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News Reports for November 19, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 21:41:24 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!

• Kerala: Steps taken to check spread of bird flu (Link)
• Tamil Nadu: 'Go in for immunisation against H1N1' (Link)
• Karnataka: H1N1 back with a bigger sting (Link)

Papua New Guinea
• PNG poultry industry calls for Australian ban after NSW bird flu outbreak (Link)

United States
• US: Flu Update - Time to Get Your Flu Vaccine  (Link)
• MI: More Than 70 Lanigan Students Sick, District Sanitizes School (Link)
• WI: Health officials confirm over 50 cases of flu in Wisconsin (Link)

• Canada: Fears raised over airborne Ebola transmission (Link)

• Google Flu Trends (Link)
• CNN: Best new ways to avoid the cold and flu  (Link)
• CIDRAP: FAO sees signs of decline in H5N1 outbreaks (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for November 19, 2012

News for November 18, 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 Update - Time to Get Your Flu Vaccine
Flu activity is increasing, especially in the south central and southeastern United States, where Google's Flu Trends is already reporting moderate and high flu activity.

In their latest flu update, the CDC is reporting local and regional flu activity in many of these states, which makes it an important time to get a flu vaccine if you haven't already gotten one.

Specifically, the CDC is reporting that:

•Four states, Alaska, Alabama, Maine, and Texas, are reporting regional flu activity.
•Eight states, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Wisconsin and Wyoming, are reporting local flu activity.
•Thirty-two states are reporting sporadic flu activity.
•Only five states are reporting no flu activity.

And unfortunately, they are already reporting the first pediatric flu death of the 2012 to 2013 flu season. Continued: http://pediatrics.about.com/b/...

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


Google Flu Trends

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


[ Parent ]
CNN: Best new ways to avoid the cold and flu
You knew it was coming: Flu season's back, and there's no telling how mild or wild it will be (remember swine flu?).

"The severity of each season is unpredictable," confirms Dr. Karen K. Wong, an epidemic intelligence service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Flu season runs from October to May, so if you haven't gotten jabbed, now's the time. "The vaccine takes anywhere from two to four weeks to take effect, and it lasts for at least six months, so if you get it now, you'll be primed for the flu's peak in January or February," (Snip).


Women may be more likely than men to end up in the hospital with severe flu symptoms, notes Sabra Klein, an assistant professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins University who researches sex differences in infectious disease. That's because women's bodies mount higher immune responses to germs.

A quick refresher on how the shot works: Every year, CDC scientists figure out which strains of influenza are most likely to run rampant based on data from the previous flu season, then put dead forms of those strains into the vaccine. When you get the shot, your immune system produces targeted antibodies to beat those specific viruses -- that way you'll be pre-equipped to fight off the live germs if you come in contact with them in the real world.

The vaccine is at least 60% effective -- no, not 100%, but "even if you do get the flu after being vaccinated, your symptoms will likely be less severe because of the partial immunity you've built up," says Dr. Cornelia Dekker, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Stanford Medical School. Continued: http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/02/...

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


PNG poultry industry calls for Australian ban after NSW bird flu outbreak (Papua New Guinea)
The Papua New Guinea chicken industry has renewed calls for tighter quarantine controls on uncooked Australian chickens after an outbreak of bird flu in New South Wales.

For months the PNG poultry industry has been accusing Australia of dumping its excess chicken on the PNG market, undercutting local producers.

Then last week there was an outbreak of H7 bird flu on a farm at Maitland north of Sydney.

The general manager of Zenag Chicken in PNG, Stanley Leahy says the country needs far stricter quarantine protocols so that potentially infected imports can be kept out. Continued: http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news...  

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


India: Steps taken to check spread of bird flu (Kerala)
KOZHIKODE: Department of animal husbandry has beefed up measures to prevent the transmission of Type A virus and prevent a possible outbreak of avian influenza or bird flu.

The department has tightened vigil in the Kadalundi bird sanctuary, Mavoor wetland region near river Chaliyar and Kottuli wetland areas where migratory birds from different parts of the world visit during October to March.


Officials of the animal husbandry department have also started random checking of poultry farms and pig farms and will send the report to the chief veterinary officer every month.

An expert-team lead by district co-ordinator of animal disease control project has already visited the Kadalundi bird sanctuary and other two wetlands. The department has constituted a rapid action force, two mobile squads and 50 rapid response teams to conduct checks during the visit of migratory birds. (Snip) The department has already imparted training classes to officials of health department in the district.

"Migratory birds enter the state through Maharashtra and we cannot rule out the possibility of an outbreak. There are chances of persons coming in contact with the sick birds getting infected with bird 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


More Than 70 Lanigan Students Sick, District Sanitizes School (Michigan)
Lanigan Elementary School has been sanitized (Snip) after more than 70 students were absent from school due to illness on Friday (Snip).

(Snip) the illness has not been identified. Annapolis High in Dearborn Heights cancelled classes Friday after nearly 200 students and staff became ill. http://farmington-mi.patch.com...

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


Canada: Fears raised over airborne Ebola transmission
Microbiologists from Canada have shown that the deadly Ebola virus could be transmitted between species without direct contact. The research has raised fears that airborne transmission of the virus could be contributing to its spread in parts of Africa.

(Snip) pigs carrying the Ebola virus were situated next to monkeys, but separated by a wire barrier. Eight days later, some monkeys began to show signs of Ebola, and had to be put down.

It's thought that the monkeys may have caught the virus by inhaling tiny droplets suspended in the air from the pigs' respiratory tracts. "What we suspect is happening is large droplets -- they can stay in the air, but not long, they don't go far," (Snip) "But they can be absorbed in the airway and this is how the infection starts, and this is what we think, because we saw a lot of evidence in the lungs of the non-human primates that the virus got in that way," he added.


However, the scientists' findings suggest that domestic and wild pigs may be a hidden reservoir of the most deadly form of the virus - Ebola Zaire.

Kobinger took pains to point out that the airborne transmission process is not like that of influenza. (Snip) "The reality is that they are contained and they remain local, if it was really an airborne virus like influenza is it would spread all over the place, and that's not happening." http://www.wired.co.uk/news/ar...

(Note: Any virus is probably capable of evolving into an airborne transmission type virus like influenza. I think that is the unspoken fear now with Ebola. JMO)

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


India: 'Go in for immunisation against H1N1'(Tamil Nadu)
Health Department in Coimbatore has urged people to go in for immunisation against H1N1 virus. (Snip) with the rise in cases of the influenza in Coimbatore, it was better if the people went in for immunisation.

(Snip) the district reported six cases in January, none in February, one in march, 13 in April, six in May, four in June, 11 in July, three in August, 15 in September, 37 in October and 19 thus far in November. Of the 100-plus cases, nearly 50 were from within the Coimbatore Corporation limits.

Members of the public should go in for immunisation not just because of the increase in flu cases, but also because of the virus' lifespan, given the climate, and the heavy movement of migrant population.

Dr. Damodharan explained that studies had shown that on fomites (inanimate objects capable of carrying infectious organisms) the H1N1 virus could survive for 15 days, on cold water for up to a month and frozen items for up to a year.

One of the biggest challenges in combating the H1N1 virus, he said, was that people with symptoms of fever and sore throat seldom reported at hospitals and preferred to buy drugs over the counter. This was dangerous because there was every possibility of the strain undergoing mutation.

There were four categories based on clinical manifestations. Those under category 'A' would suffer mild fever and sore throat with or without diarrhoea or vomiting. (Snip)

Those under 'B1' category would suffer severe fever and sore throat and would have to take Oseitanivir tablets but only under strict medical supervision.

Those under 'B2' category were persons who were more vulnerable like children between zero and four years of age, those above 65 years, pregnant women, those undergoing medication or treatment for bronchial asthma, allergy lung disease, heart, kidney or liver ailments, etc. Those under 'C' category would also suffer from breathlessness, chest pain; their blood pressure would fall and their nail colour could change blue. Such people required immediate hospitalisation. Continued: http://www.thehindu.com/news/c...

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


India: H1N1 back with a bigger sting (Karnataka)
BANGALORE: 'Herd immunity' to swine flu, developed over the past couple of years, appears to be diminishing in Karnataka.

The department of communicable diseases recorded a 300% spike in the number of deaths due to Influenza A or H1N1 in the state in 2012, compared to 2011. The virus which killed 255 people during 2009-2010, claimed 16 lives in 2011, but in 11 months of 2012, has already claimed 44 lives in Karnataka, including eight in Bangalore.

The state recorded 810 positive cases of H1N1 since January 1 this year, confirmed health and family welfare department officials. The feared dengue, by comparison, claimed 21 lives in the state this year, including four in Bangalore.

Experts blame this sudden resurgence of H1N1 on decreasing immunity to the virus in people, especially the migrant population. Dr H Sudarshan Ballal, medical director, Manipal Hospitals, said: "There is a possibility that the virus has not completely mutated. It can still be deadly for a person with low immunity or someone who has migrated to a new place and is not vaccinated against H1N1. The virus is less aggressive compared to 2009, when it first appeared, but has the capacity to resurface and attack a person with low immunity."

Manipal Hospitals recorded six deaths due to 'suspected H1N1' this year and the number of positive cases was much higher compared to last year, he added. 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


US: Health officials confirm over 50 cases of flu in Wisconsin
MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - When you pass the turkey at the Thanksgiving table, make sure you don't pass on the flu.

That's what state health officials are warning. They've confirmed that over 50 people caught a flu bug in the last month-and-a-half -- and that's just those who went to a doctor for treatment. Many more didn't, so the state has no idea how many actual cases are out there.

Tom Haupt of the state Health Services Department says the flu season is starting earlier than in past years. Type AH-3 is the more predominant of two flu strains that have been reported so far in the state's nursing homes. Continued: http://wtaq.com/news/articles/...

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


FAO sees signs of decline in H5N1 outbreaks (CIDRAP)

The number of reported H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks in poultry and wild birds has decreased since mid 2011 and was down sharply in the second quarter of this year, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a quarterly update on the ongoing situation. (snip)

The global number of H5N1 outbreaks dropped from 2003 to mid 2008, increased again from mid-2008 to mid-2011, and has dropped since then, according to the FAO figures.  Factors in the second-quarter decline included lower numbers reported from Egypt and Indonesia and an absence of reported outbreaks in countries where the disease has occurred sporadically, such as Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam, the agency reported.

(continues with a summary of outbreaks in birds by country)

So far this year, 30 human H5N1 cases and 19 deaths have been reported, with the most recent case reported in Indonesia in August, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2011 there were 62 cases with 34 deaths.

FAO Report: http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/...  

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