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News Reports for December 19, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 20:11:49 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!

Canada
•  Flu season hits Hamilton earlier than usual  (Link)

China
• CIDRAP: Hong Kong panel recommends H5N1 vaccine for certain lab workers (Link)

India
• Third swine flu death in Himachal Pradesh (Link)

Indonesia
• Thousands of ducks in Indonesia's Kediri die from H5N1 virus: official (Link)
• Suspected bird flu victim in Semarang (Link)
• Thousands of Ducks in Indonesia Die from H5N1 (Link)

United States
• IN: Indiana reports first death from influenza (Link)
• IN: Flu season at its worst in years (Link)
• MI: Flu season hits early, closes Michigan schools (Link)
• NH: Three flu deaths reported in Maine and New Hampshire (Link)

General
• OIE issues biosecurity warning (Link)
• With more surveillance, flu patterns in Africa begin to emerge (Link)
• CIDRAP: WHO Confirms 2 H5N1 Cases (Link)

Commentary
• CIDRAP: ECDC leaders say Europe needs better flu vaccines to boost coverage (Link)


• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for December 19, 2012

News for December 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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OIE issues biosecurity warning
Note: This article is copyright protected so I can only give you the link. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/w...

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

     


US: Flu season hits early, closes Michigan schools
State health officials are reporting a high number of flu cases earlier than usual this year, which not only follows a nationwide trend, but also may be a sign that cases may be higher this winter. In Michigan, 63 cases of flu had been reported as of Thursday, up from 34 the previous week.

"That's a pretty big jump," said Angela Minicuci, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Community Health. "It's hard to predict if it will continue. It is a concern to see this many cases this early in the season."

Twenty-three of the cases are in southeast Michigan, Minicuci said, with 20 in southwest, 14 in central Michigan and six in northern Michigan. The state doesn't usually see these numbers until the peak months of January and February, officials said.

This week, the L'Anse Area Schools in the Upper Peninsula closed for three days, starting at midday Monday, due to a flu outbreak, one staffer said.

Minicuci said, "Many cases of flu go unreported or undiagnosed ... but seeing these levels reported to MDCH at this point in the season definitely shows that the flu is circulating and people are getting sick."

(Snip)

Significant increases in flu activity have been reported nationwide during the past three weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. As of Nov. 30, 48 states and Puerto Rico had reported laboratory-confirmed influenza. The most activity was in the south-central and southeast parts of the country.

In the most recent week reported - Nov. 25-Dec. 1 - the rate and the number of hospitalizations were higher than the same period in the most recent prior years, according to the CDC. Five children's deaths from the flu have been reported this year, the agency said. Continued: http://www.detroitnews.com/art...



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

     


India: Third swine flu death in Himachal Pradesh
Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has reported a third death this year due to swine flu

A 76-year-old woman from Kangra district died on Monday evening in the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMCH) here (Snip)

The victim (Snip) was suffering from breathlessness for the past one week. http://www.ndtv.com/article/ci...

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

     


CIDRAP: With more surveillance, flu patterns in Africa begin to emerge
Dec 17, 2012 (CIDRAP News) - Increased surveillance in recent years has begun to fill in some of the huge information gaps regarding influenza in Africa, which should eventually make it possible to develop or improve public health interventions, according to a big collection of articles published recently in the Journal of Infectious Diseases (JID).

One of the many reported findings is that several countries in West Africa didn't see their first case of pandemic 2009 H1N1 (pH1N1) flu until 6 months after the virus emerged in North America. Another article discusses the belated distribution and administration of the pH1N1 vaccine in Africa.

The collection consists of 27 reports involving close to 300 authors from more than 50 institutions, most of them based in 16 African countries, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a press release. The CDC's Influenza Division sponsored the special issue.

Until about 6 years ago, little effort had been made to understand the epidemiology, burden, and seasonality of flu in Africa, according to an editorial included in the collection. On a continent battling AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, the impact of flu has been considered "negligible," say the editorial writers, from the CDC, South Africa, and Madagascar.

But in 2006, after the spread of H5N1 avian flu to dozens of countries, a large number of groups joined to support pandemic flu preparedness in Africa. Participants included the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Network of the Institut Pasteur, South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases, and various others.

The resources provided by these partners have "led to heightened efforts to build influenza diagnostic and response capacity and to conduct influenza studies to develop a solid evidence base for influenza policies in Africa," the editorial says.

A prime example of the increased surveillance efforts is the African Network of Influenza Surveillance and Epidemiology (ANISE), which offers a report on 5 years of surveillance in 15 countries across Africa. From 2006 to 2010, the number of ANISE sites collecting data on patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) increased from 21 to 127.

Children 0 to 4 years old accounted for 48% of patients with ILI or severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) who were seen at ANISE sites over the 5 years, according to the report. Twenty-two percent of ILI cases and 10% of SARI cases were positive for flu.

The ANISE researchers found that the flu had winter peaks in the North African countries in the network-Egypt and Morocco, which are temperate-and in South Africa. Seasonality was less clear in countries elsewhere, but East African nations had higher prevalence from July through October.

Another research team examined the circulation of flu in five countries-Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Madagascar, Niger, and Senegal-in 2008 and 2009. Of 8,312 specimens tested, H1N1 was found in 329, H3N2 in 689, and type B in 148. Flu circulated year-round in some countries but was limited to part of the year in others.

To examine pH1N1 circulation in West Africa, another group collected surveillance data from 10 countries in the region from May 4, 2009, to Apr 3, 2010. More than 10,000 specimens were tested during that time, of which 25% were positive for flu.

Through the end of 2009, the authors found, only 14% of the flu cases were pH1N1. The proportion then jumped to 89% for January through Apr 3 of 2010. Further, five countries didn't record a single pH1N1 case until 6 months after the pandemic virus's North American emergence in April 2009. In seven countries, the virus didn't achieve predominance until 2010.

Continued with much more info and links: 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

     


CIDRAP: Hong Kong panel recommends H5N1 vaccine for certain lab workers
Hong Kong's Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) recommends that certain lab workers at higher risk of exposure to avian influenza H5N1 virus receive prepandemic H5N1 vaccine to protect them from infection (Snip). Eligible workers include those involved in large-scale production or manipulation of the virus, extended work on the virus, experiments with antiviral-resistant strains, or work with strains "with the potential for increased transmissibility in mammalian species."

The vaccine of choice should be a locally registered prepandemic vaccine that is based on the currently circulating strain and has shown cross-reactivity to other clades, (Snip). Researchers and other experts from around the world met yesterday and today in Washington, DC, to discuss how to move forward with experiments involving mammalian-transmissible strains of H5N1.

Dec 18 CHP statement http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/gen...

Dec 17 CIDRAP News story on Washington meeting 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

     


large-scale production??
Eligible workers include those involved in large-scale production or manipulation of the virus...

Uh - what the heck are they producing it "large scale" for?? I sure hope that's a translation glitch!


[ Parent ]
Hi Cathy
They are probably referring to the large amount of workers employed by Sinovac Biotec, Ltd, which is a vaccine manufacturing company in China. I think it is owned by the government. It is a very large company with research & develoment laboratories and facilities for manufacturing various vaccines. This is where the Chinese's version of the human H5N1 vaccine has been developed. It is being stockpiled in case of a pandemic. I think the poultry vaccine for the newest strain of H5N1 is being manufactured by Sinovac too.  

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

     


[ Parent ]
ECDC leaders say Europe needs better flu vaccines to boost coverage
In a commentary, two leaders of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) say more-effective seasonal influenza vaccines are needed to increase vaccination coverage, especially among high-risk groups and healthcare workers.

(Snip)

They note that a meta-analysis published last year in the same journal showed that seasonal vaccines had low effectiveness in vulnerable groups. (Snip) a European flu surveillance network in April reported 43% effectiveness for flu vaccines in risk groups during the 2011-12 season: "Poor performance of the seasonal vaccines undermines Europe's other strengths in influenza prevention," Nicoll and Sprenger write.

"We need safe and effective vaccines that will encourage their use by vulnerable individuals, patients, doctors, nurses, and the authorities."

They add that an ECDC review and a recent report from the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) agreed that almost all current vaccines use old technology, that there is little incentive for innovation, and that investigation of improved vaccines is now "faltering."

All parties need to examine why the vaccines don't work better and agree on what improvements are needed (Snip).

(Snip). http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidr...

Lancet Infect Dis commentary http://www.thelancet.com/journ...

Related Dec 18 ECDC notice http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/press...

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

     


Thousands of ducks in Indonesia's Kediri die from H5N1 virus: official
2012-12-18

JAKARTA, Dec. 18 (Xinhua)-- A senior official overseeing animal husbandry in Indonesia's East Java province confirmed Tuesday that the cause of the recent deaths of 11,000 ducks in the Kediri regency was avian influenza.

The confirmation came up after the regency administration received results of examinations on bio molecular samples of the ducks taken last month. "We knew the results after received results of examinations conducted by a laboratory in Malang, East Java. Results from the other examination conducted by a laboratory in Yogyakarta had not been released,"said Sri Suparmi, head of Kediri regency animal husbandry supervisory body.

She said that the type avian flu attacked the ducks in the regency was different from the other ones that attacked chickens and birds. She added that the virus attacking the ducks has gone through genetics changing.

According to Suparmi, the virus attacking the ducks was derived from H5N1 with genetic structure identified as Clade 2.1. Now the virus had already developed into Clade 2.3. "Field observation efforts to identify factors that have changed the virus genetics code are underway at the moment,"she was quoted by the Kompas.com.as saying.

The remaining ducks have not been vaccinated as local husbandry office doesn't have vaccine to prevent the clade 2.3 virus.

People in the regency were told not to panic about the finding of new avian flu virus. They were advised to wash hands with soap and use masker when they pass through areas identified as harmed by the virus.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/engl...

United we stand: Divided we fall
www.flunewsnetwork.com


Canada: Flu season hits Hamilton earlier than usual
Flu season hits Hamilton earlier than usual
Hamiltonians may get a gift they didn't ask for this Christmas - the flu. Public Health Services is reporting flu season has started earlier than normal this year and they expect flu cases to peak over the holiday season.

"Usually we see more cases during January and February, but now we're seeing it in November and December," Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Hamilton's Associate Medical Officer of Health, told CBC Hamilton.

"We're not exactly sure why, but the number of admissions into emergency rooms is not higher, but earlier for some reason."


Hamilton is on the shore of Lake Ontario west of Toronto.

Three flu deaths reported in Maine and N.H. include young child, two older people
http://www.fosters.com/apps/pb...

DOVER - State officials in New Hampshire and Maine are urging people to get vaccinated against influenza, with New Hampshire reporting two recent deaths linked to flu outbreaks and Maine reporting a young child has died as well.

[snip]

"We're definitely seeing more cases," Alroy-Preis said. "Currently, we're at a status of what we call 'widespread disease' where we are seeing it in different counties."

Alroy-Preis noted the two deaths reported in approximately the last week were of older people who died due to complications stemming for H3N2, also known as Influenza A, one of the three strains protected by the common flu vaccine. The other two covered by the flu shot are Influenza B and the H1N1 strain, commonly referred to as "swine flu" during the national outbreak in 2009 and 2010.

[snip]

"We do know it's throughout the state of Maine, in every county," Pinette said. "...We are quite concerned about the fact that it's becoming widespread and it's earlier than we had in the past ... The most important thing is that we be cognizant of the fact that it's out there and it requires that people practice good healthy (habits)."

Last year, Maine experienced 10 outbreaks, defined as events where many cases crop up in large facilities like schools, hospitals and long-term care centers. Pinette said so far this year, there have been 18 recorded outbreaks across the state.

In Somersworth, Superintendent Jeni Mosca confirmed the school district saw an outbreak of the flu earlier this month.

"It started out at our elementary (level) and moved through the middle and high school," Mosca said, noting on Tuesday, "but we're back to normal in time for the holiday season."

[snip]


Indiana reports first death from influenza
http://www.examiner.com/articl...

According to this week's FluView report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the influenza virus continues to increase in the United States across most key indicators. The United States is experiencing an early flu season with high levels of activity concentrated in the south central and southeastern regions of the nation at this time.

The state of Indiana is reporting one death from the current flu season. According to the Indiana State Department of Health in its latest flu activity report, a person between the ages of five and 18 died from a flu-related illness. No other information about the person who died is in the report, but the ISDH says it was the only flu-related death in the state so far this season.

[more - boilerplate]


boilerplate= standard paragraphs
Oops - for those of you non-writers, "boilerplate" is what they call the standard paragraphs inserted to beef up a story, in this case all the hand-washing and influenza-fact stuff. :-}

[ Parent ]
Ind: Flu season at its worst in years
http://www.wsbt.com/news/wsbt-...

SOUTH BEND - Flu season may be taking its toll on many of you.

Right now, Indiana is leading the country in cases of Influenza A, the H3N2 Virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 138 cases in the state. Ohio is right behind at 107 cases.

Doctors said the flu is almost at its peak in St. Joseph County.

[snip]
St. Joseph County is dealing with a very bad case of the flu this year. Dr. Hsieh sees it every day.

"We have had our share of positive tests in the past few weeks," he said.
According to the CDC, Indiana and Michigan are in the "regional stage" of the flu across the country. The worst stage, which is the "widespread stage," is in places like Texas.

But doctors in St. Joe County expect the flu to peak in the next two weeks right in the middle of the holidays. And if one person is infected, the virus quickly goes viral.

"Once you start to see the positive test we're seeing in a community, within 6 weeks every single person in that community will have been exposed," Dr. Hsieh said.

[snip]
COMMENT: Hmm... does anyone know if he's right about "everyone in the community being exposed w/in 6 weeks"? I've never heard that estimate before.


Indonesia: Suspected bird flu victim in Semarang
Ainur Rohmah, The Jakarta Post, Semarang | Archipelago | Wed, December 19 2012, 7:55 PM

The Central Java Health Agency says it has received a report of a suspected case of bird flu in the province.

The 54-year-old man, a resident of the Sambiroto subdistrict, was currently under treatment at St. Elisabeth Hospital in Semarang, officials said.

"The man has been suffering from a cough, a cold and a high fever, with temperature above 38 degrees Celsius," Rorry Hartono, the agency's disease control and environmental health division chief, said on Wednesday.

More than 62,000 ducks have thought to have died from the H5N1 virus in 21 regencies and cities in the province as of Tuesday, according to officials.

Central Java Animal Husbandry Agency head Whitono said that the virus, which apparently mutated since it was brought to Indonesia via migrating birds, has spread quickly since the first case was reported in the province in September.

"This case is quite new because bird flu commonly infects chickens," he said.

The Central Java Agriculture Agency has distributed 9,300 liters of disinfectant, calling on farmers to report any ducks who have recently died to the agency. (cor/swd)

http://www.thejakartapost.com/...

United we stand: Divided we fall
www.flunewsnetwork.com


WHO Confirms 2 H5N1 Cases
December 19, 2012
http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidr...
In a sketchy monthly update, the World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday confirmed an H5N1 avian flu case in a 2-year-old Egyptian girl earlier this month and an H5N1 death in a 4-year-old Indonesian boy that local media had reported this week. The few details that the WHO provides about the girl, from Demietta governorate, are confusing. The agency lists her date of illness onset as Dec 3, but it also says she was hospitalized on Dec 1. It says she received oseltamivir (Tamiflu) on Dec 4 but doesn't specify whether she has recovered. Her case is Egypt's 11th this year, 5 of which have been fatal, according to WHO data. The Indonesian boy, from West Java, became ill Nov 30, was hospitalized Dec 5, and died Dec 6, the agency said. Indonesia has now confirmed nine H5N1 cases this year, all fatal. The two countries lead the world in 2012 H5N1 cases, with Vietnam, at four cases, reporting the third-highest number. Since 2003, the WHO has confirmed 610 cases, 360 of which (59%) have been fatal. The WHO's previous update was Nov 5. The agency recently said it would report global cases monthly.


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

Thousands of Ducks in Indonesia Die from H5N1
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/w...
December 19, 2012
Jakarta, Indonesia:  A senior official overseeing animal husbandry in Indonesia's East Java province confirmed Tuesday that the cause of the recent deaths of 11,000 ducks in the Kediri Regency was avian influenza.  The confirmation came up after the regency administration received results of examinations on bio-molecular samples of the ducks taken last month.

"We knew the results after received results of examinations conducted by a laboratory in Malang, East Java. Results from the other examination conducted by a laboratory in Yogyakarta had not been released," said Sri Suparmi, head of Kediri regency animal husbandry supervisory body.

She said that the type avian flu attacked the ducks in the regency was different from the other ones that attacked chickens and birds. She added that the virus attacking the ducks has gone through genetics changing.  According to Suparmi, the virus attacking the ducks was derived from H5N1 with genetic structure identified as Clade 2.1. Now the virus had already developed into Clade 2.3.

"Field observation efforts to identify factors that have changed the virus genetics code are underway at the moment," she was quoted by the Kompas.com.as saying.

The remaining ducks have not been vaccinated as local husbandry office doesn't have vaccine to prevent the clade 2.3 virus.
(more)


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


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