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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

India : With 68 cases of dengue & 432 of malaria, UT mulls next move

Via Indian Express :

" With the onset of winter, a sudden decline has been witnessed in the number of dengue fever cases reported in the city. So far, Chandigarh has witnessed 68 confirmed cases in different government hospitals during this season, which is substantially less than what it was last year.

By this time in 2010, UT Health Department had recorded 138 confirmed cases of dengue.

Health department officials said that this year the number of cases were on the lower side owing to the increased awareness among city residents about the fever and also due to ICE activities undertaken by the department by way of holding awareness camps in various locations."

Cameroon: Cholera epidemic - MSF supports overwhelmed local health authorities

Article via Medecins Sans Frontieres :

" A cholera epidemic has spread across all districts of Cameroon’s economic capital, Douala, home to 2.1 million people. The epidemic, which was officially declared 14 months ago, in September 2010, has peaked and troughed a number of times. In March and April, during the short rainy season, cholera peaked with an average of 120 cases per week. But since September the number of cases has been increasing further, with more than 400 cases per week reported in mid-October.

“The existing health structures were no longer able to care for patients adequately. We found two to three patients per bed, some lying on the ground or on benches, in an appalling condition,” says Dr Narcisse Wega, MSF’s emergency coordinator in Cameroon. “Health facilities had reached their limit and were no longer able to cope with the influx of patients.”

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams carried out an assessment and within days opened a cholera treatment centre in the hospital of Laquintinie. Staff treated more than 350 patients in the first two weeks. “We transferred the overflow of patients from existing health facilities to the cholera treatment centre, and established a referral system with an ambulance service,” says Dr Wega.

In early November, national stocks of oral rehydration solution (ORS) ran out and patients had to be treated with a home-made solution. MSF has since provided the Ministry of Health with more than 120,000 sachets of ORS. “This is enough to treat around 12,000 patients ­– a figure beyond the number of expected cases,” says Dr Wega. Each of the city’s 11 existing cholera treatment units now incorporates an oral rehydration point."

Nepal : Dengue outbreak in Nawalparasi

Article via Nepal News :

" At least six dengue patients were found in different VDCs in Nawalparasi district this year, confirmed the District Public Health Office, Nawalparasi, RSS reports.

The dengue patients were found in the district as most of the VDCs in the district are close to Chitwan, which is one among the districts that are at high risk of dengue, informed the office.

Gaindakot, Mukundapur, Amarapuri, Rajahar and some other VDCs are at the high risk of this disease, said Harinandan Mahato, Vector Control of the office."

Avian influenza H5N1 re-breaks out in Vietnam's Central Highlands

Article from Xinhua :

" Local authorities in Vietnam's Central Highlands Dak Lak province instructed destroying a flock of more than 1,300 ducks and 9,800 duck eggs due to their infection to the avian influenza H5N1, reported the local Agriculture and Rural Development Department on Tuesday.

According to the report, the poultry were raised by Vo Thanh Son and his family in Ea Nuol commune, Buon Don district. Relevant agencies joined hands by applying sanitation measures to sterilize the farm and surrounding areas, as well as closely monitored the epidemic progress.

A local report said that earlier this month, a farmer from Buon Ma Thuot City (Dak Lak province) found signs of the disease, but he did not inform the local agency, resulting in the death of over 5,000 ducks, which he had to destroy them himself. Vo Thanh Son brought home 23 living ducks from the flock and raised them in his farm, causing the re-break of the disease in his location."

Hong Kong : Public urged to prevent hand, foot and mouth disease

Via Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (November 28) called on people to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).

The appeal followed an outbreak of HFMD at a kindergarten cum child care centre in Kwun Tong affecting 21 students aged between two and five.

Those affected, comprising 10 males and 11 females, have developed oral ulcers, fever, vesicles and rash on hands or feet since October 27.

None required hospitalisation. All affected children are currently in a stable condition.

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

Africa : UN warns of staple crop virus 'epidemic'

Via BBC News :

" UN scientists are warning that a virus attacking the cassava plant is nearing an epidemic in parts of Africa.

Cassava is one of the world's most important crops providing up to a third of the calorie intake for many people.

The food and agriculture organisation of the UN says the situation is urgent and are calling for an increase in funding for surveillance.

None of the varieties of cassava being distributed to farmers in Africa appears to be resistant to the virus.

Cassava is a global food source of particular importance in Africa as it does well on poor soils with low rainfall.

But like many crops it is threatened by a number of pests and diseases that hinder its production. Viral infections have periodically wiped out the crop in some regions leading to famine.

Now the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that another virus is threatening the crop in large parts of East Africa.

The scientists say the Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) is on the verge of becoming an epidemic. It first appeared in Uganda in 2006 but in the past few months has been found in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the first time.

According to Mike Robson, a plant production and protection officer with the FAO it's hard to know exactly where the virus is as surveillance systems are poor."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

India : Dengue cases near 1,000 mark

Via The Asian Age :

" Dengue cases in the capital are nearing the 1,000 mark despite some signs of decline in recent days. In the past 24 hours, a total of 16 people have been diagnosed with dengue fever in different hospitals here.

"Dengue cases gradually fall with the onset of winters. In the past one day, 16 people have been diagnosed with dengue. Most of the patients have been admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

With this the number of people affected by dengue this year went upto 992," said MCD's public health committee Chairman V.K. Monga.

Over 10,000 dengue cases have been detected in the country this year and Delhi ranks 25th in the list of states, according to Union Health Ministry figures.

"The average number of dengue cases reported per day is declining. Earlier, 20 and above dengue cases were being reported in just 24 hours, now it is less," Monga said."

China : Bird flu virus found in poultry markets

Via China Daily :

" The bird flu virus, also known as H5N1, seems to exist widely in the poultry markets, particularly in South China, posing a tough challenge for the nation's epidemic intervention work, senior experts warned.

Worse, a mutant strain of the virus called H5N1-2.3.2.1 was found spreading among live poultry, which the vaccine now in use cannot fully protect against, Guo Fusheng, technical adviser in animal health of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nation, told China Daily on Tuesday, citing information and statistics from China's Ministry of Agriculture.

"With the arrival of autumn and winter, the country is facing an escalating risk of bird flu outbreaks among poultry as well as that of humans getting infected," he warned.

Yu Kangzhen, the national chief veterinary officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, said previously that it would be hard to avert regional bird flu cases during autumn and winter but "the chance of large-scale outbreaks is quite slim".

In late August, FAO warned of a possible resurgence of bird flu outbreaks around the world. According to the organization, since the virus was first detected in 2003, it has infected at least 560 people worldwide, killing 331 of them.

Hong Kong : FEHD releases results of regular influenza virus surveillance in pigs from August to October

From Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) today (November 16) announced results of the regular influenza virus surveillance programme on pigs conducted by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) for August to mid October at the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse.

Among some 1 000 samples tested, no human swine influenza virus (pandemic H1N1) was detected. However, 15 samples were found to contain a virus that was essentially a swine influenza H3N2 virus but had picked up some genes of human swine influenza virus. The same virus was also found in the last round of surveillance programme for May to July.

The HKU expert in charge of the surveillance programme, Professor JSM Peiris, reiterated that this swine influenza H3N2 virus, which carried the genes of the human swine influenza virus, is unlikely to cause any major human health risk or problems in food safety.

Under the regular influenza virus surveillance programme for pigs, the CFS has been helping HKU researchers to collect blood and tracheal and nasal swabs from pigs at the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse twice a month to monitor influenza virus activity in pigs."

Bird flu detected on Bangladesh farm

Via New Kerala :

" Over 11,000 poultry birds were culled and 43,000 eggs destroyed after the bird flu virus was detected at a poultry farm in Bangladesh.

The culling operations began in the Rajbari farm near Dhaka Monday night and continued Tuesday, the Daily Star reported.

The farm owner noticed the death of several poultry and reported the incident to the district livestock officer. The owner later sent some chickens to a laboratory in Dhaka for tests.

The laboratory confirmed the detection of bird flu Monday. The same day, a team was deployed at the affected farm to carry out preventive measures."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

US : Tuberculosis occupies Occupy protesters

Via Catholic Online :

" At least two people infected, one with drug resistant strain.

As the weather grows cold, Occupy protesters have started to huddle together inside tent encampments across the country. The close quarters and poor sanitation are now threatening the outbreak of disease.

Already, tuberculosis has been found at the occupy Atlanta camp. Officials from the Fulton County Health Department confirmed last Wednesday that residents at the homeless shelter where the protesters have taken refuge, have contracted a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis. They are warning that homeless persons and protesters occupying the shelter are at risk, since the disease is airborne.

Fulton County Services Director, Matthew McKenna said in a written statement, "Over the last three months there have been two persons who have resided in this facility who have been diagnosed with confirmed or suspected infectious tuberculosis. One of these persons was confirmed to have a strain of TB that is resistant to a single standard medication used to treat this condition. All persons identified as positive have begun treatment and are being monitored to ensure that medication is taken as directed."

Canada : Hundreds may have been exposed to measles in Edmonton

Via Vancouver Sun :

" Only those who haven’t been vaccinated or had the disease should be concerned

EDMONTON : Up to 1,000 people may have been exposed to measles in downtown Edmonton and at University Hospital, Alberta Health Services said Tuesday.

Only people who have not been vaccinated or have not had the contagious disease should be concerned that they were exposed to the person who had measles.

“We’re particularly asking those people ... to watch very carefully for symptoms. And if symptoms develop, to stay home, stay away from people as much as possible and to call Health Link,” said Dr. Marcia Johnson, medical officer of health for the Edmonton zone."

Dengue fever outbreak on Micronesian island

Via Australia News Network :

" Hundreds of people have been treated for dengue fever on the small Micronesian island of Yap.

The Ministry of Health has sought assistance from the World Health Organisation.

Dr Eric Nilles, from the WHO, who is in Yap, told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat it is a significant outbreak given the island's small population of around 15,000.

"So far there are a total of 286 cases that have been identified," he said.

"Most of those on Yap Island, several cases on an adjacent attol, Ulithi attol, and there have been about just under 70 admissions to the hospital, secondary to this outbreak."

The Marshall Islands had a similiar outbreak recently, with 600 people treated."

UNHCR reports cholera outbreak Kenya's refugee camp

Via Xinhua :

" The UN refugee agency said on Tuesday there has been an outbreak of cholera in Dadaab, the world's largest refugee camp in Kenya, which is believed to have started among new arrivals who had most likely acquired it in Somalia or en route to the camp.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the situation in Dadaab, home to Somalis fleeing famine and conflict, is being exacerbated by heavy rains and accompanying risks of waterborne diseases.

"Rains and flooding had affected the trucking of water to parts of the camps, and we fear some refugees resorted to using unsafe water from flooded areas," the UN refugee agency said in a statement released in Nairobi.

According to UNHCR, there are now 60 cases in the camps, including 10 laboratory-confirmed cases and one refugee death. To manage the outbreak, UNHCR and partners have set up cholera treatment centres for severe cases, it said.

The UN agency deplored insecurity which it said continues to affect aid efforts more than a month after the kidnapping of three aid workers in Kenya's Dadaab refugee complex."

Hong Kong : Public urged to prevent hand, foot and mouth disease

Via Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (November 15) called on people to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).

The appeal followed an outbreak of HFMD at a childcare centre in Wan Chai affecting 20 children aged between 1 and 4.

Those affected, comprising eight males and 12 females, have developed oral ulcers, fever, vesicles and rash on hands or feet since November 3.

None required hospitalisation. All affected children are currently in a stable condition.

The stool specimens from two affected children tested positive for enterovirus.

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

HFMD is a common disease in children and is usually caused by enteroviruses such as Coxsackie viruses and EV71."

Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu in South Africa

Via The Poultry Site :

" SOUTH AFRICA : The South African veterinary authorities have reported three outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received follow-up report no. 8 yesterday, 14 November, wherein it was discovered that the causal agent has been identified as H5N2 serotype.

The outbreaks took place in several commercial ostrich farms. A total of 1760 ostriches were found susceptible to the outbreaks, out of which 96 cases were identified. No deaths were recorded. However, 414 birds were slaughtered.

According to the OIE, 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.

Initially no clinical signs or mortalities were seen. Stamping out in positive farms is taking place."

Avian influenza – situation in Indonesia - update 8

From WHO :

" The Ministry of Health of Indonesia has announced one new confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N1) virus.

The case is a 29-year old female, mother of the 2 cases earlier reported from Bangli district, Bali Province. She developed symptoms on 10 October and died on 17 October.

An epidemiological investigation conducted by the Ministry of Health and local health officers indicated that she lived in an area with poultry, and household and neighbourhood poultry had died prior to her children's illness.

Laboratory tests have confirmed infection with avian influenza A(H5N1) virus.Of the 182 cases confirmed to date in Indonesia, 150 have been fatal."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

South Korea : Local Dengue fever infection ruled out

Article via The Korea Times :

" The health authorities Wednesday tentatively concluded a patient with Dengue fever had been infected by the tropical disease during her trip to Indonesia.

The announcement came as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) conducted an investigation into a Dengue fever outbreak in South Gyeongsang Province last July to verify whether the patient was infected locally.

“We launched an investigation because she was diagnosed with the disease 39 days after the return from her trip to Indonesia,” an official from the CDCP said. “It’s very rare as the maximum incubation period of the disease is 14 days.”

Returning the trip to Indonesia with her husband from April 24 to May 1, she visited a local hospital on June 9 with typical symptoms of the disease such as fever, headache, muscle and joint pains and a characteristic skin rash. She was later diagnosed with Dengue fever.

As dengue virus is transmitted by mosquito, the CDCP performed an epidemiologic investigation and checked traces of mosquitoes within a 2 kilometer radius in the patient’s neighborhood."

Hong Kong : CHP investigates a case of Legionnaires' Disease

Via Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a confirmed case of Legionnaires' Disease involving a 79-year-old man.

The patient, with underlying illnesses, lives in a residential home for the elderly in Eastern District. He presented with fever and cough since November 2 and was admitted to Ruttonjee Hospital the next day. He is currently in stable condition.

Urine test revealed that the patient was infected with Legionella bacteria.

He had no recent travel history. Investigation is in progress.

This is the thirteenth case of Legionnaires' Disease reported to the CHP this year. Twenty cases were filed in 2010, 37 in 2009, 13 in 2008 and 11 in 2007."

Cholera claims 23 lives in DR Congo's Equateur province

Via Xinhua :

" At least 23 people have died from cholera which broke out in Equateur province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), according to local sources.

"Even though the epidemic seems to have reduced in Mbandaka, cholera still affects some parts of the country especially in South Ubangi area in Equateur province where 15 people out of 119 cases that were reported since Nov. 5 have died. Eight other people died during the same period in Basankusu health zone," the president of the local civil society groups, Modeste Bonkengu, said on Tuesday.

"In the town of Mbandaka, the cholera treatment center has not received any patient," provincial Health Minister Mireille Betayi affirmed.

She said if the situation goes on like that, the cholera treatment center will be closed since even NGOs like Medecins Sans Frontier (MSF) have already started to withdraw their staff."

India : Encephalitis toll in Eastern UP at 480

Article via Net India 123 :

" Five more children died of deadly disease of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) at B R D Medical colleges, Gorakhpur taking the toll to 551 in eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh during this year.

The children who died during the last twenty four hours included two from Deoria district and one each from Maharajaganj, Gorakhour and neighbouring state of Bihar ,the medical college sources said. A total of 3395 patients had been admitted to B R D Medical college since January one last,out of which 551 died this year. During the last 24 hours, 18 new patients were admitted while presently 205 patients are under treatment at medical college and other hospitals of eastern UP.

The patients admitted to Gorakhpur medical college included seven from neighbouring country of Nepal and 369 of Bihar. The patients who have so far died of encephalitis included 67 from Bihar and two from Nepal."

Hong Kong : CHP urges vigilance against community-associated MRSA

Via Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (November 9) called on the public to stay vigilant against infection by community-associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA), a drug-resistant bacterium.

The appeal was made following the CHP's investigation into a confirmed case of invasive CA-MRSA involving an 8-year-old boy living in Sham Shui Po.

The boy, with good past health, presented with fever and cough since October 28. He was admitted to Caritas Medical Centre on October 30. The diagnosis was pneumonia.

The boy is currently in stable condition. His sputum collected grew CA-MRSA.

He has no recent travel history. His home contacts had no symptoms of CA-MRSA infection.

MRSA is a type of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics. It is a common infection worldwide."

Thailand : Health warnings stepped up

Via The Nation :

" Main concerns are uncollected garbage and leptospirosis

Health hazards are becoming a major concern as contamination of floodwater caused mainly by uncollected garbage is widespread - while warnings against waterborne zoonoses [diseases transferred from animals to humans] and food poisoning have been issued.

The Public Health Ministry's Department of Medical Sciences yesterday warned of possible leptospirosis in flooded areas and against consuming ice and iced drinks from unknown production sources. In a recent survey, 21 food samples, collected in four flooded provinces including Bangkok, yielded food poisoning manifestations, while 17 out of 57 samples of drinking water possessed germs which caused diarrhoea.

The minister reported one leptospirosis case in Khon Kaen and 20 suspected cases. The bacterial disease, which is found usually in flooded areas up to three weeks after a flood recedes, is potentially fatal if not properly treated.

In Bangkok, residents are encouraged to sort and separate rubbish, with decaying foodstuff and materials tightly sealed, as only 30 per cent of daily garbage can now be collected while more than 100 garbage trucks are undergoing modification to enable them to travel through high water.

As Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra admitted, an understaffing problem has resulted in increasing garbage accumulation. District offices are hiring contractors to collect up to 70 per cent of garbage during flooding, while boats are being used to collect rubbish in badly flooded areas."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Haiti group demands UN pay for cholera outbreak

Via Associated Press, excerpt :

" A human rights group said Tuesday it has filed claims with the United Nations seeking damages on behalf of more than 5,000 Haitian cholera victims and their families."

India : Dengue count reaches 64

Via Times of India :

" CHANDIGARH: One confirmed case of dengue was reported at a government hospital of the city on Tuesday. This has taken the number of patients to 64. Since September, five dengue deaths -three in Chandigarh and two in Mohali were reported.

Dr Naresh Kumar who maintains record of dengue patients said, "One patient tested positive for dengue today, and this has taken the number to 64 in city hospitals." Dengue has tightened its grip in sectors 20, 40, 38, 56 and 37 and the periphery villages."

India : Bird Flu outbreak feared in Kulti

Via The Statesman :

" Nearly 500 chickens died in the Kulti area of Asansol in three days spreading apprehension of Bird Flu outbreak in the area.

Locals witnessed chickens dying in poultry farms, domestic places since Sunday in the Patiyana Mahalla area under ward number 25 of the Kulti Municipality.

Mr Selim Akhtar, the ward commissioner, said: “The successive deaths of the birds have raised the apprehension whether it was Bird Flu.” He said: “I have informed the matter to the Asansol sub-divisional administration."

Unknown disease breaks out in western Zambia

Via Xinhua :

" At least 78 people have been admitted to a local hospital in western Zambia following an outbreak of an unknown disease, the Post of Zambia reported on Tuesday.

A strange disease has broken out in Kalabo district in Western province. The strange disease is making people to vomit, have diarrhea and pneumonia.

Dr. Reuben Mbewe, Ministry of Health spokersperson, said the district had been reporting increased number of patients presented with sudden onset of fever since Oct. 24.

The health official has however said signs and symptoms of the disease were consistent with typhoid but confirmatory laboratory investigations were still being awaited."

Hong Kong : Suspected case of scarlet fever with toxic shock syndrome

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 toxic shock syndrome involving a 7-year-old boy.

The boy developed skin rash since October 31 and fever since November 3. He was admitted to paediatric ward of Tsuen Wan Adventist Hospital on November 4 and was transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit of Princess Margaret Hospital today. His clinical diagnosis was scarlet fever complicated with toxic shock syndrome. He is now in stable condition.

Results of the patient's 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."

Bird Flu Outbreak in NW Cambodia

Via The Poultry Site :

" There has been one outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the north-west of the country.

The veterinary authority has sent Follow Up Report No. 2 dated 7 November to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The report describes a single outbreak of HPAI at a broiler farm at Opong Moan in Battambang province in northwestern Cambodia. The outbreak started on 3 November and in all, 1,050 of the birds in the mixed flock of 5,206 died; the rest have been destroyed.

The presence of the H5N1 subtype of the virus has been confirmed.

The source of infection is not known.

According to the report, 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 farms and carried out poultry mortality survey around infected farms at the village between 4 and 7 November 2011. During the outbreak, the team from provincial and central level did culling of poultry, a total of 4,156 birds – 53 chickens, 97 ducks, six geese and 4,000 broilers – were culled."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Angola’s polio emergency

Article from SOS Children :

" Angola has called a state of emergency after a 14 month-old boy was diagnosed with Polio.

The boy, who has not been vaccinated, was tested for the virus after his leg became paralysed.

He lives with his parents in a cut off village near the south central African country’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, where nine polio cases have been reported this year.

The United Nation's children’s agency (Unicef) is warning that it might be the start of an epidemic.

"The province has declared an emergency because last year there were 33 cases of polio in Angola and this year so far there were only four,” said Unicef’s Dr Koen Vanormelingen.

Polio is highly infectious and especially affects young children, and they become paralysed. It is spread through contaminated food and water. Once the virus gets into the digestive system, it multiplies and can spread into the nervous system.

Last year, Angola ran a mass vaccination programme to immunise all its children under five years-old. Children need three to four polio vaccines to be protected against the crippling disease."

India : Leptospirosis claimed 186 this year in S Gujarat

Via Times of India :

" The end-of-season figures for leptospirosis in south Gujarat are 186 dead and 962 hospitalised, which is the highest so far.

The bacterial disease is on the rise ever since it surfaced in 1994. The health department is unable to control the number of deaths and infection to farm labourers even after 15 years of special measures being taken in south Gujarat districts.

The disease spreads in humans through discharge of rats and cattle. Carriers of leptospira bacteria, cattle and rats, do not get severely infected but they spread it through urine."

US : Why Did Healthy Children Fall Critically Ill in the 2009 H1N1 Flu Pandemic?

Via Yahoo News, excerpt :

" During the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, many previously healthy children became critically ill, developing severe pneumonia and respiratory failure, sometimes fatal. The largest nationwide investigation to date of influenza in critically ill children, led by Children's Hospital Boston, found one key risk factor: Simultaneous infection with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) increased the risk for flu-related mortality 8-fold among previously healthy children.

Moreover, almost all of these co-infected children were rapidly treated with vancomycin, considered to be appropriate treatment for MRSA. The fact that they died despite this treatment is especially alarming given the rising rates of MRSA carriage among children in the community.

"There's more risk for MRSA to become invasive in the presence of flu or other viruses," says study leader Adrienne Randolph, MD, MsC, of the Division of Critical Care Medicine at Children's Hospital Boston. "These deaths in co-infected children are a warning sign."

New tuberculosis cases in Singapore on the rise

Via Straits Times :

" The number of new cases of tuberculosis (TB) is on the rise among Singaporeans and foreigners.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) was alerted to 2,791 new cases last year, a figure 10.9 per cent higher than the 2,517 in 2009.

Even among residents alone, that is, citizens and permanent residents, the rise is palpable: 795 new cases surfaced between January and June this year."

India : Govt sets up GoM to tackle encephalitis in UP

Via IBN Live, excerpt :

" Criticised for not doing enough to tackle the killer Encephalitis, the Centre has now formed a GoM to look into the matter. The move comes weeks after after CNN-IBN relentlessly reported on the death of over 500 children in eastern Uttar Pradesh over 90 days.

The encephalitis virus that starts weakening as winter sets in seems to be as strong as ever.

Under heavy criticism for first ignoring this medical emergency and then putting the blame on the UP Government, the Centre has finally decided to act. The govt has set up a GoM headed by health minister Gulam Nabi Azad to come up with steps to deal with the crisis. But the question is - will a GOM actually help?"

US : One more E coli case confirmed

Via STL Today :

" Another case of E. coli in the St. Louis area was confirmed Sunday by state health officials, bringing to 28 the number of confirmed cases in the current outbreak.

Local, federal and state public health experts continued on Sunday to try to trace the source of the outbreak.

The state Department of Health and Senior Services also is trying to determine if three confirmed cases in Boone County are connected to the St. Louis outbreak.

No deaths or life-threatening illnesses have been reported since the first cases were disclosed late in October in St. Louis and in Jefferson, St. Louis and St. Charles counties in Missouri and St. Clair County in Illinois.

The health department also says that no food samples tested so far have contained E. coli, a group of bacteria that can cause diarrhea and other illnesses."

India : 5-yr-old dies of suspected dengue

Via Deccan Herald :

" A five-year-old boy, Mahesh, from Mansalapur village near Raichur, died of suspected dengue on Saturday morning.

Mahesh was admitted to VIMS with fever a few days ago.

Mahesh’s death comes close on the heels of nine-year-old Shameera’s death due to suspected dengue in Raichur on Friday morning."

UK : Universal flu vaccine to end annual jabs

Article via The Telegraph, excerpt :

" A vaccine that could end the need for annual winter flu injections by offering lifelong protection against all strains of the virus has been developed by scientists.

The new universal flu vaccine, which researchers say will only need to be administered once, has been found to be effective against a number of different types of influenza virus, including the deadly avian flu and pandemic swine flu strains.

Flu viruses are highly changeable so elderly people and pregnant women, who are particularly vulnerable to the illness, are currently given new vaccinations each year to ensure they are protected.

Small-scale clinical trials on the new vaccine – known as Flu-v – have shown that it can significantly reduce infection and also cut the severity of symptoms.

Results of the trials will be presented at an international conference this week by SEEK, the London-based drug development company behind the vaccine."

India : Rising cases of encephalitis in city; docs unsure of type

Via DNA India, excerpt :

" The rising number of encephalitis cases in Mumbai are becoming a cause for concern, according to city doctors.

Kasturba hospital, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) only infectious disease hospital, is getting 2-3 cases per week.

A senior doctor from the hospital said: “Encephalitis cases are on the rise since the last one month. We have been getting 2-3 cases every week.”

However, the doctors are unsure whether it is encephalitis or Japanese encephalitis which is also a cause of major concern in parts of North India. “Japanese encephalitis is a kind of encephalitis which spreads through the bite of culex mosquito. We are not sure whether the cases in Kasturba hospital are Japanese encephalitis, but the cases are a cause for concern,” said the doctor. Japanese encephalitis has infected 14 people in Delhi so far this year. Interestingly, the hospital hasn’t sent any samples for testing at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. “Ideally they should have sent the samples to NIV, but it has not been done so far,” he added.

According to the doctor, the patients presently hospitalised in Kasturba hospital are from various parts of the city and some are from outside Mumbai."

Rare disease discovered in Tasmania of Australia

Via Xinhua :

" A rare disease never seen in the southern hemisphere before, named tularaemia, has been discovered in Tasmania of Australia, state Deputy Director of Public Health, Dr Chrissie Pickin, confirmed on Friday.

Two women contracted tularaemia after being bitten and scratched by sick possums in western Tasmania. While the disease is well known in North America and parts of Europe and Asia, it is believed the Tasmanian case is the first in the southern hemisphere.

Veterinarian Dr James Harris said it has a range of effects on humans.

"It causes a septicemia, an infection which circulates in the blood, and pneumonia and unless it is treated it can be a fatal disease," he said in a statement. "(It can be) treated with antibiotics very successfully."

Pickin said both cases have recovered, and warned people to avoid handling wild animals and see their General Practice if scratched or bitten."

Death toll from Thailand floods passes 500

Via The Telegraph :

" The death toll from Thailand's worst floods in half a century climbed past 500 on Sunday, as advancing pools of polluted black water threatened Bangkok's subway system and new evacuations were ordered in the sprawling capital.

The latest district added to the government's evacuation list was Chatuchak, home to major public park and an outdoor shopping zone that is a major tourist attraction. The Chatuchak Weekend Market was open but missing many vendors and customers on Sunday as floodwaters poured past the market's eastern edge for a second day.

So far, Bangkok Gov. Sukhumbhand Paribatra has ordered evacuations in 11 of Bangkok's 50 districts, and partial evacuations apply in seven more.

The evacuations are not mandatory, and most people are staying to protect homes and businesses. But the orders illustrate how far flooding has progressed into the city and how powerless the government has been to stop it.

Chatuchak is just a few miles (kilometres) north of Bangkok's central business district, which still is dry. On Sunday, cars sloshed through a flooded road underneath Chatuchak's Mo Chit Skytrain station, the northernmost stop on Bangkok's elevated train system.

Floodwaters also reached roads at three subway stops in northern Bangkok, though both mass transit networks are functioning normally."

India : More docs reach malaria-hit Sidhi district

Article via Times of India :

" BHOPAL: Doctors from neighbouring districts were pressed into service in tribal areas of Sidhi district where, 21 persons, mostly children, died due to an outbreak of malaria in the past fortnight in Vindhya region.

"The situation is now under control in Choupal Povai and neighbouring villages. Four temporary medical camps are functioning in the area to identify people suffering from illness and screen the population in the area for malaria parasite infection," Sidhi district administration spokesman said."

Friday, November 4, 2011

India : Fear of unknown fever grips villagers

Via Times of India :

" Fear stalks the dusty, pot-holed lanes of Nilkanthapur - a poor village on the East and West Midnapore border, 170 km from Kolkata. A killer virus, that has taken half-a-dozen lives in the last three years, is back to torment the area and its poor inhabitants who have little access to proper healthcare. It could be the deadly Hanta virus or Korean haemorrhagic fever that has a 50% mortality rate, some experts fear.

Even though a confirmation is awaited from the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune and the School of Tropical Medicine (STM) in Kolkata that had sent teams to collect blood samples from the affected area on Wednesday, the symptoms of the fever that has been striking villagers have been chillingly similar to that of Hanta virus. NIV and STM teams will visit the village on Friday.

Ten-year-old Sudip Jana and his neighbour Nayan Jana, 6, have had a narrow escape. The two young boys, in a critical state, had to be taken to the Institute of Child Health (ICH) in Kolkata for treatment. They have survived but still have a low fever that has kept their parents worried and neighbours in anxiety. While Sudip was released a fortnight back, Nayan returned from Kolkata on Thursday. Both are frail and can barely walk."

Australia : Westmead - Health alert

Via Parramatta Sun :

" THE Western Sydney Local Health District has urged residents to be alert for the early symptoms of meningococcal disease after two cases were reported in western Sydney recently.

An infant was reportedly in a satisfactory condition at The Children's Hospital at Westmead while an adult required intensive care at an unnamed hospital.

Meningococcal disease is an infection that causes meningitis — inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord — and severe blood infection.

The first symptoms of meningococcal disease may include pain in the legs, cold hands and feet and abnormal skin colour. Babies with the infection can be irritable, not feed properly and have an abnormal cry.

The health district has also warned parents of a rise in whooping cough in western Sydney this year, particularly in September.

Communicable diseases expert Vicky Sheppeard said there had been 1904 cases of whooping cough reported in the western Sydney and the Nepean-Blue Mountains regions up to September 30 in 2011, compared with 742 for the same period last year."

Canada : C. difficile infection reported at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Via Ottawa Citizen :

" The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario has declared an outbreak of C. difficile after discovering three patients with the viral infection this week.

The hospital said it is working closely with Ottawa Public Health and taking all necessary steps to stop the infection from spreading. Officials are following guidelines from the provincial Ministry of Health and Long Term Care regarding handwashing and have added housekeeping resources to clean rooms, common areas and equipment more frequently with hospital grade disinfectants.

One of the C. difficile patients came to the hospital with the infection, while two acquired it in the hospital, officials said. All three were in the same ward, 4-North, when the virus was discovered and are now isolated in the same area.

Visitor restrictions are in effect for the entire unit. Staff, physicians and families are being extra vigilant with hand washing and use of gowns and gloves with infected patients."

India : Dengue, lepto, malaria cases up

Via Deccan Chronicle, excerpt :

" The monsoon has brought along with it a rising number of fever and infections and city doctors are witnessing a rise in the cases of malaria, dengue and leptospirosis.

“What is alarming this year is that entire families are falling sick with dengue at the same time. We usually receive the children with severe symptoms first, but now the parents are also being affected.

We are also seeing cases of children from the same school being affected,” said paediatrician Dr J.K. Reddy, who receives at least three cases a day.

At Lister Metropolis Laboratories, the rainy season is the busiest time of the year. “In the last 10 days, there has been a spurt of monsoon-related ailments.

In a week we test 20 to 25 positive cases of dengue fever at facilities around the city,” said Ms Monika Prabhakaran, consultant pathologist at the laboratory.

More than leptospirosis and malaria, doctors claim that they get more cases of dengue as the mosquitoes that cause dengue bite mostly during the day."

US : E. coli cases confirmed in Boone County

Via St. Louis Beacon :

" State health officials confirmed late Thursday that three E. coli cases have been found in Boone County. They said a specimen from a fourth suspected case was under review. These newly disclosed cases do not appear to be connected to the E. coli outbreak in the St. Louis area, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

The agency also lowered the number of confirmed cases growing out of the St. Louis outbreak. Late Wednesday, officials had said the number stood at 26. But late Thursday, they said four of the 26 were unrelated to the St. Louis outbreak.

The agency added that investigators had found two new cases, bringing to 24 the number of confirmed E. coli cases that have turned up so far in the St. Louis investigation."

Pakistan : Four more fall to dengue in City

Via The Nation :

" The ruthless dengue virus put to sword four more people including one woman on Thursday, taking the death toll till today to 337.

Besides taking lives of persons in a day, the deadly virus forced hundreds of Lahorites to approach public sector hospitals and private healthcare centres for preliminary tests, confirming 118 new cases and as such taking the overall tally to 31979.

Khalida Bibi, 60, a resident of Akbari Gate, breathed her last at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. Shehroz, 11, of Youhanabad died at Children’s Hospital, Muhammad Khaliq, 45, of Babu Sabu at Jinnah Hospital while Muhammad Shahbaz, 45, of Muhafiz Town died at Ittefaq Hospital.

Out of 118 new dengue cases, 18 were tested positive at Mayo Hospital, 15 at Services Hospital, 12 at Jinnah Hospital, 10 at Lahore General Hospital, four at Children’s Hospital and three at institute of Public Health while 48 were reported from private healthcare centres in the City."

India : 23 new cases of dengue reported on Thursday

Via Hindustan Times :

" With 23 new cases reported from the city on Thursday, the total number of people affected with dengue fever this year has touched 820. Five people, including a one-and-a-half-year-old boy, have succumbed to the disease so far this season, the latest being on October 14 when a 28-year-old woman died due to dengue hemorrhagic fever at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

Though the authorities had anticipated the dengue figures to cross 800 this year, what has come as a surprise for them is the spurt in the number of chikungunya cases.

With 10 more cases of the mosquito-borne disease reported on Thursday, the total number of people affected with the disease has reached 54 so far this year."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

US : UC Riverside Student Tests Positive for Tuberculosis

Via KTLA :

" UC Riverside officials will be offering free tuberculosis tests to students, faculty and staff after a confirmed case of active TB was detected in one student.

The student, who has not been identified, tested positive for the disease last week, according to campus officials.

The student has been moved from a residence hall to an off-campus apartment, and has been given a good prognosis for recovery."

India : Mosquito havoc - 21 new dengue cases

Via Hindustan Times :

" With 21 new cases of dengue reported on Wednesday, the total count has gone to 797, says the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). Japanese Encephalitis, caused by Culex Tritaeniorhynchus mosquito, has infected 14 persons in Delhi so far this year, while chikungunya has affected 29 people. However, no new chikungunya case was reported on Wednesday.

Dengue, caused by Aedes Aegypti mosquito, has claimed five lives in Delhi this year. “Though the numbers are rising slowly, we feel the situation is much better than last year. There is nothing to be alarmed at this point of time,” said Dr VK Monga, chairman, public health committee, MCD."

Ghana : Accra floods leave 75 infected with cholera

Via Citi FM Online :

" Seventy-five cases of cholera have so far been recorded in the Accra Metropolis following the floods that hit some suburbs of Accra a week ago.

Out of the number, 67 were recorded last week alone. No deaths have, however, been recorded though.

According to the AMA Public Health Directorate, the majority of the cases emanate from the Odorna area.

These revelations were made at a public sensitisation forum at the Odorna Market by personnel of the Public Health Directorate of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly."

Fears of new deadly super-flu which 'could spread to Britain within 24 hours'

Via Mail Online, a headline which screams panic :

" A new deadly strain of super-flu could spread to Britain within 24 hours, experts have warned.

The potential for bird flu and human flu to combine and form a new virus has been described as 'one of the biggest biological threats of our time'.

The alert comes as people have started to fall victim to seasonal flu and the more virulent swine flu at the same time, according to the Daily Express.

This creates the risk of a lethal mutation, leading to an 'ominous' super-flu virus to which humans have almost no immunity, said scientists.

Dr Peter Hotez, a world-renowned infectious disease expert, said: 'Highly infectious strains of the virus against which humans have little defence can spread from one continent to another within 24 hours.'

He said the detection of the rare double-flu infection highlighted the need for extreme vigilance against new killer strains around the world.

'We are required to remain vigilant against one of the biggest biological threats of our time,' added Dr Hotez, president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

The news comes as Britain’s winter flu season gets underway, amid fears the country could face one of the worst outbreaks of the disease in years."

New flu sparks hybrid fears in Cambodia

Via NZ Herald :

" A rare case of people being infected with both swine and seasonal flu has been documented in Cambodia, raising concern about the possibility of a potent combination strain, said a new study.

The unusual diagnoses were made in a 23-year-old teacher and one of his young male students, who had H1N1 and a human season flu H3N2 at the same time, said the findings in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Neither patient was hospitalized and their illnesses did not appear any more severe than in typical patients who are afflicted with a single strain."

Hong Kong : Update on Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci cases in Caritas Medical Centre

Via Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" Regarding the earlier announcement on the confirmation of some inpatients as Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (VRE) carriers, the spokesperson of Caritas Medical Centre made the following update today (November 3):

In accordance with the prevailing infection control guidelines, screening of contacts has been performed. Another two male patients (aged 92 and 73) who were discharged and returned to old age homes on October 26 and 31 respectively were confirmed as carriers of VRE today. The hospital has informed the relevant old age homes and arranged to re-admit the patients for medical surveillance and isolation care.

The hospital will continue screening patients who were in close contact with those confirmed cases in the same period and continue the enhanced infection control measures. The situation will be closely observed.

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

US : 29th person dies in cantaloupe listeria outbreak

An excerpt from The Associated Press :

" The death toll in an outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe has reached 29 after federal health authorities say an eighth person has died in Colorado."

India : Rajasthan minister's nephew dies of dengue

Via Times of India :

" JAIPUR: A day after food and civil supplies minister Babu Lal Nagar's nephew died of dengue in a private hospital, five other dengue cases were reported in Sirsi block of Kalwad area in Jaipur on Wednesday.

Jitendra Lal Nagar, a resident of of Teori village in Viratnagar in Jaipur, was a student of Rajasthan College and had gone to his village to celebrate Diwali. Since then he will ill. He died on Tuesday.

Jaipur zilla pramukh Hazari Lal Nagar and the deceased's uncle said, "He was unwell since Diwali. But when he did not recover even after three to four days, he was admitted to a private hospital, where he was tested positive for dengue. His platelet count was low."

The increasing number of dengue cases has raised an alarm. The five other cases reported in Kalwad area here have kept the medical and health department on their toes. Two of the patients were immediately admitted to a government hospital."

Avian influenza - situation in Egypt - update 56

The latest update from WHO with regards to the Avian Influenza situation in Egypt :

" The Ministry of Health of Egypt has notified WHO of one case of human infection with avian influenza A (H5N1) virus.

The case is a 1 year-old male from Mahala district, Gharbia governorate. He developed symptoms on 17 September and was hospitalized on 21 September. He completed the course of oseltamivir, recovered and was discharged from the hospital on 25 September.

Investigations into the source of infection revealed that the case had contact with poultry raised in the neighbourhood.

The case was confirmed by the Egyptian Central Public Health Laboratories, a National Influenza Center of the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network.

Of the 152 cases confirmed to date in Egypt, 52 have been fatal."

Canada : Low Pathogen Bird Flu in Wild Birds

Article via The Poultry Site :

" The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed a low pathogenicity H7 avian influenza virus in wild birds in central and western Canada.

The birds were sampled through Canada’s Inter-Agency Wild Bird Influenza Survey, which serves as an early warning system designed to detect avian influenza viruses circulating in the wild that could be transmitted to domestic poultry.

Low pathogenicity influenza viruses commonly circulate in the wild bird population with little or no impact on the health of wild birds or people.

However, H5 and H7 avian influenza viruses are known to have the ability to mutate from low pathogenicity to highly pathogenic forms once introduced into domestic poultry, potentially causing high rates of disease and mortality in birds."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Indonesia : 80% Poultry Shelters in Jakarta Infected by Bird Flu

Machine translated article from Tribun News, with minor editing done by myself :

" Jakarta residents should be wary of consuming chicken because 80 percent of shelters where poultry are stored are infected with avian influenza virus.

Until now undertaken efforts to address this issue by Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo is still very minimal.

Head of Operational Office Indonesia-Dutch Partnership on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI-IDP), Ivo Claassen, said, based on surveillance in some poultry shelter facilities in Jakarta and the results of research conducted in 2007 and repeated again in 2009, showed 80 percent of the houses shelter these birds infected with avian influenza virus.

"The results of this study we have given to the government of DKI Jakarta. This became the basis for restructuring. But for some reason, the improvement was not so done. So, the situation has not changed," said Ivo told the press at the close of the IDP-HPAI project on Wednesday (11/02/2011).

According to him, in fact the source of the virus exists outside of Jakarta. However, the virus was brought to Jakarta for the distribution system that is not true that birds spread the Jakarta area."

South Africa : Superbug may be 'more widespread'

Via Times Live :

" The New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1) superbug, which caused four Gauteng deaths, may be "more widespread" than previously thought, a microbiology expert said on Wednesday.

"The fact that unrelated NDM-1 producing bacteria have been found in a patient in a public sector hospital would indicate that, if we look harder, this problem is more widespread than we think," said Professor Adrian Duse.

Duse, the head of the outbreak response unit of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, was responding to questions about a recent outbreak of the superbug.

Ten patients at the Life Glynnwood Hospital had been diagnosed with NDM-1 and another at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.

"Early detection by screening patients means that [Life Glynnwood Hospital], because of its proactive screening programme, was more likely to find NDM-1 carrying patients than in other healthcare facilities where screening might have been less intensive," Duse said.

NDM-1 is an enzyme produced by bacteria, making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

On Saturday, a fourth patient infected with the enzyme died at the Glynnwood hospital. It could not be determined to what extent NDM-1 had contributed to the four deaths, as each of these patients were seriously ill with other medical conditions."

Electrocution warning amid Thai flooding

Via The Sydney Morning Herald :

" Thai authorities have warned flood victims of an increased danger of electrocution in densely populated Bangkok and its suburbs as the toll from the worst inundation in decades surged above 400.

While the centre of the Thai capital remains dry, residential areas in its outskirts and to the north have been submerged in water up to people's waists or even deeper as run-off creeps south from the central plains.

The government said on Wednesday the disaster had now killed 427 people - up by 42 from the figure reported a day earlier. While drowning was the most common cause of death, dozens have also been electrocuted.

"In the past 10 days deaths from electrocution rose from just nine to 36 and about 80 per cent of those were in the provinces surrounding Bangkok," a senior public health ministry official, Porntep Siriwanarangsun, told AFP on Wednesday.

"I'm sure many cases are not reported. If this issue is not addressed it will be a major cause of death."

Most instances of fatal electrocution occurred when people returned to their flooded one-storey homes, unaware of the risk.

"In many cases victims died because of senseless action," Porntep said.

So far none of the deaths in the official toll was in Bangkok, where the risk of drowning is considered relatively low because the water is fairly shallow in most areas and the current is not strong.

A bigger worry is children swimming in contaminated water, Porntep said, adding that the authorities would need to clean up garbage soon after the floods recede to prevent leptospirosis, a severe bacterial infection."

Vietnam : Ministry of Health frets rise of highly infectious diseases

Via Saigon Daily :

" The Ministry of Health said Tuesday that more complicated and infectious diseases seem to be on the rise in the country resulting in fresh resurgence of contaminated cases.

Hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) is the most prominent amongst the diseases to affect thousands. In October, 19,500 fresh cases of HFMD and 21 fatalities have been reported, bringing the total number to 78,000 infectious cases and 139 deaths since the beginning of the year.

With an additional 7,500 new cases and 6 more deaths in October, dengue fever is the second most infectious disease on the rise in the country. 42,000 people have already contracted the disease with 44 reported fatalities.

Other highly infectious diseases affecting people in high numbers are hepatitis, encephalitis, typhoid and swine influenza (H1N1).

Despite frequent warnings by health authorities, people still ignore safety regulations and do not adopt hygienic habits, with the result that cases of food poisoning are also on the rise.

146 people contracting acute diarrhea and three persons died in Ta Giang Phinh commune in Sa Pa District in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai."

South Africa : Bird flu under control in EC

Article via Bua News Online :

" Pretoria : An outbreak of Avian Influenza (AI) has been swiftly brought under control in the Eastern Cape after it was detected on an ostrich farm in Teasdale, near Graaf Reinet, in October.

Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development said the birds on the farm tested positive for the Avian Influenza on 14 October and were immediately placed under quarantine - along with other farms within a radius of 10km in terms of the Animal Disease Control Act.

Birds on the Hardwood Farm, situated 6km away, were also tested but results from the laboratory showed no clinical evidence of AI. The farm is still under quarantine.

"The department has further found out that 222 ostriches were moved from Teasdale to Wapadsleegte farm in Graaf Reinet before the outbreak. The results from that farm were negative but the state vets will continue to monitor the farm monthly," spokesperson Ayabulela Ngoqo said in statement.

Under the instructions from the national department and the Veterinary Services section, the owner of Teasdale Farm is to cull all his 628 birds in a bid to control the disease.

Ngoqo said the department was committed to fulfilling its responsibility of protecting the provincial livestock against any disease of economic importance and those that are a potential threat to human health."

India : Japanese Encephalitis affects four more, MCD clueless about origins

Via Mid Day, excerpt :

" The agency has decided to collect samples from at least 500 pigs and send them to National Research Centre for Equines at Hisar

Last year it was Super bug NDM-1 that spread panic, and now the deadly Japanese Encephalitis is ready to claim the city. Already 14 people in the Capital have been affected but fortunately, there are no casualties as yet.

Two more tested positive on Monday, taking the number of patients suffering from the disease to 14. Despite the alarming figure, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is clueless about the origin of the disease. "We are still not able to trace the virus. Though we have been collecting the blood samples of pigs in the city, we have nothing concrete as yet," said Dr V K Monga, chairman, health committee, MCD. According to officials, the Central and state governments have joined hands to fight against the disease.

"We held a meeting with various Health department officials on Monday. Now we are going to expand the screening process further and samples will be collected from at least 500 pigs, which will then be sent to the National Research Centre for Equines at Hisar in Haryana for tests," said Dr Monga.

Surprisingly, the civic agency said it was too difficult to find the exact cause of the disease, blaming it on the size of the sample and other factors. "The size of the sample survey is too small as compared to the disease and its effect. A pig is a very robust animal. It is not easy to catch their sample."

Thailand : Anger rises in Bangkok's flooded areas

Via Radio Australia, excerpt :

" The good news for Bangkok is that the city centre seems to have avoided the massive flooding that has crippled outlying areas of the Thai capital.

The bad news is that it could be more than a month before the floodwaters recede.

Some residents are angry about the way authorities have handled flood protection and prevention and they want flood barriers opened up to release the water.

The death toll continues to climb. Drowning and electrocution remain the key causes. At least two people have died of the bacterial infection leptospirosis and authorities fear a major outbreak of typhoid or cholera.

Much of the water is now black, slimy and smelly and it may yet take up to 45 days to subside."

New Zealand : Southland measles scare

Via Stuff :

" Three Southland people have been contacted by Public Health South after sitting near a Dunedin Hospital staff member, who was later diagnosed with measles, on an Air New Zealand flight, the Southern District Health Board said yesterday.

While infectious, the worker travelled to Auckland on Tuesday, October 25 on Flight NZ672 from Dunedin and returned on Friday on Flight NZ673. Air New Zealand gave Public Health South the passenger seating lists and passengers seated in the same row and two rows in front and behind had been contacted.

Board Medical officer of health Derek Bell said yesterday that three of the passengers contacted were from Southland, but would not specify where or if they had been immunised.

No outbreak of measles in the Southland region had been reported since the health board's statement this week that the staff member at Dunedin Hospital had been diagnosed with the disease.

This is the second case of measles in the Southern health district. Both remain in Otago, and have been linked to an infectious visitor from Wellington last month.

The hospital worker had contact with patients and other staff at the very early stage of the illness on the night of Monday, October 24."

India : 19 more test positive for dengue

Via Zee News :

" Nineteen people have tested positive for dengue virus raising the total number of those hit by the mosquito-borne disease in the national capital to 776.

"Hospitals across the city have diagnosed 19 people with dengue fever since yesterday. With this, the total number of people affected by it is now 776," said Dr V K Monga, chairman of Municipal Corporation of Delhi's public health committee.

Cases of mosquito-borne diseases are on the rise in the city.

"Chikungunya cases too are rising now. Last year at this time of the year, the number of cases was 33 and it is 44 this year till now," he said."

Pakistan : Dengue toll rises to 14 as another patient dies

Via Dawn :

" The dengue death toll in Sindh rose to 14 as the provincial health authorities on Tuesday confirmed the death of a patient, who was admitted to a private hospital in Karachi about two weeks back.

According to the provincial dengue surveillance cell, a 64-year-old man living in the New Sabzi Mandi area on the Superhighway was admitted to the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) on Oct 18 and tested positive for dengue. The patient died on Oct 31 in the hospital, taking the figure of dengue-related deaths this year in Karachi to 12 and in the province to 14.

With the latest victim of dengue fever — spread by female mosquito Aedes aegypti — in the city, the number of patients who died of dengue at the AKUH increased to five. Of the other seven patients, three died at the Civil Hospital Karachi, two at the Ziauddin Hospital and one each at the OMI Hospital and the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre."

Malaria returns to southern Botswana

Via Mmegi Online :

" The rainy season is here and once again government is urging people to take precautions against malaria.

While historically the disease has only affected the northern parts of the country, it has been found in the south. A spokesperson from the Ministry of Health, Tuduetso Kelapile told Mmegi that while the southern part of the country is historically a malaria free area it has recently been affected.

"We have had cases of malaria in Kweneng East, Kgatleng and Letlhakeng," she said, adding that the ministry carries out thorough investigations in the areas to establish the presence of malaria. Once the disease is found, intervention measures such as spraying and supplying people with mosquito nets will be implemented.

Kelapile said that nationally her ministry recorded 15 deaths from malaria over the last two years.

"We recorded seven deaths in 2009 and eight last year," she said. This year only, there have been 77 confirmed cases in Bobirwa, 57 in Tutume, 40 in Boteti, 37 in Palapye, 31 in Selebi-Phikwe, 30 in Kweneng East, 27 in Ngami and 23 in Kgatleng. Kelapile said that the government currently distributes mosquito nets to people who reside in malaria endemic areas such as Okavango, Chobe, Ngami, Nata Gweta areas, Boteti-West and some targeted areas in Bobirwa and Tutume."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

India : Mystery disease kills 13 in Kota

Via Times of India :

" JAIPUR: A mystery fever has played havoc at Mandargarh in Kota for the past few days.

Residents of Mandargarh, which is a tribal area in Mandana, are living in fear as sources claimed that 13 people have died in the area in the past one month. The medical department claimed only five deaths.

Those who died had symptoms like cough, cold and running nose, sources said. Initially, the residents suspected the deaths are due to Chikungunia or pneumonia, but the medical and health department denied this. It was not due to a seasonal disease. Teams have been sent to investigate, said BR Meena, director (health).

"It is not Chikungunia but we have found that patients are also suffering from anaemia, which shows up in blood tests," G S Sisodiya, Kota's chief medical and health officer, said.

He said the people in the area are mostly anaemic. Now, the department is distributing iron and folic acid tablets among the residents of the area."

Pakistan : Dengue claims four lives

Via The Nation :

" The dengue virus claimed lives of four more people in the city hospitals bringing the death toll to 314 on Monday.

Muhammad Ramazan died at Services Hospital while Waqas of Manga Mandi and Shamim Bibi, 40, died at Jinnah Hospital of dengue fever complications.

Another patient, Jamshed Ali, of Manga Mandi, died at a private health facility on Ferozepur Road.

The health department also confirmed four more dengue-related deaths in the city during the last 24 hours.

It said so far 298 people have died of the ailment all over the province, including 261 in Lahore."

Cholera claims 142 lives in Somalia

Via The News Tribe :

" Mogadishu: Cholera and famine have claimed the lives of at least another 142 people in Somalia over the past 24 hours.

Medical sources said that at least 83 children have died this morning in the town of Afgooye, 30 kilometers southeast of Mogadishu. This is while more than 1,300 women and children have been hospitalized in the same region.

Meanwhile, medical officials in the capital of Somalia also said that cholera has claimed the lives of at least 59 children, while another 977 are currently hospitalized in Hoosh District.

The developments come as the country’s drought victims are still facing the looting of humanitarian aid in different districts across Mogadishu."

Hong Kong : Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci case in medical ward in Caritas Medical Centre

Via Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" An 81-year-old male patient with history of multiple medical diseases was admitted to a medical ward on October 7 for multiple leg ulcers. His urine sample was confirmed to have Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (VRE) colonisation on October 26. The clinical condition of the patient remained serious during his stay in CMC. He passed away today due to underlying illness.

In accordance with the prevailing infection control guidelines, the hospital has screened other inpatients who were in close contact with the index patient in the same period. Three male inpatients (aged 70 to 86) have been confirmed to be VRE carriers. They are now under medical surveillance and isolation. The hospital will continue the screening process.

The hospital has stepped up infection control measures according to established guidelines."