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News Reports for December 17, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 20:10:57 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!

• Nepal Farmers Destroy KFC Frozen Chicken Shipment Fearing Bird Flu (Link)
• Nepal suspends officials over chicken imports from India (Link)

United States
• AR: Doctors Predict Flu Season to be Worse Than Normal (Link)
• NY: Flu Activity Widespread In State (Link)
• Keep thimerosal in vaccines: AAP (Link)

• Research: Wind's contribution to Avian Influenza spread (Link)
• US: Researchers brave frigid Fairbanks cold to study bird flu (Alaska) (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for December 17, 2012

News for December 16, 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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Research: Wind's contribution to Avian Influenza spread

Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry can cause severe economic damage and represent a public health threat. Development of efficient containment measures requires an understanding of how these influenza viruses are transmitted from one farm to the next. However, the actual mechanisms of inter-farm transmission are largely unknown.

Dispersal of infectious material by wind has been suggested but never demonstrated as a possible cause of transmission between farms. Statistical evidence has been provided that the direction of spread of avian influenza A(H7N7) is correlated with the direction of wind at date of infection. Research was conducted by reconstructing the transmission tree for a large outbreak in the Netherlands in 2003 using detailed genetic and epidemiological data. It was conservatively estimated that the contribution of a possible wind-mediated mechanism to the total amount of spread during this outbreak could be around 18%.

"Wind-related spread of avian influenza has direct consequences for containment efforts. Farms emit vast quantities of particulate matter, which could well carry viable virus. Several systems, such as air scrubbers, water or oil sprinkling, changes in ventilation rate, and ionization systems have been shown to reduce dust concentrations and could be an efficient way to stop infectious particles from getting in or out. Alternative wind-related mechanisms cannot be excluded on the basis of our analysis. Wild birds or insects acting as vectors for the disease, flying preferentially in the direction of the wind, would explain our observations as well, but call for different control strategies.

"Furthermore, culling strategies may take into account the role of wind. First, care should be taken to ensure contaminated material does not get into the environment during culling activity. Continued: http://www.worldpoultry.net/Br...

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


US: Researchers brave frigid Fairbanks cold to study bird flu (Alaska)
In the Interior Alaska city of Fairbanks, temperatures of minus-30 can't stop researchers from wading into the Chena River to capture ducks for research of avian influenza viruses, commonly known as bird flu.

Every winter, 300 or so mallard ducks remain in Fairbanks, spread across an open section of the Chena River that winds through the city. (Snip).

Mark Lindberg, a biology professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Brandt Meixell, a biologist with U.S. Geological Survey in Anchorage, are gathering information on how avian influenza virus spreads through a bird population. Waterfowl are a major incubator for the virus; scientists have isolated more viruses from ducks than any other species, (Snip).

Researchers take oral and fecal swabs, as well as blood samples, from each bird. (Snip).

"We don't know anything about viral ecology in birds during the winter," Lindberg told the News-Miner. "Birds in the north have never been sampled in the winter as far as we know."

One of the most interesting results to come from their research so far indicates that some birds migrated out of Alaska in autumn: Of the 35 birds banded in August, none have been recaptured, and only two of 30 birds banded in September have been caught again. But the birds being caught now include lots of recaptures, and that most likely means that those birds have hunkered down for the winter. http://www.alaskadispatch.com/...  

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


US: Doctors Predict Flu Season to be Worse Than Normal (Arkansas)
While you're doing your Christmas shopping, you may encounter something you couldn't find last year: the flu.
Just last week, the Arkansas Department of Health reported its first flu death of the year in the Natural State.

With more people coughing and sneezing their way through the holidays, a new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows the flu will likely be around long after the tree comes down.

Dr. William Schaffner, with Vanderbilt University, says, "I think we're in for quite an influenza season. It's starting early and it's called by this so-called H3N2 virus. It's the kind of virus that produces a more severe illness."

The number of states reporting widespread flu activity doubled last week to 8. States reporting regional flu activity, including Arkansas, also doubled.

Hospitalizations due to the flue are higher than normal.

"Flu can hit anyone and put them in the intensive care unit in 48 hours," says Dr. Schaffner. Continued: http://arkansasmatters.com/ful...

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


Nepal Farmers Destroy KFC Frozen Chicken Shipment Fearing Bird Flu
KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) - Poultry farmers in Nepal have stopped trucks importing chicken from India for KFC restaurants and destroyed the cargo. Nepal has banned chicken from India since bird flu broke out in India four years ago.

(Snip) farmers stopped and seized two trucks bringing the frozen chicken to Nepal's capital, Katmandu, on Saturday. A brief scuffle broke out between police and the farmers.

Police say authorities took control of the trucks, but that after consultation with livestock officials the cargo was dumped in a pit and covered.

KFC, the only Western fast-food restaurant in Nepal, says it imports its chicken from Brazil. Kharel says the tags on the cargo showed it came from India.

(Snip). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

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


Nepal suspends officials over chicken imports from India
Nepal has suspended six quarantine officials for allowing Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), a US fast food chain, to import raw chicken from the bird-flu affected India, officials said Monday. (Snip) "We are thoroughly investigating into the matter."


Those suspended include two senior officials. All of them were summoned at the ministry Sunday.

The World Health Organisation a few weeks ago again listed India as a bird-flu affected country. The law of Nepal bans the import of livestock from such countries. The ministry has issued a circular to all concerned government offices, quarantine check-posts and security agencies to increase vigil to prevent illegal livestock imports into Nepal.

Last Saturday, a group of irate poultry farmers in Dhading took control of two containers of KFC carrying 5,104 kg of frozen chicken from India. They dug a pit and buried the whole stock.

KFC has been importing raw chicken to meet the demand of its outlets in Nepal Continued: http://newindianexpress.com/wo...

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


New York: Flu Activity Widespread In State
December 17, 2012

Reported cases of influenza are increasing throughout New York and flu activity in the state is now considered to be widespread, with laboratory confirmed cases in more than half the regions of the state.


Since New York began its annual seasonal flu surveillance this fall, influenza cases have been reported in 47 counties and the five boroughs of New York City. This is consistent with nationwide reporting that shows influenza activity is also increasing in many regions of the country.

Flu season generally runs from October through May. Last year was a mild year for flu in New York state, yet there were still 1,167 flu-related hospitalizations and one pediatric death. Over the last four years, there have been a total of 34 pediatric flu deaths in New York state and an average of more than 4,400 flu-related hospitalizations a year.

full srticle


United we stand: Divided we fall

U.S.: Keep thimerosal in vaccines: pediatricians
(Reuters Health) - A mercury-containing preservative should not be banned as an ingredient in vaccines, U.S. pediatricians said Monday, in a move that may be controversial.

In its statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorsed calls from a World Health Organization (WHO) committee that the preservative, thimerosal, not be considered a hazardous source of mercury that could be banned by the United Nations.

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