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News Reports for January 13, 2013

by: NewsDiary

Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 14:04:08 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!

• CIDRAP: H5N1 found in 20% of environmental samples from Cambodian bird markets (Link)

• Shaanxi - A stream of cases over 20 schools must be closed (translated) (Link)

• Rajasthan: State seeks NCDC help to contain swine flu (Link)

• The Komnas Zoonosis Denies Bird Flu Bioterrorism (translated) (Link)

•  Swine flu kills second Jordanian in week (Link)

• Official: Swine flu death toll rises to 15 in West Bank (Link)

United States
• Flu Epidemic: Officials, Drug Stores Say Call Ahead Before Getting Vaccine (Link)
• Flu Season 2013 - Low Vaccine Supply (Video) (Link)
• CA: San Francisco Flu Leaves Residents Worried As Doctors Urge Vaccinations (Link)
• MA: Flu Is Here - 5 Things Parents Must Do (Link)
• MI: Wyandotte Hospital Tackles Flu Myths v Facts (Link)
• NY: ProMED - Avian influenza (H5N1:low path) - USA: (NY) poultry, RFI (Link) (Link)
• NY: New York City parents scrambling to find flu shots in stock (Link)

• CIDRAP: DARPA grant supports flu evolution study (Massachusetts) (Link)
• Flu shot flaws leave experts queasy (Link)

• Phooey On Flu (Video) (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for January 13, 2013

News for January 12, 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: Avian influenza (H5N1:low path) - USA: (NY) poultry, RFI
Avian Influenza Found in New York Live Bird Market; Japan and Taiwan Halt Poultry Exports from New York

USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) has confirmed H5N1 (presumably low pathogenic) from a live bird market in New York. According to USDA's agreement with Taiwan, FSIS has been notified to amend the FSIS Export Library to state that the export of poultry meat and meat products from the State of New York to Taiwan is prohibited effective immediately.

This is also the situation for Japan. (Snip)

Japan has agreed to exempt product from poultry slaughtered (or eggs laid) and shipped out of (or packaged with final packaging for FSIS meat products or officially sealed for table shell eggs) New York prior to 12 Dec 2012. Combined with previous "ineligible dates" from other bans (Snip).


It has become expected that Japan, Taiwan and often times Russian markets will ban poultry/poultry products, including eggs from markets identified as having low pathogenic strains of avian influenza.

Avian influenza (AI), commonly known as "bird flu," is caused by a virus that can infect domesticated and wild birds, including chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl. AI virus strains are classified into 2 groups by pathogenicity, or the ability of the virus to produce disease, in domestic chickens. Highly pathogenic (HPAI) virus strains are extremely infectious, often fatal to domestic poultry, and can spread rapidly from flock-to-flock. Low pathogenic (LPAI) virus strains occur naturally in wild birds without causing illness, but some are capable of mutating into HPAI viruses. It is believed to be this capacity to mutate that causes other countries to ban the poultry products.



(Note: Mojo emailed me about this ProMED article. This is the only information I can find on it right now but I will keep an eye out for verification that this is correct and any news that gives more details.)

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


From the National Chicken Council
This is the original article:

Avian Influenza Found in New York Live Bird Market; Japan and Taiwan Halt Poultry Exports from New York
January 11, 2013


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


[ Parent ]
Flu Epidemic: Officials, Drug Stores Say Call Ahead Before Getting Vaccine
The heightened demand for the flu vaccine has caused some providers to run out of doses, however officials said there are still plenty to go around and are encouraging people to call ahead before driving to a local clinic to get immunized.

National drug store chain Rite Aid is moving some of its supplies around to make sure each of their locations remain stocked, spokeswoman Ashley Flower said. "In select areas, just like everybody else, we are experiencing a reduced amount of shots," Flower told ABC News Radio. "We would certainly advise our customers to call their local Rite Aid before coming in to see what the status of the vaccine is at their location."

A new supply of the flu vaccine is expected to arrive in stores early next week, Flower said. Continued: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/f...

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


State seeks NCDC help to contain swine flu
JAIPUR: Alarmed over the 39 swine flu deaths since December, the medical health and family welfare department has sought the guidance of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to prevent the spread of the flu in the state.

A senior official of the department said they wanted to confirm whether the swine flu affected people more in low or at normal temperatures.

Last year in March, when swine flu reared its head, the medical health and family welfare department swung into action and held a meeting to direct the officials to step up efforts to deal with the increasing cases. The health department constituted around 60 teams in the state to monitor the situation.

The state witnessed resurfacing of swine flu in December. In March, the health department official had said that during the period the temperature was much higher but when then again in December and January the temperature was quite low. So, it flummoxed the health officials on whether temperature has any connection with the spread of the swine flu virus.


(Snip) over 232 persons tested positive for the disease in the state. The department has instructed to the chief medical health officers of all districts to keep proper stock of medicines for treatment of swine flu. They have been instructed to conduct survey in the areas where the swine flu cases were detected (Snip). http://timesofindia.indiatimes...

(Note: According to the figures given here the CFR is 16%. Of course, we never know the true number of cases or even the true number of deaths, since all are not tested and/or  reported. In my opinion, temperature seems to have no effect on the H1N1 swine flu virus. We've seen it in hot and cold weather in the US and other countries too.)

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


The above is the state of Rajasthan in India.
Map link: http://maps.google.com/maps?hl...

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


[ Parent ]
China: Shaanxi - A stream of cases over 20 schools must be closed

January 13 - Since winter Seasonal Influenza A (H1N1) clustered cases in individual counties (districts) schools in Shaanxi Province, Shaanxi Province Department of Education before the province's schools to do a good job of influenza clear in the prevention and control of emergency notification, the school in good morning check at the same time, the epidemic cases reached more than 20 school must be closed.

Shaanxi Provincial Department of Education requires all types of schools should (do) daily morning check (and) once the symptoms of acute respiratory infection (are found?) (temperature ≥ 37.5 ° C fever accompanied by cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, runny nose and other respiratory symptoms) be required to suspend the school, and (provide or recommend?) timely medical treatment. Schools should inform especially parents. (Snip) Good student daily absences registration, the class or school absenteeism increased within a short period of time, should keep abreast of the reasons for absence. Schools aggregation outbreak afternoon inspection should be increased.

Shaanxi Provincial Department of Education requires schools teacher organizations and urge students to good sanitation, classroom windows open for ventilation and sanitation, colleges and boarding schools, especially boarding schools in rural areas to enhance the dormitory management, through the dormitory administrator or life teachers urge students to do the windows open for ventilation and sanitary, to ensure dormitory cleaning, sanitation, ventilation. http://www.sn.xinhuanet.com/20...

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


Cambodia: H5N1 found in 20% of environmental samples from Cambodian bird markets
(CIDRAP) Jan. 9, 2013 - About 20% of environmental samples from Cambodian live-poultry markets were positive for H5N1 avian flu in a recent study (Snip). Cambodian researchers collected samples for 7 weeks in 2011 from poultry cages or stalls housing chickens and ducks at four live-poultry markets. Two of the markets were in Phnom Penh, one in Takeo province, and one in Kampong Cham-all in south-central Cambodia. Of the 502 environmental samples tested, 90 (18%) were H5N1-positive by polymerase chain reaction, and 10 (2%) by virus isolation, with water samples yielding the highest rates of positive findings. The researchers write that environmental sampling of these markets would better detect H5N1 than the current method of using cloacal or throat swabs, which they say rarely detects the virus. http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidr...

Jan 8 Emerg Infect Dis report  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/artic...  

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


CIDRAP: DARPA grant supports flu evolution study
A University of Massachusetts Medical School research team has received a $12 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop new ways to predict flu virus changes from antiviral drug and immune system pressures. The project is led by Robert W. Finberg, MD, chair and professor of medicine at the school (Snip). One approach is to conduct deep genetic sequencing of the flu virus before and after it is exposed to a pressure such as an antiviral drug. Finberg said (Snip) that he hopes the work will help predict how the virus evolves to escape immune system defenses. Determining what the future flu viruses will be might improve the accuracy of selecting the strains likely to cause severe disease in humans, which could lead to a better targeted vaccine (Snip). http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidr...
Jan 10 UMass Medical School press release 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


Jordan: Swine flu kills second Jordanian in week
The woman, who was in her forties, was taken to hospital last Sunday, suffering from pneumonia (Snip) "The woman was given necessary treatment after tests showed H1N1 infection but she died on Friday," (Snip).


On January 6, a 26-year-old man died of the virus, which has killed 25 people in Jordan in recent years. http://medicalxpress.com/news/...  

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


Palenstine: Official: Swine flu death toll rises to 15 in West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Fifteen people have died in the West Bank after contracting the Swine Flu virus, a Palestinian Authority health ministry official said Sunday.

(Snip) a woman died from the H1N1 virus on Sunday, (Snip) There have been 511 cases of Swine Flu in the West Bank and 19 in the Gaza Strip, he added.

Director of public health Dr. Asad Ramlawi said that the virus will most likely continue to spread in Palestine until around March.

(Snip) one person has also died from regular flu. (Snip). http://www.maannews.net/eng/Vi...

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


San Francisco Flu Leaves Residents Worried As Doctors Urge Vaccinations

Posted: 01/13/2013 12:04 pm EST  |  Updated: 01/13/2013 12:04 pm EST

As an especially severe flu epidemic sweeps the United States, with nearly 4,000 hospitalized since the beginning of October, people in the Bay Area are increasingly being affected by the disease.

While California is one of the in the places in the country least affected by the flu--one of the only a small handful of states rated on Google Flu Trends as having "high" rather than "intense" flu activity--the trend has pointed to exponential growth as the virus continues to spread.

"California is seeing an accelerated increase in flu activity over the past few weeks," Dr. Ron Chapman, director of of the state's Department of Public Health said in a statement.

Dr. Chapman noted that the flu season is likely to go for at least a few more weeks--usually peaking in February or March--and urges people get take measures to prevent from getting infected.

The Komnas Zoonosis Denies Bird Flu Bioterrorism
January 13, 2013, Author Dessy Sagita
Jakarta, Indonesia: Zoonosis National Control Commission denied any indication of bioterrorism elements in a new type of bird flu outbreak that has attacked thousands of ducks in Indonesia.  "It is too far to think like that, I do not see any indication of bioterrorism," said Secretary of the National Commission for Zoonotic, Emil Agustiono, Sunday (13/1).

Emil says the bird flu outbreak is most likely due to the clade 2.3.2 and a weak supervision of poultry transport so diseased birds could easily spread to the districts/cities.  "I believe 100 percent that our poultry traffic is bad, no controls, no certification of healthy birds, so sick ducks can move to another place," said Emil, who is also Deputy Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare, health and population.

Emil said, traffic poultry should be considered as a serious matter that involves many elements such as the Police Headquarters and the Ministry of transport.  "At each check point the eligibility of poultry should be checked, because if not then we'll just move the disease from one place to another," he said.

According to Emil, the emergence of a new AI clade, though worrying, is something reasonable.
"The genetic mutation is something natural, very possible, that does not need to be linked to terrorism," he said.

In addition to traffic monitoring of poultry that is still weak, the spread of bird flu has also exacerbated poor biosecurity.  "Biosecurity is also admittedly still weak.  Many consider because the condition is fine then there is no need to clean the cage.  It's dangerous," he concluded.

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

Flu Season 2013: Low Vaccine Supply

Note:This is the beginning of a transcript of a video from ABC News. The video is at the site.

Once again happy birthday. The latest on the deadly flu epidemic. Those who haven't received their flu shot could get shut out. The vaccine is in low supply and the outbreak to so bad people are now going to great lengths to avoid getting sick. [SNIP]

Reporter: [SNIP] Waiting inside an emergency room is probably one of the last places where people would like to spend their weekend. That's why many in the country are taking extra precautions to avoid the flu especially before heading out into a popular public place. This morning, churchgoers across the country may have one extra pit stop on their way to the pulpit. Many churches like this one in upstate new york hope to ward off  the flu epidemic by installing hand sanitizers, cleaning the nurseries, and wiping doors between each service. Normally the door handles and those type of things might be cleaned once a week.
They are now being cleaned daily.

Reporter: This just one of many precautions people are keeping in mind today as they head out to other public spaces. I kept a lot of hand sanitizer around. Make sure to wash my hands a lot. Stay away if people sick. Wiping down the phones with wipes. Keeping my hands off my face.

Reporter: Some are trying to stay ahead of the game. People waiting in long lines not for the latest blockbuster but to get the flu vaccine. Many pharmacies are experiencing shortages of the flu shot. In New York the governor declared a public health emergency which allows pharmacists to administer flu vaccination to those between 6 months and 18 years old. Is there enough to go around?

We reached out to a popular pharmacy chain. Currently we only have the flu shots for the ones that are 65 and up.

Reporter: Cvs dealing with the same shortages at their stores.

Flu shot flaws leave experts queasy

Note: This is an interesting article concerning the need for a universal flu vaccine. Dr Gregory Poland estmates it will take at least 10 years.

• Article by: MAURA LERNER , Star Tribune
• Updated: January 13, 2013 - 7:35 AM

The vaccine might be our best defense, but it inspires spotty confidence among doctors and patients.

The flu shot, it might be said, is the black sheep of the vaccine family. In good years, people ignore it because they think the flu is no big deal. In bad years -- like this one -- they complain that it doesn't work well enough.

But the biggest problem, says Dr. Gregory Poland, a leading vaccine researcher, is that scientists are still scrambling to understand the elusive virus and come up with a better alternative. And that means that every flu season, officials confront the challenge they're facing this year as deaths and hospitalizations mount: pleading with the American people to rally behind their best line of defense.

"Like every single man-made product, influenza vaccine is imperfect,'' said Poland, head of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic. "But I liken it to seat belts. Who would want to be in a crash without a seat belt?"


Flu Is Here: 5 Things Parents Must Do

Claire McCarthy, M.D.
Pediatrician, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Posted: 01/12/2013 5:07 pm

The flu is here, big time. According to the most recent influenza (flu) surveillance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
* 29 states are reporting high activity, 16 are reporting moderate (up from 9 the week before) and 47 say that there are flu cases throughout the state.
* Hospitalizations for flu have doubled since the week before
* 20 children have died from the flu this season

[Snip of  first 4 things parents must do to protect their children]

5. If you think you or your kids have the flu, call your doctor.
Note that I said "call." These days, doctors' waiting rooms are one of the best places to catch or give the flu. But do check in with your doctor if you have symptoms of the flu (which include fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, muscle aches, headache and sometimes vomiting or diarrhea), to see if you should get antiviral treatment. You probably won't need it, but that's for your doctor to decide--and if you do need it, the sooner you start it the better.

The CDC's flu website has everything you might need or want to know about the flu. You can also find out about flu cases in your area at the Flu Near You website--and find out where to get a flu shot with the Health Map Vaccine Finder (please!).

Phooey On Flu

Note: There is a GREAT video accompanying this article. It will give you a better understanding of the way viruses replicate. It's done with a sense of humor, too.

January 12, 2013 7:30 AM
A lot of you have had it by now, or are having it or are about to be exposed. This year's flu is called "H3N2" and this week it's doing big business in about 47 states, Chicago and New York. If you've had a flu shot and if you wash your hands several times a day for 20 seconds, (which is the time it takes to hum "Happy Birthday to You" two times through) you might reduce your odds of getting sick.
But your biggest ally is your immune system. It's hard, during flu season, to avoid inhaling a virus or two (or three, or 10,000), but that doesn't mean they're going to take you over. You have an army of defenders in you, ready to take them on.

Here's what the battle looks like, deep down in your cells. This is the happy version - when you win. [VIDEO]

The last time I posted this video, I added this caveat, which I want to add again: Your immune system includes mucus and other body fluids that trap the viruses and destroy them; You cough and sneeze a lot, which hurls them back out into the air where they usually die. Plus lots of viruses are dweebs. They don't work that well. Some don't have the right "keys" to invade healthy cells so they can't spread the infection. That is why most of the time, after a struggle (when you get a fever and need to lie down), your immune system rebounds, and, in time, so do you.

New York City parents scrambling to find flu shots in stock

Some area pharmacies and urgent care facilities were already out of flu shots Sunday, a day after Gov. Cuomo declared this influenza season a statewide public health emergency
SUNDAY, JANUARY 13, 2013, 1:44 PM

At Urgent Care Manhattan on Amsterdam Avenue and W. 69th St., Dr. Mark Melrose, an emergency physician and co-owner, ran out Saturday after doling out 10 times the normal number of flu shots. He said normally, during flu season, his office injects 2 or 3 people a day. On Saturday, his office administered 20 to 30 shots. "We ran out," Melrose said in between seeing patients. "We ordered a bunch that was supposed to be here. I think we gave out between 20 to 30 vaccines before we ran out."

Melrose said he should be restocked by early next week. He said he's noticed an uptick in people with the flu or flu like symptoms. He said around Thanksgiving, about 50 people a day came in with flu symptoms. Now, he's seeing 75 to 80 people.

New York parents Sunday were scrambling to find locations with shots in stock. Nanny Ethlyn Singh couldn't find a flu shot for her 18-year-old son. She said she struck out at both a Rite Aid in Queens and at the CVS on Manhattan's 100th Street. "Of course I'm concerned," she said. "Kids can die. It's terrible. A lot of kids have died already. It's terrible. It's so terrible... I don't want him to get sick. He's my only son."

Wyandotte Hospital Tackles Flu Myths v Facts

The Henry Ford Health System, including Wyandotte's Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, has released this fact sheet on the truths and myths of fighting the flu.


Flu Myth #1 A Flu Shot Causes the Flu


Flu Myth #2 The 'Stomach Flu' is a Form of the Flu
Many people use the term "stomach flu" to describe illnesses with nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. These symptoms can be caused by many different viruses, bacteria or even parasites. While vomiting, diarrhea, and being nauseous or "sick to your stomach" can sometimes be related to the flu - more commonly in children than adults - these problems are rarely the main symptoms of influenza. The flu is a respiratory disease and not a stomach or intestinal disease.

Flu Myth #3 The Flu Shot is Dangerous


Flu Myth #4 Younger, Healthier People Don't Need a Flu Shot
Every one who is at least 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine this season as everyone is at risk of infection. This includes health care workers, pregnant women, people 65 and older, people who have certain medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease, and people who live with or care for others who are high risk of developing serious complications.

Flu Myth #5 Antibiotics will Treat the Flu
Because flu is caused by viruses and not by bacteria, antibiotics aren't effective. Antiviral drugs can treat flu illness. They can make people feel better and get better sooner and may prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia, for example, that can lead to hospitalization and even death. These drugs are different from antibiotics, but they also need to be prescribed by a doctor. They work best when started during the first 2 days of illness. It's very important that antiviral drugs be used early to treat the flu in people who are very sick (for example people who are in the hospital) or people who are at greater risk of having serious flu complications. Other people with flu illness may also benefit from taking antiviral drugs and should see their physician.

Myth #6 The Vaccine Does Not Work, Why Get it


Myth #7 It's Too Early/Late to Receive a Flu Shot

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