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Friday, November 30, 2012

CIDRAP : WHO cites 7th coronavirus case, gives surveillance guidance

From Robert Roos at CIDRAP, please click the link for more information on patient details : 

A third case in a family cluster of novel coronavirus infections has been confirmed, raising the global case count to seven, and the fourth illness in the family is now listed as a probable case, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced.

In a statement dated yesterday, the WHO also indicated that only one death has been attributed to the novel virus so far, contradicting a Nov 23 announcement that reported two deaths among the first six cases.

The WHO also offered new surveillance recommendations for the novel virus. The agency called for testing of patients in any cluster of severe, unexplained respiratory infections, regardless of location or travel history, and testing of healthcare workers who suffer unexplained pneumonia after caring for patients with severe respiratory infections.

And in a related development, the Saudi Medical Journal reported that the person who had the third known novel coronavirus case is a 45-year-old gym teacher who visited a farm 3 days before he got sick and who survived his severe illness despite having preexisting health problems and only one kidney.

Update on cases

In reporting on cases 3 through 6 on Nov 23, the WHO said two of the confirmed patients belonged to the same family and household in Saudi Arabia and that two more members of the same family were sick, but their cases had not been confirmed. The latest statement said three of the confirmed case-patients and the person with the probable case all belong to the same family.

The statement did not specify whether the family members are thought to have passed the virus to one another or caught it from another source. "The source of the virus is unknown, as is the mode of transmission," the statement says.

The cases occurred in the Jeddha and Riyadh areas of Saudi Arabia, which are bout 850 kilometers apart, and in Doha, Qatar, the WHO noted.

The new announcement notes only one death from the novel coronavirus so far, a change from last week's statement noting two deaths among the first six cases. The WHO did not respond to a query about this point this afternoon."

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Malaysia : Woman, 27, dies of H1N1

Via The Star :

A 27-year-old woman here has become the country's first A(H1N1) influenza-related fatality this year when she succumbed to the virus at the Tuanku Ja'afar Hospital.

The woman, who worked in Singapore, had fallen ill while still in the republic and died just before Hari Raya.
It is learnt that the victim had earlier been asked by her family to return home after she did not recover from fever for several days.
State health director Datuk Dr Zailan Adnan said a post-mortem revealed that she was infected by the virus.
“We have reasons to believe that she may have been infected in the republic. She returned for treatment here but died several days later,” she said.
Those infected will show symptoms such as flu, fever, lethargy, runny nose, cough, sore throat, lack of appetite, vomiting and in some cases, diarrhoea.
Dr Zailan said that despite the woman's death, the people need not panic.
“We have tested her family members and none of them has been infected. The situation is very much under control and it is my hope that no one will spread rumours,” she said.
It is understood that the victim had immediately sought treatment at Tuanku Ja'afar Hospital upon her return from Johor Baru and was prescribed with medication."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reports from 3 states suggest more variant H3N2 cases


" Reports from three states today suggested an increase in swine-origin H3N2 influenza activity, with one human case confirmed in Hawaii and suspected human cases cited in connection with county fairs in Ohio and Indiana.

The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) announced yesterday that a case of variant H3N2 (H2N2v) was confirmed in a Maui resident who had possible exposure to pigs.

In Ohio, state officials said preliminary test results pointed to possible H3N2v in 10 people who had contact with swine at the Butler County Fair, north of Cincinnati. Officials were awaiting further test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

And in Indiana—where four cases of H3N2v were reported last week—both people and pigs were being tested in the wake of sickness among pigs in the swine barn at the Monroe County Fair in Bloomington, according to state officials and media reports." 

West Nile virus kills 4 in U.S.

Via Xinhua :

" The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Wednesday that 241 cases of West Nile virus disease, including four deaths, have been reported in 42 states so far this year.

This is the highest number of cases reported through the end of July since 2004. Almost 80 percent of the cases have been reported from three states - Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

"It is not clear why we are seeing more activity than in recent years," said Marc Fischer, epidemiologist with CDC's Arboviral Diseases Branch. "Regardless of the reasons for the increase, people should be aware of the West Nile virus activity in their area and take action to protect themselves and their family."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cambodia starts education campaign, enhanced surveillance for hand, foot and mouth disease

From WHO :

" In response to the outbreak of a severe form of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD), the Ministry of Health (MOH) has instructed all public health facilities to report mild and severe cases of HFMD among children.

Mild cases present with fever and blisters on the hands, feet and/or mouth. Such cases may be managed at home or at health centers or health posts. Most of these cases recover within 7-10 days. However, some children develop a severe disease characterized by fever with neurologic symptoms (such as vomiting, somnolence, convulsions or spasms) or respiratory symptoms (fast breathing or difficulty in breathing). These children have to be referred to hospitals for treatment.
"Children with any of the following signs: very high fever, vomiting, convulsions, spasms or difficulty breathing must be immediately brought to a hospital for diagnosis and treatment," Minister of Health H. E. Mam Bunheng advised parents.
Frequent washing of hands with soap and water, especially after touching any blisters or sores, before preparing food and eating, before feeding young infants, after using toilets and after cleaning children is encouraged.
The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with UNICEF and WHO, is developing information and educational materials to inform the general public about the disease.
The investigation into the recently reported illnesses and deaths in Cambodia concluded that a severe form of hand, foot and mouth disease caused by enterovirus 71 (EV-71) was the cause in majority of the cases reported to the Ministry of Health.
Based on the investigation, a total of 78 cases were identified. These included the initial 62 cases reported by the Kantha Bopha hospital, and cases reported from other hospitals. Of these, the investigation focused on 61 cases that fitted the criteria used (the case definition).
The latest follow-up on these 61 cases indicate that 56 died and three recovered.
During the past week, 533 HFMD cases have been reported to the MOH from 17 of the 24 provinces and there have been nine confirmed cases of severe EV71 infection. Of the nine cases, three died, one recovered, five are still sick."

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Malaysia : Miri, Sibu on cholera watch list

Via NST :

" THIRTY-TWO new cases were detected on Saturday bringing the total number of people infected with cholera in Bintulu to 232.

However, Assistant Minister for Public Health Dr Jerip Susil said the outbreak was "under control and contained".

He also declared the popular Ramadan bazaar there as "clean" as all the stall owners and their workers had been tested and found to be free of the cholera bacteria.

Health authorities are keeping a surveillance on the larger nearby towns of Miri and Sibu for fear the infection could spread there.

"We are keeping a close watch. So far from the reports that we got, the outbreak is well contained and there were no reports of cases elsewhere in the state," he said yesterday.

The number of people still in Bintulu hospital on Saturday was 41 while another eight were kept in isolation at the National Service training camp in Similajau, a few kilometres outside Bintulu town which had been temporarily turned into a special quarantine centre.

The camp is currently empty as the NS programme is on a break.

On the Ramadan bazaar, he said when the outbreak was reported this month, one of their priorities was to ensure the bazaar was not affected.

"We made all the stall owners and their workers undergo mandatory screening for the cholera bacteria.

"Tests on the samples and swabs taken showed all were negative. None were carrying the cholera bacteria."
He said the stall owners and their workers had to wear special tags to show their customers that they were "clean".

The tags are similar to the ones worn by frontline service staff at the height of the bird flu infection, declaring they had no flu or fever."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

New Zealand : Influenza rates in Canterbury soar

Via Stuff :

 " Influenza rates in Canterbury have soared in the past week and are now above the national average. A handful of swine flu cases have also been reported. The national average stands at about 20 cases per 100,000 people.

 Last week, the Canterbury average jumped to 50 cases per 100,000. Canterbury District Health Board planning and funding general manager Carolyn Gullery said the number of people suffering from influenza had increased in the past week. ''We had been tracking below the national average, but now we've gone above it, which is not a good sign for us,'' she said.

 ''It's definitely causing concern and we'll be monitoring it closely over the coming weeks.'' The board would continue to encourage people to have flu vaccinations, she said, but immunisation rates were below last year's levels. ''There's been less take-up with the under-18 age group,'' she said. ''Last year was really good, but this year hasn't been a repeat of that."

Concern grows over swine flu outbreak in Bolivia

Article via Channel News Asia :

 " An epidemic of swine flu has infected almost 900 people and claimed 11 lives in Bolivia, health officials said Tuesday. Although most of the cases occurred in the last few weeks, the outbreak does not rise to the level of a national epidemic, officials said.

 "At the national level, the situation is under control. The most affected area is in the west," Johnny Rada, director of the ministry of health's epidemiology service, told AFP. According to official tallies, 873 cases have been reported across the country, of which 606 are in the western department of La Paz and 60 in the department just south of it, Oruro.

 There have also been 167 cases reported in the large eastern department of Santa Cruz, and 36 in central Cochabamba department. A health alert has been issued for La Paz and Oruro, which, according to Rada, will permit health workers to intensify preventative measures.

 Deputy Health Minister Martin Maturano also urged Bolivians to take precautions, such as eating well and frequently washing their hands. Bolivian authorities have not said whether the strain of the virus originated as swine or avian flu -- in other words whether it first spread to humans from pigs or birds."

Unknown disease kills 60 Cambodian kids in 3 months

Article via The Star :

 " The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that an unidentified disease has killed 60 Cambodian children within the last three months and the agency is working with Cambodian health ministry to investigate the cause.

 According to the WHO, the symptoms of the disease include high fever and neurological involvement or respiratory difficulty.

 So far, 61 cases of the disease were reported, all under seven years old. Only one patient has survived the disease.

 "WHO is working with the Ministry of Health to conduct an investigation. At this point in time, little information is available, as the investigation is still ongoing," said Dr Pieter van Maaren, representative of WHO-Cambodia, in an e-mail to China's Xinhua news agency.

 Cambodian Minister of Health Mam Bunheng told Xinhua on Wednesday that his officials and WHO officials have been working closely to identify the disease and way of disease spread."

Monday, June 18, 2012

Malaysia : Sixty-six others with H1N1-like symptoms quarantined at training camp

Article via The Star :

Four National Service trainees remained warded at the Kuala Nerang Hospital for Influenza A (H1N1) illness.

Sixty-six others were quarantined at the Dusun Minda NS Training Camp in Kuala Nerang after they, too, displayed H1N1-like symptoms, said Kedah Health Department director Dr Ismail Abu Taat. 
He said the four warded at the hospital were females while those quarantined at the camp comprised 45 boys and 21 girls.
“All of them are in stable condition. The camp has taken extra precautionary measures to prevent the illness from spreading,” he said yesterday.
Last week, 90 trainees at the camp came down with the illness after they complained of flu and cough.
The camp has not been closed, although trainees and instructors have been advised to keep the premises clean and wear face masks."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Malaysia : 96 NS trainees quarantined for H1N1 infection

Article via The Star, in the state of Kedah, up north in Malaysia :

" KUALA NERANG: Some 96 of 300 National Service (NS) trainees at Kem Dusun Resort near here have been quarantined for H1N1 infection since Wednesday night. NS Training Department director-general Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang Kechil said 18 trainees were being treated and quarantined at Kuala Nerang Hospital while 78 more were quarantined in a special block in the camp.

"The Health Department is monitoring the cases and preventive measures have been taken to stop the virus from spreading," he said when contacted Thursday. The camp management has also complied with procedures set by the Health Department and several health staff have been stationed in the camp.

"At the moment, all the trainees and staff are not allowed to leave camp until further notice." Abdul Hadi advised parents not to visit the trainees, adding that contact was only allowed when necessary.

"If they need to meet with the trainees, parents can come but they must wear masks. They need not worry as preventive measures are taken in camp."

All the trainees involved are from Group 2, 2012."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Australia : Record number contract melioidosis in NT

Article via 9 News, excerpt :

" A record 97 people have contracted a potentially fatal bacterial disease in the Northern Territory this wet season, health authorities say.

Acting director of the Centre for Disease Control in the Territory, Steven Skov said there had been 97 cases of melioidosis locally this wet season, resulting in nine deaths.

Dr Skov said the figure was a record number of cases, although not a record number of deaths, which has dropped in recent years due to better treatments and awareness of the disease.

The soil-borne disease is thought to lie dormant in the ground for most of the year, but comes to the surface when there is heavy rain during the wet season.

Those at risk of catching melioidosis include gardeners who come into close contact with soil and people with compromised immune systems.

During the past three years there has been a spike in the number of cases, which researchers had put down to strong wet seasons."

Israel : After years of calm, measles cases spike in northern Israel

Via Haaretz :

" Israel's Health Ministry reports increase of cases after four year period of relative calm; spike partly attributed to families refusing to be vaccinated.

There has been a significant increase in cases of the measles in northern Israel, according to recent research carried out by Israel's Health Ministry.

The study by the ministry's epidemiology department found 96 cases of measles by the end of May 2012, compared to only four cases of the disease in the same period in 2011, 14 in 2010, and two in 2009.

Some 63 of the cases this year – 65 percent - were reported in the north, while 20 percent were in Tel Aviv – some 20 percent - eight cases in the center of the country, four in Haifa, one in Jerusalem, and one in southern Israel.

The reported increase comes after four years of calm. In contrast to the previous country-wide outbreak, the current spike is concentrated in northern Israeli towns where vaccination rates stand at less than 90 percent, among refugees communities in Tel Aviv, and especially among babies who not yet one-year-old - the minimum vaccination age in Israel.

In light of the outbreak, the Health Ministry is now completing immunization programs among populations that refused to be vaccinated in the past, most of which are from small towns in the north. Family members of those suffering from measles are also eligible for preventative vaccination.

A large part of those who refuse to be vaccinated do so on ideological grounds, also citing possible side effects and exposure to toxins."

Australia : Two horses, dog in Queensland test positive to Hendra virus

Via The Australian :

" TWO horses and a dog have have tested positive to the Hendra virus on Queensland properties quarantined with the deadly disease.   

Authorities last week announced two horses had died of Hendra on properties near Rockhampton and at Ingham.

A dog on the Ingham property and two horses on the Rockhampton property tested positive in results returned on Monday night, Agriculture Minister John McVeigh says.

There has only been one other reported case of Hendra infecting a dog.

The dog had returned a weak positive test, Mr McVeigh said.

"Hendra officers have taken steps to isolate the animals and the properties will remain quarantined," he told parliament on Tuesday.

Chief veterinary officer Rick Symons will hold a media conference in Brisbane at 11am (AEST).

Since the start of 2011 there have been 13 Hendra outbreaks in Queensland, resulting in the deaths or euthanasia of 16 horses and one dog."

Philippines : Dengue cases in Zambo City reach 1,053; 14 dead

Article via PIA :

" The City Health Office revealed that dengue cases in the city is now at 1,053 with 14 fatalities.

City Health Officer Dr. Rodelin Agbulos again called on the public to continue intensified clean up drives to put a halt to the increasing number of dengue cases.

“Efforts have to be doubled or tripled in order to bring down the number of cases being registered in the hospitals and clinics. We appeal to the public to continue the campaign to search and destroy breeding places of dengue and help reduce the number of dengue incidents,” Agbulos stressed.

Agbulos said outbreak level remains in Zamboanga with the recent figure. He said the outbreak declaration cannot be lifted as of the moment. He also added that they have deployed teams in the different barangays in the city everyday to continue with the anti-dengue campaign. Medical teams, to include doctors in the different sub-districts of the city, are also advised to intensify their monitoring activities in their area."

Bangladesh : Poultry vaccination plan triggers shock

Via BD News 24 :

" The government's move to vaccinate poultry against frequently changing avian influenza virus has 'surprised' experts because globally it is recommended not to use it for public health's sake.

Experts say the available vaccines in the world have been able to reduce poultry fatalities for some time, but the vaccinated birds' capabilities to transmit the disease 'silently' after being infected caused 'massive' human mortalities.

Indonesia, Egypt and Vietnam had been vaccinating poultries but stopped after an influx of human fatalities last year followed when the virus also changed its strain.

Fisheries and Livestock Minister Abdul Latif Biswas on Sunday told journalists that considering poultry farmers' 'long-standing demand' the government planned to 'experimentally' introduce the vaccine.

He said a committee had been formed to finalise the decision to that end.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) experts say they are 'surprised' by the move.

Mat Yamage, Chief Technical Adviser to the FAO Avian Influenza Control Programme, told that earlier they 'warned' the government against using vaccines.

He said the situation where the vaccine once used was 'serious' and that 'there is no record of successfully controlling H5N1 with vaccines'.

"We would strongly say it should be discussed with technical experts."

Globally, it is recommended that poultry farms maintain bio-security to prevent the virus and government have measures for early reporting, rapid action, culling and surveillance to control avian influenza outbreaks."

Nepal : Dengue detected in duo in Chitwan

Article via The Himalayan Times :

" Dengue fever, which is communicated from mosquito bite, has been detected on two patients in Chitwan district.

One dengue patient was found at Bharatpur Hospital and another at Chitwan Medical College. The dengue patient found at Bharatpur Hospital is undergoing treatment, said senior doctor Bijay Paudel.

Dr. Arun Sedhain said the dengue patient was found at the Chitwan Medical College on the third week of April.

He said the patient is under the care of the Hospital.

It is said that number of patients suffering from fever is increasing at the Chitwan Hospital with sudden rise of temperature and mosquito bites."

Singapore : Dengue outbreak in Ang Mo Kio Avenues 5 and 10

Article via Straits Times :

" Two areas in Ang Mo Kio have been hit with a spate of dengue fever.

Since April 12, 53 people living in Ang Mo Kio Avenues 5 and 10 have caught the viral disease. The cases are from 19 housing blocks in the area.

A National Environment Agency (NEA) spokesman said the outbreak was the largest so far this year.
A dengue cluster is formed when there are two or more dengue cases in an area within two weeks."

India : Encephalitis kills 15 kids in Bihar

Article via Two Circles :

" Suspected encephalitis has killed 15 children in Bihar's Muzaffarpur and Gaya districts in the last week, officials said Saturday. The mosquito-borne disease, which claimed nearly 150 lives last year, has returned with a vengeance.

Eleven children have died in Muzaffarpur and four in Gaya. Over two dozen children have been admitted to hospitals in both places. According to officials, 24 children have been admitted for treatment in hospitals in Muzaffarpur, about 70 km from here.

Muzaffarpur civil surgeon Gayan Bhusan said the children died after contracting high fever followed by convulsions."

Sunday, May 13, 2012

India : Dengue claims two more in Tirunelveli

Via Times of India :

 " TIRUNELVELI: Two more persons, including a six-year-old child, fell victim to dengue in Tirunelveli on Saturday as the illness threatens to assume epidemic proportions. According to health officials, the number of persons who have died due to dengue in Kadayanallur and adjoining rural areas in the southern district has risen to 10 with these two deaths since April.

The two deceased were identified as Sharmila (6) daughter of Kumaresan of Udayampuli near Mukkoodal, about 40 kilometres from Kadayanallur, the epicentre of the outbreak and Hassan Mohideen (58) of Vadakarai near Alangulam. The two were admitted in the government hospital at Tirunelveli since May 10. "We did our best to save them.

 But they were brought to the government hospital after the illness turned severe. They had taken treatment in private hospitals before coming to the GH. If they had come earlier, they would have been saved,'' said deputy director (health) Meeran Mohideen. Now as many as 110 persons belonging to all age groups from various villages in Kadayanallur region are undergoing treatment at the government hospital for dengue. A battery of health officials have plunged into action soon after the outbreak was reported last month.

Besides state health officials, experts from the Vector Control Research Centre, Pondicherry have landed in Tirunelveli to study the unusual outbreak of the disease in summer, as dengue is usually reported only during winter. The dengue outbreak was reported from Kadayanallur region way back in 2009 when a number of deaths were reported. This year, in April, three persons died sparking fear of dengue though officials were on a denial mode initially. Later they admitted that the cause of death was dengue and sprang into action."

Leptospirosis in Peru

Via CDC, excerpt :

" What Is the Current Situation? 

Flooding has caused an outbreak of leptospirosis in Peru, especially in the Loreto region. This is the worst flooding seen in this area for over 20 years. Peru has reported more than 300 cases and 3 deaths associated with leptospirosis thus far in 2012. Health authorities have alerted people to take precautions against the infection.

What Is Leptospirosis? 

Leptospirosis is a disease that is spread by animal urine. People become infected with the disease when they come in contact with body fluids of infected animals or in contact with water, soil, or food contaminated with infected urine. Leptospirosis is a hazard for many people who work outdoors or with animals. The disease has also been associated with swimming, wading, kayaking, and rafting in contaminated lakes and rivers. Symptoms include high fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rash. Some people do not experience symptoms. This disease can cause kidney or liver failure and/or meningitis (swelling of the tissue covering the brain). Without treatment, recovery can take several months. Leptospirosis occurs throughout the world, especially in regions with flooding. Leptospirosis occurs more often in tropical areas. Urban areas lacking sanitation may also have a higher risk of leptospirosis."

Dengue fever kills 14 Cambodian children in 1st four months

Via Xinhua :

 " Cambodia reported 2,277 dengue fever cases, killing 14 children in the first four months of 2012, Dr. Char Meng Chuor, director of the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, said Sunday.

During the four months this year, the infection cases of the disease had increased by 369 percent if compared to the same period last year, he said.

 "It's a concern for us," he said, appealing to people to sleep in mosquito nets and keep clean environment around their houses. "To prevent the disease, it's required to kill larvae by using Abate and by filling in puddles around houses, which are sources of mosquitoes," he said.

 About 270 tones of Abate (a chemical substance used to kill larvae in water pots) will be distributed free of charge to households this year, he added."

South Africa : HPAI Outbreak Discovered in Western Cape Province

Via Xinhua :

" The South African veterinary authorities have discovered another outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza at a commercial ostrich farm located in Western Cape Province.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received Follow-up Report No. 11 yesterday, 9 May. A total of 310 ostriches were found susceptible, out of which 98 cases were identified.

No deaths were reported, and no birds were destroyed. Initially, no clinical signs or mortalities were seen. Stamping out of ostriches on positive farm is taking place. The presence of the H5N2 sub-type of the HPAI virus has been confirmed. The source of the outbreak remains inconclusive."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Indonesia : Riau boy: 157th bird flu fatality Indonesia : Riau boy - 157th bird flu fatality

Via The Jakarta Post :

" A two-year old boy, identified only as MAF, died from bird flu last Friday in a state hospital in Riau, the Health Ministry has confirmed.

A ministry team has investigated the boy’s neighborhood and found that he may have had contact with quails’ eggs because his parents sold them, the ministry’s directorate general for disease control and environmental health said in a press statement released on Tuesday night.

The boy, a resident of Siak in Pekanbaru, was brought to a private clinic on April 20 after developing a fever on April 17, the statement said.

He was then rushed to a private hospital on the night of April 20 because his condition had not improved, it said.

On April 21, he was treated in another hospital identified only as EB, where doctors reported the case to the Riau Health Agency’s post command. He was referred to a state hospital, identified only as AA.

“[The boy’s] condition deteriorated and he died on April 27 at 11:45 p.m. at Hospital AA,” the statement said.
The total number of bird flu cases since 2005 now stands at 189, with 157 fatalities after the latest case.

Director general Dr. Tjandra Yoga Aditama has reported the latest case to the World Health Organization, the statement said."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Indonesia : Bali Boy Dies From Bird Flu

Via The Jakarta Post :

" An eight-year-old boy died from bird flu in a Bali hospital on Tuesday night. The boy, Ni Putu Purnami, was in critical condition when he was transferred from Bangli Hospital to Sanglah Hospital on Tuesday afternoon and he was immediately isolated.

“Clinically, and supported by the VCR (Visual Convention Reaction) laboratory result, the victim was positively infected with the H5N1 virus,” said Sanglah Hospital spokesman Ida Bagus Ken Wirasandi on Wednesday.

Putu died at 10:15 p.m. after four hours at the hospital. Ken said Putu’s family told him the victim was in contact with dead poultry two months ago.

The Bali Health Agency head Ketut Suarjaya said that seven people on Bali have died since the virus first reached the island in 2007. “In 2011, 46 patients were suspected to have of avian flu [in Bali],” Suarjaya said."

Hong Kong : Two linked imported cases of dengue fever investigated

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

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating two imported and related cases of dengue fever and has urged people to guard against the disease. The first patient is a 24-year-old woman who developed headache, myalgia and rash since April 9.

The second patient is a 25-year-old man who developed similar symptoms as well as fever, arthralgia and retro-orbital pain on the same day. They sought medical consultation at a private hospital and a general out-patient clinic respectively but no hospitalisation was required.

The pair is now in stable condition. The woman's blood sample tested positive for the dengue virus while that of the man tested positive for dengue IgM. The CHP's investigation revealed that the two patients had travelled together to Bali, Indonesia, from April 4 to 8, where both were bitten by mosquitoes.

The CHP will continue to follow up on the cases. There have been 18 confirmed cases of dengue fever in 2012, and they were all imported. Last year 30 cases of imported dengue fever were reported to the CHP, with no local cases."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Vietnam reports 4th bird flu infection

Article via Thanh Nien News :

" Vietnam’s fourth bird flu (H5N1) patient of the year, and the first in the Central Highlands region, is being treated at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, the hospital’s deputy director Le Manh Hung told Thanh Nien Wednesday.

The 32-year-old male patient, known as N.D.T, from Dak Lak Province, was admitted to the hospital on Monday with high fever, fatigue and respiratory problems. He was put on a breathing machine and kept in quarantine. His family said they had previously slaughtered and eatend a sick home-raised chicken more than 10 days ago.

T. then developed a cough and high fever. The chicken's flock also died, the family said. T. was treated with medicine at home for the first three days after falling sick. After being admitted to Dak Lak Hospital, his condition did not improve.

 He was then transferred to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases where tests showed he was positive with the H5N1 virus Vietnam has so far this year reported four bird flu infections, two of which are fatal, after 20 months’ absence."

Bhutan Reports Another HPAI Outbreak

Via The Poultry Site :

 " The Bhutanese veterinary authorities have reported another outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza at two villages in Mongar.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received Follow-up Report No. 6 on Friday, 20 April. The outbreak has affected backyard free-ranging chicken in two villages, Yangbari and Patong. Out of 265 susceptible chickens, 70 cases were reported.

The 70 chickens were reported dead. One carcass tested positive to real-time PCR on 5 April. However, subsequently 16 samples from the affected and nearby villages tested negative to H5N1.

 Clinical and laboratory surveillance within a 3-km-radius showed no new cases. Therefore, at this stage, this could be a suspected H5N1 outbreak. The source of the outbreak remains inconclusive."

Monday, April 23, 2012

3 test positive for avian flu in Taiwan

Via Channel News Asia :

" Three poultry farm workers have been tested positive for the H5N2 avian influenza strain but none have displayed flu symptoms, Taiwan's disease control authorities said.

They were among 141 people working at five poultry farms where the avian flu was discovered.

Tens of thousands of chickens in the farms have been culled since the outbreak of H5N2 in the past few months.

Medical experts believe the test results may well be a cross-reactivity since all the three persons had flu jabs last year, Xinhua news agency reported.

Cases of humans who tested positive for H5N2 while showing no health disorders were previously reported in South Africa and Japan between 1993 to 1995.

Taiwan authorities confirmed the outbreak of H5N2 following sporadic reports in farms in central Taiwan.

The flu has so far affected chicken farms in Changhua, Tainan and Nantou."

India : Punjab records first swine flu death

Via Times of India :

" The deadly swine flu is back in Punjab, with the state reporting the season's first fatality due to the disease, sending the state health department -- that grappled with more than 300 such cases over the last two years -- into a tizzy.

Vijay Kumar, 35, resident of Nangal -- a town located on the banks of the country's biggest dam Bhakra Nangal -died in Ludhiana on Friday evening. Kumar, who died at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) was one of the two patients from the state, who had tested H1N1 positive earlier this month.

"The patient's blood sample showed high level of infection which usually happens in this flu, if not reported on time. By the time he was here, he had septicemia -- a bacteria that occurs with infections, resulting in a cardiac arrest," Dr Rajesh Mahajan, professor of medicine at DMCH, told TOI.

Lack of isolation wards, bed facilities and ventilators at district hospitals in Punjab have been a cause of concern. Between 2009 and 2010, there were 252 people in Punjab who tested positive for the flu, leaving 73 of them dead due to delay in treatment. A woefully small number of central government laboratories with facilities to test throat swabs for swine flu has already hampered the early treatment of patients."

Friday, April 20, 2012

Meningitis kills 749 in West, Central Africa

Via Xinhua :

" Meningitis has killed 749 people in West and Central Africa this year, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

In a report released here on Friday, OCHA said Burkina Faso and Chad were the most affected countries in West and Central Africa. In Burkina Faso, OCHA recorded 3,630 cases since the beginning of the year, which is 40 percent of all cases reported in the region and, out of which, 400 people had died by April 1.

The organization's website, ochaonline, reported that most cases were found in the country's west bordering Mali, Ghana, Togo and Benin.

By April 1, Burkina Faso had seen eight districts in an epidemic situation and 11 others on alert level. The meningitis disease in Burkina Faso is attributed to NmW135 germ.

Chad had registered 2,136 cases as per April 1 and 102 deaths."

Vietnam asks WHO to help identify killer disease

Via The Associated Press :

" HANOI, Vietnam (AP) --Vietnam has asked international health experts to help investigate a mystery illness that has killed 19 people and sickened 171 others in an impoverished district in central Vietnam, an official said Friday."

Tough new strain of hand, foot and mouth virus hitting U.S.

Via USA Today :

" Worried parents are phoning their pediatricians, fearful of the spread of a nasty new strain of hand, foot and mouth virus, a common childhood disease.

It hit Alabama last month, is in Northern California now and may be headed to a day care near you soon.

The hand, foot and mouth virus that usually causes a slight fever and a rash on the palms in toddlers is called coxsackie A16. The new variant, A6, was first reported in the United States in December. It can hit kids and adults hard, causing fingernails and toenails to fall off two to three weeks after the illness has passed.

The variant swept Alabama in March, state epidemiologist Mary McIntyre said. "We've had 15 people hospitalized," she said. Some cases included "severe fevers, seizures, headaches, severe diarrhea and vomiting." The oldest patient was 69.

There is no treatment.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is no relation to hoof and mouth disease, an animal illness.

Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that some victims have been hospitalized for severe pain. The virus is highly contagious. Writing on a parent e-mail list, one San Francisco mom said her toddler infected every child but one in her preschool."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Australia : Schoolboy contracts scarlet fever

Via NT News :

" A TERRITORY primary school pupil has caught scarlet fever.

The boy is being kept at home.

Education Department acting school operations head Alan Baillie said the boy's mother had contacted teachers to say her son had been diagnosed with the disease by two doctors at the GP super clinic in Palmerston during the Easter holidays.

"No other cases have been reported," he said. "The school has sent a letter home to parents as a precautionary measure."

China : Bird flu `epidemic' sparks chicken cull

Via The Standard :

" Agricultural authorities have culled about 95,000 chickens following an outbreak of the H5N1 bird flu virus in northwest China.
The outbreak in Touying township of the Ningxia region was discovered after more than 23,000 chickens began showing symptoms.

The Ministry of Agriculture said the "epidemic is now under control" and that work teams have been sent to the area to step up prevention measures.

In January, a man in Guizhou province died after contracting the bird flu virus, the second such fatality reported in the mainland this year, health authorities said.

China is considered one of the nations most at risk of bird flu epidemics because it has the world's biggest poultry population."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Measles outbreak in Ukraine

Via The Norwegian Institute of Public Health, excerpt :

" There is an ongoing measles outbreak in Ukraine. Since January 2012, over 5100 cases have been reported and it is expected that this will increase. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health recommends that unvaccinated people traveling to the European Football Championships in Ukraine and Poland who have not previously had measles should take the vaccine in good time before they travel.
The Ukrainian outbreak is concentrated near the border with Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, but it is expected that the outbreak will increase in the next few months and spread to more areas. As measles is highly infectious and vaccine coverage in Ukraine is low, there is a high chance of exposure to the measles virus. People who are unvaccinated or are not immune to measles are at significant risk of infection.

Measles is extremely contagious and is the most serious of the childhood diseases included in the childhood immunisation programme in Norway. Of the childhood diseases that can be prevented by vaccine, measles is the most common cause of death globally. Young children and children with other diseases are most at risk for serious complications, but older children and adults can also become seriously ill with measles.

Increased risk during the European Football Championships in 2012

The risk of contracting measles and other infectious diseases is likely to increase during the European Football Championships (EURO2012) taking place in Poland and Ukraine from the 8th June to 1st July 2012. Large crowds will gather in both football stadiums and city areas, which will promote the spread of infectious diseases.

Vaccine advice

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health recommends that anyone traveling to the Ukraine should be protected against measles, either as a result of previous infection or vaccination. Unvaccinated adults are recommended to take one dose of the MMR vaccine before travelling. Protection against measles is effective two to three weeks after vaccination so the vaccine should be taken in good time before departure. People who have had measles are immune and do not need to take the vaccine."

Indonesia : Dengue fever spikes in Tangerang regency

Via The Jakarta Post :

" The Tangerang regency Health Agency has warned residents to remain vigilant as dengue disease has spiked in the region.

Some 49 Tangerang regency residents suffered from dengue fever from January to April.

“Out of the 49 residents, no one has died. They were quickly rushed to nearest community health centers,” Tangerang Health Agency disease prevention and control unit head Wiwit said on Wednesday.

The agency has taken emergency measures to curb the disease, considering that the current transition season from rainy to dry season usually triggers a spike in the number of dengue fever cases.

The agency has deployed cadres of the Larva-Free Movement to 274 villages and subdistricts to encourage residents to keep their environment clean and to distribute abate powder.

Wiwit said that the number of dengue fever cases in the region had been decreasing from year to year. The agency recorded 200 dengue cases in 2011, dropping from 999 cases in 2010."

Taiwan : More Cases of LPAI in I-Lan

Via The Poultry Site :

" The Taiwanese veterinary authorities have reported further cases of low pathogenic avian influenza in I-Lan affecting native chicken.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received Follow-up Report No. 5 on Friday, 13 April.

Out of 1170 susceptible birds, 44 cases and 11 deaths were identified.

Clinical cases were notified from the abattoir. The local disease control center (LDCC) took and sent the samples from the abattoir to the national laboratory (AHRI) for diagnosis.

The H5N2 subtype LPAI event was identified at the abattoir according to the results of laboratory tests (RT-PCR test, HA0 cleavage site sequencing and pathogenicity test) from AHRI.

The source of the outbreak remains inconclusive."

Monday, April 16, 2012

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

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

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (April 16) called on people to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).

The appeal followed an outbreak of HFMD at a kindergarten-cum-child care centre in Tuen Mun affecting 20 students aged between 2 and 5.

Those affected, comprising 13 males and seven females, have developed oral ulcers, fever, vesicles and rash on their hands or feet since March 18.

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

Stool specimens collected from two children tested positive for Coxsackie virus."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nigeria : Lassa fever - Red Cross mobilises 300 for sensitisation in 3 states

Via Nigerian Tribune :

" The Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) has trained and dispatched 300 volunteers to carry out Lassa fever sensitisation in three states, in the bid to combat the disease.

The sensitisation exercise, which is going on simultaneously in Ebonyi, Edo and Nasarawa states, will last for six weeks.

A statement issued by the head, Communications Unit of NRCS, Nwakpa O. Nwakpa, noted that water treatment tablets and other equipments had also been distributed to over three million vulnerable people in the three states.

Speaking during the ceremony heralding the distribution, the Secretary General of the NRCS, Bello Hamman Diram, urged the beneficiaries to put the items to maximum use.

He also enjoined them to keep their environments clean to avoid falling victims of not only Lassa fever, but also other diseases.

The secretary general disclosed that arrangements had been concluded by the society, in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to carry out similar sensitisation in all the affected states.

Meanwhile, the society’s focal persons, Dr Uche Ogba (Ebonyi), Dr Kemi Aderibigbe (Edo) and Ahmed Saidu (Nasarawa), have donated five cartons of personal protective equipment (PPE) each to the three state governments.

Presenting the equipment to the Ebonyi State Commissioner of Health, Dr Sunday Nwangele, the head of Health and Care of the NRCS, Dr Uche Ogba, noted that the donation was targeted at helping to protect health workers in the beneficiary hospitals so as not to get infected by patients."

More dengue victims on Niue but authorities say outbreak under control

Via Radio NZ :

" Health authorities on Niue are confident that they are on top of the latest dengue outbreak that has infected 20 people to date.

The chief medical officer, Dr Eddie Akau’ola, says this outbreak began about three weeks ago but they believe they have been able to contain it.

He says it is peaking now and they expect a decline in a week or two.

Dr Akau’ola says none of the cases have been too serious.

“We have mild to moderate cases. We haven’t had a severe case and we haven’t lost anyone to dengue. We don’t see the hemorrhagic form yet. Unfortunately we don’t have the serotyping - we are still sending away the specimens for that, but we only have the mild to moderate forms."

Maldives : Little girl dies of Dengue

Via Haveeru Online :

" A little girl has died of dengue while receiving treatment in ADK hospital yesterday.

ADK Hospital Managing Director Ahmed Afaal revealed that the girl had contracted the most dangerous strain of the virus, which is known as Dengue Shock Syndrome.
In addition, the child had suffered from aspiration pneumonia, Afaal said.

“The child was brought in emergency to the hospital yesterday evening. By the time she was brought in she was having difficulties in breathing and died soon after while we were treating her in intensive care,” he added.

However, Afaal did not disclose further details of the child who passed away from the infectious disease transmitted by several species of mosquito.

The most number of deaths by the dengue virus had been recorded last year, where it claimed the lives of over 10 people, most of whom had been children."

India : Cholera cases reported in city

Via Times of India :

" BANGALORE : Close on the heels of H1N1 scare, cholera and gastroenterology have sparked an epidemic scare in Bangalore. Five cases of cholera have been reported from a private hospital in Chikkalalbagh area, near Majestic, said Dr Manoranjan Hegde, nodal officer, communicable disease, BBMP.

When contacted, Dr Chandrashekar Malagi, Joint Director, Communicable Diseases, State Health and Family Welfare Department, said there were two more cholera cases reported from Isolation Hospital. "However, in a city like Bangalore it is not a huge number. The climate is such that there could be more cases of cholera."

Vietnam : One more child dies of HFMD, bringing death toll to 18

Article via Tuoitre News :

" A 3-year-old baby died from hand, foot and mouth (HFMD) disease at a Ho Chi Minh City hospital last Saturday, taking the total death toll from the disease to 18 nationwide so far this year, the HCMC Health Department reported.

The baby girl, from An Giang Province, was admitted into the Pediatrics 1 Hospital at 9:30 pm on April 7 and died an hour later due to her critical condition. The baby contracted HFMD at level 4, doctors said.

The death was the fifth case among children in An Giang Province, which is leading the country in the death toll from HFMD, which has spread to all 63 provinces, affecting more than 21,300 children.

Of the 18 deaths, five were in An Giang, two each in HCMC, Dong Thap, Dong Nai and Can Tho, and there has been one each in Da Nang, Dak Lak, Binh Dinh, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, and Vinh Long.

Speaking at last week’s conference on measures to minimize deaths from the disease, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien warned that the epidemic has been more serious than it was last year. She urged all health units to take all possible measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

The disease rate is 23.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the Preventive Health Department reported at the conference."

More Taiwanese Ducks Affected by LPAI

Via The Poultry Site :

" The Taiwanese veterinary authorities have reported an outbreak of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) affecting ducks in I-Lan.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received Follow-up Report No. 4 yesterday, 10 April.

A total of 1000 ducks were found susceptible, out of which 20 cases were reported. No deaths were recorded, and no birds were destroyed.

The notifiable avian influenza (NAI) viral infection was detected on a duck farm in the process of active surveillance and identified as H5N2 strain by virus isolation.

Movement restriction was implemented on the infected farm. The ducks were normal without clinical signs.

The positive results of virological tests and pathogenicity test confirmed this LPAI H5N2 outbreak.

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

The source of the outbreak remains inconclusive."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Indonesia, Aceh quake: Fresh tsunami warning after 8.2 aftershock

Via The Star :

" Indonesia has issued a fresh tsunami warning after an aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 8.2 shook its western coast.

The first 8.6-magnitude quake off Aceh province, hours earlier, spawned a wave around 80cm high but caused no serious damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the strong temblor that followed was centered 16km beneath the ocean around 615km from the provincial capital, Banda Aceh."

India : Woman succumbs to Swine Flu in Gujarat

Via The Hindustan Times :

" A 60-year-old woman died of Swine Flu, taking the H1N1 death toll to two in Gujarat so far, health officials said on Wednesday.

The victim, identified as Yasmin Hussain succumbed to the viral infection at her residence in Juhapura area of the city on Tuesday, they said.

This is the first case of swine flu in the city, and second in Gujarat this year. Manhar Dodiya (52) was the first victim of swine flu in the state in 2012. He had died in Rajkot civil hospital Saturday last.

According to health officials, Yasmin was admitted to the VS hospital early last week following influenza like symptoms.

While she was undergoing treatment, samples of her saliva and blood was sent for testing. But before the test results arrived, her family members got her 'discharged against medical advice' and took her home."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hong Kong : Fatal case with Group A Streptococcus infection under investigation

Via Hong Kong's CHP :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a fatal case with Group A Streptococcus infection involving a 21-year-old pregnant woman.

The woman, with good past health, attended the Accident and Emergency Department (AED) of Kwong Wah Hospital for fever and right breast swelling on March 25. She was treated as having upper respiratory tract infection and mastitis. The woman was discharged the same day.

In the morning of April 4, she developed cyanosis and dyspnoea. She attended the AED of Queen Elizabeth Hospital and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit on the same day.

She was also noted as having skin mottling and shock. Her clinical condition deteriorated rapidly and she passed away on the same day.

Her blood culture grew Streptococcus pyogenes (Group A). The diagnosis was septicaemia.

She did not have recent travel history. Her close contacts were asymptomatic."

India : Woman dies of swine flu in Rajasthan

Via The Asian Age :

" In the first swine flu fatality of the season in Rajasthan, a 52-year-old woman infected with H1N1 virus died at a private hospital here.

The woman identified as Neelama, an employee of Punjab National Bank, died of the flu on Monday, Chief Medical Officer of Kota Gagnendra Singh Sisodiya said.

Neelima was admitted on Sunday and was later shifted to a private hospital, where she succumbed to her illness, he said, adding that one more person has been tested positive in the district and is being treated at a private hospital.

Meanwhile, alarmed by the first swine flue death of the season, the medical department has geared up for preventive measures and instructed the staff at Community Health Centres and Primary Health Centers to carry out a survey in the region, Sisodia said.

Two persons had died in Karnataka this week, while a 55-year-old woman succumbed at Shimla's Indira Gandhi Medical College in Himachal Pradesh on April 7 due to swine flu."

Hong Kong : Oriental magpie robin tests positive for H5N1 virus

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

" A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (April 10) that the carcass of an Oriental magpie robin found in Hung Hom last week was confirmed to be H5N1-positive after a series of laboratory tests.

The dead bird was found and collected near 19 Station Lane, Hung Hom, on April 4. The Oriental magpie robin is a common resident bird in Hong Kong.

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

Thursday, April 5, 2012

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

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

" Eight patients (aged 22 to 50) in a general adult psychiatric female ward had presented with respiratory symptoms since March 20. Appropriate viral tests were arranged for the patients and seven patients tested positive for Influenza B. The patients concerned are being treated under isolation and are in stable condition.

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

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

India : Girl tests positive for A (H1N1) flu in Coimbatore

Via The Hindu, excerpt :

" A girl aged four-and-a-half was admitted to the isolation ward of the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) on Thursday after she tested positive for A (H1N1) influenza. A 55-year-old man from the neighbouring Tirupur District is already undergoing treatment in the ward, while a 79-year-old man from that district died last Sunday of the flu at the CMCH.

Public health authorities, however, are not seeing any chance of an outbreak, despite three cases being reported in less than a week. They contend that the flu virus is already in the community owing to previous occurrences since 2009. Only sporadic cases is different groups will occur and not as a cluster.

The condition of the man and the girl is stable, the authorities said. Contact treatment – providing oseltamivir tablets to all those who were in close contact with the patients – is being done. Health authorities in Tirupur carried out this process with the relatives of the man who died of the flu and also the man undergoing treatment in Coimbatore. The authorities in Coimbatore identified the relatives and other close contacts of the girl’s family at Kovilpalayam and began treatment soon after the case was established as positive."

Salmonella sickens 90 in U.S.

Via Xinhua :

" At least 90 people have been sickened by an unusual strain of salmonella -- Bareilly, with sushi a possible culprit, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Wednesday.

The foodborne illness was reported in 19 states and the District of Columbia from Jan. 28 to April 2, and the outbreak appears to be ongoing, the CDC said in a statement. Many of the ill persons said they had eaten sushi, sashimi or similar foods before becoming sick.

The CDC did not report any deaths or hospitalizations. It is working with the Food and Drug Administration and state officials to identify the source of the outbreak."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WHO : Lassa fever in Nigeria

Press release from WHO :

" 4 APRIL 2012 - At the beginning of 2012, WHO was notified by the Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria of an outbreak of Lassa fever. As of March 22,2012, 623 suspected cases, including 70 deaths have been recorded from 19 of the 36 States since the beginning of the year.Laboratory analysis undertaken at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Irrua Edo State has confirmed the presence of Lassa virus infection in 108 patients. Three doctors and four nurses were reported to be among the fatalities. This information is provisional and subject to change when laboratory results for Lassa fever in suspected cases become available.

The Federal and State governments are responding to the outbreak by enhancing the disease surveillance for early detection, reinforcing treatment of patients, and conducting awareness campaigns among the affected population.

Major challenges are the ongoing security risks in the country limiting access to some areas as well as the limited availability of resources to respond to the escalating outbreak.

WHO does not advise or recommend any restrictions on travel or trade with Nigeria. Travellers returning from affected areas who develop symptoms of fever, malaise, headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain should seek medical advice.

People usually become infected with Lassa virus from exposure to infected rodents belonging to Mastomys species. Person-to-person transmission occurs through direct contact with sick patients in both community and health care settings. Those at greatest risk are persons living in rural areas where Mastomys are found. Health care workers are at risk if adequate infection control practices are not maintained."

India : Three-year-old girl dies of suspected dengue

Via Times of India :

" A three-year-old child died due to dengue fever from Kanur panchayat near Tirupachethi on Monday. Vijayashree, daughter of Sivachidambaram fell sick on Friday and her parents rushed her to a private hospital in Madurai. She died in the hospital after failing to respond to treatment. The hospital certified that it was dengue fever.

Recently, an eight-month-old infant, Gugapriyan, son of Manikandan died after he developed fever, though it was not known whether it was due to dengue. Villagers said that 10 more persons in Kanur village are down with fever at present. However, health officials stressed that it was an isolated case of dengue being reported from the village and they have taken all necessary preventive measures on a war-footing."

Vietnam sees surge in childhood virus

From a Google News hosted AFP report, excerpt :

" Vietnam is seeing an "alarming rise" in deaths from a common childhood virus which has killed 11 babies and infants and sickened more than 15,000 others, the Red Cross said Tuesday.

In the first three months of 2012 the infection rate of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) was seven times higher than the same period last year, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent.

"It is vital that this disease be brought under control as its victims -- small children -- are some of the most vulnerable," IFRC Vietnam representative, Bhupinder Tomar, said in a statement.

There is no specific treatment for the common disease, which typically causes little more than a fever and rash, but the risk of catching it is greatly reduced through good hygiene practices. No vaccine exists."

Taiwan : LPAI Detected in Native Chickens

Via The Poultry Site :

" The Taiwanese veterinary authorities have reported an outbreak of low pathogenic avian influenza affecting native chickens at a poultry market in Taipei.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received Follow-up Report No. 3 yesterday, 3 April.

According to the report, five birds were found susceptible, out of which one case was identified. All five birds were slaughtered.

The specific RNA product of H5N2 avian influenza virus was detected in swab samples collected from the poultry market following intensified surveillance conducted by the local government. The sequence analysis of the HA0 cleavage site demonstrated the causal agent is low pathogenic.

The source of the outbreak remains inconclusive."

Ireland : Four home residents who died of flu had received vaccine

Via The Irish Times :

" FOUR OF the residents who died of influenza at a nursing home in Co Donegal had been vaccinated against the flu, the HSE has confirmed.

Tests have shown the outbreak of infection at Nazareth House, Fahan, near Buncrana, which claimed six lives in less than a fortnight, was caused by Influenza A (H3).

Protection against this strain of influenza was contained in the seasonal flu vaccine issued last October.

Dr Darina O’Flanagan, director of the HSE’s national Health Protection Surveillance Centre, said, however, that the vaccine, recommended by the World Health Organisation, was “not a perfect fit” for the strain in the northern hemisphere. She also said the elderly people who had died were in their 80s and 90s, and vaccines were not always as effective in that age group as they often had weakened immune systems.

The first death at the home occurred on March 22nd. There were two deaths on March 29th, one on March 31st, one on April 1st and one on April 2nd. Three of the residents had been transferred to Letterkenny General Hospital before they died, and three had died in the home."

EID Journal : Human Infection With H10N7 Avian Influenza

From Mike Coston at Avian Flu Diary, who as always posts excellent article and review, excerpt :

" Although they are only rarely detected, there is evidence to suggest that humans may be infected by avian influenza viruses more often than commonly suspected.

Every year billions of people around the world experience flu-like symptoms that can stem from any of hundreds of different viruses.

Of those, only the tiniest fraction are tested to see what pathogen caused the illness.

While most people are aware of the several hundred H5N1 `bird flu’ infections detected over the past decade, we’ve also seen a smaller number of human infections caused by a variety of avian and swine origin flu viruses."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Scotland : Seven dead in flu outbreak at home

Via Reformer :

" A seventh person has died in an outbreak of flu at a nursing home, NHS Tayside has said.

The health board reported that 28 residents in Orchar Nursing Home in Dundee are known to have been infected with the influenza A virus, including the seven who have died.

None of the infected residents are in hospital and all are being cared for at the home, with "intensive support" from GPs and primary care, the health board said.

NHS Tayside's health protection team are investigating the outbreak.

A health board spokeswoman said: "All appropriate infection control measures have been put in place in the care home and there is no increased risk to the wider public.

"Where appropriate, residents have been offered antivirals which can reduce the severity and infectiousness of influenza in those affected.

"Relatives who are visiting sick residents are being asked to take extra infection control precautions whilst at the care home."

Anyone with flu-like symptoms can call NHS 24 on 08454 242 424 for advice or their GP if their symptoms are particularly severe.

The first five people to die were a man aged 74 and four women aged 81, 88, 90 and 91 on Sunday 25 and Monday 26 March.

The sixth person died overnight between 1 and 2 April. The age and gender of the sixth and seventh people to die have not been released."

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Malaysia : All water training at PLKN camps suspended

Via The Borneo Post :

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

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

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

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

NSABB reverses recommendation on H5N1 studies

From Lisa Schnirring at CIDRAP, excerpt :

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

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

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

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

India : Another suspected swine flu death

Via Times of India :

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

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

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

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

Article via Independent :

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

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

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

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

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

China : Surging hand-foot-mouth disease in Hunan

Via Xinhua :

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 26, 2012

India : H1N1 virus develops a new strain

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 25, 2012

At least 11 die as diarrhea outbreak in S. Philippines

Via Xinhua :

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

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

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

India : Swine flu returns, kills 14 in 15 days

Via IBN Live :

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

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

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

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

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

Malaysia : HFMD cases in Sarawak rise to 3,561

Via The Borneo Post :

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, March 24, 2012

10 people killed in Mozambique cholera outbreak

Via Xinhua :

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Uganda : Measles hit Iganga, 60 hospitalised

Via Daily Monitor :

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

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

Hong Kong : CHP investigates influenza-like illness outbreak

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

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

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

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

None required hospitalisation. All are in stable condition."