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News Reports for November 18, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 21:41:03 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!

Australia
• New South Wales: Bird flu chickens destroyed (Link)

United States
• GA: ProMED -  Influenza (105): USA (GA) (Link)
• KS: Flu-like illness closes suburban KC district (Link)
• OH: Flu cases starting to increase; still time to get a flu shot (Link)
• WI: Flu season off to quick start in Wisconsin (Link)

Research
• MSN: The Ebola virus may be learning to fly (this is not a good thing) (Link) Science News: Ebola may go airborne (Link)


• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for November 18, 2012

News for November 17, 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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US: Flu-like illness closes suburban KC district (Kansas)
LONE JACK, Mo. (AP) - Students in a suburban Kansas City school district are getting an extra-long Thanksgiving break after an outbreak of a flu-like illness.

The Kansas City Star reports that the Lone Jack School District is canceling classes Monday and Tuesday. That will allow buildings to be vacant for nine days.

(Snip) the outbreak started about two weeks ago. (Snip) custodians have worked to clean and sanitize the buildings.

(Snip) the illness continues to spread despite those efforts. (Snip). http://www.westport-news.com/n...

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

     


US: Flu season off to quick start in Wisconsin
As families gather this week for Thanksgiving, public health officials hope they don't pass the flu with the turkey and mashed potatoes.

More than 50 cases of the contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus have been confirmed by lab testing in Wisconsin since Oct. 5. Most people with the flu never see a doctor, so many more Wisconsin residents probably have had it already this season, health officials said Friday.

(Snip)

Last year, eight or nine residents of Wisconsin nursing homes died from complications of the flu, and 22 outbreaks in nursing homes were reported - some with more than 50% of residents becoming ill, Haupt said.

Two clusters of flu already have been reported this season at Wisconsin nursing homes. They were the A/H3 strain of influenza, which so far this season is dominant in Wisconsin and across the country, Haupt said.

"It's been a faster start than the last few years," he added. Thirty flu cases were confirmed the week of Nov. 5 alone.

Continued: http://www.jsonline.com/featur...

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

     


ProMED: Influenza (105): USA (GA)
The flu season usually goes into high gear in January, but doctors here in south west Georgia say they're swamped with cases coming into the emergency room. Medical professionals in Phoebe say they have seen more than 1000 patients in the last 5 days. That's a 25 to 30 per cent increase from their regular volume. On Wednesday [14 Nov 2012] alone, 40 people tested positive for influenza virus infection.

Doctors have treated people of all ages for the virus infection. Anyone who hasn't gotten vaccinated is urged to do so.

"If people react to it early and say, 'I need to go get my flu shot. I need to be preventative with this,' we could nip this in the bud," said Dr Joel Holcombe, at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. "Many people that we've seen in the last week have been positive in our flu testing. It's a big worry whether we're going to have an even worse season [than last year, 2011?] or not." Dr Holcombe said he has never seen this many cases so early in the flu season.

----------------------------------

Is this an early warning of an impending outbreak of influenza virus infection in the Northern hemisphere? The most recent World Health Organization (WHO) Global Update concluded that there was no evidence of this as yet.

Continued: http://www.promedmail.org/dire...

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

     


US: Flu cases starting to increase; still time to get a flu shot (Ohio)
MOUNT VERNON - When the weather gets colder, the incidence of influenza like illnesses usually starts to increase. And that's the case this year. The Knox County Health Department reports it is seeing an increase in flu cases and health officials stress that it's not too late to get a flu shot.

"We've had several reports of confirmed cases of influenza which are occurring a bit earlier than in the past," said Jackie Fletcher, RN, director of nursing for the health department. "And several patients have the H1N1 strain."

The H1N1 flu first started appearing in the U.S. during the 2009-10 flu season and required an additional vaccine besides the regular flu vaccine. The good news this year is that the H1N1 flu is one of three flu strains that are covered in the current vaccine. Continued: http://www.mountvernonnews.com...

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

     


Australia: Bird flu chickens destroyed (New South Wales)
LAYER hens from an egg farm near Maitland have been destroyed following an outbreak of bird flu last week, with quarantine observation still under way. (Snip) the 50,000 birds from the property were destroyed as a control measure.

(Snip) the Department of Primary Industries quarantined the farm and was trying to determine whether the bird flu virus had spread.

(Snip)

A department statement on Friday indicated there were no signs the outbreak had spread. NSW Food Authority chief scientist Lisa Szabo confirmed there were no safety issues with eggs and poultry.

(Snip)

The Department of Primary Industries is continuing its observation of the property. http://www.theherald.com.au/st...  

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

     


MSN: The Ebola virus may be learning to fly (this is not a good thing)
Our terrifying little Ebola virus is growing up so fast! It seems like just yesterday it was only able to infect people with its vile death brew via direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected animal or person. But looks like it's becoming a grown-up or - uh, something - scientists now tell us it's learning to fly! (Snip)  according to a November 15 study published online in Scientific Reports, "piglets infected with Ebola passed the virus to macaques housed in the same room even though the animals never touched." (Snip). This is not good news for humankind. (Snip) http://now.msn.com/ebola-virus...

-----------------------------------

Ebola may go airborne  

The Ebola virus can spread through the air from pigs to macaques, a new study suggests.

Transmission of the virus - which causes an often fatal hemorrhagic fever in people and primates - was thought to require direct contact with body fluids from an infected animal or person. But in the new study, published online November 15 in Scientific Reports, piglets infected with Ebola passed the virus to macaques housed in the same room even though the animals never touched.  

"The evidence that the virus got from a pig to a monkey through a respiratory route is good," says Glenn Marsh, a molecular virologist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization's Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, Australia. Marsh was not involved in the new study but has investigated Ebola and other viruses in pigs.

Although pigs transmitted Ebola in the laboratory, there is still no evidence that anyone has been sickened from contact with infected pigs in Africa, where the virus occurs naturally, or that the virus passes through the air under normal conditions, says study coauthor Gary Kobinger, an infectious disease researcher at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. "It's definitely not an efficient route of transmission."

Only 13 of the more than 2,200 human cases of Ebola documented since the virus was discovered in 1976 cannot be traced to direct contact with an infected person, animal or body fluid, he notes. If Ebola were able to spread easily through the air, many more cases might result.

The new study raises questions about whether humans can also transmit Ebola by respiratory routes, says Pierre Formenty, of the World Health Organization's Control of Epidemic Diseases Unit. That is something that will have to be investigated in future outbreaks, he says.

(Snip)

"This is all story-telling. Nobody has isolated virus or even detected antibodies from pigs in Africa," Kobinger says.

But other researchers discovered that pigs on farms in the Philippines could contract a form of the virus known as Reston Ebola. The Reston strain causes disease in macaques but has not been shown to make people sick. Some pig farmers in the Philippines have antibodies in their blood against Reston Ebola, indicating that infected pigs may have exposed farmers to the virus.  

Kobinger wanted to know whether pigs could also pass along the form of Ebola found in Africa. Working in a lab designed to contain the most dangerous pathogens, Kobinger and his colleagues infected piglets with the strain known as Zaire Ebola. The piglets were housed next to four cynomolgus macaques, primates often used as stand-ins for humans. A barrier prevented the animals from coming into direct contact with each other.

After about a week living next to infected piglets, two of the macaques fell ill with Ebola. Those two animals were in cages in the path of air flowing from the pigs' enclosure. It took several more days for the other two macaques to develop the disease.

While the finding could indicate that the virus spread through the air, the researchers can't rule out that virus may have infected the macaques via water droplets scattered while cleaning the pig cage.

(Snip)

Ebola viruses related to the African strains have been found in orangutans in Indonesia, raising the possibility that other unknown Ebola-like viruses could spill over into pigs and then humans, Marsh says. "That's concerning." http://www.sciencenews.org/vie...

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

     


Is it batter at flying or could it always do this?
I suspect most diseases that can be spread by ingesting or breathing in infected blood or body fluids can become airborne if you spend long enough in the near company of someone/thing bleeding profusely from all orifices and violently ill.

Animals probably have a higher likelihood of catching the disease because they will put things in their mouth an adult human usually wouldn't. Things they find on the floor of their cages; food they've dropped; their own hands and feet; grooming; flies.

Another thought occurred to me - droplets have a known distance they travel but I wonder if coughs and sneezes (and in the case of the pigs, explosive diarrhoea) have been examined for bubbles, especially in conditions where spit is thickened with blood or mucous. Small bubbles might travel considerably further than droplets.


[ Parent ]
Virus particles might travel on dust, too,
like dander from animals' skin or dust from bedding.

Airborne diseases refers to any diseases which are caused by pathogens and transmitted through the air. These viruses and bacteria can be spread through coughing, sneezing, laughing or through close personal contact. These pathogens ride on either dust particles or small respiratory droplets and can stay suspended in air and or are capable of traveling distances on air currents.[1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...


"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."  Flannery O'Connor

[ Parent ]
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