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Monday, May 31, 2010

India : Kerala boy succumbs to Dengue fever

Via Mathrubhumi :

" Pudhicherry : Tragedy struck the 28th Junior National Softball championships which concluded here today as a Keral boys team member died last night of suspected Dengu fever.

According to organisers, Jinesh (18), the Kerala player who represented India, came to Puducherry to take part in the championship. But as he was suffering from suspected Dengu, as he did not take part in any match and was taken to a private clinic.

With no improvement, Jinesh was admitted to the government general hospital. When his condition worsened, he was shifted to JIPMER and later to Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) where the end came late last night.

The organisers expressed condolences at the deah of Jinesh and observed two minutes silence at the closing ceremony today.

Meanwhile, Punjab boys retained the championships in the boys section defeating Delhi while Kerala girls bagged the title beating Delhi."

Brazil : Dengue has already affected more than 4000 cities

Via O Globo, a report on dengue which I used Google Translate for the English version, excerpt :

" Brasilia and Belo Horizonte : Facing a routine traps and neglect, the 60 000 officers of the battalion to fight dengue across the country slowly lose the war against Aedes aegypti. Buoyed by the uncontrolled growth and the precariousness of basic sanitation in the outskirts of large cities, the mosquito widens every year its range and raises his list of victims.

Evidence that the actions taken by federal, state and municipalities to control dengue are insufficient is revealed with the increase of localities with outbreaks. In 1995, 1752 were infested cities. Today there are 4005 municipalities with mosquito breeding."

Malaysia : Current Situation of Influenza A (H1N1) - May 31, 2010

Via Malaysia's MOH, H1N1 update as of 31st May 2010 :

" In the last 24 hours, there was only one (1) report of ILI cluster case from the state of Pahang as listed in Appendix 1. There are a total of 75 active ILI clusters remaining in the entire country.

The remaining ILI cases that are still being treated in hospital wards across the country are 564 cases of which 57 cases or 10.1% confirmed positive influenza A (H1N1). The number of H1N1 cases being treated in the ICU is six (6) cases all of which has risk factors.

The total cumulative cases of influenza A (H1N1) to date are 14,821 cases with 87 fatalities. No new fatalities were reported."

Reuters : Experts find compound to fight bird, seasonal flu

Via Reuters, good news for us mankind. We may be getting new fire power in our war against influenza :

" May 31 : Scientists have identified a chemical compound that can stop the H5N1 bird flu virus as well as seasonal human flu viruses from replicating.

Finding new flu drugs is essential as flu viruses mutate and are adept at evading the limited array of antiviral drugs.

In a paper published in Nature Biotechnology, scientists from Hong Kong and Canada said they had found a chemical "nucleozin", which fought off both seasonal flu viruses and the H5N1 in mice as well as in cell culture.

"We have now brand-new weapons to combat influenza virus resistant to ... (antiviral drugs like) oseltamivir and zanamivir," said microbiologist Richard Yao at the University of Hong Kong, who led the study."

Philippines : Health workers get first shot at A(H1N1) vaccine

Via Panay News :

" SAN JOSE, Antique : Health care personnel in the province of Antique were the first priority in the Influenza A(H1N1) vaccination.

The vaccines for this province were donated by the World Health Organization.

A total of 3,225 frontline responders and health care workers to include doctors, nurses, midwives, nursing attendant, laboratory personnel, ambulance drivers, field health personnel of the Department of Education, barangay nutrition scholars and barangay health workers of both government and private hospitals will be given the vaccine first because they are at high risk of contacting with patients, specimen and other sources of contamination.

This campaign is in response to the Department of Health’s guideline on deployment and use of the pandemic A(H1N1) vaccines donated by the World Health Organization.

Influenza A(H1N1) vaccination is a health system response to reduce the impact of the pandemic spreading through human population across a large region or even worldwide. It will boost immunity against the new influenza virus and help mitigation efforts as the pandemic evolves."

China : Diabetes threatens children

Via Xinhua :

" BEIJING, May 31 : Diabetes is rapidly becoming one of the biggest dangers to teenagers and even young children in China due to a serious lack of nutritional education, warn health experts.

It was confirmed last week that the country has the highest population of diabetics in the world, with more than 92 million sufferers.

According to figures from the Chinese Medical Doctors' Association, children make up about 5 percent of that figure. The number of juveniles with the potentially fatal condition is rising by 10 percent every year, a report by the association said.

But it is not just the impact on a child's health doctors are concerned about.

Discrimination toward diabetes can also seriously affect a sufferer's chances of finding a job or even getting accepted into college."

Singapore : Number of flu cases near epidemic levels

Via Asia One :

" IT IS epidemic season in Singapore. The number of cases of flu has gone through the roof.

Although this is a traditionally high season for influenza and colds - collectively called acute respiratory infection - the number of people with the sniffles has been at epidemic, or near-epidemic, levels for the past six weeks.

Last week, for instance, 18,420 people sought treatment for the flu at polyclinics alone - or about 4,000 more patients a week than the norm for this time of the year.

Private clinics are also seeing more patients with runny noses, fevers, aching bones and sore throats.

The Raffles Medical chain of more than 40 GP clinics has seen the number of such cases jump by about 20 per cent."

Malaysia : Robinson Expedition Host Jacob Kjeldbjerg Rushed to Hospital

Via ScandAsia :

" The feared tropical disease dengue fever has really got hold on this years Robinson Expedition.

Saturday morning its host, Jacob Kjeldbjerg felt badly and was immediately rushed to a hospital in the border town Johor Baru in Malaysia where the team is all ready evacuated.

Hours later a blood test ruled out that the Dane had caught the Dengue fever and his is now back in his hotel room.

"So far, he is not at the hospital, but if he gets worse, it may well change.

He has a fever and sore joints," says Robinson marketing manager Jacob Juhl to Ekstra Bladet.It was precisely the fear of dengue fever which forced the Robinson team to evacuate from the deserted island and went to Johor Baru in Malaysia for observation."

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Malaysia : Current Situation of Influenza A (H1N1) - May 30, 2010

Via Bernama & the MOH :

" KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 : Only one Influenza A (H1N1) case was registered nationwide yesterday said a statement from the Health Ministry on Sunday.

Director-general of Health Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said in the statement that the case reported in Perak brings the total in the country thus far to 14,804.

He added that the number of Influenza Like Illness (ILI) cases treated in hospitals throughout the country was 589 from which 49 were confirmed H1N1 positive.

"Five of the cases are receiving treatment at the Intensive Care Units (ICU) as the individuals are from the high risk group," he said in the statement.

He added that the total number of deaths recorded remained at 87.

Since the spread of Influenza A (H1N1) remains active, he urged the public to take precautionary measures and observe hygiene such as washing hands regularly and covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing."

Cluster case : Appendix 1

India : Two test positive for dengue

Via The Hindu :

" Kozhikode : Two cases of suspected dengue fever reported from Pashukadavu and Kothod at Maruthongara panchayat have been confirmed positive after tests conducted at Medical College Hospital.

They are being treated at the MCH and the Malabar Institute of Medical Sciences.

A total of eight suspected dengue fever cases were sent by the District Medical Office. Results are awaited on one suspected chikungunya case reported from Vanimel. District Medical Officer (DMO) Betty Jose said there had not been significant increase in viral fever cases.

Source reduction activities are proceeding on a war footing at Maruthongara panchayat, which has recorded a high vector index. Health Department workers, MGNREGS labourers, ASHA and Kudumbasree volunteers are conducting door-to-door awareness and source elimination activities there.

Maruthongara grama panchayat president R. Indira said the focus was on eliminating sources of mosquito breeding rather than fogging as it was discovered last year that fogging was not effective in mosquito elimination as the vector spread from a high incidence area to other areas. Water-logged plots, potholes or drains were being covered or chlorinated, she said."

Hong Kong : HFMD cases rise in HK, but unnecessary to close all schools: official

Via Xinhua :

" HONG KONG, May 29 : The hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) case continues to rise in Hong Kong and the total cases for this year are set to be higher than previous years, but currently there is no need to close all schools, HK's health chief said on Saturday.

Hong Kong's Secretary for Food and Health York Chow said the health department is closely monitoring the HFMD situation in Hong Kong, while urging local residents to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent the disease.

On Friday, chief of HK's Center for Health Protection under the Food and Health Department Thomas Tsang said Hong Kong has entered the peak season of the hand-foot-mouth disease and the number of cases and outbreaks would remain high level in the coming two months with sporadic serious cases.

Tsang said gene tests had been conducted and there was no substantial genetic change in the virus."

India : Dengue fear haunts Karike

Via Sahil Online :

" Madikeri : After the death of a person due to gastroenteritis in South Kodagu, fear of Dengue fever is haunting another part of the district at Karike.

About 15 people were hospitalised at Mangalore and Kerala due to fever and two cases were proved to be dengue at Karike borders with Kerala in the Kodagu region.

District Health Officer(DHO) Dr Shivaram Naik confirmed that two cases at Karike seemed to be dengue and said team of health officials were camping there since three days.

Doctors from Napoklu and Bhagamandala had been deputed to Karike and health officials were doing a door to door service and check up.

The health department said the unhygienic condition around the village was increasing the fear of disease. Zilla Panchayath Member Rajiv, Gram panchayath Members Sudir, Chengappa and Ramachandra visited the houses and hospitals yesterday and urged the health departments of Kerala and Kodagu to sit together to chalk out programmes to curb the spread of disease."

Philippines : Anthrax downs 41 in Abra town

Via Manila Bulletin, the deadly Anthrax is showing its ugly head :

" BANGUED, Abra – Health officials confirmed on Saturday that 41 people have been infected with anthrax, a deadly bacterial disease notoriously used in biological warfare, after they ate the meat from two carabaos that had died from sickness in Villaviciosa town.

Dr. Myrna Cabotaje, director of the Center for Health Development (CHD) in Cordillera, said the victims were lucky that none of them died.

Cabotaje said the situation has been put under control after antibiotics were immediately distributed to the residents to mitigate the effects of the anthrax disease.

Based on the report from the National Epidemiology and Surveillance Center, which conducted a field-based investigation in the town after the reported anthrax outbreak, there were 41 confirmed cases.

Most of the patients were men but all of them had skin lesions."

US : Clostridium perfringens at Central Louisianna Hospital: what went wrong?

Via Food Poison Journal :

" The Clostridium perfringens outbreak that occurred in early May at Central Louisianna State Hospital was recently linked to contaminated chicken salad. 40 people were sickened in the outbreak, and three people died. So what went wrong? Environmental health findings--i.e. the investigation at the hospital's kitchen--have not yet been released, but the outbreak almost certainly occurred as a result of improper food handling procedures.

Clostridium perfringens is a very common pathogen in foodpoisoning outbreaks; some estimates set clostridium perfringens as the third most common cause of foodpoisoning illnesses. Most clostridium perfringens outbreaks are ultimately linked to contaminated meat, and many such outbreaks occur after holiday meals. The reason? The cooking of whole fowl species, such as chicken and turkeys, that are cooled improperly after cooking. For instance, the CDC reported on a clostridium perfringens outbreak in 2008 that occurred at a Wisconsin jail, stating as follows regarding the environmental investigation at the jail's kitchen:

On August 8, the environmental health sanitarian from the local health department met with jail kitchen supervisors and employees of the food distribution company to assess food preparation and employee health and hygiene practices. The macaroni and ground beef in the implicated casserole were cooked the day before. The sanitarian determined that food temperatures had not been obtained or recorded consistently, and documentation of cooling temperatures for both the ground beef and macaroni, where cooling from 70°F to 41°F (39°C to 23°C) is a vital step, could not be provided. An inspection of the cooler revealed improper handling and cooling of taco meat, which was being prepared for a future meal and was not implicated in this outbreak; some containers of meat were cooled with ice paddles and other containers were not."

Shanghai : Rise in HFMD cases

Via Shanghai Daily :

" Shanghai has recorded 3,315 more cases of hand, foot and mouth disease in the past 11 days, bringing the total this year to 18,235.

No further deaths have been recorded since the government's last report on May 16, government spokesman Chen Qiwei told a news briefing yesterday.

Three children, all from migrant workers' families, have died this year,

Chen said the local situation regarding hand, foot and mouth disease was controllable and in line with the national picture.

By Thursday, 114 children were deemed serious cases, 90 of them migrant children. On May 16, the number of serious cases stood at 90."

Ghana : H1N1 hits Aburi Girls, over 80 students infected

Via Joy Online :

" A massive wave of H1N1 influenza (swine flu) has hit another Eastern Region School, Aburi Presbyterian Senior High School, and over 80 students are believed to have been infected.

This comes barely a week after over 170 students of the St. Martin’s Senior High School at Adoagyire in the same district got infected with the diseases.

Reports say the over 80 infected students of the Aburi Presbyterian SHS have been quarantined in one of the dormitories in the school.

One of the female students (name withheld), who spoke with our reporter, Kwaku Antwi-Otoo, alleged that the school authorities do not want their parents to know about the outbreak in the school.

"We were in class on Monday, 24th May, 2010, when we saw the school vehicle, conveying some of the female students to the hospital. We enquired why and they told us they have been infected with the H1N1 flu. The school authorities are preventing our parents from knowing so as at now, am not sure our parents are aware of the outbreaks”, the student explained."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Malaysia : Current Situation of Influenza A (H1N1) - May 29, 2010

Via Malaysia's MOH :

" Within 24 hours, a total of four (4) report of ILI cluster cases were reported from the following three (3) states as listed in Appendix 1. A total of 75 active ILI clusters remaining throughout the entire country.

The remaining ILI clusters cases being treated in hospital wards across the country are 534 cases of which 50 cases or 9.4% were confirmed positive influenza A (H1N1). The numbers of H1N1 cases being treated in ICU are six cases in which five of whom are individuals who have risk factors.

Total cumulative cases of influenza A (H1N1) in the country are 14,794 cases with 87 fatalities. No new fatalities were reported."

Philippines : Dengue cases in NegOcc up

Via Global Nation :

" BACOLOD CITY : The incidence of dengue fever in Negros Occidental from January to May 8 went up by 145 percent compared to the same period last year.

In a report released Thursday, Negros Occidental provincial health officer Luisa Efren said the province registered 400 dengue fever cases over the five-month period, higher than the 163 reported during the same period in 2009.

Efren pointed out that only one dengue patient, from Himamaylan City, died this year, compared to two fatalities recorded a year ago."

Klaten, Central Java : Hospitals treats 13-year-old bird flu suspect

Via Bird Flu Information Corner :

" A local suspected to contract bird flu or avian influenza infection by central public hospital, Soeradji Tirtonegoro in Klaten.

Patient with initial AM (13-year-old), is a junior high school student resident of Dukuh Bometen, Desa Ngandong, Kecamatan Gantiwarni. As showing bird flu-like symptoms, patient was referred by Gantiwarni public health center to Soeradji Tirtonegoro hospital.

Patient was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday 26 May 2010, and placed in isolation unit. Director of Soeradji Tirtonegoro hospital, dr Bambang Purwoatmodjo stated bird flu suspect status as patient had direct contact with bird flu positive birds.

“We don’t want to take any risk so we treat the patient in isolation unit,” said Tirtonegoro. Initial examination showed general flu symptoms with temperature reaching 40℃. Blood sample had been sent to Dipenogoro University laboratory and Ministry of Health, meanwhile patient had been treated with Tamiflu and infusion support, Tirtonegoro described.

Dozens of birds in Dukuh Bometen, Desa Ngandong were reported to have suddenly died since Monday (24/5). Further examination by Agriculture and Health services confirmed bird flu H5N1 infection to dead birds."

Australia : Expert warns dengue threat may spread

Via ABC News :

" A researcher is warning that the asian tiger mosquito has the potential to make dengue fever a problem in southern parts of Australia.

The species has been found in the Torres Strait but is yet to become established on the Australian mainland.

Medical entomologist Scott Ritchie from James Cook University says environmental changes could make dengue mosquitoes a problem in southern parts of Queensland.

"We could have large outbreaks, even epidemics of dengue in Brisbane, which potentially in the future could even spread further down the coast," he said.

"Obviously the spectre of climate change and global warming makes people think about it even more."

Ukraine : Film Helps Save Birds from Avian Flu

Via USAid :

" Although avian influenza (AI) has disappeared from the headlines, it remains a very real threat in Crimea, Ukraine, a poultry production region at the crossroads of bird migratory routes.

To motivate poultry farmers and others to use safe poultry handling practices, USAID and other groups carried out a public awareness campaign to prevent the spread of AI.

In 2009, Fauna, an NGO working on ecological issues, produced a short film and TV program to raise awareness of AI among the rural residents of Dzhankoy district, an area at high risk for outbreaks.

The film showed how the residents of the village of Zavet-Leninsky dealt with AI outbreaks during 2006. It demonstrated how to build wire coops to protect domestic birds from contact with wild birds and how to separate poultry from other animals to minimize the risk of AI infection.

The film featured local expert Mykola Arsievych, director of the Naturalist and Environmental Protection Center, who described how his team preserved the center’s exotic birds during the outbreak."

Kenya : Two die of anthrax in suspected outbreak

Via Saturday Nation :

" Two people have been reported dead in Murang’a District following a suspected anthrax outbreak.

The two, Mr Waititu Wanderi and Mr Michael Wariri Mwangi, from Gikandu village, died after consuming beef from sick animals.

According to a witness, Mr Macharia Hiuhu, a villager slaughtered his sick cow on May 8 and invited his neighbours for a feast.

Later, on May 15, another villager also slaughtered his cow which had similar symptoms.

But on May 23 Mr Wanderi, who was among those who had consumed the beef, died. Mr Mwangi died yesterday, raising fears that the animals might have had anthrax."

WHO - Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 - update 102

From WHO, their latest worldwide H1N1 situation update :

" 28 May 2010 : As of 23 May, worldwide more than 214 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including over 18114 deaths.

WHO is actively monitoring the progress of the pandemic through frequent consultations with the WHO Regional Offices and Member States and through monitoring of multiple sources of information.

In the tropical zone of South America, pandemic and seasonal influenza viruses continued to circulate at low to sporadic levels. In Peru, recent regional increases in respiratory diseases activity (in children under age 5) has been largely associated with circulating respiratory syncitial virus (RSV). In Colombia and Brazil, low levels of pandemic and seasonal influenza H3N2 viruses have been detected over the past month. In Bolivia, a recent period of circulation of predominantly seasonal influenza type B viruses appears to have concluded.

In Asia, overall pandemic influenza activity remains low to sporadic, except in limited areas of south and southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, Malaysia, and Bangladesh. In Singapore, levels of ARI have been elevated since April 2010 and in recent weeks have remained near epidemic threshold; approximately 39% of respiratory specimens from ILI patients tested positive for pandemic influenza virus during mid May 2010. In neighboring Malaysia, limited data suggest that active pandemic influenza virus circulation persist after recent activity peaked during mid April 2010; small numbers of fatal cases have been reported since that time. In Bangladesh, co-dominant circulation of pandemic and seasonal influenza B viruses has been observed since mid April 2010, however, the overall intensity of respiratory diseases was reported to low during this period. Low levels of pandemic influenza virus continued to circulate in western India, while low and declining levels of seasonal influenza B viruses continued to be reported across East Asia."

UK : Hospital starting to beat the superbugs

Via Northwest Evening News :

" FURNESS General Hospital has enjoyed its most successful year yet in the fight against infections.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, met government targets for the number of patients with superbugs MRSA and clostridium difficile across its hospitals in the last financial year.

There were 12 cases of MRSA across UHMBT, four of which were at FGH. This is the first year the trust has met that target since it was set.

There were 24 cases in 2006/2007 and 20 cases in the financial years 2007/2008 and 2008/2009.

There were 85 cases of clostridium difficile across the whole of the trust from April last year to April this year, which is well within the target of 192 cases."

Friday, May 28, 2010

Malaysia : Current Situation of Influenza A (H1N1) - May 28, 2010

From the MOH :

" Until 8:00 am on May 28, 2010, the Ministry received a total of two (2) report of ILI cases from the following two (2) states as listed in Appendix 1. Meanwhile, there are 72 active ILI cluster cases across the country.

Meanwhile, until 5:30 pm on May 27, 2010, a total of 23 confirmed positive cases of influenza A (H1N1) were reported for a cumulative number of 14,722 cases to date. The remaining number of ILI cluster cases that are being treated in the wards around the country are 595 cases.

Of these, 53 cases (8.9%) were confirmed positive influenza A (H1N1). The number of patients in the ICU is eight (8) with seven (7) of them having risk factors. For the record, the total H1N1 fatality in the country stands at 87."

Vietnam : Reports blue ear disease in one more province

Via Xinhua :

" HANOI, May 28 : Blue ear disease has spread to one more northern Son La province of Vietnam, raising the country's total number of municipalities and provinces hit by the disease to 16, said a report of the Department of Animal Health under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Friday.

The disease struck one commune of the province, killing nearly 50 pigs out of 116 infected pigs, according to the provincial animal health bureau.

Provincial health official and local authority are currently taking appropriate measures to prevent the spread of the disease, said the report.

Blue ear disease is currently developing in 16 municipalities and provinces of Vietnam including Hai Duong, Thai Binh, Thai Nguyen, Hung Yen, Bac Ninh, Hai Phong, Hanoi, Nam Dinh, Ha Nam, Lang Son, Nghe An, Quang Ninh, Bac Giang, Hoa Binh, Cao Bang and newly reported Son La."

Toronto : Low H1N1 vaccination rate alarms health experts

Via The Globe and Mail :

" The announcement that less than one-third of Torontonians received the H1N1 vaccine is taking health experts by surprise and creating alarm over potential system-wide deficiencies with the country’s pandemic planning.

It’s also raising questions over the lack of solid data on vaccination rates across the country and the accuracy of immunization estimates being used by some cities and provinces.

On Tuesday, Toronto Public Health released a report that showed 28 per cent of Toronto residents received the H1N1 vaccine. That’s far below national estimates from the Public Health Agency of Canada that indicate nearly half of the country’s population received the shot. And it’s lower than the 40 per cent that Ontario typically immunizes against seasonal flu."

WHO : Yellow fever in Cameroon

Official report from WHO, excerpt:

" 27 May 2010 : On 25 January 2010, the Ministry of Health (MoH), Cameroon reported one case of yellow fever in Kumba district in the country's south-western region, close to the border with Nigeria's Cross River State.

The index case was identified as a 16 year-old female student in Kake high school. She presented with a clinical picture of fever and jaundice. Onset of symptoms started on 11 January with fever. She had no history of yellow fever vaccination and survived. The index case was identified through routine yellow fever surveillance system.

Laboratory specimens from this case were found to be IgM positive by ELISA method at the National Laboratory in the Institut Pasteur, Yaoundé, Cameroon and confirmed positive by plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT)- a more specific test for yellow fever- at the regional reference laboratory for yellow fever at the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal. "

India : H1N1 vaccine in June

Via Hindustan Times :

" Four Union health ministry-funded H1N1 vaccines — three injecting and one nasal pray — will hit the market in June this year, one year after H1N1 was declared a pandemic on June 11. The US and China had H1N1 vaccines ready in September 2009 and started vaccinations within a month.

Since India could not make its own vaccines in time, it had to import vaccines from Sanofi Pastuer, which arrived in February 2010. By then, the worst of the H1N1 — which has infected 31,904 and caused 1,527 deaths in India — was over.

“Flu vaccines have never been manufactured in India, so we had to start from scratch by first building capacity and then developing and testing the vaccine. Now that the capacity-building is done, India can produce flu vaccines within months of a new virus being identified,” said Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad."

Hong Kong : SFH visits local poultry farms

Via 7th Space :

" Hong Kong (HKSAR) : The Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, visited two poultry farms in Yuen Long this afternoon (May 27) to see for himself the implementation of biosecurity measures on the farms and understand the business situation of poultry farmers. Accompanied by the Permanent Secretary for Food and Health (Food), Mrs Marion Lai, and the Acting Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, Dr Leung Siu-fai, Dr Chow first visited a poultry farm that makes use of enclosed farm sheds. The farm has installed an evaporative cooling system in poultry rearing.

Dr Chow then visited a traditional poultry farm, and noted that the farm has upgraded its biosecurity measures, including the addition of disinfection facilities and the installation of sturdy and non-malleable bird nets, to prevent wild birds from entering the farm sheds. Dr Chow also enquired about the recent business situation of the two poultry farmers. Most local poultry farms rear poultry in traditional open or semi-open type sheds with complementary biosecurity facilities."

South Darfur : 107 babies die from mysterious fever in Nyala

Via ReliefWeb :

" The death toll from a yet identified fever has risen to 107 infants in Nyala, South Darfur State. Since March to May, 988 babies have been infected with the raging fever which can inflict death within 48 hours of delivery.

Miraya's correspondent in Nyala toured the town's main hospital and described the situation as catastrophic, observing that two to three new born babies share a bed.

Lack of air- conditioning coupled by Nyala's scorching temperatures have aggravated the overcrowded hospital, causing a stench to pervade the wards.

Speaking to Radio Miraya, Head of Nyala hospital, Dr. Mubarak Abdelrahman, said that pollution in the area surrounding the birth centres or homes, polluted water or temperature rises could be some probably causes of the yet identified fever.

According to Miraya correspondent in Nyala, the State health authorities have requested the Federal Minister of Health, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to assist in identifying the disease. "

Omaha : H1N1 sickened hundreds

Via Omaha World Herald :

" More than a dozen deaths and 536 illnesses in Nebraska during the 2009 flu season were attributed to H1N1 flu, according to a state report released Thursday.

H1N1, also called swine flu, raised fears of a global pandemic when it emerged last year.
In Nebraska, 13 people died between Aug. 30 and May 1, which is considered flu season, according to a report from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The department also attributed two other deaths last summer to H1N1, but they happened prior to the season's start.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported 48,821 cases of H1N1 flu nationwide during the 2009 flu season. There were 2,117 confirmed deaths.

Symptoms of the illness include a fever of more than 100 degrees, body aches, coughing, a sore throat, respiratory congestion and, in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea."

Azerbaijan : No bird flu virus detected

Via Trend :

" The next monitoring of the State Veterinary Service of the Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan, which began May 17, did not reveal any evidence of bird flu virus infection with wild birds and poultry, said the Veterinary Service,.

"As part of the monitoring, the professionals of the Service conducted laboratory tests of samples of pathological material taken from 12 wild birds and 1,160 poultry, and the pathological material of six poultry," the same source reported.

Monitoring was carried out on the Absheron Peninsula, in Shabran, Salyan, Agjabedi and Lankaran regions of Azerbaijan, as well as in other coastal zones. Monitoring was carried out by Veterinary Service in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, as well as the Society of Hunters."

US : Who to blame for flu? Maybe the U.S., study finds

Via Reuters :

" The United States may provide an incubating ground for some flu strains, helping them migrate to warmer climates, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

For many years, researchers assumed that flu strains were mostly the product of China and Southeast Asia.

But a team at the University of Michigan, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Florida State University found that not all strains of flu circulating in North America die off at the end of influenza season.

Some of those appear to head to South America, and some migrate even farther, the reported. That may have happened with the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, they added.

"We found that although China and Southeast Asia play the largest role in the influenza A migration network, temperate regions -- particularly the USA -- also make important contributions," said Trevor Bedford of the University of Michigan, whose study appears in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Pathogens."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Malaysia : Current Situation of Influenza A (H1N1) - May 27, 2010

From Malaysia's MOH :

" Until 8:00 am on May 27, 2010, the Ministry received a total of five (5) report of ILI cluster cases from the following five (5) states as listed in Appendix 1. Meanwhile, there are still 103 active ILI clusters across the country.

Meanwhile, until 5:30 pm on May 26, 2010, a total of 31 confirmed positive cases of influenza A (H1N1) were reported for a cumulative number of 14,749 cases to date. The remaining number of ILI cases that are still being treated in hospitals around the country are 588 cases. Of these, 42 cases (7.1%) were confirmed positive influenza A (H1N1).

The number of cases in the ICU are five (5) all cases with all of them having risk factors. There were no reports of fatalities due to H1N1 influenza virus A (H1N1) received. This brings the cumulative number of H1N1 fatalities to this day remaining at 87."

Cambodia : Govt warns public to guard against dengue

Via The Phnom Penh Post :

" Authorities are warning the public to take extra precautions against dengue fever as the Kingdom heads into the rainy season – when the risk of contracting the potentially deadly mosquito-borne disease is at its highest.

Ngan Chantha, director of the National Anti-Dengue Programme at the Ministry of Health, said officials launched a campaign on Tuesday to raise public awareness of dengue fever.

“We want to remind people throughout the country to prevent dengue fever, even though the number of cases this year has not been high,” he said.

There have been 731 individual cases through May 17, marking a drop from the more than 1,000 cases recorded during the same period last year, Ngan Chantha said. Four deaths have been recorded this year.

However, the country records the vast majority of its yearly dengue cases and fatalities during the rainy months, when dengue-carrying mosquitoes have plenty of opportunity to breed in water."

Singapore : Flu cases in Singapore near epidemic levels

Via Xinhua :

" SINGAPORE, May 27 (Xinhua) -- Epidemic season has hit Singapore as the number of flu cases surged through the roof, local newspaper The Straits Times reported Thursday.

Although this has been a traditionally high season for influenza and colds collectively called acute respiratory infection, the number of people with the sniffles has been at epidemic, or near-epidemic levels for the past six weeks.

A high of 18,420 people sought treatment for the flu at government health polyclinics last week, or 4,000 more patients a week than the norm for this time of the year.

Many of the flu cases involve the pandemic A/H1N1 strain, which created a health scare worldwide last year, but eventually proved to be milder than originally thought.

According to the Ministry of Health, 29 percent of patients here with flu-like symptoms last week had this bug."

Malaysia : Ministry May Extend Student Vacation To Check H1N1

Via Bernama :

" PENANG, May 27 : The Higher Education Ministry has not ruled out the possibility of extending the current vacation of tertiary institutions if it is necessary to check the spread of the second wave of Influenza A (H1N1), said Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

He said the disease was under control now, but precautionary measures had been put in place."The H1N1 situation in our country is under control, and we will only extend the vacation of students of tertiary institutions if it is really deemed necessary," he told reporters after launching the National Research and Innovation Competition (NRIC) 2010 at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) here, Wednesday.

Saifuddin said the tertiary institutions always consulted the Health Ministry on the status of the disease and would heed its advice.It was reported today that a 41-year-old woman from Penang had died of H1N1, taking to 87 the national death toll from the disease so far."

India : Pregnant woman is first swine flu victim this year

Via Hindustan Times :

" Twenty-seven-year-old Naziya Admane, from Alibaug, succumbed to swine flu-related complications at Sion Hospital last Friday. This is the first swine flu-related death reported in Mumbai since last November and is a disturbing reminder of the fact that the H1N1 virus is still in circulation.

“She was eight months pregnant so she was more vulnerable. She was brought to Mumbai in a critical condition,” said Dr G.T. Ambe, BMC’s executive health officer.

On an average, H1N1 continues to kill one person a day in Maharashtra, mostly in Pune and its neighbouring districts.

In May, 20 people have died of swine flu, while in April, 30 deaths were reported and in March there were 47.

The death of Admane, who was eight months pregnant, took Maharashtra’s H1N1 death toll to 465 since the virus first hit the country in May 2009.

She was transferred from a private hospital in Alibaug to the civic-run Sion Hospital last Thursday. “We put her on a ventilator and started treatment immediately but she died within 24 hours,” said Dr Sandhya Kamath, dean of Sion Hospital. The baby did not survive.

“High humidity, over crowding and various other environmental factors contribute to the spread of infectious diseases, particularly H1N1,” said Dr Om Srivastav, an infectious disease specialist with Kasturba Hospital."

New Zealand : Pandemic Influenza H1N1 2009 (swine flu) – Update 187

Via New Zealand's MOH :

" We continue to see some signs of a gradual increase in influenza activity, however, overall the level of influenza activity in New Zealand is at a level similar to this time last year, and the number of people visiting a GP with influenza-like illness remains below baseline levels. Over the past week there was a slight increase in the number of people calling Healthline for advice on influenza-like illness.

As we head into winter, it's timely to remember that we can all help reduce the spread of influenza and colds by washing and drying hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home from work or school if you are sick. Also, if you or your family are ill and you are concerned, or if your condition worsens, get health advice early by calling your GP or Healthline on 0800 611 116.

Influenza immunisation is especially recommended for those at greatest risk of complications from pandemic influenza, including women who are pregnant or recently pregnant, very young children, severely overweight people and those with underlying medical conditions. Immunisation is free for eligible groups of people."

Australia : Swine flu put hospitals 'on edge' last year

Via ABC Science, please read the long informative article :

" Australia's intensive care system was on the verge of collapse for the first time ever during last year's swine flu epidemic, according to one intensive care physician.

Associate Professor Steve Webb from the Royal Perth Hospital hopes lessons learnt in 2009, together with vaccination, and the fact many now have some immunity to swine flu, will help prevent a repeat scenario this year.

Webb will tell the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases annual scientific conference in Darwin this week that early diagnosis and treatment with antivirals is vital, as is expanding the ICU system, to cope with admissions."

British Columbid : Clostridium difficile contributed to two deaths, caused third

Via BClocal news :

" Doctors have determined that infection with Clostridium difficile was a contributing factor in two patient deaths at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Medical reviews of five of the six patients who had C. diff when they died are now completed.

Medical reviews of three other patients were completed two weeks ago, which found one death was caused by C. diff, while the other two deaths were due to other medical problems."

Vietnam : Pig disease feared to claim first fatality

Thanks to Chen Qi for this lead, via Vietnam Net :

" Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), commonly dubbed blue-ear disease, is suspected as the culprit behind the death of a man in the central province of Quang Ngai on Monday.

Nguyen Xuan Men, deputy director of the provincial Department of Health; confirmed with the online newspaper Vnexpress that the young man was suspected to be the first to succumb to the deadly pig disease that is spreading to pig herds in the north.

According to Men, the young man suffered from diarrhea, high fever, convulsion, and skin hemorrhage after eating fresh pig blood pudding. He was not hospitalized in time and lost consciousness.

The man, who was transferred to the Central Hospital of Hue from Quang Ngai, died on Monday.
Health workers immediately disinfected where he was living and examined people who had been in contact with the deceased. Health workers said the virus of PRRS has a particular affinity for the macrophages particularly those found in the lung."

Fiji Islands : Taskforce to review the 2009 H1N1

Via Scoop :

" Nadi, Fiji Islands, Tuesday 25 May 2010 : The 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic showed how important it is for Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) to have preparedness and response plans in place along with resources to implement them.

A three-day meeting of the Pacific Avian and Pandemic Influenza Taskforce (PAPITaF) just started today in Nadi, Fiji Islands, to examine the region’s responses to H1N1 and identify how pandemic preparedness and response plans can be improved.

Almost all PICTs were affected by the H1N1 pandemic influenza last year. Only Niue, Tokelau and Pitcairn Islands had no cases recorded.

‘Fortunately the disease was moderate in severity,’ says Mrs Jennie Fischer, coordinator of the Pacific Regional Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Project (PRIPPP) at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). ‘Its impact in the region was mitigated by the plans that PICTs have been preparing in recent years with support from PRIPPP and other partners, but the pandemic also revealed some weak points.’

At this major regional forum, PICTs will be able to make."

Kuala Lumpur : Pregnant mum the latest victim

Via NST :

" KUALA LUMPUR : A 41-year-old pregnant woman in Penang has become the latest victim of influenza A (H1N1), bringing the death toll to 87 since the outbreak began last year.

The woman, who was 30 weeks' pregnant and expecting her third child, was admitted to Penang Hospital on May 12. She had fever, cough and breathing difficulties. Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said the difficulty in breathing was because she had severe pneumonia. Doctors did their best to save her and her foetus, but failed, he added.

"I have repeatedly advised people who have symptoms of the disease, especially those in the high-risk group and pregnant women, to get treatment early. Delay leads to complications and death."

He said even healthy people could succumb to the disease if they did not seek treatment early.There were 26 positive cases reported as of 5.30pm on Tuesday, with the number of confirmed cases now rising to 14,718.

There are also 573 people, including 40 with H1N1, admitted in public and private hospitals nationwide."

Kuala Lumpur : Nipah still plagues some

Via New Straits Times :

" KUALA LUMPUR : The Nipah virus, whose outbreak in 1999 took more than 100 lives and caused the mass culling of almost a million pigs, has recurred in about 10 per cent of its survivors.

Although another outbreak was highly unlikely in Malaysia, this recurrent pattern had been identified over the past 10 years in small villages in India and Bangladesh, said Professor Dr Tan Chong Tin, who led the 15-member team that identified the Nipah virus when it first appeared.

Dr Tan was the joint recipient of the Merdeka Award in the health, science and technology category in 2008 for his work in discovering the new virus and the follow-up study on it."

Hawaii : Preclinical development of dengue vaccine announced

From Vaccine News Daily, a glimmer of hope? :

" Advanced BioScience Laboratories, Inc., and Hawaii Biotech, Inc., announced on May 25 that they will be joining forces with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for preclinical development of a dengue vaccine.

Officials with Hawaii Biotech said that they plan to begin the first phase of a human clinical study with its tetravalent dengue vaccine candidate later this year.

The sub-unit vaccine will be designed with high resistance to all four of the native viral antigens, which officials believe will provide balanced immunity.

Advanced BioScience, through a contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will oversee the manufacturing and testing of all supplies.

“In preparing to evaluate our tetravalent dengue vaccine in the clinic, we looked for a contract research organization with deep experience in viral vaccine development,” Elliot Parks, Hawaii Biotech's president and CEO, said."

Japan : At least 28 types of new-flu virus entered Japan during 2009 outbreak

Via Breitbart :

" TOKYO, May 26 : At least 28 types of the new-influenza virus on the genetic level entered Japan from the outbreak last spring to late September, researchers at the Infectious Disease Surveillance Center said Wednesday.

The virus type that spread across Kobe and Osaka during the initial phase of the outbreak in the country in May last year is believed to have been eradicated due mainly to speedy implementation of measures including a widespread closure of schools, according to the results of analysis.

A team led by Teiichiro Shiino, the institute's chief researcher, analyzed the genetic base sequence of a total of 238 specimens, including 75 new-flu samples collected between May 8 and Sept. 20 last year in Japan and 163 samples collected worldwide."

World : Swine flu hoax? Get real

Via New Scientist, please read the whole article :

" ONCE upon a time, a village asked its nerds to warn it when wolves threatened the chickens. One day the nerds saw wolf tracks - but how many wolves were there, and how hungry? The forest was big and there was not enough time to find out before sunset, so the nerds advised the panicked villagers to buy rifles.

But before the rifles were even loaded, one small and skinny wolf slunk out of the woods, killed two chickens and ran away. The nerds tried to explain that there were probably more wolves out there, but the angry villagers took the rifles back to the store and lynched the nerds.
This is the parable of swine flu.

Governments had asked the World Health Organization to coordinate their response to flu pandemics, and when one broke in April 2009 the WHO did exactly that, triggering expensive government health measures and vaccine purchases. Critics now allege the flu was less deadly than normal flu, meaning vast sums of public money were wasted on nothing more than a scare. Some even claim that it was a conspiracy to boost vaccine company profits."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

World : H5N1 virus detected in eight countries this spring

Via Vetsweb :

" According to a survey by OIE, the high pathogenic H5N1 virus is detected in eight countries this spring.

In Egypt for example, 34 infections were detected from April 1 to May 15. These infections were found at eight poultry farms of which six farms used vaccination against avian influenza.

In Indonesia, H5N1 is widespread in poultry. Here, poultry is regularly tested for the disease in over 67,000 villages. This shows that on average in 1.5 per thousand villages H5N1 is detected. Regional this can go up to nine per thousand villages.

Bangladesh showed three outbreaks of H5N1 this spring, while one infection was found in Laos at a farm with 1,000 layers. H5N1 has been found in Mongolia in wild swans. Vietnam reported outbreaks in four provinces and in Israel, H5N1 was found in two birds at a zoo."

Malaysia : Current Situation of Influenza A (H1N1) - May 26, 2010 (another fatality)

Today's H1N1 update from the MOH, another fatality has been recorded :

" Until 8:00 am on May 26th, 2010, the Ministry received a total of four (4) reports of ILI cluster cases from the following four (4) states as listed in Appendix 1. Meanwhile, there are 107 active ILI cluster cases across the country.

Meanwhile, until 5:30 pm on May 25, 2010, a total of 26 confirmed positive cases of influenza A (H1N1) were reported for a cumulative number of 14, 718 cases to date. The remaining number of ILI cases that are being treated in the wards in the country are 573 cases. Of these, 40 cases (7.0%) were confirmed positive influenza A (H1N1). The numbers of patients in the ICU are seven (7) with all of them having risk factors.

The Ministry of Health has received one (1) report of fatality due to Influenza virus A (H1N1). This brings the cumulative number of H1N1 fatalities to date to 87 people.

The details of the fatality:

A 41-year-old pregnant woman who was experiencing symptoms of fever and cough for two days and respiratory problems before being admitted to the Penang Hospital on May 12, 2010. She suffered respiratory problems due to severe pneumonia during the treatment and passed away on the same day. The discussion of experts has confirmed that the cause of death is caused by influenza virus A (H1N1)."

India : Three affected by Dengue in Hassan

Via The Hindu :

" HASSAN : Three persons have been hit by Dengue in Hassan district. Of them, two are from Hassan city and the other is from Nallur village in Chennarayapatna taluk.

From Pension Mohalla

According to the District Surveillance Officer, Hemalatha Shivakumar, their blood samples were sent to the J.S.S. Medical College, Mysore, and the reports were received on Monday.
Two victims are residents of Pension Mohalla in Hassan city.

They are Shan (11), daughter of Syed Amber of Pension Mohallah, and Anita (10) from Kolalu Maha Lakshmi temple street, Pension Mohalla. The third victim is Anil Kumar (10) from Nallur village.

‘Education efforts on'

Ms. Shivakumar said the reports would be forwarded to the medical officers concerned for prognosis, and added that the district administration was making every effort to educate the people on better healthcare."

Australia : Killer virus found in Melbourne

Via Herald Sun :

" A DEADLY stomach bug that has killed thousands in North America and Europe is in Melbourne.

A private Melbourne hospital last night confirmed three elderly patients had been infected with the killer strain, and it was likely to be more widespread.

Epworth Hospital executive medical director Megan Robertson said this hypervirulent strain of Clostridium difficile had not been previously detected in Australia.

"But having said that the testing in Australia is very limited,'' Dr Robertson said.

"The hypervirulent strain is quite difficult to get tested in Australia, and in fact we had to send our specimens to a laboratory in Western Australia.

''She said the three patients to test positive were potentially just the tip of the iceberg across the country. "

US : Play set dedicated to young H1N1 victim

Via WDTN, a heart wrenching story but it serves as a reminder on what H1N1 can do to us :

" SPRINGBORO, Ohio : A Springboro boy who lost his life to H1N1 was memorialized on Tuesday.

A bright red play set at Clearcreek Elementary School was dedicated to Joseph Marotta.

His parents say Joseph had a fascination for fast cars and fire equipment.

So, Tuesday morning, Joseph got his very own engine.

His mother, Serese Marotta said, "We just thought that it was fitting to have playground equipment that would stand in honor of him. But, kind of be interactive with the kids. And, as they're playing on it, they can think oh yeah this is here because of my friend Joseph."

The Clearcreek kindergartner died last fall, after H1N1 took over his tiny body.

A plaque on the play set reads Joseph Marotta, Always Remembered, Forever Loved."

US : New Flu and Cold Antidotes Created

Via Softpedia :

" A variety of drug-resistant viruses may have just found their match, researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say. Working in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Buffalo, the experts managed to devise a new means of delivering a drug payload to cells that relies on using nanoparticles.

The active agent, which will play an important role in boosting the function of the immune system as infections occur, will be carried by gold nanorods. These structures have proven to be extremely well suited for the job, and researchers obtained numerous successes using them in laboratory tests.

“This joint research by UB and the CDC has the potential to usher in a new generation of antiviral medicines to aggressively treat a broad range of infectious diseases, from H1N1 to avian flu and perhaps Ebola, that are becoming increasingly resistant to the medicines used against them,” explains the executive director of the UB Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics (ILPB), Paras Prasad, PhD, the leader of the research team at the university."

Sierra Leone : Salone Free From Bird Flu

Via All Africa :

" Kenema : Consultant for avian and human influenza (AHI) has informed media practitioners during a one-day workshop organized for journalists by the ministry of agriculture and food security in Kenema that Sierra Leone was safe from avian influenza commonly known as bird flu. Dr. Samuel Carew said the disease was dreadful as it has claimed several lives in other countries.

"Bird flu is worst than HIV/AIDS because it cannot be cured and when it breaks the movement of people living within the locality becomes immediately restricted," he said, adding that Sierra Leone was a blessed country not to have encountered any major outbreak of the disease or any natural disaster that would attract the attention of the international community."

US : Researchers take step to 'universal' flu vaccine

Via Reuters :

" A "headless" version of the influenza virus protected mice from several different strains of flu and may offer a step toward a so-called universal flu vaccine, researchers reported on Tuesday.

They identified a piece of the virus that appears to be the same even among mutated strains, and found a way to make it into a vaccine.

Years of work lie ahead but if it works in people the way it worked in mice, the new vaccine might transform the way people are now immunized against influenza, the team at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York reported.

"We now report progress toward the goal of an influenza virus vaccine which would protect against multiple strains," Dr. Peter Palese, Dr. Adolfo Garcia-Sastre and colleagues report in a new journal mBio, available here.

"Current influenza vaccines are effective against only a narrow range of influenza virus strains. It is for this reason that new vaccines must be generated and administered each year."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Malaysia : Dengue fatalities alarming

Via Daily Express :

" Papar : Dengue fatalities have reached an alarming level in the country, increasing by 13 per cent during the first five months of this year, from the corresponding period last year.

Disclosing this, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin (pic) said there was a rise of seven cases this year with the ministry recording 60 fatal dengue cases compared to 53 last year.

"The number of dengue cases has gone down but the number of fatal cases has gone up.

"The ministry registered a total of 18,815 dengue cases from Jan to May 2010 accounting for a reduction of 2,159 cases compared to 20,974 cases during the same period last year.

"Unfortunately, there was an increase of seven fatal dengue cases or 13 per cent more than the number of cases in 2010 (60) and 2009 (53)."

Cambodia : Gov't appeals the public to fight against dengue fever

Via Xinhua :

" PHNOM PENH, May 25 : Cambodian government alerted Tuesday to take more precaution on dengue fever as rainy season starts in the country.

Mam Bunheng, minister of health appealed Tuesday to parents and guardians across the country, especially in rural areas to take more precaution on the eruption of dengue fever as rainy starts.

The appeal was made at a campaign against dengue fever held at Baktouk High School in Phnom Penh on Tuesday."

India : Weekly (18th - 24th May, 2010) Consolidated Status of Influenza A H1N1

From the Press Information Bureau :

Lab confirmed cases reported during the Week : 29 (Total case count : 31,904)

Death of Lab confirmed cases during the Week : 2 (Total fatality : 1,527)

Malaysia : Current Situation of Influenza A (H1N1) - May 25, 2010

Via Malaysia's MOH :

" Until 8:00 am on May 25, 2010, the Ministry received a total of three (3) report of ILI cluster cases from the state of Selangor as listed in Appendix 1.

Meanwhile, until 5:30 pm on May 24, 2010, a total of 29 confirmed positive cases of influenza A (H1N1) were reported for a cumulative number of 14,692 cases to date. The remaining number of ILI cases that are being treated in the wards in the country are 569 cases.

Of these, 74 cases (13.0%) were confirmed positive influenza A (H1N1). The number of patients in the ICU is five (5) all of whom has risk factors. No reports of fatality were received, for a total cumulative of 86 fatalities to date."

India : NIV detects three new variants of H1N1 virus / Woman dies of swine flu

Via Times of India, two articles in 1 link :

" PUNE : The National Institute of Virology (NIV) here has detected three new variants of the H1N1 virus. Fortunately, all three variants have shown susceptibility to Tamiflu , the drug used in the treatment of swine flu.

However, with the virus actively acquiring new properties, NIV scientists are apprehensive that it might develop resistance to the medicines used in treating swine flu. “For now, there is no need to worry. But we are closely monitoring the virus for any change in its virulence ,” NIV assistant director Sarah Cherian told TOI recently.

Cherian said seven mutated variants of the virus have been found across the world so far.“As expected of the seasonal influenza virus, the H1N1 virus is also going through constant genetic variations which might lead to significant changes in its antiviral resistance,” she said.

The variants of the H1N1 virus, representing both recovered and fatal cases from major cities – Pune,Mumbai,Delhi,Hyderabad and Bangalore — were analysed at the NIV and the complete genomes of these variants were sequenced . The results of the genetic analysis have been published in the March 2010 issue of the US journal, PLOS One.

Woman dies of swine flu

PUNE : A 48-year-old woman from Baramati succumbed to the H1N1 flu on Sunday, taking the death toll in Pune to 237. Sunanda Mehtre, who was diabetic, died at the Sassoon hospital here at 8 am. "

Malaysia : 87,000 free vaccine doses left at govt clinics

Via NST :

" KUALA LUMPUR : The Health Ministry has, up till Friday, vaccinated 287,574 people, including 123,961 from the high-risk group, against influenza A (H1N1).

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said those vaccinated included 89,839 of the ministry's frontliners and 73,774 frontliners from other government departments, agencies and bodies.

"We still have about 87,000 H1N1 vaccine doses for those either in the frontline or in the high-risk group."

He said the vaccine dosages, which posed no serious side effects, would be given on a first come, first served basis at the 104 health facilities identified nationwide. The details of the facilities are available at

Dr Ismail advised those with chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension, heart and lung diseases and HIV, as well as pregnant women, to take the free vaccination."

Macao : Children infected with EV71 virus

Via Xinhua :

" MACAO, May 24 : Macao's Health Bureau Monday reported one newly confirmed enterovirus 71 (EV71) case at a local creche, bringing the total number of such cases to 15 so far.

According to the Bureau, the 15 infected children were all from the same local creche, and the young patients have received treatments at medical institutions, none of whom needed to be admitted into the hospital.

The collective outbreak of such cases were firstly recorded at the creche on May 20.

EV71 are the common cause of Hand, foot and mouth disease, and it typically occurs in small epidemics in nursery schools or kindergartens, usually during the summer and autumn months.

Aside from the EV71 infection, the Bureau also said that a patient infected with the A/H1N1 flu was admitted into local hospital between May 17 and 24, and has since recovered and been discharged. "

Malaysia : MP's educates residents on dengue-fighting measures

Via The Star :

" THE high number of dengue cases at Bandar Tasik Puteri, Rawang has prompted the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) to make “friendly” house-to-house visits to educate the residents on precautionary measures to avoid the deadly disease.

A joint team made up of officers from the council and the district health office visited close to 3,000 households in Green Valley Park, Bandar Tasik Puteri, which reported 55 dengue cases so far this year.

There were no summons issued during this exercise as MPS preferred to use the soft approach to educate residents on the danger of allowing water to be trapped in fish ponds, gutters, cans, containers and other objects placed outside the homes."

India : Viruses are back with a bang

Via Times of India :

" BANGALORE : Along with the hope of reservoirs getting filled and parched agricultural lands seeing fresh green shoots, premonsoon season brings with it some miseries too. There is a an increase in the number of viral fever cases reported from hospitals in the city and various parts of the state.

Long queues at the out-patient departments of government hospitals and increasing waiting list of patients at private hospitals indicate the same. At Bowring Hospital and Lady Curzon Hospital, 40 viral fever cases are confirmed a day on an average. As on Monday, 22 persons with severe symptoms of viral fever have been admitted and put on IV fluids.

Similarly, at K C General Hospital, an average of 30 viral fever patients are being attended everyday. Not surprisingly , there has been a significant rise in chikungunya lapse cases. With the recent rain providing an opportunity for mosquitoes to breed, dengue and fever with dengue-like symptoms are also increasing. According to BBMP chief health officer Dr L T Gayatri , in 113 BBMP hospitals and dispensaries, there have been a regular flow of viral fever cases with more than 100 cases being reported everyday. From the BBMP hospitals alone, 22 dengue and 27 positive chikungunya cases have been reported. "

US : FDA approves swine flu test for permanent use

Via AP :

" WASHINGTON : The Food and Drug Administration says it has approved the first diagnostic test for 2009 swine flu under its traditional approval system.

The FDA previously cleared several tests on a limited basis for use during the declared public health emergency related to swine flu.

The new Simplexa Influenza test from Focus Diagnostics in Cypress, Calif., uses specimens from nasal swabs to detect the H1N1 virus.

Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA's center for devices, says the FDA clearance means the availability of the Simplexa H1N1 test will not be affected when the public health emergency expires.

The federal government estimates between 43 and 88 million cases of swine flu occurred between April last year and March 2010."

South Korea : Low-Path Bird Flu Found

Via The Poultry Site :

" SOUTH KOREA : Ducks have tested positive for low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) in the far south of the country.

The veterinary authority sent an Immediate Notification dated 21 May to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The report states that during routine surveillance, ducks at two farms in the region of Cholla-Namdo tested positive for LPAI.

The sub-type of the virus has subsequently been identified at H7N7. All 53,300 birds on the farms have been destroyed.

The last outbreak of bird flu in the country was in December last year."

US : H1N1 Pandemic Flu Hits Pregnant Women Hard

Via Health Day :

" MONDAY, May 24 : Pregnant women who get the H1N1 pandemic strain of flu are at high risk of experiencing serious complications for themselves and their unborn child, a new study finds.

According to the report, there has not been much data about the effect of the novel H1N1 flu on pregnant women and their fetuses, and what data exists is conflicting.

In other pandemic flus -- in 1918 and 1957 -- pregnant women were at a high risk of being hospitalized and dying, the researchers noted.

"In keeping with prior pandemics, pregnant women don't do well with pandemic flu, because they have a compromised immune response," said influenza expert Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at New York University in New York City.

In addition, they don't do as well because they lack immunity to these new flu strains.

"So, if you put together that they don't have the immune response that you would like, plus they don't have previous immunity, it's a bad combination," he said.

The report is published in the May 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine."

Hong Kong : CHP investigates imported cholera case

Via the HK Govt press release :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (May 24) investigating an imported case of cholera and reminds people to observe good personal, food and environmental hygiene.

The case involved a 46-year-old woman who developed loose stool and watery diarrhoea from May 16. She sought medical consultation on May 18 and was given symptomatic treatment.

She is now receiving isolation treatment at Princess Margaret Hospital and is in stable condition.

Laboratory tests today showed that her stool specimen yielded Vibrio cholerae O1 serotype Inaba. Her home contacts have no cholera symptoms.

The CHP's investigation revealed that the patient had travelled alone to Singapore between May 10 and 17. "

This news can be found via English People's Daily Online too.

Malaysia : Dengue Fever Stops Danish and Norwegian Robinson Expedition in Malaysia

A big thanks to Chen Qi for this story, via ScandAsia :

" TV3 has been forced to evacuate the Danish and Norwegian team from a tropical island in Malaysia after several of the 200- strong team has been hit by high fever and other symptoms.

Tests showed that at least four members of the team were hit by the dengue fever virus, writes Danish

“According to suggestion by doctors and Scandinavian health authorities, there was only one viable option: immediately stop production and a subsequent evacuation”, says Jacob Juhl, executive producer from Strix TV.

The entire 200-strong Robinson-team consists of participants, crew, children, guests and spouses are evacuated to the nearby Malaysian city of Johor Baru, where there is access to expert help from the local health authorities.

The team also includes a Norwegian member. Until now, there is no Danish participants show symptoms of fever. "

Monday, May 24, 2010

Malaysia : Current Situation of Influenza A (H1N1) May 24, 2010

The latest H1N1 update from the MOH :

" As of May 21, 2010, a total of 287,574 people have been given the H1N1 vaccination, out of which 89,839 are the MOH frontline staff, 73,774 non-MOH frontline staff and 123,961 from the general public who are in the high risk category.

Meanwhile, there are about only 87,000 H1N1 vaccine doses remaining in the entire country left to be distributed. Monitoring results of vaccination by the Ministry of Health found that the vaccine is safe without any serious side effects.

Meanwhile until 8:00 am on May 24, 2010, the Ministry received a total of three (3) report of ILI cluster cases from the following three (3) states as listed in Appendix 1.

Until 5:30 pm on May 23, 2010, only one (1) confirmed positive cases of influenza A (H1N1) were reported for a cumulative number of 14,663 cases to date. The remaining number of ILI cases that are being treated in the wards in the country are 519 cases. Of these, 61 cases (11.8%) were confirmed positive influenza A (H1N1).

The number of patients in the ICU is eight (8) with all whom having risk factors. No reports of fatality were received, for a total cumulative of 86 fatalities to date."

Philippines : 4-S campaign urged vs dengue

Via PIA :

" Iloilo City (24 May) : It is still the 4-S campaign against Dengue that the Department of Health promotes as cases increases with the onset of the rainy season.

But it is not just for the rainy season that has not even begun that DOH reminds the public of prevention, as the Regional Epidemiological Surveillance Unit Report said the number of cases has reached 1,309 from January to May 8.

Valencia said this is a regional campaign as the DOH has also noted the rise of cases in Iloilo province with 231 cases, two deaths, while Iloilo City has 126, Negros Occidental has 280 with two deaths, Bacolod City with 266, Capiz, 194, Aklan, 29 with one death, Antique, 12, and Guimaras, 16."

India : Measures to control malaria discussed

Via The Times of India :

" MARGAO : The district co-ordination committee of the south Goa collectorate at its review meeting held recently over vector borne diseases spelt out several measures to prevent and control the outbreak of malaria, chikungunya and dengue diseases in the district.

At the meeting chaired by the additional collector-II Y B Tavde, deliberations centred around plans of the health authorities on this front for the next one year.

All the primary health centres were directed to take adequate steps to educate the people about the need to prevent mosquito breeding sites with a view to prevent vector borne diseases, sources privy to the meeting informed.

The civic bodies were also directed to destroy all discared tyres in their respective cities to prevent breeding of mosquitoes.

"Though malaria situation is well under control, cases of chikungunya and dengue are on the rise. The meeting laid stress on the steps to be taken to prevent the outbreak of these two, especially dengue which is potentially fatal," Dr Geeta Kakodkar, health officer of urban health centre, Margao told TOI. "

Nepal : FMD (Foot and Mouth Disease) strikes wildlife

Via Republica :

" MAHENDRANAGAR, May 22 : Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) has taken a toll on wildlife animals in Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve.

The disease has already killed over a dozen animals including six swamp deer, three chittals and three boars.

Chief conservation officer Jagannath Singh said a team led by himself is collecting details about the epidemic.

Singh did not prefer to tell the actual number of wildlife animals killed due to the disease.

A team of doctors from Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation had inspected the affected areas and officially diagnosed the disease."

Philippines : Measles cases rise more than 300 percent

Via Malaya :

" TWO months after some parts of the country experienced a measles outbreak, the number of measles cases has almost reached the 2,000-mark based on statistics from the Department of Health’s National Epidemiology Center (NEC).

A NEC Disease Surveillance Report dated April 10 said a total of 1,794 measles cases have been confirmed since January 1. "Compared to the previous year, the number of confirmed cases increased by 387.5 percent," said the report.

During the same period in 2009, only 368 measles cases were confirmed by the DOH.
Most of the confirmed cases this year are found in the National Capital Region (967 cases), Calabarzon (268 cases), Central Luzon (105 cases), and Bicol (101 cases).

The number of deaths also grew from only three in 2009 to eight during the first three and a half months of this year.

"Five of the fatalities were less than 12 months of age, while two cases belonged to the 1-4 years age group, and one case is from 10 to 14 years," the report said."

Malaysia : 31 H1N1 cases confirmed in 24 hours

Via The Star :

" KUALA LUMPUR : Thirty-one people were confirmed with Influenza A (H1N1) in 24 hours up to yesterday evening, raising the cumulative total so far to 14,662 cases.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said in a statement yesterday that the Health Ministry had also received two reports of cluster incidence of Influenza-like Illness (ILI) in Selangor.

The total number of ILI cases under treatment in the country was 549 of which 75 had been confirmed as H1N1, he said.

The number of ILI cases under intensive care was eight, with all of them at risk of contracting H1N1.

“No reports of deaths were received with the H1N1 death toll so far at 86,” he said."

India : 97 people suffering from diarrhoea in Sabarkantha

Via Press Trust of India :

" Banaskantha, May 23 : As many as 97 people have reported to various hospitals in Sabarkantha district with complaint of diarrhoea and vomiting in last three days.

With 31 more admitted to hospitals today, the number of those suffering from the disease has reached 97 in Chadrej village, Chief District Health Officer (Sabarkantha) H R Nayak said.

13 cases were recorded by the Bayad Primary Health Centre (PHC) on Thursday, which was 14 on Friday. 39 were reported on Saturday.

To combat the water-borne disease, a campaign on war footing has been initiated in the village.

"Besides distributing over 3,000 chlorine tablets as many as 255 are under observation after conducting a house-to-house survey in and around the village.

"Blood samples taken from the patients have confirmed the disease and the situation will be under control within a couple of days, Nayak said."

India : Two girls die of mysterious disease

Via Press Trust of India :

" Ambala, May 23 : Two girls died while nearly 60 people, including over 30 women and some children, of village Samlehri close to Ambala Cantt were suffering from a mysterious disease.

Two teenaged girls of the village Disha and Priyanka, whose blood platlet count were found on the lower side and had been referred to PGIMER at Chandigarh on Friday, died there yesterday.

The affected persons complained of swelling in the lower part of their legs and dizziness, doctors attending on them said.

Meanwhile, more cases of this mysterious disease were reported in the village today.

The villagers are holding the Health Department responsible for the death of two girls.

They alleged that the mysterious disease had been prevailing in the village for last one fortnight but the doctors could not even diagnose it properly so far."

Cambodia : 9 die, 300 others suffer from diarrhea

Via Xinhua :

" PHNOM PENH, May 23 : At least nine Cambodians have died and about 300 others have been medically treated and hospitalized by diarrhea in Cambodia's northeast province of Kratie, a provincial official said Sunday.

Chhneang Vutha, chief of Kratie provincial health department, told Xinhua by telephone from the province that at least nine people have died and about 300 others have been medically treated and hospitalized by diarrhea since March this year.

He said five districts in the province have been affected by the cause of diarrhea, and he attributed the deaths and suffering of the disease to lack of personal sanitation precaution as well as the lack of toilets in rural areas."

Ghana : H1N1 flu affects 170 students of St. Martin's SHS

Via Joy Online :

" About one hundred and seventy students of St. Martin's Senior High School at Adoagyeri, near Nsawam in the Akuapem South District of the Eastern Region have been affected by the H1N1 influenza (swine flu).

Report says the symptoms of the disease were first detected on Sunday 15th of May, 2010 and since then, the number keeps increasing.

A student of the school told Asempa News that they were quarantined after the detection in a bungalow to prevent the spread.

“The disease was detected last Sunday and we reported to our teachers. The next day, they called health authorities from the Ghana Health Service and the students were put in empty bungalows”.

Asked why he came home, the student said he detected the symptoms and so decided to come home and see his doctor, but had not contracted the disease."

Uganda : Cholera outbreak kills six in eastern Uganda

Via Xinhua :

" MBALE, Uganda, May 22 : An outbreak of cholera following frequent floods in eastern Uganda has left six people dead and dozens more admitted in hospital, local authorities said here on Saturday.

"Since the outbreak of the deadly disease early this week, cholera has now killed six people in two sub counties of Mulanda and Kirewa," Emmanuel Osuna, the district local council chairman told Xinhua on the phone.

The outbreak in Tororo district, eastern Uganda, was a result of recent flash floods that ravaged parts of the mountainous area following torrential rains, local officials said.

"We have so far received about fifty cases in the main hospital.

It has forced the district authorities to set up reception centers that will handle emergencies as the medics struggle to treat them amidst scarcity of the drugs in the hospital," said Osuna."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Malaysia : Current Situation of Influenza A (H1N1) - May 23, 2010

Today's H1N1 update from the MOH, with my translation :

" Until 8:00 am on May 23, 2010, the Ministry received a total of two (2) reports of ILI cluster cases from the state of Selangor as listed in Appendix 1.

Meanwhile, until 5:30 pm on May 22, 2010, a total of 31 confirmed positive cases of influenza A (H1N1) were reported for a cumulative number of 14,662 cases to date.

The remaining number of ILI cases that are being treated in wards throughout the country are 549 case. Of these, 75 cases (13.7%) were confirmed positive influenza A (H1N1). The number of patients in the ICU is eight (8) with all of whom having risk factors. There are no reports of fatality received, for a cumulative total of 86 fatality to date."

Malaysia : Mysterious outbreak turns out to be food poisoning

Via The Star :

" IPOH: The mysterious illness that caused 179 pupils of SJK (C) Wah Keow in Langkap, Teluk Intan, to fall sick was discovered to be food poisoning.

State Health Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said tests on food samples taken from the school canteen revealed that it was infected with the streptococcus bacteria.

“The food handler's hands were also found to have the bacteria,” he said yesterday, adding that action would be taken against the food handler.

Speaking to reporters here after opening a cancer awareness campaign, Dr Mah said that all the effected pupils have now recovered.

On May 11, the pupils complained of abdominal pains, vomiting, fever, cough, influenza, diarrhoea, headache, dizziness and sore throat."

India : 1 yr after, H1NI virus still under surveillance

Via Indian Express :

" Even a year after the H1N1 virus struck the city, claiming around 236 lives, the National Institute of Virology (NIV) continues to receive a large number of samples, around 30-40 every day, for testing the virus from Maharashtra. However, officials of the NIV say that there is no significant mutation of the virus. “We are on constant alert and surveillance of the virus is underway,” said Dr M S Chadda, Deputy Director of NIV.

Indiscriminate use of anti-virals oseltamivir and zanamivir, however, can lead to drug resistance, Chadda and other researchers have pointed out in their study that has been published in PLoS ONE -a peer reviewed journal- in March this year. The study has revealed the diversification of the H1N1 virus."

Vietnam : Rare illnesses attack people in broiling weather

Via Saigon Daily :

" Several strange dangerous diseases have attacked people, adding the list of diseases like influenza, dengue fever, diarrhea in the scorching hot weather in the country

Nguyen Trung Cap, a doctor of the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, said there had three pregnant women suffered from a rare pneumonia.

The pregnant patients from the northern locals of Hanoi, Hai Duong and Hai Phong have been taken to the hospital in serious conditions, breathing failure, damaged lung and low blood pressure. They must use breathing machines. Doctors couldn’t find out the cause despite conducting many tests.

Doctors have quarantined three patients and provided intensive treatment. Their efforts have been rewarded when three patients have been in stable condition.

Moreover, 22 year old Nguyen Thi My Linh who had 34 week pregnant gave birth of a baby weighing 1.7kg. The baby is being raised in a neonatal intensive care unit at the National Children Hospital."

Canada : Needs to step up to prevent human infections

Via The Gazette :

" OTTAWA : Up to three-quarters of all emerging infectious diseases in humans come from animals, but Canada doesn’t have an early-warning system to detect or prevent those illnesses.

Instead, public-health officials respond as outbreaks occur, which is neither smart nor economically sound with a resurgence in new viruses, experts say.

Last year’s H1N1 flu pandemic should serve as a wake-up call for the country to build a robust system to track diseases that could leap from animals to humans, says Donald Low, chief microbiologist at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital.

The H1N1 virus — a hybrid of swine, bird and human flu — started in pigs, then jumped to humans, where it adapted to infect millions of people and kill an estimated 17,000 worldwide.

“Part of the problem that I think has been recognized with this pandemic is the major gaps and lack of surveillance that’s been done in animals,” says Low, who’s also medical director of Ontario’s public-health laboratories."

US : Wayne County family physician helps detect case of dengue fever

Via Democrat & Chronicle :

" Dr. Adriane Trout isn't a detective, but sometimes she plays one as a family physician in Wayne County.

Her impersonation of Sherlock Holmes led to her detecting dengue fever in a patient from Rochester who had traveled to Key West, Fla., last August. The diagnosis, confirmed a couple of weeks later, was the first reported case of dengue originating in the continental United States away from the Texas-Mexico border since 1945.

Trout contacted health officials in Florida, which led to a husband and wife who within a few weeks of each other saw their doctor for fever, headache and rash, to be tested for dengue. Both were confirmed to have dengue.

Subsequent surveillance by health officials led to 24 more cases in 2009. A recent case was reported April 13. After being alerted to the cases, mosquito control programs in the Keys were increased.

The account was published Friday in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report."

Nepal : Records 20 diarrhea deaths for water-borne diseases

Via Xinhua :

" KATHMANDU, May 22 : Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) under the Nepali Ministry of Health and Population, has so far recorded 20 diarrhea deaths due to water-borne diseases this year.

According to Saturday's The Himalayan Times daily, Dr Vishwo Raj Khanal, senior public health officer at EDCD said no outbreak had been recorded as yet. But with continued increase in temperature, scarcity of safe drinking water and lack of proper sanitation, there were some cases of water-borne diseases.

According to EDCD, 20 people out of 441 infected with diarrhea died last month in remote districts of the mid and far-western regions.

Khanal said that they had recorded less number of people suffering from water borne diseases in comparison to the same period last year.

While government records put the death toll between mid-April to mid-October last year at 366, non-governmental organizations recorded 394 deaths for the same period."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Malaysia : Current Situation of Influenza A (H1N1) as of May 22, 2010

H1N1 update as of 22nd May 2010, another fatality has been recorded. As I posted yesterday, I'm yet to see any answers for the 3 unexplained fatalities which raised the count from 82 to 85 out of the sudden and now, today it has risen to 86 but this time this fatality has been reported.

The update with my translation :

" Until 8:00 am on May 22, 2010, the Ministry received a total of nine (9) reports of ILI cluster cases from the following seven (7) states as listed in Appendix 1.

Meanwhile, until 5:30 pm on May 21, 2010, a total of 17 confirmed positive cases of influenza A (H1N1) were reported for a cumulative number of 14,631 cases to date. The remaining number of cases that are still being treated in hospital in the country are 577 cases. Of these, 76 cases (13.2%) were confirmed positive influenza A (H1N1). The number of patients in the ICU is eight (8) cases with all of whom has risk factors.

The Ministry of Health has received one (1) report of fatality due to influenza virus A (H1N1). This brings the cumulative number of H1N1 deaths to date to 86 people.

One fatality is as follows:

A 48 year old male with no risk factors have been experiencing symptoms of fever for 3 days and cough for 1 week before being admitted to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital, Klang on May 6, 2010. He suffered respiratory problems due to severe pneumonia during the treatment and passed away on May 9, 2010. The discussion of experts has confirmed that the cause of death is caused by influenza virus A (H1N1)."

Australia : Flu vaccine supplies dry up

Via The Canberra Times :

" An unexpected surge in demand has all but exhausted supplies of the seasonal flu vaccine and it is unlikely more stock will become available.

A stockpile of the vaccine remains available for people eligible for a free government vaccination program designed to target high-risk groups, including the elderly, pregnant women, the chronically ill and indigenous people.

Pharmacy Guild ACT president Amanda Galbraith said last night pharmacies were unable to meet demand from an unexpectedly large number of people who fell outside designated high-risk groups but still wanted to be vaccinated.

''We don't have enough supplies and they're not manufacturing any more in 2010,'' she said.

Ms Galbraith said people who were having difficulty getting flu vaccine scripts filled could try different pharmacies ''but I'm not sure how much luck they will have''.

India : Now, swine flu alert for city

Via Express Buzz :

" With the Met Department forecasting a fall in temperature and likelihood of more rain in the coming days, doctors have warned of possible Swine Flu (H1N1) outbreak in the twin cities as the virus spreads faster during monsoon and winter seasons.

“The virus has been mild so far, but it is a well-known fact that it could change its behavior. And if that happens, then the virus could become dangerous. Swine flu can spread rapidly during monsoon and winter months. Therefore, we could see more infections in the coming days due to cool weather conditions,” SV Prasad, superintendent of Andhra Pradesh Government Chest Hospital, told expresso.

“Surveillance and screening has to be given high priority and special medical staff and testing centres are being made available at various parts of the twin cities,” he said. He, however, pointed out that there was no need for panic. People need to be more vigilant and take precautionary measures. “It is likely that the virus could spread in a community or in clusters like schools or localities,” he opined."