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Friday, September 30, 2011

Pakistan : Dengue tally reaches 143

Article via The Nation :

" LAHORE : For the first time since the dengue onslaught, people sitting at the upper deck of Punjab have also started succumbing to the virus as the Thursday’s seven new victims included an MPA. A Chinese acupuncture specialist also died as the ruthless virus took the death tally to 143.

Besides taking the lives of seven, the Dengue virus forced hundreds of people to go to healthcare centres in the City for test, confirming 805 new cases. The confirmed Dengue fever cases in Lahore alone reached 20308 till Thursday.

Mumtaz Ahmed Jajja, an MPA from Bahawalpur and Parliamentary Secretary for Education, was on the ventilator at Intensive Care Unit of Jinnah Hospital for the last three days.

He breathed his last on Thursday. Zhu Wan Xiang, a Chinese Acupuncturist running clinic in Gulberg for the last over five years, suffered from Dengue fever few days back. He was admitted to Jinnah Hospital where he could not survive.
The remaining victims include three women and a seven years old girl. Sobia (27), a resident of Daroghawala, died at Ghurki Hospital, Gulnaz (50) of Amar Sadhu at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Saima (20) of Old Anarkali at Mayo Hospital and Fatima (7) of Tajpura at Services Hospital while Mudassar (28) of Daroghawala lost his life at Lahore General Hospital."

India : 14 new dengue cases reported

Via Times of India :

" NEW DELHI: Delhi reported 14 new dengue cases on Thursday taking the total number of cases of the mosquito-borne diseases to 230 for this season. According to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, there has been sharp increase in dengue cases across the city in the last few days and Central Zone - Lajpat Nagar, Defence Colony, GKI, South Extension - and South Zone - Saket, Vasant Kunj and Mehrauli - remain worst affected.

"Total 23 dengue cases have been reported from Central Zone and 21 cases have been reported from South Zone in this season. Most of the cases have been reported in the past few weeks. Civil Lines zone and Karolbagh zone are equally affected by the dengue menace," said Dr V K Monga, Chairman of the MCD health committee. He said that on an average 8-10 cases are being daily this week. Dr M P Sharma, head of internal medicine department at Rockland hospital said that majority of dengue patients require admission. "Three patients are still admitted at our hospital and the platelet count of one of them has gone down to 16,000," said Sharma.

The number of cases of Chikungunya - which is transmitted by the daytime biting Aedes mosquito - has gone up to eight, out of which eight cases are indigenous and two patients seem to have been infected by the disease in Hyderabad."

Vietnam : More kids hospitalised due to viral disease

Via Vietnam News :

" Cold winds and fears of hand-foot-mouth disease spread have caused an increasing number of children to be hospitalised at the Ha Noi National Hospital of Paediatrics for respiratory diseases.

Head of the hospital's Consultation Department Can Phu Nhuan said that the department received around 3,000 children last Monday, 1.5 times higher than the normal figure.

Almost all patients showed symptoms including coughing, fevers, sneezing and even pneumonia, he said, adding that children aged between 1 and 3 were usually more vulnerable to respiratory diseases.

Nguyen Thi Lien, from northern Thai Binh Province, had to take her one-year-old child to the hospital twice this month because of fevers and a sore throat.

However, Nhuan said that parents should not be overly worried when their children coughed, as it was a natural reflex to help push harmful bacteria out of their lungs."

Botswana : Rabies cases on the rise

Via Mmegi Online :

" Dr Oumer Nesredin, a medical doctor with the Ministry of Health, has said that the number of people infected and affected by rabies in Botswana is on the rise.

Speaking at an event to commemorate World Rabies Day in Gaborone yesterday, Dr Nesredin said that people seek rabies treatment after coming into contact with infected animals.

He said that children are the main victims of death from the disease. Explaining how infected children might behave he said, "The child might want to bite others or strike others with something. They might get irritable or just cling to their mothers. These are worrisome changes of behaviour and should be reported to the nearest health facility immediately".

He added that an infected person is unable to drink or eat food although he or she could be very thirsty or hungry. This is because the muscles around the throat close when one tries to swallow. The infected person usually struggles to balance and experiences muscle pains."

US : West Nile virus cases continue in New York

Via Queens Chronicle :

" Numbers are down from last year, but one fatality already reported

Although fall is officially here, the West Nile virus continues to infect city residents.

The city Health Department reports nine cases so far this year, compared with 32 at the same time last year. Five of the cases were in Queens and there was one fatality.

The DOH does not reveal details about individuals, but the agency reported that the fatality was a man over 60 years old, who became sick in mid-August. Prior to his illness, the man spent time at home and outside the city, so it is not possible to determine where he was infected."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hong Kong : Update on cluster of Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci cases at Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Via Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" Regarding an earlier announcement on some patients of neurosurgical department found to be carriers of Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (VRE), the spokesperson of Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) made the following update today (September 28):

In accordance with the prevailing infection control guidelines, one more 83-year old female patient is found to be carrier of VRE through contact tracing, but without clinical symptoms. The patient has passed away due to acute subarachnoid haemorrhage which is unrelated to VRE.

The case has been reported to the Hospital Authority Head Office and the Centre for Health Protection for necessary follow up."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

FDA Warns Consumers Not to Eat Raw Oysters Harvested from Hood Canal Area 4 in Washington State

News release from US Food and Drug Administration :

" Fast Facts

- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to eat raw oysters harvested from an area of Hood Canal in Washington State following an outbreak of illness in that state caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria.

- Raw oysters harvested from “growing area 4” in Hood Canal from August 30 to September 19 have been linked to three confirmed and two possible cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus illness.

- All ill persons reported consumption of raw oysters.

- There have been no reports of hospitalizations or deaths resulting from consuming the oysters.

- The Washington State Department of Health has closed the growing area associated with the illnesses. Commercial oyster harvesters and dealers who obtained oysters from this growing area have initiated a recall and notified their commercial customers in affected states of the recall.

- Shipping and other records provided by Washington State indicate that oysters harvested from this area were distributed to establishments in 23 states and four foreign countries. Washington State authorities have notified those states involved of the recall.

- Those who have recently purchased oysters should check with the place of purchase and ask if they were harvested from the affected growing area.

What is the problem?

Raw oysters harvested and shipped from Hood Canal Area 4 in Washington State between August 30 and September 19 have been linked to illnesses caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria."

India : After dengue it is polio virus threat from across border

Via Times of India, excerpt :

" ATTARI: Fearing polio virus threat from Pakistan, the ministry of health and family welfare has begun anti-polio vaccination drive at Attari land and rail border. Under this all children between 0 to 5 years, arriving in India from Pakistan are being administered polio drops.

Polio virus importation from Pakistan is a major threat after dengue virus.

"In India the last polio case was detected on January 13, 2011 while 89 polio cases have been detected in Pakistan," said deputy commissioner, immunization, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Dr Pradeep Haldar in Attari on Tuesday.

Haldar was here to inspect the preventive measures being taken by the local health department against spread of polio and dengue."

At least 13 killed in listeria outbreak in U.S.

Via Xinhua :

" At least 13 people had been killed amid 72 sickened in 18 states in listeria outbreak traced to Colorado cantaloupes, making it the most deadly U.S. outbreak of food-borne infection since 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday in a statement posted on its website.

Of the 13 deaths, four were in New Mexico, two were in Colorado, two were in Texas, and there was one each in Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Victims range in age from 35 to 96 years, with an average age of 78. All of the illnesses started on or after July 31."

Pakistan : Six more die of dengue in Lahore

Article via Daily Times :

" Death toll from virus reaches 131 in provincial capital

LAHORE: Six more people died of dengue fever on Tuesday, increasing the death toll from the virus to 131 in the provincial capital.

The victims include Muhammad Farooq, 50, of Shahdara, Shaihd Nazir, 50, of Township, Razia Bibi, 50, of Al-Hamad Colony, Yasmeen, 35, of Bund Road, Maqbool Bibi of Gulberg, and Iftikhar Ashraf, 65.

As many as 149 patients were tested positive in Mayo Hospital, 66 in Children’s Hospital, 33 in Jinnah Hospital, 87 in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, 35 in Services Hospital, 25 in Lahore General Hospital, 53 in Shaikh Zayed Hospital, 31 in Institute of Public Health and another 178 in different public and private hospitals, laboratories and clinics in the provincial capital.

A lot of people, including women and children, are visiting the hospitals, overburdening the doctors and other hospital staff."

Hong Kong : Update on cluster of Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci cases at Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Press release from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection, excerpt :

" Regarding the announcement earlier on some patients of the neurosurgical department found to be the carrier of Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (VRE), the spokesperson of Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) made the following update today (September 27):

In accordance with the prevailing infection control guidelines, four more male patients (aged 46 to 84) are found to be carriers of VRE through contact tracing, but all without clinical symptoms. Among them, two are still hospitalised in QEH, they are in stable condition and under isolation. The other two patients died of their own underlying illnesses which are unrelated to VRE. The laboratory screening for other related patients continues to be in progress.

The cases have been reported to the Hospital Authority Head Office and the Centre for Health Protection for necessary follow up."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Preschools shut as virus outbreak rages in Vietnam

Via Associated Press, excerpt :

" More than a dozen kindergartens in Vietnam have closed to deal with an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease that has killed 111 children and sickened more than 57,000 this year, an official and the government said."

Australia : Woman, 66, dies from meningococcal disease at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital

Via Adelaide Now :

" A 66-year-old south-east Queensland woman has died from meningococcal disease in a Brisbane hospital.

The Hervey Bay woman died yesterday after more than two weeks in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital's intensive care unit, Queensland Health said today.

Antibiotics have been given to her close contacts.

Last month a four-year-old girl died from meningococcal disease in Hervey Bay, but Queensland Health's public health physician Margaret Young said there was no "outbreak"."

India : Fresh cases of leptospirosis reported

Via Times of India, an update on leptospirosis and Hepatitis A cases :

" KOCHI: Leptospirosis cases continue to be reported from across the district with four new patients being diagnosed with the disease on Monday.

A total of 13 hepatitis-A cases were also reported, of which two were confirmed. The number of patients who arrived in hospitals with fever rose to 665 on Monday.

Not many hepatitis-A cases have been reported from Kothamangalam which registered six deaths earlier this month. Chicken pox and diarrhoea are also rampant in the district."

US : Concerns rise as more Ennis students tested for tuberculosis

Article via WFAA, excerpt :

" The Texas Department of State Health Services was back at Ennis High School Monday conducting tuberculosis skin tests on 700 more students and staff members identified as being at risk of getting the infectious disease.

With the 700 additional skin tests, the total number of people tested has reached 95.

So far, out of 373 skin tests now completed, 119 people have shown possible signs of exposure, according to TDSHS spokesman Chris Van Deusen. He notes that a positive test does not mean a person has tuberculosis or is contagious."

India : 103 Leptospirosis cases found in Goa

Via Digital Goa :

" Cases of Leptospirosis disease have been reported from various parts of Goa and neighbouring states. For the year 2011 till date, 1172 samples of suspected patients have been tested and of these 103 are positive for Leptospirosis, with 11 deaths said a press communiqué issued by .

Similarly, for the year 2010 total number of samples tested were 1818, of which 129 were positive with 8 deaths. These cases are scattered in and around the state, and not to be considered as an epidemic."

US : Hospital privacy curtains laden with germs - study

Via Reuters, excerpt :

" The privacy curtains that separate care spaces in hospitals and clinics are frequently contaminated with potentially dangerous bacteria, according to a U.S. study.

To avoid spreading these bacteria, which can include the dangerous MRSA "superbug," health care providers should make sure to wash their hands after routine contact with the curtains and before interacting with patients, said Michael Ohl, from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, at a Chicago conference."

India : Three die of malaria at LLR

Article from Times of India :

" KANPUR: Three patients die of falciparum malaria at Lala Lajpat Rai Hospital on Monday.

More then 40 patient of falciparum and vivax malaria are being treated at the hospital.

Most of the patients were below 15 years of age. Majority of new malaria cases belong to urban areas. The three patients who died were from the urban region.

Dr Yashwant Rao of LLR Hospital said that Rooma (4) of Unnao, Arbia (2) of Kanpur and Chhotu of Ramabai Nagar died on Sunday night. As many as 163 patients of malaria and other seasonal fever were admitted at LLR in past week.

The health department has instructed the doctors, medical officers and para-medical staff to take care of patients suffering from high fever."

India : Dengue raises head in Tricity

Via Times of India :

" CHANDIGARH: Dengue made its first appearance of the season in Tricity when a resident of Sector 15, Panchkula, Vikas Verma, 35, was referred to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, on Sunday.

He was sent there from Government Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, after a private laboratory confirmed his condition. His blood platelet count was below 20,000 at the time.

Doctors at GMCH-32 said on Monday that a platelet transfusion had been carried out on the patient. "His condition is stable," stated hospital's medical superintendent Dr Vipin Kaushal.

The hospital has handled 10 cases of dengue in past three months. "None of those cases were from the city. Since August 2010, we have seen 15 such cases," said an official from UT health department."

Hong Kong : Update on cluster of Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci cases at Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Via Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" Regarding the announcement earlier that some patients of the neurosurgical department had been found to be carriers of Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (VRE), the spokesperson of Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) made the following update today (September 26):

In accordance with the prevailing infection control guidelines, 16 more patients (nine male and seven female, aged 46 to 90) were found to be carriers of VRE through contact tracing, but all were without clinical symptoms.

Among them, 12 and three have been hospitalised at QEH and Kowloon Hospital respectively. They are in stable condition and under isolation. The remaining patient has been discharged. The hospital has isolated the patients concerned and has reinforced contact precautions since September 22.

The hospital will continue the stepped-up infection control measures and the situation will be closely observed. The laboratory screening for patients continues to be in progress."

Monday, September 26, 2011

India : Elephant death raises Anthrax fear

Via IBN Live :

" KOCHI: The unnatural death of an elephant, suspected of Anthrax, at the Periyar Tiger Reserve a couple of days ago has raised fears of an epidemic outbreak.

With Forest Veterinary officials suspecting symptoms of Anthrax in the animal, samples have been sent for detailed tests. A final confirmation will be made only after the results of the tests are out.

It was last week that a female elephant was found dead at Vallakkadavu range, opposite to Nellikkampetti in the Thekkady range. The forest officials reached the spot and carried out a detailed examina-tion.� Since Anthrax was suspected, its body was burnt without carrying out a postmortem examination.

“Samples were sent to the laboratory at Palode. In a couple of days the results will be out. Since the elephant is suspected to have died of Anthrax, the body was not cut open,” said veterinary officials.

Forest officials said that generally the Anthrax virus will be alive for over 30 years."

Netherlands : Goats could increase the risk of a rare lung cancer

Via EurekAlert, excerpt :

" Exposure to goats could increase the risk of a certain type of lung cancer, according to French researchers.

The study, which will be presented at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Amsterdam today (25 September 2011), has linked a professional exposure to goats with a distinct subset of lung cancer, known as pneumonic-type lung adenocarcinoma (P-ADC).

This form of lung cancer has a weak association with tobacco smoking when compared with other types of the disease. In attempting to identify other triggers that may cause the disease, scientists have previously noticed similarities between P-ADC and a viral infection which causes growths in the lungs of sheep. Given these similarities, the researchers have investigated whether a viral agent found in sheep and goats could be easily transferred to people who work with the animals, leading to a partiality for P-ADC."

New Zealand : New meningococcal death in Northland

Via Radio New Zealand News :

" There has been another death in Northland from meningococcal disease - the third in three months.

Health authorities confirmed an 82-year-old woman died had died of the disease last week within hours of developing symptoms.

Northland medical officer of health Clair Mills says the woman was fit and well until Thursday afternoon, when she began vomiting, and became incoherent.

She says the woman was rushed to hospital by ambulance and treated immediately for suspected meningitis but died that evening.

In all, nine people have contracted meningitis in Northland since the outbreak began in July."

Philippines : Rabies claim 5 in WVisayas

Via Philippine Information Agency :

" The Department of Health in Werstern Visayas recorded five (5) deaths due to rabies for the period January to August 2011.

Dr. Joji Jimenez, regional rabies medical coordinator of DOH 6 said during the PIA-Cable Television program that the rabies of the fives cases recorded in the region, two (2) were in Iloilo, two (2) in Capiz, and one (1) in Aklan.

Dr. Jimenez noted that “for the past two years, Region 6 was no longer included in the country’s top 10 with rabies cases, unlike in the year 2006 where we were listed number one in the entire country in terms of deaths due to rabies”.

Jimenez said there was a significant drop of rabies cases in 2009 where the region has only 14 deaths, but in 2010 it increased to 15 cases."

Scotland : Children to be screened as nursery worker catches TB

Article from Herald Scotland, excerpt :

" MORE than 200 pre-school children and nursery staff are to be screened for tuberculosis after an employee was diagnosed with the bacterial infection.

The woman, who works at a nursery in Blantyre, was one of three people from the same family in the Lanarkshire area to test positive for the respiratory disease, with the infection first detected in a relative who was staying in hospital.

NHS Lanarkshire refused to identify which hospital was at the centre of the health scare, with more than 119 patients and an unconfirmed number of staff due to be given “advice and support” on the disease."

Canada : Teen dies from infection

Via Vancouver Sun :

" A Surrey teenager who died this week of a bacterial infection, apparently succumbed to a strain of meningococcal meningitis for which there is currently no vaccine, according to a health official.

The most likely cause of 15-year-old Brandon Kurtz's death was bacterial meningococcal infection, according to a letter sent to parents, guardians and staff members at Clayton Heights secondary in Surrey on Thursday to notify them that the Grade 10 student had died from a bacterial infection. The letter further reassured them the general public need not be worried.

Dr. Helena Swinkels, the medical health officer who wrote the letter, said in an interview the risk to the general public "is no different now than it would have been a month ago."

"It is always of concern, and a real tragedy, when a child dies," Swinkels told The Sun on Friday."

India : Three more die of Leptospirosis

More fatalities due to leptospirosis are being reported from Kerala, India. News from The Hindu :

" Three persons, who were reportedly undergoing treatment for leptospirosis at the government medical college here died on Sunday.

The deceased are V.Govindan, 65, from Kannur, A. Gangadharan, 50 from Malappuram and K. Kallalan 55, from Kasaragod.

The District Medical Officer (DMO) P.K. Mohanan however said that the health department was yet to confirm the cause of the death. "

Nigeria : Cholera Epidemic

Article via Nigerian Tribune :

" THE reported cases of severe outbreak of cholera in Oyo State, shortly after the season of sorrow and tears as a result of the disastrous floods that led to loss of life and property can only be described as a double jeopardy.

According to the story, the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, warned that there was potent fear of a major outbreak of this virulent and highly deadly ailment, if actions were not taken quickly to arrest the situation.

The hospital confirmed that the statistical data of casualties at its disposal makes the situation dreadful. “If we are seeing what we see in UCH, I know that thousands of people are already receiving treatment in private hospitals, some drinking spiritual water in healing homes and others indulging in self medication due to lack of funds to attend teaching or private hospitals,” a medical laboratory scientist lamented.

Cholera epidemic is not new to Nigerians. It has killed both the high and the low. But then, it is really sad that this scourge could still be one of the life-threatening epidemics in modern day Nigeria.

Cholera, which according to medical research has the potency to terminate the life of its victim within a few hours if not quickly managed, can wipe out a rural and ignorant settlement due to its ferocity."

India : Dengue fever cases on the rise in T’puram

Via Asia Net India :

" Thiruvananthapuram :According to the recent reports, the number of patients being hospitalized with dengue fever and other contagious diseases in Thiruvananthapuram is increasing.

As many as 814 persons have been confirmed with fever in the district and are under treatment in various hospitals. In the district Kaliyoor, Aryanadu and Vattiyoorkkavu are the areas reported with dengue fever cases.

Ten persons have been confirmed with dengue fever so far. The district health administration is worried that after what was thought to be a lull period, viral fever cases are going up again.

The health authorities have urged the people to boil water before drinking, to consume food when it is hot, to keep their houses and surroundings clean and to dispose of garbage properly.

As any fever can be dengue fever and leptospirosis, those with fever have been asked to consult doctors immediately. The people have been asked to avoid outdoor food to curb the outbreak of Jaundice."

South Korea : Influenza H3N2 Virus Detected

Via Arirang :

" A strain of influenza virus has been detected in Korea, on the first week of the global influenza surveillance period designated by the World Health Organization.

According to the country's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, Influenza A or H3N2 virus was discovered between August 28th and September 3rd from samples collected across Korea, raising concerns of a possible influenza outbreak this year.

Symptoms of acute respiratory infections caused by the influenza virus are somewhat similar to that of a common flu, but it also accompanies sudden fever, chills and muscle pain.

Experts say, in order to prevent the virus from spreading, people should cover their mouth when sneezing and wash their hands thoroughly."

India : 8,228 confirmed cases of malaria in 14 days

This report has updates on dengue, malaria and typhoid cases. Via Times of India, excerpt :

" GANDHINAGAR: There have been rise in the number of malaria and falciparum cases in the state. In just two weeks, various district and taluka health centres in the state recorded as many as 8,228 confirmed malaria cases, while the number of falciparum cases stood at 2,625.

Surat and Ahmedabad topped the chart. The high mosquito density in these cities is proving to be a problem for officials. In just two week, both these cities recorded the highest number of malaria cases with Surat recording as many as 1,274 cases closely followed by Ahmedabad with 1,020 cases. The tribal district of Dahod has now emerged as another troubled zone with 829 malaria cases recorded in the past two weeks.

In case of dengue, Ahmedabad has recorded 45 cases in just a week, while Vadodara has recorded six cases and Bhavnagar two. In all, the state has recorded 101 dengue cases.

Another concern for health authorities is the rise in the number of typhoid fever cases in the state. Ahmedabad recorded 122 typhoid cases in the past two weeks followed by 74 cases in Surat and 66 cases in Bhavnagar."

Malaysia : 71 students hit by food poisoning

Article via New Straits Times, excerpt :

" Seventy-one students of SM Vokasional Alor Star in Jalan Stadium here were rushed to Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital here after suffering from food poisoning on Saturday.

A witness said the students -- 36 girls and 35 boys, aged between 15 and 17 -- had snacks at the school canteen before suffering bouts of diarrhoea and nausea after performing the maghrib prayers.

They were sent to the hospital in two buses at about 9.15pm. Nobody was hospitalised."

Pakistan : Dengue continues to spread, 12 more killed

Via Daily Times :

" At least 12 more people, including five women, died of dengue fever across the country on Sunday.

Several other dengue patients who are under special care in various hospitals are said to be in serious condition.

Despite all out efforts by the government, the dengue mosquito and virus are not coming under control and more patients are perishing with every passing day in Lahore and other parts of the country.

Those who died in Lahore are, Asmat Iqbal, 29, from Jehanzeb Block Iqbal Town, Sobia Shahnaz, 28, from Nawab Colony Misri Shah, Naheed Bibi, 50, from Walled City, Shakila, 60, Samera, 22, Taj Din, 28, from Badami Bagh, Mohiuddin, 65, Asalm Iqbal, 29, Younis, 50, Azmat, 46, died in different hospitals while Muhammad Rafique, 35, breathed his last at a private hospital in Shah Faisal Town.

Another woman died of dengue virus in Mardan raising the death toll from the disease to six in the city.

Director General Health Department Dr Sharif Ahmed told a private TV channel on Sunday that an infected woman was brought to the hospital a few days ago. The woman died late on Saturday night."

Japan : Hydrogen check ordered at No.2, 3 reactors

Via NHK News :

" Japan's nuclear safety agency has instructed the operator of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to check if hydrogen is building up in its No.2 and 3 reactors.

This is after the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, recently detected hydrogen in a pipe leading to the containment vessel of No.1 reactor. A hydrogen explosion occurred at the No.1 reactor on March 12th, after the March 11th quake and tsunami.

The government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency on Sunday instructed TEPCO to check pipes in the No.2 and No.3 reactors. The No.3 reactor suffered hydrogen explosion on March 14th and No. 2 reactor had a hydrogen explosion on March 15th."

US : H1N1 flu virus prevalent in animals

Via UPI :

" Almost 90 percent of the pigs studied in a village in northern Cameroon were exposed to the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, U.S. researchers said.

Senior author Thomas B. Smith, director of UCLA's Center for Tropical Research, said H1N1 triggered a human pandemic in the spring of 2009, infecting people in more than 200 countries and in the United States, it led to an estimated 60 million illnesses, 270,000 hospitalizations and 12,500 deaths.

The virus, known scientifically as Influenza A (H1N1), is made up of genetic elements of swine, avian and human influenza viruses. The pigs in Cameroon were infected by humans, Smith said."

10 die of suspected encephalitis in northern India

Via Xinhua :

" At least 10 people have died of suspected encephalitis in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh recently, reported The Press Trust of India on Saturday.

Earlier this month, 19 children have died of suspected encephalitis in Bihar in northern India.

The victims of the epidemic reported high fever, followed by bouts of unconsciousness and convulsions, said hospital sources.

Indian government has sent medical experts and personnel to the villages being hit by the epidemic."

Norway : Outbreak of rabies among arctic foxes and reindeer on Svalbard archipelago

An outbreak of rabies report from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, excerpt :

" The Governor of Svalbard and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority report an outbreak of rabies among wild animals in and around the city of Longyearbyen on the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic. Since 16th September 2011 rabies has been diagnosed in one polar fox and two reindeer.

In addition, rabies was diagnosed in a polar fox in January 2011. All the diagnosed animals showed signs of abnormal behaviour, and both reindeer presented with neurological symptoms. At present, seven people have been administrated post-exposure prophylaxis. No human cases of rabies have ever been diagnosed in the area.

Rabies on Svalbard

Rabies is regarded as an endemic disease throughout most parts of the Arctic. The Arctic fox is the main host of the virus, and the same arctic virus variant seems to infect the Arctic fox throughout the area it inhabits. How rabies is maintained in the fox population remains largely unknown. On Svalbard, rabies was diagnosed for the first time in 1980 during an outbreak in the Arctic fox population. From 1980 to 1999, a total of 25 animals were diagnosed with rabies on the islands, including three reindeer and one ringed seal. No further cases had been reported until the diagnosed case in a polar fox in January 2011. Mainland Norway remains rabies-free.

Svalbard has a population of 2,700 with most living in the city of Longyearbyen. Approx 500 are Russian and Ukrainian citizens living in the mining community of Barentsburg.

Abnormal behaviour

Following consultation with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, the Governor of Svalbard has urged the public to avoid contact with dead animals and any animals that are behaving abnormally. Polar foxes detected in the city of Longyearbyen will be caught and killed by the authorities. The Governor is regularly checking the surroundings of Longyearbyen by helicopter to look for animals exhibiting abnormal behaviour and cadavers. All dogs on the islands must be kept on a leash."

Hong Kong : Update on Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci cases at Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Press release from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" Regarding the announcement earlier on the neurosurgical department in which there were patients found to have Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (VRE), the spokesperson of Queen Elizabeth Hospital made the following update today (September 25):

In accordance with the prevailing infection control guidelines, one more female patient, aged 49, is found to have VRE through contact tracing. This patient is in stable condition and under isolation.

There are existing clinical guidelines in public hospitals to guide the appropriate use of antibiotics (including Vancomycin) and on the management of VRE carriers. The hospital has stepped up infection control measures and the situation will be closely observed. The laboratory screening continues to be in progress."

South Africa : Bird Flu Found at Three More Ostrich Farms

Via The Poultry Site :

" SOUTH AFRICA : Evidence of the bird flu virus has been found at three further ostrich farms in the Western Cape.

The veterinary authority sent Follow Up Report No. 7 dated 22 September to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Surveillance has revealed evidence of the bird flu virus – H5 and H6 sub-types – at three further ostrich farms in Western Cape, the same province where previous outbreaks occurred.

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

Stamping out in positive farms is taking place."

Friday, September 23, 2011

US : Scores got sick, 1 died trying to kill bedbugs

From Associated Press, excerpt :

" Bedbugs don't make you sick. But the poisons used to kill them can.

A government study released Thursday found that dozens of Americans have fallen ill from the insecticides, and a North Carolina woman died after using 18 cans of chemical fogger to attack the tiny blood suckers."

Trinidad and Tobago : Dengue horrors at Eric Williams hospital

Via News Day :

" Tuesday night saw scores of parents with children, many of whom were babies and toddlers, waiting long hours to be seen by a doctor at the Priority Care Facility at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.

Most of those who came seeking medical attention were afflicted with dengue-like symptoms.

One man, who said he had accompanied his brother who had brought his daughter for treatment at around 8pm , said the child was first taken to the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, Cocorite, with suspected dengue.

When the doctors were unable to draw blood from the child at the facility, she was sent to Eric Williams, he said.

“The letter that they gave him from the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital was marked urgent, but we still didn’t see a doctor until about 1.30 in the morning, over four hours later.

“There was a mother who said she took her daughter to the San Fernando General Hospital, but was transferred to Eric Williams. She said she got here at 4 pm and by the time we were leaving at around 2 am yesterday, she still had not seen a doctor, and she was travelling by taxi,” the man said.

He said as the night wore on more and more people turned up, several after the curfew hour of 11 pm."

Pakistan : Dengue fever crisis in Pakistan deepens as deaths toll swells

Via Xinhua :

" Death toll from an epidemic of dengue fever, which has gripped Pakistan's most populous and eastern province of Punjab, has now reached 62 as another man died on Thursday, health officials and local media reported.

The fever, which has also been reported in other parts of the country, has infected nearly 8,000 in the last two months, they said.

Till Thursday, 100,000 people have rushed to government and private hospitals in Lahore for medical test as every citizen is now wanting to get doctors' advice. Residents say that 50 percent people now avoid visiting parks and picnic spots in Lahore.

The Education Ministry in Punjab ordered change of school uniform, making it obligatory for all school-going children to wear full-sleeves shirts and pants."

US : Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Linked to Whole Cantaloupes from Jensen Farms, Colorado

An update from CDC with regards to the outbreak of Listeriosis in a farm in Colorado :

" - As of 5pm EDT on September 20, 2011, a total of 55 persons infected with the 4 outbreak-associated strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 14 states. All illnesses started on or after August 4, 2011. The number of infected persons identified in each state is as follows: California (1), Colorado (14), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Maryland (1), Montana (1), Nebraska (4), New Mexico (10), Oklahoma (8), Texas (9), Virginia (1), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (1).

- Collaborative investigations by local, state, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicate the source of the outbreak is whole cantaloupe grown at Jensen Farms’ production fields in Granada, Colorado.

- On September 14, 2011, FDA issued a press release to announce that Jensen Farms issued a voluntary recall of its Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes after being linked to a multistate outbreak of listeriosis.

- CDC recommends that persons at high risk for listeriosis, including older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women, do not eat Rocky Ford cantaloupes from Jensen Farms.

- Other consumers who want to reduce their risk of Listeria infection should not eat Rocky Ford cantaloupes from Jensen Farms.

- Even if some of the cantaloupe has been eaten without becoming ill, dispose of the rest of the cantaloupe immediately. Listeria bacteria can grow in the cantaloupe at room and refrigerator temperatures."

Hong Kong : Cluster of Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci cases at Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Media release from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" Two neurosurgical patients, namely a 30-year-old female with brain abscess and a 74-year-old female with brain tumour, admitted to QEH were confirmed to be Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (VRE) carriers on September 16 and 19 respectively.

In accordance with the prevailing infection control guidelines, the hospital has screened patients who stayed in the same cubicle with the index patient in the same period and found three female inpatients (aged 34 to 86) to be VRE carriers.

All five patients are in stable condition and under medical surveillance and isolation. There are clinical guidelines in public hospitals to ensure proper use of antibiotics, including Vancomycin, and management of VRE carriers. The hospital has stepped up the infection control measures according to established guidelines."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Zealand : Measles Outbreaks 2011 - update 07

The latest media release from New Zealand's Ministry of Health with regards to the ongoing measles outbreak :

" An upswing in new cases has been reported from Auckland region in the last week (especially Auckland City).

As of Wednesday 21 September 2011 (4:00 pm):

- Forty-six more new confirmed cases of measles have been reported in the last week, all from Auckland region (33 from Auckland, 10 from Waitemata and 1 from counties Manukau), except one from Bay-of-Plenty and one from Canterbury.

- Approximately half of the new cases reported from Auckland region are over 20 years of age.

- There have been 165 confirmed cases of measles since 30 May 2011 reported to Auckland Regional Public Health Service. Most of these cases (109) have been in Waitemata DHB.

- There have been 24 confirmed cases reported in the Waikato since 27July 2011.

- There have been 251 confirmed cases of measles in New Zealand since January 2011.

- Thirty-seven people with measles have been admitted to hospital so far this year, 15 of them (all from Auckland City) in the last 10 days."

US : Woman in jail for not complying with TB treatment

Article via Salisbury Post, excerpt :

" A Salisbury woman is in the custody of the N.C. Department of Correction after failing to comply with mandated tuberculosis treatment.

Lola Victoria Simpson, 47, was arrested Tuesday for violating a state law that requires a person with a communicable disease, in this case TB, to report for treatment.

State laws prevent the Rowan County Health Department from disclosing details of a patient’s personal health information. Officials were not able to discuss Simpson’s case, nor could they confirm she was receiving treatment through the health department."

Australia : Hospital infection rates cause concern

Via ABC News :

" The New South Wales Health Minister is demanding answers about infection rates in some hospitals.

Data obtained under freedom of information has revealed that several hospitals across the state are failing to meeting national infection benchmarks.

Minister Jillian Skinner says rates overall in NSW are well below the standard set by the Council of Australian Governments agreement.

But Ms Skinner says will be seeking an explanation on why the rates are so high are certain sites.

She says conditions are those hospitals need to be examined and improved where possible.

"Liverpool, Blacktown, Campbelltown, Concord, why are the infection rates at those hospitals worse than other biggies? They're the sort of thing I'd like to know," Ms Skinner said.

"I'll be asking why that's the case and what they intend doing about it, because if some of the hospitals are able to get their infection rates down then we should learn lessons from them."

Japan : Radioactive iodine spread south of nuclear plant

Via NHK News :

" Japanese government survey shows that radioactive iodine emitted from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant spread not only northwestward but also to the south of the plant.

The science ministry sampled soil at 2,200 locations, mostly in Fukushima Prefecture, in June and July, and created a map indicating the extent of the radioactive contamination as of June 14th.

Officials were able to obtain data for iodine 131 at only 400 locations, because of its short half-life of 8 days.

The latest map shows that iodine 131 spread northwest of the plant, just like cesium 137 as indicated on an earlier map. But the substance was also confirmed south of the plant at relatively high levels.

The researchers found that accumulation levels of iodine 131 were higher than those of cesium 137 in coastal areas south of the plant.

Ministry officials say clouds that moved southward over the plant apparently caught large amounts of iodine 131 that were emitted at the time."

India : Leptospirosis cases on rise in Chennai

Via Deccan Chronicle :

" Its diverse symptoms, ranging from mild flu to jaundice to spleen enlargement and kidney failure baffle doctors around this time every year — leptospirosis or ‘rat fever’ is spreading across the city suburbs with a vengeance.

City doctors are more worried about leptospirosis than mosquito-borne diseases because of its highly contagious nature; human-to-human infection has become a major problem, they say. The North Chennai areas of Mint, Pattravakkam, Vyasarpadi and Tondiarpet remain the most vulnerable due to poor garbage disposal and water logging that drives the rats out of the sewers and into homes and grocery stores. While hospitals like St Anthony’s in Tondiarpet, where a separate ‘lepto ward’ is operated throughout the year, receive five to eight cases of lepto in a day, the more severe infections are referred to the Rajiv Gandhi government general hospital.

“We receive at least five cases of leptospirosis per day; all of them have to be admitted immediately. These patients are referred to us with kidney failure or septicaemia and hemorrhagic shock. We have to monitor them closely, and give them four strong penicillin injections each day, for a week,” says Dr Gokul who admits patients to the general medicine ward. Apart from the advanced cases, the fever OP picks up at least 2 to 3 patients a day."

UK : Malaria vaccine trial raises hope

Article via BBC :

" Researchers are to expand a clinical trial of a new malaria vaccine after promising results in a preliminary study in Burkina Faso.

The trial was designed to test safety, but researchers found that vaccinated children had high levels of protection.

Described as a "most encouraging" result, a larger study involving 800 children is now to take place in Mali.

The scientists involved say they are hopeful that the vaccine will ultimately be very cheap to produce.

Around a hundred different malaria vaccine candidates have been developed to date but the MSP3 vaccine tested in Burkina Faso is only the second one to show a substantial level of protection against the illness."

Pakistan : Dengue control - ‘No effective measures have been taken so far’

Via The Express Tribune, excerpt :

" As Punjab reels under the impact of dengue fever, a resident of Rawalpindi has moved the Lahore High Court (LHC), asking the city district government to ensure that residents are safe from dengue virus.

LHC Rawalpindi Bench Justice Saghir Ahmed Qadri directed Additional Advocate General on Wednesday to seek a response from the district government on a petition filed by Advocate GM Chaudhry within a week.

The petitioner, a resident of Dhoke Gangal, near Benazir Bhutto International Airport, has cited District Coordination Officer (DCO) Rawalpindi, Commissioner Rawalpindi Division and Punjab Chief Secretary as respondents. The petitioner maintained that the dengue outbreak has been wreaking havoc with life in Lahore and the authorities in Rawalpindi have not done enough to prevent the menace. No fumigation has been carried out in the area around his residence near the airport.

He added every citizen of the country has a right to live in a healthy and safe atmosphere, but inaction on the part of the district authorities has put lives of the citizens of Rawalpindi at stake, as the prevalence of the virus is going out of control."

Somalia famine deaths to spiral, agencies warn

An AFP report, excerpt :

" Drought and famine-blighted Somalia is at a "turning point" as conditions decline with hundreds of thousands more people likely to die in coming months, 20 aid agencies warned on Wednesday.

The situation was the worst ever seen by the group of international and Somali non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and was expected to deteriorate further, they said.

"As NGOs who have worked in Somalia for decades, we are accustomed to the daily struggle to survive that is the reality for most Somalis," they said in a letter released on Wednesday, warning upcoming rains would add to the misery.

"However, never before have we faced such acute suffering with so many lives at stake. Somalia is at a turning point."

International agencies that signed the letter included Oxfam, International Rescue Committee, ACF International, Caritas Switzerland, World Vison, Medecins du Monde France, Danish Refugee Council and Mines Advisory Group.

The United Nations has declared six regions in south Somalia famine zones.

The letter also repeated an earlier United Nations' warning that 750,000 people faced death from starvation in the next four months."

Peru : More than 170 people infected with dengue

Machine translated article from La Republica, it has an update on rabies too :

" From January to date have reported 179 cases of people infected with dengue fever , with Bagua the most affected with 90 cases.

Even in this province have confirmed three cases of people infected with dengue hemorrhagic fever , including a child.

On the other hand, human rabies has already killed 20 people so far this year, according to the report presented by specialists from the National Institute of Health, Ministry of Health, of which 19 survivors were natives of the city Bagua."

Pakistan : Dengue in full bloom

Via The Nation :

" The people in Pakistan, especially in Punjab, are living under the shadow of constant fear of dengue virus, which has affected more than 8,000 people with 40 deaths so far. The people in hospitals are seen carrying blood samples in utter confusion and fear. After Lahore, the dengue danger is creeping towards other cities of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Overcrowding of dengue patients in hospitals is resulting in the denial of admission to patients of other diseases.

In many hospitals, old patients suffering from other diseases are being discharged forcibly to accommodate the dengue patients. Punjab was not prepared for such an epidemic-like disease to strike. Civic bodies at all levels used to effectively fight any viral epidemic with periodic sprays of insecticides and monsoon used to be a special focus for them. But for decades the arrangement has not been in place."

Hong Kong : Mutant bird flu in poultry delivered on wild wings

Via The Standard :

" The new mutant strain of bird flu predominant in the mainland, Vietnam and Europe - and which also infected a local woman last year - was introduced by wild birds, an expert said.

University of Hong Kong microbiologist Malik Peiris said this is the second time that wild birds introduced the dreaded H5N1, which has wiped out poultry in several countries since re- emerging in 2003, and killed 58 percent of humans infected.

The new strain of H5N1 was found in the territory in 2008, Peiris said.

"We reported that this virus is probably spread by wild birds, and sure enough [it was]. Unfortunately it is now causing outbreaks in Japan, in Vietnam and all the way up to Europe."

This is the second time bird flu has been introduced by wild birds to domestic poultry. "But once it gets into the poultry the maintenance of the virus is by the poultry trade," Peiris said.

The first time was during the Qinghai Lake outbreak of 2005 that killed thousands of wild birds."

Australia's Queensland fishermen fall ill after handling sick fish

Via Xinhua :

" Seven Australian fishermen are believed to have caught a mystery illness from sick fish in a central Queensland harbor, local media reported on Wednesday.

The Queensland Government agency Fisheries Queensland has put in place a temporary closure on fishing in an area centered on Gladstone Harbour in central Queensland after some fish were reported with cloudy eyes and lesions.

The State Government agency Biosecurity Queensland is conducting tests to identify a condition affecting some locally- caught fish with results due by Friday.

Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers on Wednesday told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) seven fishermen fell sick after handling the sick fish.

"Nobody is to handle the fish because we have had fishermen fall ill," Sellers said.

"I think seven of them, mostly professional fishermen, got sick, " she added.

"I thought they were in hospital but I have since found out they weren't and they are now well."

But she did not know what symptoms they had."

Australia : Pigeon flu outbreak in Lalor and Thomastown

Via Whittlesea Leader :

" FOUR Whittlesea properties have been quarantined as a rare bird virus spreads across northern Melbourne, killing domestic and racing pigeon flocks.

The Department of Primary Industries last week confirmed avian paramyxovirus was detected in three properties in Lalor and one in Thomastown earlier this month.

The department’s Alan Everett said the quarantine order would be lifted 30 days after the last detected death and all cleaning and sterilising of the sites had been done.

In total, 25 properties have been quarantined across Victoria, with 23 confirmed virus cases."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

India : Dengue, malaria cases drown doctors in Chennai

Via Deccan Chronicle, excerpt :

" Mosquitoes are on a rampage again in Chennai city, with cases of dengue fever and malaria flooding hospitals after last week’s rains.

Disturbing complications are keeping doctors busy, especially since there is no treatment or medication of choice for the dreaded dengue.

“What is alarming this year is that entire families are falling sick with dengue at the same time. We usually receive the children of a family with severe symptoms, but the mothers and fathers are also being affected,” says pediatrician Dr J. K. Reddy, who receives at least three cases a day.
Mass infections are being reported from city suburbs. Several construction sites had to halt work on Old Mahabalipuram Road, after scores of their workers contracted dengue and stayed out of work over the past week.

At Lister Metropolis laboratories, the rainy season is the busiest time of the year. “In the past 10 days, we have started seeing a spurt of monsoon-related ailments. In a week, we test 20 to 25 positive cases of dengue fever at the Nungambakkam facility alone,” says Monika Prabhakaran, consultant pathologist at the laboratory.

“Dengue is very deceptive—there are symptoms of high grade fever and body pain in the first two days, and then the fever subsides, leading both doctor and patient to think that it was ordinary viral fever."

Nigeria: Cholera - Oyo Confirms 11 Deaths

Via All Africa :

" Ibadan : Oyo State Government on Wednesday in Ibadan declared that only 11 people in the state died from cholera between June and September this year.

According to the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Abdul Lateef Olopoeniyan, available data to the state Government had indicated that there were forty seven reported cases of suspected cholera during the period under review. But he submitted that not all the reported symptoms of stooling and vomiting were cases of cholera.

The Commissioner made the clarification at a press conference held to intimate the public on what the government has been doing on the cases of reported cholera outbreaks in some parts of the state.

While re-assuring the people of the State that the Government is in full control of the suspected cases of cholera outbreak in the state, Dr. Olopoeniyan explained that the State Government, through the Ministry of health, has taken proactive measures to curtail the spread of the disease."

Pakistan : Dengue claims five more lives in Lahore

Via Pakistan Times :

" LAHORE: Five more people died on Tuesday from the Dengue pushing the overall death toll to 49 in the city, a report said.

There is still no respite from the virus as the death toll is continuously rising across the province.
Attendants accompanying patients complained that the teams have not yet carried out fumigation in their areas despite government orders.

Meanwhile the provincial health department appealed that only one person should come with the patient to the hospital to avoid crowd. According to the health department, medical experts from Sri Lanka advised that people should only come to the hospital if their fever does not subside in three days."

Travelers warned about dengue fever in The Bahamas

Via USA Today :

" The federal Centers for Disease Control is warning U.S. travelers about an outbreak of dengue fever in the Bahamas, where officials suspect about 1,000 cases of the mosquito-borne virus since Aug. 9. An unspecified but higher-than-normal number of Americans have returned from the popular vacation spot with symptoms, which can include high fever, rash, muscle and joint pain and pain behind the eyes, the CDC says.

Last week's Bahamas notice coincides with another CDC update, noting that dengue is the most common cause of fever in travelers returning from the Caribbean, Central America, and South Central Asia. As of August 5, more than 890,000 cases have been reported to the Pan American Health Organization this year, including 10,840 cases of sometimes fatal dengue hemorrhagic fever and/or dengue shock syndrome. It is widespread in Puerto Rico, and several countries across the region are reporting high incidence rates in addition to the Bahamas, including Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Aruba. Cases have also been confirmed in Florida and Hawaii."

Confirmed international spread of wild poliovirus from Pakistan

Media release from WHO :

" 20 September 2011 : Wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) genetically linked to virus currently circulating in Pakistan has been isolated in China. Pakistan is affected by nationwide transmission of WPV1, and is the location of the only wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) case in Asia in 2011 (a strain on the verge of elimination on the continent). As at 13 September 2011, Pakistan had reported 84 cases, compared to 48 cases for the same period in 2010.

In 2011, supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) in Pakistan have been inadequate in quality in key high-risk areas. In security-compromised parts of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and in particular in Khyber agency, upwards of 200,000 children have been regularly missed during SIAs conducted during the last two years. In addition to challenges relating to reaching children in insecure areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA, significant operational challenges continue to mar the quality of SIAs in accessible areas of Khyber and in other key transmission areas of the country, notably in the provinces of Balochistan and Sindh. At the same time, undetected circulation cannot be ruled out due to persistent subnational surveillance gaps. Given these factors, the widespread transmission of WPV1, documented spread internationally, and the detection of the only WPV3 in Asia in 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) rates as 'high' the risk of further international spread of WPV from Pakistan, particularly given the expected large-scale population movements associated with Umrah and the upcoming Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) in the coming months.

To urgently address the widespread transmission of wild poliovirus affecting the country, the Government of Pakistan has this year launched a National Polio Emergency Action Plan, under the auspices His Excellency the President. However, the impact of the Plan is not yet being seen at the critical programme implementation level. To rapidly build up population immunity levels to both serotypes, staggered subnational immunization days are planned for 19-21 September, to be closely followed by further activities in high-risk union councils in 54 districts of the country. However, key to success will be to overcome remaining operational challenges in fully-accessible areas and implemented special outreach strategies with full community participation to increase access to populations in security-compromised areas. To achieve this, full and consistent engagement and accountability at provincial, district and union-council level is urgently needed."

Malaysia : Students most hit by dengue

Via The Star :

" KUALA LUMPUR: As many as one in four dengue cases reported each year involve students, said the Health Ministry.

Public Health deputy director-general Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said that out of the 13,889 dengue cases reported between January and September this year, 2,635 (19%) were students and out of 22 deaths, two involved students.

“The deaths are unnecessary,” he said, adding that the cooperation from residents was needed to ensure that their areas were free of aedes.

Dr Lokman said this after representing Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai at the launch of the Dengue Patrol Programme at SK Gombak Setia yesterday.

He said that out of the 2,635 cases, 973 (7%) involved primary school pupils while 1,662 (12%) were secondary school students.

From Sept 11 to Sept 17, 325 dengue fever cases were reported, an increase of 14 cases or 15% compared with 311 cases the week before, Dr Lokman said."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

India : Bird Flu case confirmed in West Bengal

First it was Vietnam, now India - West Bengal to be specific has confirmed bird flu outbreaks. Article from NDTV :

" India on Tuesday confirmed that there were cases of bird flu in West Bengal after samples collected from Nadia district in the state tested positive, officials said here.

The government also ordered culling operations in the affected area, said a statement issued from the department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries under the ministry of agriculture.

"Bird flu has been confirmed in poultry samples collected from two villages of Tehatta I block in Nadia District of West Bengal," the statement said.

The samples forwarded to the Eastern Region Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ERDDL) in Kolkata and High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal tested positive for H5 strain of Avian Influenza, it said.

"It has been decided to immediately commence the culling of birds and destruction of eggs and feed material to control further spread of the disease. The virus has been contained in the affected area," it added.

Culling has been announced within a radius of three kilometres of the infected area.

In addition, surveillance has been ordered in surrounding areas up to 10 km."

Vietnam : Bird flu outbreak strikes three provinces

Article via Thanh Nien News, bird flu outbreaks are being reported in 3 different provinces :

" Bird flu has hit flocks of fowl in three of Vietnam’s north-central provinces over the last two weeks, the Department of Animal Health announced on Tuesday (September 13).

Hoang Van Nam, the department chief, said at a meeting of the National Anti-Bird Flu Committee that the bird flu virus H5N1 had been detected in the central provinces of Quang Tri and Quang Ngai, and in the northern province of Thai Binh.

He did not specify how many birds have been culled so far, but a previous report by the Animal Health Department says the bird flu outbreak had sickened around 8,000 poultry, including more than 7,000 ducks, raised by households in the three provinces, between August 18 and 30.

Local veterinary forces have culled all the sick birds in a bid to contain the disease, according to Nam.

As illegal imports of poultry are rising, the possibility of a wider bird flu outbreak is higher, Nam said.

The danger of a H5N1 outbreak in Vietnam is very high, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Diep Kinh Tan also warned.

The Animal Health Department asked localities to follow a recent government decision to increase compensation rates for culled poultry and raise bonuses for veterinary officers."

US : Update on Umatilla County Man with Plague

Via KEPRTV, excerpt :

" Umatilla County has a confirmed case of septicemic plague in an adult male county resident. Septicemic plague is a form of the disease that is not readily transmitted from one person to another. The county resident remains hospitalized and under treatment.

"Plague is spread to humans through a bite from an infected flea. Plague is serious but it is treatable with antibiotics if caught early," said Genni Lehnert-Beers, Public Health Administrator. “ Our local hospital staff responded quickly to identify the cause of illness and treat it appropriately. There was never any danger to the staff caring for the case, or his family.”

Plague is rare in Oregon. Only three human cases have been diagnosed since 1995 and they all recovered. Last year two human cases of plague were diagnosed in Lake County. This case was known to have spent time in Lake County a week prior to symptom onset."

Australia : Baby diagnosed with meningococcal

Via Herald Sun :

" A SIX-month-old Adelaide boy has been admitted to hospital with invasive meningococcal disease.

The baby is in a stable condition, South Australia Health said.

SA Health has identified 12 contacts, five of whom have received antibiotic chemoprophylaxis.

This is the 15th case of invasive meningococcal disease reported in SA this year compared with 18 cases at the same time last year."

Indonesia : Kelapa Gading has highest rate of dengue

Article via The Jakarta Post :

" Jakarta Health Agency on Tuesday announced that Kelapa Gading in North Jakarta was home to the highest incidence of dengue infection in Jakarta.

“Kelapa Gading in North Jakarta recorded the highest levels of dengue infection in Jakarta, at 123 infections per 100,000 residents,” the agency's head of disease control, Ida Bagus Nyoman Banjar, said Tuesday as quoted by tribunnews.com.

Ida added that the high incidence of dengue in Kelapa Gading may have been a result of low public participation in efforts to control mosquitoes.

India : Highest lepto patients in S Gujarat in last 15 years

Via Times of India :

" SURAT: With 18 new cases reported on Sunday, leptospirosis in south Gujarat has hit a 15-year high with 688 patients in two months. The previous high was 659 patients in 1997. And with four more deaths over the weekend, the toll has reached 127. The number of patients is likely to go up as the monsoon is yet to end.

Health officials working at district level blame heavy and stretched monsoon in the region for the high number of patients. Health minister Jay Narayan Vyas said, "We have deputed special teams to take immediate steps. Hospitals have been equipped for more number of patients. Prevention is not possible due to stretched monsoon and farm labourers not following the instructions of health department." Vyas accepted that the numbers are high and alarming. Attempts have been made by the health department to control the infection by distributing gumboots, requesting farm labourers to avoid going in water logged fields and advising cleanliness in and around village."

UK : Hope for powerful new C diff. treatment

Via EurekAlert, excerpt :

" New compound proves to be more effective in killing and preventing bug than one of the most widely used current treatments

MGB Biopharma, a biopharmaceutical company which has licensed technology from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, is developing a powerful new antibiotic treatment for resistant infections including the deadly MRSA and Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) bugs.

The Glasgow-based company is working on a new compound which has proved to be more effective in killing and preventing C diff. than vancomycin, currently one of the most widely used treatments against this bacterium.

The company has selected the compound, MGB BP-3, as a drug candidate for formal pre-clinical development, with clinical trials now scheduled for 2012.

The compound acts in minor grooves, found within DNA structures, and has potential to act as an agent against bacteria including C. diff. and MRSA.

C. diff. was involved in more than 3,000 deaths in the UK in 2010.

The findings of the research are being presented on Monday, 19 September, at the 51st Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC), held in Chicago.

Dr Miroslav Ravic, Chief Executive Officer of MGB Biopharma, said: "It seems we are hearing too much about Clostridium difficile infections these days in the press, especially those acquired in hospital by elderly patients in whom the infection can be fatal."

Pakistan : Seven die, scores affected due to diarrhea outbreak

It looks like Pakistan is not only dealing with a dengue outbreak, diarrhea is also causing problems and fatalities. Via Pakistan Observer, excerpt :

" Landikotal : At least seven people including women and children died and dozens others hospitalized after diarrhea broke out in Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency.

According to local sources, due to contaminated water and unhygienic conditions epidemics like diarrhea broke out in far flung and militancy-hit Tirah Valley.

Due to outbreak of the epidemic and absence of appropriate medical treatment, seven people including women and children have died during two days.

Meanwhile, dozens others diarrhea patients were shifting to different hospitals. Most of the hospitals in the troubled area were lying closed due to militants’ activities and security forces action and there was no staff in the hospitals and Basic Health Units (BHU).

Local sources said that several affected people were in critical condition as there was no facility of medical treatment in the area. The dwellers of Tirah Valley have demanded of the provincial and federal government for sending doctors’ teams and medicines in the affected areas to stop the further spreads o the epidemic."

Hong Kong : Cholera in tank shuts ParkNShop fish counter

Via The Standard, excerpt :

" ParkNShop has been ordered to temporarily shut the fish counter at its Tsuen Wan Town store after cholera bacteria was found in a tank.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said the counter will remain closed until all fish tanks are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to meet overall hygiene standards and it is satisfied there is no immediate health hazard.

"Vibrio cholerae cannot survive under high temperatures and can be killed by thorough cooking," a department spokesman said. To prevent cholera risks, shellfish must be washed and scrubbed thoroughly.

Seafood should also be cooked thoroughly before consumption."

India : H1N1 menace continues

An article from Zee News, it outlines the fatality rate in India due to H1N1 :

" Maharashtra lost maximum number of people in the past two years to the dreaded H1N1 followed by Gujarat and Rajasthan. It lost 940 people to the virus.

However, during the last seven months this year, Punjab emerged as the worst-hit state with maximum number of deaths followed by Kerala and Karnataka. Punjab recorded 14 fresh deaths this year.

This means that while experts across the globe might have declared H1N1 as pandemic, in India the deadly virus continues to take its toll.

As per the recent Health Ministry data, the cumulative laboratory cases of H1N1 across India stood at 46,777 with 2,772 cases of deaths reported. In2009, the death toll stood at 956; the figure rose to 2,728 in 2010 and the latest figure stands at 2,772.

A detailed state-wise analysis further revealed that there has been a rise in number of deaths from 2009. The prevalence of the virus was much higher in the western part of our country than the eastern part."

Pakistan : 2 more dengue patients die

Article via Daily Times :

" LAHORE: Two more dengue patients died in different city hospitals on Monday taking the total death toll to 44.

Innayet, 50, from Narowal and Ali Raza, 11, from Jhang fell victim to the disease at Jinnah and Mayo hospitals, respectively. The total number of under treatment patients has exceeded 6,000.

The newly introduced dengue counters have so far failed to help ease the situation as dengue patients are pouring in large numbers.

Meanwhile, the district administration continued its crack down and sealed 24 diagnostic laboratories of well-known private hospitals and taken into custody their owners and employees for fleecing dengue patients. The total number of sealed labs has reached 69 in two days. The government has fixed Rs 90 as the fee for dengue test."

Pakistan : 100 doctors contract dengue in Lahore

Via Gulf Today :

" LAHORE: More than 100 doctors in various hospitals of Lahore have contracted dengue, while dozens others are suffering due to the exhausting 12-hour shifts.

Several hospitals are not being cleaned effectively.

Doctors hence fear that these hospitals have transformed into breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

On Monday four more people died of dengue in Lahore, which increased the death toll to 36. A doctor working with the team of Sri Lankan experts told that the team, to their utter surprise, had found eggs of dengue mosquitoes at a public hospital.

“Doctors are also human beings. Many of them are terrified when they see mosquitoes droning menacingly at hospitals. These mosquitoes may inject the virus into healthy individuals,” a doctor working at Mayo hospital said. More than 25 doctors working for Mayo hospital have so far contracted dengue.

Also, a hospital employee named Muhammad Ayub had died of the disease."

Four earthquakes hit Guatemala, killing three

Via Reuters :

" Four earthquakes struck southern Guatemala on Monday within 2 1/2 hours, shaking buildings in the capital and killing three people.

The quakes struck near Guatemala's southwestern coast in the sugar cane-growing region around Santa Rosa, forcing the evacuation of about 400 people and cutting electricity and telephone services, emergency services said.

One woman was killed when her house collapsed in the town of Cuilapa, near the epicenter of the quakes, and two others died after their cars were buried in a landslide on the highway.

"In Chiquimulilla, there's a landslide ... where vehicles fell in and were buried. There are material damages to the vehicles and two fatalities reported so far," volunteer fire brigade spokesman Mario Morales said.

Thirteen people were hospitalized and classes were canceled in the Santa Rosa region, but emergency services said they did not expect further severe aftershocks."

India : 11 more JE and water borne encephalitis deaths in last 24 hrs

Via IBN Live :

" Eleven persons have died of Japanese encephalitis and its water borne form in the last 24 hours at BRD Medical College Hospital here taking the total number of causalities due to the deceases to 300 this year.

Fourty two people have been admitted to the hospital with symptoms of JE which occurs at the onset of monsoon due to mosquito bite, and water borne viral encephalitis which is caused due to consumption of contaminated water, officials said. The dead included children in the age group of 3-14 years.

As many as 264 patients belonging to Gorakhpur, Basti and Devipatan divisions are undergoing treatment at the hospital, they said. Officials claimed that JE cases have come down to as low as nine per cent of total encephalitis deaths."

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

Article via Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (September 19) 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 kindergarten in Southern District involving 20 children aged between 3 and 5.

Investigation revealed that the affected children, comprising nine boys and 11 girls, developed URI symptoms including fever, cough, runny nose and sore throat since September 10. No hospitalisation is required. All the affected children are in stable condition.

Staff of the CHP conducted a site visit and provided health advice to the kindergarten. The school was put under medical surveillance."

Promed : Avian Influenza - Netherlands LPAI

From Pro Med, excerpt, please go to site for the links :

" A mild (low pathogenic) variant of avian influenza has been detected in a bird trading business in Zuidwolde (Drenthe). The mild bird flu was found in 83 swans destined for export.

The swans, routinely kept "in the wild," are caught before being traded. Low pathogenic avian influenza is very common in wild birds. It is, therefore, not surprising that the swans were found infected; their contamination came to light because they had to undergo testing prior to export.

According to European regulations, kept animals which are not defined as "poultry," need not be culled."

ECDC assessment on A(H5N1) Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Egypt and possible implications for human health in Europe

Media release from ECDC :

" Highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) infections are continuing to occur in poultry and humans in Egypt, and there is now a concern that the veterinary control measures may be insufficient to keep a check on the continuing outbreaks in poultry, with potential implications for human health in Europe.

However, ECDC concludes in its rapid risk assessment, that there is no evidence of a significant change in the pattern of human illness and deaths related to A(H5N1) virus infections, and there are certainly no epidemiological data or analyses consistent with adaptation of these viruses to humans in Egypt. Although some limited virological analyses carried out may indicate that the risk of an A(H5N1) pandemic emerging could be higher in Egypt than other countries, the implications of these analyses are difficult to interpret.

The first human cases in Egypt occurred in 2006. The risk of pandemic A(H5N1) viruses emerging in Egypt cannot be excluded and the continuing transmission of the virus among domestic poultry and on to humans in Egypt over the past five years is worrying.

Egypt’s proximity to EU/EEA countries makes this more concerning since a pandemic strain and if it would emerge it would presumably spread to Europe very quickly. Despite the lack of evidence that the risk might be increasing, intensification of veterinary control measures in Egypt should take place because of concerns over both human and animal health.

Constant vigilance should be maintained for any enlargement in human A(H5N1) cluster size, other changes in the behaviour of the virus and for individual human cases outside of countries like Egypt where the virus is recognised as being entrenched in domestic poultry."

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Zealand : Disease outbreak, 38,000 to be vaccinated

Via The Northern Advocate :

" Health officials hope a mass vaccination programme aimed at 44,000 people aged between 1 and 20 will prevent the spread of the deadly meningococcal C disease in Northland after two deaths in the past month.

Two Northlanders have died from meningococcal C disease - 1-year-old Jacob Whyte from Ruakaka and Ben Brown, from Whangarei - and four other people have been confirmed as having type C while two others had type B meningococcal.

Northland medical officer of health Clair Mills said the situation was now a community outbreak and the concern over the spread of the disease, and random nature - there are no known links between any of the cases - had prompted the mass vaccination campaign."

Cambodia Reports New Bird Flu Outbreak

Via The Poultry Site :

" A new outbreak of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been reported in a village flock.

The veterinary authority sent Follow Up report No. 1 dated 12 September to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The report describes one new outbreak of HPAI at Ta Srey in the region of Banteay Meanchey, which is in the north-west of the country, not far from the border with Thailand.

The outbreak started on 25 August and is now described as 'resolved'. Of the 236 birds in the village flock, 156 died and 80 have been destroyed. The report adds that the investigation team from the National Veterinary Research Institute (NaVRI) of the Department of Animal Health and Production (DAHP) conducted an investigation in the infected villages and carried out poultry mortality survey around infected villages from 1 to 12 September 2011.

During the outbreaks, the team from provincial and central level culled the poultry – a total of 80 birds (50 chickens and 30 ducks)."

Hong Kong : Update on cluster of Respiratory Syncytial Virus cases in female mentally handicapped ward of Tuen Mun Hospital

Article via Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" Regarding the earlier announcement on some patients of a female mentally handicapped ward had been confirmed with Respiratory Syncytial Virus, the spokesperson of Tuen Mun Hospital provided the following update today (September 17):

One more 54-year-old patient in the ward had presented with upper respiratory infection symptoms. Appropriate viral tests had been arranged for the patient and the test results are pending. The patient concerned is being treated under isolation and in stable condition.

Admission to and discharge from the ward have been suspended. Restricted visiting to the ward has been imposed. Infection control measures have already been stepped up according to established guidelines. All other patients in the ward concerned are under close surveillance."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Europe fights back: WHO’s new action plan tackles antibiotic resistance

From WHO's Europe region, excerpt :

" Today, in Baku, Azerbaijan, at the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, 53 countries will discuss adopting a new European strategic action plan on antibiotic resistance. Developed by the WHO Regional Office for Europe following extensive consultation with experts and policy-makers and based on the latest research, the action plan builds on the momentum created by World Health Day 2011, with its slogan of “No action today, no cure tomorrow”.

“We know that now is the time to act. Antibiotic resistance is reaching unprecedented levels, and new antibiotics are not going to arrive quickly enough,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “Antibiotics are a precious discovery, but we take them for granted, overuse and misuse them: there are now superbugs that do not respond to any drug, and that is why the action plan has won so much support.”

Every year in the European Union it is estimated that over 25 000 people die of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, mostly acquired in hospitals. This is despite the major progress achieved and efforts made by the European Union, particularly in surveillance and awareness. In the wider WHO European Region, which encompasses 53 countries, the full number is not known as data are not always available, but the signs suggest that the situation is even worse. Doctors and scientists across the Region fear that with the reckless use of antibiotics, resulting in the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant infections, we could return to a pre-antibiotic era where simple infections do not respond to treatment, and routine operations and interventions become life-threatening.

About the action plan

The action plan highlights the real and urgent risks of lifesaving antibiotics losing their healing power, and stresses the need to reduce complacency, overuse and misuse. Such an effort calls on everyone, from the public to physicians to politicians, drug companies and veterinarians, to use antibiotics properly and responsibly.

The European strategic action plan on antibiotic resistance identifies seven key areas where action must be taken to ensure that Europeans are safe."

Pakistan : Dengue kills six more in Punjab

Via Pakistan Times :

" LAHORE: Dengue fever claimed six more lives in Punjab, a private television news channel reported on Thursday.

And, 521 more patients have been admitted to the hospitals across Punjab, besides the anti mosquito sprays in educational institutions.

Six people have died including Fiza Hanif, Ammina, 40-year old Ayoub in Meo Hospital, Samir Ahmed, Mamri Khan and Zaffer Ali in Shaikh Zaid Hospital."

Hong Kong : Minorities left out of flu jab drive

Via The Standard :

" Many children from ethnic minorities are being left out of the influenza vaccination program because their parents are not being reached by the government health campaign, the Hong Kong Medical Association says.

And since the swine flu outbreak of 2009, Hong Kong has seen a significant drop in seasonal flu vaccinations to just 15 percent, which is too low to protect the population in the next flu season.

Doctors stressed the flu vaccine is safe, with the vast majority of those vaccinated earlier this year not reporting any side effects. The seasonal flu vaccine, which is available for the winter flu peak season, contains the California H1N1 virus, Perth H3N2 virus and Brisbane B virus."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Caledonia : Task force on H1N1 virus alert

Via Solomon Star :

" The national epidemic task force in the country is on high alert and had taken step to fight against H1N1 virus, swine flu in the country.

This was after one of the athletes attending the South Pacific Games in New Caledonia was confirmed infected with the H1N1 virus, swine flu.

Chairman of the task force Doctor Cedric Alependava said a special training was held yesterday at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) Conference room for health workers at NRH and at sentinel sites.

The training is to activate health workers, activate all sentinel sites, and retrain them on how to handle the situation."

Pakistan : Capital receives 93 dengue patients so far

Via The Nation :

" The number of confirmed dengue fever cases rose to 93 in the Capital on Wednesday, the number has increased after Eid as the people returned from their hometowns where a massive outbreak had occurred.

The officials were expecting more patients after Eid as people went to their hometowns to celebrate Eid and it was feared that they would have been bitten by a dengue mosquito.

And when a mosquito bites a person who has dengue or dengue fever, the insect becomes infected and acts as a carrier of the virus.

The disease spreads when mosquito-carriers bite healthy individuals who are now hosts for the viruses.

According to health officials though, in this season the growth of mosquito is at its peak and there are chances of outbreak of dengue that is spread by the bite of an ‘Ades’ Mosquito but with the proper fumigation drive and precautionary measures at homes its massive outbreak can be averted."

India : Dengue, malaria cases on the rise

Via Times of India :

" NOIDA: Dengue has reared its ugly head even in Noida with the district hospital confirming six cases from the 36 samples sent by private hospitals for testing. Private hospitals in the city, however, said that the number of dengue cases is lesser as compared to the past years and, instead, malaria is on the increase.

According to Noida's chief medical officer (CMO) Dr RK Garg, private hospitals sent 36 blood samples to the district hospital, out of which 6 case were confirmed as dengue. "The patients are currently not in danger and have been discharged from the hospital," said Dr Garg.

The dengue patients include Shaurya (10) a resident of Barola, sector 29 residents Sushila (66) and Uma Rathi (45), sector 25 resident Osama (11), Vishal (12) a resident of Charela and Vineet Gupta, a resident of sector 93A. Dr Garg also added that he has alerted the Noida Authority to carry out spraying and fogging in the areas from which patients have been reported."

5,000 suspected Dengue fever cases reported across Pakistan

Via Xinhua :

" The government in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province Wednesday said it is struggling to control a growing Dengue fever epidemic as health officials said that suspected cases of dengue fever have now reached nearly 5000.

Doctors in Lahore, the capital of Punjab, said that three more people died in the city on Wednesday, taking death toll from Dengue fever to 17 in the past two months. Lahore is the most affected city with over 4,000 suspected cases.

Head of Lahore's Mayo hospital, Dr Zahid Pervez, said that nearly 800 people visited his hospital on Wednesday for test of the Dengue virus, adding that only 10 to 15 percent of the patients are tested positive. He said many people believe that they are suffering from Dengue fever because of widespread panic in Lahore, the city under the grip of the epidemic."

Hong Kong : Update on cluster of Respiratory Syncytial Virus cases in female mentally handicapped ward of Tuen Mun Hospital

Press release from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" Regarding the earlier announcement that some patients of a female mentally handicapped ward had been confirmed with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), the spokesperson of Tuen Mun Hospital (TMH) provided the following update today (September 14):

One more 42-year-old patient in the ward had presented with upper respiratory infection symptoms. Appropriate viral tests had been arranged for the patient and the test results are pending. The patient concerned is being treated under isolation and is in stable condition.

Admission to and discharge from the ward have been suspended. Restricted visiting to the ward has been imposed. Infection control measures have already been stepped up according to established guidelines. All other patients in the ward concerned are under close surveillance."

Myanmar claims free from blue ear disease

Via Xinhua, excerpt :

" Myanmar claimed on Wednesday that the country has been free from Blue Ear Disease, which once spread in the nation for about half a year since February, according to the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department Wednesday.

As the disease, also known as Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) disease, infected pigs, the price of pork in the market dropped then.

Blue ear disease once spread as far as six regions, namely Mandalay, Nay Phi Taw, Magway, Ayeyawaddy, Bago and Yangon.

According to then report, about 5,500 pigs were infected and 2, 000 died of the disease."

Hong Kong : Suspected case of scarlet fever with septic shock

Via Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a suspected case of scarlet fever complicated with septic shock involving a 16-month-old boy.

The boy developed fever and rash on September 10 and 12 respectively. He was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital on September 12. Low blood pressure was noted and he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit for observation.

The child is now in a stable condition. His clinical diagnosis was scarlet fever complicated with septic shock. Results of throat swab and blood culture are pending.

The CHP's investigation revealed that the patient has no recent travel history. His home contacts are asymptomatic. Investigation continues.

A CHP spokesman explained that scarlet fever is caused by Group A Streptococcus bacteria and can be cured by appropriate antibiotics. The disease usually affects children between two to eight years of age and presents as fever, sore throat and rash. The rash appears over the trunk and neck and spreads to the limbs especially the armpits, elbows and groin. The illness is usually clinically mild but can be complicated by shock, heart and kidney diseases."