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News Reports for February 3, 2013

by: NewsDiary

Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 23:52:50 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!

• Areco hospital evacuated by a strange respiratory infection (translated) (Link)
• Four confirmed cases of influenza A in Argentina (translated) (Link)

• CIDRAP: WHO confirms 5 recent H5N1 cases in Cambodia (Link)

• Karnataka: Swine flu detected in Bhatkal; Woman dies at Manipal (Link)
• Punjab: Swine flu 'under control' in Punjab (Link)
• Punjab: Two more get swine flu (Link)
• Rajasthan: Death rate among swine flu patients on a high (Link)
• Gujarat: Swine flu claims two lives in Gujarat (Link)

• Health official: Panic over swine flu justified (Link)

United States
• Washington, DC: Scenes from the Illiad: Flu outbreak causes epic tales of woe across Washington region (Link)

• CIDRAP: Study - Airborne flu viruses may play big role in transmission (Link)
• The PB2, PA, HA, NP, and NS genes of a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus A/whooper swan/Mongolia/3/2005 (H5N1) are responsible for pathogenicity in ducks (Link)

• UN agency warns of new global bird flu threat (Link)
• Why Our Health Depends on Treating Animals Better (Link)

• Recombinomics: US Pediatric Flu Deaths Increase To 62 (Link)
• Recombinomics: First US 2013 H3N2 Sequence Has T128A (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for February 3, 2013

News for February 2, 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 January 16, 2013
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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India: Swine flu detected in Bhatkal; Woman dies at Manipal (Karnataka)
Bhatkal: The first death of the year due to the dangerous H1N1 flu has been witnessed in Bhatkal recently. The deceased is identified as Remandi D'Souza (27), a resident of Chandrahitlu in Kaikini gram Panchayat limit near Murdeshwar. Earlier three deaths were reported due to H1N1 infections in the Uttar Kannada district, including one from Bhatkal.


It is learnt that Remandi D'souza, wife of Anthony D'souza, was working in the neighboring state of Goa as a domestic help from past 6-7 months. At the initial stage, she was given normal treatment for fever, but as the situation worsened, she was admitted to Manipal hospital in ICU under specialized supervision. (Snip) Remandi took her last breath on Thursday night and lost her life as a victim of swine flue.

High alert in Bhatkal : (Snip) The family members of the deceased were taken to Manipal for checkup and were adviced regarding the precautions for the swine flu. (Snip) The health department is on high alert and are ready to cooperate with the people in any such case. http://www.sahilonline.org/eng...

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


India: Swine flu 'under control' in Punjab
CHANDIGARH, 1 FEB: With increasing cases of Swine flu being reported from various parts of Punjab, state Health Minister (Snip) said "the situation is fully under control".

Denying reports that the outbreak of swine flu has reached at an alarming stage, the minister said: "Although some cases of swine flu have been reported, the situation has not deteriorated like it has been reported."


At least, 10 deaths have been reported in the state. A minimum of 18 cases have been reported from Chandigarh. In neighbouring Haryana, more than 31 cases have been reported in January alone.  http://www.thestatesman.net/in...

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


India: Two more get swine flu (Punjab)
LUDHIANA: Swine flu continues to scare the city as the health department authorities confirmed two more positive cases of the disease on Saturday.

(Snip) "Two patients from Christian Medical College tested positive for swine flu. Both are Ludhiana residents." http://timesofindia.indiatimes...

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


[ Parent ]
India: Death rate among swine flu patients on a high (Rajasthan)
JAIPUR: Almost one out of five persons tested positive for swine flu died in the past 46 days in the state. Ever since the influenza has reared up its head again, the health department is concerned over the high death rate.

Figures show that from December 13, 2012 to January 28, 2013, nearly 378 persons were tested positive for swine flu, out of whom 70 had died. The death rate is as high as 18.51%, which is much higher in comparison to the death rate in 2009-10 and 2010-11.
Majority of the swine flu cases reported till date were detected in 2009-10 and 2010-11, when swine flu struck in the state first, but the death rate in 2009-10 was just 5.87% and in 2010-11, it was 7.58%.

So far, nearly 5,452 people have been tested positive for swine flu since 2009. Among them, as many as have 427 died till date. The death rate due to swine flu since 2009 till date remained at 7.83%.

In comparison with the previous year, the swine flu cases reported this year is much higher, which keeps the health department on its toes to find more information about the trait of the virus. In 2011-12, only 100 cases were reported and 20 of them died. But till date from April 1, 2012, already 595 swine flu cases have been reported. Deaths due to swine flu has increased by five times this financial year in comparison to the previous year. Continued: http://timesofindia.indiatimes...

(Note: Very alarming CFR and yet not one word about this from WHO!! Why am I not surprised? Has anyone checked lately to see if any of the upper management of WHO are even showing up for work these days? JMO)

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


US Pediatric Flu Deaths Increase To 62
Recombinomics Commentary

Eight influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported to CDC during week 4. Five were associated with influenza A (H3) viruses and occurred during weeks 3 and 4 (weeks ending January 19 and 26, 2013), one was associated with an influenza A virus for which the subtype was not determined and occurred during week 4 (week ending January 26, 2013), and two were associated with influenza B viruses and occurred during week 1 (week ending January 5, 2013).

A total of 45 influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported during the 2012-2013 season from New York City [1] and 20 states (Arkansas [1], Arizona [1], Colorado [5], Florida [5], Hawaii [1], Indiana [1], Kansas [1], Maine [1], Massachusetts [1], Michigan [4], Minnesota [1], Nebraska [1], New Jersey [4], New York [3], Ohio [1], South Carolina [1], Tennessee [1], Texas [9], Washington [1], and Wisconsin [1]).

The chart ( http://www.recombinomics.com/N... ) places the 8 pediatric flu deaths reported in the week 4 FluView.  As noted in the above description, the two cases from week 1 were influenza B, while the six more recent cases were influenza A.  These more recent cases begin to represent results from the large spike in hospitalizations, as well as the P&I spike seen in weeks 3 and 4.  


The 17 cases below increase the number of pediatric cases confirmed or suspected to 62 for this season.

FluView pediatric cases (45)
Wk #   Location
04  8   NJ(2) FL TX(2) CO AZ HI
03  8   NYC FL(2) TX CO(4)
02  9   MA NY(2) OH MN NE TX(2) MI
01  2   KS TX
52  2   MI NY
51  8   AR FL ME MI(2) TX WA WI
50  2   NJ
49  1   TX
48  3   IN FL SC
46  1   TX
41  1   TN

Pediatric deaths not in FluView (17)
03  2   NJ+ NH
02  5   OH+ DE* MD* CA* IL+
52  1   IN
49  1   OH#

* = Lab confirmed
+ = Under investigation
# = Obituary report



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


First US 2013 H3N2 Sequence Has T128A
Recombinomics Commentary

The CDC has released its first set of 2013 H3N2 sequences (at GISAID), A/Virginia/03/2013, from a patient (76F) in Virginia, collected on January 4.  The H3 sequences had T128A, which abolishes the glycosylation site at position 126.  This change is becoming increasingly common in H3N2 sequences in the United States as well as across the world, including recent sequences in Europe and Africa. This same change was present in the vaccine target for the 2004-05 season, A/Wyoming/03/2003, which was developed after the severe 2003-04 season which featured an H3N2 related to A/Fujian/411/2002.  This Fujian H3N2 produced a Pneumonia and Influenza Death Rate of 10% in the United States which was associated with 154 pediatric deaths.  The high fatality rate led to requirements for the reporting of all flu lab confirmed pediatric deaths in the United States, and some states also made the reporting of all adult fatal influenza cases under the age of 65 reportable also.

The Virginia sequence is closely related to A/Iowa/14/2012, which is one of the two H3N2 sequences this season that the CDC has designated as a low reactor, indicating the current H3N2 vaccine poorly recognizes this sequences, which is almost certainly largely due to the loss of the glycosylation site at position 126, which was also linked to the spread of H3N2 in 2003-04.  In addition to the 2013 Virginia sequence, the CDC also released 6 additional December 2012 sequences, and 4 of the 6 are closely related to the Virginia sequence and have T128A...... 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


CIDRAP: WHO confirms 5 recent H5N1 cases in Cambodia
The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed five cases of H5N1 avian flu that were reported in Cambodia in the past week, four of which were fatal. (Snip) The sole surviving patient is an 8-month-old boy from Phnom Penh, who the WHO said had only mild flu-like symptoms (Snip).

The others were a 17-year-old girl from Takeo province (Snip), a 9-year-old girl from Kampot province, and a 35-year-old man and 17-month-old girl, both from Kong Pisey district in Kampong Speu province. The agency did not say whether those two cases shared any connection.

Disease-onset dates ranged from Jan 9 to 15. Four of the five patients had contact with sick or dead poultry before they became ill.

(Snip) rapid-response teams are investigating close contacts and seeing if there are any epidemiologic links among the patients. The number of WHO-confirmed cases in Cambodia since 2005 has now reached 26, of which 23 have been fatal. The global count now stands at 615 H5N1 cases and 364 deaths...... Continued with links to Reports http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidr...

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


CIDRAP: Study: Airborne flu viruses may play big role in transmission
Feb 1, 2013 (CIDRAP News) - Patients with flu in hospital settings often produce small virus-containing particles during routine care that may travel up to 6 feet, casting doubt on whether current infection control measures are enough to protect healthcare workers, according to a new study.

Researchers also found that some of the flu patients were "super spreaders" who may be more likely to spread the disease than others. The findings, by a team from Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina, appeared this week in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The role of aerosols in flu transmission has been murky and controversial. The topic became a hot-button issue during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic when federal officials, professional groups, and hospitals were faced with making science-based recommendations to protect health workers, using often-inconclusive data. Many recommendations are based on the thought that flu viruses are primarily spread by large-particle droplets that travel relatively short distances, typically less than 3 feet from an infected person. The scientific literature is less clear about the role of small-particle aerosols that can travel longer distances and be inhaled more deeply into the lungs.

The study took place during the 2010-11 flu season in the emergency department (ED) and inpatient care units at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Researchers used a convenience sample of 94 patients ages 2 and older who were admitted to the ED or to inpatient care and were screened for flulike illness. The facility has a mandatory flu vaccination policy for its healthcare workers.

Respiratory samples were taken for rapid testing and for real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) testing. Researchers also used air samplers to assess the patterns of airborne flu viruses. The devices were placed about 1, 3, and 6 feet from the patients' head level. No aerosol-generating procedures such as bronchoscopy were done during air sampling.

Patients were administered a questionnaire about their disease symptoms and were asked to report their illness severity and its interference with daily activities, using a visual analog scale.

During illness screening, the research team counted and assessed patients' coughs and sneezes.

Sixty-one (65%) of the 94 patients tested positive for influenza, and 26 (43%) of those flu patients released influenza viruses into the air, according to the study.

Five (19%) of the 61 patients-the "super spreaders" or "super emitters"-produced up to 32 times more viruses than others. Researchers found that those patients had high viral loads in their respiratory samples and reported having greater illness severity. In addition, the investigators found that emitters exceeded the airborne 50% human infectious dose of flu at all sample locations.

When the team analyzed the air samples, they found that 89% of flu viruses were found in small particles (less than 4.7 micrograms) up to 6 feet from the patient's head, with concentrations that decreased with distance. Researchers emphasize that the study only identified virus-laden particles near patients during routine care and didn't gauge actual transmission.

They concluded that health workers could be exposed to infectious doses of flu viruses up to 6 feet from patients, which calls into question current recommendations. Standard procedures focus on droplet precautions requiring surgical masks for routine care and special instructions including N-95 respirator use during aerosol-generating procedures. 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


This is a really good article!
I like that it describes the study's design.

[ Parent ]
Israel: Health official - Panic over swine flu justified
An Israeli health official says the public panic regarding mounting fears of a swine flu epidemic is "generally justified." More than 100 cases of swine flu have been diagnosed since December, and several deaths have already been accorded to the disease.

Prof. Haim Bibi, pediatrics director at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, tried to calm the fears, saying that although there were some mortalities, "the range of the disease is wide, and some suffer more than others. (Snip) "The few who do are mostly children who suffer complications," he added.


The Hadassah Mount Scopus and Ein Kerem medical centers in Jerusalem diagnosed 11 patients with swine flu last week. Some have already been released, and others are still under care. The two hospitals said that since December they have diagnosed 105 cases of swine flu. More have been diagnosed with swine flu around the country and are in varying conditions. 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


UN agency warns of new global bird flu threat

January 29, 2013 in Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

The UN food agency on Tuesday warned the world risked a surge in bird flu outbreaks unless countries strengthen their monitoring against dangerous animal diseases despite economic hardship.

"The continuing international economic downturn means less money is available for prevention of H5N1 bird flu and other threats of animal origin," Juan Lubroth, chief veterinary officer at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said in a statement. "Even though everyone knows that prevention is better than cure, I am worried because in the current climate governments are unable to keep up their guard," he was quoted as saying.

The Rome-based agency warned large reservoirs of the H5N1 virus still exist in parts of Asia and the Middle East where the disease has become endemic. "Without adequate controls, it could easily spread globally as it did at its peak in 2006, when 63 countries were affected," the agency said. The virus killed more than 300 people between 2003 and 2011, as well as forcing the culling of 400 million domestic chickens and ducks and causing an estimated $20 billion (15 billion euros) in damages.

Why Our Health Depends on Treating Animals Better

Posted: 02/01/2013 5:45 pm

An international group of scientists recently ended a year-long moratorium on controversial research on potentially deadly strains of the H5N1 avian flu virus. The purpose of the research was to engineer strains of H5N1 in order to understand how it might gain the ability to spread easily among people.

Regardless of whether or not this research continues, you can bet one thing: Our risk for a deadly form of the "bird flu" virus and other pathogens remain high as long as we don't improve our treatment of animals.

Our unprecedented worldwide demand for meat, eggs, and dairy products is proving to be hazardous -- both to other animals and to us. In the U.S. alone, more than 9 billion land animals are slaughtered annually for meat -- that's about 1 million animals per hour -- and world meat production is expected to double by 2020. [1] Animals raised for food are now ubiquitously crammed into factory farms, living in profoundly filthy and cruel conditions, which reduces their ability to fight off infections.

By cramming billions of animals into factory farms, we have created a worldwide natural laboratory for the rapid development of a deadly and highly infectious form of H5N1 and other influenza viruses. Despite numerous attempts to curtail the virus, including vaccinating and "culling" chickens, H5N1 keeps reemerging and will do so as long as factory farms exist.

[continued at link]

The PB2, PA, HA, NP, and NS genes of a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus A/whooper swan/Mongolia/3/2005 (H5N1) are responsible for pathogenicity in ducks

Wild ducks are the natural hosts of influenza A viruses. Duck influenza, therefore, has been believed inapparent infection with influenza A viruses, including highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs) in chickens.

In fact, ducks experimentally infected with an HPAIV strain, A/Hong Kong/483/1997 (H5N1) (HK483), did not show any clinical signs. Another HPAIV strain, A/whooper swan/Mongolia/3/2005 (H5N1) (MON3) isolated from a dead swan, however, caused neurological dysfunction and death in ducks.MethodTo understand the mechanism whereby MON3 shows high pathogenicity in ducks, HK483, MON3, and twenty-four reassortants generated between these two H5N1 viruses were compared for their pathogenicity in domestic ducks.

Results: None of the ducks infected with MON3-based single-gene reassortants bearing the PB2, NP,or NS gene segment of HK483 died, and HK483-based single-gene reassortants bearing PB2, NP, or NS genes of MON3 were not pathogenic in ducks, suggesting that multiple gene segments contribute to the pathogenicity of MON3 in ducks.

All the ducks infected with the reassortant bearing PB2, PA, HA, NP, and NS gene segments of MON3 died within five days post-inoculation, as did those infected with MON3. Each of the viruses was assessed for replication in ducks three days post-inoculation.

MON3 and multi-gene reassortants pathogenic in ducks were recovered from all of the tissues examined and replicated with high titers in the brains and lungs.

Conclusion: The present results indicate that multigenic factors are responsible for efficient replication of MON3 in ducks. In particular, virus growth in the brain might correlate with neurological dysfunction and the disease severity.

Author: Masahiro KajiharaYoshihiro SakodaKosuke SodaKenji MinariMasatoshi OkamatsuAyato TakadaHiroshi Kida
Credits/Source: Virology Journal 2013, 10:45

Scenes from the Illiad: Flu outbreak causes epic tales of woe across Washington region

This article is full of anecdotal reports of flu sufferers in the Washington DC area:

[big snip]
The city is watching back-to-back episodes of "Criminal Minds" on A&E, is trying to get a head start on the February book-club book, is tweeting that its arms are too tired to hold up the February book-club book. The city keeps calling its wife and saying, "Can you bring home some Gatoraaaade?"

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes, every week, the FluView: Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report Prepared by the Influenza Division. It includes a map of the country. The hardest-hit areas are red and orange. Things have been getting better, steadily over the past week. But still. Almost the entire country is red and orange.

Note: Here's the link mentioned above:


The link above is really worth a look.
It gives a complete look at the flu situation around the country.

[ Parent ]
India: Swine flu claims two lives in Gujarat
A pregnant woman and a five-year-old girl have succumbed to swine flu here today (Snip).

A pregnant woman (Snip) from Kadia village of Nakhtrana tehsil, who was undergoing treatment at a private hospital, died of swine flu (Snip).

The girl, a native of Kanthkot village of Bachchau tehsil, who had been admitted to Civil Hospital on January 31, also died today (Snip). The minor girl had tested positive for the dreaded H1N1 virus yesterday (Snip). http://www.business-standard.c...

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


Areco hospital evacuated by a strange respiratory infection
(Note: I just found this on the mystery illness in Carmen de Areco. It is dated January 30, 2013 and gives more details than I have been able to find before now. According to this, 12 people are ill with 10 of them being nurses that worked in intensive care and 3 people have died. They have evacuated the hospital and transferred everyone, including these 12 to other facilities. That makes no sense to me since there is a chance the infected patients could spread the illness.)


Twelve patients, ten nurses of the institution, were affected. Two are serious.

A strange respiratory infection has been the provincial hospital emergency Nuestra Señora del Carmen de Areco, and all the inmates were transferred to other nearby health centers, while the most serious, with symptoms of respiratory infection, were referred to the Hospital Rossi La Plata. Two of them are in intensive care.

Those infected with the virus are ten hospital workers who were in direct contact with the intensive care of the institution, and two families of workers, one of them was hospitalized and the other took care of the boarding, denounced from the Association of Workers State (ATE).

Speaking to Perfil.com, Vanina Rodriguez, ATE Health area, said that after a meeting they had today with the Ministry of Health of Buenos Aires was agreed to continue with the evacuation of the hospital. "They moved to inpatients, whether they have symptoms of infection, such as those found with other diseases," he said. "The hospital is empty, with minimal guards, and sent a mobile hospital that is performing the functions of outpatient, "he added.

The Ministry reported to this site this afternoon were meeting the provincial director of Primary Health Care, Luis Crovetto, with epidemiologists, and so far is unknown infection that spread in the hospital of Carmen de Areco, only High complexity from General Rodriguez to Junin.

Two days ago, meanwhile, reported after caesarean analyzes, it is not swine flu or other respiratory viruses. Then, the samples were sent to the laboratory to see if Malbrán is nosocomial infections by germs like Legionella, chlamydia or mycoplasma.

Of the twelve patients with symptoms, ten are nurses. Two of them, women ages 38 to 49, are admitted to the intensive care Rossi. One is serious, in a coma. Six other patients were also derived platense today at the same hospital, and the remaining four are under observation at home.

"It started four weeks ago, the Ministry took action a few days following the communication we had from ATE with them last Wednesday, because the management of the hospital management had no complaints for" complained Rodriguez. He added: "All this could have been avoided with the necessary measures corresponding times."

Rodriguez also said that, during this time, killing three patients who were hospitalized in intensive care and has not yet determined whether the deaths could have been caused by the same virus. http://www.perfil.com/contenid...

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


This is in Argentina.

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


[ Parent ]
Four confirmed cases of influenza A in Argentina
Buenos Aires, February 2 (PL) The Ministry of Health confirmed today that four cases of swine flu at a hospital in Buenos Aires city of Carmen de Areco, but denied that there is movement in Argentina viral disease.

Laboratory studies confirmed the presence of viral genome in four of the 11 afflicted by infection, which affected nine workers and two patients in the intensive care unit of a hospital in that city.

(Snip) the first case would correspond to those that occurred in a patient who entered the country with the virus from the United States and spread to people I had contact only in the area of ​​the hospital.

(Snip) since the closure of the intensive care unit of the hospital, 10 days ago, "have not detected new cases of the disease".

(Hmmm, this statement was made on Jan. 30th: "Two days ago, meanwhile, reported after caesarean analyzes, it is not swine flu or other respiratory viruses." Now 4 of them have tested positive for H1N1?)

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


[ Parent ]
Link to the above article:

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


[ Parent ]
Please post new news stories to...

News Reports for February 4, 2013

Thank you!

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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