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News Reports for February 13, 2013

by: NewsDiary

Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 18:30:47 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!

• Cambodia has difficulties to contain spreading bird flu (Link)
• Toddler is Cambodia's 6th bird flu death of year (Link)

• Guiyang: One H5N1 patient dies in SW China (Link)
• Guiyang: 21-year-old woman dies of bird flu in Guiyang, China (Link)

• Georgian public called to vaccinate against H1N1 flu (Link)

• Chhattisgarh: Health dept issues a swine flu alert in state (Link)
• Punjab & Haryana: Swine flu: Experts worried by rising cases, advise caution (Link)

• Moroccan dies from influenza AH1N1 fisherman and eleven more are with the virus (translated) (Link)

United Kingdom
• Relative of 'Sars' patient now also in hospital with infection (Link)
• SARS-Like Virus May Have Spread Person-to-Person (Link)

• Coronavirus: Signs the new Sars-like virus can spread between people (Link)
• Flu Outbreaks Modeled by New Study of Classroom Schedules (Link)

• Recombinomics: Media Myth On Beta Coronavirus Source (Link)
• Declan Butler: When Google got flu wrong  (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for February 13, 2013

News for February 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 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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Cambodia has difficulties to contain spreading bird flu
PHNOM PENH- Following the death of a five-year-old girl from Takeo province last Thursday - Cambodia's fifth death from bird flu in the new year - health representatives have noted the limits of the government's ability to control the outbreak.

Circulation of poultry through unofficial means and owners' unwillingness to risk losing their poultry by reporting sick birds were two impediments to stopping the spread of the disease (Snip)

Although both Cambodia and Vietnam have tightened the monitoring of poultry due to Cambodia's recent H5N1 cases, authorities have little power to prevent the movement of free-range ducks from village to village, or even between the two countries (Snip). "The border is so long," said Buchy. "Especially if the border is in the middle of rice fields, birds can easily cross."

(Snip) authorities' inability to inspect all poultry in transit - including those carried casually on motorcycles - was the fact that "there's no incentive to report poultry deaths" (Snip).

(Snip) poultry owners often begin taking sick and dead birds seriously only after humans start dying from the virus.

(Snip) in Takeo's neighbouring Snao commune, the home of one of January's victims, officials in Prey Lvea, where the latest victim died, would not require the killing and burning of poultry until they had received further orders from Phnom Penh (Snip).

(Snip) due to lack of compensation policy, ordering the slaughter of poultry was a local-level decision. http://www.traveldailynews.asi...

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


Georgian public called to vaccinate against H1N1 flu
TBILISI, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Public health workers in Georgia have called upon the public to vaccinate against H1N1 influenza which has caused three deaths this year in the country.

The call was made after the Georgian national center for disease control reported the first H1N1 flu-caused death in the capital city of Tbilisi. (Snip) country-wide 10 new cases were reported with the H1N1 flu infections this year.

All three deaths were caused by H1N1 flu-caused complications in the lungs, according to the center.

Known as the A(H1N1) or swine flu among the media, its first infection in Georgia was registered in 2009. The flu has caused 38 deaths so far in the South Caucasus country where 567 cases have been reported for H1N1 flu infections. Continued: http://news.xinhuanet.com/engl...

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


Moroccan dies from influenza AH1N1 fisherman and eleven more are with the virus

Rabat, Feb. 10 (EFE). - A fisherman of 40 years died in Dakhla (Western Saharan) infected with the H1N1 influenza virus, (Snip) there are more than eleven cases fishermen in the same boat with the virus.

Cases of influenza were reported Friday by the Regional Directorate of Health of Rio de Oro-Lagüera, in southern Moroccan-administered Western Sahara.

The dead sailor was "affected by a chronic disease," (Snip) while his eleven companions hit by the virus "grave no symptoms."

Apparently, the sailor died in the fishing boat, and therefore, when the ship docked in the port of Dakhla, sanitation sent a medical team to perform analyzes to all other and proceed to the appropriate prophylactic measures.

By detecting other eleven cases, and although not serious, the ministry has launched a warning device in the various health facilities for how to respond in case there are new cases. Continued: http://www.diariovasco.com/age...


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


One H5N1 patient dies in SW China
GUIYANG, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- One of two people confirmed by the Ministry of Health to have contracted avian influenza H5N1 died in a hospital in southwest China's city of Guiyang Wednesday morning.

The patient, a 21-year-old woman, died of multiple organ failure at the Guizhou Provincial People's Hospital at 9:41 a.m. Wednesday.

The woman and the other patient, a 31-year-old man, are both Guiyang residents. They developed symptoms on Feb. 2 and 3, respectively. Both of them tested positive for the H5N1 virus on Sunday (Snip).

Epidemic control experts have not found any indication that the patients had close contact with birds, nor have they found any epidemiological connection between the two cases.

People who have had close contact with the two patients have been put under medical observation. None have exhibited symptoms. Continued: http://news.xinhuanet.com/engl...

(Note: Anytime the Chinese government admits there are human H5N1 cases, I always figure what they are admitting is only the tip of the iceburg. So I'm wondering...... how many human cases are there really in Guiyang? JMO)

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


21-year-old woman dies of bird flu in Guiyang, China
A woman in southwestern China died of bird flu on Wednesday, state media said (Snip). The 21-year-old patient from Guiyang passed away 13 days after showing symptoms, Xinhua news agency said, citing the health ministry.

Another city resident, a 31-year-old man who developed signs of the virus around the same time, was reported over the weekend to be in critical condition.


China is considered one of the nations most at risk from bird flu epidemics because it has the world's biggest poultry population and many chickens in rural areas are kept close to humans.

Separate outbreaks among birds were reported last year in the northern region of Ningxia and the remote northwestern region of Xinjiang, prompting massive culls of chickens. http://www.scmp.com/news/china...  

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


[ Parent ]
India: Health dept issues a swine flu alert in state (Chhattisgarh)
RAIPUR: As swine flu scare returns to North India, the health department Chhattisgarh has issued a detailed directive to all chief medical and health officers (CMHOs) to remain alert and report any such case in the state. However, no positive case for H1N1 has been reported this year so far.

(Snip) all the CMHOs have been directed to follow the directives issued by the Union government for prevention and cure of the flu. (Snip) the A-category patients suffering from general symptoms of cold should be sent back home after being given medicines as per the nature of disease. Instructions have been given to administer Tamiflu medicine to category-B patients suffering from high fever (100 degrees) and body ache and headache. C-category patients, who have breathlessness, chest pain, drowsiness along with high fever should be admitted and treated in hospital. Directives have been given to send samples of such patients for examination to laboratory.

Health officials say that there is no shortage of medicines and other kits. "Over two lakh Oseltamivir (30,45 and 75 mg) for H1N1, 275 PPI kit, N-95 mask, 6,300 triple layer mask, 400 VTM kits are available in stock," (Snip) adding that they have dedicated isolation wards for such cases. 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


Toddler is Cambodia's 6th bird flu death of year
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) - A 3-year-old Cambodian girl has become the sixth person to die from bird flu in the country this year.

(Snip) the child was in contact with poultry in her village in southern Kampot province, where there were recent deaths among poultry.

Cambodia has registered seven human cases this year of the virus (Snip) H5N1. Only one has survived.


The WHO says bird flu has killed 365 other people worldwide since surfacing in 2003. http://washingtonexaminer.com/...

(Note: This many cases/deaths in Cambodia in such a short amount of time, plus China actually admitting they have human cases, is starting to make me nervous! JMO)

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


Media Myth On Beta Coronavirus Source
Recombinomics Commentary

There is no proof the virus spreads easily between humans, but experts suspect humans can catch it from animals such as bats or camels.

The above comments reiterate the position that the recent human beta cornavirus infections are linked to animal exposure either directly or through an environmental source such as contaminated water or fruit.  However, there is limited support for a recent transmission linked to an animal reservoir such as bats, the most frequently cited reservoir for coronavirus.

The linkage with bats stems from extensive surveys that were initially linked to to SARS-CoV outbreak that began in late 2002 and spread internationally in early 2003.  At the time cornaviruses had been isolated from human and poultry, and the known examples fell into three distinct groups.  Group 1, also designated as alpha coronavirus was represent by a human cold virus,229E.  Group 2 (beta coronaviruses) was represented by another human cold virus, OC43.  Group 3 (gamma coronaviruses) was represented by a poulty virus, infectious bronchitis virus (IBV).

Although the SARS CoV was a Group 2 virus, it was easily distinguished from OC43 and therefore classified as novel.  Closely related sequences were found in multiple species sold in live markets in Hong Kong (most notably the Himalaya palm civet), but all of the animal sequences were closely related to each other as well as the human isolates, raising the possibility that the animal isolates were due to recent infections in the live markets due to animal to animal transmission or human to animal transmission.  This possibility was supported by the failure to find the SARS CoV in these species in the wild.

An extensive survey of wild animals led to the identification of multiple versions of coronaviruses in bats, including a SARS CoV that had 98% identity with the human cases.  Thus, bats were considered the natural reservoir for SARS CoV. The extensive survey of bats led to the identification of additional coronavirus, including subgroups among the beta coronavirus. OC43 was designated as group 2a and SARS CoV was group 2b, while additional isolates from bats were designated as group 2c and 2d.

When a novel coronavirus was isolated from a fatal case (60M) in Saudi Arabia, it was also novel and most closely related to the group 2c viruses from Guangdong province (HKU-4 and HKU-5). Full sequences were public and the relatedness was approximately at 70%.  A short segment from a 2c sequences from the Netherlands had 91% identity, but the sequence was from a highly conserved region.  A recent bat survey for additional group 2c sequences led to the identification of 3 sets from Africa (Ghana) and 3 sets from Europe (Romania and Ukraine).  The sequences were somewhat longer than the Netherlands sequence, and the European sequences had 88% identity, which was greater than the 70% in sequences from Guangdong province, but well shy of the 98% seen when human SARS CoV was compared to bat SARS CoV.

(Snip) all of the human sequences have been at least 99.5% identical which each other, including full sequences from the first two confirmed cases (from Saudi Arabia and Qatar) or partial sequences from subsequent sequences from cases in Saudi Arabia and Qatar).  (Snip) it is likely that the two sets of sequences from the cases in Jordan, as well as the cluster in Saudi Arabia and the most recent cases, who was a UK resident who traveled to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, where he (60M) developed symptoms are also 99.5% identical to the public sequences based on detection by probes made from the two sets of full sequences.

(Snip) the sequence data does not support a recent jump from bats to humans, which is also true for camels.

(Snip) the failure to detect the virus in symptomatic contacts, raises serious concerns regarding the sensitivity of the assay.  WHO has classified these contacts as probable cases, signaling the lack in confidence in the assay.  (Snip) WHO has suggested that the viral level may be higher in the lower respiratory tract, again raising serious questions about the ability to detect the coronavirus using protocols involving nasopharyngeal swabs.

In spite of these limitations, ECDC suggests that the failure to identify mild cases suggest the virus transmission is linked to an animal or environment source.

The discovery of H1N1psm09 in the most recent case raises additional concerns that co-infected cases will be diagnosed as H1N1pdm09 cases since the symptoms linked to each virus are similar.

The H1N1pdm09 may also facilitate transmission, raising further concerns that the novel coronavirus is far more common in humans than indicated by the limited number of lab confirmed cases. 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


UK - Relative of 'Sars' patient now also in hospital with infection

On Monday, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said one person who had recently travelled to the Middle East and Pakistan was being treated in an intensive care unit at a Manchester hospital after becoming infected with a new type of coronavirus.

Now officials have confirmed that a relative of the patient, who is also a UK resident, has become infected and is being treated in isolation at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.

It is understood that the family member, who does not have any recent travel history, has an existing medical condition that might make them more susceptible to respiratory infections.



Coronavirus: Signs the new Sars-like virus can spread between people

Health officials in the UK believe they have the strongest evidence yet that a new respiratory illness similar to the deadly Sars virus can spread from person to person.


This is the third case identified in the UK. The first was a patient flown in from Qatar for treatment. The second was linked to travel to the Middle East and Pakistan.

The virus is then thought to have spread from the second patient to a close relative. There have been suggestions of person to person transmission in earlier cases in the Middle East, but this was not confirmed.

The third UK case is being treated in intensive care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

The patient is known to have an underlying health condition which left them with a weakened immune system. This may have made them susceptible to the infection.

Prof John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the Health Protection Agency, said: "Confirmed novel coronavirus infection in a person without travel history to the Middle East suggests that person-to-person transmission has occurred, and that it occurred in the UK.

"Although this case provides strong evidence for person to person transmission, the risk of infection in most circumstances is still considered to be very low."


Butler at Nature: When Google got flu wrong
When Google got flu wrong
When influenza hit early and hard in the United States this year, it quietly claimed an unacknowledged victim: one of the cutting-edge techniques being used to monitor the outbreak. A comparison with traditional surveillance data showed that Google Flu Trends, which estimates prevalence from flu-related Internet searches, had drastically overestimated peak flu levels. The glitch is no more than a temporary setback for a promising strategy, experts say, and Google is sure to refine its algorithms. But as flu-tracking techniques based on mining of web data and on social media proliferate, the episode is a reminder that they will complement, but not substitute for, traditional epidemiological surveillance networks.

SARS-Like Virus May Have Spread Person-to-Person

By MARIA CHENG AP Medical Writer
LONDON February 13, 2013 (AP)
British officials say a mysterious virus related to SARS may have spread between humans, as they confirmed the 11th case worldwide of the new coronavirus in a patient who they say probably caught it from a family member.


According to Britain's Health Protection Agency, the latest patient is a U.K. resident with no recent travel to any of those countries but who had close personal contact with an earlier case.


"Although this case provides strong evidence for person to person transmission, the risk of infection in most circumstances is still considered to be very low," John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the Health Protection Agency, said in a statement. "If (the) novel coronavirus were more infectious, we would have expected to have seen a larger number of cases."

Six hospital staffers where the patient is being treated are being monitored for infection but none have so far showed any symptoms of the illness. The patient did not come into contact with any other hospital patients and is currently being kept in isolation.


Officials at the World Health Organization said the new virus has probably already spread between humans in some instances. In Saudi Arabia last year, four members of the same family fell ill and two died. And in a cluster of about a dozen people in Jordan, the virus may have spread at a hospital's intensive care unit.


Michael Osterholm, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Minnesota, warned the virus could be adapting into a more transmissible form. "At any moment the fire hydrant of human-to-human transmission cases could open," he said. "This is definitely a 'stay tuned' moment." He noted that before SARS sparked a worldwide epidemic, there were a handful of human-to-human cases, until something happened, like a virus mutation, which triggered an explosion of cases.

WHO says the virus is probably more widespread than just the Middle East and has advised countries to test any people with unexplained pneumonia.

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 ]
Swine flu: Experts worried by rising cases, advise caution


Smriti Sharma Vasudeva : Chandigarh, Wed Feb 13 2013, 01:47 hrs

The spurt in the number of swine flu cases this year has perplexed even the experts. While last year less than half a dozen cases were reported, the total number of cases has reached 30 this year, and still counting.

Significantly, contrary to the past wherein cases would pour in from specific areas, this time cases are being reported from different places and are isolated in nature. Experts say this is one of the reasons why the spread is not being controlled besides the dip in the temperature in the past few days.

Doctors are hopeful that with winters subsiding, within next 10 days or so, the virus should be on the decline.

However, offering a word of caution, Dr Rajesh Kumar, head of the department, Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGIMER, said, "H1N1 virus is a very difficult virus to control once it spreads. It is in the air and cannot be controlled at this stage. Since we are getting cases from isolated areas, it is all the more pertinent that there should be early detection and early treatment. If a patient is admitted to the hospital, adequate preventive measures should be taken by the hospital to ensure that the risk for the staff is mitigated."

[continued at link]

Flu Outbreaks Modeled by New Study of Classroom Schedules

Feb. 12, 2013 - Classroom rosters combined with human-networking theory may give a clearer picture of just how infectious diseases such as influenza can spread through a closed group of people, and even through populations at large. Using high-school schedule data for a community of students, teachers, and staff, Penn State University's Marcel Salathé, an assistant professor of biology, and Timo Smieszek, a post-doctoral researcher, have developed a low-cost but effective method to determine how to focus disease-control strategies based on which individuals are most likely to spread the infection.

[continued at link]

Schools rethink perfect attendance awards in bad flu season

Some schools are reconsidering awarding students for perfect attendance, out of concern it may be motivating some to come to school sick.

By Katherine Hobson , TODAY Health contributor
Round Meadow Elementary School gives awards to the handful of students who make it through an entire school year with a perfect attendance record - that means no absences, no tardies, and no early sign-outs. (No exceptions.)

But the school, in Hidden Hills, Calif., may change its policy for the 2013-14 school year, says principal Jeremy Resnick. The flu has hit students and staff hard this year, and he doesn't want to encourage kids to come to school, or their parents to send them, when they have a potentially contagious disease.

Despite automated phone calls reminding parents that their children should stay home if they have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea, "we think there are probably people who are sending their kids to school when they shouldn't," he says.
That's one of the reasons many schools ditched that type of award because of the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, says Andrea Vazzana, a child and adolescent psychologist at the NYU Langone Medical Center. And others, like Round Meadow, are reconsidering in light of this year's flu and norovirus outbreaks.
[continued at link]

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