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News Reports for February 7, 2013

by: NewsDiary

Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 18:14:35 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!

Austria
• Wave of influenza at its peak (Link)

Bangladesh
• Bangladesh Reports Another HPAI Outbreak (Link)

China
• Hong Kong: Hong Kong bans eggs from Cambodia (Link)

India
• Delhi: Swine flu is back - Three deaths, 57 cases reported (Link)
• Haryana & Punjab: Five test positive for swine flu, 2 docs from GMCH-32 (Link)
• Haryana & Punjab: H1N1 overpowers doctors (Link)
• Swine flu kills 95 in north India since January 1 (Link)

Sweden
• Swine flu claims another two lives in Sweden (Link)

United States
• CA: Flu-Related Deaths Rise to 30 in San Diego (Link)
• NY: 7 Healthcast: Video game may convince kids to get flu shots (Link)
• WA: Healthy 23-year-old woman dies from flu-related complications (Link)

Vietnam
Bird flu recurs, urgent warning released (Link)

Research
• Laser beams help flu monitoring, UGA research shows (Link)
• Study: Spread of HPAI Through Smallholder Ducks in Asia (Link)
• CIDRAP: Review finds little evidence of missed H5N1 infections (Link)

General
• Groomer Requiring Flu Shots For Dogs (Link)


• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for February 7, 2013

News for February 6, 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 is back - Three deaths, 57 cases reported (Delhi)
Swine flu has made a comeback and reportedly claimed three victims in the Capital this year. Fifty-seven such cases have already been confirmed by the health department.

(Snip)

The hospitals in the city have started reporting cases, allegedly with symptoms of the virus such as running nose, cough, etc. Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital has about five suspected cases of the disease undergoing treatment in the isolation ward.

Three of the cases - two men and a woman - were admitted to the hospital on Wednesday alone.

Confirming the news, Delhi health minister AK Walia said, "We have issued instructions for the medicines to be made available to all hospitals. I have been told that there have been swine flu deaths as well."

The city hospitals have been getting cases with swine-flu symptoms for the past two-three days. Continued: http://www.hindustantimes.com/...

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

     


India: Five test positive for swine flu, 2 docs from GMCH-32 (Haryana & Punjab)
Chandigarh: A day after the UT Health department claimed that swine flu was being contained, five fresh H1N1 Influenza A (Swine flu) cases have been reported Wednesday out of which two are doctors at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32.

One of the two doctors is from the department of Orthopaedics while the other is a female doctors in Pathology department. The doctors have been quarantined.

The other three cases reported in the city were para medical staff of PGIMER.

Out of five infected patients who tested positive Wednesday, two are females and two males including a 14 year-old-boy.

"There is no need to panic and such cases do not indicate any outbreak. Such cases are scattered cases which carry the virus from outside," said a health department official.

Instructions have been given to the positive patients and their contacts to remain quarantined for a period of one week, said the doctor.

Since September 2012, a total of 25 H1N1 positive cases have been reported from Chandigarh region with an overall total of 57 cases tested positive at PGI.

(Snip) the emphasis is laid on contact tracing so that chemoprophylaxis can be provided to the high risk contacts in order to limit the infection spread further. 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: H1N1 overpowers doctors (Haryana & Punjab)
CHANDIGARH: If the focus of your dread at the moment is swine flu, think twice before visiting a hospital, for even doctors are falling prey to the infection.

Five doctors have been confirmed with H1N1 at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. Although they were all discharged as the flu was managed on time, it shows that the flu virus is circulating in hospitals. The 25 flu infected people in the city also include five hospital staff from the PGI, who were reported positive since January.

All the doctors were quarantined in their houses for the last one week. Confirming that the five doctors have been given medications with their family members, Dr Aman of the hospital administration said, "They were being treated at their residence." (Snip).

The doctors were posted in different departments, including emergency and medicine. PGI doctors were recently inoculated with vaccine to prevent flu. "We had given vaccines to all staff members posted in sensitive areas, including emergency and wards. This can prevent infection for one year," said a senior resident doctor at PGI. Continued: http://timesofindia.indiatimes...

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

     


Swine flu claims another two lives in Sweden
Health authorities in Värmland county, in the west of central Sweden, have reported two recent deaths from swine flu at the county hospital in Karlstad.

A man in his 60s passed away last week, the regional Värmlands-Folkblad reported. A second patient, who was over 80, died on Wednesday. Three more patients have been treated for the disease in recent weeks.

"The flow of influence cases is pretty stable," (Snip)  "It's been pretty intense for a while and we haven't seen a decrease."

An increase in cases in neighbouring Norway could explain part of the disease's spread (Snip).

Among the five patients who were admitted in recent weeks, three had not had the swine flu vaccination, Wik said. Continued: http://www.thelocal.se/46048/2...

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

     


Vietnam: Bird flu recurs, urgent warning released
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has issued an urgent warning of bird flu after the deadly disease was recently detected in Tay Ninh Province.

At a February 5 meeting in Hanoi, the National Steering Committee for Bird Flu Control reported that bird flu recurred in Tay Ninh in late January, with outbreaks found at two farms in Ben Cau District and Tay Ninh Town. The total number of dead, sick, and culled birds amounted to nearly 3,500 (Snip).

Tay Ninh borders Cambodia where four out of five A/H5N1 human cases were confirmed dead in January 2013. It is dangerous that all the four dead cases live in areas that share borders with Vietnamese localities.

There is growing concern about a recurrence of bird flu when large amounts of chickens are used for meat during the lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.

(Snip) poor-quality chickens imported from China have been found in Hanoi's Ha Vi poultry wholesale market since late January. Continued: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/f...  

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

     


US: Flu-Related Deaths Rise to 30 in San Diego (California)
11 more San Diego County residents died from influenza last week, bringing the county's death toll up to 30, according to the County Health and Human Services Agency.

The number of deaths has now exceeded the county's record of 22 flu-related deaths in the 2003-04 season, not including the H1N1-related deaths from 2009 through 2011.

"We have had mild flu seasons in the past two years," said county public health officer Wilma Wooten in a previous article.  "[But] this year has strains that are making people sicker."

The ages of the victims ranges from 42 to 90, according to a statement from the County Health and Human Services Agency. All but one of the patients had underlying medical conditions.

(Snip)

The number of people who have died from the flu has risen from 19 last week to 30 this week. But the county is also seeing a quickly rising number of people affected by the flu as well. This week alone, the county reported 855 lab-confirmed flu cases.

The number of flu cases this season is nearly 3,000. Those cases make up 12 percent of all emergency visits now. Continued: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/new...  



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

     


Austria: Wave of influenza at its peak
The magistrate for health (MA 15) registered 12,600 new cases of influenza or flu-like infections in Vienna. The seasonal wave of influenza seems to have peaked.

The current wave of influenza in Vienna is not really over yet. The most prominent virus in Austria is the A(H1N1) virus from the swine flu pandemic in 2009/2010.

Virologists have also found the "older" A(H3N2) virus. There are also infections of the more harmless Influenza B. Continued: http://www.austriantimes.at/ne...

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

     


Laser beams help flu monitoring, UGA research shows
http://www.redandblack.com/uga...

[Interesting article...maybe someday we will have a tricorder like Mr. Spock's.] :)

Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 7:00 am | Updated: 10:38 pm, Wed Feb 6, 2013.
Jeanette Kazmierczak
Posted on February 7, 2013
by JEANETTE KAZMIERCZAK

What do you get if you add laser beams, silver nanorods, bits and pieces of a virus and four University of Georgia researchers?  A quicker, more effective tool for identifying highly contagious and deadly viruses.

"There are three things that are important in detection," said Ralph Tripp, a professor of infectious diseases and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. "One is the ability to sense when there is a problem. Second is to detect the shedding or spread of the virus or pathogen, even in food. And the third would be resolution. What we tried to do is add another parameter to look at, which would be the biomarkers."

The team - including Tripp, Richard Dluhy, Yiping Zhao and Stephen Tompkins - is looking for virulence factors - biomarkers in a virus's DNA that indicate that it is highly pathogenic, meaning it is highly contagious or deadly.
"So just like all people are a little bit different, all viruses are a little bit different even if it's still the flu," said Tompkins, an associate professor of infectious diseases. "You can get these variations in the genome - so the message that the virus encodes - that sometimes make it replicate more quickly or it disseminates to other tissues and it can cause more severe disease. So anything that makes the sickness worse is a virulence factor."

Dluhy, a professor of chemistry, said that most of the time a technique called polymerase chain reaction is used for analysis of viral DNA. But that method is slow - taking between four and 24 hours.

"We are interested in looking at molecular signatures where we can potentially look within 30 seconds or a minute or so and be able to say, 'OK, this is, or this is not, a high pathogenicity strain of flu,'" Dluhy said.

[continued at link]


Laser beams help flu monitoring, UGA research shows
http://www.redandblack.com/uga...

[Interesting article...maybe someday we will have a tricorder like Mr. Spock's.] :)

Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 7:00 am | Updated: 10:38 pm, Wed Feb 6, 2013.
Jeanette Kazmierczak
Posted on February 7, 2013
by JEANETTE KAZMIERCZAK

What do you get if you add laser beams, silver nanorods, bits and pieces of a virus and four University of Georgia researchers?  A quicker, more effective tool for identifying highly contagious and deadly viruses.

"There are three things that are important in detection," said Ralph Tripp, a professor of infectious diseases and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. "One is the ability to sense when there is a problem. Second is to detect the shedding or spread of the virus or pathogen, even in food. And the third would be resolution. What we tried to do is add another parameter to look at, which would be the biomarkers."

The team - including Tripp, Richard Dluhy, Yiping Zhao and Stephen Tompkins - is looking for virulence factors - biomarkers in a virus's DNA that indicate that it is highly pathogenic, meaning it is highly contagious or deadly.
"So just like all people are a little bit different, all viruses are a little bit different even if it's still the flu," said Tompkins, an associate professor of infectious diseases. "You can get these variations in the genome - so the message that the virus encodes - that sometimes make it replicate more quickly or it disseminates to other tissues and it can cause more severe disease. So anything that makes the sickness worse is a virulence factor."

Dluhy, a professor of chemistry, said that most of the time a technique called polymerase chain reaction is used for analysis of viral DNA. But that method is slow - taking between four and 24 hours.

"We are interested in looking at molecular signatures where we can potentially look within 30 seconds or a minute or so and be able to say, 'OK, this is, or this is not, a high pathogenicity strain of flu,'" Dluhy said.

[continued at link]


Groomer Requiring Flu Shots For Dogs
http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/loc...

Canine flu vaccine, which costs about $20, not required by state of Texas

By Lindsay Wilcox |  Wednesday, Feb 6, 2013  |  Updated 11:41 PM CSTView Comments (0) | Email | Print

A Tarrant County dog groomer is requiring all dogs have a flu vaccine before she'll board them or groom them.

Becky Langbein started Happy Tails out of her home 17 years ago. Since then, it's grown to two locations and 23 employees.

Langbein made the decision to require flu shots after hearing  a horror story from one of her employees.

A Colorado groomer had to shut its doors for weeks after 160 dogs all came down with the canine flu. A few of the dogs became severely ill, and it cost the owner thousands of dollars in lost business.

The requirement doesn't have anything to do with how bad the flu season has been for humans.  Canine flu is a completely different strain and poses little to no threat to humans according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But like the human flu, canine influenza is highly contagious.
[continued at link]


Healthy 23-year-old woman dies from flu-related complications
Read more: http://q13fox.com/2013/02/06/2...
Read more at http://q13fox.com/2013/02/06/2...

14 hours ago
by Hana Kim

OLYMPIA - A 23-year-old woman in Thurston County recently died from complications related to the flu, county health officials said Wednesday.

"Healthy young woman, no risk factors, gets sick for a couple of days. She gets better, then all of a sudden gets worse again. Next thing you know she is gone," said Thurston County health officer Dr. Diana Yu.

"This young woman's death is a sad reminder that the flu must be taken seriously," said Yu. "We're encouraging unvaccinated people of all ages to talk to their doctor about getting a flu vaccine. It's not too late to get vaccinated."

Yu said the flu shot is imperative, especially for the young and healthy.

"Now we know the vaccine doesn't work as well in the elderly, (but) we still give it to them. But it works best in healthy individuals," said Yu.

Seasonal influenza is a serious illness that each year kills about 36,000 Americans and sends more than 200,000 to the hospital. So far this season, 28 flu-related deaths have occurred in Washington, the Thurston County health officials said.

[continued at link]



7 Healthcast: Video game may convince kids to get flu shots
 http://www1.whdh.com/features/...

Posted: 02/06/13

NEW YORK (NBC) -- Doctors and a team of college video game designers have collaborated on a new video game they hope will alleviate children's fears about getting a flu shot.

"I'm not a fan of the needle," said 10-year-old Nick Martinez of Rosedale, just after playing the game called "Flu Busters."

"But now I understand the dangers of the flu," he said.

That's music to the ears of Dr. Leonard Krilov, a Winthrop University hospital pediatric specialist who believed something unique was needed to convince kids the flu shot wasn't a bad thing.

"A lot of our patients, especially the adolescents, were not getting immunized," said Krilov.

Krilov turned to some older kids for help -- a digital game design team at Long Island University Post college in Brookville, on Long Island.

"I hated needles, too but I hated getting the flu more," said college senior Sam Zarahn, a member of the design team.

[continued at link]


Bangladesh Reports Another HPAI Outbreak
http://www.thepoultrysite.com/...

07 February 2013

BANGLADESH - The Bangladeshi veterinary authorities have reported another outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) at a commercial poultry farm in Dhaka.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received follow-up report no. 4 on 5 February.

Out of 153,477 susceptible birds, 8509 cases were reported. The remaining 144,968 birds were destroyed.

The source or origin of the outbreaks remains inconclusive.

Several control measures have been applied to control the spread of the disease in the country


Hong Kong bans eggs from Cambodia
http://www.worldpoultry.net/La...

Hong Kong has banned the import of poultry eggs from Cambodia, following the outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in an Cambodian village.

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department received notification from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on January 31 of the outbreak and immediately imposed the ban.

A CFS spokesman said Hong Kong does not import any live poultry or poultry meat from Cambodia, but, according to records, about 170,000 poultry eggs were imported into Hong Kong from Cambodia last year.
[snip]


Study: Spread of HPAI Through Smallholder Ducks in Asia
February 7, 2013
http://www.worldpoultry.net/Ot...
Indonesia:  Ducks are considered to play an important role in the transmission and maintenance of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus. However, there is limited information on duck management practices in countries where HPAI is endemic. A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted on 96 'stationary' smallholder duck farms in Indonesia to describe the management of ducks and to identify practices that could potentially promote the risk of HPAI spread.

The mean flock size was 29 ducks, ranging from 1 up to 150 birds. Both the sale and the consumption of eggs were the most important purposes of duck keeping, followed by the use of droppings for fertilizer and the production of meat ducks. About 77% of duck owners allowed their ducks to scavenge. Important hazards for interspecies HPAI virus transmission related to scavenging were identified: 1) intermingling between ducks and chickens on duck farms (48%); 2) frequent contact with neighbours' chickens (44%); 3) visits to the same paddies by duck flocks from other farms (88%); 4) in the paddies, contact between duck flock and other ducks, chickens, people and wild birds was reported by 88%, 30%, 80% and 77% of duck owners, respectively; 5) the keeping of singing birds by 17% of farmers; 6) predators such as the small Asian mongoose (Herpestes javanicus) (25%) and feral cats (20%) visiting the scavenging areas (these species are susceptible to HPAI infection and might play a role in the spread of the HPAI virus).

Many duck owners associated deaths of their birds with the use of pesticides in the rice paddies, and appeared to be more concerned about pesticide toxicity, problems that inhibit scavenging ability and external parasites than about HPAI, which in general was not considered to be of high importance. Hence HPAI vaccination or preventive culling of ducks during disease outbreaks was not conducted on the study farms.


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


Review finds little evidence of missed H5N1 infections
http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidr...

Robert Roos  News Editor
Feb 6, 2013 (CIDRAP News) - The authors of a new review say there is little evidence of unrecognized human cases of H5N1 avian influenza, but the studies done so far have too many limitations to settle the controversial question.

Researchers from the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center reviewed 29 serologic studies and found only four that identified anyone carrying antibodies to currently circulating H5N1 strains. But many of the studies reviewed had methodologic problems, such as lacking a comparison group with no exposure to the virus.

The authors say their findings suggest that mild or asymptomatic cases H5N1 cases are probably few, but the studies done so far are not capable of determining "the true prevalence or severity of H5N1 infections." Their findings were published online yesterday in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The debate over the existence of mild or asymptomatic H5N1 cases has continued for years and was renewed last year amid the controversy over experiments in which lab-modified H5N1 viruses were found to have airborne transmissibility in ferrets.

The question centers on whether H5N1 is really as dangerous as it appears from the 59% case-fatality rate (CFR) in confirmed human cases recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Some scientists argue that many mild or asymptomatic human cases may have gone unrecognized, which would mean the 59% CFR is too high and the virus is less fearsome than it seems. But others point to a number of serologic studies conducted in recent years, in which few people in H5N1-affected areas were found to have antibodies suggesting previous mild or unrecognized infections.

[continued at link]


Swine flu kills 95 in north India since January 1
NEW DELHI: North India suddenly finds itself facing a sharp upsurge of swine flu cases, with the virus having claimed 95 lives in just four states of the region so far this year.

As per health ministry data, 64 people have died due to H1N1 influenza in Rajasthan while 18 deaths have been reported from Haryana, 10 from Punjab and three in Delhi till Wednesday. As many as 494 cases have come to light in these states in the first 37 days of the year.

While the reason behind the spurt is being investigated, experts say the prolonged winter in the north may have played a role.

"In the past month or so, temperatures in north India have been in a range that coincides with the maximum spread of this air-borne disease. The virus was always present in the environment and favourable weather conditions gave it an opportunity to strike," said Dr Ekta Gupta, a virologist at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in New Delhi.

She said viruses have a cyclic nature, with periods when infections increase sharply followed by spells when cases remain low. Since the virus is relatively new, more people are susceptible, she added.

More than 600 cases of the virus infection have been reported across the country in 2013. Continued: http://timesofindia.indiatimes...

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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