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News Reports for December 20, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 20:12:11 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!

• Ontario: Fifth death attributed to flu in region (Link)

• Pigs in southern China infected with avian flu (Link)

Bird flu confirmed in Dhading (Link)
• Indonesia Attempts to Isolate New Strain of Bird Flu (Link)
• Suspected Bird Flu, A Man Isolated in Semarang (translated) (Link)

Avian influenza hits Dharke (Link)

• 3 Palestinians dead from swine flu: health ministry (Link)

United States
• Thanks To Budget Cuts, U.S. Remains Unprepared To Combat Future Public Health Emergencies (Link)
• State, local public health get mixed grades on readiness (Link)
• House passes final version of preparedness reauthorization law (Link)
• CO: Flu Cases Increase in Mesa County (Link)

• Controversial H5N1 influenza work likely to resume (Link)
• US: Alaskan Scientists Zero In On Avian Flu At Temperatures 40 Below (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for December 20, 2012

News for December 19, 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 December 17, 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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Pigs in southern China infected with avian flu
Researchers report for the first time the seroprevalence of three strains of avian influenza viruses in pigs in southern China, but not the H5N1 avian influenza virus. Their research, published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, has implications for efforts to protect the public health from pandemics.

(Snip) Because pigs can be infected with both human and avian influenza viruses, they are thought to serve as "mixing vessels" for genetic reassortment that could lead to pandemics, and pigs have been infected experimentally by all avian H1-H13 subtypes. But natural transmission of avian influenza to pigs has been documented only rarely.

In the study, from 2010-2012, Guihong Zhang and colleagues of the College of Veterinary Medicine, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, People's Republic of China, tested 1080 21-25 week old pigs for H3, H4, H5, and H6 subtypes of avian influenza virus, and H1 and H3 subtypes of swine influenza virus. Thirty-five percent of the serum samples were positive for H1N1, and 19.7 percent were positive for H3N2 swine flu virus, and 0.93 percent, 1.6 percent, and 1.8 percent were positive, respectively, for the H3, H4, and H6 subtypes of avian influenza A virus. However, no serum samples collected in 2001 were positive for any of these viruses, indicating that transmission into swine was recent.

(Snip) "We recommend strongly that the pork industry worldwide should monitor the prevalence of influenza in pigs, considering their important role in transmitting this virus to humans," says Zhang.

Previously, novel reassortant H2N3 influenza viruses were isolated from US pigs, which "were infectious and highly transmissible in swine and ferrets without prior adaptation," (Snip) Those viruses resembled, but were not identical to the H2N2 human pandemic virus of 1957.

Continued: Links http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_...

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


Controversial H5N1 influenza work likely to resume
Some scientists may resume controversial experiments on the potentially deadly avian influenza virus H5N1, following a high-level meeting this week. The suggestion comes in the wake of a global debate about the risks and benefits of such research and a voluntary moratorium on the experiments lasting nearly a year.

International flu experts, research funders and public-health officials met on Monday and Tuesday this week at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland to discuss the future of the work - so-called gain-of-function experiments that change the properties of what is called highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 in ways that might make it more transmissible and infectious in humans, in order to investigate the possible natural evolution of the virus.

The meeting did not reconcile all differences of opinion over the risks and benefits of such work, or explicitly address the moratorium, although it appears likely that some investigators might resume H5N1 work.

"I suspect that we will see a lifting of the moratorium on the part of people who are not NIH funded,"  says Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the part of the NIH that is the primary funder of such research.

They will do that, he says, according to the guidelines of their own funders and of the countries in which they work. "It's become clear from the chatter in the community that they were patiently waiting for this particular event." He adds that researchers have been "very good at adhering to the moratorium".

The meeting was designed to discuss a new framework for overseeing US funding decisions on gain-of-function experiments. It would put in place, for select experiments, an extra layer of review - in addition to peer review, and other standard safety and ethical reviews - by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

This review could result in the research not being funded, or possibly being recommended to another branch of government to be handled as classified. The purpose of the workshop was to road test the framework on some hypothetical case studies to identify its strengths and weaknesses. Attendees pointed out many of the latter. Continued: http://www.nature.com/news/con...

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


Thanks To Budget Cuts, U.S. Remains Unprepared To Combat Future Public Health Emergencies
Despite numerous public health threats over the past decade - including bioterrorism threats like anthrax attacks, the spread of airborne diseases like the swine flu epidemic, and extreme weather disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy - a new report finds that states across the country still have serious gaps in their emergency preparedness plans.

The Trust for America's Health report used 10 measures to evaluate states' public health emergency preparedness, examining indicators such as whether states have met vaccination requirements or whether they have emergency evacuation plans for schoolchildren, and found that just five states currently meet at least eight of those markers. Thirty five states and the District of Columbia fell far short, meeting six or fewer of the 10 key public health indicators.

Only two states have met the CDC's recommending goal of vaccinating 90 percent of young children for whooping cough. Thirty five states and the District of Columbia don't have adequate climate change adaptation plans, which would help plan for the health threats that result from extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy. Thirteen states don't have enough public health staffers available to work around the clock to respond to an emergency outbreak like swine flu. And, as USA Today reports, the authors of the report cite state budget cuts as the biggest reason that states are falling short on these public health initiatives:

One of every five state public health jobs has been cut, the report says; federal funds for state and local preparedness have dropped 38% from 2005 to 2012. Continued: http://thinkprogress.org/healt...

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


CIDRAP: State, local public health get mixed grades on readiness

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


[ Parent ]
US: Alaskan Scientists Zero In On Avian Flu At Temperatures 40 Below
FAIRBANKS -- (Snip). Despite temperatures in the Interior Alaska city of 30,000 dipping toward 40-below zero Saturday, scientists waded into the slushy Chena River, nets in tow, collecting a handful of mallard ducks and bringing them back to a makeshift lab in downtown Fairbanks.

In taking blood and fecal samples, the scientists hope to understand how avian influenza moves through a bird population.

The Chena River birds are ideal, (Snip). The open water keeps the usually migratory birds in Fairbanks instead of bound for warmer climates farther south. That gives scientists like Lindberg the chance to see how the flu moves through the population, something that's generally a hard prospect considering migratory birds tendency to, well, migrate.

(Snip) Read the complete story and see photos from the Chena River project only at Alaska Dispatch 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


US: House passes final version of preparedness reauthorization law
The US House of Representatives today in a 383-to-16 vote passed legislation to reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (passed in 2006), which now awaits action by the Senate before it goes to President Obama's desk.

(Big Snip)

The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2012 continues programs to develop medical countermeasures against chemical, biological, radioactive, and nuclear threats, as well as programs to bolster the nation's preparedness for other public health threats, such as pandemic flu.

Trust for America's Health (TFAH), a nonprofit health advocacy group, in a statement today applauded the House passage and urged the Senate to pass the law by the end of the year. Jeff Levi, TFAH's executive director, said in the statement, "It is important, in the final bill, that the Public Health and Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Grant Program, Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) are reauthorized, as they provide vital funding to local and state public health departments to strengthen response capabilities, enhance hospital preparedness and surge capacity, and develop vaccines, drugs and other necessary countermeasures."

Continued: 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


Indonesia: Bird flu confirmed in Dhading
Published on 2012-12-20

DHADING, Dec. 20: The Central Veterinary Lab, Tripureshwar has confirmed that chicken at a poultry farm in Dharke, Naubise in Dhading district died due to bird flu.

Samples were taken for test from local Laxmi Pokhrel´s poultry farm after the chicken started dying all of a sudden at the poultry farm since December 13.

A meeting of the District Livestock Office, Dhading, chaired by Chief District Officer and Chairman of Bird Flu Technical Committee, Dhading district, Bed Prasad Kharel, held today, declared the area around the farm as bird flu infected area and decided to cull the fowls here to prevent the disease from spreading to other areas.

The District Administration has appealed to local representatives of the political parties, poultry farmers, media workers, civil society members, and local people, including other stakeholders to provide the necessary cooperation in the task carried out by District Livestock Office, Dhading.

All the 3,000 dead fowls at Pokhrel´s farm have been securely buried, said Member Secretary and Senior Livestock Development Officer, Devendra Bhagat.


United we stand: Divided we fall

Indonesia Attempts to Isolate New Strain of Bird Flu
December 20, 2012
Jakarta, Indonesia: The Indonesian government would take measures to prevent the spread of the new strain of avian influenza virus, which is more virulent, China's Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.  The step was taken following the finding of the new clad of H5N1 virus after the death of over 320,000 ducks in some provinces in Java island which was reported since November.  Indonesian Trade Ministry will conduct tighter control over distribution of poultry from outside of Java island, said Deputy Trade Minister Bayu Krisnamurthy.

"We are cautious about the movement of poultry in Java. We must watch closely the movement of chickens and ducks (from Java island).  We must control it," he said.

Bayu asked the quarantine agency to control and supervise the distribution of the poultry to Java island from outside of the islands.

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

Suspected Bird Flu, A Man Isolated in Semarang
December 20, 2012
Semarang, Indonesia:  Suspected (of contracting the) bird flu virus, a man with the initials of Semarang District Court is undergoing treatment at the Bubble Vincent Elizabeth Hospital in Semarang, Central Java.  The male patient came with symptoms and complaints of cough, cold and hot with high temperatures.   He was hospitalized Monday (17/12) until now.

"The patient has a farm in the area Bergas, Semarang regency, with three or four dead chickens. Fearing his condition and his shortness of breath, the man reported," said Public Relations Elizabeth Hospital Semarang Probowati Tjondronegoro reporters in his office, Thursday (20/12).

Personnel at RS Elizabeth finally reported to the City Health Office (DKK) Semarang that directly fielded a team to inspect the condition of the Constitutional Court.  Based on the results of the photo such as piston Elizabeth Hospital and the other shows the patient's condition is
good.  While the results of the examination of the DKK team are still undergoing laboratory tests, the results will be known on Saturday (22/12) tomorrow.

"If there is a (positive result), then we'll move (refer) to RSUP Kariadi because there is a room for tackling patients with suspected suspect bird flu," he said.

Chief Medical Officer (PHO) of Central Java Province Anung Sugihantono describes that this is the first time in the year 2012 that a confirmed case of suspect bird flu that hit the man with the initials MK in Elizabeth Hospital.

"In epidemiology, the Court considers this suspect because of a history of contact with dead poultry.  Governance (patients) as well as bird flu, its handling is split," he said on Thursday (20/12).

Examination of the health department has been done.  But the results of the examination of suspected bird flu or H5N1 could only come out on Saturday (22/12) future.

"We have not yet dared to make sure the relevant (MK) contracted the bird flu virus and is a suspect. Let's wait for the result on Saturday (22/12) tomorrow," he concluded.

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

Flu Cases Increase in Mesa County
by KREX News Room; by Kristina Kuestner
Story Updated: Dec 20, 2012 at 8:33 AM MST

MESA COUNTY, Colo.- Reported cases of the flu have spiked in the Grand Valley.

According to the Mesa County Health Department, officials have seen increased influenza activity in Mesa County including hospitalizations, testing, and outpatient doctor visits.

Influenza begins abruptly with fever, chills, and body aches.


Residents can get the injectable flu vaccine for $20, or the flu mist for $25

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]

Palestinian Territories: 3 Palestinians dead from swine flu: health ministry
RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: Three Palestinians in the West Bank have died in the past week from the H1N1 influenza strain (Snip) the Palestinian health ministry said on Thursday.

(Snip) more than 50 people sickened by the virus," Assad Ramlawi, the ministry's director general of health care for the West Bank, told AFP.

(Snip) the deaths occurred in the northern cities of Jenin, Qalqilya and Tulkarem, but played down the significance of the fatalities. "The situation is not out of the ordinary. This virus spreads at the beginning of winter season," he said, adding that those who had died "had weak immune systems, which is what caused their deaths." Continued: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Ne...

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


Canada: Fifth death attributed to flu in region (Ontario)
WATERLOO REGION - The flu is being blamed as a contributing factor in the death of a fifth person in the region.

On Wednesday, public health officials confirmed the death of an elderly resident with underlying health conditions as well as influenza. Three other elderly residents - all with underlying health problems - and a previously healthy child have also died as the region experiences flu rates higher than the provincial average this season.

A total of 154 influenza cases have been confirmed.

"I anticipate we have probably reached levels of activity that we would consider the peak at this time," said associate medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang. However, it's still too early to tell what's around the corner. "Often the most predictable thing about the flu is that it's not entirely predictable."

Five deaths are within the range of a typical flu season, she said. This year's season began early in the region. Continued: http://metronews.ca/news/kitch...

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


Nepal: Avian influenza hits Dharke
DHARKE: Hundreds of fowls that died in a Dharke-based a chicken firm over the past one week are learnt to have died due to bird flu outbreak.

The confirmation of bird flu came from a test report conducted by Central Veterinary Lab in Kathmandu on samples collected from Laxmi Pokharel's chicken firm. Though the lab had confirmed the outbreak on Wednesday, farmers had been reluctant to flash the news fearing possible impact on business.

Yesterday, a joint team of technicians' from the lab and the Dhading-based district livestock office destroyed dead fowls. (Snip) the veterinary lab and Dhading based district livestock office declared Dharke a bird flu affected area and sprayed medicine at Pokharel's firm.

Most chicken firms in the district are located in Dharke. It is said there are about 500,000 fowls in various chicken firms there.

(Snip) it is necessary to cull all the fowls within a two-km vicinity of the bird flu outbreak site, there has been no decision to cull from the central level. (Snip). http://www.thehimalayantimes.c...  

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


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