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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Malaysia : All water training at PLKN camps suspended

Via The Borneo Post :

" All water training at National Service Training Centres (PLKN) nationwide have been suspended following the death of a trainee at the Terkok camp in Sungai Siput, Perak on March 12.

The trainee’s death is believed to have been due to the Leptospirosis virus caused by rat urine.

The immediately effective directive was issued by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, said National Service Training Programme Department director-general Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang Kecil in a statement here Friday.

He said the minister also decided to postpone the second group of trainees for the 9/2012 series until the situation was certified safe by the Health Ministry."

NSABB reverses recommendation on H5N1 studies

From Lisa Schnirring at CIDRAP, excerpt :

" A federal advisory board today reversed its stance on publishing two controversial H5N1 transmission papers today, recommending that both studies be published in full.

The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) met yesterday and today to discuss revised versions of the studies by two groups, one from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and one from Erasmus University in the Netherlands.

Both studies were funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and, as its dual-use advisory board, the NSABB in December recommended redacting the studies due to bioterror concerns and the risk of an unintentional release of the viruses used in the two ferret studies.

The two journals that slated to publish the studies, Science and Nature, have held off on running the papers based on the NSABB's nonbinding recommendation, which the NIH agreed with in December."

India : Another suspected swine flu death

Via Times of India :

" BHOPAL : In another suspected case of swine-flu, a middle aged woman died on Friday a few hours after a sample was sent for testing for the disease.

The deceased, Sia Bai, 52, is a resident of Begumganj in Raisen district. After she complained of respiratory trouble on March 28, she was brought to LBS Hospital in the city. On Friday, her sample was sent to the Regional Medical Research Centre for Tribals (RMRCT), Jabalpur, for swine flu test. But she died in a few hours after her sample was sent

Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) Pankaj Shukla said, "A sample was sent from the LBS Hospital to the RMRCT for the swine flu test. The patient, suffering from pneumonia, was on ventilator. She succumbed on Friday."

Ireland : Outbreak of bird flu puts health officials on high alert

Article via Independent :

" HEALTH and agriculture officials were last night on high alert after the first case of bird flu was detected here in 14 years.

Measures are being put in place to prevent the spread of bird flu to humans after the virus was discovered in a flock of pheasants kept by a gun club in Clonakilty in West Cork.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre said last night it was mainly an animal-health issue with no risk to the general public.

However, precautions, including the provision of anti-viral preventive medicine, were being taken for those coming into contact with infected birds.

The pheasants, which had been kept in an enclosed premises, were slaughtered yesterday and a 1km restriction zone has been put in place around it to test for further cases."

China : Surging hand-foot-mouth disease in Hunan

Via Xinhua :

" Central China's Hunan province has witnessed a surge in cases of hand-foot-mouth disease since the beginning of this month, local health authorities said Friday.

More than 1,000 cases have been reported in the province over the past week, according to the provincial disease control and prevention center.

The center said Hunan had already recorded more patients suffering with the disease this year than in the same period of 2011, and the epidemic would become severer in April, when it reaches its peak.

Children under three years old are especially susceptible to break-outs of hand-foot-mouth. The virus is usually transmitted through digestive and respiratory systems or through intimate contact.

The infectious disease starts with a slight fever followed by blisters and ulcers in the mouth and rashes on the hands and feet."

Monday, March 26, 2012

India : H1N1 virus develops a new strain

An article from The Asian Age. Reading the title might give you a shock but in the article there is no mention what type of "new" strain it is. Excerpt :

" The swine flu epidemic has been very serious in Pune this year, when compared to anywhere in the state or even in the country.

Doctors feel that it is partly to do with the erratic weather, besides factors including many not having developed immunity to the virus, like a few did, after it first broke out in 2009. Another factor could also be that the virus itself has developed immunity to temperature, which allows itself to sustain in higher temperatures unlike the claim that it can only survive in a cooler environment.

Dr Vijay Kumar Pawar, resident medical officer Aundh Civil Hospital said, “There are many factors for the recurrence of swine flu in Pune. One of the plausible reasons is that the virus itself has developed a new strain, which helps it to survive in warmer temperatures.”

“While humans beings develop immunity to the virus, the virus itself keeps transforming, which is why we get the cases that we do,” he added.
According to health officials, another important reason for the maximum cases of swine flu being diagnosed and confirmed from Pune, is the presence of National Virology Institute (NIV) in the region.

So even if swine flu cases are elsewhere, due to lack of lab facilities, those cases cannot be confirmed."

Sunday, March 25, 2012

At least 11 die as diarrhea outbreak in S. Philippines

Via Xinhua :

" At least 11 people were killed by cholera and diarrhea this month that occurred in a remote township in the southern Philippines, an official said on Sunday.

Dr. Alpheratz Jose, the municipal health officer of Salvador, Lanao del Norte, said the outbreak of deadly disease struck in the town's five villages.

The physician said about 40 others are still suffering from diarrhea due to bacteria from the residents' source of water, Salog River."

India : Swine flu returns, kills 14 in 15 days

Via IBN Live :

" A year after killing hundreds, swine flu is back across several cities in the country. Nearly 14 deaths have been reported in the past 15 days, out of which 8 were reported from Pune alone.

On Saturday, a 6-year old boy in Mumbai was tested positive, making him the city's first positive case after a gap of one year.

The Health Ministry says there is no need to panic. However Maharashtra, which has recorded a maximum of 70 cases, is on high alert.

Along with Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan have each also reported nearly 30 cases.

The good news, however, is that the Pune-based National Institute of Virology has not noted any significant mutation in the virus. Tamiflu, the first line of treatment for the disease, therefore continues to remain effective."

Malaysia : HFMD cases in Sarawak rise to 3,561

Via The Borneo Post :

" The number of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) cases in Sarawak rose to 3,561 yesterday after 70 new cases were registered, the State Director of Health Dr Zulkifli Jantan said.

In a statement, he said 26 new cases were recorded in Kuching, six each in Bintulu, Betong, Samarahan and Sibu, four each in Limbang, Miri and Mukah, three each in Sarikei and Kapit and two in Sri Aman.

“The number of new cases reflected a slight increase as 61 cases were reported yesterday (Friday),” he said.

The total number of admissions now stood at 261 with two classified as seriously ill.

Last Thursday, the department reported that three cases involved seriously ill patients but it was later found that one of them was in mild condition."

Saturday, March 24, 2012

10 people killed in Mozambique cholera outbreak

Via Xinhua :

" At least 10 people were killed in a cholera outbreak in Mozambique's northern province of Nampula, local health authorities reported on Saturday.

The authorities fear the deteriorating of the situation with more than 1,000 cases reported between February and March.

In a statement, the authorities said apart from poor sanitation, heavy rains in January and February were the main cause of the water-born disease.

The rains have left shallow waters in the neighborhoods, where informal stall are selling food and other items without hygiene surveillance, the authorities said, warning that the disease may spread if rains resume in the most populous region of Mozambique."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Uganda : Measles hit Iganga, 60 hospitalised

Via Daily Monitor :

" A child has died and 60 others admitted to various health centres following a measles outbreak in Iganga District, health officials have said.Dr David Muwanguzi, the district health officer, said five cases of blood samples taken to Uganda Virus Institute tested positive.

The first cases of the disease, which is affecting children between one and five years, were reported in November last year. Dr Muwanguzi said Makutu, Buyanga and Busembatya sub-counties are the worst hit by the ailment.Medical personnel at all the health centres have been alerted to liaise with the district officials to treat the affected children. “We are treating all those infected as we wait for the mass immunisation exercise scheduled for April,” said Dr Muwanguzi. He said the challenge now is shortage of drugs and appealed to health partners to help."

Hong Kong : CHP investigates influenza-like illness outbreak

Another press release from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health has reminded members of the public and management of institutions to maintain good environmental and personal hygiene to prevent influenza.

The reminder followed the CHP's investigation into an influenza-like illness outbreak at a kindergarten in Tsuen Wan, affecting 19 students aged between 4 and 6 and two staff members aged 22 and 28.

The affected persons, comprising eight males and 13 females, developed symptoms of respiratory tract infection, including fever, cough and sore throat, since February 17.

None required hospitalisation. All are in stable condition."

India : After swine flu, Pune hit by drug-resistant tuberculosis

Article via Health India :

" After swine flu, Pune now has to deal with drug-resistant tuberculosis. 36 new cases of multiple-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) were reported in Pune district in the last 40 days. Professionals fear that MDR tuberculosis and its deadlier cousin – extensively-drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR) – may actually pose a bigger threat to the nation’s healthcare system than AIDS.

15 MDR patients are from areas in Pune city, 12 are from neighbouring Pimpri-Chinchwad and nine are from the district’s rural interiors. This has prompted the officials at the city TB Control Unit have now directed the private practitioners to report each and every case to the authorities concerned. It is imperative to have private-public coordination to thwart the MDR-TB menace. After the culture lab for diagnosis of MDR-TB became functional at the Aundh Chest Hospital on February 10, experts have begun demarcating the MDR cases from the regular TB patients. TB becomes resistant when the patient doesn’t get proper treatment or the right drugs aren’t given."

Hong Kong : House crow tests positive for H5N1 virus

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

" A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (March 22) that the carcass of a house crow found in Shek Kip Mei last week was confirmed to be H5N1-positive after a series of laboratory tests.

The dead bird was found and collected at a planter next to a petrol filling station, outside Tai Hang Tung Recreation Ground, Shek Kip Mei, on March 15.

The AFCD will continue to conduct inspections of poultry farms to ensure that proper precautions against avian influenza have been implemented."

India : H1N1 toll touches six, 20 more test positive

Via Mid Day :

" Swab test of 39-year-old who died on March 19 returns positive; docs say rising mercury will put end to virus

The grip of the H1N1 virus does not appear to be letting up as another 20 persons tested positive during screening of 1,505 people in the district yesterday. Doctors are hoping that the rising summer temperatures will work in their favour and gradually reduce the number of cases.

The death toll has now risen to six, as doctors confirmed that the swab test of a 39-year-old patient, who died on March 19 at Sahyadri Hospital, tested positive.

"The victim, Sanjay Joshi, was admitted to the hospital at 11.13 am and succumbed at around 10 pm the same day," said Dr Ashok Ingle, medical officer of District Hospital.

So far, the number of positive cases in the district has risen to 116, of which six have succumbed, 23 are currently in isolation wards, 25 are admitted in at various hospitals, and the remaining are undergoing treatment as out patients.

Of the 20 positive cases detected yesterday, 17 are in the city and three from Pimpri-Chinchwad. Two patients are currently on ventilator support at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital and Ruby Hall respectively. The condition of patients on ventilators at Aditya Birla Hospital, Global Hospital, KEM hospital and Prayag Hospital continues to be critical."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Malaysia : New HFMD cases shoot up two-fold to 109, says Health Department

Via The Star, excerpt :

" The number of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases in the state rose sharply on Monday to more than double that of Sunday. It went from 44 new cases to 109 new cases on Monday, according to data from the state’s Health Department’s HFMD Ops Room.

The dramatic increase was believed to be due to cases that were detected with the opening of school after a one-week break.

“The increase may be due to the fact that most of the clinics as well as child care centres were closed during the weekend and therefore, the majority of cases were only detected on Monday,” it said.

The rise was observed here as well as in Samarahan, Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Bintulu, Miri and Limbang. Mukah and Sibu, however, saw a drop in cases, while Kapit had no new cases for the past three consecutive days.

As of Monday, the department had detected 3,297 cases in the state with 240 admissions. There are no serious cases and no death due to HFMD have been reported so far. Two schools here and one in Bintulu were served with closure orders on Monday. They were Taska Dirumah Mimi Satok and SK Semerah Padi here, and Tadika Methodist in Bintulu."

Hawaii : Dengue-carrying mosquito found on Oahu

Via Khon 2 :

" A mosquito that has not been found on Oahu since 1949 was recently discovered at Honolulu Airport.

State health officials say it's a big concern because this particular species can quickly spread dengue and yellow fever if it's infected.

Vector control found eight of these mosquitoes in a trap set up at the airport.

The Health Department made the announcement this afternoon.

This is what the mosquito looks like.

The species is Aedes aegypti.

"Aedes aegypti are commonly found throughout the Pacific area where there are serious outbreaks of dengue fever," said Bruce Anderson, Former State Health Director.

Vector Control has ovitraps set up at Honolulu Airport.

One of the traps the week of January 9th had 20 mosquito eggs in it -- eight of which health officials believed were Aedes aegypti.

They confirmed their beliefs after watching the four female and four male mosquitoes grow into adults.

"They are aggressive mosquitoes. They bite many people in sequence which allows them to transmit the disease," said Anderson.

The aegypti mosquito has been found in a few isolated areas on the Big Island.

But this is the first time in more than sixty years that it's appeared on Oahu."

Netherlands : Mild Strain Of Avian Influenza In Kelpen-Oler

Via The Information Daily :

" The outbreak of avian influenza (AI) at a turkey farm in Kelpen-Oler (Limburg) is a mild strain of the virus. Henk Bleker, Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade, reported this to parliament in a letter of 19 March 2012.

Low pathogenic avian influenza only produces mild symptoms in birds and poses a low risk to humans. But low pathogenic AI (LPAI) of the type H5 or H7 can mutate into the high pathogenic strain. The outbreak found in Kelpen-Oler involves the H5 strain, and extensive measures have therefore been put in place. All turkeys on the farm have been culled in line with European Union law. Other measures

A movement ban has been imposed on poultry, eggs, poultry manure and used litter in a 3-kilometre zone around the farm. Pigs and ruminants on poultry farms in this 3- kilometre zone are also subject to the movement ban.

There are 24 other poultry farms within the 3-kilometre zone. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority is checking these farms for symptoms of avian influenza.

Poultry under cover

Farms in the 3-kilometre zone are required to keep poultry under cover for the time being. This means that all poultry on the farms must be kept indoors. This only applies to commercial poultry producers. The Ministry advises hobby poultry keepers to keep their birds under cover to protect them from infection."

Bangladesh Reports HPAI Outbreaks Across Various Regions

Via The Poultry Site :

" The Bangladeshi veterinary authorities have reported a total of ten highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks across various commercial poultry farms in Dhaka, Khulna, Chittagong and Rajshahi.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received Follow-up Report No. 38 on Monday, 19 March.

A total of 49245 birds were found susceptible to the outbreak, out of which 2886 cases were reported. The 2886 affected birds were reported dead. 46359 birds were destroyed.

Although the source of the outbreaks remain inconclusive, the situation has been resolved."

Hong Kong : CHP investigates influenza-like illness outbreak

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

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health has reminded members of the public and management of institutions to maintain good environmental and personal hygiene to prevent influenza.

The reminder followed the CHP's investigation into an influenza-like illness outbreak at a kindergarten-cum-child care centre in Tuen Mun, affecting 19 students aged between 3 and 6 and two staff members aged 20 and 24.

The affected persons, comprising nine males and 12 females, developed symptoms of respiratory tract infection, including fever, cough and sore throat, since February 9.

One of the affected students required hospitalisation. All are in stable condition. The nasopharyngeal aspirate taken from the hospitalised student tested positive for Influenza A."

Suspected case of dengue fever reported in S China

Via Xinhua :

" A suspected case of dengue fever has been reported in Zhuhai, a booming city in south China's Guangdong province, quarantine authorities said Wednesday.

The patient, a college student in Zhuhai, was hospitalized on March 8 with a high fever, headache and muscle pains.

The patient tested positive for dengue at a medical institution under the Zhuhai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau on March 12, Zheng Zhigang, a bureau spokesman, said at a press conference.

Zheng said the patient could also be suffering from a relapse of malaria, as he also tested positive for plasmodium falciparum. "However, no malaria parasite was found in his blood sample."

The spokesman said the patient visited Ghana from Jan. 14 to Feb. 27. "There, he was diagnosed with malaria on Jan. 25 and received five days of treatment."

The patient experienced flu-like symptoms a week after returning to China.

Zheng said two of the student's friends also contracted malaria during their trip to Ghana. "We have warned them of a potential relapse of the disease in case malaria parasites remain in their bodies."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Malaysia : Five schools in the city remain closed after the holiday due to HFMD

Via The Star, excerpt :

" KUCHING : At the reopening of schools yesterday after the end of a one-week break, five schools here remain closed due to the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFDM).

Some have been closed since early this month, such as SJK(C) Chung Hua Buntal, about 20km from the city centre, which was shut on March 8.

The four other schools that have not reopened are SK Haji Baki (March 8), SK St Joseph (March 9), SJK (C) Chung Hua Batu 7 (March 9) and SK Patung (March 10).

But according to the state’s Health Department’s latest press statement, the five school might be given the green light to resume classes by next week.

“SJK(C) Chung Hua Buntal and SK Haji Baki, for example, are tentatively scheduled to reopen on Thursday; SK Patung could reopen by next Monday,” said the department.

The five schools each had either three or four HFMD cases before closure.

As of yesterday, 11 other preschools in the state were also closed due to HFMD.

On Sunday, 44 new HFMD cases were reported statewide; 12 from Kuching, 10 in Bintulu, seven in the Samarahan region, while Kapit and Limbang saw no new cases."

HPAI Kills More Layers in Taiwan

Via The Poultry Site :

" The Taiwanese veterinary authorities have reported further cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Chang-Hua.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received Follow-up Report No. 2 yesterday, 19 March.

A total of 8647 layers were found susceptible, out of which 426 cases were reported. The affected birds were found dead. 8221 birds were destroyed.

Clinical cases were notified by the veterinary and an abnormal mortality rate was noticed. The local diseasecontrol center (LDCC) conducted movement restrictions, clinical inspection, epidemiological investigation and sampling on the index layer farm.

The results of RT-PCR test, HA0 cleavage site sequencing and pathogenicity test demonstrated H5N2 subtype of HPAI. All the layer chickens on the farm were destroyed by LDCC as a measure of precaution on 8 March 2012.

Clinical and epidemiological investigation of surrounding poultry farms was conducted. No other case or evidence of infection was detected.

The source of the outbreak remains inconclusive."

India : Swine flu claims its 5th victim in March in Pune

Article via DNA India :

" A 60-year-old man who was admitted to Poona Hospital on March 17 and tested positive for swine flu, succumbed to the infection at 11 am on Monday. This is the fifth death claimed by the virus in the city this month.

“The patient had a history of diabetes and hypertension. The onset of symptoms was from March 15 and he was brought to Poona Hospital with H1N1 symptoms like cough, fever and breathlessness,” said Dr Shyam Satpute, H1N1 nodal officer, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

Eight more positive cases were recorded in the PMC area taking the total number of positive cases within PMC limits to 41 people since March 1.

A total of 1,320 patients were examined for H1N1 on Monday, of which 71 are suspected to be infected.

Six patients are on ventilator, while nine have been admitted to isolation wards at various hospitals.

A total of 72 people from the district have tested positive for H1N1 since March 1.

Meanwhile, officials at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) said that while reappearance of H1N1 cases is unusual and unexpected, the biology of the virus suggests it is a sporadic breakout and not as big in proportion as the last outbreak."

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hong Kong : Peregrine falcon found in Lantau tests positive for H5N1 virus

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

" A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (March 19) that a dead peregrine falcon found in Lantau was confirmed to be H5N1-positive after laboratory testing.

The bird's carcass was found and collected at 80 South Perimeter Road, Lantau, on March 12. It was decomposed when found and required a series of tests before H5N1 avian influenza was confirmed today. The peregrine falcon is a rare winter visitor to Hong Kong.

The spokesman said cleansing and disinfection has been stepped up at the area, adding that there are no poultry farms within 3 kilometres of where the dead bird was found.

In view of the case, the AFCD has phoned poultry farmers to remind them to strengthen precautionary and biosecurity measures against avian influenza. Letters have been issued to farmers, pet bird shop owners and licence holders of pet poultry and racing pigeons reminding them that proper precautions must be taken.

The spokesman said the department would conduct frequent inspections of poultry farms and the wholesale market to ensure that proper precautions against avian influenza have been implemented. The department will continue its wild bird monitoring and surveillance."

China reports 900,000 cases of active TB in 2011

Via Xinhua :

" About 900,000 cases of active tuberculosis (TB) were discovered and treated in 2011, including 423,000 infectious cases, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced Monday at a press conference.

Xiao Donglou, a health inspector from the MOH, said at the press conference that China improved its ability to prevent and control TB last year, focusing on HIV/TB co-infections and cases of TB among the country's migrant population.

Xiao said 1,701 HIV/TB co-infections were reported last year, as well as 51,682 cases of TB among the migrant population.

Xiao also mentioned China's cooperation with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), saying TB programs funded by the Global Fund have resumed operation following half a year of "correcting and readjusting."

Xiao said that some localities, enabled by investments from the Global Fund and local governments, have paid for travel expenses related to medical care for TB patients, as well as offered nutrition subsidies."

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bird flu outbreak at Dutch turkey farm

Via Radio Netherlands Worldwide :

" Bird flu has been detected at a turkey farm in the southern Dutch province of Limburg.

The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority will proceed to destroy all of the farm’s 42,700 turkeys this very Sunday.

A transport ban for poultry, eggs and poultry dung with a three kilometre radius around the farm has been in force since midnight on Saturday. There are some 25 poultry farms in the area.

Bird flu is an extremely contagious disease that can be transmitted not just to poultry but to other bird species as well. In extremely rare cases humans too can be infected with the virus. Last year there were several bird flu outbreaks across the country, most of them in Gelderland, Zeeland and Flevoland."

India : 7 more test positive for H1N1 in Pune

Article via DNA India :

" Seven more people tested positive for H1N1 infection on Saturday taking the total number of positive patients to 41 in Pune district.

The death of a 10-year-old girl at Bharati Hospital has taken the death toll to four since March 1. Authorities said the latest victim was born with the Down’s Syndrome. She was showing symptoms of H1N1 since March 8. However, she was not given any medication. Authorities said she was brought to Bharati Hospital in a critical condition on March 15.

She was put on a ventilator and she passed away on Friday.

Of 41 patients, 6 patients are on ventilator. 50 suspected H1N1 patients are admitted to hospitals while 1,446 were screened for H1N1 virus across district."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hong Kong : House crow tests positive for H5 virus

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

" Preliminary testing of a dead house crow found in Shek Kip Mei has tested positive for the H5 avian influenza virus, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (March 17), adding that further confirmatory tests are being conducted.

The dead bird was found and collected at a planter next to a petrol filling station, outside Tai Hang Tung Recreation Ground, Shek Kip Mei on March 15.

The spokesman said cleansing and disinfection has been stepped up at the venue, adding that there are no poultry farms within three kilometres of where the dead bird was found.

In view of the case, the AFCD has phoned poultry farmers to remind them to strengthen precautionary and biosecurity measures against avian influenza. Letters have been issued to farmers, pet bird shop owners and licence holders of pet poultry and racing pigeons reminding them that proper precautions must be taken.

The spokesman said the department would conduct frequent inspections of poultry farms and the wholesale market to ensure that proper precautions against avian influenza have been implemented. The department will continue its wild bird monitoring and surveillance."

India : Two more swine flu deaths, toll climbs to four in Pune

Via Times of India :

" PUNE: A 10-year-old girl with Down's Syndrome from Dhankawdi, and a sixty-year-old woman from Kothrud died of swine flu in the city on Friday, pushing the death toll to four in Pune and seven in the state.

"The girl, Amruta Joshi, succumbed to the swine flu infection at around 6.30 am at Bharati Hospital on Friday. Her throat swab report received after she died showed that she had swine flu infection," said paediatrician Sanjay Lalwani, medical director of Bharati Hospital.

Amruta came to the hospital with fever, cough and breathless around 9.15 pm on Thursday. Her X-ray report showed a bilateral pneuomonic patch. She was admitted to the paediatric intensive care unit of Bharati Hospital around 10 pm the same day. She had acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and was put on ventilator support, Lalwani added.

"Amruta suffered pulmonary haemorrhage, bleeding inside the lungs. Her condition deteriorated further and she died," Lalwani said. Her throat swab report was sent to National Institute of Virology, Lalwani said.

The other deceased Shubhangi Kulkarni was in isolation in the ICU of Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital for the last four days. "She had tested positive for the pandemic H1N1 virus on March 15. She had co-morbid conditions like diabetes, obesity and hypertension. She died at 7 am on Friday," said city health chief S T Pardeshi of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

Kulkarni, a retired nurse, was admitted on March 12. "Her X-ray report showed she had bilateral pneumonia. She had developed ARDS and was put on a ventilator. We started Tamiflu from day one," said physician Manisha Deshmukh.

Her condition deteriorated after 11 pm on March 15. The oxygen saturation in her blood dropped following which she suffered a cardiac arrest. She was revived, but suffered another arrest, Deshmukh said."

Malaysia : More kindies closed due to rise in HFMD

Via The Star :

" More than 10 kindergartens in the state have been closed for a week following a spike in cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).

From 116 HFMD cases during the first six weeks of this year, the figure has jumped to 206 cases as of March 10.

State Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh, however, said there was no outbreak.

He said the figures were only a “slight increase” compared to the corresponding period last year, and the closure of the kindergartens was a preventive measure.

“We are monitoring the situation closely to keep the disease under control.

“We will brief kindergarten operators on how to spot HFMD symptoms.

“They must close as soon as two cases are reported in the same kindergarten,” said Phee.

There were 79 cases of HFMD in the state's northeast district, 21 in the southwest, nine in north Seberang Prai, 30 in central Seberang Prai and 67 in south Seberang Prai."

Friday, March 16, 2012

India : Poultry culled after bird flu outbreak in Tripura

Via IBN Live :

" Altogether 5000 poultry birds were culled today at a government owned farm in Tripura's Gandhigram where bird flu surfaced in the first week of this month, a top government official said.

The birds were culled at the farm near here by the Rapid Response Squad of the Animal Resource Development Department, its director Manoranjan Sarkar said. The outbreak of bird flu was confirmed by the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal, Sarkar said.

All precautionary measures were taken to prevent fresh outbreak of bird flu in the state, he said, adding, over 300 birds were culled within a three-km radius area of the government-owned Lembucherra poultry farm in the district, about 20 km from here, only in the last week of January. Tripura first witnessed outbreak of avian influenza in 2008 when 55,000 chicks and ducks were culled at Mohanpur and its adjacent villages of West Tripura district.

Hong Kong : Update on cluster of Influenza B cases in Castle Peak Hospital

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

" Regarding the recent confirmation of a number of patients with Influenza B in a female long stay ward, the spokesperson for Castle Peak Hospital made the following update today (March 16):

One more 48-year-old female patient in the ward has presented with respiratory symptoms. Appropriate viral tests have been arranged for the patient and the test results were positive for Influenza B. The patient is being treated under isolation and is in a stable condition.

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

Israel : Cats Killed by H5N1-Infected Turkey Consumption

Via The Poultry Site :

" The Israeli veterinary authorities have reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Hadarom.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received an immediate notification yesterday, wherein it was reported that H5N1 was diagnosed in turkeys on 8 March 2012.

On 9 March 2012, just before the culling of thebirds,catswereseen eating carcasses. On 14 March 2012, four cats were found dead around the affected pen and some showed clinical signs such as respiratory signs and weakness. On 15 March 2012, the authorities succeeded to catch 16 cats roaming around the infected pen and euthanized them.

Out of 50 susceptible cats, eight cases were reported, out of which four deaths occurred. 16 were destroyed.

Clinical signs appeared on the cats about one week later."

Hong Kong : CHP investigates confirmed case of severe paediatric influenza B infection

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

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health seeks to draw public attention to its investigation into a confirmed case of severe paediatric influenza B infection affecting a 4-year-old girl.

The girl, with good past health, developed fever and cough since March 8. She was found unconscious at her home the next day and was admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The girl developed haemorrhagic shock encephalopathy syndrome. Her current condition is critical.

Her tracheal aspirate grew influenza B by viral culture.

She has no recent travel history. Her home contacts have no flu symptoms."

India : H1N1 claims year's 2nd victim in city

Via Mid Day :

" State toll climbs to 5 as 51-year-old rickshaw driver dies in hospital

The dreaded swine flu claimed its second victim in the city this year as a 51-year-old autorickshaw driver, Shrikant Shinde, died around 3.15 pm yesterday. This is the fifth swine flu death in the state. The first victim was Kanta Walchand Sarode (48), who died on Wednesday evening at Sahyadri Hospital.

19 test positive in city


Three more patients continue to be on ventilator support in various city hospitals. Apart from these cases, 16 other patients have tested positive for the H1N1 virus.Shinde was taken to Bharati Hospital on March 5 for treatment of pneumonia and had already slipped into Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) caused by the H1N1 virus, and was put on ventilator support.

His condition remained critical since the past 10 days. Throat-swab samples tested positive for the H1N1 virus at Religare Laboratory and he was put on anti-virals like Tamiflu and other antibiotics. Dr Sanjay Lalwani, at the Bharati hospital said, "The patient died due to multi-organ failure.

His kidney failed on Monday and he underwent dialysis twice in three days. The last 48 hours were very crucial as he had fluctuating blood pressure. He finally succumbed at 3.15 pm on Thursday." Dr Ambrish Shahade, president of Indian Medical Association said that the need of the hour is to make people more cautious and they should immediately contact doctor in case of prolonged cough and cold."

Nepal : Bird flu confirmed in Pharphing

Via Nepal News :

" Bird flu (H5N1 strain) has been confirmed at a poultry firm in Pharphing, Kathmandu.

The tests on a sample of the dead chicken of Dallu Hatchery and Feed Firm confirmed that the chicken died of avian influenza, according to the director of directorate of National Animal Health Ram Krishna Khatiwada. Hundreds of chicken had died at the firm.

Khatiwada also said that preventive measures to stop the spread of bird flu have been adopted keeping the area under high alert.

Earlier in the month of February, bird flu was confirmed in Sunsari and Ilam districts."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hand-foot-mouth disease kills 11 in Vietnam

Article via Xinhua :

" More than 12,400 cases of hand-foot- mouth (HFM) disease, including 11 fatalities, have been reported in 60 out of 63 provinces and cities across Vietnam since early this year, local Voice of Vietnam online reported Thursday.

This figure is 7.46 times higher than last year, according to the Vietnamese Health Ministry's Preventive Medicine Department.

The report said nearly 400 cases of HFM disease have been reported in central Binh Dinh province since early this year, with children under five accounting for 80 percent of these patients.

Meanwhile, there have been over 900 cases in Ho Chi Minh City in the first two months of this year, a 3.6-time increase over the same period last year."

Australia : Flu sickies still turn up to work

Via Perth Now :

" IT'S the bane of every workplace. The colleague who sniffles, sneezes and snorts through the work day, spreading insidious germs around the office.

Sound repulsive? Well we've almost all done it.

According to a survey released today to coincide with the beginning of the flu vaccination season, nine in 10 Australians admit to turning up to work sick.

Most of the time they battle on in the office because they don't want to let their colleagues down or miss deadlines, according to the survey by the Influenza Specialist Group (ISG).

One in five sick workers also believes flu symptoms are not serious enough to keep them at home, a falsehood that costs the economy $34 billion a year.

The survey of 1068 people examined attitudes towards presenteeism - the phenomenon where employees turn up to work when sick - and looked at Australians' flu etiquette.

It found 70 per cent of respondents confessed to participating in social activities despite having flu symptoms. ISG chairman Dr Alan Hampson said people underestimated how serious the flu could be.

It was a timely warning for people to get "flu-smart" and get immunised to potentially save lives this season.

"People need to take the flu much more seriously as it is a potentially fatal disease that is estimated to cause more deaths than accidents on roads," Dr Hampson said.

University of Sydney immunisation expert Professor Robert Booy said presenteeism was a major concern during flu season, especially for people who are at high risk.

They include pregnant women, those aged over 65, people with underlying medical conditions and indigenous Australians."

Zimbabwe : Typhoid, cholera fears in Kadoma

Via News Day :

" Kadoma residents say they are leaving in fear of a possible cholera or typhiod outbreak after going without water for more than a week.

City mayor Peter Matambo confirmed the water crisis, which he blamed on power cuts at the city’s water works.

The city’s estimated 400 000 residents have resorted to fetching water from the few available communal boreholes and unprotected wells.

“Indeed, there were no water supplies since last week following an electrical fault at the water works which Zesa technicians managed to rectify on Tuesday,” Matambo said.

“However, Zesa went on to load-shed and did not spare the strategic area, resulting in our inability to continuously pump water to fill our reservoirs before it gets to all areas.”

He said council had paid for a 24-hour uninterrupted power line to the water works but Zesa was stalling the project, which he said would provide a long-term solution to the city’s water woes."

Malaysia : Dengue cases continue to rise

Via The Daily Sun :

" More than 500 new cases of dengue were reported in the period between March 4 to 10, bringing the total number of reported cases to 5,184 cases nationwide since Jan 1.

However, there were no new deaths reported and the number of new cases have decreased by 63 cases to 504 cases, compared to 567 cases between Feb 26 to March 3.

The outbreak has so far claimed 16 lives, compared to 8 deaths in the same period last year."

Hong Kong : Update on cluster of Influenza B cases at Castle Peak Hospital

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

" Regarding the recent confirmation of a number of patients with Influenza B in a female long stay ward, the spokesperson for Castle Peak Hospital made the following update today (March 15):

One more 44-year-old female patient in the ward has presented with respiratory symptoms. Appropriate viral tests have been arranged for the patient and the test results are pending. The patient is being treated under isolation and is in a stable condition.

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

India : Woman dies of swine flu, 3 in serious condition

Via The Hindu :

" A 48-year-old woman died of swine flu at the Sahyadri Hospital here on Wednesday, while three more patients continue to be on ventilator support in various city hospitals. Apart from these cases, there are 10 patients who have been diagnosed positive for the H1N1 virus, district health officials said. This is the fourth death in Maharashtra due to the virus this year, and the first in Pune.

Increased precaution

Confirming the death, State swine flu surveillance officer Pradip Awate said that while these were “sporadic cases,” precautionary measures were being stepped up. “The victim was also diagnosed with pancreatitis, so the immunity level was already low. There are three more patients who are critical in the city. We are taking the current scenario very seriously. There is no need to panic, but people should not ignore infections such as common cold.”

Soham Bhatavdekar, Manager (Operations), Sahyadri Hospital, said the victim, who hailed from Baramati, was admitted three days ago, and was diagnosed with the virus."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hong Kong : Case of severe scarlet fever investigated

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

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (March 14) investigating a case of severe scarlet fever involving a 17-year-old male.

The patient, with good past health, presented with fever on March 3 and developed generalised rash, vomiting and abdominal pain the next day. He was then admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of Hong Kong Baptist Hospital due to pneumonia with septic shock and renal impairment. His condition was stabilised after treatment and he was discharged yesterday.

His sputum grew Group A Streptococcus.

The CHP's investigation revealed that he did not have a recent travel history. His family members are asymptomatic.

The investigation is continuing."

India : 12 cases of swine flu detected in Pune, authorities on alert

Via Hindustan Times :

" Detection of about 12 Swine flu cases in the last fortnight here has put health authorities on alert, with two patients reported to be critical. Some of the cases have been detected in a "pro-active" research survey, undertaken by the city-based National Institute of Virology (NIV) in a locality here while other non-specified areas, too, have reported H1N1 infections.

"While the cases detected by NIV are being treated as outdoor patients without admission, other cases, which include two critical ones, call for a greater surveillance, as Pune had not reported any fatality on account of Swine flu in the last year," Dr Pradip Awate, State swine flu surveillance officer, said.

Two of the three critical patients, admitted to ICU in different hospitals, were put on ventilator, health officials said."

Foot-and-mouth disease spreads in Egypt

Article via Xinhua :

" The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease continued to spread in Egypt with more infected cases of livestock reported, the country's Gazette newspaper reported Wednesday.

A total of 10,228 cases have been confirmed in five governorates including Cairo and Alexandria, with the deaths of 704 calves, the newspaper quoted Egypt's Minister of Agriculture Mohamed Reda Ismail as saying.

In Gharbiya province alone, 1,626 positive cases were discovered on Tuesday, Ismail said, adding that the authorities have isolated the infected ones in affected areas to contain the outbreak.

There have been no reports of human infections of the disease in Egypt by far. The strain of virus is the pan-Asian type, also known as O1, the same type which hit cattle in Egypt about five years ago, according to Ismail."

Hong Kong : CHP investigates influenza-like illness outbreak

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

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health has reminded members of the public and management of institutions to maintain good environmental and personal hygiene to prevent influenza.

The reminder followed the CHP's investigation into an influenza-like illness outbreak at a kindergarten in Wong Tai Sin, affecting 21 students.

The affected children, comprising three males and 18 females aged between 3 and 5, developed symptoms of respiratory tract infection, including fever, cough and sore throat, since March 1.

Three of them required hospitalisation. All are in stable condition. The nasopharyngeal swabs of two hospitalised students tested positive for Influenza B.

CHP staff have visited the school and provided health advice to the management."

India : Two more patients test positive for swine flu

Via Times of India :

" JAIPUR : The scare of swine flu refuses to subside as two more persons tested positive on Tuesday taking the total number of patients to 13. However, the medical and health authorities are yet to wake up as both the patients had come to Out Patient Department (OPD) and were not admitted to any hospital.

The situation is becoming alarming as 13 persons so far have tested positive in the last 10 days in the state. Out of these two died - eight-year-old girl Ojaswi and Sonal Jain (26). On Tuesday, the test reports suggested that one D B Yadav (50), a resident of Mansarovar and Pinky Kanwar (27) tested positive. Both the patients had visited the OPD and on doctor's advice had gone for the swine flu test."

H1N1 kills pregnant woman and her baby in Brazil

Via Global Post :

" A 27-year-old pregnant woman and her baby died Tuesday after a week-long stay in the hospital with H1N1.

A 27-year-old pregnant woman died of multiple organ failure Tuesday after a week-long stay in the hospital with H1N1, reported Brazilian news site Terra. The woman had been in Maternidade-Escola Assis Chateubriand hospital in Fortaleza since March 7. Her baby died of cardio-respiratory failure before she was able to get medical help.

Before reaching Maternidade-Escola Assis Chateubriand, the woman passed through two municipal hospitals in Fortaleza, where she was initially diagnosed with dengue fever, according to Globo's G1 news site. Her family is now concerned about people who came in close contact with her, particularly her daughter, although medical personnel examined the girl and said she has not been diagnosed with H1N1.

Another pregnant woman, 21, was also admitted to the same hospital and diagnosed with H1N1 last week, reported newspaper Diário do Nordeste. She underwent an emergency C-section on Saturday and her baby is now in the neo-natal intensive care unit because of complications. The mother is also in intensive care."

India : 11 H1N1 cases in a week, health officials on alert

Via Indian Express :

" A sudden rise in the number of swine flu patients in a week has put health authorities on an alert with doctors being advised not to rule out H1N1 virus infection among influenza related cases. Health authorities have registered 11 swine flu patients in a week. Three are on ventilator, while two are critical, health authorities said.

New infections are being reported from Bhosari, Kharadi, Nigdi, Kothrud and Lonikand. A 55-year-old woman from Lonikand who was admitted to Global Hospital at Rahatne Phate and a 30-year-old pregnant woman who had to undergo a premature delivery at Aditya Birla Hospital are on ventilator, Dr Vinayak More, district civil surgeon said. Dr S T Pardeshi, chief medical officer at PMC, said two patients were critical, however, surveillance measures have been stepped up and doctors have been told to check influenza patients for swine flu.

Doctors across hospitals admit there is an increase in the number of cases of viral pneumonia and a few are turning positive for H1N1 virus (swine flu). However, there is no reason to panic as sporadic cases will occur, said state surveillance officer Dr Pradip Awate."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

India : 6-yr-old tests positive for H1N1; fourth case in March

Article via DNA India :

" Even as the H1N1 patient admitted to Bharati Hospital and Medical College continues to be critical even after six days of admission, another swine flu positive patient has been admitted to Naidu Hospital. Two other swine flu positive cases have been reported, taking the total number of swine flu positive patients in Pune to four since March 5.

A six-year-old girl from Kharadi was admitted to Naidu Hospital on March 9. The baby was referred to the infectious diseases hospital from a private hospital on suspicion of H1N1.

“The baby is in the isolation ward and stable,” said Dr Shyam Satpute, the medical officer at Naidu Hospital. The Pune Municipal Corporation records show that after a single positive case in October 2011, H1N1 has got reported after five months.

At Bharati Hospital, the 51-year-old autorickshaw driver residing at Katraj continues to be on ventilator support. “However, since there is no deterioration, we are hoping he’ll pull through,” said dean Dr Vivek Saoji.

Dr Chandrakant Satane, an officer at district H1N1 control cell, said other H1N1 cases include a pregnant woman at Chinchwad’s Aditya Birla Hospital and a patient taking Tamiflu on OPD basis at Command Hospital. Since April 2011, a total of 27 H1N1 positive cases have got reported."

Hong Kong : Cluster of Influenza B cases in Castle Peak Hospital

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

" Five patients (aged 42 to 68) and a staff member in a female long-stay ward had presented with respiratory symptoms since March 7. Appropriate viral tests were arranged for the patients. Test results for all five patients were positive for Influenza B. The patients are being treated under isolation and two of them have been transferred to Tuen Mun Hospital. All patients are in stable condition. The staff member concerned has recovered and resumed duty.

Admission to the ward has been suspended and 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."

Hong Kong : Vigilance urged against meningococcal infection

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

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a confirmed case of meningococcal infection, a communicable disease transmitted by direct contact with droplets from carriers or infected persons, and has appealed to the public for vigilance.

The case involves a 4-year-old girl, with good past health, who lives in Sai Kung.

The girl presented with fever, chills, a runny nose, cough and skin rash since March 10. She was admitted to Prince of Wales Hospital on the same day.

A blood specimen taken from the girl grew Neisseria meningitidis. She is in a stable condition.

The girl has no recent travel history. Her home contacts are asymptomatic.

The CHP's investigation is continuing."

India : Swine flu resurfaces, 4 cases in 10 days

Via Indian Express :

" After a gap of three months, the city has witnessed four cases of swine flu in 10 days.

Of the four patients, one is a pregnant woman and another is a six-year-old child. According to district health authorities, the situation is under control and these are sporadic cases.

District civil surgeon Dr Vinayak More said two are on ventilator support while the remaining have recovered. The condition of the 51-year-old autorickshaw driver, who is on ventilator support, continues to be critical at Bharati Hospital.

According to Sassoon General Hospital authorities, the seven-month pregnant woman (30) was admitted barely for 3-4 hours on March 4 and before the throat swab could be sent for testing, she got discharged against medical advice and went to Aditya Birla Hospital.

District health authorities said she had tested positive and had to undergo a premature delivery. She is on ventilator support. At civic body-run Naidu Hospital, a six-year-old girl from Kharadi is recovering from swine flu, said chief medical officer Dr S T Pardeshi. According to More, another patient is being treated at Command Hospital."

Taiwan : Another Outbreak of HPAI

Via The Poultry Site :

" The Taiwanese veterinary authorities have reported another outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Chang-Hua where native chickens were affected.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received follow-up report no. 2 on Saturday, 10 March.

According to the report, 9625 birds were found susceptible to the outbreak, out of which 318 cases were reported. The 318 affected birds were found dead, and the remaining 9307 were destroyed.

Clinical cases were notified from the abattoir, and a high mortality rate was noticed. The local disease control center (LDCC) traced back to the original native broiler farm, conducting movement restrictions, clinical inspection, epidemiological investigation and sampling.

The results of RT-PCR test, HA0 cleavage site sequencing and pathogenicity test demonstrated H5N2 HPAI. All the chickens on the farm were destroyed by LDCC on 9 March 2012. Clinical and epidemiological investigations are continuously implemented on the surrounding poultry farms of the infected farm.

The source of the outbreak is under investigation."

Malaysia : NS trainee dies of rat urine disease

Via The Star :

" A national service trainee at Terkok Camp in Lintang here has died of suspected leptospirosis (rat urine disease).

R. Vinoth, 18, from Shah Alam, Selangor died at around 11.30pm on Monday at the Sungai Siput Hospital where he was admitted on Sunday.

His father, S Raman, said the family was not happy with the post mortem carried out on the body and had asked for another examination to be done by a specialist.

Sungai Siput OCPD Supt Azman Salim confirmed that a student at the camp had died."

Nepal Reports HPAI in Mechi and Koshi

Via The Poultry Site :

" The Nepalese veterinary authorities have reported three outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Mechi and Koshi, wherein backyard bird populations were affected.

Follow-up Report No. 3 was sent to the OIE on Sunday, 11 March.

A total of 468 birds were found susceptible, out of which 326 cases and deaths were reported. The remaining 142 birds were destroyed.

Stamping out followed by cleaning, disinfection, disposal and sealing of the infected premises have already been completed.

Post-operative surveillance activities are being intensively carried out throughout the country.

The source of the outbreaks remain inconclusive."

Avian influenza – situation in Indonesia – update

From WHO :

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

The case is a 24 year-old female from Bengkulu Province. She developed fever on 23 February 2012 and was hospitalized on the following day. She had breathing difficulty, her condition deteriorated and she died on 1 March 2012.

Epidemiological investigation conducted by a team of public health and animal health authorities indicated an exposure to a potentially contaminated environment where sudden deaths of poultry had recently occurred.

The case was confirmed by the National Institute of Health Research and Development, Ministry of Health.

To date, of the 187 cases reported in Indonesia since 2005, 155 have been fatal."

Monday, March 12, 2012

US : Players succumb to stomach bug at Indian Wells

Via IBN Live :

" Intestinal fortitude has become a prized commodity at Indian Wells, where Vera Zvonareva and Gael Monfils are among eight players who have succumbed to a widespread viral infection.

Russian Zvonareva, the ninth seed in the WTA tournament, withdrew from her scheduled third-round match on Sunday, gifting Czech Klara Zakopalova a spot in the next round.

Earlier in the day, Frenchman Monfils, the 14th seed in the ATP event, American Vania King and Austrian Juergen Melzer also pulled out because of stomach problems.

"I'm really sorry to withdraw from the tournament but unfortunately I'm not feeling well enough to compete today," Zvonareva, a 12-time winner on the WTA Tour, said in a statement.

"Hopefully I can recover from the illness and play in the next event (in Miami), but today I just don't feel that I can go out there and perform well enough."

ECDC : Weekly influenza surveillance overview - Seasonal influenza continues to increase in a number of countries

Media release dated 9th March 2012 from ECDC :

" The national seasonal influenza trends are continuing to increase in a number of countries, although three countries are also reporting they have seen a peak in their epidemics. The season is still dominated by A(H3) viruses, but B viruses seem to be on the increase recently as reported in the latest edition of the Weekly Influenza Surveillance Overview (week 9/2012).

Medium or higher intensity has been reported by 18 countries and increasing trends by 11 countries. Bulgaria, Italy and Spain have reported decreasing trends for at least two weeks in a row and are therefore the first three European countries past their epidemic peak this season.

Virological surveillance for the period shows that out of 1 606 sentinel specimens tested, 48.0% were positive for influenza virus, the first proper decline this year. Of these sentinel viruses, 91.4% were type A and 8.6% were type B. Only six were A(H1)pdm09 (<1%). More details on the antigenic and genetic characteristics of circulating viruses in Europe can be found in the latest Influenza virus characterisation report, published in February 2012.

Since week 40/2011, 1 024 SARI cases, including 40 fatalities, have been reported by seven countries. Of these cases, 690 were related to influenza infection – 90% with A(H3), 5% with A(H1)pdm09 and 5% with B viruses.

No resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir and zanamivir) has been reported so far this season."

Bhutan : More HPAI Outbreaks in Chhukha District

Via The Poultry Site :

" Bhutan has reported another outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Chhukha district in backyard scavenging poultry.

Follow-up report No. 5 was sent to the World Organisation for Animal Health on Friday, 9 March. The new outbreak has occurred in a backyard scavenging poultry unit with the death of one adult local poultry. The dead poultry tested positive to PCR.

A total of 1050 birds were found susceptible, out of which one case was identified. 131 birds were destroyed.

The source of the outbreak remains inconclusive."

Hong Kong : Black-headed gull and peregrine falcon test positive for H5N1 virus

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

" A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (March 12) that the carcasses of a black-headed gull and a peregrine falcon found in Tuen Mun and Ma On Shan in early March were confirmed to be H5N1-positive after a series of laboratory tests.

The black-headed gull was collected at Castle Peak Power Station Plant B, Tuen Mun, on March 2, while the peregrine falcon was found at Kam Kwai House, Kam Fung Court, Ma On Shan, on March 3.

The black-headed gull is a common winter visitor to Hong Kong, while the peregrine falcon is a rare winter visitor.

The AFCD will continue to conduct inspections of poultry farms to ensure that proper precautions against avian influenza have been implemented.

The spokesman reminded people to observe good personal hygiene."

China : Flu cases hit Guangzhou, Xinjiang

Via People's Daily :

" GUANGZHOU reported nine flu outbreaks in schools since February and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region announced the resumption of morning checks in kindergartens and schools after many students suffered swine flu.

But officials from the Shanghai Health Bureau said yesterday that the flu situation in the city remains stable, for adults and children. Shanghai entered its peak season of respiratory diseases on November 15, and authorities enhanced monitoring and supervision of pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome and human avian flu.

According to Xinhua news agency, Guangzhou has had nine flu outbreaks since February, all in schools. Experts said the outbreaks were closely related to the recent humid weather."

South Korea : Korea reports first suspected case of Avian Influenza

Article via Korea Times :

" A suspected case of avian influenza (AI) was reported for the first time in Korea in nearly 10 months with test results of a more detailed examination due later in the day, the government said Monday.

A suspected case was filed Sunday by a poultry farm in South Chungcheong Province where about 100 out of some 450 chickens are showing symptoms of AI, according to the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

About 40 chickens at the farm have already died with an initial test on 10 chickens with symptoms producing positive results.

"A more thorough test is underway, with the results expected to be released later in the day," a ministry official said.

The test seeks to determine whether the chickens are in fact infected with the bird virus and also whether the virus is a highly pathogenic strain of AI.

If the virus is determined to be of the H5 or H7 types, with highly-pathogenic strains, an additional test will be carried out with the results to be confirmed on Tuesday, according to the official."

India : Two dead, four fighting for life

Via Health India :

" It seems that the swine flu menace has hit Jaipur with 6 cases being reported in the last 10 days. An eight year old was the latest victim who tested positive for the influenza on Saturday. Out of the six cases two patients have passed away

Minister of state for health Rajkumar Sharma said patients with symptoms of swine flu should not be ignored but should be given free medical treatment in government hospitals immediately.Sharma said strict action would be taken against doctors or department officials if they were found careless while treating such patients.

In light of the recent events the swine flu control room at Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Hospital has been made functional again. According to the medical superintendent of SMS hospital, the reason for the resurgence of the virus is the abrupt change in weather and fluctuating temperatures."

Four Deaths and 55 Cases of A (H1N1) in Guatemala

Via Inside Costa Rica :

" Infections with the influenza virus A (H1N1) recorded an increase in Guatemala, with 55 confirmed cases and four deaths.

In addition to the deaths of two adults in hospitals in the capital, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said two children died in late February in the central-eastern department of Zacapa.

They were part of seven children who had died of unknown causes, and further analysis determined that two of the cases died from the virus.

Health facilities handle up to 50,000 cases of acute respiratory infections and colds per week, said the director of the National Epidemiology Center, Francisco Ardon, quoted by the newspaper Prensa Libre.

Of the confirmed cases in the course of this year, symptoms in 493 persons made them suspicious of influenza and of those 55 were confirmed: 52 of type A and three of type B, the source added."

India : State steps up vigil on bird deaths

Via The Telegraph :

" The state health department has issued a third alert to all district health officers and civil surgeons to increase the vigil over spread of avian influenza.

The monitoring has been heightened on the instructions of chief minister Nitish Kumar, who held a review meeting last evening with senior officers of the state animal and fish resources and health departments.

At the meeting, Nitish was told about crow deaths in Gaya, Banka, Nawada and Bhagalpur districts, and also about Gaya being the only place where few samples tested positive for the H5N1 virus that causes avian influenza. The chief minister has asked the departments concerned to conduct mass awareness programmes across the state to prevent the transmission of avian influenza to poultry and subsequently to human beings."

Bangladesh : Bird flu hits Dhaka city markets

Via Pakistan Observer :

" Bird flu has hit six poultry markets in the capital. In the last 15 days, three workers from one of the markets came down with the flu; however, they have recovered.

The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) and International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR, B) made the detections.The affected markets are among the 16 poultry markets that are under constant surveillance by the two research organisations, IEDCR sources say.

In the wake of the latest developments, the Department of Livestock Services at a meeting on Wednesday decided to form 10 committees to monitor all poultry markets in the capital.The committees will be comprised of livestock officials and personnel from the health ministry, police and Bangladesh Ansar."

Friday, March 9, 2012

Israel : Avian Flu Outbreak Suspected Next to Kiryat Gat

Via Israel National News :

" Veterinary officials declared suspicion of an outbreak of avian flu, Thursday, in a poultry coop in the community of Shalva, next to the southern-central city of Kiryat-Gat. Eleven thousand turkeys are housed in three structures at the site.

Agricultural inspectors declared a quarantine of the farm and, under the instructions of the veterinary service, began preparations to destroy the birds Friday morning. Other coops in a three-kilometer radius are also being inspected."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

England : Measles outbreak in Liverpool spreads across region

Via BBC, report dated 6th March, 2012 :

" The number of confirmed measles cases in Merseyside has spread beyond Liverpool, health officials have said.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is now investigating 48 confirmed cases, 37 probable cases and 108 possible cases.

A measles outbreak was declared on 16 February. The majority of patients are concentrated in the Liverpool area.

But an HPA spokesman added: "We are also beginning to see cases that are further afield."

There are now confirmed, probable and possible cases in central and eastern Cheshire, Halton and St Helens, Knowsley, Sefton, and Wirral with probable and possible cases in Warrington and western Cheshire."

Vietnam : Hand-foot-mouth disease alarming in HCMC

Via Tuoitre News :

" Hand, foot and mouth disease in Ho Chi Minh City has developed at an alarming rate, with 143 new cases recorded per week on average, the city Health Department said, calling for more efforts to improve the situation.

At yesterday’s meeting on the city’s epidemic, Dr. Nguyen Dac Tho, deputy head of the city Preventive Health Center said HFMD has spread to 211 wards and communes, of which 68 have three or more patients.

That means 65 percent of the total number of the city’s wards and communes have been affected by the disease, he said.

There have been 963 HFMD patients since the beginning of the year and one of them has died, according to the department’s statistics.

In February alone, 498 children contracted the disease, up 14 percent from January and five times higher than the previous year."

Indonesia : Two Toddlers Bird Flu Suspects isolated in RSU Bima Contingency

Machine translated article from Detik News :

" Two toddlers, aged 11 months and Lt Az, 2.5 months old, was isolated in RSU Bima, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB). Allegedly, both infected with bird flu or H5N1 virus.

To be sure, the two blood samples are now being tested in the laboratory. "symptoms that indicated the two toddlers are like the symptoms of people infected with bird flu virus. therefore treated in a special room in the Milky General Hospital," said Chief Medical Officer of NTB, Mochammad Ismail in Mataram on Thursday (08/03/2012).

Both children were previously treated at the health center Bolo, then referred to the General Hospital of Bima. Bolo is one of ten districts in the Milky bird flu virus that was attacked, where at least 8500 birds died suddenly. Ismail said the toddler's body heat of 37.5 degrees. Referring to the initial clinical symptoms, doctors initially suspected the two young children commonly suffer from lung infections."

Uganda : Ministry of Health warns of Cholera outbreak

Via UG Pulse :

" The Ministry of Health has announced an outbreak of Cholera in some parts of the country.

On behalf of the Director General of health service Dr. Denise Lwamafa says that 280 Cholera cases have been reported in the districts of Kasese, Mbale, Sironko,Bududa and Buliisa."

Maryland tests confirm flu, bacterial co-infections in family case cluster

From Lisa Schnirring at CIDRAP, excerpt :

" Lab tests conducted by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (MDHMH) have revealed that two patients in a family cluster of four severe respiratory disease cases had the seasonal H3 influenza strain, complicated by bacterial co-infections, the department announced today.

State authorities and their colleagues in Calvert County have been investigating a cluster of severe respiratory illnesses that led to the deaths of an 81-year-old woman from Lusby and two adult children who cared for her after she got sick and until she died on Mar 1. Another of the woman's daughters is hospitalized with similar symptoms.

More lab testing and an investigation into the cases are ongoing, the MDHMH said in a press release. The release did not specify which two patients the flu confirmation pertained to.

The Calvert County Department of Health (CCDH) said in a statement today that initial tests on two of the four family members suggest that the serious respiratory infection suffered by all four is a complication of seasonal flu. It said a fourth family member is still hospitalized at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and is improving.

The elderly woman's 58-year-old son was treated at the same hospital, where he died on Mar 5, and his 51-year-old sister is receiving care, after first being treated at Calvert Memorial Hospital, the Washington Post reported yesterday. Their 56-year-old sister also died on Mar 5."

Hong Kong : Two linked imported cases of dengue fever investigated

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

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating two imported and related cases of dengue fever and has urged people to guard against the disease.

The first patient is a 45-year-old woman who developed fever, myalgia, retro-orbital pain, and skin rash since February 27. The second patient is a 49-year-old man who developed similar symptoms on the same day.

They were both admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital on March 3. The woman is still hospitalised and in stable condition. Her blood sample tested positive for the dengue virus. The man was discharged on March 5. His blood sample tested positive for dengue IgM.

The CHP's investigation revealed that the two patients had travelled together to Indonesia from February 2 to March 2, where both were bitten by mosquitos."

Vietnam : Another bird flu case reported in Vietnam

Via Saigon Daily :

" Dr. Tran Ngoc Huu, President of the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City, on March 7 confirmed that yet another case of bird flu had been reported in Vietnam, bringing the total tally to four patients with two having succumbed to the disease, since the beginning of this year.

On March 5, doctors from the General Hospital in Dak Lak Province transferred a 32-year-old local resident man to the Tropical Disease Hospital in HCMC, who they believed was suffering from the H5N1 bird flu virus.

The Tropical Disease Hospital in the city later reported that the patient was suffering from serious pneumonia and needed to be put under a respirator, while tests conducted on him by the Pasteur Institute proved positive for the bird flu virus.

It is still a mystery as to how the man caught the infection in the first place."

India : 51-yr-old H1N1 patient in critical state in Pune

Article via DNA India :

" After a lull of many months, swine flu infection has reared its head again. A 51-year-old rickshaw puller residing in Katraj was tested positive for the infection and is currently in a critical condition at Bharati Hospital and Medical College.

Hospital dean Dr Vivek Saoji confirmed that a H1N1 patient was shifted to the hospital from a smaller private nursing home where he had been undergoing treatment for a few days.

“He was shifted here on March 6 after he tested positive for H1N1 infection. He is on ventilator support and is in critical condition,” said Saoji.

However, he added that an isolated case of the infection should not spread panic as stray cases do keep getting reported, though not of such severity after pandemic subsided."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

US : Cluster of respiratory-related deaths under investigation in Md.

Via WTOP :

" UPDATE:

Medstar Washington Hospital Center reports the son and daughter who died in the hospital had Influenza A. They also had other medical conditions, officials say.

The 81-year-old mother's cause of death is still under investigation.

The health of the other daughter (and fourth victim) is improving, hospital officials say.

Tuesday - 3/6/2012, 2:56pm ET

WASHINGTON - Three people in the Lusby, Md. area have died from a respiratory illness and the Calvert County Health Department is investigating the cluster of deaths.

The case appears to be confined to a single family and there are no other individuals affected, the health department says.

At this time, they are not recommending any protective actions for the general public.

Calvert County schools made automated phone calls home to dispel rumors, says Deputy Health Officer Dan Williams.

The first case of illness was reported in an 81-year-old woman who began showing symptoms around Feb. 23. Three of the woman's children took care of her in her home.

The three children, a son and two daughters, developed similar upper respiratory symptoms around Feb. 28.

All four of the family members were eventually hospitalized and became critically ill."

Vietnam : Probe continues into alleged cover-up of bird flu outbreaks

Via Focus Taiwan :

" Prosecutors questioned two agriculture officials Wednesday as part of an investigation into an alleged cover-up of recent outbreaks of avian flu in central and southern Taiwan.

The two officials are both from the Animal Health Research Institute (AHRI), which confirmed the outbreaks of a highly pathogenic strain of the H5N2 virus in Changhua and Tainan after a second meeting of experts held March 1.

Prosecutors said they will investigate whether the results of laboratory tests conducted by the AHRI meet the criteria of "highly pathogenic" bird flu set by the World Organization for Animal Health."

Fiji : Ministry to focus on health matters

Via The Fiji Times :

" THE Ministry for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation will address the issue of the welfare of women during natural disasters.

This follows the report that four of the seven deaths during the recent flood were women who died of leptospirosis.

Presenting at the 56th session of United Nations Commission on Status of Women, Minister for Women Dr Jiko Luveni said that the health and safety of women needed to be addressed as most women were represented in disaster management committees."

Indonesian woman dies of H5N1

Via Xinhua :

" A 24-yeard-old Indonesian woman has died of bird flu in Bengkulu of Sumatra island, putting the total death to five this year after nine people die of the infection last year, a Health Ministry official said here on Wednesday.

The death comes as concerns about the attacks of the avian influenza viruses appear in the region following the reports of the death on the viruses in Indonesia, Cambodia, China and Vietnam.

The woman died on March 1 after being treated for four days in a hospital, Rita Kusritiastuti, director of animal-born infectious disease of the ministry told Xinhua.

She first felt the symptoms of the disease such as respiratory problem and high fever just before she was hospitalized, said Kusriastuti. "The woman died on March 1 after her condition deteriorated," she said.

Two laboratory tests showed that the woman was positive of avian influenza, said Kusritiastuti.

Nevertheless, the cause of the fatality was unclear as the woman had no historical contact with animal in the last one month, the director said."

Hong Kong : Increase in Respiratory Syncytial Virus activity

Another press release from Hong Kong's CHP :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (March 7) called on the public to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infection. The appeal followed the CHP's latest surveillance data showing an increase in the activity of RSV in recent weeks.

Since mid-February, RSV detections by the CHP's Public Health Laboratory Centre have been on a seasonal rise. The number of RSV detections increased from 31 in the week ending February 18 to 60 in the week ending February 25. The latest RSV detection figure was 74 in the week ending March 3.

Three RSV institutional outbreaks have been reported to the CHP so far this year, affecting a total of 33 persons. There were 26 and 30 RSV outbreaks recorded in 2010 and 2011 affecting 380 and 284 persons respectively."

Avian influenza – situation in Bangladesh – update

From WHO :

" The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Bangladesh has confirmed two new cases of human infection with highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) virus in the country. These are the 5th and 6th cases reported in the country since 2008.‬‪

These two cases, 26 year-old and 18 year-old males, presented with history of cough, and both have recovered. They were identified in the same live bird market surveillance site in Dhaka City as the fourth case recently reported, and were confirmed by the National Influenza Centre (NIC) of the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) in Bangladesh.‬‪

Epidemiological investigation and follow-up is being conducted by National Rapid Response teams of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) and the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B).‬‪"

Hong Kong : CHP investigates influenza-like illness outbreak

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

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health has reminded members of the public and management of institutions to maintain good environmental and personal hygiene to prevent influenza.

The reminder followed the CHP's investigation into an influenza-like illness (ILI) outbreak at a kindergarten-cum-child care centre in Sha Tin, affecting 20 students.

The affected children, comprising 11 males and nine females aged between 2 and 5, developed symptoms of respiratory tract infection, including fever, cough and sore throat, since February 17.

None of them required hospitalisation. All are in stable condition."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hong Kong : CHP investigates confirmed case of severe paediatric influenza B infection

Press release from Hong Kong's CHP :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is drawing public attention to its investigation into a confirmed case of severe paediatric influenza B infection affecting a 6-year-old girl.

The girl, with good past health, lives in Tsuen Wan. She developed fever, cough and runny nose since February 21 and sought medical attention from a general practitioner on the same day. She was admitted to Yan Chai Hospital on February 26. She was transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit of Princess Margaret Hospital the next day as she developed pneumonia and pleural effusion. Her current condition is stable.

Nasopharyngeal aspirate taken from the girl tested positive for influenza B. Culture of pleural fluid yielded Streptococcus pneumoniae.

She has no recent travel history. Her home contacts are asymptomatic."

Hong Kong : Black-headed gull and peregrine falcon test positive for H5 virus

From Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" Preliminary testing of the carcasses of a black-headed gull and a peregrine falcon found in Tuen Mun and Ma On Shan have returned a positive result for the H5 avian influenza virus, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (March 6), adding that further confirmatory tests are being conducted.

The black-headed gull was collected at Castle Peak Power Station Plant B, Tuen Mun on March 2, while the peregrine falcon was found at Kam Kwai House, Kam Fung Court, Ma On Shan on March 3.

The black-headed gull is a common winter visitor to Hong Kong, while the peregrine falcon is a rare winter visitor.

The spokesman said cleansing and disinfection have been stepped up at the venues, adding that there are no poultry farms within three kilometres of where the dead birds were found.

In view of the cases, the AFCD has phoned poultry farmers to remind them to strengthen precautionary and biosecurity measures against avian influenza. Letters have been issued to farmers, pet bird shop owners and licence holders of pet poultry and racing pigeons reminding them that proper precautions must be taken.

The spokesman said the department would conduct frequent inspections of poultry farms and the wholesale market to ensure that proper precautions against avian influenza have been implemented. The department will continue its wild bird monitoring and surveillance."

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hong Kong : Cluster of Influenza B cases in male long-stay ward at Castle Peak Hospital

Another press release from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" Three patients (aged 44 to 59) in a male long-stay ward have presented with respiratory symptoms since March 2. Appropriate viral tests have been arranged for the patients and the test results of two patients were positive for Influenza B. The patients concerned have been transferred to Tuen Mun Hospital for treatment under isolation and are in a stable condition.

Admission to the ward has been suspended and restricted visiting 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."

Hong Kong : Suspected case of severe paediatric scarlet fever investigated

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

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (March 5) investigating a suspected case of severe paediatric scarlet fever involving an 11-year-old girl.

The girl, with good past health, presented with fever, cough, sputum, runny nose, sore throat and vomiting on February 28 and sought medical consultation from a general practitioner on the same day. She developed skin rash on March 2 and was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital on the same day. Physical examination by her attending physician showed sandpaper rash and strawberry tongue.

She developed shock the next day and was transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. She is currently in a serious condition. Her blood and throat swab culture results are pending.

The CHP's investigation revealed that the girl did not have a recent travel history. Her family members are asymptomatic."

New Zealand : Auckland Hep A cases increase to 31

Via NZ Doctor, excerpt :

" The number of Hepatits A cases in Auckland has grown to 31, the Auckland Regional Public Health Service reports.

The ARPHS confirmed 19 cases of the illness in school-aged children on Friday."

Taiwan : Agriculture agency denies covering up bird flu outbreak

Via Focus Taiwan :

" Taiwan's top agricultural agency said Monday that it did not cover up an outbreak of bird flu, noting that it had followed standard procedure in handling the recent outbreak of the H5N2 avian influenza.

On Saturday, the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture confirmed the first outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza, which has led to 57,500 chickens culled in southern Taiwan's Tainan and central Taiwan's Changhua areas.

The highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza refers to a highly contagious disease with a higher fatality rate.

The council, however, was accused by a local documentary filmmaker of delaying the reporting of the bird flu outbreak and trying to conceal the outbreak.

But on Monday, Huang Kwo-ching, deputy director-general of the council's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, rebutted the accusation, saying that the council needed to await the results of lab tests and weigh other factors."

Rabies Outbreak Kills 50 in Indonesia's Maluku Province

Via Jakarta Globe :

" At least 50 people have died of rabies in the recent weeks in a reported outbreak in the southwest district of Indonesia’s Maluku province, local officials said on Monday.

“Rabies has killed at least 50 people and hundreds of others have been infected by the virus,” Bernabas Orno said, adding that the outbreak has been reported to Maluku Governor Karel Albert Ralahalu.

The deadly virus has hit the remote province hard in recent weeks. The rabies virus is spread through contact with infected animals, who carry the virus in their saliva. Those bitten by an infected animal can avoid contracting the deadly disease if they clean the wound and receive a rabies vaccination within hours of contact."

Uganda : Government needs to act fast on nodding disease, don says

Via Daily Monitor :

" The “Nodding Disease Syndrome” (NDS) is devastating to the affected people, their families and the communities where it exists. So far it kills all who get it and these happen to be mostly children and adolescents aged between 10 and 19 years.

The failure to find a cause to the syndrome or to its mode of transmission is a big challenge to the Health ministry, the government and to all scientists and experts, including local and international epidemiologists and anthropologists.
We are informed that a joint team of experts from the US Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organisation, Mulago National Referral Hospital and Makerere University comprehensively studied NDS in 2009, six years after a similar syndrome had been reported in Lui, South Sudan.

The first big question is whether the two similar diseases occurred separately or whether the one in South Sudan crossed the border into Uganda and how this happened."

Nigeria : Health Secretariat Sends Alert On Lassa Fever

Via All Africa :

" Following reported cases of Lassa fever outbreak in 13 states of the country, the FCT Administration has sent alert letters to health facilities in all the six area councils of the FCT on measures to curtail the disease.

FCT Health and Human Services Secretary, Dr. Ademola Onakomaiya, made the revelation at a press briefing on the 2012 Lassa fever outbreak recently.

He said alert letters were sent to the area councils and all FCT secondary and private health facilities informing them to step up active surveillance and community sensitization.

The Secretary said so far within the year, only three suspected cases have been reported and no confirmed deaths."

Indonesia : Second Patient Dies of Bird Flu at Indonesian Hospital

Via Jakarta Globe :

" A 42-year-old man died after possible exposure to the H5N1 bird flu virus at Hasan Sadikin Hospital on Saturday, the second patient at the West Java hospital to succumb to the virus in less than a month, hospital spokesman Primal Sudjana said here on Sunday.

The patient, identified only as Mr. A, was admitted to the hospital on Thursday with symptoms consistent with H5N1 exposure. He was placed in isolation and died two days later.

“The suspected bird flu patient died at 10 on Monday night for complication of respiratory problem, kidney and lever failures,” Primal said.

On February 7, another patient — known by the initials S.A. — died of similar causes at the hospital."

Cholera outbreak kills 27 in Sierra Leone

Via Daily Monitor :

" At least 20 people have died as a result of a cholera outbreak, the Health ministry in Sierra Leone has said.

More than 1,000 cases have been recorded in three districts in the northern region of the country – Port Loko, Kambia and Pujenhun.

Health ministry officials confirmed that those reported to have contracted the disease did so from drinking contaminated water.

“The reported cases suggest an outbreak and the most affected people contracted the cholera bacteria from drinking infected water,” said Dr Foday Dafae, manager National Disease Surveillance and Response at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, at the weekend.

Sierra Leone faces, among other major problems, an unavailability and inaccessibility of clean drinking water in most areas, especially in its rural districts."

Vietnam : There were 10 deaths hand, foot and mouth disease

Machine translated article Tuyen Quang Online :

" The Health Ministry said that since the beginning of the year the country has recorded 10 deaths due to hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD). Remarkably, all 10 deaths test results were positive with virus type Entro 71.

Patients are the latest death in children 2 years old Contact Canh commune, Van Canh district (Binh Dinh). According to epidemiological investigation, patients with bronchiolitis who were brought to the district health center after more than a week emergency family self treatment at home in respiratory distress, high fever.

A day later, patients were transferred to hospital in Binh Dinh province on the day I die. Health Statistics of the Department of Binh Dinh province two months, nearly 280 cases of HFMD."