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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hong Kong : Two outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease under CHP investigation

Press release from CHP :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (July 31) appealed to the public to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) after investigating into HFMD outbreaks at two summer camps which were respectively held in Stanley and Sai Kung by the same organisation and affected a total of 38 residents and two members of staff.

The first outbreak at a camp site in Stanley involved 23 residents, comprising 19 boys and four girls aged from 11 to 18, who have developed fever, oral ulcers, and rash and vesicles on their hands or feet since July 18.

The other outbreak at a camp site in Sai Kung affected 21 residents and two members of staff, comprising 18 males and five females aged from 12 to 33, who have developed fever, oral ulcers, and rash and vesicles on their hands or feet since July 23.

Preliminary investigations by the CHP revealed that six of the affected residents, five boys and one girl aged from 13 to 18, had attended both camps. The camp in Stanley started on July 17 and ended on July 20 while that in Sai Kung was held from July 22 to 26.

All affected residents and staff sought medical consultation. Two of them were hospitalised for management of which one has been discharged. All affected persons are currently in stable condition.

Officers of the CHP have provided health advice to the staff. Residents and staff of both camps have been put under medical surveillance."

Honduras declares state of emergency over dengue fever

Article via BBC, excerpt :

" Honduras has declared a state of emergency after an outbreak of dengue fever which has killed 16 people so far this year.

More than 12,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease, which causes high fever and joint pains.

Officials say that in more than 1,800 cases, there is a risk of internal bleeding and death.

The government has promised to step up its fight against the mosquitoes which spread dengue fever.

Health Minister Salvador Pineda said more than half of Honduras' municipalities have registered cases of the viral infection this year."

Ecuador reports 137 H1N1 cases, 11 deaths

Via Xinhua :

" The H1N1 Influenza A virus has killed 11 and infected 137 people this year in Ecuador, spreading to 14 provinces out of its 24 provinces, the Ministry of Public Health said Tuesday.

The latest report said 4 deaths were registered in the Andean province, while the province of Pichincha had most infections of 56 cases.

"These figures fall within the range expected by the Pan American Health Organization," said Norma Armas, national undersecretary of Public Health Monitoring.

She added the Ministry of Public Health has been monitoring the spread of the disease on a daily basis since March.

Last week, the ministry banned the over-the-counter sale of cold remedies, anti-inflammatories and pain-relief remedies that can only be acquired by prescription, warning that self-medication can hide the symptoms of the virus and make the situation worse.

The H1N1 virus first appeared in Ecuador during a worldwide pandemic in 2009, killing at least 14 people and infecting as many as 2,251.

Last year, the health ministry vaccinated 3.5 million people. It plans to vaccinate another 4 million in October and November this year."

Hong Kong : CHP investigating influenza-like illness outbreak

Press release from Hong Kong's CHP :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (July 31) investigating an influenza-like illness outbreak at an elderly home in Aberdeen affecting 20 residents and reminds members of the public and staff of institutions to maintain good personal and environmental hygiene against influenza.

The affected residents, four men and 16 women, aged between 65 and 102, had developed symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection, including fever, coughing, runny nose and sore throat, since July 23.

Five of them required hospitalisation and all of them are currently in stable condition.

The respiratory tract specimens of three affected residents tested positive for influenza A.

Officers of the CHP have visited the elderly home and advised the management to adopt measures against respiratory tract infection."

Nepal : Avian influenza in three more poultry farms

Via The Himalayan Times :

" The Directorate of Animal Health today detected bird flu in three more poultry farms in Bhaktapur, causing fresh panic among consumers and poulterers, who have been finding it hard to grapple with an earlier outbreak in layer chickens at the Himal Hatchery in Sipadole- 2 and 9.

The latest scare has raised questions on government authorities’ claims that they have been able to contain the spread of the deadly flu strain.

According to Dr Bjjaya Kant Jha, executive director at the DAH, samples of dead chickens collected from Lakhula-based poultry farm of Bimal Bhimasu, Nangkhel-based farms of Balaram Kisi and Krishna Ram Chusya tested positive to bird flu in tests conducted at the Central Veterinary Laboratory based in Tripureshwor.

Authorities had referred samples of dead chickens the lab for tests.

A Rapid Response Team comprising experts is preparing to cull more than 15,000 chickens kept in these farms."

Malaysia, Selangor : Flats among dengue hotspots identified by MPSJ

Article via The Star, excerpt :

" The Subang Jaya (MPSJ) Municipal Council has identified low-cost flats under its jurisdiction that have become a breeding ground for Aedes mosquitoes.

The Saujana Puchong 7 flats have been identified as one of the hotspots, with 20 cases of dengue reported in the area.

In total, 676 dengue cases have been reported, with about 338 cases confirmed as positive.

In May, a 20 year-old woman, from a low-cost flat in Serdang Perdana 5, died of dengue fever.

Speaking at the full board meeting yesterday, MPSJ president Datuk Asmawi Kasbi said Subang Jaya was not the only area affected, but a nationwide problem.

“Aedes mosquitoes breed in pools of stagnant water and dirty places and as such keeping our premises clean is very important to curb dengue,” he said."

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

India, New Delhi : Maximum swine flu cases from capital

Via Times of India :

" Swine flu, which took to epidemic proportions in the year 2009, continues to be a threat. As per health ministry data on state-wise prevalence of the disease, a total of 610 people have died due to the viral infection this year in the country.

Of this, maximum number of deaths, 196, have been reported from Gujarat, followed by Rajasthan (163), Maharashtra (90), Punjab (42), Haryana (41) and Madhya Pradesh (31). Delhi has reported 1,507 cases of swine flu and 16 deaths since January 1.

While the reason behind the spurt is being investigated, experts say a mutation in the virus may have played a role. "Any new virus takes five to six years to settle down in a population. Reporting of cases in between is not unusual. However, people are advised to take precautions such as maintaining good hygiene, trying to avoid contact with infected persons and see a doctor if somebody has difficulty in breathing or cough up blood," said a senior doctor.

The nodal officer for swine flu in Delhi, Dr Charan Singh, said that most swine flu cases were reported in January and February. "Only one to two cases have been reported in last one month. There is no reason to panic. Our hospitals and designated laboratories are fully equipped to diagnose and treat such patients," he said. The health department, he added, has directed all hospitals to stay alert and follow the H1N1 protocol as laid down by the ministry in the wake to the 2009 epidemic."

Nepal : Kavre sounds bird flu alert

Via Himalayan Times :

" With bird flu reported in Bhaktapur, authorities in the adjoining district of Kavre have gone on high alert to prevent a possible outbreak in the district.

According to Durga Prasad Bhandari, Chief District Officer and Bird Flu Disease Control Technical Team Chairperson, import of chicken and related items have been banned from some entry points of the district in the wake of the avian flu threat. Import of chicken, and chicken-related items have been stopped from Sanga, Nala, Mangaltar and Dolalghat entry points until further notice.

“We have banned the import of chicken, chicks, eggs and chicken droppings as manure from those points to prevent the spread of the disease in the district,” informed district livestock office Kavre chief Dr Samjhana Kafle, adding chicks from Bhaktapur and Kathmandu could be imported if they had veterinary certificate and a certificate vouching their sound health.

There are about seven small and big hatcheries in Kavre, which have the capacity to produce about 250,000 broiler chicks in a week."

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Plague-infested squirrel closes US park

Article via Sky News :

" A plague-infested squirrel has been found by US officials, forcing the closure of campgrounds at California National Park.

The squirrel was determined to be infected with the bacterium Yersinia pestis - which causes plague.

Plague, also known as Black Death, was estimated to have caused the deaths around half the population of Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries.

L.A. County health officer Dr Jonathan Fielding said in a statement: 'It is important for the public to know that there have only been four cases of human plague in Los Angeles County residents since 1984, none of which were fatal.'

Officials are investigating whether any other squirrels are infected, and have closed the campgrounds at the Angles National Forest as they dust for fleas that may be carrying the plague."

Friday, July 26, 2013

China : Spike in cases of dengue fever likely in province

Via Xinhua :

" Dengue fever, a potentially fatal, mosquito-borne disease, will be on the minds of many Guangdong residents in the coming months, after a large number of cases were reported in July, said an expert with the provincial center for disease control and prevention.

Eighty-five cases had been reported in July by Monday, although none of them were serious, according to the provincial health department.

The figure represents a big jump from seven in the same month last year, with just three in July 2011 and one in July 2010.

Over the same three-year period, though, October has proved the worst month, with 185 cases in 2012, 22 in 2011 and 66 in 2010.

"Dengue fever occurs mainly between July and November in Guangdong," said He Jianfeng, an expert from the disease control and prevention center.

"Some Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, have had worse outbreaks this year. It is the rainy weather since late June and the subtropical summer temperatures in Guangdong that have helped mosquitoes to breed in large numbers."

Of those cases reported in the southern province this month, 63 were in the city of Zhongshan. Another 22 cases struck in eight cities, including Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Guangzhou, and mainly affected people who had traveled outside China."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

New bat virus called closest known relative of MERS-CoV

From Robert Roos at CIDRAP, excerpt :

" The view that MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) originated in bats gathered steam today with the report that a new coronavirus (CoV) found in the feces of a South African bat is more closely related to MERS-CoV than any other known virus.

The study, published as a letter in Emerging Infectious Diseases, doesn't solve the mystery of what animal is passing MERS-CoV to humans. But the authors, from the University of Bonn, Germany, and several South African institutions, say the findings suggest that ancestors of the human virus evolved in African bats.

The scientists previously discovered that MERS-CoV is closely related to CoVs found in European Pipistrellus bats. They say their newly discovered virus is genetically much closer to MERS-CoV than the Pipistrellus viruses are."

India, Pune : Swine flu claims one more life

Via Times of India :

A 59-year-old woman from Dhayari Gaarmal died of swine flu at a city hospital late on Tuesday evening. This takes the city's H1N1 death toll to 25 so far this year.

Nine people with the infection are currently being treated at different hospitals in the city. Six of them are in critical condition and have been put on ventilator support.

The victim identified as Rukhminia Suadm Chakankar had developed symptoms like fever with chills, dry cough and cold from July 11 and breathlessness from July 14. During this period, she did not seek any medical treatment. Her condition worsened when she developed breathlessness, following which she was admitted to a private hospital on Sinhagad Road on July 15. The hospital in turn referred her to Poona Hospital. Her condition deteriorated further and she was put on ventilator support on July 18."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

India, Bangalore : Boy dies of dengue shock

From Deccan Herald :

 In yet another case of the dengue shock syndrome, Vijay Kumar, 19, a resident of Sanjay Nagar, died at a private hospital on Sunday. He had been ill for more than 10 days. 

Kumar was suffering from high fever and was taken to a clinic near his house. He was diagnosed with low platelet count and was soon administered with platelets. 

“After a few blood tests, the doctor asked us to shift him to a bigger hospital,” said Ananda, a family friend. He was shifted to Baptist Hospital on Thursday.  “We administered around 16 units of platelets,” a Hospital  spokesperson said. Doctors at the hospital said while the initial test showed that he died of dengue shock syndrome, the final reports are awaited."

Hong Kong : Suspected case of Japanese encephalitis under CHP investigation

Press release from Hong Kong's CHP :

"  The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (July 22) investigating a suspected case of Japanese encephalitis (JE) affecting a 13-year-old boy, and hence urged the public to take precautions against mosquito-transmitted diseases.

The patient, with good past health, developed fever, headache and dizziness since July 15. He consulted a private doctor but symptoms persisted and was subsequently admitted to Tuen Mun Hospital on July 19 with confused speech. He was transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit on July 20 and is currently in a serious condition.

Upon preliminary laboratory testing by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB) of the CHP, his serum specimen tested negative for antibodies against JE. Further specimens will be taken from the patient later for laboratory testing.

The patient lives in Tin Shui Wai and has no recent travel history. His home contacts remained asymptomatic and have been put under medical surveillance. The CHP's investigation is proceeding.

"During the CHP's active case-finding, 32 blood specimens have been collected so far from home contacts and those attending health talks in the community. All were tested negative for JE upon laboratory testing," a CHP spokesman remarked.

"As of 4.30pm today, the CHP's hotline (2125 1122) has received 45 enquiries from members of the public since it was set up on July 16. The hotline remains in service daily from 9am to 6pm," the spokesman added.

Residents of Yuen Long District with JE symptoms are advised to promptly seek medical attention."

Monday, July 22, 2013

63 cases of dengue fever reported in S China

Via Xinhua :

" At least 63 locally contracted cases of dengue fever have been reported in the city of Zhongshan in south China's Guangdong Province, local authorities said on Monday.

The cases have been reported in Huangpu Township since July 16 and more cases may be reported soon, according to a statement from the provincial health department.

All of the patients have been hospitalized. None of them have recently traveled to Southeast Asia, where most infections occur, indicating that the outbreak is not imported, it said.

Experts have attributed the outbreak to rainy weather that has resulted in greater numbers of mosquitoes."

Hong Kong : Local influenza activity closely monitored by DH

Press release from CHP :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (July 22) appealed to members of the public to stay vigilant against seasonal influenza as the latest surveillance data showed that there has been an increase in local influenza activity.

The Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP has reported a further increase in the number of influenza detections recently. The number of influenza virus detections reported increased from 84 in the week ending July 6 to 118 in the week ending July 20. The circulating influenza viruses detected in the week ending July 20 were influenza A (H3N2) (69.5 per cent), influenza A (H1N1) 2009 virus (26.3 per cent) and influenza B (4.2 per cent). The number of influenza-like illness (ILI) outbreaks increased from one in the week ending July 6 to six in the week ending July 20, affecting a total of 28 persons.

"In Hong Kong, the seasonal influenza activity usually exhibits two peaks, occurring between January and March and in July and August. We will continue to closely monitor the local situation of influenza activity," a CHP spokesman said.

Since 2011, the CHP has collaborated with the Hospital Authority and private hospitals to enhance surveillance concerning patients with influenza infection who required intensive care admission or died during the influenza peak season. This enhanced surveillance will be reactivated on July 26. During the period of enhanced surveillance for cases with influenza-associated intensive care unit (ICU) admission or death from January 18 to May 24, 2013, a total of 70 ICU admissions or death cases (including 29 deaths) with laboratory confirmation were recorded.

At the same time, the CHP will continue to closely monitor cases with severe paediatric influenza-associated complications or deaths. Since January 1, 2013, there have been 10 reports of severe paediatric influenza-associated complications. No death cases were recorded among these cases."

Hong Kong : Fever patient with travel history tests negative for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus

Article via Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" A spokesman for the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (July 22) provided an update on a suspected case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome affecting a 44-year-old man whose respiratory specimen tested negative for the virus.

The patient, who had departed Hong Kong on July 1 for Abu Dhabi alone and returned on July 11, has presented with fever and cough since July 19. He is currently isolated at Queen Mary Hospital in stable condition.

Preliminary laboratory testing on the patient's nasopharyngeal aspirate by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP yielded negative results for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus.

Locally, the CHP will continue its surveillance mechanism at public and private hospitals, with practising doctors and at the airport for any suspected case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

"No human infection with this virus has been identified so far in Hong Kong," the spokesman said.

"We would like to reassure the public that the Government will be as transparent as possible in the dissemination of information on cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. Whenever there is a suspected case, particularly involving patients with travel history to the Middle East, the CHP will release information to the public as soon as possible," the spokesman added."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

H1N1 flu death toll rises to 36 in Argentina

Via Xinhua :

" Thirty-six people have died from the H1N1 flu virus so far this year in Argentina, local media reported Friday quoting health authorities.

The latest fatality came Wednesday when an infected man died in the remote Patagonian city of San Carlos de Bariloche, some 1,700 km south of Buenos Aires, according to the report.

Health officials said in June that the death toll was higher than the same period last year, but the country was not facing a major outbreak as it did in 2009.

As many as 626 people died in Argentina during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, according to the country's health ministry."

Friday, July 19, 2013

H7N9 could efficiently spread from human to human someday: study

Via Xinhua, excerpt :

" The H7N9 bird flu virus may be highly transmissible among ferrets, a common animal model for studying how flu might spread in humans, Chinese researchers reported Thursday.

Though H7N9 appears to have been brought under control, the researchers warned in a study published online in the U.S. journal Science that the character of the virus, including its pandemic potential, "remains largely unknown" and that it's possible the virus can efficiently spread between humans eventually.

"We must have material and technical reserves, including policies and measures for possible reemergence of the H7N9 virus in the future, otherwise the virus could hit the world hard," Chen Hualan, director of China's National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory at Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, who led the study, told Xinhua by phone.

To investigate the possible origins of the H7N9 viruses that caused human infections, Chen's team collected more than 10,000 samples from poultry markets, poultry farms, wild bird habitats, and poultry and swine slaughterhouses across China from March to May this year."

Thursday, July 18, 2013

13 suspected cases of yellow fever reported in DR Congo's Bandundu province

Via Xinhua :

" Since mid-June, 13 suspected cases of yellow fever have been reported in Kasongo-Lunda territory of Bandundu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), according to the UN agency OCHA.

Out of the 13 cases, one was confirmed as positive by DR Congo's National Institute for Biological Research laboratory, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Other blood samples are still being tested," the statement said, adding that "the cases were spread in six health zones within the province."

OCHA said three of the affected people include children under five and one prisoner."

Dengue Cases Continue To Increase In Thailand

From Bernama, excerpt :

" A total of 6,013 new cases of dengue infections were reported in Thailand from July 9-16, bringing the total number of cases, so far this year to 73,902, which is three times higher than the last year figure over the same period, according to the Public Health Ministry.

The ministry said 73 deaths were reported throughout the country so far this year, and the number of cases is expected to go upward this month and next month due to frequent rains and high number of dengue mosquitoes, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.

The ministry has set up "Dengue Corners" at hospitals nationwide for people to check for the mosquito-borne viral disease."

China : H7N9 patient gives birth to healthy baby

Via Xinhua :

" The world's first pregnant woman infected with H7N9 bird flu gave birth to a heathy girl on Wednesday afternoon in a hospital in Zhenjiang City, east China's Jiangsu Province.

The 25 year old surnamed Qiu was five months pregnant when she was diagnosed with H7N9 on April 8. She was admitted to the intensive care unit in Zhenjiang No. 1 People's Hospital.

She came around on April 21 and recovered in May.

Qiu received a Cesarean section on Wednesday afternoon and gave birth to a baby girl weighing 3.3 kg, according to doctors with hospital.

Gu Shaoqing, head of the paediatric department, said Qiu's expected date of childbirth had been set for July 26. However, doctors monitored an acceleration in the fetal heart beat, and decided to carry out the operation on Wednesday.

They said Qiu's cardiopulmonary function still needs time for recovery. The hospital will continue to monitor the health of the mother and baby.

A total of 132 H7N9 avian flu cases have been reported on the Chinese mainland, including 43 that have ended in death, since the virus was first discovered in March, according to updates released by the National Health and Family Planning Commission on July 10."

4 malaria cases reported in Tunisia

Via Xinhua :

Tunisia's Health Minister Abdellatif Mekki said Wednesday that four cases of malaria have been reported in the capital Tunis.

The four infected are currently under treatment, Mekki said, adding that an investigation was launched to determine the causes of the disease.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria was eradicated in Tunisia in 1979. However, there have been reports of a number of imported cases each year."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hong Kong : Increase in respiratory viral infections cautioned

Press release from Hong Kong's CHP :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health called on the public to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent respiratory tract infection and seasonal influenza infection. The appeal followed the CHP's latest surveillance data showing an increase in the activity of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and seasonal influenza in recent weeks.

The Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP has reported increases in the amount of influenza and RSV detections recently. A total of 102 influenza detections were recorded last week (ending July 13) compared with 75 to 84 in the preceding three weeks. The circulating influenza viruses detected in the week ending July 13 were influenza A (H1N1) 2009 virus (50 per cent), influenza A (H3N2) (47 per cent) and influenza B (3 per cent). The CHP also recorded five influenza-like illness outbreaks occurring in institutions and schools in the week ending July 13.

The weekly number of RSV detections recorded in the week ending July 13 was 91, compared with 64 to 70 in the preceding three weeks. One outbreak related to RSV infection was reported in week ending July 13.

In Hong Kong, the seasonal influenza activity usually exhibits two peaks, occurring between January and March, and July to August."

India : 21 Children Die After Eating School Meal

Via Sky News :

" As dozens of children remain ill in hospital and angry protests erupt, it is feared the lunches contained poisonous chemicals.

Some 21 children, aged between eight and 11, have died after eating free meals at a primary school in eastern India.

At least another 35 children remain in hospital in Patna, the Bihar state capital. Ten of the youngsters are in a critical condition.

They fell ill after eating a lunch of rice and lentils in Masrakh village in the Saran district on Tuesday.

They were rushed to hospital in the capital, some 50 miles (80km) south of the village."

Peru confirms 3rd death from H1N1

Via Xinhua :

" A 38-year-old woman was confirmed Tuesday to be Peru's third victim of H1N1 swine influenza, a local health official said.

The latest case was confirmed after forensic tests on the woman, who died on July 8, came positive, regional health director Aldo Lamas told reporters, explaining that "she had a low level of blood platelets and an alteration of fats."

The disease had already killed two men in the country, who were among high-risk groups as both had been seriously sick before infection.

Fifty cases of H1N1 swine flu have been reported so far this year in Peru, which was first hit by the disease in the 2009 pandemic that also affected many other Latin American countries."

Vietnam : One death from H1N1 virus in Ca Mau Province

Via Saigon Daily :

The General Hospital in Cai Nuoc District in the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau has confirmed the death of a 30-year-old woman from H1N1 virus.

Bui Duc Van, Director of the General Hospital, said the woman named Tran Thi Mua from Cai Doi Vam Town in Ca Mau Province finally succumbed to the H1N1 virus after treatment. The woman showed recovery but later developed complications. 

So far, from June 12 to date, Ca Mau Province has reported seven cases of H1N1, with three succumbing to the virus due to complications."

Honduras reported 12 deaths by dengue hemorrhagic

Machine translate article from El Nuevo Diario :

"  Deaths from severe dengue or hemorrhagic type in Honduras rose to 12, reported today in Tegucigalpa Honduran Minister of Health, Salvador Pineda.

The latest victim is a patient who was a native of the eastern department of Olancho, the senior official said, without specify details. added that patients with classic type dengue reported so far this year are around 10,000. 

With the new case of severe dengue death, also two recent confirmed three who were suspected of having contracted the disease and being investigated by health authorities, Pineda explained."


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hong Kong : Case of Japanese encephalitis under CHP investigation

Another press release from CHP :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (July 16) investigating a confirmed case of Japanese encephalitis (JE) affecting a 59-year-old man and hence urged the public to take precautions against mosquito-transmitted diseases.

The patient was admitted to Tuen Mun Hospital on June 20 because of fever and decreased general condition. His consciousness deteriorated the following day (June 21) and he is currently in critical condition.

Upon laboratory testing, both his serum and cerebrospinal fluid samples tested positive for antibodies against JE. JE is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes.

The patient lives in Tin Shui Wai. His home contact remained asymptomatic and has been put under medical surveillance. The CHP's investigation is proceeding.

Officers of the CHP have conducted home visits and surveys among neighbours of the patient's residence for active case finding and arranging blood tests. A hotline on 2125 1122 has been set up for public enquiries and will operate till 9pm today and from 9am to 6pm from July 17 to 19.

A health talk was delivered and another one will be held in Tin Ching Community Hall, Tin Shui Wai, on July 18 to provide the public with health advice. Residents of Yuen Long District with JE symptoms are also advised to promptly seek medical attention.

This is the first JE case reported to the CHP this year. Three cases were reported in 2012 while one was reported in 2011. Locally, no cases were reported from 2008 to 2010."

Hong Kong : Diarrhoea patients with travel history test negative for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus

From CHP :

" A spokesman for the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (July 16) provided an update on a suspected case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome affecting a 28-year-old man.

The CHP received notification from Kwong Wah Hospital (KWH) yesterday (July 15). The male patient, with good past health, developed diarrhoea and vomiting yesterday and attended KWH for treatment. The CHP received notification from the hospital again this morning that his 26-year-old wife also developed diarrhoea and abdominal pain last night. They were admitted to KWH for further management under isolation.

The preliminary laboratory testing by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP on their respiratory and stool specimens both yielded negative results for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus. Both patients are in stable condition.

The duo had travelled to Europe and Dubai from June 25 to July 12 and arrived in Hong Kong on July 13.

Locally, the CHP will continue its surveillance mechanism with public and private hospitals, practising doctors and the airport for any suspected case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome."

Swine flu outbreak sickens hundreds in S.Africa

Via Global Times :

" Hundreds of people have been sickened by the swine flu virus, prompting authorities to urge the public to get vaccinated, it was confirmed on Monday.

So far about 450 cases of swine flu, or the H1N1, have been identified in this year's outbreak. Among them two have died, one in Durban and the other in Pretoria, according to the Institute for Communicable Disease (ICD).

"But that is really the tip of the iceberg. The number of Influenza cases we are managing to identify in our surveillance system is slightly higher than it was last year," ICD director Shabir Madhi said.

"The important thing about swine flu virus right now is that because it's been circulating in the country for the past 3 to 4 years, the majority of people are actually immunized because of natural exposure to the virus," said Madhi."

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hong Kong : Diarrhoea patient with travel history under CHP investigation

Via The Centre for Health Protection :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) received notification from Kwong Wah Hospital (KWH) today (July 15) of a suspected case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome affecting a 28-year-old man.

The patient, with good past health, developed diarrhoea and vomiting today and attended KWH for treatment. He was subsequently admitted for further management under isolation.

Initial investigations by the CHP revealed that the patient had travelled with his wife to Europe and Dubai from June 25 to July 12 and arrived in Hong Kong on July 13. He had no contact history with animals or patients during the visit.

His chest X-ray is clear. He is currently in a stable condition while his wife is asymptomatic.

The patient's respiratory and stool specimens will be taken for preliminary laboratory tests by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP.

Locally, the CHP will continue its surveillance mechanism with public and private hospitals, practising doctors and the airport for any suspected case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

"No human infection with this virus has been identified so far in Hong Kong," the spokesman stressed.

"We would like to reassure the public that the Government will be as transparent as possible in the dissemination of information on cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. Whenever there is a suspected case, particularly involving patients with travel history to the Middle East, the CHP will release information to the public as soon as possible," the spokesman remarked.

Health-care workers and hospitals are reminded to maintain vigilance against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and adhere to strict infection control measures while handling suspected cases in order to reduce the risk of transmission to other patients, health-care workers and visitors."

Hong Kong : Case of severe paediatric EV infection with meningitis complications under CHP investigation

Press release from Hong Kong's CHP :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (July 15) investigating a case of severe paediatric enterovirus (EV) infection with meningitis complications affecting a 3-month-old boy, and hence urged the public to be vigilant against the disease.

The patient, with good past health, has presented with fever and runny nose since June 27 and was admitted to Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital on June 30. He recovered and was discharged on July

The clinical diagnosis was meningitis due to EV infection. He has been in stable condition all along.

His cerebrospinal fluid, throat and rectal swab specimens tested positive for EV upon laboratory testing.

The boy travelled to Zhongshan from June 21 to June 24. His elder brother, who developed fever recently, has recovered.

The CHP's investigation is proceeding."

India, Karnataka : Dengue cases jump 3-fold in state

Via The New Indian Express

Karnataka has more than triple the number of dengue cases from January to June this year compared to the corresponding period last year. And the powers-that-be don’t seem to be taking it seriously enough. 

As per the Health Department statistics, the same period in 2012 saw 745 confirmed cases, while this year there have been 2,547 cases so far, including nine deaths. 
And the number of suspected cases is also in the same ratio — against 3,733 cases in 2012, the Health Department has identified 11,135 suspected cases this year.
In Bangalore city, there are 372 confirmed cases and 549 suspected cases.
Bangalore Urban District in-charge Minister Ramalinga Reddy, though, said on July 10 that the city had seen only 78 cases of dengue.
These, incidentally, are just the cases officially registered by the state government. Dengue cases in private clinics and hospitals have not even been accounted for, as there is no system of getting these details."

Peru reports first death from swine flu

Article via La Prensa, excerpt :

One person has died and a total of 46 people have been infected with the AH1N1 swine flu virus in Peru this year, a Health Ministry official said.
"At this time, we do not have an increase in AH1N1 cases" even though a man died at a hospital in Callao province, outside Lima, from the disease, Health Ministry director of epidemiology Martin Yagui said in a press conference on Saturday.
The man, who suffered from diabetes, asthma and cirrhosis, was considered to be in a high-risk group and died on July 9, Yagui said.
Peru has registered swine flu cases every year since 2009, when the disease first appeared in the South American country, Yagui said."

Swine flu scare as disease hits KZN

Article via IOL News :

" The Health Department has played down fears of a new outbreak of the Novel Influenza A (H1N1) virus – commonly known as swine flu – despite at leat 100 cases of it across KwaZulu-Natal.
One woman is thought to have died as a result of the virus after spending several days in isolated care at a Durban hospital.
A well-placed source at the Netcare hospital in Durban, who asked not to be named, said that the woman had tested positive for the H1N1 virus while undergoing treatment for another ailment.
“She contracted the H1N1 strain and sadly she died while she was being treated for it. Her death has been attributed to her underlying pathology but not swine flu, despite testing positive for the virus,” the source said. The woman had cancer.
Netcare spokeswoman Mary Ann Nabbie said that there had been two suspected cases but only one patient had tested positive."

Saturday, July 13, 2013

No Haj Visas For Elderly And Sick To Prevent Mers-Coronavirus

Via Bernama :

" Elderly people and those suffering from chronic diseases will not be issued Haj visas this year to prevent the spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), said Saudi Arabia's Health Ministry.

Ministry spokesman, Khalid Al-Mirghalani said the restrictions will be applicable to the forthcoming Haj in October and subsequent Umrah seasons, Xinhua news agency reported citing local media on Saturday.

Saudi missions abroad will follow similar instructions, said the spokesman.

He said chronic diseases were to include diabetes and other illnesses involving the heart, kidneys and respiratory system."

Friday, July 12, 2013

Emirati man diagnosed with MERS virus

Via Khaleej Times :

" An 82-years old UAE national diagnosed with novel Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) while being hospitalised in one of the hospitals in Abu Dhabi.

The patient is male with multiple myeloma and currently admitted in the ICU.

The Health Authority in Abu Dhabi (HAAD) confirmed that it is coordinating with the Ministry of Health and other authorities in the country and has taken the necessary measures as per the international standards and recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Ministry of Health stated that the WHO first issued an international alert in September 2012. Up to date the WHO confirmed a total of 80 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV worldwide. This case represents the first diagnosed case of the disease within UAE.

MOH added that WHO confirmed that the virus is not a concern for public health at the moment, and that the current situation does not require a travel ban to any country in the world, nor screenings at different ports, nor any restrictions on trade.

The ministry reassures everyone that detected cases globally continue to be very low compared to other types of flu. The Ministry confirms that the situation does not call for concern and that it is monitoring the situation closely to ensure the health and safety of everyone."

CDC says norovirus sickens up to 21 million a year

From Lisa Schnirring at CIDRAP, excerpt :

" Getting a handle on the nation's norovirus burden is difficult, because reporting isn't required and there's not a widely used test for the disease, but experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who analyzed the latest data reported new estimates yesterday—up to 21 million infections each year, as many as 800 fatal.

The new estimates provide some detailed and surprising numbers. For example, the CDC experts predict that the disease strikes five times during a typical American's lifespan.

Before yesterday's new numbers, reported in Emerging Infectious Diseases, the most often cited norovirus burden numbers were from a 1999 report that covered a broad array of foodborne illnesses. While the new annual illness estimate is slightly lower than the earlier one, the CDC researchers reported overall upticks in hospitalization and death numbers."

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Singapore : Man, 66, is 4th person to die from dengue

Via Asia One :

" The dengue death toll this year rose to four when a 66-year-old died from multi-organ failure caused by the viral disease on Monday, even as the number of weekly infections saw a big drop.

The man was admitted to Alexandra Hospital last Tuesday after a fall, and doctors found that he had been suffering from fever and had rashes the previous four days.

He tested positive for dengue.

The next day, he developed breathing problems and kidney failure, and was transferred to intensive care. But his condition continued to deteriorate, and on Monday, he died from dengue shock syndrome.

The death came as figures showed the number of people being infected by the virus in Singapore taking a dive.

There were 679 new infections last week, the lowest in the past 11/2 months and a big drop from the more than 800 cases weekly reported in the past four weeks.

Despite the number of infections falling for two straight weeks, however, the Health Ministry and the National Environment Agency advised people to continue taking appropriate precautions to prevent mosquito breeding.

They said the key to dengue control is to eliminate all mosquito breeding habitats."

India, New Delhi : Spurt in cases of dengue, malaria after wet spell

Article via Times of India :

"  Enjoy the monsoon but exercise caution. The intermittent rain and high humidity levels in the city have led to increase in mosquito breeding. Officials say that cases of vector-borne diseases like dengue and malaria have gone up.

According to the municipal corporations, this year five people have been confirmed positive for dengue fever. Thirty- two cases of malaria have also been reported. "Two new dengue cases were confirmed in last one month," said Dr N K Yadav, the municipal health officer. He said that the cases of all mosquito-borne diseases is expected to increase in the coming days and in order to tackle the situation, they have intensified campaigns to create awareness on the dos and don'ts. In 2012, Delhi reported about 3,000 dengue cases and four patients died due to the mosquito-borne disease.

"Our domestic breeding checkers are visiting all homes to check mosquito-breeding and challans have also been issued in some cases. We have enough stock of larvacides required to check any spread," the municipal health officer said. A recent report by the Directorate of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBCP) on breeding of aedes mosquitoes showed high container index (CI) of 12.9 and house index (HI) of 6.7 in the Delhi Cantonment area among others."

Malaysia : After haze, there's dengue

Via New Straits Times :

" Johor recorded the highest number of dengue fever deaths this year with seven cases
AS Johor recovers from the haze that engulfed the state about three weeks ago, another problem has cropped up.

This time round, there are fears of a dengue fever epidemic after the state recorded the highest number of deaths from dengue, with seven cases over the past six months, compared with only one last year.

Johor also recorded the highest increase, 88 per cent, compared with eight states. Sarawak has 58 per cent, Sabah (41 per cent), Negri Sembilan (33 per cent), Perak (15 per cent), Kelantan (seven per cent), Perlis (two per cent) and Selangor (one per cent).

This increase has sent the authorities into another alert, with the state and municipal councils taking steps and implementing concentrated vector-control activities in various areas.

In Malaysia, the fight against dengue is an annual affair, especially during rainy spells. Mosquitoes breed mainly in tropical and sub-tropical climates."

Chile confirms 33 deaths from H1N1

Via Xinhua :

" Chile's Ministry of Health Wednesday confirmed that 33 people have died so far this year from the H1N1 Influenza A virus, with 12 of them in recent weeks due to an outbreak in the country's northern Tarapaca region.

Despite the deaths, Health Minister Jaime Manalich said the outbreak is under control.

"Today it appears to be under control, I say this with extreme caution. In epidemiologic week number 27, we do not have serious new cases," Manalich said at a press conference.

"We just have three patients with the flu in the intensive care unit of the hospital of the town of Iquique," said Manalich, adding "walk-in consultations due to the flu have fallen 25 percent from what we had before."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

China confirms 132 H7N9 cases, 43 deaths

Via Xinhua :

" A total of 132 H7N9 avian flu cases have been reported on the Chinese mainland, including 43 that have ended in death, according to an update released Wednesday by health authorities.

Of the total, 85 H7N9 patients have been discharged from hospitals after receiving treatment. The other patients are being treated in hospitals, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

The H7N9 infections cover 40 cities in 10 provincial regions, the commission said in a statement.

There was one H7N9 case reported in east China's Jiangsu Province last month and the patient has recovered, it added."

Hong Kong : Public urged to stay vigilant against hand, foot and mouth disease and enterovirus 71 infection during peak season

Press release from CHP :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (July 10) reminded members of the public to maintain vigilance and take preventive measures against hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) and enterovirus 71 (EV71) infection, as the latest surveillance data showed that HFMD and EV 71 activities remained at high level after Hong Kong entered the peak season.

"As of July 9, there have been 423 institutional HFMD outbreaks in 2013. The number is higher than those of the previous two years in the corresponding period. Among the laboratory confirmed outbreaks reported this year, most of the cases are associated with Coxsackie A viruses, including Coxsackie A6, A10 and A16 viruses," a spokesman for the CHP said.

Meanwhile, five cases of enterovirus 71 infection and three cases of severe paediatric enterovirus infection (other than EV71 and poliovirus) have been reported during the same period this year.

"The latest data from the sentinel surveillance based at private medical practitioners, general outpatient clinics, child care centres and kindergartens, and Accident and Emergency Departments in public hospitals also show that HFMD activities remained at high level," the spokesman added.

The spokesman said that the CHP will tomorrow (July 11) send another round of letters to doctors, child care centres, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools to alert them to the most current HFMD and EV71 infection situation and provide advice on prevention and control."

WHO sees changing pattern in recent MERS cases

From Robert Roos at CIDRAP, excerpt :

" Recent MERS-CoV cases have featured less severe symptoms and patients who were younger and more likely to be female, but precisely what the changing pattern means is not clear, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a new summary today.

The report came on the heels of a Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) report of another new case, this one in a 66-year-old man in the southwestern province of Asir, who was said to be in stable condition. His illness raises Saudi Arabia's MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) count to 66 cases with 38 deaths.

The MOH also announced the recovery of another patient, a female healthcare worker in Hafr Al-Batin in the northeastern part of the country. She apparently is the same patient whose case was noted by the WHO 2 days ago. The WHO listed her age as 56.

In still another development, the WHO's new emergency committee on MERS-CoV held its first teleconference today and scheduled a second session for Jul 17, the WHO said. Today's inaugural session focused on background briefings."

India : Dengue-like disease hits Bangalore

Article from Deccan Herald :

" A mysterious, dengue-like disease is spreading in Bangalore. The still unidentified ailment is affecting many children, triggering a sharp fall in blood platelet count, multiple organ failure, and eventual death.

At least five deaths have been reported from a prominent city hospital alone with more feared in other medical set-ups, both private and government.  

Based on the symptoms — high fever, vomiting and low platelet count—many doctors have dubbed it “dengue shock syndrome,” a serious form of dengue. But they are not so sure, and want the government laboratories to label the disease. Clearly, the testing has to be comprehensive and immediate.


Doctors are more worried because patients are mostly children and adolescents. Dr Preeti Galgali, a consultant paediatrician and central executive board member for the Indian Academy of Paediatricians, told Deccan Herald: “There are three types of dengue—the dengue fever, the haemorrhagic dengue and the dengue shock. The first one is the most common one and the latter two the serious forms.”

The serious ones could eventually lead to death. “In these forms, there is leakage of blood from capillaries due to which there is fall in blood pressure. And when the blood pressure goes so low that it cannot sustain life, the body collapses,” explained Dr Galgali.

Manipal Hospitals director Sudarshan Ballal said: “While it is for the government agencies to decide whether it is dengue, the symptoms that we are seeing are that of dengue shock syndrome. The blood platelet count of the patient goes down drastically and leads to circulatory collapse. One by one all the organs stop functioning and this eventually leads to death of the patient.
"

India, Mumbai : Dengue claims kid; 8 cases of cholera in 8 days

Via Times of India :

" The spate of monsoon diseases appears to be worsening with a nine-year-old boy succumbing to dengue in Hinduja Hospital and eight cases of cholera coming up in the first eight days of July alone.

The boy, Yash Bansode, who lived in Vasai, died after a month-long hospitalization on Saturday. This is the second confirmed case of dengue death in metropolitan Mumbai; the first was that of a 42-year-old patient from Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mira Road.

Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) health officer Dr Sunil Wadkar confirmed the death and said Bansode had returned from his hometown of Sangli. Intensivist Dr Khushrav Bhajan of Hinduja Hospital said, "The boy needed dialysis in between. He developed secondary infection, and could not fight it out."

Meanwhile, the incidence of water-borne diseases has increased, confirmed BMC officials. After 12 cholera cases were recorded in June, there are eight confirmed cases in the first eight days of July. Cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe diarrhea, dehydration and, in rare cases, death.

Three of the eight cases this month have been recorded from B Ward or the Kalbadevi stretch. "Eight cases in eight days does mean a spurt in cholera cases, but there is no reason to panic," said a senior health official. "Cholera is something new this year as we did not have it last year. However, there is no breakout and we do not need to hit the panic button yet," said BMC additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar."

H7N9 prompts fresh look at H7 pandemic potential

From Lisa Schnirring at CIDRAP

" Some of the US government's top influenza experts today weighed in on the threat from the new H7N9 virus, airing some unusual properties of H7 viruses that challenge the notion that they aren't likely to adapt to humans or cause pandemics.

The same experts addressed the H7N9 virus linked to China's recent outbreak more specifically in the Jun 20 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), but their report today looks at the pandemic potential through the lens of what's known about other H7 viruses.

The group's review appears in the latest issue of mBio, the online journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The experts are all from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They are NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, MD, Dave Morens, MD, senior advisor to Fauci, and Jeffery Taubenberger, MD, PhD, section chief of NIAID's Laboratory of Infectious Diseases."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Death toll climbs as swine-flu outbreak threatens Chilean festival

Via The Santiago Times, excerpt :

" Fifteen casualties, fears of more than 300 infected with the A/H1N1 swine-flu virus and battle lines drawn as health authorities look to postpone religious festival. 

swine-flu outbreak in the Tarapac√° Region and surrounding areas of northern Chile has now claimed a dozen lives. Meanwhile, hundreds have taken to the streets to protest calls by the Medical Association to cancel the northern Chile’s most important religious festival – a move aimed at halting the spread of infection. 

La Fiesta de La Tirana, which is scheduled to take place July 16, is the country’s largest religious gathering, usually attracting over 200,000 visitors to the town of La Tirana in the Tarapac√° Region. 

La Tirana was cancelled in 2009 due to an outbreak of the same virus."

Monday, July 8, 2013

Northernmost Vietnam province reports 2nd swine-flu death of 2013

Via Than Nien News :

" Another resident of Ha Giang Province has died from the H1N1 strain of swine flu, while five more had tested positive for H1N1 as of Saturday, Vietnam News Agency reported Sunday.

According to the Ha Giang Health Department, Ban Thi Lanh, 15, a resident of Ngoc Duong Commune’s Na Bau Hamlet, started showing symptoms such as severe coughing, sore throat, runny nose, muscle pain, chest pain, fever and

She was taken to the Ha Giang Town’s health center three days later to collect samples that were then sent to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, which said they tested positive for H1N1.

Her family brought Lanh to the Ha Giang General Hospital for further

Dr. Nguyen Thi Du, director of Ha Giang Town’s health center, said on Saturday that another 23 people in Na Bau Hamlet suspected of having or as having had H1N1 had also been quarantined for treatment and were being closely monitored. Five of them, who tested positive to H1N1, have been treated at the provincial general hospital.

According to Dr. Nguyen Van Nghia, head of the Ha Giang General Hospital’s infection department, they were admitted to the hospital between July 3-5 with symptoms like high fevers, severe coughing, chest pain, lung damage

The Ha Giang health department has assigned relevant authorities to Na Bau Hamlet to spray disinfecting chemicals, study the problem and initiate steps to prevent the infection from spreading.

Earlier, Nguyen Van Lieu, 56, of Vi Xuyen District, died on May 21 after a week in the hospital, becoming Ha Giang's first H1N1 fatality of the year."

Hong Kong : Outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease under CHP investigation

Press release from CHP :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (July 8) investigating an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) at a nursery school in Yuen Long affecting 20 pupils, and hence appealed to the public to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent HFMD.

The affected pupils, comprising 10 boys and 10 girls aged from 2 to 5, have developed fever, oral ulcers, and rash and vesicles on their hands or feet since May 23.

All affected pupils sought medical consultation. One of them was hospitalised and has been discharged. They are all in a stable condition.

The stool sample of one of the affected pupils tested positive for Coxsackie virus A6.

Officers of the CHP have conducted a site visit and provided health advice to the staff. The school has been put under medical surveillance."

Malaysia : Only 92 PLKN trainees infected with virus - Abdul Rahim

Article via My Sin Chew :

" Only 92 or 0.08 percent of the 117,679 National Service Training Programme (PLKN) trainees were infected with virus, parliament heard today.

Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri said the cases recorded in 2012 until June 30 were below the safety and health level in PLKN camps nationwide.

"The virus are dengue with 10 cases, measles with 42 cases, leptospirosis with 9 cases and Influenza-like illness (ILI) with 31 cases. Measles and ILI cases were brought from outside when the trainess returned from holiday.

"The infection easily spread as the trainees were in a confined environment. The dengue and leptospirosis infections were caused by the surroundings and weather conditions," he said when replying to a question from Sim Tong Him (DAP-Kota Melaka).

Abdul Rahim said that there were 137 cases of misunderstanding between the trainees, ten cases of missing items in camps and three cases of intrusion by outsiders."

Team hopes for headway soon in MERS research

Via The Montreal Gazette :

" This week experts from around the world will begin meeting to advise the World Health Organization on the new MERS coronavirus.

One of the key reasons the so-called emergency committee is being called together at this point, a senior WHO official says, is because so many questions remain unanswered about the virus that causes Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome.

“There’s a whole lot of information which we don’t understand,” Dr. Keiji Fukuda, assistant director general for health security and the environment, says of the WHO’s unexpected move, announced Friday.

Efforts to find the source of the MERS virus and to answer basic questions about the way it moves into and among people have been frustratingly slow to yield results.

A decade ago, when the SARS virus emerged, developments moved much more rapidly. Within two-and-a-half months of the new disease hitting the world’s radar, scientists in Hong Kong had found the SARS coronavirus in civet cats, which are eaten as a delicacy in the part of southern China where SARS emerged.

More than a year after the MERS virus was first isolated, the world still has no idea how this new coronavirus is finding its way into human lungs in several Middle Eastern countries, most notably Saudi Arabia."

Thailand : Dengue cases could hit 120,000

Article via Bangkok Post :

The Public Health Ministry is launching a campaign to fight a sharp upsurge in dengue fever, which officials fear could hit a record high of 120,000 cases this year, reports said Monday.

In the past week, 5,276 new dengue fever cases and six deaths have been recorded throughout the country, with the highest concentration of cases in the northern region, state broadcaster MCOT reported.
Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong said the campaign will employ more than a million volunteers from July 10-17 to combat mosquitoes in residential areas, schools and temples while educating people about the disease.
Dengue, also called haemorrhagic fever, is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, which thrives in places where stagnant water is present, such as old tyres or empty bottles and in wet bathrooms and water tanks.
Opas Karnkavinpong, deputy director general of the Department of Disease Control, said it was working to keep the number of infections below 100,000 this year, but it could reach as high as 120,000."

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Saudi Arabia : Health Ministry reports 2 more deaths from MERS

Via Arab News :

" Two more Saudis have died of infection from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrom (MERS), the Ministry of Health said on Sunday. This brings the total number of deaths from the new virus to 38 in the Kingdom and 44 worldwide.

In a statement posted on its website, the ministry said the latest fatalities from the SARS-related disease include a 53-year-old from the Eastern region and a 2-year-old child in Jeddah, who suffers from chronic lung diseases. Both died on Saturday, it said.

Two other citizens in Riyadh region, aged 66 and 69, have also been confirmed to have caught the infection and are now under intensive care, said the statment. A third resident, a health worker, was also diagnosed with the infection and is under treatment.

Tests conducted on 77 other suspected MERS cases yielded negative results, the ministry said.

Prior to this new Ministry of Health announcement, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement dated July 5 that the global toll from MERS was 42, out of 79 laboratory-confirmed cases since the virus was discovered in September 2012 ."

India’s poor ’duped’ into clinical drug trials

Via Business Recorder :

" Niranjan Lal Pathak couldn't believe his luck initially. When a doctor at a hospital in central India offered the factory watchman free treatment for a heart complaint, he jumped at the chance.

It was five years ago and the family of the 72-year-old says he didn't realise that the Maharaja Yashwantrao Hospital in the city of Indore

"We were told that our uncle will be treated under a special project," his nephew Alok Pathak told

"The doctor said we wouldn't have to spend a penny. There was only one condition placed before us -- that we should not approach local chemists if we ever ran out of his medicines but go

A petition filed by the family in India's Supreme Court alleges that the drug tested on him was Atopaxar, developed by Japan-based pharmaceutical company Eisai and supposed to treat

His family and health rights group Swasthya Adhikaar Manch (Health Rights Platform) say that he would never have enrolled for the trial had he known that an untested drug would be

The family also claims that the side-effects of the drug left Pathak suffering from dementia."

Flesh-eating bacteria found in Gulf of Mexico

Via Xinhua :

" A flesh-eating bacteria has been detected in the Gulf of Mexico and is believed to have caused one death, U.S. media reported Saturday.

The bacteria, known as Vibrio vulnificus, was found in gulf waters in several U.S. states, including Texas and Louisiana, local TV ABC13 reported. Officials said four swimmers have contracted the bacteria, and one of them died.

The victims were supposedly swimming in seawater near the areas of New Orleans and Thibodaux, both in the U.S. state of Louisiana.

Medical doctors said Vibrio vulnificus sickens people in two ways -- by eating raw shellfish and by entering through an open wound.

"You get bacteria into certain wounds, and they can cause a lot of tissue destruction by virtue of the fact that these bacteria produce enzymes that break down the tissue," said Dr. Peter Hotez, an infectious and tropical disease expert at Baylor College of Medicine.

People with normal immune systems typically fight off Vibrio, but those with weakened immune systems -- including the young and elderly -- can become seriously ill and die, Hotez said.

Health officials are warning residents to be alert, as higher temperatures could increase the growth of the potentially deadly bacteria."

Friday, July 5, 2013

India : 12 kids down with malaria in Kandhamal

From Times of India :

" At least a dozen students of government-run sevashram school in Kandhamal's Bataguda village are suffering from malaria. Their blood samples tested positive for the disease at the Baliguda sub-divisional hospital on Thursday. The students went down with the fever on Monday. They were admitted to the hospital and later discharged.

They will be under the supervision of doctors in their hostel, said district malaria officer (DMO) J N Patnaik. The condition of all ailing students is stable, he said. The mobile medical team from Baliguda will collect the blood samples of other students to test it for malaria, he said. The team would also tell students about the precautions to be taken against the disease, said Patnaik.

Over 300 students stay in the school-cum-hostel run by the SC&ST department. "The situation is not alarming but students suffer from malaria and vector-borne diseases after returning from their homes after summer vacation," said district welfare officer R N Prusty."

US : Listeria outbreak linked to cheese

From CNN, excerpt :

" A listeria outbreak linked to cheese might have killed one person and sickened four others in four states, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. One of the cases was a pregnant woman who suffered a miscarriage.

The listeriosis is linked to Les Freres cheese distributed by Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics, a Wisconsin producer, the FDA said."

H1N1 flu outbreak in northern Chile kills 11

An AFP report hosted by Google :

" At least 11 people have been killed in an outbreak of H1N1 flu virus in northern Chile, where the rate of infection is more than six times higher than the rest of the country, according to authorities.

"The average across the country is 24 patients per 100,000 residents, but in Tarapaca, in the past week, the rate was 148 patients per 100,000 residents," Medical Association president Enrique Paris said on Thursday.

Citing fears of aggravating the outbreak, Paris recommended postponing or cancelling the upcoming Fiesta de la Tirana, a religious celebration planned for July 15-17 where 200,000 people are expected.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Jaime Manalich announced he will travel Friday to the region 1,900 kilometers (1,180 miles) north of Santiago near the border with Bolivia.

The minister also said some 115,000 vaccines will be sent to immunize the population, which numbers around 300,000."

China : Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – update

Media statement from WHO :

" The National Health and Family Planning Commission, China notified WHO of an additional retrospectively detected laboratory-confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus.

The patient is a 15-year-old boy reported from Jiangsu who became ill on 25 April 2013 and hospitalized on 26 April 2013. He recovered and was discharged on 2 May 2013. The results of molecular diagnostics were positive for H3N2 seasonal influenza virus and H7N9 avian influenza virus. 

On 1 July, Jiangsu Provincial Health Department consulted national and provincial experts for diagnosis.

To date, WHO has been informed of a total of 133 laboratory-confirmed cases, including 43 deaths.

Authorities in affected locations continue to maintain surveillance, epidemiological investigations, close contact tracing, clinical management, laboratory testing and sharing of samples as well as prevention and control measures.

So far, there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission."

India : 84 in state die of H1N1 in 6 months

Via Times of India :

" Swine flu has claimed as many as 84 lives in the state in the last six months.

Though only one person from Mira Road-Bhayander and one from Thane succumbed to H1N1 influenza this year, experts fear that more Mumbaikars may fall victim as hundreds from the city travel every day to Pune and Nashik, which have recorded seven and 15 deaths so far. Pimpri Chinchwad tops the list of areas with maximum swine flu deaths, recording a toll of 18. Last year, 135 people from the state died of H1N1.

State health officials feel most of the deaths were due to negligence on the part of patients or that some of them had a medical history, like respiratory problems and high BP, which worsened their condition.The swine flu has reared its ugly head in Maharashtra with vengeance. As many as 84 persons succumbed to H1N1 influenza, commonly known as swine flu between January and June 2013. According to official statistics available with TOI, 18 people died in Pimpri Chinchwad, seven in Pune rural, and 15 in Nashik. Correspondingly 135 people died due to swine flu between January and December 2012."

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hong Kong : Case of severe paediatric enterovirus infection with meningitis complications investigated

Via CHP :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (July 4) investigated a case of severe paediatric enterovirus (EV) infection with meningitis complications as well as an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in a primary school in Wong Tai Sin and urged the public to be vigilant against disease.

The case with complications involved a 7-year-old boy with good past health. He presented with sore throat on June 26. He developed fever on June 27 and was admitted to United Christian Hospital on June 28 for further treatment.

The clinical diagnosis was suspected meningitis due to EV infection. His throat swab tested positive for EV. He is now under isolation treatment in stable condition. His home contacts were all asymptomatic.

A CHP spokesman noted that there was an HFMD outbreak in the primary school, St. Patrick's Catholic Primary School (Po Kong Village Road) in Wong Tai Sin, which the patient attended as a primary two pupil."

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hong Kong : Outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease under CHP investigation

Press release from CHP :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (July 3) investigating an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) at a kindergarten cum child care centre in Tseung Kwan O, and hence appealed to the public to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent HFMD.

The affected 21 pupils, comprising 14 boys and seven girls aged from 2 to 5, have developed fever, oral ulcers, and rash or vesicles on their hands or feet since May 19.

Seventeen of the affected pupils sought medical consultation but none of them have required hospitalisation. They are all currently in a stable condition.

The stool samples of one of the affected pupils tested positive for Coxsackie virus A6.

Officers of the CHP have conducted a site visit and provided health advice to the staff. The school has been put under medical surveillance."

Saudi Arabia says 2 more MERS patients have died

From Robert Roos at CIDRAP :

" Two more Saudi Arabians have died of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) infections, the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) reported today. Both cases had been announced previously.

The patients were a 75-year-old "citizen" in Al-Ahsa governorate and a 63-year-old woman in Riyadh. The MOH simultaneously also announced the recovery of three other MERS patients: a 61-year-old citizen in Al-Ahsa, a 41-year-old woman in the Riyadh region, and a 50-year-old woman in the Eastern region.

The two deaths raise the Saudi death toll, unofficially, to 36, out of 64 cases. At this writing, the MOH's coronavirus overview page has not been updated since Jun 24 and still lists the death toll at 34."

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hong Kong : Upper respiratory tract infection outbreak under CHP investigation

Press release from CHP, excerpt :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (July 2) appealed to members of the public to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent upper respiratory tract infection (URI).

The appeal followed the CHP's investigation into a URI outbreak at three residential homes for the elderly managed under the same company and co-located in the same building in Tai Po involving 26 residents aged 55 to 97.

Investigations revealed that the affected residents, comprising 11 males and 15 females, developed symptoms of URI including fever, cough, runny nose and sore throat since June 10.

Twenty-five of the affected residents sought medical consultation and eight of them required hospitalisation. Respiratory specimens of five residents tested positive for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). One of the patients passed away due to underlying illness. The other patients are all currently in a stable condition.

Officers of the CHP conducted a site visit and provided preventive advice against URI to the institution. The institution was placed under medical surveillance."

Malaysia : No Case Of Mers Reported - Health Minister

Article via Bernama :

" There has been no report of Malaysians, including umrah pilgrims, returning from Saudi Arabia and displaying symptoms of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers).

Nevertheless, the health ministry exercises caution and takes the relevant measures, which includes checking the body temperatures of those arriving at the airport.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said, any person found to display symptoms of fever, would be asked to go for further medical examination.

Dr Subramaniam said this when commenting on the spread of the Mers virus which took the lives of 33 people in Saudi Arabia since September last year.

Fifty-five others fell ill as a result of the virus, in that country, he added.

He was speaking to reporters after launching the Malaysian Private Hospitals Association International Health Exhibition 2013 here Tuesday.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has yet to find a vaccine to prevent Mers, as well as the cause of the deadly infectious disease."

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hong Kong : Fever patient with travel history tests negative for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus

Via Hong Kong's CHP :

" A spokesman for the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (July 1) provided an update on a suspected case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome affecting a 51-year-old man.

The preliminary laboratory testing by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP on his respiratory specimen yielded negative result for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus. The patient is in stable condition.

The CHP received notification from Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) yesterday (June 30). The patient has presented with fever, cough and sputum since June 26. He consulted a private doctor on June 28 and 30 and was subsequently transferred to PMH for isolation and treatment.

Locally, the CHP will continue its surveillance mechanism with public and private hospitals, practising doctors and the airport for any suspected case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

"No human infection with this virus has been identified so far in Hong Kong," the spokesman stressed.

"We would like to reassure the public that the Government will be as transparent as possible in the dissemination of information on cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. Whenever there is a suspected case, particularly involving patients with travel history to the Middle East, the CHP will release information to the public as soon as possible," the spokesman remarked.

Health-care workers and hospitals are reminded to maintain vigilance against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and adhere to strict infection control measures while handling suspected cases in order to reduce the risk of transmission to other patients, health-care workers and visitors."