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News Reports for December 18, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 20:11:28 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!

• South Australia's Christmas season flu spike (Link)

• WHO: Human H5N1 cases in Indonesia and Egypt (Link)

Bird Flu Kills Boy, 4, In Indonesia (Link)
Bird flu claims another life in Bogor (Link)

• Nepal suspends 6 officials for KFC chicken import from India (Link)

United States
• GSK announces FDA approval of seasonal flu virus vaccine in US (Link)
• IL: Flu season kicks off early, strong (Link)
H5N1 Research Moratorium Could Be Over Soon  (Link)

• NIH To Revisit Debate On Controversial Bird Flu Research (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for December 18, 2012

News for December 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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Nepal suspends 6 officials for KFC chicken import from India
Nepal has suspended six quarantine officials, including two under-secretaries, on the charge of allowing a promoter of KFC here for illegally importing chicken from India despite restrictions.


Nepal government has banned import of chicken from India some six years ago after the outbreak of bird flu in the neighbouring country.

The suspended officials have been charged with permitting the import of 11 tonnes of frozen chicken from India despite the government's restriction on imports of birds from a bird flu affected country.

The suspended officials include under-secretary Munni Lal Chaudhary, chief of the Birgunj Quarantine Office, under-secretary at Central Quarantine Office Mohan Dev Lekhak and four technicians.


(Snip) the ministry asked the Department of Commerce, the Armed Police Force that guards the border and the Nepal Police to stop the import of poultry products from countries named by the World Health Organisation as having bird flu.

Two containers of frozen chicken imported for the outlets of the international fast food chain KFC were dumped in Dhading on Saturday with the help of local farmers. http://www.indianexpress.com/n...

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


South Australia's Christmas season flu spike
The number of reported flu cases is soaring in South Australia, almost ten-fold the number reported last summer. A total of 117 cases have been reported since the start of December, compared to around a dozen at the same time last year.


General practitioner Rod Pearce said doctors can also be at risk of thinking the flu symptoms might not be the flu, just because it is summer. "It's also important for clinicians to actually consider it when people are presenting unwell," (Snip).

While the cold weather might be behind us, health authorities say people should not let their guard down. They say the flu can spread just as quickly in summer and people should be doing what they can to protect themselves.

Most of the recent cases have been Influenza B, and more than 30 per cent of those have been children.


Doctors have urged people to get a flu shot to make sure they have a flu-free Christmas. http://au.news.yahoo.com/lates...

(Note: Hmmm, this seems really unusual to me. I know the flu can spread in warm weather but I don't ever remember Australia having a lot of flu cases this time of the year. JMO)

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


US: Flu season kicks off early, strong (Illinois)
The flu is back with a vengeance this year, earlier than usual and affecting more people this winter. "Loyola documented several cases of the flu before Thanksgiving," (Snip) "It is early to start and also a high number."

There were 27 reported influenza cases at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood so far this year, which is a sharp increase from last year when the first flu case wasn't reported until December.

It is unclear if the worst is yet to come, Parada said, but the flu season usually peaks in mid-February and lasts until April. Flu season can begin as early as October, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Continued: http://www.suntimes.com/lifest...

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


GSK announces FDA approval of seasonal flu virus vaccine in US
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced the FDA approval of four-strain seasonal influenza (flu) virus vaccine, Fluarix Quadrivalent, to immunize adults and children of three years age and more, in the US. The intramuscular vaccine is developed to prevent diseases caused by two strains each of seasonal flu virus subtypes A and type B.

GSK North America vaccines clinical development and medical affairs vice president and head Dr. Leonard Friedland said the predominant circulating influenza B strain was not the strain that public health authorities selected in six of the last 11 flu seasons.

"Fluarix Quadrivalent will help protect individuals against both B strains and from a public-health standpoint, can help decrease the burden of disease," Friedland added.

The company anticipates in time vaccine availability for the 2013-2014 flu season besides completion of orders for its trivalent vaccines. Continued: http://drugdelivery.pharmaceut...

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


US: NIH To Revisit Debate On Controversial Bird Flu Research
On Tuesday, the National Institutes of Health in Maryland is holding a second day of talks about whether and how to continue funding some controversial scientific experiments.
Back in January, virologists agreed to temporarily stop research that was creating new forms of bird flu, because critics argued that the work was too dangerous. NIH officials are now seeking input from scientists and the public about how to proceed.

Scientists, national security experts and public health workers have come from all over - including places like the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Italy, Indonesia and Vietnam - to discuss thorny issues raised by the research.

"The subject of this meeting literally affects every individual in the world," noted Harvey Fineberg, president of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, who is helping to run the conference. "Every citizen in every country has a stake in the research that will or will not go forward with respect to these highly pathogenic agents.

"These pathogenic agents are altered forms of the bird flu virus known as H5N1. H5N1 is widespread in poultry in parts of Asia and the Middle East, but it rarely infects people. Over half of those who are known to have gotten sick, however, have died.

Public health experts worry that the virus might mutate, begin spreading from person to person, and start a pandemic. Last year, NIH-funded researchers showed that certain genetic mutations could indeed make H5N1 spread easily between ferrets, the lab stand-in for people. Continued: http://www.npr.org/blogs/healt...

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


Bird Flu Kills Boy, 4, In Indonesia
December 18, 2012
Jakarta, Indonesia:  A 4-year-old Indonesian boy has died from bird flu, bringing the death toll to 160 in the country hardest-hit by the deadly virus, a health official said on Tuesday

The boy died on 6 December in Tangerang city, just west of Jakarta, the capital, said health ministry official Rita Kusriastuti.  He developed symptoms of a cold and fever on 30 November and was treated at a public health center before being hospitalized the same day he died.  Kusriastuti said the boy, from the West Java district of Bogor, was believed to have been infected with the H5N1 virus after having direct contact with dead fowl around his house.

Last week, Kusriastuti said a form of the H5N1 virus not previously detected in Indonesia had killed hundreds of thousands of ducks on the main island of Java.

The new form of the virus is believed to have entered Indonesia through imported ducks, but Kusriastuti said it's also possible it may have evolved on its own from existing strains.

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

Bird flu claims another life in Bogor
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta  National  Mon, December 17 2012

The Health Ministry announced on Monday that bird flu was the cause of death of a 4-year-old boy from Parung Panjang in Bogor, West Java. The victim, identified by initials IT, was the 10th person in the country to die from bird flu in 2012.

IT had suffered from high fever since Nov. 30. He was taken to a doctor and a private hospital but his condition showed no improvement. He was taken to Tangerang General Hospital in Banten province on Dec. 6, where he was declared infected by avian influenza.

After conducting an epidemiological research and field examinations, the ministry said that IT might have been infected by the virus through a duck's remains that were found around his house.


United we stand: Divided we fall

WHO: Human H5N1 cases in Indonesia and Egypt

Since the last update on 5 November 2012, two new laboratory-confirmed human cases with influenza A(H5N1) virus were reported to WHO, one from Egypt and the other a fatal case from Indonesia.

Egypt case:
Demietta governorate
Onset 12/3/2012, hospitalized 12/1/2012 [these 2 dates don't make sense], Oseltamivir treatment start date 12/4/2012
Exposure to backyard poultry (chickens and ducks)

Indonesia case:
West Java
Onset 11/30/2012, hospitalized 12/5/2012, died 12/6/2012
Exposure to poultry (duck) in neighborhood

Science: H5N1 Research Moratorium Could Be Over Soon
H5N1 Research Moratorium Could Be Over Soon
BETHESDA, MARYLAND-The end of a historic, 13-month-long global debate over the safety and wisdom of H5N1 avian influenza research may finally be in sight.

Speaking after a 2-day meeting here, U.S. government officials said today that they are moving rapidly to adopt a new policy for reviewing certain studies involving the H5N1 virus, in a bid to identify high-risk research before it begins. Scientists said the long-discussed move will enable them to soon lift a landmark moratorium on certain kinds of H5N1 research that they voluntarily imposed in January. The controversy was triggered by two studies that showed how to make the virus transmissible in mammals, potentially sparking a deadly human pandemic. Some influenza researchers working outside the United States said that they may even declare the moratorium dead before the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) adopts its new review policy, expected no earlier than next month.

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