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News Reports for February 27, 2013

by: NewsDiary

Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 19:49:00 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 reports eighth bird flu death, triggering fears (Link)
• Eighth Cambodian dies from bird flu this year (Link)

• Hong Kong: Fever patient tests negative for novel coronavirus (Link)

• One more swine flu death, 40 new cases in Delhi (Link)
• Two die of swine flu in Uttarakhand (Link)

• 2.1 Million Chickens Slaughtered in Mexico to Guard Against Bird Flu (Link)

South Africa
• SA officials to get bird flu training (Link)

United Kingdom
• UK study confirms GlaxoSmithKline flu shot link to rare sleep disorder (Link)
• Swine flu warning after cases in south Scotland (Link)

Viet Nam
• Pig disease, bird flu spread in Vietnam (Link)

• Analysis - Emerging deadly virus demands swift sleuth work (Link)
• ECDC Rapid Risk Assessment (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for February 27, 2013

News for February 26, 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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Cambodia reports eighth bird flu death, triggering fears
PHNOM PENH - A 35-year-old man has become Cambodia's eighth bird flu fatality this year, prompting concern about the spread of the virus in the country, a health official said Tuesday. The latest victim, from the northeastern province of Kampong Cham, died on Monday night from the H5N1 virus in a Phnom Penh hospital (Snip).

(Snip) the man had eaten two ducks which had previously died before he became sick earlier this month.

"We are really worried about the situation because in just two months we have nine cases of bird flu," Ly Sovann told AFP.

Eight of the nine people died, along with thousands of birds in the villages where the victims lived. "There was a lot of dead poultry, but the people did not report to (officials). In the villages that I went to, almost all poultry had died," Ly Sovann said, adding it took up to a month for officials to be told of poultry deaths in some areas.

The health ministry has enhanced surveillance to try to detect and treat avian influenza cases in the early stages, he said.

"We are also worried about (possible) human-to-human transmission of bird flu, but it is not the case now," said Ly Sovann. He urged villagers immediately to report dead poultry and not to touch or eat the birds.

Sonny Krishnan, communications officer with the World Health Organization in Cambodia, said it was keeping "a close watch" on the situation. "The disease is still of limited transmitability from poultry to humans," he said. Continued: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/3...

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


Eighth Cambodian dies from bird flu this year
Sok Touch, director of the communicable disease control department at the Ministry of Health, said he was concerned at the rising number of cases but noted that they did not seem to be connected. "We don't have any link between these cases," he said.

"This year is unusual. We need to prevent the spread of the disease and stress to people the importance of hygiene and other measures." (Snip)

Cambodian authorities have culled thousands of ducks and chickens in several provinces this year.

Sonny Inbaraj Krishnan, a spokesman for the World Health Organization, said health workers had enhanced surveillance for bird flu in all provinces where the disease had been detected. Continued: http://www.nationmultimedia.co...

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


[ Parent ]
Joint WHO/Ministry of Health press statement...
...is here.

The ninth case, a 35-year-old man from Kbal Ou village, Me Sar Chrey commune, Stueng Trang district in Kampong Cham province, was confirmed positive for influenza H5N1 on 23rd February 2013 by Institut Pasteur du Cambodge. He developed fever on 8th February 2013 and his condition worsened on 10th February 2013 with fever, frequent cough, and dyspnea. Local private practitioners initially treated him but his condition further deteriorated. On 13th February he was admitted to the Kampong Cham Hospital with fever, severe cough and dyspnea and was immediately treated with Tamiflu. He developed pneumonia on 21st February and was transferred to Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh. Unfortunately, despite intensive medical care he died on 25th February. There is evidence of recent deaths among poultry in the village and the man had history of coming into contact with sick poultry prior to becoming sick. The man is the ninth person this year and the thirtieth person to become infected with the H5N1 virus, and the twenty-seventh person to die from complications of the disease in Cambodia. Of the 30 confirmed cases, 20 were children under 14, and 19 of the 30 were female.  

[ Parent ]
2.1 Million Chickens Slaughtered in Mexico to Guard Against Bird Flu
Mexican authorities have slaughtered 2.1 million chickens exposed to the bird flu, which has spread to 18 farms in the central state of Guanajuato (Snip).

(Snip) since the outbreak was detected 519,000 egg-producing chickens have been slaughtered, along with 900,000 birds being fattened for their meat and 722,265 reproducing birds. He said that the losses do not affect the national inventory of chickens, which totals 140 million laying birds and 300 million chickens being fattened for market.

Martinez also said that the outbreak is being controlled and is on the way to being resolved in the affected zone, "a complex task since it deals with a very pathogenic virus that requires great efforts to prevent its spread."

(Snip) experts had inspected 35 chicken operations in Guanajuato and four million birds, of which 1.3 million were deemed not to be infected by the H7N3 bird flu.

(Snip) the virus is one against which Mexican chickens have no natural defense and thus their only protection is the vaccine produced in Mexico, which "has functioned extraordinarily well." (Snip) 22 million birds have been vaccinated since the outbreak was detected a week-and-a-half (Snip). http://latino.foxnews.com/lati...  

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


UK study confirms GlaxoSmithKline flu shot link to rare sleep disorder
GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) Pandemrix swine flu vaccine has been linked to cases of the rare sleep disorder narcolepsy in children in a scientific study in England that confirms similar findings elsewhere in Europe.

The vaccine, more than 30 million doses of which were given during the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009-2010, contains a booster, or adjuvant, and may have triggered an adverse immune reaction in some children at higher genetic risk of narcolepsy, scientists said in new research published on Wednesday.

Researchers at Britain's Health Protection Agency (HPA) (Snip) said the at least 14-fold increased risk they found had "implications for the future licensing and use of adjuvanted pandemic vaccines".


Studies in Finland, Sweden and Ireland have also found a Pandemrix link to narcolepsy, and GSK says more than 800 cases linked to the shot have been reported in Europe.

A spokesman for the British drugmaker told Reuters on Wednesday: "We really want to get to the bottom of this and understand more about the potential role of Pandemrix in the development of narcolepsy." (Snip) GSK believes "the available data are insufficient to assess the likelihood of a causal association between Pandemrix and narcolepsy." 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: One more swine flu death, 40 new cases in Delhi
A swine flu patient died while 40 more people tested positive on Tuesday, taking the toll to 12 and the number of people infected by the Influenza A (H1N1) virus in the national capital to 834 (Snip).


Tuesday's death takes the toll to 12 this month till Tuesday. In January, 39 cases were reported and one died.

A spurt in cases of swine flu has been seen in the national capital this year. In 2012, only 78 swine flu cases and one death were reported in the capital.

(Snip) 17 hospitals and five private hospitals are treating swine flu patients. http://www.ndtv.com/article/ci...

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


India: Two die of swine flu in Uttarakhand
Dehradun: Two persons died of swine flu in Uttarakhand, a woman tested positive for it while a man showing symptoms of H1N1 influenza was admitted to a city hospital (Snip).

Both men killed by the disease hailed from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh and had been admitted to the Max Hospital in Dehradun over a week ago (Snip). (Snip) their condition deteriorated during treatment and they succumbed to the viral infection on Monday night (Snip).

(Snip) a pregnant woman has tested positive for the disease, he said. Considering her condition, an isolation ward has been set up at her home for her treatment. She began showing swine flu symptoms after returning from Delhi recently. http://www.ndtv.com/article/ci...

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


South Africa: SA officials to get bird flu training

February 26 2013 at 09:25am
Comment on this story

Johannesburg - More South African officials will be trained in the United States to deal with bird flu in poultry, an official said on Monday.

Agriculture spokeswoman Palesa Mokomele said this was one of the outcomes of a meeting about food security, health and other issues between Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and a US delegation in Cape Town on Friday.

"The outcome of the meeting was that there would be an increase in the number of officials travelling to the University of Delaware for training in emergency poultry disease," said Mokomele. - Sapa

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]

Pig disease, bird flu spread in Vietnam

English.news.cn   2013-02-27 20:32:16

Meanwhile, Quang Nam province also reported the bird flu disease, and 300 chickens have been culled on Sunday.

Health officials warn that people are likely to contract bird flu if they have close contact with sick poultry, including slaughtering and eating them.

The H5N1 bird flu virus has claimed 61 lives in Vietnam since 2003, with most of deaths reported in 2003 and 2004, according to the World Health Organization's latest report.

Local animal health departments have cooperated with authorized agencies to destroy infected pigs and poultries, spray chemicals to sterilize farms and nearby areas and apply vaccines.

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]

Fever patient tests negative for novel coronavirus

Hong Kong (HKSAR) - The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) received a report from Prince of Wales Hospital (PWH) today (February 27) of a suspected case of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus.

The patient is a 39-year-old woman, with good past health, who presented with fever, cough and sore throat since February 23. She was admitted to the isolation ward of PWH today. Her current condition is stable.

Investigations by the CHP revealed that the patient travelled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from February 20 to 22 and returned to Hong Kong on February 23.

Preliminary laboratory test results for the patient's nasopharyngeal aspirate today showed that it tested negative for Novel Coronavirus associated with Severe Respiratory Disease but positive for seasonal influenza A (H3).
[continued at link]

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]

Analysis - Emerging deadly virus demands swift sleuth work

Please read this article at the link. It is worth it.

By Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent
LONDON | Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:23pm GMT
(Reuters) - The emergence of a deadly virus previously unseen in humans that has already killed half those known to be infected requires speedy scientific detective work to figure out its potential.

The virus, which belongs to the same family as viruses that cause the common cold and the one that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), emerged in the Middle East last year and has so far killed seven of the 13 people it is known to have infected worldwide.

Of those, six have been in Saudi Arabia, two in Jordan, and others in Britain and Germany linked to travel in the Middle East or to family clusters.

"What we know really concerns me, but what we don't know really scares me," said Michael Osterholm, director of the U.S.-based Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and a professor at the University of Minnesota.

Less than a week after identifying NCoV in September last year in a Qatari patient at a London hospital, scientists at Britain's Health Protection Agency had sequenced part of its genome and mapped out a so-called "phylogenetic tree" - a kind of family tree - of its links.

Yet there are many unanswered questions.


"At the moment we just don't know whether the virus might actually be quite widespread and it's just a tiny proportion of people who get really sick, or whether it's a brand new virus carrying a much greater virulence potential," said Wendy Barclay, a flu virologist, also at Imperial College London.

[continued at link]

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]

UK: Swine flu warning after cases in south Scotland
Health experts are reminding the public of the dangers of swine flu, following the confirmation of two cases in southern Scotland.

An 18-month-old boy was admitted to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary on Monday, where he was later confirmed as having the H1N1 virus - also known as swine flu.

A new mother from the region had been diagnosed with the illness a few days earlier, and transferred to a specialist hospital in Leicester.

While there are no reported cases of the H1N1 virus in the county, Cumbrian public health experts have reminded residents they can get protection against swine flu.

A spokesman for Cumbria public health said: "The H1N1 flu strain has been in circulation since the pandemic in 2009. It is now part of the normal seasonal flu strains which circulate every winter and is covered by the winter flu vaccine which is provided free every year to groups at particular risk.

More: http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/n...

Scientists Sift For Clues On SARS-Like Virus


The small U.K. cluster started when a British man caught the virus on his way home from Pakistan. "He had spent a fair bit of time in Pakistan, and then traveled through Saudi Arabia," Dr. Gwen Stevens, from the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health, said at the meeting. "He was sick on the plane."

None of the other passengers caught the illness, Bermingham tells Shots. But when the the man got back to England, he passed the virus along to his 39-year-old son and a 30-year-old woman in the same family.

Bermingham said the son, who died last week, had cancer and a weakened immune system. But the woman was healthy when she got infected and recovered without seeing a doctor. "She thought it was a seasonal flu," Bermingham says. "She didn't want to see anyone about it."


She thinks there's an another animal that passes the virus from bats to people. But what that could be is a mystery. One patient from Qatar owns a farm with sheep and camels. "He did go to his farm before he got sick, but he didn't leave his car," Bermingham tells Shots.

The Saudi Arabian health ministry's Stevens says another puzzle is why so few women have been infected. Of the 13 known cases, 11 of them have been men - and the one mild case was woman.

Back in November, the virus infected three men in a large Saudi Arabian family, but never spread to the women and children, Stevens said at the meeting. "The women taking care of the men that were infected never got ill. They were face to face with patients every day but never fell ill."

I'd noticed the odd case breakdown
Usually women are the victims of zoonoses because they prepare food and/or are unprotected when pregnant. Kids are doubly at risk because they play with animals and have vulnerable systems to new bugs.

Of course that is built on experiences with H5N1 in the far east. Are the differences because of the social structure out there? Are female cases going unoticed?

[ Parent ]
ECDC Rapid Risk Assessment

ECDC report on cases

Please post new news stories ...
Research: Is climate change linked to the spread of flu?

State-wide flu emergencies in the US may have been caused by last year's unusually warm winter

Towers looked at data on confirmed cases of influenza in US cities over the 16 flu seasons since 1997. She found that warm winters tend to be followed by a severe epidemic of influenza the following season. In these follow-on epidemics, cases of flu spread at a growth rate 40% higher than average, and the peak number of cases hit earlier in the season.


James Tamerius, a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University, studies viral responses to climate. In temperate climes, he says, influenza researchers are exploring the apparent connection between temperature and infection rate. In the tropics, which Tamerius studies, the flu season coincides with monsoons, drawing questions instead toward the role of precipitation and humidity in transmission. "And in Hong Kong, which is subtropical, we see two different seasons," said Tamerius. "The flu emerges in winter, and then again with the monsoons."

More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl...

Which is why the UK saw less flu in the last toasty 10 years than ever before?
And how the pandemic hit it's peak in 2009 spring/summer?


It might be true that there is a slightly larger crop that could catch flu after a slow flu year but it's cold that seems to stimulate flu to greater efforts.

After a long series of mild winters Dec 2010 was the second coldest December since 1659 and the winter peak was only slightly lower than the 2009 pandemic peak but those peaks were dwarfed by the epidemics of 1999/2000 and older. 7 peaks exceeded 2010/2011 and the 2009 pandemic. The 1989/1990 peak was about 4 times larger.


[ Parent ]
That rant's not aimed at you Ruby.
Just silly reaserch.

[ Parent ]
The real key
to annual variation seems to be flu strain. Strains vary in severity and transmissibility and I can seen no way climate could select for these different characteristics. You could easily have a bad H1 year followed by a bad H3 year.

[ Parent ]
I haven't had time to read this properly
but I thought the headline was a bit carp because they seem to be referring to "weather" rather than "climate change" (rookie mistake!). The actual papers might be slightly more rigorous than the journalist's report :-)

[ Parent ]

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