particular risk for people aged 65 and older, an expert warns. People's immune systems weaken as they age, explained Dr. Andrew Duxbury, an associate professor in the gerontology, geriatrics and palliative care division at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.

"When older people get the flu and get knocked down further, they are more likely to get other infections, such as pneumonia," Duxbury said in a university news release. "Just being knocked into bed for as little as three or four days can, in a very frail older person, make it so they lose the ability to walk and do for themselves. It can cause a spiral in disabilities and increase chances of falls and injuries."

Prevention is the best defense. Seniors and their caregivers should get a flu shot, wash hands regularly and avoid crowds, Duxbury recommended.

He also offered advice about what seniors should do if they get the flu. "Pay more attention to things like staying hydrated," Duxbury said. "Appetite and thirst mechanisms are different for older people; they can tip over to dehydration in less than a day if they don't keep fluids up."

Seniors with the flu also need to get out of bed at least a little bit, he said. "It's better for lungs and helps avoid pneumonia," Duxbury explained.

He said seniors or their caregivers should call a doctor if they have shortness of breath, a cough that produces mucus or a fever higher than 101 degrees.

Pregnant Women Must Take Vaccine Even If Flu Peak is Passed

Submitted by Ria Patel on Mon, 01/21/2013 - 13:23 Health TNM Emily Neri

A recent report has claimed though flu may have touched its peak, there should not be any place for complacency in this matter. It has been confirmed by Dr. Emily Neri, obstetrician with Physicians for Women in Lincoln that flu threat is very much there and one must not take it as a final good bye.

It has been even confirmed from latest reports that flu remains in its active state in as much as 48 states. "Any pregnant woman who thinks she has the flu should see the doctor", she said, since immune system gets weak during pregnancy and expecting mothers must not take it lightly. Even the same has been cited by the Centers for Disease Control that irrespective of trimester of pregnancy, pregnant women must take the vaccine.

Knowing the sensitivity in case of pregnant women, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists came out with an algorithm in order to take care of expecting mother for physicians while they face such cases.

"Influenza activity continues to have a marked impact on the Nebraska population, including increased deaths associated with influenza, and school/nursing home outbreaks", said Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, while confirming that the cases might have stabilized, but there is no room for complacency.

Why does a flu shot cost so much?

A new flu vaccine is made every year
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
By Alana Semuels
January 21, 2013, 8:35 a.m.

Among the long list of reasons the fearful give for reasons they're not getting a flu shot (hatred of needles, skepticism about vaccines, laziness), there's one that relates more closely to economics: cost.


So why aren't flu shots free, or nearly free? After all, they've been around for a while, and there's a lot of demand - isn't it about time flu shots cost the same as, say generic Tylenol?

If only, says Curtis Allen, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The real question should probably be - why does the flu shot cost so little?

That's because the process of manufacturing the flu shot and distributing it is a huge headache for pharmaceutical companies. The influenza vaccine must be made anew each year, beginning in February. Researchers determine what strains to put in the vaccine after looking closely at what types of flu are most prevalent in the Southern Hemisphere throughout its winter, which is our summer.

Then the handful of pharmaceutical companies that make the vaccine have to guesstimate how many doses to make. Make too many and they'll have to throw away a bunch if people don't get the flu shot; make too few and they'll cause a panic about vaccine shortages.

[big snip detailing other factors that make the flu vaccine expensive]

Still, there might be an economics argument for giving away the vaccine for free, even if it is already cheap. The province of Ontario, in Canada, tried that in 2000 and found that giving away the vaccine for free reduced influenza cases by 61% and decreased the cost of healthcare services by 52%, a study shows.

Swine flu kills 24 in Middle East
RAMALLAH, West Bank, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Twenty-four people have died of the swine flu in the last month in the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Israel, officials said.

Assad al-Ramlawi, director general of the Healthcare Department in the Palestinian Ministry of Health, said four Palestinians died after contracting the H1N1 virus in the West Bank and Gaza in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 21 since the start of winter, the Saudi Gazette reported.

(Snip) 600 people, 30 of them in the Gaza Strip, have been diagnosed with the virus. Most of those who died because of the flu had a weak immune system or an existing illness (Snip).

In Jordan, two people died of swine virus this month and 95 cases have been registered with authorities (Snip).

In Israel, a 3-year-old boy died of the flu last week and at least four people with the virus, some listed in serious condition, have been hospitalized (Snip). The boy suffered from a chronic illness before he contracted the virus, the official said. 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


Flu-conomics: The next pandemic could trigger global recession
(Reuters) - A high body count is not the only meaningful number attached to a pandemic. The potential cost of a global outbreak of the flu or some other highly contagious disease, however ghoulish to calculate, is essential for government officials and business leaders to know. Only by putting a price tag on such an occurrence can they hope to establish what containing it is worth.

The financial damage by itself can be devastating. The expense of major epidemics is evident every time a health agency totes up the cost of treating infected people, the outlays for drugs, doctors' visits, and hospitalizations. But that spending is only the most obvious economic impact of an outbreak.

Consider the effect on international airlines. During the 2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which began in southern China and lasted about seven months, business and leisure travelers drastically cut back on flying. Asia-Pacific carriers saw revenue plunge $6 billion and North American airlines lost another $1 billion.

The tourism industry also took a beating. The net revenue of Park Place Entertainment, owner of Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and other gambling and hotel complexes, plunged more than 50 percent in the second quarter of 2003 compared with the year before, mainly because Asian high rollers hunkered down rather than risk infection while traveling.

Fear even hurt businesses dependent on sales calls. AIG, which pulled almost 30 percent of its revenue from Asia back then, was hobbled when the epidemic kept its agents from visiting potential customers.

That's just the easily measured stuff; the indirect costs pushed the total SARS bill much higher. "The biggest driver of the economics of pandemics is not mortality or morbidity but risk aversion, as people change their behavior to reduce their chance of exposure," says Dr. Dennis Carroll, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development's programs on new and emerging disease threats. "People don't go to their jobs, and they don't go to shopping malls. There can be a huge decrease in consumer demand, and if (a pandemic) continues long enough, it can affect manufacturing" as producers cut output to align supply with lower demand. If schools are closed, healthy workers may have to stay home with their children. People afraid of becoming infected are less likely to go out to stores, restaurants or movies.

Most of China was essentially on lockdown in the first half of 2003 as the government did everything in its considerable power to minimize human-to-human contact and, hence, the spread of SARS. Beijing was shut down tighter than at any time since martial law was declared during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Discos, bars, shopping malls, indoor sports facilities, and movie theaters were closed, and 80 percent of the capital's five-star hotel rooms were vacant. 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


Sorry, bgw in MT
I didn't see that you had already posted this until I was adding the articles to the headlines.

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


[ Parent ]
It's a good article about a very important subject.
Maybe more people will read it and understand the need for increased funding for flu research and preparation for a severe pandemic!

[ Parent ]
Increased US Pediatric Flu Deaths In Week 2
Recombinomics Commentary


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


A Parent's Guide to Coughs

Regardless of the name of the site (beauty and confidence.com) I felt this would be a helpful article for me if I had a child with a cough in my care. Dem, would you let us know if there is any incorrect information here?

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