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News Reports for January 31, 2013

by: NewsDiary

Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 19:31:22 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!

Cambodia
• CIDRAP: H5N1 confirmed in village poultry where girl died recently (Link)

India
• Haryana: First swine flu death in city, 2 more test positive (Link)
• Punjab: Man dies of swine flu in Punjab (Link)

Israel
• Swine Flu - Four Israelis Are Hospitalized (Link)
• Two men hospitalized for Swine Flu in Ashkelon (Link)

United States
•  Increased flu activity could be linked to Hurricane Sandy (Link)
• CA: Flu-Related Deaths Rise to 19 in San Diego (Link)
• OK: Oklahoma Poison Center offers guidelines on children's cold and flu medications (Link)
• PA: Will Your Waiter Give You the Flu? (Link)

Research
• The bird-flu blues (Link)
• Flu is More Contagious Than You Think! Super Emitters Spread Germs Without Coughing (Link)
• The bird-flu blues: Short notice that research will resume leads to thin coverage (Link)

General
• The Flu Is as Bad as You've Heard: 6 Ways to Get Through It (Link)

Commentary
• Recombinomics: Pandemic H1N1 In California Elephant Seals (Link)


• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for January 31, 2013

News for January 30, 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 January 16, 2013
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-Related Deaths Rise to 19 in San Diego (California)
Five more San Diego residents died from influenza last week, bringing the county's death toll up to 19, according to the County Health and Human Services Agency.

The number of deaths is close to exceeding the county's record of 22 flu-related deaths in the 2003-04 season, not including the H1N1-related deaths from 2009 through 2011. "We have had mild flu seasons in the past two years," said county public health officer Wilma Wooten.  "[But] this year has strains that are making people sicker."

The ages of the victims ranges from 46 to 97, according to a statement from the County Health and Human Services Agency. All but one of the patients had underlying medical conditions.

(Snip) This week alone, the county reported 861 lab-confirmed flu cases. That's up from about 500 last week. The number of flu cases this season has now passed 2,000. Those cases make up 12 percent of all emergency visits now, compared to 10 percent last week.

Despite the numbers, the county is still considering this a moderate influenza season. Continued: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/new...  

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

     


Israel: Swine Flu - Four Israelis Are Hospitalized
Four Israelis who have contracted swine flu are presently in critical condition in Israeli hospitals.

A 32-year-old man is on a respirator in Be'er Sheva's Soroka Hospital. A 50-year-old,  who suffers from previous chronic illnesses, is in critical condition (Snip) a woman aged 83 and a man aged 75, both with chronic illnesses, are hospitalized (Snip). http://www.israelnationalnews....

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

     


Israel: Two hospitalized for Swine Flu in Ashkelon
A man in his 50s and a 4-year-old girl have contracted Swine Flu and have been hospitalized (Snip) in Ashkelon. (Snip)

The two are unrelated. The man is under care in the respiratory intensive care unit, the girl - in the pediatrics intensive care unit. http://www.ynetnews.com/articl...

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

     


[ Parent ]
India: First swine flu death in city, 2 more test positive (Haryana)
In an unprecedented spurt in H1N1 cases in the state, Gurgaon reported its first swine flu death this year. Two other positive cases were reported from different hospitals across the city in January.

Swine flu claimed the life of a 44-year-old man at Medanta - The Medicity on Monday. "The patient had come in with respiratory problems and later died of the H1N1 virus," said an official at the hospital on the condition of anonymity.

However, the Gurgaon health department is yet to confirm the first swine flu death of 2013. "We will cross-check the samples on Thursday and only then we will confirm. We've also administered Tamiflu vaccine to the victim's family as a precautionary measure," (Snip).

(Snip) two positive cases, one each at Alchemist Hospital and Artemis Health Sciences have been reported in the last one week.

As per the health department, Alchemist Hospital had reported a case wherein a 32-year-old man was treated for swine flu and later quarantined at his residence in the city. In another case, yet to be confirmed by the health department, a man in his mid-thirties had been admitted with swine flu at Artemis Health Sciences. "The patient had symptoms similar to that of common flu. He was admitted last week and is recovering. We have kept him in isolation," (Snip)

(Snip) doctors say this was not the season for the spread of the H1N1 virus. "The peak season for the spread of the virus is just before the onset of winter and post winter. Now, it is too cold for the virus to spread. As the disease is highly communicable, the health department officials should try to find out how the virus has spread," said Dr SP Yadav of Pushpanjali Hospital.

With the increase in viral fever cases in the city, many patients mistake swine flu for common flu or viral fever and indulge in self medication. "On an average, two to three patients walk into the OPD with symptoms similar to viral fever," (Snip).    

The Haryana health department registered nine deaths and 31 cases from different parts of the state in January. (Snip) http://www.hindustantimes.com/...

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

     


India: Man dies of swine flu in Punjab
Ludhiana, Jan 29 - Swine flu scare has gripped this Punjab town as a middle-aged man died of the disease late Monday at a private hospital here (Snip).

The deceased (Snip), who originally hailed from Faridkot district, had come to Ludhiana to attend a family function and fell ill. Deceased had symptoms of like soar throat, running nose and high fever. We conducted tests and he was positive for H1N1 virus (Snip).

These days we are getting more number of patients with these symptoms, Sahni added.

Two more swine flu cases have been reported in Ludhiana in the last 24 hours, while three cases have been confirmed in Bathinda district. Even the state capital Chandigarh is facing the threat of swine flu.

This season, 40 patients have been tested positive in city hospitals, out of which, seven died.

On Monday three samples were tested positive. These include one patient from Chandigarh whereas two from different parts of Haryana (Snip). http://www.rxpgnews.com/medica...

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

     


The bird-flu blues
Reporters didn't have much time to react to the news that scientists in some countries will soon resume research on a deadly avian flu virus that was suspended last year amid concerns about safety and terrorism.

The journals Science and Nature, which published the announcement in tandem on January 23, gave journalists only 24 hours advance notice that they would do so-an unusually short lead time-provoking charges that they didn't give allow enough time to gather reactions to the decision.

The research involves altering the H5N1 bird flu virus-which is often fatal but doesn't pass easily from person to person-to make it more transmissible. The goal is to guard against similar, random mutations that might happen naturally, but it sparked concerns that the virus could leak from one the labs or that terrorists could get their hands on it and use it to build biological weapons.

Responding to those worries, 40 scientists announced in January 2012 that they would voluntarily halt their research until countries could develop guidelines to ensure its safety. Those guidelines are now ready in Europe, Canada, and China, and will be soon in the US and Japan, and the 40 scientists say they're ready to get back to work.

That doesn't mean concerns about the research have disappeared, but you wouldn't know it from recent coverage. Brandom Keim, a freelance science writer, posted an "unscientific survey of mainstream H5N1 moratorium-lift stories near the top of Google News" on his Tumblr account the day after the story broke, which found that critical voices were vastly outnumbered by proponents of the work. There are still many people who think the research is too risky or that it could be done differently, however, and Keim quoted four them in an article for Wired.

Such breadth of opinion was lacking in pieces from The New York Times, USA Today, The Associated Press, and other major outlets. On Wednesday, the Knight Science Journalism Tracker's Paul Raeburn wrote:

I've been unable to find a substantial piece that helps me decide whether this decision to resume research was hasty or whether it makes good scientific sense. I have my doubts about it, but I don't have what I need from the stories I saw or heard to resolve those doubts. Continued: http://www.cjr.org/the_observa...  

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

     


CIDRAP: H5N1 confirmed in village poultry where girl died recently
Cambodian officials have confirmed an outbreak of H5N1 avian flu in backyard poultry in a village where a young girl died of the disease this week (Snip). The outbreak began Jan 9, killed 67 birds, and led to the culling of 436 others in Prey Nheat village in Kampong Speu province not far from Phnom Penh. Officials have also curbed movement of poultry in the area and have disinfected the affected premises (Snip).

Yesterday Cambodia's Ministry of Health confirmed that a 17-month-old girl from the village died of H5N1 avian flu on Jan 28, and last week the agency reported that a 35-year-old man from an unspecified area of Kampong Speu died (Snip) on Jan 21. http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidr...

Jan 30 OIE report http://www.oie.int/wahis_2/pub...

Jan 29 CIDRAP News item on girl's death 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

     


Oklahoma Poison Center offers guidelines on children's cold and flu medications
http://www.ardmoreite.com/arti...

Jan. 31, 2013 10:00 am
OKLAHOMA CITY   --  
[snip]
Oklahoma Poison Center, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, advises against giving over-the-counter cough and cold medications to children under the age of 4 without a prescriber's recommendation.

These medications can cause side effects that include difficulty breathing, dizziness, increased heart rate and high blood pressure.

Acetaminophen is often used to reduce fever and pain associated with the common cold and flu.  However, it can be very toxic to children when they are given too much, are given the medicine too often or are given the medicine with another product that contains acetaminophen.

The Oklahoma Poison Center is asking caregivers to read the drug facts box on medication containers to see how much medicine to give, when to give medication, and what the active ingredient is in the medication.  

The specialists at the Oklahoma Poison Center warn against giving children medication that is meant for adults.  If you are unsure about the right medication for a child or you do not understand the medicine's instructions, check with your doctor or pharmacist, or call the Oklahoma Poison Center at(800) 222-1222. [Note: one of 57 accredited regional poison control centers in the United States.]

[snip]alternatives to treating the symptoms of the common cold and flu in children:

*saline nose spray will help to ease stuffy noses
*warm fluids (apple juice or water) can help relieve congestion and soothe sore throats
*flavored ice pops can provide a source of  liquid that soothes throat and hydrates the body
*hot and cold packs: apply around congested sinuses.  Both can make you feel more comfortable, but avoid a hot pack if the child is running a fever; it will raise the temperature
*chicken soup: it is warm, easy on the tummy and the steam ventilating into the nasal passages can serve as a natural decongestant
*petroleum jelly: place a small dab on the upper lip to lessen chafing from a runny nose
*peach syrup: drain the heavy syrup from canned peaches and drink it to help soothe sore throats
*honey is often recommended to help soothe sore throats but should never be given to children less than 1 year of age because of the risk of infant botulism, a rare type of food poisoning only affecting little ones


The Oklahoma Poison Center suggests contacting a doctor if your child is experiencing the following:

*a fever accompanied by vomiting or rash
*difficulty breathing: child is breathing fast (more than 40 times a minute) or working hard to breathe
*a child has a fever of more than 102° (a baby under 6 months of age with a fever of 100º should be seen by a doctor)
*if a child is sick for more than a week
*signs that something is wrong: a child who seems lethargic (overly tired); or a child who, after being given medicine, does not engage in any periods of play  
[snip]


Flu is More Contagious Than You Think! Super Emitters Spread Germs Without Coughing
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/5065...

JANUARY 31, 2013 BY JANELLE VAESA

If you know someone who has the flu, you are in more danger of catching it than you think - even if they cover that sneeze or cough.

A new study, Exposure to Influenza Virus Aerosols During Routine Patient Care, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, sheds light on the transmission of the influenza virus. The medical establishment has thought that the influenza virus is spread through large-particle respiratory droplet transmission - these droplets are disbursed through the air when the infected person coughs or sneezes; anyone standing within six feet of the sneezing, coughing, sick person runs the risk of inhaling these large-particle droplets and possibly becoming sick. However, Dr. Bischoff and colleagues have discovered something new.

Flu Victims Also Emit Small-Particle Droplets
Dr. Bischoff and colleagues found through their study that the majority of influenza viruses in the air samples that they tested were small particles during non-aerosol-generating activities. 'Aerosol-generating activities' are procedures that stimulate coughing and the production of the spray of fluids in tiny droplets in the air. The small particles generated by non-aerosol-generating activities, such as just sitting and breathing, could reach out to six feet around the person with the flu.

Influenza Dangers for Healthcare Providers
Current regulations require healthcare workers to wear fitted respirators during aerosol-generating procedures such as intubation, respiratory and airway suctioning, and collection of lower respiratory tract specimens. During routine non-aerosol-generating procedures, the basic recommendation is for healthcare workers to wear a non-fitted face mask. This is big news for the healthcare field, and means that healthcare workers may still be exposed to the influenza virus, even when they are taking standard precautions.
[snip]

He said:
Our findings indicate that most of the Influenza virus particles are released in form of very small droplets.  These droplets are able to stay in the air for extended periods of time and can float over long distances.  This may lead to the exposure of care givers.  

Current recommendations focus on the transmission by large droplets and may need to be reevaluated to take into account the smaller particles sizes requiring for example higher quality face masks."
[snip]

Dr. Bischoff and his colleagues discovered in their study that some people are much more contagious than others. These extra-contagious flu victims are what they call, "super-emitters," meaning that they emit or shed more influenza viruses than others.

In their study, 19 percent of their patients (five patients out of 26 patients that released the virus) released up to 32 times more influenza viruses than others. Patients who were deemed, "super emitters," also had a more severe case of influenza.
[snip]


Increased flu activity could be linked to Hurricane Sandy
http://spartaindependent.com/a...

[from a New Jersey paper]

[big snip]

Dr. David Bollard, a family practitioner and President of the Premier Health located in Sussex, Warren and Pike counties says stress could also be linked to flu. Residents in the tri-state area have had to deal with an inordinate amount of burden from weather conditions.

"The flu strain tends to vary year to year on how bad they are," Dr. Bollard said. "Maybe it's worse because we have had more stress on our system due to Hurricane Sandy. Stress plays a big part on your life."

[snip]

Both Bollard and Sthulmiller agree the best solution to prevent the flu is by getting a flu shot, early.
"The key is to get the shot," said Dr. Bollard. "The earlier the better because the longer the body has to make antibodies to protect you. Anytime is OK,but earlier is better."

The ideal time to get a shot is right after Halloween in late summer, early fall.
[snip]


The bird-flu blues: Short notice that research will resume leads to thin coverage

05:15 PM - January 30, 2013

By Curtis Brainard
Reporters didn't have much time to react to the news that scientists in some countries will soon resume research on a deadly avian flu virus that was suspended last year amid concerns about safety and terrorism.

The journals Science and Nature, which published the announcement in tandem on January 23, gave journalists only 24 hours advance notice that they would do so-an unusually short lead time-provoking charges that they didn't give allow enough time to gather reactions to the decision.

The research involves altering the H5N1 bird flu virus-which is often fatal but doesn't pass easily from person to person-to make it more transmissible. The goal is to guard against similar, random mutations that might happen naturally, but it sparked concerns that the virus could leak from one the labs or that terrorists could get their hands on it and use it to build biological weapons.
[continued at link]


Link to the above article:
http://www.cjr.org/the_observa...

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

     


[ Parent ]
The Flu Is as Bad as You've Heard: 6 Ways to Get Through It
http://thestir.cafemom.com/hea...

Posted by Mary Fischer on January 30, 2013 at 3:39 PM

[snip]
And I can tell you first hand that the flu is, in fact, a monster -- because I've had it, and my poor son has had it twice.

Yes, I said twice. In case you haven't heard, there are two flu strains floating around out there -- Type A and Type B.

After the holidays, we both came down with Type A, and yesterday, the poor little guy tested positive for Type B, [snip]

[snip] both strains of the flu are just as awful as everyone says they are -- if not much worse. If you unfortunately wind up with either one, prepare to be absolutely miserable. The flu is debilitating. It's exhausting. And the high fever it brings along with it is pretty darn terrifying.

But if you or your family happens to be exposed to it or start showing signs -- don't panic, because you will get through it. I promise. Here are six tips for what to do if anyone in your house gets it, and some advice on how to deal with it.

Go to the doctor at the first sign of fever -- Both flu strains came with a very high fever for us, upwards of almost 106. And while the A strain also came with cold-like symptoms, the B strain was just the fever, a tiny bit of a sniffle, and a little vomiting. There was no sore throat, ear pain, cough, or anything that signaled an infection, which probably stops some flu sufferers from heading to the doctor right away. Don't mess around -- it can't hurt to get tested.

Get the Tamiflu -- This has made a dramatic difference for us, as Tamiflu shortens the duration of the illness. But the catch is that it has to be taken within two days of the onset of flu symptoms, which is another reason you want to get to the doctor as soon as the fever or other symptoms appear.

Monitor the fever constantly -- While my fever lingered at around 102, my son's went up and down between 101 and almost 106 both times, sometimes spiking upwards over the course of 30 minutes or so. High fevers are super scary, and dehydrating, so you want to make sure to keep them under control as best you can.

Lukewarm baths work wonders -- I don't know why I never knew about this little trick before, but drawing a lukewarm bath for someone with an insane fever brings it down considerably almost immediately. Granted, it won't keep it down forever, but it's a huge help when you're panicking in the middle of the night.

Be smart if you've been exposed -[snip]

Rest, and stay home -[snip]


Will Your Waiter Give You the Flu?
http://www.motherjones.com/blu...

-By Sydney Brownstone| Thu Jan. 31, 2013 3:06 AM PST

Fifteen minutes before Victoria Bruton's lunch shift at a busy Philadelphia dining joint, she began to feel dizzy and hot. "I had gone to my boss and asked if I could leave because I wasn't feeling well," Bruton, now 41, remembers of her first case of what she assumed to be the flu. "They asked that I finish the shift. And frankly, I couldn't afford not to." The sole source of income for her two daughters, Bruton powered through the shift-and spent the next two days confined to a sickbed.

Like most of the country, Philadelphia doesn't require restaurants to pay sick leave for its food handlers, though long-time food workers like Bruton, advocacy organizations, and lawmakers are currently fighting for a law to do so in Pennsylvania. Councilmen in Portland, Oregon are also currently debating a similar initiative. But these two proposals are the exception rather than the norm: According to a study from the Food Chain Workers Alliance, 79 percent of food workers in the United States don't have paid sick leave or don't know if they do. And it's not just flu that sick servers can spread-a study out this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that the food industry's labor practices may be contributing to some of the nation's most common foodborne illness outbreaks, and moreso than previously thought.

[continued at link]


Pandemic H1N1 In California Elephant Seals
Recombinomics Commentary

University of California Davis vet school has released two set of nearly full H1N1pdm09 sequences (Snip) for all 8 gene segments from Northern elephant seals (Snip) collected in April and May 2010 off the coast of central California.  The sequences were virtually identical to each other and closely related to H1N1pdm09 in humans in 2009 and 2010.

These two isolates clearly expand the known host range for pandemic H1N1 and raise concerns that the virus is far more widespread than the current sequence database. http://www.recombinomics.com/N...

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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