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News Reports for February 17, 2013

by: NewsDiary

Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 22:42:25 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!

• Guizhou: Bird Flu Death In China Sparks Fear Of Human-Transmitted H5N1 Strain (Link)
• Guizhou: 110 released from bird flu quarantine (Link)

• 4 swine flu deaths in Himachal Pradesh so far, 7 test positive (Link)
• Rajasthan swine flu update: Three dead, 10 more test positive (Link)
• Delhi: 60 new cases of swine flu, total number of cases takes to 420 (Link)

• Origin Bangli Negative Boy Bird Flu (translated) (Link)

• Six in Kuwait diagnosed with swine flu (Link)

• Nepal reports five recent H5N1 outbreaks (Link)

United Kingdom
• New virus hits 12 globally with new British case (Link)
• UK Officials Confirm Fourth Person Has Contracted Novel Coronavirus (Link)
• WHO: Contamination in the UK by the new SARS coronavirus close (translated) (Link)
• New Coronavirus Has Gained The Ability To Jump From Human To Human (Link)

United States
• CIDRAP: CDC - Flu activity continues to slow (Link)

• The coronavirus conundrum: when to press the panic button (Link)

• Recombinomics: Indonesia Issues Beta Coronavirus Umrah Alert (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for February 17, 2013

News for February 16, 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 February 15, 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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Bird Flu Death In China Sparks Fear Of Human-Transmitted H5N1 Strain
Health authorities in Guiyang, Guizhou province, announced that the 21-year-old woman, Shuai Pengyue, died on Wednesday due to multiple organ failure as a result of the flu. Shuai was one of two women reported in the area to have contracted the new strain of the avian influenza. Health officials have investigated the two of them and concluded that neither patient was in contact with poultry before showing symptoms of the illness.

Victim proximity is important to note because typically, the bird flu is contracted by being in contact with poultry. In this case, health officials worry this could be signs that the H5N1 strain can now be transmitted between humans.

Meanwhile, in Cambodia, a 3-year-old girl has become the sixth person to die from the bird flu in the country this year. The Cambodian Health Ministry and the World Health Organization released statements saying that the child was in contact with poultry recently in the southern province of Kampot.

Cambodia has already reported seven human cases of the H5N1 virus this year, all of them fatal except one.


Scientists in the Netherlands and the U.S. have been working on an artificially mutated version of the flu that is easily transmissible among humans in an attempt to do research for prevention or a cure. Research was halted until recently due to fears of a deadly global pandemic if the virus was accidentally removed from the controlled environment.

Now, researchers are making a push to resume investigation of the deadly virus, especially in light of the new cases.

Leo Poon Lit-man, an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health, told the South China Morning Post that he supports the controversial research.

(Snip) http://www.ibtimes.com/bird-fl...

(Note: This article says 2 women in the same area of China contracted the H5N1 virus but all other articles have said it is a 21 year old woman and a 31 year old man. All other articles also said neither one of them had contact with poultry. When China admits that anyone has contacted H5N1 then I always wonder how bad the situation really is for them to release the news. I always believe that something more serious is up than what they are telling and the release of the bare facts is just to keep from getting caught maybe later in a huge cover up like the SARS event. Them admitting both patients had "no contact with poultry" is a red flag, IMO.)

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


India: 4 swine flu deaths in Himachal Pradesh so far, 7 test positive
SHIMLA: Himachal Pradesh has witnessed four swine flu deaths while seven positive cases have been reported so far. Of the four deaths, two have occurred in PGI Chandigarh. Earlier, swine flu deaths were reported from Solan district only, but with the death of a youth from Palampur tehsil of Kangra district, alarm bells have been set ringing.

State nodal officer, swine flu, Dr Anuradha, said that two deaths at IGMC have been confirmed to be swine flu deaths, while they have not received any report about the two deaths that occurred at PGI Chandigarh. (Snip)

She said that seven positive cases have been detected so far. (Snip).

(Snip) separate isolation wards have been created at Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Shimla and Dr Rajendra Prasad Medical College at Tanda in Kangra. Health officials are distributing medicines to people who came in contact with patients.

Under the health department's mandatory follow up in swine flu cases, medication of Tami Flu is provided to people coming in contact with swine flu patients (Snip). http://timesofindia.indiatimes...

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


India: Rajasthan swine flu update: Three dead, 10 more test positive
Three more people in Rajasthan succumbed to the swine flu virus on Friday including a 25-year-old pregnant woman. The six-month pregnant woman was from Barmer and was rushed to a hospital in Jodhpur but she passed away while undergoing treatment. Health officials screened her neighbours for the virus as well.

Another man who passed away was from Kota and was suffering for the last four days and the third victim passed away in private hospital in Jaipur while undergoing treatment. Ten more people also tested positive for the virus.

Rajasthan has by far been the state worst-hit by the virus. 64 deaths have already been reported in the state with Jaipur alone has 20 people who've died in the last 45 days. Since December, 450 people have succumbed to the virus in the state. The numbers of cases of swine flu have increased this year compared to last year. Continued: http://health.india.com/news/r...

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


CIDRAP: CDC - Flu activity continues to slow (United States)
Feb 15, 2013 (CIDRAP News) - The nation's flu markers show that the flu has probably peaked, though many states are still reporting plenty of infections and hospitalizations, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today.

Though the percentage of doctors' visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) is still above baselines in all regions of the country, the overall national level fell from 3.6% to 3.2% last week, according to the CDC.

The drop was even steeper for another indicator, the percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for flu, which fell from 23.3% to 19.7%. Nationally, the dominant strain is still H3N2, followed by influenza B.

Five pediatric flu deaths were reported, one from an undetermined influenza A subtype and four from influenza B. The deaths occurred over a range of weeks between Dec 29 and Jan 26. The new reports push the number of flu deaths in children so far this season to 64.

Overall deaths from pneumonia and flu are still running well above the epidemic threshold and rose slightly last week, from 9.0% to 9.1%.

The rate of flu hospitalizations also rose last week, from 29.8 to 32.1 per 100,000 population. The hardest hit group is still seniors, who account for more than 50% of reported hospital cases.

Seven fewer states last week reported widespread geographic spread of flu, putting that number at 31.

Lab testing of isolates for antiviral resistance found one more sample that showed resistance to oseltamivir, raising the number so far this season to two, the CDC reported. Both were 2009 H1N1 viruses. 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


CIDRAP: Nepal reports five recent H5N1 outbreaks
Livestock officials in Nepal today reported five H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks, four of which were noted earlier this week in media coverage (Snip). Nepal has recently experienced a spate of outbreaks in the Kathmandu valley, plus one in Mechi zone, located in the eastern part of the country near the border with India.

Today's OIE report included another outbreak in the Kathmandu valley (Snip).  All of the outbreaks occurred at commercial farms except for the one in Mechi zone, which struck the affected village's backyard poultry. The five outbreaks killed 3,651 of 16,560 susceptible birds, and the remaining poultry were destroyed (Snip). http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidr...

Feb 15 OIE report http://www.oie.int/wahis_2/pub...

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


Origin Bangli Negative Boy Bird Flu
February 17, 2013
Bangli, Indonesia:  The boy in Reference Hospital Bangli with suspect avian influenza A was treated in Nusa Indah RSUP Sanglah Hospital, and is otherwise negative for bird flu.  Head of Public Relations at Sanglah Hospital, Doctor Kadek Nariyantha, said the child with initials MD is experiencing severe pneumonia.

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

Indonesia Issues Beta Coronavirus Umrah Alert
February 16, 2013

The Hajj and Umrah pilgrims asked to guard against virus attacks corona in the Holy Land.

According to Tjandra, it would need to pass that the people of Indonesia wary of corona virus, since Friday morning he had received notification from the International Health Regulations (IHR) WHO, that there are Arabs who attacked the virus and is currently being treated at one of the saki in London.

The above translation describes warning being issued in Indonesia due to the IHR notification of the case in the UK who developed symptoms while performing Umrah in Saudi Arabia.  The novel cornavirus was exported to the UK, where two family members were infected.

The transport of the virus by a visitor has striking parallels with the spread of the SARS CoV in February of 2003 when a physician treating patients in Guangdong Province traveled to Hong Kong for a wedding.  He stayed in room 911 at the Metropole Hotel and infected a number of visitors and tourists who then carried the virus to relatives and health care workers In Hong Kong, Singapore, Hanoi, and Toronto.

full article

United we stand: Divided we fall

New virus hits 12 globally with new British case

Fri, Feb 1 2013

By Kate Kelland
LONDON | Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:23pm EST

[big snip]

"We would like to emphasize that the risk associated with novel coronavirus to the general UK population remains very low," Watson said.

When a second case in this cluster was found on Wednesday, Tom Wilkinson, a senior lecturer in respiratory medicine at Britain's University of Southampton, said that if NCoV turned out to be like the previous SARS outbreak, it may prove quite slow to spread from one human to another.

"But it's early days to make any definite statements because viruses can change and mutate very rapidly, so what is right today may be wrong tomorrow," he said.

Among the 12 laboratory-confirmed cases of NCoV to date, five are in Saudi Arabia, with three deaths; two are in Jordan, where both patients died; four are in Britain, where three are receiving treatment and the latest one is described as well; and one was in Germany in a patient from Qatar who has since been discharged from medical care.

UK Officials Confirm Fourth Person Has Contracted Novel Coronavirus

February 17, 2013
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

A twelfth person has contracted the potentially life-threatening, SARS-like virus that has only recently been discovered in humans, but health officials continue to assure the general public that the risk of widespread infection remains extremely low, according to various media reports published this weekend.

The new case, which was confirmed on Friday, is in the UK, making it the fourth British person to contract the novel coronavirus (NCoV) and the third to come down with the disease in one week's time,


[snip]the latest victim is the third member of the same British family to contract NCoV. The first member of that family had traveled to Pakistan and the Middle East, and both they and a relative with a pre-existing medical condition that could have heightened their risk of infection have been hospitalized.

"The third family member to have contracted the novel coronavirus is said... to be recovering from a mild respiratory illness and is well," Boseley added. "He or she has been advised not to meet with other people who are not part of the family, but only as a precaution. Other relatives and contacts of the latest person to be diagnosed are still being tracked down and tested."


"Although this case appears to be due to person-to-person transmission, the risk of infection in contacts in most circumstances is still considered to be low," John Watson, head of the Health Protection Agency (HPA) respiratory diseases department, told reporters on Friday. "If novel coronavirus were more infectious, we would have expected to have seen a larger number of cases than we have seen since the first case was reported three months ago.

"However, this new development does justify the measures that were immediately put into place to prevent any further spread of infection and to identify and follow up contacts of known cases," he added. "We would like to emphasize that the risk associated with novel coronavirus to the general UK population remains very low. The HPA will continue to work closely with national and international health authorities and will share any further advice with health professionals and the public if and when more information becomes available."

The coronavirus conundrum: when to press the panic button
The coronavirus conundrum: when to press the panic button
We have become very good at detecting risk, but it's impossible to know if this latest virus will be another Sars or disappear
Share 14


Mark Honigsbaum
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 14 February 2013 08.30 EST
Jump to comments (63)

A medical worker disinfects cages containing civet cats at a market selling wild animals in Guangzhou, China, during the Sars epidemic, which was also caused by a coronavirus. Photograph: Chang Feng/EPA
If Alfred Hitchcock were alive today and looking for a new way to terrorise Tippi Hedren, he need look no further than the Health Protection Agency and the "reassuring" announcement about the coronavirus.

In case, like Hedren, you've been marooned in Bodega Bay and missed the update, the coronavirus, which takes its name from the menacing, crown-like spikes on its surface, first blipped on the HPA's radar in September, when a 49-year-old Qatari man was admitted to intensive care at St Thomas' Hospital with renal failure. Now the virus seems to have been transmitted to a new patient at another hospital, providing "strong evidence for person-to-person transmission".

Never mind that there have been a total of just three confirmed cases in the UK and 11 worldwide, half those infected have died and, as there is no vaccine, health officials are "worried". They are worried not least because we have been here before: in 2003, to be precise, when severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), also caused by a coronavirus, suddenly emerged from Guangdong, China, sparking an epidemic that resulted in 1,000 deaths worldwide and grounded planes from Hong Kong to Toronto.

On that occasion, civet cats - a popular delicacy in Chinese animal markets - were to blame; this time the animal reservoir is thought to be bats. But the truth is that no one knows for certain, least of all the scientists whose job it is to keep tabs on new pathogens and alert us to the threat before they can be reprimanded for not speaking up sooner.

And that's the dilemma: press the panic button too early and you risk being labelled a wolf-crier. Do it too often and when a real wolf comes along - albeit in the guise of a bird, cat or bat - no one will believe you.

For all the current fuss about the coronavirus, the pathogen that still keeps most scientists awake at night is H5N1 bird flu, a virus that first emerged in Hong Kong around the same time as Sars, and which has been causing deaths every year since. And let's not forget about ebola, a Hammer Horror virus that reduces victims' organs to a bloody pulp and is also thought to be spread by bats (truly, Hitchcock is spoilt for choice).

Part of the problem is that we have become almost too good at detecting these risks. To keep tabs on exotic pathogens, the World Health Organisation now routinely trawls the internet for reports of unusual disease outbreaks in remote jungle regions. Meanwhile, in Africa, health workers are being encouraged to use SMS to text clinical data from the bush in real time.

For the most part, these efforts are welcome. However, the paradox is that the digital technologies that enable us to monitor the emergence of exotic diseases and take action to prevent pandemics are the very same technologies that spread fear.

This is arguably exactly what happened in the spring of 2009, when the WHO, already on high alert over bird flu, began picking up electronic chatter about an unusual flu-like illness in the Yucatan. Within weeks, "Mexican" swine flu had sparked a series of escalating pandemic alerts, whipping up needless hysteria and triggering the production of billions of dollars' worth of vaccines that had to be junked as soon as the pandemic fizzled out.

Of course, the coronavirus is a very different animal from swine flu. Judging by the messages issued by health experts, scientists have learned a lot from 2009. For instance, Professor John Oxford, who was responsible for sounding some of the direst warnings five years ago, told the BBC that the coronavirus "doesn't raise too many alarm bells" as the latest patient seemed to have got it from his father, meaning transmission probably required close contact. "If it was somebody who was not related - or a nurse or a doctor - that would be a lot more serious," said Oxford.

So that's all right then: the coronavirus is only a little bit infectious - unless, of course, it isn't.

I apologize to the The Guardian newspaper. I pasted this whole article into the comment box and meant to cut it there. I inadvertently missed the preview button and hit Post. The link to the article is:


Please read the article at their site!

China: 110 released from bird flu quarantine (Guizhou Province)
A total of 110 people who had close contact with two patients contracted avian influenza H5N1 in southwest China's Guizhou Province earlier this month have been released from quarantine, local health authorities announced on Sunday.

Two residents of the provincial capital of Guiyang were reported to have contracted the H5N1 virus on Feb. 8. The health authority put 110 people who had close contact with the two patients under quarantine (Snip). They were released as no abnormal symptoms were discovered.

(Snip) a 21-year-old woman, died of multiple organ failure on Wednesday. The other patient, a 31-year-old man, is still receiving medical treatment.

No new avian influenza H5N1 cases have been reported....  Continued: http://www.china.org.cn/china/...

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


India: 60 new cases of swine flu, total number of cases takes to 420 (Delhi)
NEW DELHI: Sixty more people have been found positive for the H1N1 virus on Sunday, taking the total number of swine flu cases in the national capital this year to 420.

With the death two more people on Saturday, the number of people succumbing to the virus was 9.


On Saturday, a 52-year-old man had died at Action Balaji hospital while another 83-year-old man who was admitted to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital a couple of days back in a serious condition had succumbed. 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


WHO: Contamination in the UK by the new SARS coronavirus close

Translated from French:

Contamination in the UK by the new SARS coronavirus close
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday called for vigilance after the discovery in the UK a new case of infection with novel coronavirus SARS close constituting the 12th case diagnosed worldwide.

February 17, 2013 8:26

" Given the current and reliable information, the WHO encourages all Member States (of the organization) to continue to monitor the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and carefully consider any unusual symptoms
, "the organization said in a statement.
British health authorities announced last Friday the new coronavirus has been detected in a resident of the United Kingdom as part of the family of two patients diagnosed during the week. The life of this new patient is not in danger. " Although this new case reveals evidence of transmission (coronavirus) from person to person, it was not reported widespread transmission of this type " , reassured the WHO.

Five dead so far
In total, the coronavirus was diagnosed in five people in Saudi Arabia (three deaths), two in Jordan (two deaths), four in the United Kingdom (a Qatari always neat, three members of a family, including two hospitalized ), one in Germany (a Qatari released from the hospital).

800 people died in 2003
Coronaviruses are part of a large family which includes viruses that cause colds but simple "SARS" (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which caused an outbreak of "atypical pneumonia" that killed 800 people in the world in 2003.
This novel coronavirus was identified for the first time in September 2012 on a patient who died in June last, a serious respiratory infection.

Six in Kuwait diagnosed with swine flu
Six people in Kuwait have been diagnosed with swine flu in the past week (Snip). One patient was hospitalised for three days.

Al-Haifi said health authorities were in constant communication with the World Health Organisation to control the infectious disease but said the situation was not dangerous and was under control.


(Snip) a 26-year old Jordanian man died from swine flu late on Sunday after contracting the H1N1 strain, the Jordan Times reported (Snip). The man, who was initially suffering from pneumonia symptoms, was admitted to a hospital four days ago (Snip).  His condition deteriorated as he also suffered from heart disease.

Jordan has recorded 49 cases of swine flu since the beginning of its winter season and authorities are setting up a hotline to cope with health concerns. http://www.arabianbusiness.com...

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


New Coronavirus Has Gained The Ability To Jump From Human To Human

An 11th patient has been confirmed to be infected with the new virus. The virus seems to have gained the ability to transmit between humans.

[This is an older article from February 13, published prior to the third and fourth infection in the family.]

Doctors said that the new patient may have been at increased risk because of an underlying medical illness and is currently in Birmingham hospital in intensive care.

"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."

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.

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

The new virus is similar to one that bats transmit, but researchers are wondering if camels or goats could be a vector for transmission to humans.

There is a snip of the first paragraphs in the article that is unnoted.

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