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News Reports for November 8, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 23:25:22 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!

• Ontario: Flu arrives in city (Link)
• CIDRAP: Canadian call for health worker flu shots stirs debate (Link)

• Andhra Pradesh: No bird-flu threat in AP -  Officials (Link)

• Karachi: Karachiites in the grip of viral flu (Link)

• Started in Ukraine flu epidemic http://www.newfluwiki2.com/dia... (translated) (Link)

United States
• SC: Augusta Health Reports Early Flu Season (Link)
• TX: Flu Epidemic Hits Valley Hard (Link)

• What killer swine flu cost NZ - research (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for November 8, 2012

News for November 7, 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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Karachiites in the grip of viral flu
Karachi - Following a slight dip in the mercury in the city, almost every other person in Karachi is seen sniffling, sneezing and coughing, as the scourge of seasonal flu has gripped the city.


Dr Zeeshan Hussai Ansari said flu was a common disease, which was endemic in Karachi, but during changing weather it became an epidemic. He said people should take precautionary measures to avoid getting the flu and in case of contracting the disease, they should approach qualified general physicians while doctors should avoid giving antibiotics to patients unless they were sure of bacterial infections. http://www.thenews.com.pk/Toda...

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


US: Augusta Health Reports Early Flu Season (South Carolina)
Augusta Health is not only trying to keep employees healthy but also its families. On Wednesday, they gave free flu shots for family members.

Augusta Health Infection and Control Nurse Carolyn Palmer said this year the turnout has been higher than in the past. She said people are noticing the flu season is underway already. It usually starts in October, but this year started in September.

(Snip) up to 100 patients have been diagnosed with influenza. Ten of those have been admitted to the hospital. She said some symptoms are high fever, body aches and being lethargic.


She said at Augusta Health, they still have tests for the flu. But if you go somewhere that doesn't have a test, the Center for Disease and Control recommends health professionals to give patients treatment for flu, if they have the symptoms.  http://www.whsv.com/news/headl...

(Note: 10% hospitalization rate is high. I hope this isn't going to be the norm this year.)

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


but that's 10% of those coming in to docs, right?
I think the total percentage would be lower, since only a portion even come in... and when folks suspect flu (ie: when it's highly publicized) more come in who aren't as serious, maybe.. so the proportion hospitalized might be lower than this number... but if not, that is a high rate, and could really impact hospitals, especially in the NE.

[ Parent ]
Hi Cathy
I was referring to the confirmed cases. Those are the only ones we can count since we have no idea how many unconfirmed cases there are. My point was, 10% of the confirmed cases needed to be hospitalized. If that percentage stays high then it could mean we will be seeing severe flu cases overwhelming the healthcare system.  

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


[ Parent ]
What killer swine flu cost NZ - research (New Zealand)
Otago University researchers estimate the deadly 2009 swine flu cost New Zealand's hospitals about $31 million. However, they say actual cost could be more than $40 million because their study only included hospitals, not primary care and public health services.

The study's lead author, associate professor Nick Wilson, says the spread of swine flu, or H1N1, in 2009 killed 49 people, sent 1122 to hospital and 102 of those to intensive care. Calculations estimate the average cost for those hospitalised was $17,000, rising to $97,000 for people admitted to intensive care.

The study also estimates the cost-effectivenes of providing hospital care was about $155,000 per life saved. "This is very good value for money, especially since some of the lives saved were young people who would otherwise have lost many years of future life," Dr Wilson says. Continued: http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/w...

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


Canada: Flu arrives in city (Ontario)
It's officially flu season in Thunder Bay. The Thunder Bay District Health Unit's lab has confirmed two cases of influenza A in the city, one of which was found at Bethammi Nursing Home.


The health unit is running flu clinics in the city. The full schedule is available at thunderbayflu.ca, or by calling the flu line at 624-9082 or toll-free at 1-866-607-3337.

Flu shots are also available from various community health care providers, some pharmacies and at some workplaces. (Snip) For more information, call the health unit at 625-5900 or 1-888-294-6630. http://www.chroniclejournal.co...  

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


Canadian call for health worker flu shots stirs debate
Nov 6, 2012 (CIDRAP News) - A recent editorial calling for requiring influenza shots in healthcare workers (HCWs) has stirred debate in the pages of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), with two groups of researchers questioning the quality of the evidence that the vaccinations protect patients.

Last week CMAJ published an editorial endorsing a flu-shot requirement for HCWs, with exemptions granted only for medical contraindications or "deeply held religious or philosophical convictions." Ken Flegel, MDCM, MSc, senior associate editor of the journal, wrote that high rates of HCW vaccination reduce patient mortality and save money.

"Our patients' lives depend on this change," he wrote.

Today CMAJ published replies by two groups of researchers who took issue with the evidence cited by Flegel, plus a reply from a Canadian advocacy group that raised similar questions and also expressed concern about vaccine side effects.

A growing number of US health systems and hospitals now require their employees to receive a flu-shot or else wear a mask during flu season. In addition, a number of states require healthcare facilities to take steps to promote flu immunizations among their employees, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A CDC chart says that Alabama requires hospitals to mandate flu vaccination for their staff members. Ten other states (California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Tennessee) require healthcare facilities to offer flu shots and, in most cases, to require employees sign a form if they decline the immunization, according to the CDC.

In Canada, Public Health Ontario recently recommended that healthcare facilities require flu shots for their staffs, according to the CMAJ editorial.

Among the arguments Flegel made in the editorial were these:

Flu vaccines are about 86% efficacious when they are well matched to circulating flu strains

Four randomized trials showed that high flu immunization rates in long-term care facility (LTCF) workers yielded a 5% to 20% reduction in overall seasonal mortality among residents

One cost-benefit analysis suggested that every $1,000 (US) spent on vaccinating HCWs saved $1,600

Flu strains with the potential to induce Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) "are generally avoided in creation of the vaccine"

Continued: 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


Ukraine: Started in Ukraine flu epidemic
In two cities Donbass Kramatorsk and Ugledar, overage flu epidemic threshold by 5-12%.

A week in the Donetsk region of SARS seized nearly 18,000 people - figure by 9.6% compared with the same week last year, says UNN.

At the same time, the area below the average incidence rates, causes of school closure to quarantine yet.

Recall, a daily average of 20,000 Ukrainians starts aching flu. The best method of protection against influenza, according to WHO, is recognized vaccination. Continued: http://news.google.com/news/ur...

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


Flu Epidemic Hits Valley Hard
November 8, 2012
A spike in flu cases across the Valley has Health officials urging residents to get vaccinated.
According to Hidalgo County Health Director Eddie Olivarez, they are getting indications that this year will be "a very strong flu season."  Olivarez said "we are already seeing a record number of Influenza B cases. In fact, we are seeing the same amount of cases we reported last year.

"Last year we didn't see a spike until late January, but this year we are seeing high numbers in the beginning of November."
Olivarez said to keep yourself and your family protected from the flu, it's important to get that flu shot.

Action 4 News also spoke to Regional Medical Director for the Texas Department of State Health Services, Dr. Bryan Smith, who says the outbreak of the flu is only in South Texas, mainly the border regions.  Dr. Smith says it was first noticed in school children in Laredo and spread once classes were back in session.

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

India: No bird-flu threat in AP - Officials (Andhra Pradesh)
A few days ago, the poultry sector in Karnataka was hit hard by the Avian influenza, a flu infection in birds. (Snip).

However, there was no reason for Andhra Pradesh to worry about facing the same fate (Snip). The chances are slim to none, the department officials claim, for three reasons.

First, being a leading producer and exporter of poultry products, there is no reason for the state to import such products, reducing the chances of infection.

Second, the bird-flu monitoring system in state constantly monitors the poultry sector (Snip). "We have an effective system in place in the state. Periodically, we collect samples from the poultry farms, wildlife sanctuaries and village birds and send them to High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal to test for any evidence of bird-flu. We send around 800 such samples on an average," Reddy said.

Third, preparedness of the sector for tackling any emergency (Snip) particular in poultry. There are 540 Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) in the state which constantly look for signs of infections in the livestock. If they suspect any incident, they immediately take measures for first isolating and later eliminating the threat. http://newindianexpress.com/st...  

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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