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News Reports for February 25, 2013

by: NewsDiary

Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 19:48:12 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!

• Hong Kong: Health chief tells of quicker tests in wake of SARS (Link)
• Hong Kong:  'While I battled Sars, Dad died in ward above' Doctor says being infected with virus, while personal tragedy hit, made him a better medic (Link)
• Doctors confident Hong Kong is prepared if Sars strikes again (Link)

• Rajasthan: No deaths due to swine flu reported from state (Link)
• Delhi: 45 more swine flu cases in Delhi, total now 759 (Link)
Avian influenza: ADRI collects fresh samples to be tested (Link)

• Siberian birds responsible for bird flu: DoLS (Link)

• Scotland: Swine flu Sanquhar mum critical (Link)
• Scotland: Swine flu confirmed in region (Link)

• 5 Questions: USD prof tackles flu deaths (Link)
• New rules on mutant bird flu research stir debate (Link)

Viet Nam
H5N1 in poultry (Quang Nam) (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for February 25, 2013

News for February 24, 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 February 15, 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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Nepal: Siberian birds responsible for bird flu: DoLS
HETAUDA: Director at the Department of Livestock Service‚ Dr Nar Bahadur Rajwar‚ has said the Siberian birds coming to Nepal in the cold season have transmitted the bird flu to the fowls here.

(Snip) Dr Rajwar said the Siberian birds of some 800 species that wander for three months in Nepal's national parks and ponds spread the flu in domestic fowls of Nepal.

Ducks are the first victims of flu from the Siberian birds. The disease gradually spreads to other domestic birds. However‚ the wandering birds and ducks are not affected with the bird flu virus.

(Snip) he suggested the farmers not to keep the duck and chicken together.

(Snip) Regional Director Dr Damodar Sedai said although the bird flu virus is spread up to 3 kilometer of any area‚ only infected chicken were culled due to some compulsions. http://thehimalayantimes.com/f...

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


India: No deaths due to swine flu reported from state (Rajasthan)
JAIPUR: The state did not report any deaths from swine flu on Sunday, though nine patients tested positive for the H1N1 virus. Four of them are from Jaipur. For the past four days, maximum swine flu cases were reported from Jaipur as over 30 persons tested positive for swine flu in Jaipur only. A health department official said that they are conducting screening of people for swine flu-like symptoms, to prevent its spread. In the past eight days, four deaths were reported from Jaipur. So far 198 persons tested positive for swine flu and 24 swine flu deaths were reported in Jaipur, maximum deaths and positive cases were reported in the last two-and-a-half months.

As the numbers of positive cases are increasing in Jaipur, the officials of the department have to conduct screening of 100 houses per one swine flu case. If in Jaipur, four swine flu cases were found, then as per the health department's directions, they have to screen people living in 400 houses.

However, in the past 8 days, 13 deaths were reported. Till February 16, the state recorded 148 deaths which increased to 161 deaths till now (2012-13). So far till Sunday, 915 persons had tested positive for swine flu. Continued: http://timesofindia.indiatimes...  

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


India: 45 more swine flu cases in Delhi, total now 759
A total of 45 more people tested positive for swine flu on Sunday, taking the number of people infected by the Influenza A (H1N1) virus in the city to 759 (Snip). There were no new deaths.


So far, six deaths have been reported this month till Sunday. In January, 39 cases were reported and one succumbed to the virus.

A spurt in cases of swine flu has been seen in the national capital this year. In 2012, only 78 swine flu cases and one death were reported in the capital.

(Snip) 17 hospitals and five private hospitals are treating swine flu patients. http://www.ndtv.com/article/ci...

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


UK: Swine flu Sanquhar mum critical
A NEW mum from Sanquhar is in a critical condition in hospital after contracting swine flu.

Reported in the national press over the weekened, Jennifer Scott, 27, delievered her baby on Thursday, February 14 before being rushed from Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary to Leicester's Glenfield Hospital, which has special equipment to treat severe swine flu cases.

It is reported that Jennifer collapsed at her mother's funeral.

She is now said to be in a citical but stable condition in hospital.

Dumfries and Galloway health board say that Jennifer's is the only confirmed case in the area of the disease.


UK: Swine flu confirmed in region [Scotland]

A strain of swine flu has been confirmed in Dumfries and Galloway.


Derek Cox, Director for Public Health for NHS Dumfries and Galloway, said: "I can confirm that there has been a confirmed case of the H1N1 virus. A female patient has been transferred to specialist hospital in Leicester.

"I can also confirm that influenza and flu-type conditions are circulating in the local community. This influenza is of varying types.


Article timestamped 11:56

[ Parent ]
The above article is timestamped 09:30 n/t

[ Parent ]
Thanks so much for helping us with posts, Ruby!

[ Parent ]
Viet Nam: H5N1 in poultry (Quang Nam)

(Snippets from machine translation:)

In Phu Ninh, a series of chickens died with symptoms of influenza A/H5N1. After the samples sent for testing in Da Nang, Feb 23, Quang Nam notice samples positive for bird flu birds. On Feb 24, Veterinary forces have destroyed more than 300 organizations chicken.

The province of Quang Nam has about 4.8 million poultry, including 3.9 million chickens.

India: Avian influenza: ADRI collects fresh samples to be tested

By Express News Service - BHUBANESWAR 25th February 2013 12:02 PM

A team from Animal Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) collected fresh samples from migratory birds in Chilika lagoon which is now under the scanner for emergence of avian influenza. As many as seven samples were collected from  Shoveller and Gadwit by the team on Sunday.

During its day-long sweep through the waters of the lagoon, the team did not come across any sick or dead bird that could raise suspicion of an outbreak of avian influenza.

While over 80 per cent birds have already returned from the annual sojourn, the rest are healthy, sources in the Chilika Wildlife Division said.

"Some of the wild ducks are carriers of the virus which may have led to the positive flu report by Bhopal-based High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory. Even the Northern Pintail, which tested positive, was healthy," sources in the ADRI told "Express."

[continued at link]

Health chief tells of quicker tests in wake of SARS

Beatrice Siu

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hong Kong may conduct rapid tests for the novel coronavirus earlier than elsewhere after years of vigilance over SARS,


Ko said what impressed him most during the SARS outbreak 10 years ago was the solidarity of the community and medical staff.

The government will keep working on building medical facilities, reinforcing the risk reporting system and training more doctors specialized in infectious diseases.


The president of the American College of Chest Physicians (Hong Kong & Macau Chapter), Johnny Chan Wai- man, said the novel coronavirus has a more than 50percent mortality rate and may replicate in two days. While person-to-person transmission is possible, Chan said experts still do not know much about the illness.

Meanwhile, frontline medical staff shared their memories of the 2003 SARS outbreak in Hong Kong.

A specialist in respiratory medicine, Yeung Koon-sing, was infected while a medical student at Ward 8A of Prince of Wales Hospital, where the index patient was first treated.

[snip...doctor's story]

A registered nurse in respiratory medicine, Natalie Chan Ho-yan, who also served in Ward 8A, said most of the staff in the ward were infected.

"We encouraged each other to overcome the hardship," Chan said. Her mother would bring food but was not allowed to go inside the hospital.

'While I battled Sars, Dad died in ward above' Doctor says being infected with virus, while personal tragedy hit, made him a better medic

This is a more complete story about the doctor mentioned in the article above. Compelling story and worth a read!

Monday, 25 February, 2013, 12:00am

Yeung Koon-sing, speaking at an event marking 10 years since the Sars outbreak, recalled being admitted to the same hospital as his father. Photo: Dickson Lee
For Dr Yeung Koon-sing, battling his Sars infection in 2003 was like taking a "roller-coaster ride".

Not only did he have to go through the physical ordeal of having the virus, but his father died at the same time, in the same hospital, from heart disease.

"I wanted to be a doctor when I was four, because my father had a problem with his liver, kidneys and heart," Yeung said at an event yesterday, where medical staff reflected on the Sars epidemic in Hong Kong that killed 299 people in the city.

"When I was little, I held my father's hand and accompanied him to the doctor. I told him I wanted to be his doctor when I grew up. When he suddenly passed away, I lost my motivation," he said.

Hong Kong is the site of this story.

[ Parent ]
Doctors confident Hong Kong is prepared if Sars strikes again

More respiratory specialists and isolation ward beds mean city can better handle new outbreak
Monday, 25 February, 2013, 12:00am
Phila Siu

Hong Kong is prepared to responded to any future Sars outbreak, medical experts said at an event yesterday marking 10 years since the virus struck the city.

They pointed to the greater number of respiratory specialists and isolation wards, and the better understanding of how the disease spreads and thrives.

Dr James Ho Chung-man, president of the g Thoracic Society, said there are about 170 respiratory specialists in the city at present, about double the number when Sars hit in 2003.


Dr Thomas Mok Yun-wing, chairman of the Lung Foundation, said there were not many isolation wards with specialised air-pressure systems in 2003. But there were now more than 1,400 beds in such wards, Mok said. "If an epidemic comes again ... most of the patients can be isolated and the chance of an outbreak inside a hospital can be lowered significantly," he said.

The specialised systems help prevent cross-contamination across rooms through the use of a ventilation system that generates negative room pressure, forcing air to flow in but not out.


Meanwhile, an additional patient at Pok Oi Hospital tested positive for human metapneumovirus, a respiratory viral pathogen that causes various illnesses including severe bronchiolitis. The 69-year-old man was being kept in isolation and was in stable condition.

This came after three other patients at the same hospital tested positive for the virus on Saturday.

5 Questions: USD prof tackles flu deaths

There is much more of this article at the link. It is very informative. I recommend reading the whole article.

Feb 25, 2013


Victor Huber, assistant professor of basic biomedical science at USD, thinks certain proteins on the surface of the virus are contributing to secondary bacterial infections - which are a leading cause of death after influenza infection.

"We first study the interaction between the influenza virus and the host immune system," he said. "In particular, we're looking at how the influenza virus can predispose and cause a host to get a secondary bacterial infection."

[much more]

New rules on mutant bird flu research stir debate

By Tanya Lewis
Published February 25, 2013


The first of the two policies, a framework for dealing with research on highly infectious strains of H5N1 virus, requires that funding agencies and the Department of Health and Human Services both review the research. The document lays out seven criteria that must be met in order to grant funding. For instance, the research must be done only on viruses that could evolve naturally, and the risks to lab workers and the public must be manageable.


The second policy released yesterday is a drafted set of guidelines for how research institutions should handle controversial research more generally. It applies to research on 15 deadly pathogens that include highly infectious H5N1, Ebola virus and others, as well as seven categories of experiments that make a germ or toxin more lethal.

If the second policy is implemented, Imperiale thinks it will help institutions manage the risks and benefits of research with these pathogens. One concern has been that the extra level of scrutiny applied to this research could hinder or prevent work that is vital to public health. "I'm going to be interested to see what institutions notice. Are they going to see things in [the policy] that are burdensome?" Imperiale asked.

On the flip side, the policy might not be restrictive enough. Ebright considers the second policy to be an important step forward, but notes that the policy requires institutions to assess risk, and that not all of them are equipped to make those assessments. What's more, he said, having universities evaluate work by their own scientists can result in conflicts of interest.

[much more at link]

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