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News Reports for December 30, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 21:12:21 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: Passengers aboard Canadian train show flu-like symptoms, one dies (Link)
• Ontario: Woman with flu-like symptoms dies on Vancouver-Toronto train (Link)

Czech Republic
• Two Czech H1N1 flu patients in critical condition (Link)

• Government Should Anticipate Moving Soon New Kind of Bird Flu (translated) (Link)

• ProMED: Avian influenza (70): Nepal (MM) H5N1, OIE (Link)

• Swine Flu Panic Spreads in Norway (Link)

• Swine flu kills nine Palestinians (Link)

Republic of Ireland
• State agency issues flu alert urging those most at risk to get vaccinated (Link)

United Kingdom
• 10 Britons dead after getting flu vaccine (Link)

United States
• Early flu season could be severe, experts warn (Link)
• PA: Confirmed flu cases on the rise in Lancaster County (Link)

• Flu markers keep climbing in US and Europe (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for December 30, 2012

News for December 29, 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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Canada: Passengers aboard Canadian train show flu-like symptoms, one dies (Ontario)
At approximately 5 a.m. EST Saturday, a VIA Rail Canada train, which was traveling between Vancouver and Toronto, was delayed several hours near Parry Sound, Ontario, due to a medical emergency onboard the train.

Four passengers were showing signs of flu-like symptoms aboard "train 2," (Snip). "Local emergency services were dispatched and when they arrived on-site they confirmed an elderly woman had passed away. The other three passengers were detrained and transported to the hospital to be treated."

"The decision was made to quarantine the two rooms they were occupying," (Snip). "This is a standard procedure in events such as these and all VIA Rail employees implicated in this situation are fully cooperating with local authorities and are keeping passengers onboard the train informed."

(Snip) VIA operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across its 12,500-kilometer route network. http://www.examiner.com/articl...

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


Canada: Woman with flu-like symptoms dies on Vancouver-Toronto train (Ontario)
A woman who was suffering flu-like symptoms was found dead on a Via Rail passenger train early Saturday morning in northern Ontario.

(Snip) the train, travelling between Vancouver and Toronto, made a stop near Parry Sound, Ont. at approximately 5 a.m. after four passengers onboard were showing symptoms of the flu. Continued: http://bc.ctvnews.ca/woman-wit...

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


[ Parent ]
Czech Republic: Two Czech H1N1 flu patients in critical condition
PRAGUE, Dec. 29 - The condition of two H1N1 flu (Snip)  patients hospitalized in Prague's General Teaching Hospital (VFN) remains extremely critical (Snip).

(Snip) the two patients, one man and one woman, were both hooked up to life-supporting apparatuses. They are suffering from pneumonia and are treated with antivirotics.

The man was admitted to the hospital on December 23 and the woman one day earlier. Both the patients were obese (Snip).

But Pekarova said there is no swine flu pandemic in the country. http://www.nzweek.com/world/tw...

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


US: Early flu season could be severe, experts warn
Flu season in the United States is having its earliest start in nearly a decade and health officials say this season could be a bad one.

Although flu is always unpredictable, the early nature of the cases and the predominant type circulating this year could make this a severe flu season, said officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But officials said the vaccine formulated for this year is well-matched to the strains of the virus seen so far and urged those who have not been vaccinated to get a flu shot.

In early December, the CDC said it was noticing an uptick in flu activity about a month before authorities normally see it, and the earliest since the 2003-2004 flu season. The primary strain this season is the H3N2, an influenza A virus that has been associated in the past with more severe flu seasons.

'More cases of flu'

Since the beginning of December, "there has been increasing influenza activity in more parts of the United States and more cases of flu," said Joe Bresee, chief of epidemiology at CDC's influenza division, in an interview last week. "We have seen increasing trends that flu is increasing in the last few weeks of the year, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see that continue into the new year."

(Snip) Reports of flu have been reported in 29 states, including Maryland and Virginia. As of Dec. 15, higher-than-normal reports of flulike illnesses had been reported in 12 states, most of them in the South and Southeast. They are: Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Illinois and Utah.

Based on data from the past two decades, during the years when H3N2 is the predominant flu strain, "there are more deaths and hospitalizations," Bresee said.

It is not completely clear why. One factor may be that the elderly, who are at high risk for flu complications, tend to become sicker with the H3N2 strain than the other two common flu strains, he said. Continued: http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

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


Palestine: Swine flu kills nine Palestinians
Palestinian Territories, Dec 30 - Nine Palestinians have died in an outbreak of the H1N1 influenza strain (Snip) the office of Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad said on Saturday.

"Latest figures and information...show that 187 cases have so far been recorded, the majority of which are in the northern West Bank," (Snip). "The number of recorded deaths... stands at nine until now." (Snip) the Palestinian health ministry "has the necessary medicines, testing kits and equipment to deal efficiently with the spread of the virus".

The virus has affected Israel and the Palestinian territories in the past, killing dozens of people.


In 1997, the H5N1 strain of influenza, commonly known as bird flu, broke out in Hong Kong. Spreading from live birds to humans through direct contact, it causes fever and breathing problems and claimed 359 human lives in 15 countries, mainly in Asia and Africa, from 2003 to August of this year (Snip).

Nearly all major epidemic diseases in humans originated in livestock and health professionals keep a constant watch on animal diseases to assess the risk of strains developing that can cross the species barrier. http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/new...

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


US: Confirmed flu cases on the rise in Lancaster County (Pennsylvania)
The number of confirmed flu cases in Lancaster County continues to increase rapidly, with 99 more infections reported the week of Dec. 16-22. That brings the total cases here to 138 this flu season, which ranks eighth among counties in Pennsylvania, behind Allegheny, 551; Montgomery, 217; Berks, 215; Westmoreland, 202; Lehigh, 190; Centre, 178; and Northampton, 158.

(Snip) 2,196 influenza infections and 91 flu-related hospitalizations were reported in the commonwealth Dec. 16-22. Since Oct. 16, there have been 4,022 confirmed cases of the flu virus in Pennsylvania.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the highest level of flu activity is concentrated in the southcentral and southeastern regions of the U.S.

(Snip) "laboratory-confirmed cases represent only a fraction of the total public health burden of influenza, as most persons with the flu (even those who seek health care) are diagnosed presumptively and do not have lab tests performed to determine the cause of illness."

"We estimate that between 5 and 10 percent of the population gets the flu each year, which for Pennsylvania represents 600,000 to 1.3 million persons annually," (Snip). Continued: http://lancasteronline.com/art...

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


Ireland: State agency issues flu alert urging those most at risk to get vaccinated
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has issued a flu alert. The agency has urged people in high-risk categories to get vaccinated against influenza, as the number of cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) continues to rise.

The ILI rate for the pre-Christmas week was 24.9 cases per 100,000 population, which is above the threshold used to access influenza activity. "Influenza is now circulating in the community. It is important that people in high-risk categories get vaccinated against influenza," said HPSC director, Dr Darina O'Flanagan.


"Residents of nursing homes, old people's homes and other long-stay facilities, healthcare workers and carers of those in risk groups should also get the vaccine," (Snip). http://www.independent.ie/nati...

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


Flu markers keep climbing in US and Europe
Dec 28, 2012 (CIDRAP News) - US influenza activity continued its ascent last week, judging from the high volumes of patients seeking care for the disease at doctors' offices, while flu indicators in Europe showed a clear spike, according to the latest surveillance reports.

Outpatient clinic visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) in the United States rose to 4.2% of all visits, well above the national baseline of 2.2% (Snip)

High levels of ILI activity were reported in 16 states and New York City, an increase from 12 states the previous week, the CDC said. The only area that wasn't over its baseline for this flu marker was the western region, which includes Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, and Nevada.

The US flu season started early this year, and health officials have said they expect a bad year, because the dominant flu strain is H3N2, which tends to cause more severe illnesses. In some hard-hit areas, such as parts of North Carolina, hospitals are limiting visitors to curb the spread of flu to high-risk patients.

Eight pediatric flu deaths were reported last week, pushing the season's total to 16. Three were linked to influenza B viruses, three were associated with H3N2, and the influenza A subtype wasn't determined for the other two. The percentage of deaths from pneumonia and flu remained below the epidemic threshold, but this indicator usually lags other flu markers.

The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for flu stayed high at 29.6%, up from 28.3% reported the week before, according to the CDC. Labs that monitor the circulating flu strains report that H3N2 is still the dominant strain, followed by influenza B.

Few 2009 H1N1 viruses have been detected in the United States, but the virologic picture in Europe is different, with the virus accounting for close to a third of influenza A viruses that have been subtyped.

Canada, like its southern neighbor, is reporting predominantly H3N2 viruses with few 2009 H1N1 detections, according to the latest report (covering the week ending Dec 15) (Snip) The flu hotspots in Canada so far are four regions of Ontario, which are reporting widespread flu activity. (Snip).

In its update today the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said that even though surveillance activities have been limited over the holiday period, there are clear indications of rising flu activity, with the disease affecting more countries last week compared with the previous week. The proportion of specimens that tested positive for flu spiked to 27.3%, compared with 17.3% the week before. Overall, 70% of the samples were influenza A, of which nearly 69% were H3N2. Influenza B made up 28% of the subtyped viruses. Continued: 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


Swine Flu Panic Spreads in Norway
In addition to a seriously infected child, five people have been hospitalized at Oslo University Hospital with swine flu. On Saturday night, a total of six people were taken to the hospitals in Oslo (Snip).

(Snip) at Stavanger University Hospital, five adult patients have been hospitalized with H1N1 infection in the past two weeks. No one is seriously ill (Snip).

On Thursday, an 11 year old boy from Porsgrunn died after being diagnosed  with the infection. On Saturday, it was announced that another child has been admitted to the intensive care unit.

Until last week, 50 cases of swine flu (H1N1) were reported in Norway this year, but probably the real figure can be higher. Continued: http://www.tnp.no/norway/panor...

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


10 Britons dead after getting flu vaccine
At least 10 people in Britain died in 2011 following side-effects after being administered the flu vaccine, (Snip). In 2011, there were 10 deaths linked to the vaccine, compared with 18 during 2008-2010 (Snip).

(Snip) 458 cases of suffering from side-effects were reported last year, up four-fold from a total of 108 cases in 2009. The side-effects include asthma attacks and chest infections. (Snip) the increase may be because more people are logging their concerns rather than an actual rise in adverse reactions.

The Department of Health said serious side-effects of the flu vaccine were rare but warned people they may have a slight temperature and aching muscles for a few days (Snip).

The department said vaccination remained the best way to protect against a number of life-threatening diseases, including flu. Last year, more than 10 million doses of flu vaccine were given out in England, but there were just 0.004 percent reports of side-effects. http://www.dailypioneer.com/ho...

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


Government Should Anticipate Moving Soon New Kind of Bird Flu
December 30, 2012
Indonesia: The government should immediately anticipate the spread of bird flu virus that is caused by a new virus subtype H5N1 AI clade 2.3.2, following the bird flu that has infected poultry in nine provinces.

"It must be anticipated and solved in order to (prevent?) the spread of the virus.  We are able to tighten controls at the entry and exit of poultry, especially those from the infected area," said a member of Commission IV of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Abdul Hakim, to the Rakyat Merdeka Online moments ago (Sunday, 30/12).

The judge asked the government, local governments and stakeholders to coordinate immediately to prevent the further spread of this virus.  If necessary, an effort to allegedly destroy poultry infected with bird flu virus will have to be done.  In addition to preventing the spread of infection with this virus, it is also in order not to infect humans, because the H5N1 virus is very dangerous considering it is easy to spread and mutate into a new one.

As you know, the bird flu virus attacks are caused by a new virus subtype H5N1 AI clade 2.3.2 that has spread to nine provinces.  The nine provinces of the bird flu outbreak with this new clade are West Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java, Banten, Lampung, Riau, West Sulawesi and South Sulawesi.  In addition to already spreading quickly, the new bird flu virus H5N1 clade (type of gene) 2.3.2 has also caused losses of billions of dollars.  The plague losses suffered by farmers are ducks and water fowl that reached Rp1, 5 billion more.  The total loss was obtained from the survey conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture (Ministry of Agriculture) as the suspected disease is worse than the disease long clade 2.1.3 H5N1 virus.

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

ProMED: Avian influenza (70): Nepal (MM) H5N1, OIE
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), probably of the H5N1 subtype, has broken out in farmed broilers in the region of Bagmati.

The veterinary authority sent Follow Up Report No. 2 dated 24 Dec 2012 to the World Organisation for Animal Health [OIE]. The report describes one new outbreak of HPAI at a commercial farm with 42-day-old broiler chickens reared in a closed farm premises in the region of Bagmati in central Nepal, starting on 13 Dec 2012. Of the 3000-bird flock, all but 150 broilers died, and those were subsequently destroyed.

(Snip) the birds showed swollen heads with respiratory distress and started to die. High morbidity and mortality were recorded in the affected farm. All remaining birds, poultry products, and poultry production materials were destroyed and disposed of (Snip). Cleaning and disinfection activities are being continued. Intensive surveillance activities are ongoing throughout the country. The neuraminidase type is not yet known.

Communicated by:

The current outbreak has been preceded by 2 previous H5N1 outbreaks, in the same district, Bagmati (Central Region). (Snip).

Nepal's follow-up report No. 2 is available at  http://www.oie.int/wahis_2/pub... It includes an interactive map (Snip).

Regarding the statement "The neuraminidase type is not yet known", the report has been titled, similarly to the previous 2 reports, as H5N1. - Mod.AS http://www.promedmail.org/dire...

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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