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News Reports for January 9, 2013

by: NewsDiary

Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 19:57:26 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!

• Mainland A/H1N1 flu cases reported in December, over 300 cases death (translated) (Link)

• Chandigarh: This season, 11 tested positive for swine flu, 4 from city (Link)
• Chandigarh: Swine flu threat looms over Patiala (Link)
• Chandigarh: 2 die, 4 reported cases of Swine Flu in Chandigarh (Link)

Avian Flu Budget Jumps 86 Percent (Link)
• Anticipating H5N1 25 Million Doses of Bird Flu Vaccine Prepared (translated) (Link)

• 2 women hospitalized due to swine flu (Link)

• Mexico reports bird flu outbreaks at two egg farms (Link)

United States
• CA: Antivirals snubbed in flu fight (Link)
• MA: Flu Prompts Boston to Declare Public Health Emergency - U.S. Emergency Rooms Inundated With Flu Patients (Link)
• MA: Flu season has Boston declaring health emergency (Link)
• WI: Flu cases are jamming Milwaukee-area hospitals (Link)

• Global research on avian flu may start again soon (Link)

• ProMED: Influenza (04): WHO update (Link)

• Recombinomics: Media Myth On United States H3N2 Vaccine Match (Link)
• Recombinomics: 18 H3N2 Deaths In Pennsylvania In Week 1 (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for January 9, 2013

News for January 8, 2013 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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ProMED: Influenza (04): WHO update
Influenza update no 176--------------------


- Reporting of influenza activity has been irregular in the past 2 weeks due to the holiday season in many countries. As a result, overall virus detections reported have dropped off although in most countries in the northern temperate regions, influenza activity appears to have continued rising.

- Many countries of North America, Europe, North Africa, Eastern Mediterranean, and temperate Asia have reported increasing influenza activity over the past weeks. North China has started its influenza season.

- In tropical Asia, influenza activity was similar to previous weeks, with persistent low-level circulation.

- Influenza activity in sub-Saharan Africa has declined in most countries, with the exception of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana.

- In the Caribbean, Central America, and tropical South America, influenza activity decreased to low levels, except for Bolivia, where there is increasing circulation of influenza A(H3N2).

- Influenza activity in countries of the southern hemisphere is currently at inter-seasonal levels.

- Several unconfirmed media stories have reported a number of deaths related to infection with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 in different parts of the world. As with other seasonal influenza viruses, it is expected that some deaths would occur with infection, in particular now, when influenza season starts in the northern hemisphere. (Snip).

Countries in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere

North America

Influenza activity in North America has increased sharply since the last report with Canada and the United States both reporting widespread transmission of influenza. Influenza activity in Canada continued to rise with increases in all indicators in the last 2 weeks.

The influenza-like illness (ILI) consultation rate increased from 4 percent at the time of the previous report to 6.6 percent, with the highest rate observed in children less than 5 years old, followed by 5-19 year olds. The percentage of samples that tested positive for influenza also increased from 17.8 percent to 31.1 percent. In the last 2 weeks, 127 new influenza outbreaks were reported: 87 in long-term-care facilities, 9 in hospitals, 1 in a school, and 30 in other facilities or communities. This represents a marked increase from the previous report of 22 outbreaks. 241 laboratory confirmed influenza associated hospitalizations were reported in 5 provinces; 97 percent (236/241) were influenza A, of which, half (117/236) were sub-typed. Of those with subtype information, 97.5 percent (114/117) were influenza A(H3N2) and 1.5 percent (3/117) were A(H1N1)pdm09. Just over half of these cases (51 percent, 123/241) were aged 65 years or older. 16 influenza associated deaths were reported in the last 2 weeks of 2012; all with influenza A. Influenza A continued to predominate in Canada, with very few detections of influenza B. Of the respiratory specimens that were positive for influenza in the previous reporting week, 97.7 percent (4525/4632) were positive for influenza A, and 2.3 percent (107/4632) for influenza B. Of the influenza A viruses that were sub-typed, 97.4 percent (1164/1195) were A(H3N2) and 2.6 percent (31/1195) were A(H1N1)pdm09. Since the start of the season, the National Microbiology Laboratory has antigenically characterized 177 influenza viruses (136 A(H3N2), 17 A(H1N1)pdm09, and 24 influenza B). The 136 influenza A(H3N2) viruses were antigenically similar to the vaccine virus A/Victoria/361/2011. The 17 A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses were antigenically similar to the vaccine virus A/California/07/09. Among the influenza B viruses, 20 were antigenically similar to the vaccine virus B/Wisconsin/01/2010 (Yamagata lineage) and 4 were similar to B/Brisbane/60/2008 (Victoria lineage; component of the previous 2011-2012 seasonal influenza vaccine). None of the viral samples tested were resistant to the neuraminidase inhibitors oseltamivir (n=128) or zanamivir (n=127).

In the USA, the majority of influenza viruses detected were A(H3N2), however influenza B accounted for a larger proportion than in Canada. Of the 2961 influenza positive specimens in the last week of 2012, 79 percent were influenza A and 21 percent were influenza B. Of the influenza A viruses with sub-type information, 98 percent were A(H3N2). Since 1 October 2012, the CDC has antigenically characterized 413 influenza viruses. All 17 A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses tested were characterized as A/California/7/2009-like and 99.3 percent of the 279 A(H3N2) influenza viruses tested were A/Victoria/361/2011-like. Of the 115 influenza B viruses characterized 69 percent were B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like of the Yamagata lineage, the B virus component of this season's trivalent influenza vaccine, and 31 percent were of the Victoria lineage.

Since 1 Oct [2012], none of the 526 A(H3N2), 39 A(H1N1)pdm09, or 226 B viruses have been resistant to neuraminidase inhibitors. Continued: 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


US: Antivirals snubbed in flu fight (California)
Americans love their antibiotics. They ask for them, or sometimes demand them, from their doctors for everything from ear and urinary tract infections to head colds and sore throats.

So it's a little bit ironic that when they've got the flu - arguably one of the most common and most miserable of widely infectious diseases - they almost always suffer their fevers and muscle aches in silence.

In a country where antibiotics are as much a part of the popular health vernacular as aspirin or Tylenol, there's not a lot of love for antivirals.

For several reasons, there's good cause for the lack of resounding interest for drugs like Tamiflu and Relenza - the two main medicines to fight influenza. Just last year, a well-respected group of European scientists suggested that the effectiveness of Tamiflu - by far the more popular of the two antivirals - has been overstated and that the drug offers hardly any benefit to most people.

U.S. public health authorities have dismissed those claims and say that influenza antivirals are indeed useful. Still, few consumers are interested in, or even know about, taking antivirals for the flu, and many doctors say the drugs may be underutilized, especially by the people who need them the most.

"There's less comfort with antivirals than with antibiotics. But these medications are actually quite good and helpful," said Dr. James Watt, chief of the division of communicable disease control in the California Department of Public Health. "If people have a fever and they really are sick - it's not just a cold - it's very reasonable to contact their physician and ask whether antiviral medication might be beneficial."

Bad flu year forecast

This year's flu season is spiking in California and the Bay Area right now, and doctors say it could be a bad year, with one particularly nasty strain circulating widely. Kaiser Permanente, the largest health care provider in the Bay Area, saw a significant uptick in patients testing positive for influenza last week - and that was before children went back to school, which is when spread of the flu often picks up speed.

Public health officials are still encouraging people to get this season's flu vaccine, which takes a week or two to offer peak protection. In fact, the vaccine is the first, and best, line of defense against influenza, doctors said. And the success of the vaccine may be part of the reason antivirals have never been fully embraced by doctors and their patients.

"We like to focus on the vaccine as being the best medicine for flu," said Dr. Roger Baxter, co-director of Kaiser's Vaccine Study Center. "For the general public, as a nation we haven't really bought into Tamiflu as much as vaccines. Nobody feels super strongly about antivirals." Continued: http://www.sfgate.com/health/a...

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


Global research on avian flu may start again soon
The controversial moratorium on research into the H5N1 virus could be ending soon, if rumours are to be believed.

As spotted by Science, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) hosted a workshop on 17 and 18 December with virologists from around the world to discuss the state of research into the potentially dangerous bird flu virus. Out of that meeting came a new framework which the US government may well be looking at adopting ahead of deciding to retract the research ban.

The pause in research was first announced on 20 January 2012 in response to the work of two separate teams -- one led by Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands, the other by Yoshihiro Kawaoka at the University of Wisconsin-Madison -- which had both managed to develop extremely contagious strains of the virus in the course of their research. (Snip)

It was only meant to last 60 days, but as of writing it is still ongoing. (Snip) Nevertheless, many virologists were still worried by the unpredictability of the virus, something it is particularly renowned for. An escaped mutation from a lab, engineered to be extremely virulent, would be a public health disaster.

As proposed, the new plans for research feature seven criteria: that the research is highly significant; that it won't produce a virus that couldn't arise naturally via evolution; that there is "no feasible alternative" to the research; that there are manageable risks to lab workers and the public; that biosecurity risks can be mitigated; the research will be shared; and that the research is funded in a way that will include "appropriate oversight".

The US National Institute of Health (NIS) could begin funding research into H5N1 again as soon as the end of January if it decides to adopt the framework from the December workshop, which would in turn mark the beginning of the end of the worldwide voluntary moratorium.

Regardless of research beginning in H5N1 again, the debate over the safety of deliberately engineering more dangerous versions of an already dangerous virus -- and then publishing that research for all to see -- will surely continue, as long as there are legitimate fears of biological terrorism or accidental pandemics. http://www.wired.co.uk/news/ar...

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


Media Myth On United States H3N2 Vaccine Match
Recombinomics Commentary

the vaccination formula, developed by the Food and Drug Administration in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, appears a good match to fight those strains,

The above comments are widely cited in media reports on the current flu season in the United States.  The "good match" generally refers to the H3N2 vaccine target, A/Victoria/361/2011, which replaced A/Perth/16/2009 as the H3N2 vaccine target.  Most of the H3N2 circulating in the United States is the Victoria/361 sub-clade, but the week 48 FluView cited two low reactors, and the CDC release of H3N2 sequences from this season identified the two low reactors.  The HA sequences of the two isolates identified specific changes which have had role in immunological escape in the past.

The isolate from Hawaii (Snip) had L157S, which is in a region (positions 157-160) which frequently produce low reactors.  L157S was circulating in Hawaii prior to the start of the current flu season, and a July isolate (Snip) has been selected by the CDC for testing as an H3N2 vaccine target.

(Snip) the second low reactor, A/Iowa/14/2012, has a change, T128A, which abolishes the glycosylation site at position 126.  This change has been seen previously in H3N2 isolates, including the 2004/2005 vaccine target , A/Wyoming/3/2003, for the Fujian H3N2 strain, A/Fujian/411/2002, which caused significant numbers of deaths in those over 65 as well as pediatric cases.  The excessive pediatric deaths in the 2003/2004 season led to US regulations that made lab confirmed pediatric deaths in the US reportable.  This season there have been 18 pediatric deaths reported in the CDC FluView through week 52, but media reports and state lab reports have cited additional cases.

(Snip) recently release H3N2 sequences by the CDC had T128A in 40% of the isolates from the latter half of November, raising concerns that T128A is becoming dominant and accounts for the dramatic rise in H3N2 cases in December, including the reported pediatric deaths. http://www.recombinomics.com/N...

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


India: This season, 11 tested positive for swine flu, 4 from city
Around 11 people have so far tested positive for swine flu, of whom, four are from the city while the remaining cases are from the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. All the cases from Chandigarh had been quarantined and have recovered.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to further strengthen surveillance, a meeting of public health experts from PGIMER, GMCH-32 and GMSH-16 was convened in the office of assistant director, malaria under the chairmanship of the health services director on Tuesday.

The sample collection facility for H1N1 influenza A is available in all government hospitals: PGIMER, GMCH-32, GMSH-16 while private hospitals like INSCOL, MUKAT and Chaitanya also have the facility. PGIMER is the apex referral lab for the testing of H1N1 and Tamiflu, the prescribed medicine, is available at the state headquarters, UT-Chandigarh. Continued: 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


India: Swine flu threat looms over Patiala
The threat of Swine Flu has again resurfaced in Patiala with one patient from Kartapura village under Patran sub-division died on Sunday evening.

The deceased Amrik Singh, 40, was admitted in Post Graduate Institute of Medical, Education and Research (PGIMER) Chandigarh, and was referred here when his swap samples were confirmed for Swine Flu in Rajindra Medical College and Hospital in Patiala.

Civil Surgeon of Patiala Dr Usha Bansal while confirming this development admitted that swine flu has entered in Patiala.

One more patient from Nabha (Snip) has also been found confirmed for H1N1 virus (Snip).  

The outcome has bring the entire health department in the district on toes as the deceased was not having any history of visiting to some other cities where they may have come in contact with the affected person.

(Snip) one patient from Dashmesh Nagar has been suspected struck with the swine flu and his swab samples have been sent to laboratory in Chandigarh for confirmation.

Seeming unprepared for dealing with the cases of H1N1, the health department as a preventive measure on Monday carried out special checking drive in the village of deceased and one member of the family has been admitted to Rajindra Hospital as preventive measure.

(Snip) the health teams have also tracked a few relatives and villagers who have come in direct contact with the affected persons. "All these persons have been given preventive medicines and have been advised to immediately visit the health department if they observe any kind of symptoms of the deadly virus," said Civil Surgeon, expressing surprise over the virus hitting the patient, as all the patients reported hit by the deadly virus are from pure rural background.

(Snip) after reporting of the case, a special isolation ward has been set-up in Rajindra Hospital for the patient suspected of being down with the Swine Flue. http://www.hindustantimes.com/...

(Note: This article has my full attention. All the patients are from rural areas with no outside contact. Cases appear to be severe. This is not India's flu season. A special isolation ward has been set-up in Rajindra Hospital for the patients suspected of having swine flu. Hmmm, maybe H5N1 cases instead of swine flu cases??? JMO)

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


[ Parent ]
India: 2 die, 4 reported cases of Swine Flu in Chandigarh
Two confirmed deaths, four more cases reported, Swine Flu is slowly gripping the city.

Swine Flu is slowly baring its fangs in the city beautiful. The deadly disease has so far claimed two lives in Chandigarh. It was today confirmed that a resident of Patran in Patiala of Punjab had died of the disease a few days back. Earlier a Karnal resident had died of Swine flu. The two deaths took place in Govt multi specialty Hospital in Sector 16 and PGI. However, the deceased did not belong to Chandigarh. According to the UT Nodal officer Anil Garg, four confirmed cases of swine flu have been reported from the city and two each from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.


Pamphlets and other informatory material, specifying the precautions to avoid the flu, have been distributed among the residents. The officials have appealed residents to get themselves checked if they fear any sort of fever. It's aptly said prevention is much much better than cure.

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


[ Parent ]
Link to above article:

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


[ Parent ]
18 H3N2 Deaths In Pennsylvania In Week 1
Recombinomics Commentary

Eighteen (18) influenza-related deaths were reported last week, making 22 the total number of flu-related deaths reported season-to-date

A majority of reported deaths are among the elderly (Snip). However, two deaths involved otherwise healthy young individuals under 50 years of age.


The above comments from the week 1 report from Pennsylvania note the dramatic jump in lab confirmed flu fatalities.  18 were reported in week 1, while the 3 of the other 4 deaths were reported for the prior week (week 52).  Most if not all of the deaths are likely due to H3N2 (see hospitalization chart here:  http://www.recombinomics.com/N... ).

In week 1, 90% of the influenza in Pennsylvania was H3N2.  In week 48, the CDC reported two H3N2 "low reactors", each of which had an independent marker linked to immunological escape (T128A and L157S) The CDC recently released H3N2 sequences from the 2012/2013 season, including two from Pennsylvania.  One isolate, A/Pennsylvania/20/2012 (October 24 collection date), had T128A, while the other, A/Pennsylvania/21/2012 (November 11 collection date) had L157S.  The co-circulation of these isolates which are closely related to the two identified low reactors raises concerns that the frequency of these two changes has increased markedly in December, leading to the recent dramatic spike in deaths.

In addition to the reported deaths, Pennsylvania hospitalizations rose to 487 for week 1 from 244 reported in week 52, raising concerns that the death toll will continue to mount.  Similarly, the number of lab confirmed cases in week 1 rose to 4256 from 3158 in week 52. Continued: http://www.recombinomics.com/N...

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


China: Mainland A/H1N1 flu cases reported in December, over 300 cases death

International online news: (Snip) the country reported a total of more than 540,000 cases of legal infectious diseases, including influenza A H1N1 influenza cases over 300 cases, the death one case, no one Case reports of avian flu.

Statutory infectious diseases data released in December last year by the Ministry of Health report in November last year, 116 cases of influenza A (H1N1), and no deaths. This indicates that the H1N1 influenza virus activity significantly increased from the previous month.

Previously, Beijing has also released information that from December 27 last year to January this year, 4 were reported two cases of deaths in a stream, this is the first time since the 2010 Beijing report deaths in a stream, causing social attention. http://news.ifeng.com/mainland...

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


Avian Flu Budget Jumps 86 Percent
January 9, 2013
Jakarta, Indonesia:  The Ministry of Agriculture has allocated Rp 9.9 billion to combat avian flu this year.  The budget is 86.7 percent higher than last year's Rp 5.3 billion.

"The fund is sourced from the budget of contagious animal disease control," Director General of Livestock and Animal Health at the Agriculture Ministry, Syukur Iwantoro, said yesterday.

Some of the funds will be used to produce vaccines for a new type of bird flu virus that attacks ducks.  Syukur said the vaccine will be made in the first week of February.  To produce the new vaccine, the government is collaborating with four vaccine manufacturers and private clinics community health centers in Surabaya.

"The vaccine will be distributed to farmers for free," he said. He also said that the new vaccine could be made in 35 days.

The Ministry of Agriculture stated that 190 thousand ducks died from bird flu last year. The number accounts for 0.38 percent of the national duck population. The virus spread in nine regions, including Central Java, East Java, West Java and South Sulawesi.

However, the Indonesian Entrepreneurs Association of Local Poultry (Himpuli) showed a higher number.  Himpuli Chairman, Ade Meirizal Zulkarnain, said that local farmers have reported the death of 500 thousand ducks in 12 provinces.

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

Flu Prompts Boston to Declare Public Health Emergency: U.S. Emergency Rooms Inundated With Flu Patients

By ALEX PEREZ (@perezreports) and ANDY FIES
Jan. 9, 2013
An early and nasty flu season has prompted a public health emergency in Boston, where health officials say 700 people have been diagnosed with the cold-weather virus. Four Bostononians -- all elderly -- have died from flu. "This is the worst flu season we've seen since 2009, and people should take the threat of flu seriously," Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said in a statement. This time last year the city had seen only 70 cases of influenza, The Associated Press reported. And with flu activity likely to extend into March or even April, the number will only grow.

"This is not only a health concern, but also an economic concern for families," he said in the statement. "I'm urging residents to get vaccinated if they haven't already."

Eighteen people have died from flu in Massachusetts, one of 41 states battling widespread influenza outbreaks. Emergency rooms across the country have been overwhelmed with flu patients, turning away some of them and others with non-life-threatening conditions for lack of space.

The proportion of people seeing their doctor for flu-like symptoms jumped to 5.6 percent from 2.8 percent in the past month, according to the CDC. Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago reported a 20 percent increase in flu patients every day. Northwestern Memorial was one of eight hospitals on bypass Monday and Tuesday, meaning it asked ambulances to take patients elsewhere if they could do so safely.

A tent outside Lehigh Valley Hospital in Salisbury Township, Pa., was set up to tend to the overflowing number of flu cases. A hospital in Ohio is requiring patients with the flu to wear masks to protect those who are not infected.

"You have to think about an anti-viral, especially if you're elderly, a young child, a pregnant woman," Besser said. "They're the people that are going to die from this. Tens of thousands of people die in a bad flu season. We're not taking it serious enough."

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

Mexico reports bird flu outbreaks at two egg farms
PARIS, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Mexico reported outbreaks of highly pathogenic bird flu virus at two egg farms and that these had been resolved after the culling of nearly 300,000 birds, world animal health body OIE said on Wednesday.

A total of 740 poultry have died from the virus which emerged in the two egg farms located in the central state of Aguascalientes (Snip)

The virus, reported to be the highly pathogenic avian influenza serotype H7N3, is different from the deadly H5N1 strain (Snip).

Outbreaks of H7N3 occurred previously in Mexico, with the latest one in September last year in the northeastern part of the state of Jalisco, which is near Aguascalientes (Snip).

"Timely notification from the farmer and surveillance activities allowed immediate depopulation of the two affected production units, reason why both outbreaks identified are closed," (Snip).

Countries that are members of OIE have the obligation to report outbreaks of certain animal diseases (Snip).

The ministry said it was still doing active and passive surveillance at national level and that epidemiological investigation was ongoing. The source of the outbreaks or origin of the infection was still unknown. http://www.trust.org/alertnet/...

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


Israel: 2 women hospitalized due to swine flu
Two women were hospitalized due to contracting the H1N1 virus (Snip). One of the women, 27, (Snip) is about to give birth.

The second patient, 60, is currently receiving medical care at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva. http://www.ynetnews.com/articl...  

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


Flu season has Boston declaring health emergency
January 9, 2013

BOSTON (AP) - Boston declared a public health emergency Wednesday as flu season struck in earnest and the state reported 18 flu-related deaths so far.

The city is working with health care centers to offer free flu vaccines and also hopes to set up places where people can get vaccinated. The city said there had been four flu-related deaths, all elderly residents, since the unofficial start of the flu season Oct. 1.

''The best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family is to get the flu shot,'' said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

The city was experiencing its worst flu season since at least 2009, Menino said, with about 700 confirmed cases of the flu, compared with 70 all of last season.

Massachusetts was one of 29 states reporting high levels of ''influenza-like illness,'' according to the most recent weekly flu advisory issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



United we stand: Divided we fall

Flu cases are jamming Milwaukee-area hospitals
Jan. 9, 2013

Emergency departments at many Milwaukee-area hospitals over the past 10 days have been forced at times to divert incoming ambulances to other hospitals because they're inundated with older patients who have severe flulike symptoms and are being hospitalized at a rate approaching the 2009 swine flu pandemic, public health officials said Wednesday.

Five to eight of Milwaukee County's 11 hospitals have reported rolling diversions - temporary, periodic shutdowns of emergency departments except for life-threatening cases because staff and beds are strained by an influx of patients hit hard with the flu, Paul A. Biedrzycki, director of disease control and environmental health for the Milwaukee Health Department, said Wednesday.

"I hope we don't see a lot of deaths," he added.

More than a dozen Chicago-area hospitals started the week overwhelmed with influenza cases, having to send incoming ambulances elsewhere at times as they dealt with what health officials have described as the worst flu season in nearly a decade.

On Monday, 11 Illinois hospitals had to go on bypass status, meaning they could not handle any more patients without life-threatening illnesses, the Chicago Tribune reported. Throughout Tuesday, four to eight hospitals across the state were on bypass at any given point.

Other cities around Wisconsin have not reported hospitals being inundated with influenza cases, Biedrzycki said.



United we stand: Divided we fall

Anticipating H5N1 25 Million Doses of Bird Flu Vaccine Prepared
January 9, 2013
Jakarta, Indonesia:  The Ministry of Agriculture has preparde 25 million doses of bird flu vaccine as a precautionary attack against clade 2.3.2 H5N1 that has caused 242 thousand ducks to die.  Currently, the vaccine is still in the stage of the process of producing a vaccine made by the government and five private companies that include Vaksindo, Medion, Caprivando, Sanbio and Pusvetma Ministry of Agriculture.

"The vaccine will be given to 12.5 million ducks from the overall population of ducks that have reached 50 million. Every duck needs 2 vaccines," said Muhammad Azhar and Chairman of the Management Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture AI Control in Jakarta, Wednesday (9/1 / 2013).

The government will help give the vaccine only to groups of entrepreneurs in small and medium scale, while a relatively large (number) are not getting any help.  The vaccine price per dose is only between 300-500 per dose.  He added that the bird flu vaccine still provides protection long enough, though it is not a high (very effective?) against the new virus.  Yet the presence of this vaccine is still a challenge due to the fact that this type of bird flu could strike other chickens and humans, although in Indonesia this has not been found.

"Not just for the ducks, there must be a commercial chicken prevention effort for chickens, this should improve bio security, if they are attacked very heavily.  Though the vaccine in February 2012 has not hit people," he said.

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

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