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News Reports for October 21, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 18:02:33 PM EDT

Reminder: Please do not post whole articles, just snippets and links, and do not post articles from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Thanks!

Costa Rica
• Deadly flu in Costa Rica has killed 4 people (Link)

• Gujarat: 43-year-old dies of swine flu (Link)

Saudi Arabia
• Saudi- Pilgrims told to guard against flu (Link)

United States
• MO: Health Department Records Local Flu Cases (Link)

• EU dismisses flu vaccine as cause of narcolepsy (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for October 21, 2012

News for October 20, 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 August 10, 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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EU dismisses flu vaccine as cause of narcolepsy

Pandemrix is a vaccine developed by drugs developer GlaxoSmithKline, and was designed to protect the public against the H1N1 flu pandemic between 2009 and 2010. Over 30 million people in Europe were vaccinated during this period, but concerns were raised after Finnish research suggested that it may be linked to an increase in cases of narcolepsy, a rare condition which causes a person to fall asleep suddenly and unexpectedly.

The Finish National Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) investigated whether differences in immunological response - which triggers narcolepsy - may have been caused by different pandemic influenza vaccines.

The European Medicines Agency's Committee on Human Medicinal Products (Snip) released the following statement on Friday:

"After careful consideration, the (committee) concluded that the data presented by the Finnish researchers are preliminary and that the evidence presented so far is insufficient to allow conclusions to be drawn."

Pandemrix is currently not available in the EU. http://www.smartplanet.com/blo...

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


US: Health Department Records Local Flu Cases (Missouri)
The flu has arrived in Franklin County. Tony Buel, epidemiology specialist with the Franklin County Health Department, confirmed reports of influenza cases in the county this week.

The department began offering seasonal flu shots earlier this month.


According to the CDC website, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue until as late as May. "It is not possible to predict how mild or severe the 2012-2013 (flu) season will be," the CDC said. People should get vaccinated as early as possible, according to the CDC. Continued: http://www.emissourian.com/new...

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


Saudi Arabia: Saudi- Pilgrims told to guard against flu
A senior official from the Ministry of Health advised local pilgrims yesterday to take necessary precautions against influenza to prevent a flu attack during their stay at the holy sites.

Undersecretary to the Ministry of Health for Public Health Ziad Al-Memish told Arab News that only the vaccine against meningitis is mandatory. However, he said that the flu vaccine is desirable considering the present weather conditions and the susceptibility of the pilgrims to influenza.


the minister was briefed on the latest health situation among the pilgrims in the two holy cities. The undersecretary, who made a presentation about the health situation in the holy cities at the meeting, said he is glad there is a smooth flow of pilgrims within the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah without any serious health problems.

(Snip) the health arrangements have been made in line with the global health standards spelled out by the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Europe and in Atlanta in the United States.

A five-member team from the Atlanta-based CDC was in the western province until yesterday to monitor the measures taken by the ministry of health in looking after the pilgrims. The team also visited the regional laboratory of the MoH in Jeddah. Blood samples of suspected cases among pilgrims are clinically tested at this laboratory, he added.

(Snip) a two-member team from the WHO will arrive today to assist the health officials working for Haj. "They will be with us till the end of the pilgrimage season," (Snip) the ministry has a special team to monitor the movement of epidemics in all parts of the globe. He said there is no cause for alarm about coronavirus. However, people should be aware of its presence and take preventive measures to keep the disease away."

The changing weather at this time of the year and with the start of the Haj season, a new strain of coronavirus was detected in two patients. (Snip) the virus include runny nose, general feeling of illness, mild sore throat, cough, headache, low fever and chills. It can also cause respiratory, intestinal and neurological illness. The official said people should be careful when they mingle in mass gatherings. "It is advisable to wear masks in crowded places and change them frequently."


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has instructed all its foreign missions abroad to issue entry visas to the Kingdom provided the pilgrims comply with the quarantine regulations of the country.

Prior to the commencement of the Haj season, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the advice of the Ministry of Health, sent out circulars to all Saudi embassies indicating the quarantine requirements for the respective countries for the issuance of pilgrim visas.

This year, the Kingdom has focused on such illnesses as yellow fever, meningitis, seasonal influenza, polio and food poisoning. He added that the stipulated vaccines should be given 10 days before the date of departure to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. "We have prescribed some vaccines considering the incidence of the disease in those respective countries." He added that the ships and aircraft carrying pilgrims should also produce a certificate that the carriers are free of mosquitoes. http://www.menafn.com/menafn/1...


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


a NEW strain of coronavirus?
I love the way they just drop that in... which flu virus is the "new" one - is the the new swine variant we've seen in the states, or something else entirely? If they know it's new, they know what it is - why don't they say? :-{

[ Parent ]
Hi Cathy
Yes, they dropped that part about the new coronavirus in like it wasn't important at all. Recently there were 2 human cases of a new coronavirus discovered. It is similar or possibly the same as the one carried by bats and apparently it jumped the species in these two cases. One man died in Saudi Arabia and the other one died in the UK. He had just returned to the UK from a trip to Qatar and I believe he also visited Saudi Arabia too. A different strain of the coronavirus was what caused the SARS outbreak, which infected about 8000 people and killed about 800 of them. This new coronavirus doesn't appear to be highly infective where as the other one was. There has been some concern about all the people traveling to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj and the possibility that some could possibly be exposed to this new coronavirus, which is not a strain of influenza.

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


[ Parent ]
Deadly flu in Costa Rica has killed 4 people
October 21st, 2012 - So far there are 18 confirmed cases of a strain of influenza B (Snip) One patient, a woman, could barely speak when upon arriving at a community health center. The virus had attacked her respiratory system. The woman is now under constant supervision with a doctor in her "Ebais" (local community health center), as doctors attempt to prevent her condition from worsening.

Four people have already died this month due to the deadly flu. Health authorities have found that the victims of this flu strain tend to be younger people, without pre-existing conditions that would make them more susceptible.

Cases of the flu strain have been registered in San Ramon, Limon, Grecia and Guapiles.

The Health Ministry sent samples of the virus to the United States, in order to confirm whether or not the vaccine that is being applied in the country will protect against the strain. Continued: http://insidecostarica.com/201...

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


India: 43-year-old dies of swine flu (Gujarat)
RAJKOT: A 43-year-old man succumbed to H1N1 virus at a private hospital in the city here on Saturday evening. (Snip)

Pravin had a cough and severe fever for the past one week. He was given primary treatment at Tankara and when he did not recover, he was taken to Morbi and then to a private hospital in Rajkot. He tested positive for H1N1 virus (Snip)

Earlier on Friday, 45-year-old Sidabhai Koli (Snip) died of swine flu, government officials said, adding that in a span of five days, three persons have succumbed to H1N1 virus in Saurashtra and Kutch region. http://timesofindia.indiatimes...

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


Arkansas - School Closure Due To Flu-like Illness
Illness forces closure of Mayflower schools
By Tammy Keith Published 12:00 a.m.

MAYFLOWER - The Mayflower School District will be closed Monday because of illnesses sweeping mainly through the elementary school, Superintendent John Gray said.

He said the state Department of Health and other medical officials have been consulted.

"The main thing we've got is a virus with flu-like symptoms causing fever and respiratory symptoms," Gray said.


He said two-thirds of the 440 elementary students were out Thursday because some parents were keeping their children out of school as a precaution.

Up to 100 elementary students have been out since the illnesses started Oct. 11, he said. Fourteen of the elementary teachers, which is almost half the staff, also have been out sick at one time, Gray said.


Some of the sickness is spreading to other members of the elementary students' families, he said.

Gray said it isn't the flu virus that is making the children sick, according to health officials.

"We were one of the first districts to get our flu shots," he said.



This school is to the northwest of Little Rock, Arkansas. This school closure is very similar to the one at the Alpac School System near Pacific, Washington a couple of weeks ago.  I've been unable to find any additional follow-up information concerning that outbreak.  School closures due to flu-like illnesses this early in the school year are very unusual, and is why I have posted this here.  According to the article the whole school district in addition to the elementary school will be closed Monday, but will be open on Tuesday.

Message On School District Website
Important Announcement
Our elementary school is experiencing a high amount of illness right now.  It appears to be mainly a virus that is causing flu like systems.  We have also heard reports of strep throat and nine cases of mono.  These illnesses are now starting to spread to our other schools.

After consulting with medical advice I have decided to take the following actions to help stop the spread of illness:

1.  All facilities will be disinfected
2.  For tomorrow and Friday, children who have fever or feel sick should stay at home.  Any absence will not be counted against a student and all work and tests can be made up.
3.  School will be closed on Monday, October 22. This will help break the cycle of illness.
4.  Information sheets on mono and taking care of students will be sent home.

I thank you for your co-operation, patience, and any inconvenience this may cause.  I sure hope this helps stop the illness.

John Gray

Okieman Comment:  I appreciate the very proactive response of this Superintendent and School District.  If only more schools would be this proactive.

[ Parent ]
Hi, Okieman!
I agree. I wish more school officials were as informed and willing to act as this superintendent.

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]

[ Parent ]
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