Search This Blog

Loading...

Friday, July 29, 2011

UK : New superbug found at Princess Royal Hospital, Telford

Via Shropshire Star :

" Nine patients in Shropshire contracted a new superbug that is resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics following urology treatment at a county hospital, new reports have revealed.

Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM) Klebsiella emerged last year after it was believed to have travelled back to Britain in patients who went to India or Pakistan for medical procedures such as cosmetic surgery.

Reports to health chiefs in Shropshire say a cluster of nine patients were found to have contracted the bug in June 2010 following a rigid cystoscopy procedure at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

In most cases the symptoms were either “mild or non-symptomatic” but two patients required intravenous antibiotics.

Medical experts say a new gene known as NDM-1 allows bacteria to be highly resistant to almost all antibiotics and it has spread in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. NDM-1 can exist inside different bacteria, such as E.coli, and makes them resistant to one of the most powerful groups of antibiotics – carbapenems. These are reserved for use in emergencies and to combat hard-to-treat infections caused by other multi-resistant bacteria.

A report to the board of Shropshire County PCT earlier this week says swabs taken from the head of the camera used at the PRH last year grew the resistant Klebsiella – indicating that it was the “probable cause” of cross infection."

Canada : Sarnia crow tests positive for West Nile virus

Article via The Times Herald :

" Results received by Sarnia officials today confirm that a dead crow tested positive for West Nile virus.

The crow, which was found in central Sarnia on July 20, is the first positive case of West Nile in 2011 in Lambton County.

So far this year, four birds have been submitted for testing to the County of Lambton Community Health Services Department.

West Nile virus activity tends to increase throughout August and September, officials said in a news release.

The virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Though less than 1% of people infected with the virus get seriously ill, symptoms include fever, headache, skin rash or muscle aches.

No human cases of West Nile have been reported in Lambton County this year, and none of the mosquitoes caught for surveillance activity have tested positive."

Japan : 1,500 tons of radioactive sludge cannot be buried

Article from NHK News, excerpt :

" Nearly 50,000 tons of sludge at water treatment facilities has been found to contain radioactive cesium as the result of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Over 1,500 tons is so contaminated that it cannot be buried for disposal.

Water treatment facilities in eastern and northeastern Japan have been discovering sludge containing cesium.

The health ministry says there is 49,250 tons of such sludge in 14 prefectures in eastern and northeastern Japan.

A total of 1,557 tons in 5 prefectures, including Fukushima and Miyagi, was found to contain 8,000 or more becquerels per kilogram. This sludge is too radioactive to be buried for disposal.

The most contaminated sludge, with 89,697 becquerels per kilogram, was discovered at a water treatment facility in Koriyama City, Fukushima."

Jamaica : Dengue in North East St. Elizabeth

Article via RJR News :

" RJR News has received reports that three residents from two communities in North East St. Elizabeth have contracted the dengue fever virus.

The affected residents have since been transferred to the Black River Hospital.

Residents says stagnant water which has settled in these communities as a result of rainfall associated with Tropical Storm Nicole last month has led to swarms of mosquitoes infiltrating the communities.

Our newscentre spoke with the Member of Parliament, Kern Spencer gives us an update on the situation.

“We have over the last three days been receiving reports of an outbreak of dengue in at least two communities in North East St. Elizabeth, in the Windsor area of the Shiloh Division and in Elim of the Braes River Division. We have received reports that at least three persons have been hospitalized. Stagnant water from Tropical Storm Nicole has remained in these areas,” Mr. Spencer said.

Up to September 10, one hundred and 49 cases of Type 2 were confirmed by a laboratory.

Jamaica has so far recorded one death, associated with the dengue haemorrhagic fever, the severe form of the virus."

India : Govt sounds disease alert

Via The Telegraph :

" Jorhat, July 28: The Assam government has alerted all 27 districts to take precautionary measures against the possible outbreak of dengue and chikungunya, both vector-borne viral diseases.

There have been over 140 encephalitis-related deaths in 15 districts of the state, with about 42 confirmed Japanese encephalitis deaths. Over 610 people were suffering from the disease till date this year.

Joint director of health services (malaria), also the programme officer of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, A.K. Goswami, in a circular to all districts recently, asked the authorities to prepare a plan for prevention and control of dengue and chikungunya.

The circular said in view of the fact that last year, there were 237 cases of confirmed dengue cases with two casualties, precautionary steps should be taken immediately. This year, there have been no reported cases of dengue or chikungunya so far.

The circular said the main strategy for dengue or chikungunya control was source reduction of vector mosquitoes and steps should be taken in this regard.

It asked the joint directors of health services in all the districts to involve other agencies like urban development, panchayati raj and public health engineering, in addition to the health department, to carry out drives for the source reduction."

UK : 'Super antibody' fights off flu

Via BBC News, excerpt :

" The first antibody which can fight all types of the influenza A virus has been discovered, researchers claim.

Experiments on flu-infected mice, published in Science Express, showed the antibody could be used as an "emergency treatment".

It is hoped the development will lead to a "universal vaccine" - currently a new jab has to be made for each winter as the virus changes.

Virologists described the finding as a "good step forward".

Many research groups around the world are trying to develop a universal vaccine. They need to attack something common to all influenza which does not change or mutate."

Hong Kong : A critical case of Group A Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome

Via Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (July 29) investigating a critical case of Group A Streptococcal infection involving a 44-year-old man with chronic illness.

The patient presented with fever, sore throat and a painful blister over his right heel since July 23. He developed hypotension and abdominal pain on July 27 and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Laboratory test on his right heel blister fluid grew Streptococcus pyogenes. The diagnosis was severe Group A Streptococcal infection with toxic shock syndrome.

He is currently in critical condition.

The patient had no recent travel history. One of his home contacts complained of sore throat but there was no fever nor rash. Other home contacts were asymptomatic."

Nigeria : 25 hospitalised in Kwara cholera outbreak

Article via The Nation :

" No fewer than 25 people have been hospitalised following the outbreak of cholera in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

At least, 10 people have in the past two days been admitted at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) and another five at the state Civil Service Clinic for cholera treatment.

Others were reported to be on admission at the state specialist hospital, the Civil Service Clinic, among other private hospitals in Ilorin.

A resident doctor at the UITH, Dr Tunde Abdulkareem,  attributed the outbreak to dirt, germs and unclean environment.

He urged the residents to use clean water or boil the water they suspect to be from questionable sources.

The doctor said the hospital had been giving the patients fluid to replace loss water from their system.

Abdulkareem said there was need for urgent education and enlightenment programme to prevent the spread of the disease."

Cambodian girl dies from bird flu: WHO

From The Straits Times :

" PHNOM PENH : A FOUR-YEAR-OLD Cambodian girl has become the seventh person to die from bird flu in the country this year, officials said on Friday.

The child, from north-western Banteay Meanchey province, died on July 20, the health ministry and the World Health Organization said in a joint statement. Tests confirmed she had contracted H5N1 avian influenza.

'I urge parents and guardians to keep children away from sick or dead poultry,' Cambodian Health Minister Mam Bun Heng said.

All seven of Cambodia's bird flu cases since January have been fatal. Six of the victims were children.

The girl is the 17th person in Cambodia known to have become infected with the virus and the 15th to die from complications of the disease since 2005, they said."

India : One in 25 in North Chennai test positive for hepatitis

Via Times of India :

" CHENNAI: At least one in every twenty-five people living in north Chennai have been tested positive for hepatitis. A random screening of 1,297 people in six different locations of North Chennai by the Madras Medical College showed 61 of them positive for hepatitis. While 44 had hepatitis B,17 were positive for hepatitis C.

Madras Medical College dean Dr S Kanakasabai, who released the results on Wednesday, said the college organised awareness and screening programme (using blood samples) the liver diseases at six locations - Harbour, Seven Wells Street, Wall tax Road, Broadway, Sathya Nagar (War Memorial) and Bharathi Women's College to commemorate World Hepatitis Day, which falls on Thursday. The screening was done for people from the lower socio-economic groups every day for the last one week.

"These patients were apparently healthy. They did not know they were carriers of the disease," said Dr Kanakasabai. The results shocked not only the patients but also many doctors in the college. "We did not expect that more than 4%of the people will be tested positive," he said. Those tested positive will be treated at the Government General Hospital which is attached to the college. Their close relatives will also be screened. The college is also planning to extend the study to across the city."

Germany : New Case of Low-Path Bird Flu Reported

Via The Poultry Site :

" GERMANY : A new case of low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) has been reported in a small poultry flock in Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany.

The veterinary authority sent Follow Up Report No. 8 dated 27 July to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The outbreak started on 21 July at Sandhorst in Lower Saxony. One bird of the flock of 190 birds showed symptoms and all the birds have been destroyed.

The presence of the H7N7 sub-type of the LPAI virus has been confirmed."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bahamas : Increasing numbers of persons with dengue fever

Via Bahamas Island Info :

" The Ministry of Health wishes to advise the public that there are increasing numbers of persons with dengue fever presenting to the health facilities. Dengue fever is not endemic in The Bahamas.

Dengue fever is a viral illness that is transmitted by the mosquito Aedes Aegypti. Typically, people infected with dengue virus do not have symptoms (approximately 80% of all cases) and others may only have mild symptoms such as uncomplicated fever, headache, bone and joint pains, and eye pain. Children with dengue exhibit symptoms similar to the common cold or gastroenteritis. Mild symptoms can be easily treated at home with supportive treatment: bed rest, fluids and painkillers such as Panadol."

Cholera claims more lives in Mali

Via IOL News :

" Bamako : A cholera outbreak in Mali in July left 19 dead and over 200 infected in the north and centre of the country, health authorities said on Wednesday.

Boubacar Bogoba Diarra of the health ministry said that from July 16 to July 25, 223 cases of cholera were detected in the Mopti and Timbuktu regions, while 19 people died.

He added that 114 cases and 11 deaths were recorded in Mopti, while in the Timbuktu area there were 79 cases and eight deaths."

India : Two deaths confirmed due to dengue

Via The Hindu :

" The district health authorities here on Tuesday confirmed that two children, one four-year-old boy - Dhanush - and a 10-month-old-infant - Zaayed - have died due to dengue.

Another patient who had tested positive for dengue is recovering and ready to be discharged from Mahaveer Hospitals, officials said.

The district health officials said that Dhanush hailed from Gudimalkpur region while Zaayed belonged to Langar Houz area. The authorities said that there has been a spate of suspected dengue cases in and around the Langar Houz area in the past one week. “The dengue tests conducted by Veterinary Biological Research Institute (VBRI), Mehdipatnam have come positive. The other third case is recovering normally,” said Hyderabad District Medical and Health Officer (DM&HO), Dr. B. L. Veena Kumari."

Mosquitoes with West Nile Virus found in U.S. capital

Via Xinhua :

" The District of Columbia Department of Health (DOH) in the U.S. announced Tuesday that it has positively identified the West Nile Virus in mosquito samples in the District.

This is the first time this summer the West Nile Virus has been identified in the U.S. capital.

"Residents should take caution as mosquitoes have the potential to transmit West Nile Virus to humans, and it is important for residents to take the necessary steps to avoid contracting the virus," DOH said in a statement.

West Nile Virus is mainly an infection of birds, but on occasions an infected mosquito may spread it to humans. The virus is not transmitted directly from birds to humans and the risk of infection is low. In human infections, the virus generally causes no symptoms, or may cause mild flu-like symptoms.

Senior citizens and people with weak immune systems are considered high risk for suffering the worst from the disease, officials said."

Singapore : 33 dengue cases at foreign worker dormitory in Woodlands

From Channel News Asia :

" SINGAPORE : In the midst of a looming dengue epidemic, a foreign worker dormitory in Woodlands has recorded the largest cluster so far.

The dormitory saw 33 dengue cases recently.

Officers from the National Environment Agency found 17 breeding habitats, mostly in containers and on the rooftop.

MediaCorp understands there are some 4,000 foreign workers at the dorm - both men and women - from China, Bangladesh, India and Malaysia.

At least 10 colleagues of Christine Wong, who is from Malaysia, have contracted dengue.

And she is concerned about her own health.

She said: "My fever was intermittent. It even went up to as high as 39 degrees Celsius. I went to the hospital for a blood test. The doctor did not find any dengue virus."

As of July 26, there are 31 active clusters, with five clusters having more than 10 cases."

Hong Kong : Necrotising fasciitis case under investigation

From Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a case of necrotising fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) involving an 87-year-old woman.

The woman, with underlying illness and living in Kwai Tsing District, sustained injuries to her left leg on July 22. She then developed pain and swelling of the left leg the next day and was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital.

Surgery was performed on July 23 to remove the dead tissue. She is currently in the intensive care unit and is now in critical condition.

Laboratory tests on her blood culture and necrotic tissue yielded Vibrio vulnificus, a type of bacteria causing necrotising fasciitis.

Investigation continues.

A CHP spokesman said necrotising fasciitis is a serious bacterial infection of the soft tissue and fascia. It can destroy tissue and cause death within 12 to 24 hours after infection."

Fiji : Rubella outbreak

Via The Fiji Times :

" REPORT to the nearest medical centre if symptoms of fever and body rashes appear, warns the Ministry of Health.

There is a rubella outbreak with three reported cases in the greater Suva area, confirmed Health Ministry spokesman Peni Namotu.

Dr Francis Bingwor of the National Adviser Family Health said the ministry intervened to raise awareness after they received reports of two females and a male aged between 19 and 24 years who developed symptoms of rubella at the Fiji School of Nursing.

There are suspected cases for other areas like Samabula, she added

Dr Bingwor is calling on parents to take precautions and getting babies vaccinated against the disease to prevent them from contracting rubella from adults suspected of being affected by the disease.

"Rubella is a vaccination preventable disease which can be prevented if children both boys and girls get vacinated against it," she said.

Parents are encouraged to make sure that their children are vaccinated against the disease which is a service provided at all baby clinics around the country," she said.

Mothers are urged to take their babies for the vaccination at 12 months and it is also provided at primary schools, she said."

Spain : Five in hospital after 10 Legionnaire's Disease cases reported in a Valencia town

Via Typically Spanish :

" All are progressing well, but a local fountain in Alcàsser has been closed as the possible source

The regional health councillor announced the closure of a water fountain in Alcàsser, in the south of Valencia province, on Monday after 10 cases of Legionnaire’s Disease were detected on Friday.

Five of the ten were admitted to hospital, although it’s understood that the only patient who had to be admitted to Intensive Care has now been transferred to the wards. All five are said to be making good progress at the Doctor Peset Hospital in Valencia City."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cholera outbreak hits Haiti

Via UPI :

" Haitian healthcare officials say they're getting more than 1,000 new cases of cholera daily with the return of the rainy season.

Nearly 6,000 people have died since the cholera outbreak began in October, although many healthcare providers believe the number to be higher, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"We are still in … an epidemic," said Jocelyne Pierre Louis, spokeswoman for Haiti's Ministry of Public Health.

Healthcare providers reported more than 1,000 new cases daily in June, Louis said.

Poor sanitation is the root problem in the spread of the disease, which is transmitted through contaminated water -- in a country with no central sewage or potable water systems, the Times said.

"If we want to make cholera disappear, it will be with water and sanitation," said Romain Gitenet, head of the Haiti mission for France-based Doctors Without Borders, which has opened cholera treatment centers across the country."

Monday, July 25, 2011

India : Dengue claims life, 6 cases reported

Article from The Asian Age :

" Dengue has made a comeback in the capital as the Municipal Corporation of Delhi reported one death due to the infection besides six new cases in the past one month, taking the total count of people affected by the virus this year to 11.

The deceased was a resident of Shivam Enclave in Shahdara South zone. He passed away at the Ganga Ram Hospital on July 9, however the casualty was notified to the MCD on July 23, MCD’s health committee chairman V.K. Monga said.

“People should keep a check on mosquito breeding. While cleaning their coolers, they should swipe the walls well so that no eggs remain,” Mr Monga said.

Surprisingly, the first case of dengue fever was reported on March 3 when a doctor from AIIMS tested positive for the vector-borne disease here. Last year, the first dengue case was reported in June.

Till June 23, a total of five people were already affected by dengue fever. Last year, a total of 6,229 dengue cases had been reported in the city out of which eight had died."

India : One more dies of H1N1 in Kerala, 16 test positive in 4 days

Via Times of India :

" THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: One more person has succumbed to H1N1 influenza in Kerala taking the number of deaths due to the infection to five since the outbreak of the monsoon on May 27 while 16 persons have tested positive in the last four days.

Subisha (36) died in the medical college hospital here on July 20. She was admitted with acute respiratory distress syndrome and was tested H1N1 positive, a health department release said.

Five positive cases were reported from Thiruvananthapuram, three each from Kannur and Kottayam, two from Kozhikode and one each from Kollam, Alappuzha and Wayanad district."

Cholera death toll rises in Dominican Republic

Via Xinhua :

" Eleven more people died of cholera last week in Dominican Republic, bringing the death toll to 87, the Health Ministry said Friday.

In its weekly update on the cholera situation, the ministry said the number of suspected cholera cases fell to 773 last week from 808 in the previous week, the third week in a row to see a drop since an outbreak last November.

However, the disease continues to rage in the southern part of the country.

The arrival of the rainy season with hot and humid weather has led to a sharp rise in cases since June. The death toll has doubled in the past six weeks. The ministry has tightened measures to prevent the spread of cholera and related diseases.

A total of 13,200 suspected cases have been registered nationwide since November, according to the ministry's report."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Leptospirosis, Fatal - Denmark : (Copenhagen)

Via ProMed Mail, excerpt :

" Two men from the Copenhagen area have been diagnosed with leptospirosis, one of whom, a 62-year-old man, has died. The infection has probably occurred through contact with sewer water in cleanup of flooded basements.

After a heavy rainfall in Copenhagen on 2 Jul 2011, Statens Serum Institut became aware of 2 cases of leptospirosis or Weil's disease among men living in the Copenhagen area. In both cases these are people who have cleaned up the basement after rain. For cleanup, these people probably came into contact with sewer water that was contaminated with rat urine, which may contain the bacteria that cause
leptospirosis.

Leptospirosis is a rare disease caused by infection with bacteria of the genus _Leptospira_. These bacteria are found in many animals, but in Denmark it is usually bacteria from rats that cause the disease.

Infected animals excrete the bacteria in large numbers in the urine. Transmission to humans occurs either through direct contact with urine from infected animals or indirectly, through contact with freshwater that has been contaminated with infected urine.

In connection with clearing and cleaning the basement, where there is standing water after a flood, it is important to protect yourself by using personal protective equipment, such as boots and rubber gloves. After work is completed, a bath should be taken, dry thoroughly with a clean towel, and put on clean clothes."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Australia : Second-round hendra virus tests negative

Via ABC News, you may want to pay attention to the last line which I've highlighted :

" A number of people who came into contact with a horse that contracted hendra virus at a property near Beaudesert in south-east Queensland have returned negative test results.

It was the second round of blood tests.

Ray Weber, who owns the property at Kerry near Beaudesert where a horse fell sick a month ago, says he is relieved.

"Pretty over the moon... it's a big sigh of relief," he said.

"They told us from the start that we'd probably be a low risk to it all anyway. But it was always in the back of your mind if you did have it."

But Mr Weber says they still have one more round of testing before they can be given the all-clear.

Hendra virus has killed eight horses in Queensland this year.

Authorities are monitoring 51 people for signs of the disease. "

Australia : Two cases of swine flu confirmed

Via The Northern Star :

" TWO people have been confirmed with the potentially fatal swine flu at Lismore Base Hospital, Northern NSW Local Health Network said yesterday.

A spokesperson told The Northern Star there had be “a sharp rise” in notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza, including H1N1, commonly known as swine flu, over the last two months.

“There have been 30 cases notified cases of influenza (on the North Coast) in the first two weeks of July, while a total of 29 cases were reported in June,” the spokesperson said.

The person said the true number could be much higher as cases had to be tested in a laboratory before they are added to the tally.

Nationally, the number of influenza cases is four times higher than a year ago.

Health experts believe the rise is linked to the wet weather and floods earlier this year when there was an unusually high number of flu cases recorded.

Particularly high rates of influenza have hit NSW, Queensland and South Australia with Swine flu and influenza B the most common strains."

Taiwan : DOH reports US man in hospital with tularemia

Article from Taipei Times :

" The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday reported its first imported case of tularemia since 2007.

The patient, a 67-year-old US citizen from San Francisco, California, showed symptoms of fever before flying to Taiwan on June 26.

The man was confirmed to have the disease on Monday after being admitted to a Taipei hospital for fever, pneumonia and a build-up of fluid in his lungs, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director Shih Wen-yi (施文儀) said in a press release. However, he was expected to be released from the hospital soon.

The CDC said tularemia is a zoonotic disease, meaning it is transmitted from -animals to humans and cannot be transmitted from human to human. The disease is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis, which is found in various types of fowl, fish, rodents and mammals, which can be spread through bites, inhalation, or direct contact.

There have been reported cases of the zoonosis in North America, Europe, China, Japan, and the former Soviet bloc. Shih warned people traveling to disease-prone areas to avoid touching animals and eating raw, uncooked meat."

Bahamas : Two Dengue fever cases confirmed

Via The Nassau Guardian :

" Two cases of Dengue fever have been confirmed in New Providence and the number of people with symptoms associated with the illness has increased sharply in recent days, Minister of Health Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference at the Ministry of Health, Minnis said all the relevant agencies have been proactive in attempting to stem the transmission of the disease.

He said 11 possible cases are being tested and at least half could come back positive.

Dengue fever is transmitted through the bite of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

Department of Environmental Health officials said yesterday that fogging has already commenced throughout New Providence and some of the Family Islands in order to prevent the proliferation of mosquitoes.

Minnis said health officials treated 26 people last week suffering from symptoms associated with Dengue fever.

Those symptoms are fever, headache, chills, eye pain and generalized body and muscle aches.

The minister revealed that the number of people visiting clinics with Dengue symptoms is up to more than 40 this week.

The Ministry of Health warned yesterday that individuals should take steps to reduce mosquito breeding grounds.

Minnis said people should empty containers with standing water around their yards, dispose of garbage, use approved household insecticides and make sure windows and door screens around the house are in tact."

Zimbabwe : Cholera threat remains in Chisumbanje

Via SW Radio Africa :

" Chipinge : More than two years after the cholera outbreak that killed more than 4 000 people across Zimbabwe, the people of Chisumbanje are living in fear of another major outbreak due to a suspect drinking water source and lack of adequate sanitation.

This year, one person is reported to have died and more than 150 people have contracted the disease.

James Jamela (not his real name) works at Chisumbanje Estate and shares two rooms with his family in a company house. They share a single toilet with two other families and they experience regular water cuts.

“Our biggest problem is water shortages; we have to draw water for drinking and other household use from nearby canals and dams which are unprotected,” says Jamela.

When water taps run dry, the toilet becomes unusable. This prompts Jamela and his family to use a nearby field to relieve themselves.

Jamela’s neighbor, Eddy Mshandu said that the main problem at the Estate is the old water and sanitation facilities. “The current water system was inherited from ARDA estate and now needs complete overhaul.”

Jamela’s case is typical of many workers and residents at Chisumbanje Estate who face the threat of cholera as a result of the regular water cuts and inadequate sanitation."

Hong Kong : Update on CHP's investigation into Legionnaires' Disease case

A report from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (July 21) provided an update on its investigation into an earlier confirmed case of Legionnaires' Disease (LD) involving a 77-year-old man admitted to St Paul's Hospital.

A CHP spokesman said that preliminary laboratory results of the environmental swabs collected from the patient’s new home in Kwun Tong, including those from the kitchen and washroom wash basin, revealed the presence of Group One Legionella pneumophila. LD is usually caused by Group One Legionella pneumophila.

CHP also collected water samples from the water tank of the residential building for laboratory tests. Results are pending.

Meanwhile, water samples were taken from two cooling towers of a shopping centre in Tuen Mun frequently visited by the patient before he was infected. Laboratory results also showed the presence of Group One Legionella pneumophila.

The management of the shopping centre was requested to carry out disinfection of its cooling towers.

"The source of infection cannot be ascertained at this stage. Further investigation and laboratory testing will be carried out," the spokesman said.

The patient, who was admitted to St Paul's Hospital on July 9, was discharged on July 15 in stable condition. Culture of sputum specimen yielded Group One Legionella pneumophila. Investigation continues."

Canada : Alberta issues Lyme disease warning

Via Calgary Herald, excerpt :

" Infected ticks turn up in city, Edmonton

As health authorities urge Albertans to guard against Lyme disease after five infected ticks were found so far this year, a Calgary mother says she's frustrated her sick daughter hasn't been tested for the illness despite repeated requests.

The pinhead-sized ticks carrying the Borrellia burgdorferi bacteria that cause Lyme disease were spotted recently on four dogs and a cat, through Alberta's surveillance system, said the province's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Andre Corriveau.

Alberta doesn't typically see a lot of the infected ticks, partially because they don't survive well in the dry climate.

Gabrielle Ravenda, whose daughter Mikayla has been sick for nine days with a number of symptoms linked to Lyme disease, said she's frustrated the 14-year-old hasn't been tested for the illness, even if the possibility is remote.

"At least give parents the peace of mind you're going to rule it out and get tested."

Mikayla has been suffering from a high fever, chronic neck and back pain, nausea and lethargy since July 10."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

India : Viral fever strikes ahead of monsoon

Via Deccan Chronicle :

" High fever, a runny nose, cough and body ache. All typical complaints that city doctors are hearing from patients filling up their consultation rooms after contracting viral infections. Even before the monsoon rains have set in, the fluctuation in day and evening temperatures has triggered a spurt in infections caused by air borne viruses, they say. On Tuesday, the maximum temperature soared to a blistering 38ºC while the minimum was around 26ºC after a short spell of rain.

“Such sharp temperature changes combined with high humidity can trigger viral infections,” said J.K. Reddy, paediatrician at Apollo Children’s Hospital. “We receive children complaining of fever and cold on a daily basis.” He said the biggest worry is that parents tend to give children a dose of antibiotics, procured from pharmacies over the counter, at the first sign of a cough or sore throat. “Schoolchildren kids are most prone to catching these viruses, especially those who sit in cramped, air-conditioned classrooms. Kids under five are the most common victims,” Dr Reddy added. At least 60 per cent of the patients that doctor Somu Sivabalan sees every day complain of fever and cough, with a small percentage of diarrhoea cases and several cases of croup, a serious viral cough."

New Zealand : Wintry blast sees sudden rise in flu cases

Via The Scoop :

" Wintry blast sees sudden rise in flu cases

Chilly winter weather appears to have brought with it a sudden rise in influenza cases and other respiratory infections around the country.

Latest ESR general practice surveillance data shows a national consultation rate of 58.0 per 100,000 (220 influenza-like-illness consultations) which indicates normal seasonal influenza activity. The consultation rate has, however, almost doubled in the past month.

"It's not too late for eligible New Zealanders to protect themselves with a free flu vaccination - the Government's subsidised season ends on July 31.

Dr Lance Jennings, a virologist and spokesperson for the National Influenza Strategy Group (NISG)1, says that all three types of influenza virus currently in circulation (pandemic HINI 09 (swine flu), H3N2 and B virus) are covered by the 2011 season influenza vaccine.

"We're also seeing other respiratory viral infections, including common colds, in the community and it's important people don't confuse them with actual influenza. They may have some similar symptoms but they're not the same thing."

India : Dengue alert after death

Via The Telegraph :

" Concerned over the death of a youth, who was suspected to be suffering from dengue, the district administration here sounded an alert across the town to prevent the spread of the disease.

Dr Vikrant Kindo, the chief district medical officer (CDMO), held discussions with district collector Sailendra Narayan Dey to find ways to combat the possible outbreak of the disease.

An emergency meeting of the municipal council was held today where the councillors were sensitised on sanitation in their respective areas. He also emphasised on the need to get rid of stagnant water to stop breeding of mosquitoes.

Sources said the youth, Dipti Prakash Ray from Balangir, was referred to a private hospital in Burla after he was suspected to be suffering from dengue. He tested positive at the hospital in Burla and was referred to Ispat General Hospital in Rourkela for treatment. However, Prakash died soon after reaching Rourkela on Monday. “The additional district medical officer (ADMO-public health) visited the house of the deceased and collected blood samples of the other family members,” said Kindo.

Panic gripped Balangir after the news of Prakash’s death. Local residents complained that the municipal authorities had done precious little to prevent breeding of mosquitoes in the town."

WHO warns against the use of inaccurate blood tests for active tuberculosis

From WHO, excerpt :

" The use of currently available commercial blood (serological) tests to diagnose active tuberculosis (TB) often leads to misdiagnosis, mistreatment and potential harm to public health, says WHO in a policy recommendation issued today. WHO is urging countries to ban the inaccurate and unapproved blood tests and instead rely on accurate microbiological or molecular tests, as recommended by WHO.

TB can be wrongly diagnosed

Testing for active TB disease through antibodies or antigens found in the blood is extremely difficult. Patients can have different antibody responses suggesting that they have active TB even when they do not. Antibodies may also develop against other organisms which again could wrongly indicate they have active TB. In addition, different organisms share the same antigens, making tests results unreliable. These factors can result in TB disease not being identified or wrongly diagnosed.

A blood test for diagnosing active TB disease is bad practice

"In the best interests of patients and caregivers in the private and public health sectors, WHO is calling for an end to the use of these serological tests to diagnose tuberculosis," said Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of WHO Stop TB Department. "A blood test for diagnosing active TB disease is bad practice. Test results are inconsistent, imprecise and put patients' lives in danger."

Today's policy recommendation applies to blood tests for active TB. Blood tests for inactive TB infection (also known as dormant or latent TB) are currently under review by WHO."

Brazil : Twitter could be used against dengue fever

Via UPI :

" Brazil could help track and slow the spread of dengue fever by using social networking sites like Twitter to track outbreaks, health researchers say.

Tracking diseases in real time through social media has been done before, as with the worldwide 2009 swine flu outbreak, but when dengue season begins in Brazil this November it will be the first time data on the scale of individual cities have been collected in this way, NewScientist.com reported Monday.

Software created by the Brazilian National Institutes of Science and Technology that filters tweets for mention of the word "dengue" will help identify a high correlation between the time and place where people tweet they have the fever and the official statistics for where the disease appears each season, health officials said."

India : Two die of H1N1 in Kerala

Article from The Economic Times :

" THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Two persons died of H1N1 disease in Kerala in the past three days, taking the number of deaths due to the infection to four since the outbreak of monsoon.

According to a Health Department release, a 57-year-old woman, who had been confirmed as a H1N1 positive, died yesterday at Kuttikkad in Thrissur district. She had been admitted to a hospital in the district with fever and vomitting.

A 56-year-old man of Idakkulangara in Karunagapally in Kollam, who was also confirmed as H1N1 positive, died on July 16. He was admitted to the Medical College Hospital in Kottayam with fever and breathlessness, the release said."

Japan : Cleanup rate at Fukushima plant remains low

Via NHK News :

" A system to decontaminate radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continues to work below its target capacity.

The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, has found that the system's decontamination rate was about 53 percent during the past week, compared with the target rate of 70 percent. It has been unable to reach the target rate for 3 consecutive weeks.

The utility says the system's low performance rate is due to water leaks as well as the fact that its capacity to remove radioactive materials is 30 percent lower than the catalog states.

TEPCO says the system's performance has not improved even after its piping was changed, and that the cause of the problem is still unknown.

At the troubled plant, water used to cool down reactors has become radioactive and has been accumulating in the basements of the reactor buildings.

TEPCO has operated the cyclical system since late last month, using the water to cool down the reactors after decontaminating it.

On Tuesday, the utility company and the government said that the reactors are being cooled down in a stable manner. However, the system to recycle cooling water is not working well.

At the Number 1 reactor building, the level of polluted water in the basement at 7 AM on Wednesday was 13 centimeters higher than the previous day. TEPCO says a tropical storm has raised the water levels."

Hospital bacteria kills 4 in the Netherlands

Via Xinhua :

" Four patients have died from the multiresistent klebsiella bacteria in a hospital in Rotterdam, the Dutch public television NOS reported on Wednesday.

The hospital has been struggling with the bacteria since last September.

One of the deceased patients was being treated at the fire wound unit, which failed to detect the bacteria in time."

Hong Kong : Suspected food poisoning cases under investigation

Via Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection, excerpt :

" The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health is today (July 20) investigating two suspected food poisoning outbreaks involving eight persons and reminded people to maintain personal, food and environmental hygiene to prevent food-borne diseases.

The first cluster involved four girls, all aged 13. They developed abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea about three to five hours after having lunch in a restaurant in Sha Tin on July 18. Three of the girls sought medical advice. One who required hospitalisation has already been discharged.

The second cluster involved three females and one male aged from 29 to 54. They developed the same symptoms about three to seven hours after having lunch in the same restaurant on the same day. One of them sought medical treatment and did not require hospitalisation."

India : Malaria threat in Delhi, 53 positive cases

Article via Rediff News :

" The threat of Malaria is looming large over the national capital with the city registering 53 positive cases of the mosquito-borne disease, outnumbering Dengue cases, which is only five, in the current monsoon season.

As per the Municipal Corporation of Delhi on vector borne diseases, 53 cases of Malaria have been reported so far in the current season as against 13 cases registered in the same period last year.

"Malaria cases are more than Dengue this year. Last year we had 13 cases of malaria till now as against 53 this year. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has already adopted all anti-mosquito measures," MCD Health Committee Chairman V K Monga said. "We have strengthened malaria detection clinics...these figures clearly reflect that breeding of Anopheles mosquito is on the rise," he said"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

India : 53 test positive for Malaria in Capital

Via Hindustan Times :

" The threat of Malaria is looming large over the national capital with the city registering 53 positive cases of the mosquito-borne disease, outnumbering Dengue cases which is only five, in the current monsoon season. As per the MCD statistics on vector borne diseases, 53 cases of Malaria have been reported so far in the current season as against 13 cases registered in the same period last year.

"Malaria cases are more than Dengue this year. Last year we had 13 cases of malaria till now as against 53 this year. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has already adopted all anti-mosquito measures," MCD Health Committee Chairman V K Monga said. "We have strengthened malaria detection clinics...these figures clearly reflect that breeding of Anopheles mosquito is on the rise," he said.

MCD's Mosquito Breeding Checkers say, as many as 18,844 houses are detected as breeding ground for mosquitoes."

Zimbabwe : Probe into malaria cases in Zim cities

Via IOL News :

" Scientists are investigating reports of confirmed malaria cases in two Zimbabwean cities, Zimbabwe's Herald Online reported on Monday.

This followed reports that some people who never left Harare and Bulawayo had their blood samples examined and confirmed that they were suffering from malaria.

Speaking at a Global Fund conference, information and education officer in the ministry Fortunate Manjoro confirmed that there had been cases of people who never travelled outside the capital cities being diagnosed with the disease.

“The malaria stratification map needs new work as movements of people may have changed the scenario in which there were places like Harare and Bulawayo, which were known to be non-malaria transmission zones... but now there have been cases of malaria among people who have never travelled outside the cities,” she said.

“This may be an indication that the two areas are now also malaria transmission zones."

Tanzania : Cholera outbreak death toll in Lindi rural now doubles

Via IPP Media :

" The number of people who have died of cholera outbreak in Lindi-rural district has now increased to 12 from six over the last week.

According to the acting district medical officer (DMO) Kazembe Mkunga, deaths resulted from cholera outbreak started to occur on July 6, this year.

He identified areas most hit by the outbreak, as Nyangao village which reported 8 deaths, Maumbika two deaths and one death in each of Mtua and Kilimahewa villages.

Dr Kazembe said since the eruption of cholera in the district, a total of 219 people had been affected by and had been treated at different health centres and dispensaries in the district, where special camps were set up to control the outbreak.

The camps were set up at Nyangao, Mtama, Kilimahewa, Mtua and Mahumbika villages, informed the acting DMO.

He said Nyangao camp was leading for receiving more victims as it received and treated 149 patients, Mahumbika 41 patients, Mtama 18, Mtua 10 and Kilimahewa 3."

Australia : Swine flu puts teen in hospital

Article from ABC News :

" A serious case of swine flu which put a Tasmanian teenager in hospital has prompted a warning from health officials.

The 17-year-old girl was admitted to the North-West Regional Hospital with the virus last week.

She has since been discharged but the Deputy Director of Public Health, Dr Chrissie Pickin says it is important not to become complacent.

"This case reminds us that, for most people, influenza is unpleasant but unthreatening but for some it can be a very serious condition,' she said.

"If people aren't vaccinated then, of course, we will get cases and we could potentially could even have deaths."

She has reminded people they can prevent the spread of swine flu."

India : Cases of dengue on the rise in Chennai

Via Times of India, excerpt :

" CHENNAI: Dengue fever is on the rise in the city. Many hospitals say they have started seeing at least five new cases every day. Some patients have been admitted for intensive care and a few have died.

"We have one patient in the ICU even today. The patient's platelet count dropped very badly," said a senior physician at St Isabel's hospital told on Thursday.

The situation is worse at the children's hospitals and wards. Doctors in almost all children's hospitals have been admitting dengue patients for intensive care. "We have a policy not to reveal hospital statistics. But we are seeing kids with dengue. One of them, a three-year-old, died in the hospital on Sunday as it was too late for her to be treated. We have sent the cause of death as dengue in the death declaration form," a senior doctor from the Apollo Children's Hospital said."

Barbados : Dengue risk linked to climate

Via The Barbados Advocate :

" IT is expected climate change is likely to increase the risks of dengue for millions of people over the coming decades, and Dr. Kathleen Israel of the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) says that the dengue outbreak experienced in this region last year, is perhaps a signal of things to come.

Speaking recently at the launch of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Funded Climate Change Project entitled ‘Piloting Climate Change Adaptation to Protect Human Health’, Dr. Israel explained that it has been well established that some diseases are highly sensitive to temperature and precipitation. It is suggested, she added, that even small temperature increases have the capacity to cause significant increases in diarrheal diseases, especially in the poorest populations of the world.

“Dengue is another climate-sensitive disease which greatly affects the region of the Americas in general and the Caribbean in particular. Its distribution is very closely correlated with warm, humid conditions...

“Climate change also threatens human security by impacting on public health security. Global warming is expected to pose direct threats to health by causing more severe storms, floods, droughts and fires, with consequent disruptions in water and food supplies as well as medical and other services,” she noted.

The PAHO/WHO official told those gathered that this phenomenon has the potential to jeopardise the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, including the health-related Goals, as well as undermine the efforts of countries to improve the health of their respective publics and reduce health inequalities regionally and globally."

Thailand : Dengue widespread, Doctors warn

Article via The Nation :

" The Public Health Ministry has warned of a dengue-fever outbreak after reports that 20,000 people have been stricken during the past six months, 13 of them fatally.

Elderly people and children aged under one year are most at risk of dengue-fever infection, the ministry's permanent secretary Dr Paijit Warachit warned yesterday.

"People who have a high fever, fatigue or stomach-ache, or vomit or cannot eat, should seek treatment," Paijit said.

The continuing seasonal rainfall this year has increased the number of mosquitoes carrying the virus that causes dengue haemorrhagic fever.

Children below one year and elderly sufferers from chronic ailments - such as diabetes and high blood pressure - may develop severe symptoms after infection but are often unable to tell others of their illness.

According to Public Health Ministry records, from January to June, 23,324 people were infected with the dengue virus. Of this number, 13 succumbed to the disease."

India : Yerawada woman tests positive for H1N1

Article via Times of India :

" PUNE: A 30-year-old woman from Yerawada tested positive for H1N1 influenza on Monday. With this, the number of H1N1-infected patients within the city limits has gone up to nine since April.

"The woman had developed the symptoms since July 15. She was initially isolated at the Naidu hospital. Her family members were also given preventive medicine to ward off the infection," said an official of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

"The swine flu situation is under control in the city. We are monitoring it closely and there is no need to panic. Some sporadic cases are likely during the monsoon," said R R Pardeshi, health chief, PMC."

Monday, July 18, 2011

India : College student dies of dengue

Another article from The Hindu, fatality due to dengue, excerpt :

" 20-year-old woman from Sasihitlu, near Surathkal, who was a B.Com student, died of dengue here on Thursday night.

With this, two persons had died of dengue in the district this year.

According to District Surveillance Officer Rajesh B.V., 20-year-old Swapna had fever and was admitted to a private hospital in Mukka 10 days ago.

Later, she was shifted to a nursing home at Kudroli. She was in a critical state when she was brought to the Urban Medical Centre on the premises of Kasturba Medical College Ambedkar Circle on July 11.

Dr. Rajesh said Swapna died of multi-organ failure resulting from Dengue on Thursday night."

Kuwait bans poultry imports from US state

Via KUNA :

" Kuwait's Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) has imposed a ban on poultry imports from the American state of Minnesota.

The PAAAFR said in a release on Sunday the move was taken due to bird flu outbreak in Minnesota.

It was taken upon directives from its board chairman and director general Jassem Al-Bader following reports from World Organization for Animal Health on the outbreak of bird flu in the US state."

India : Disease-control steps being strengthened

Via The Hindu :

" The Health Department has directed its health supervisors to strengthen disease prevention and control activities at the field-level as viral fevers, including dengue and H1N1 cases, may go up as the monsoon intensifies.

The Director of Health Services (DHS) convened a meeting on Friday to review the epidemic situation in various districts. Diagnostic and treatment facilities and an adequate supply of drugs have been kept ready in hospitals and laboratories. Vector-control activities, including source reduction, fogging and spraying, and chlorination, are being carried out in all districts to check outbreaks of vector-borne and water-borne diseases.

Outbreak patterns

Health officials said the disease and outbreak patterns in the districts were the same as in every monsoon season. The situation in Alappuzha was under control. No more fresh cases of Japanese Encephalitis had been reported. Though 34 cases of H1N1 had been reported, it was not because the district was particularly vulnerable to the infection, rather as part of a survey, more samples had been sent for testing.

Only a few samples were being sent for testing from the districts. These were strictly for surveillance purpose as the virus was in circulation and community spread of the infection had been established."

Australia : Deadly virus scare in center of Sydney

Via Xinhua :

" Reports that the deadly Hendra virus may have spread to Sydney these days have seen the city's largest racetrack shut down and the city in a state of shock. Officials have cordoned off Sydney's Royal Randwick Racecourse after a horse began exhibiting possible Hendra symptoms.

The horse was reported to be showing signs of colic, shifting weight on its forelegs, salivation and fever.

It also showed subtle neurological signs, including "mild depression", and muscle tremors. The horse in question has been tested and while the results have come back negative, the racecourse remains in lockdown as officials scramble to ensure safety precautions are in place."

South Africa : H1N1 infected baby in stable condition

Article from SABC News :

" The condition of a three-month-baby who was admitted to the Kimberley Medi Clinic with a strain of the H1N1 virus is said to be stable. Hospital manager, Henry Hendriks, says Marlo Putter is still in the intensive care unit and is one of the four patients currently being treated for the virus at the hospital. He says the virus has claimed at least three lives in the past two weeks.

Putter says, "In the hospital, currently we have four patients with confirmed H1N1 who have been confirmed and two of them are currently in a critical condition in the ICU and the other one is the baby that has been admitted and the baby has been confirmed as having the H1N1 virus."

Canada : West Nile virus reported in northwest Toronto

Via Healthzone :

" West Nile virus has been found in mosquitoes for the first time this summer, in the northwest part of the city, Toronto Public Health said Friday.

“We test mosquitoes from 43 traps around the city once a week,” said Dr. Howard Shapiro, associate medical officer of health for Toronto Public Health. “This is an opportunity to remind people to be careful and take precautions.”

There has only been one human case of West Nile virus since 2010, and no deaths since 2005. The virus was discovered in Toronto 10 years ago, leading to 163 cases and 11 deaths in 2002.

Toronto Public Health is reminding the public to drain standing water around their homes and use insect repellent."

India : Immunisation drive fares poorly, diphtheria cases up

Via Daily Baskar :

" Jaipur: The death of a six-month-old child from Sawai Madhopur and four other persons found suffering from diphtheria in the city's JK Lone Hospital last fortnight has raised serious questions on the efficacy of immunisation programmes in the state.

A combination vaccine against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus is given to every child under various immunisation programmes.

"Few children, who were in post diphtheria stage, were admitted in the JK Lone Hospital but no case has been reported as diphtheria is reported by eye and throat unit at SMS Hospital. At JK Lone Hospital, few children came in post diphtheria stage," said Dr SD Gupta, superintendent, JK Lone Hospital.

Authorities now say they will fix the responsibility on the health workers in the areas from where such cases and patients have been reported. "We will inquire into who is responsible for these cases," said Dr ML Jain, assistant director, reproductive and child health.

The health department data regarding immunisation programmes in the state shows the lethargy in dealing with the disease. In the first two months of year 2011-12, only 10 per cent target of immunisation has been achieved which is around 5 per cent lower than last year. In 2010-11, the health department could achieve only 83.18 per cent of its annual target which shows a glaring gap between the need and action taken."

Friday, July 15, 2011

Taiwan : Pingtung announces year's first case of Japanese encephalitis

Via Focus Taiwan :

" The Public Health Bureau of the Pingtung County government in Southern Taiwan announced Tuesday its first case of Japanese encephalitis this year.

The victim, a 44-year-old woman residing in Pingtung City, was diagnosed with the mosquito-borne disease July 11, becoming the fourth person in Taiwan to contact the disease this year, said the bureau.

The woman began suffering from headache and fever July 4 and was hospitalized the next day, where tests confirmed that she had been infected, health officials said.

Inspections by the bureau revealed that the patient lived in proximity to rice paddies and chicken coops, which provide ideal breeding conditions for the culex mosquitoes that carry the disease.

The public should avoid rice paddies, livestock quarters, ponds and irrigation ditches at dusk, when the mosquitoes are at their most active, bureau officials said.

To lower the chances of infection, long sleeves and pants should be worn, and mosquito spray should be applied to exposed areas if activity in these places cannot be avoided, the officials added."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Zealand : Measles scare sees 149 children quarantined

Via Stuff :

" Over 140 primary students were quarantined at school following a measles scare - and frustrated parents abused staff when they were called to collect their kids from the Pakuranga school.

As Auckland's measle crisis worsens - at last count there had been 64 cases in the lastest oubreak - Wakaaranga School moved to send home 149 of its pupils on Monday who didn't have evidence to show they had been immunised.

Principal Brent Jenkin says by the end of the day he still had 60 children in isolation.

"Obviously we had to keep them quarantined,'' he says.

Jenkin says a letter was sent home last Friday advising parents who had not notified the school of their children's immunisation status to do so immediately - or keep them away on Monday.

The letter followed a message from the Auckland Regional Health Service advising the school that one of their pupils had the notifiable disease.

Jenkins says once the news got out, extra staff, including PTA volunteers, were required to deal with the large influx of phone calls.

He said many parents took their frustrations out on the school."

Australia : Hendra virus claims ninth horse

Via News.com :

" A THIRD horse has died from the Hendra virus in NSW, taking to nine the number of Hendra deaths across two states.

The latest horse to die was a companion to one which died from the virus a fortnight ago on the same quarantined northern NSW property.

"Results of laboratory tests (yesterday) revealed the surviving horse, which was showing signs of illness for more than 24 hours, was carrying the Hendra virus," NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth said today.

He said the horse was buried yesterday morning after being euthanased and it was the only other horse on the Wollongbar property.

The first horse in NSW to die was put down at Wollongbar, east of Lismore, on June 30.

Three days later, a Hendra-infected horse died on a property about 200km away in Macksville, on the NSW mid-coast."

Nepal : 5 kids die of diarrhea‚ pneumonia

From The Himalayan Times :

" MUAGU: Five children died of diarrhea and pneumonia in the Nepali month of Ashad alone at Mangri, a north-eastern VDC of Mugu district.

The deceased are aged 2-3 of wards no 5, 7, 8 and 9 of Mangri VDC. Local residents said they died due to the lack of treatment.

Mangari, despite being the VDC having high population density Mugu, has only one Sub-Health Post. Local people also said those deceased died on the way for treatment."

India : H1N1 claims one life

Article from IBN Live :

" THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A 15-year-old girl hailing from Kollam died at the Medical College Hospital here on Wednesday.

The cause of death was later confirmed to be H1N1. The girl was identified as Milka S Thampi, daughter of Thampi, Chithrapuri Puthenveedu, Punaloor in Kollam. Milka was admitted to the hospital after she showed symptoms such as septic shock, aspiration pneumonia, down’s syndrome, hypothyroidism and seizure disorder.

As many as six more cases of H1N1 was reported in the state on Thursday with three each from Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam. There are already 25 patients under hospital quarantine and 430 under home quarantine following the outbreak of fever again in the state during the past few days."

Malaysia : One Death Among 448 Dengue Cases Reported Last Week, Says Ministry

Via Bernama :

" One death was among the 448 cases of dengue fever reported from July 3 to 9, the Health Ministry said today.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman said the fatal case was a foreigner who died of dengue shock syndrome four days after being infected with the disease.

He said that five states reported an increase in the number of dengue cases over the week. They are Selangor (35 cases), Negeri Sembilan (17), Johor (10), Penang (9) and Kedah (4).

Dr Hasan said in a statement that the number of dengue cases reported from January to July 9 was 10,887 -- 57 per cent or 14,414 cases less than the 25,301 recorded in the corresponding period last year.

The number of deaths reported was 19, compared to 62 in the previous period.

Dr Hasan said that 105 dengue localities in 22 districts were reported last week, eight of them identified as hot spots.

This compares with 102 localities in 17 districts reported the week before."

China brings infectious diseases under control: report

Via Xinhua :

" The Chinese government has brought a number of infectious diseases under control to safeguard people's right to health, says a report released on Thursday by China's State Council Information Office (SCIO).

The report, titled Assessment Report on the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010), says the number of reported cases of 15 infectious diseases, including diphtheria, dropped markedly over the past two years.

In 2010, the incidences of meningitis B, rabies and hemorrhagic fever throughout the country were 0.19 per 100,000, 0.15 per 100,000 and 0.17 per 100,000, down of 42 percent, 40 percent and 15 percent, respectively, compared to 2007, according to the report.

Meanwhile, 102 million people were immunized against measles over the past two years, says the report.

In April 2009, the SCIO published the Action Plan, which is China's first national plan on human rights."

Hong Kong : Public urged to be vigilant against upper respiratory tract infection

Via Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (July 14) called on the public to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent upper respiratory tract infection (URI).

The appeal followed the CHP's investigation into a URI outbreak at a residential child care centre in Causeway Bay involving 20 children aged 2 or below.

Investigation revealed that the affected children, comprising 11 males and nine females, have developed URI symptoms including fever, runny nose, cough and sore throat since June 22. Six of them were hospitalised but have already been discharged. All of the affected children are in stable condition.

Nasopharyngeal aspirate specimens from five of the affected children tested positive for adenovirus.

Staff of the CHP have conducted a site visit and provided health advice to the institution."

Indonesia : Maros, South Sulawesi - Bird flu widespreads in 10 regions

From Ida at Bird Flu Information Corner, excerpt :

" Veterinary Disease Investigation Center, General Directorate of Livestock in Maros reported ten regions in South Sulawesi tested positive bird flu H5N1 infection according to the research conducted from January to July 2011, said spokesman of Veterinary Disease Investigation Center in Maros, Affendi.

Of 2,404 birds tested, over 100 of them were positive bird flu H5N1. The samples came from Kabupaten (municipality) Bantaeng, Takalar, Makassar, Palopo, Pinrang and Maros. The virus had also been found in Kabupaten Konawe, Southeast Sulawesi.

It is unclear whether the virus has spread to Sidenreng Rappang (Sidrap), Parepare, Gowa and Enrekang, said Affendi, as the laboratory has not examined the samples of dead chickens recently occurred in those areas. Officers in field have got rid of the dead poultries, but until now they have not sent the samples to Maros laboratory."

Cholera deaths reported in DR Congo as disease infects thousands – UN

From UN News Centre :

" More than 3,000 cases of cholera have been reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since March, the United Nations reported today, saying that the disease had claimed the lives of 192 people since it was first reported in the north-eastern city of Kisangani, from where it spread downstream along River Congo.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and partners are helping the Government to organize hygiene promotion campaigns, set up water chlorination points and to ensure that those infected get free treatment, the spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Martin Nesirky, told reporters at UN Headquarters.

The disease has spread to the provinces of Equateur, Bandundu and the capital, Kinshasa.
The UN Office for the Coordination of the Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), meanwhile, reported that although Bandundu remains the worst affected province – with 1,271 cases and 72 deaths as of 4 July – cholera has been spreading quickly in Kinshasa.

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the bacterium known as vibrio cholerae. The disease has a short incubation period and produces a toxin that causes continuous watery diarrhoea, a condition that can quickly lead to severe dehydration and death if treatment is not administered promptly. Vomiting also occurs in most patients."

Study: Adjuvanted H1N1 vaccines had little effect on GBS risk

From Robert Ross at CIDRAP :

" A five-country study from Europe indicates that the use of adjuvanted vaccines against the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus probably did not increase the risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), but the investigators could not firmly rule out a slightly greater chance of suffering the paralytic condition.

Writing in BMJ, the European researchers report that the adjusted odds ratio (OR) for GBS in those who were vaccinated was 1.0, indicating no higher risk, but the 95% confidence interval (CI) was 0.3 to 2.7, leaving the possibility open.

"The risk of occurrence of Guillain-Barre syndrome is not increased after pandemic influenza vaccine, although the upper limit does not exclude a potential increase up to 2.7-fold or three excess cases per one million vaccinated people," the report states.

GBS associated with flu vaccination has been a concern since the aborted US swine flu vaccination campaign of 1976, when almost one extra GBS case was reported per 100,000 vaccinations. Since then, studies of seasonal flu campaigns have shown no increase or only a slightly increased risk of 1 to 2 extra cases per million vaccinees, according to an editorial accompanying the BMJ report.

In Europe, the 2009 pandemic triggered the first widespread use of flu vaccines containing adjuvants: GlaxoSmithKline's Pandemrix and Novartis's Focetria, which were the most widely used vaccines there. The public's unfamiliarity with adjuvants has been cited as a factor in the generally low vaccine uptake during the pandemic in Europe. Adjuvants have not been used in US flu vaccines.

The European study was a case-control investigation conducted in Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom by the Vaccine Adverse Events Surveillance & Communication (VAESCO) consortium. The study period was November 2009 through March 2010."

India : 1 tests positive for H1N1

Article from Times of India :

" PUNE: A 31-year-old doctor from Sinhagad road tested positive for H1N1 influenza on Wednesday. With this, the number of infected patients within the city limits has gone up to eight since April this year.

"Her throat swab sample tested positive on Wednesday. She is recovering fast. As a precautionary measure, all the family members have been administrated preventive medicines," said a civic official.

The woman was isolated at the Naidu Hospital and is likely to be discharged either tonight or tomorrow, depending on her recovery.

The 61-year-old man from Vishrantwadi who had tested positive for swine flu on July 7 is also doing a fast recovery. "His stay in the hospital has been prolonged as he has other co-morbid conditions. He will be discharged in a day or two," the official said."

Nepal : Govt proposes to give it continuity

Via The Himalayan Times :

" Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC) proposed today to give continuity to the activities of Avian Influenza Control Project after its tenure with the World Bank under Trust Fund is completed.

Indrakant Jha, project director of AICP under MoAC said that WB has asked the project to apply for continuing the programme under human and animal facility fund at the bank with estimated budget of 5.9 million.

AICP will completing its tenure on 31 July this year.

The project has been established in the country to minimise the threat posed to humans by Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza infection and other diseases by controlling such infections among domestic poultry and preparing for, controlling and responding to an influenza epidemic and other related infectious disease emergencies in humans.

“World Bank is satisfied with the activities of AICP project, so they are asking us to apply with a proposal to continue the project,” said the project director. He added that the ministry is be drafting the proposal and will present it before delegates of WB visiting on July 28.

Jha informed that the country is working with intensive livestock development project with estimated budget of Rs 95 million for immediate response to the diseases.

The ministry is also drafting a proposal on control and containment of emerging pathogenic diseases with World Bank."

Philippines : DOH tracing source of dengue 'outbreak' in Batanes

Via GMA News :

" Even as it continues to monitor the situation, the Department of Health (DOH) is now trying to trace the cause of the dengue outbreak that hit Batanes province.

National Epidemiology Center head Dr. Eric Tayag on Wednesday said their initial reports indicate at least 900 cases had been recorded there.

“Ang huling report 900 na ang dinapuan sa Batanes. Tinututukan ito ng ating kalihim na si DOH Secretary Enrique Ona," he said in an interview on dwIZ radio.

He said the DOH has sent a team to Batanes to track how mosquitoes had bred in the province, which he said used to average only two dengue cases a year.

Tayag said they are not discounting the possibility that tourists who had dengue may have spread the disease.

“So many tourists visit the site because of its beauty. It is possible some of them may have had a part in spreading dengue. We will send a team to the province to trace where the dengue-carrying mosquitoes bred)," he said.

Last weekend, Sabtang town in Batanes was placed under a state of calamity due to the number of dengue cases in the area in the last two weeks."

Singapore : Largest cluster of dengue cases at Tai Keng Gardens

Via Channel News Asia :

" The largest cluster of dengue cases at the moment is at Tai Keng Gardens, near Upper Paya Lebar Road, with 46 cases.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) is working with grassroots leaders in the area to tackle the problem.

Grassroots leaders are going from door-to-door to educate residents on how to guard against the Aedes mosquitoes.

At the same time, NEA officers are going all out to quash any possible mosquito breeding areas.

Channel NewsAsia understands that the number of dengue cases in Tai Keng Gardens was low in the last three years, with fewer than 10 cases per year.

But there has been two dengue clusters since late last month, according to NEA data.

The first one emerged late last month in the area of Paya Lebar Crescent and Lorong Ah Soo.

The second one appeared this month in Jalan Kelichap, Upper Paya Lebar Road and Jalan Lokam."

Scientists discover first gonorrhea strain resistant to all available antibiotics

Article from EurekAlert!, excerpt :

" An international research team has discovered a strain of gonorrhea resistant to all currently available antibiotics. This new strain is likely to transform a common and once easily treatable infection into a global threat to public health. The details of the discovery made by Dr. Magnus Unemo, Dr. Makoto Ohnishi, and colleagues will be presented at the 19th conference of the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Disease Research (ISSTDR) which runs July 10-13 in Quebec City, Canada.

The team of researchers successfully identified a heretofore unknown variant of the bacterium that causes gonorrhea, Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Analyzing this new strain, dubbed H041, allowed researchers to identify the genetic mutations responsible for the bacterium's extreme resistance to all cephalosporin-class antibiotics—the last remaining drugs still effective in treating gonorrhea.

"This is both an alarming and a predictable discovery," noted Dr. Unemo of the Swedish Reference Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria. "Since antibiotics became the standard treatment for gonorrhea in the 1940s, this bacterium has shown a remarkable capacity to develop resistance mechanisms to all drugs introduced to control it."

"While it is still too early to assess if this new strain has become widespread, the history of newly emergent resistance in the bacterium suggests that it may spread rapidly unless new drugs and effective treatment programs are developed," Dr. Unemo continued.

Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the world. In the U.S. alone, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of cases is estimated at 700,000 annually.

Gonorrhea is asymptomatic in about 50% of infected women and approximately 2-5% of men. When symptomatic, it is characterized by a burning sensation when urinating and pus discharge from the genitals. If left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to serious and irreversible health complications in both women and men."

India : Boy dies of rabies afterwild squirrel bite

Via The Hindu :

" Bite by a wild squirrel is suspected to be the cause of the death of a seven-year- old-boy after contracting rabies.

The child, hailing from Pavithreshwaram in the district, succumbed to the viral attack at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital on Wednesday night.

He was admitted in the hospital four days ago.

The parents of the child said that three month ago one afternoon while sleeping, they heard the boy cry.

They rushed to him and saw a squirrel running out of the room. On examining the child, they found that the squirrel had bitten him.

Some traditional medicine was administered to him then. The boy attended school after the vacations and did not show any signs of being infected with rabies.

But, five days ago he showed symptoms of fever, drooling, and weakness.

The parents rushed him to a nearby hospital, from where he was referred to the medical college hospital, relatives said."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Australia : Taskforce to tackle hendra virus outbreak

Via ABC News :

" New South Wales and Queensland will work together to investigate and respond to the hendra virus following a recent spate of cases across both states.

There have been five outbreaks of hendra virus in the past three weeks in both states - three in south-east Queensland and two in New South Wales.

Seven horses have died and another 40 are under quarantine. Thirty-two people who were exposed to the infected animals are being tested and monitored for signs of the virus.

The taskforce will include chief veterinarians, health officers and scientists as well as a CSIRO representative.

Queensland's Agriculture Minister Tim Mulherin says the taskforce will meet in Brisbane on Wednesday.

"The taskforce will work on three fronts: We'll be analysing the situation in both states to better understand the outbreak; identifying areas of further collaboration, and undertaking longer-term planning for managing the disease and it's impact," he said.

"By bringing these experts and leaders together we will work more closely to reduce the incidences and the impacts of hendra cases."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

South Korea : 1st Cholera Patient Confirmed This Year

Via The Chosun Ilbo :

" A Korean national has been diagnosed with cholera after becoming infected during a visit to India early this month.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday one traveler who visited Delhi and Varanasi on July 2-8 showed symptoms of the disease. The patient tested positive for the V. cholerae 01 Ogawa virus at the Incheon Airport National Quarantine Station, the KCDC added.

The airport quarantine station sent a list of 10 people who traveled with the patient to regional public health centers to prevent the spread of the disease.

The KCDC urged travelers to India, Southeast Asia, and Africa to wash their hands well after using the toilet or before meals, drink boiled or bottled water, and eat fully cooked seafood to prevent waterborne infectious diseases."

India : Bird flu virus develops resistance to key drug

Via Hindustan Times :

" One of the two available medicines for bird flu in the country may soon be redundant. The virus that caused the outbreak in certain pockets of West Bengal last year has been found to be resistant to Amantadine. Amantadine and Tamiflu are the two drugs available in India to treat humans who contract bird flu.

If the avian influenza virus, H5N1, grows entirely resistant to Amantadine, another drug will have to be developed soon, which is an expensive and time-consuming proposition.

The detection was made recently at the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal."

India : Swine Flu Claims its Fifth Victim in Two Months

Article from Daiji World :

" Swine flu claimed yet another life, this time of puerperal woman from Shimoga district, on Saturday July 9. She was convalescing after giving birth to a baby recently.

As Asha (28) was suffering from incessant fever, she was admitted into KMC Hospital Manipal about a week back. As she showed symptoms similar to swine flu, her swab samples were subjected to tests. After finding that she had contracted H1N1 virus, she was kept in the intensive care unit and treated.

Asha, who delivered 16 days ago, breathed her last on Saturday morning. Her child is reported to be hale and healthy. With her death, the number of those who died of swine flu in the district during the last two months has risen to five. Out of them, two were from this district, and one each from Shimoga and Bellary districts."

Cholera surges in Haiti's Central Plateau

Via Associated Press, excerpt :

" MIREBALAIS, Haiti (AP) -- An old man with sunken cheeks is so dehydrated he must be carried down the dirt lane to a clinic where the air is thick with the odor of bleach. Minutes later, a worried father enters, carrying a two-year-old girl in a frilly white dress, her eyes sunken and unfocused."

South Africa : Ostrich farmers cautioned amid avian flu outbreak

Article from SABC News :

" The Ostrich Business Chamber has urged farmers to adhere to regulations regarding the transportation of ostriches and its products. The call follows the outbreak of the H5N2 avian flu virus in the Little Karoo.

At least 25 000 birds have had to be culled since the virus was detected in April this year. Head of the Chamber, Anton Kruger, says farmers can obtain a Red Cross permit to transport fertile eggs, new-born chicks, feathers and skins. Kruger further clarifies that the permits will be valid within the area for 30 days, noting that there will be a master permit that will also ease the burden of logistics.

"But in the same breath, producers must realise they have to put down their signature, indicating that they will comply with all the conditions set out for traceability for bio-security as well as when transporting any of the products, including the day-old ostrich chicks."

South Africa :

Cholera deaths reaches 71 in Dominican Republic since last November

Via Xinhua :

" A total of 71 people had died from cholera-related diseases since last November, including nine deaths last week, the Health Ministry said on Friday.

The number of suspected cholera cases had risen to 10,760 after 1,014 new cases were registered alone in the last week.

With the arrival of the rainy season, the ministry has tightened measures to prevent the spread of Cholera and other diseases.

The first cholera cases in the Dominican Republic was detected in November 2010, one month after an outbreak started in neighboring Haiti."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Australia : Dengue fever on the rise

Article from The Sydney Morning Herald :

" Increasing numbers of Australians are returning home with the mosquito-borne disease.

The explosion in the number of dengue fever cases in Australia this year is a result of travellers being unaware of the dangers and becoming infected overseas, particularly in south-east Asia.

This has led to a plea by the Australian Medical Association for those returning from holiday or arriving from other countries to be vigilant about avoiding the disease.

"If you take precautions with mosquitoes, you shouldn't catch it and you can't bring it home," the association's federal vice-president, Steve Hambleton, says. "Overseas, dengue is everywhere."

In Australia, the number of people who tested positive to dengue in the three months to March more than doubled from the same period last year, figures from the World Health Organisation show.

There have been 354 cases of dengue fever so far this year, compared with 156 last year. Almost half of them were reported in Western Australia, where the numbers jumped from 85 in the first quarter of last year to 166 this year.

A spokeswoman for the WA Department of Health says none of the most recent infections were contracted in the state. "Nearly all cases were acquired in south-east Asian countries, predominantly in Bali," she says.

This was similar to last year, when travellers returning from Bali accounted for more than 80 per cent of cases of dengue fever in the state."

India : Swine flu kills woman in Malegaon

Another article from DNA India :

" A 21-year-old woman died of suspected swine flu in Malegaon on Sunday. Nutan Khairnar, a resident of Kalwan taluka, was being treated for suspected swine flu at a private hospital in Satana but was shifted to Malegaon after her condition deteriorated.

“There were no earlier reports available but she showed symptoms of fever, cold and breathlessness. Her condition was grave and she died at around 10.30am on Sunday,” said Dr Kishore Dange, RMO of the Malegaon govt hospital. Dr Dange said her symptoms indicated infection of Swine flu. Her throat swab sample has been sent to National Institute of Virology in Pune for testing. The Dsitrict Health Officer has also been informed of the suspected swine flu case."

UAE : New import checks in wake of bird flu pandemic

Article from Gulf Today :

" ABU DHABI: Importers of live birds and other poultry products from Asian countries are required to meet a set of new criteria, according to a decision issued in this regard by the UAE minister of environment and water Dr Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahad on Sunday.

With this decision, the environment ministry will implement wider monitoring mechanisms for the import of all live birds, their meat products, hatching eggs and one-day-old chicks from all Asian countries to the UAE.

This is in response to increasing cases of bird flu reported in these countries recently. The UAE has developed a surveillance system to identify infected poultry products and prevent such diseases from spreading in the country in line with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recommendations.

The Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) said in a statement that all such imports should be accompanied by proper documents and a veterinary health certificate endorsed by relevant authorities.

A spokesperson of the MoEW added that the resolution specifies that entry of any type of bird, live or slaughtered, or their products requires obtaining an import permit in advance from the environment ministry."

India : You better watch out - H1N1 virus claims four lives in Karnataka

Via DNA India :

" The H1N1 (swine flu) virus is on a comeback trail in Karnataka. According to statistics available with the Udupi district health office, four people have died due to swine flu since May 2011. Two people are undergoing treatment in Manipal and Udupi.

Speaking to DNA, Udupi district health officer Dr Ramachandra Bairy said: “There have been isolated cases in the past three months. Two victims were from Udupi and two others hailed from Shimoga. Hebri (30 km from Udupi), Manipura (12 km from Udupi), Sagar (Shimoga district) and Bellary have reported one case each in the past three months.”

Three people died in Udupi and Manipal during the first outbreak in 2009. Dr Bairy said: “The situation is not alarming, but we are monitoring it closely. This is an infection that spreads in the air. Once the virus is airborne, it’s not possible to stop the infection.

The best way to contain the spread of this infection is to treat patients in isolation wards. We have put together a system in association with Kastruba Medical College Hospital to treat the infection. If needed, the system can be re-assembled in a matter of hours,” added Dr Bairy.

The incidence of infection has been high in Shimoga, Bellary and Davangere. These districts do not have the required primary or secondary treatment facilities and they have referred the cases to Kastruba Medical College Hospital, Dr TMA Pai Hospital in Udupi or Wenlock Hospital in Mangalore."

India : H1N1 infected man dies

Via The Hindu :

" One person, who was confirmed to have H1N1 infection, died in this district on Saturday night while four positive cases were reported in Palakkad, according to the Health Department sources here on Sunday. The 35-year-old victim hailed from Ponmudi area and was admitted to the hospital with respiratory problems.

A total of 34 patients had been quarantined in hospitals while 174 patients were under home quarantine, the Department said in a release.

One of the patients was undergoing treatment in the Intensive Care Unit while the throat swab of 27 suspected cases had been sent for examination to competent laboratories."

US : Avian-Flu Halts Some Minnesota Poultry Exports, USDA Says

Article via Bloomberg, excerpt :

" Hong Kong, Cuba, Guatemala, Singapore and Taiwan have halted poultry exports from Wright County, Minnesota, after cases of low-pathogenic bird flu were discovered, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Countries have banned imports of poultry from Minnesota because low-pathogenic avian influenza cases were confirmed in the state,” Workabeba Yigzaw, a spokeswoman for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said today in an e- mail.

Hong Kong stopped imports of poultry meat and products derived from birds raised or processed in Wright Country on or after July 4, according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Cuba and Guatemala stopped all shipments of raw poultry and poultry meat products in that county from birds slaughtered on or after June 29, the agency said."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

South Africa : Five More Ostrich Farms Affected by Bird Flu

Via The Poultry Site :

" Ostriches on five new farms in the Western Cape have tested positive for low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI).

The veterinary authority sent Follow Up Report No. 4 dated 4 July to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The report describes that birds on five farms in Western Cape Province tested positive for LPAI, four of them between 30 May and 9 June. The other farm was affected in March. The four farms all tested positive by PCR for subtype H5 (or the type was unspecified). The first farm to be affected tested positive by HI test for H5 and H6 virus sub-types. In all, 9,005 birds were involved, of which 3,366 tested positive, eight died and 3,508 have been destroyed.

All were commercial ostrich farms. Ostriches on the farms tested positive on serology during routine surveillance, but tested negative on PCR and no virus could be found. Diagnosis was only confirmed after several follow-up PCR tests. South Africa only reports outbreaks on confirmation on PCR tests, according to the report. Initially, no clinical signs or mortalities were seen."

Singapore : Weekly dengue cases hit new high

Via Channel News Asia, Singapore dengue cases are up :

" Weekly dengue cases so far this year have hit a new high, with 185 cases recorded in the 26 June-2 July period.

The number exceeded the Ministry of Health's (MOH) warning levels of 146 cases per week for the first time this year.

And if dengue cases increase to 191 per week, it would take the situation to epidemic levels.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said that last week's 185 cases were also higher than the average 66 cases a week recorded in May and 108 cases a week recorded in June last year.

The NEA said dengue cases have been creeping up, with the weekly average number of cases increasing from 106 in May to 149 last month. But it said this is still far from the 2005 dengue outbreak situation.

The NEA said these levels are moving averages based largely on the past five years worth of data.

As such, the higher the previous cases recorded, the higher the warning and epidemic level would be.

The NEA said given that dengue cases have been relatively low in the past years since the 2005 outbreak, this year's warning and epidemic levels are at the lower end.

In 2006, the warning and epidemic levels were higher, at 256 cases per week and 378 per week, respectively, because of the high cases in 2004 and 2005."