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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Meningococcal meningitis spreads in five Vietnam localities

Via Tuoitre News :

" The meningococcal meningitis epidemic has spread in five provinces and cities in Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Long An, Binh Phuoc and Quang Tri, the Preventive Health Department under the Health Ministry reported.

Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial form of meningitis, a serious infection of the meninges that affects the brain membrane. It can cause severe brain damage and is fatal in 50 percent of cases if untreated, according to the World Health Organization.

The bacteria can be carried in the throat and sometimes, for reasons not fully understood, can overwhelm the body's defenses, allowing infection to spread through the bloodstream to the brain, the WHO said.

After Tet (Lunar New Year), which fell on January 23, the number of patients in the five above localities has increased sharply and one of them, an 11-month-old baby in Quang Tri, has died, the department said.

At the Central Tropical Disease Hospital, the latest victim of the disease is Nghiem Duy B, 35, of Hanoi, who was hospitalized on January 27 in a coma, said Dr Nguyen Trung Cap, deputy head of the Intensive Care Unit.

B suffered from purulent meningitis that was likely caused by meningococcal meningitis, which is highly dangerous, since it could kill the patient rapidly and transmit to others easily through respiration, the doctor said."

Philippines : DOH notes 616 suspected lepstospirosis cases in region 10

Via PIA :

" A total of 616 suspected Leptospirosis cases have been recorded in region 10 as of Jan. 13, this year.

Reports reaching the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) of region 10 from the Health Cluster of the Post Sendong Operations, show that the municipalities/cities with the most suspected cases were Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City and the municipalities of Opol, Tagoloan and Villanueva, all of Misamis Oriental."

Uganda : Nodding disease, the new terror in Acholi sub-region

Via Daily Monitor, excerpt :

" About 2003, symptoms of a disease started appearing in the northern Uganda. For lack of name, it was baptised from one of its notable symptoms - Nodding. Now almost every family in most of Acholi sub-region has a victim of the disease, and the communities there are not at peace.

Imagine if you gave birth to a child that is retarded! How about if you have to tie your child on a tree using a rope every time you have to engage in any house chores? Or you dread cooking food in your house because you know if your child smells it, they will collapse.

Now, stop imagining - for this is happening right here in Uganda. And it could be one of your relatives.

For the last three years, at least a family in the districts of Kitgum, Pader and Lamwo, has registered a nodding disease case. Following the threats from MPs on the Acholi parliamentary group to ferry the sick children to the ministry headquarters, health officials made a tour to the affected areas to assess the situation.

On Thursday, January 5, 2012, the health ministry officials, MPs from the Acholi sub-region and officers from the affected districts gathered at Kitgum District headquarters to discuss the way forward on the nodding disease.

Inside the hall where the briefing was held the air was thick and hot. It had dark brown curtains hanging in the 15 windows, and on the wall was a portrait of President Yoweri Museveni caked with thick dark brown dust. The silence in the room spelt out clearly the quagmire that engulfed Kitgum District and other districts around it. You could almost hear the breath intervals of the over 200 people in attendance.

And when the minister stood up to speak, it was not the normal exchange of pleasantries at those meetings. This time there were no people singing and chanting by the road side as is always the case."

US : After four mutations, new virus attacks

Article via Futurity, excerpt :

" Scientists have shown for the first time how a new virus evolves, clarifying how easy it is for diseases to quickly gain dangerous mutations.

Published in the journal Science, the research shows how the virus Lambda evolved to find a new way to attack host cells, an innovation that took four mutations to accomplish. The virus, which isn’t dangerous to humans, infects bacteria, in particular E. coli.

“We were surprised at first to see Lambda evolve this new function, this ability to attack and enter the cell through a new receptor—and it happened so fast,” says graduate student Justin Meyer, who co-authored the paper with Richard Lenski, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at Michigan State University.

“But when we re-ran the evolution experiment, we saw the same thing happen over and over.”

The paper follows recent news that scientists in the United States and the Netherlands produced a deadly version of bird flu. Even though bird flu is a mere five mutations away from becoming transmissible between humans, it’s highly unlikely the virus could naturally obtain all the beneficial mutations all at once. But if conditions are favorable, it might evolve sequentially, gaining benefits one-by-one."

Rwanda : Nyagatare Grapples With Malaria

Via All Africa :

" The Minister of Health, Dr Agnes Binagwaho, has called for collective efforts in the fight against malaria in Nyagatare District.

The Minister was last week meeting health officials and district authorities at the Nyagatare School of Nursing and Midwifery to discuss the issue of malaria prevalence in the district.

Reports compiled from various health centres in the district indicate that Nyagatare tops malaria prevalence in the country - at 40.4 percent.

While the government plans to completely eradicate malaria by 2015, health specialists in the district warned the percentage of malaria infection could rise unless tough measures are taken."

Ecuador : Dengue increases in Manabi country and only 99 cases in less than a month

Machine translated article via El Universo :

" Dengue cases are increasing at an accelerated pace in the country, especially in the provinces of Los Rios, who according to the National Secretariat for Risk Management (SNGR) is the hardest hit by the effects of the rains, and Manabi.

As of last Friday the Ministry of Public Health (MSP) reported 465 people with the condition, of which 196 corresponded to Guayas (2 of them serious), 128 Gold, 69 rivers, 45 to Manabi (2 of them severe), and 27 to Esmeraldas (1 severe). To prevent the disease, authorities asked the public to follow at least ten recommendations. In Los Rios, the number of people infected with the disease rose to 132, according to data released yesterday by the Department of Health in this province."

Hong Kong : Update on cluster of Influenza A cases in Siu Lam Hospital

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

" Regarding the earlier announcement on a female severe mentally handicapped ward in which some patients had been confirmed with Influenza A, the spokesperson of Siu Lam Hospital (SLH) made the following update today (January 31):

One more 31-year-old female patient in the ward had presented with fever and respiratory symptoms. Appropriate viral tests were arranged for the patient and the test results were positive for Influenza A. The patient concerned has been transferred to Tuen Mun Hospital for treatment under isolation and is in stable condition.

Admission to and discharge from the ward have been suspended. 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."

Monday, January 30, 2012

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

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

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

The girl, who has had good past health, presented with fever, cough and runny nose since January 18. She was admitted to Prince of Wales Hospital (PWH) for treatment on January 24 and was discharged the next day.

The girl was admitted to PWH again on January 27 for persistent malaise and progressive swelling of four limbs. She was transferred to Queen Mary Hospital on January 28 for further management.

The clinical diagnosis is myocarditis. She is now in stable condition.

Her nasopharyngeal aspirate tested positive for influenza B by PWH.

The girl has no recent travel history. Her parents developed mild upper respiratory symptoms recently.

A spokesman reminded members of the public to stay vigilant and take precautionary measures against influenza."

Indonesia : One Man Allegedly Infected with Bird Flu

Machine translated article via Republika dated 29th January :

" The bird flu virus that caused the death of dozens of chickens in the village of Cinnamon, Village Cibadak, Land Sareal, the city of Bogor, alleged to have been transmitted to humans.

Ipan Sopian, a local resident, fell ill after consuming his dead chicken. Chickens belonging Ipan including one of dozens of chickens that tested positive for bird flu by the Department of Agriculture Bogor City. "In the afternoon I was still fresh chicken and want to eat, suddenly the morning was dead.

Because unfortunately, I cook just for eating. After that even my sick, "said Ipan, Sunday (29 / 1). When the check into the local health center, Ipan diagnosed with bird flu. He was allowed to go home after being given the drug. "He said bird flu. But now it is little better after a given drug,"said Ipan which has now been business as usual.

The local Health Department can not be confirmed bird flu related virus transmission to humans of this. When contacted, Section Chief of Infectious Disease Prevention Bogor City Health Office, Ratna Diah, did not give an answer."

Zambia : 20 Zambians denied entry into SA

Via Lusaka Times, excerpt :

" ABOUT 20 Zambians aboard a CR Carriers bus were on Friday denied entry into South Africa by that country’s immigration authorities on grounds that they had fake yellow fever vaccination certificates.

CR Carriers director in South Africa Mafire Cisoko said only 10 out of 30 passengers were allowed to enter that country after their yellow fever vaccination certificates were subjected to rigorous scrutiny by immigration officers at Beit Bridge.

This is according to a statement issued yesterday by first secretary for press at the Zambian High Commission in Pretoria, Patson Chilemba.

Mr Cisoko said South African immigration authorities intensified searches after being tipped by an unnamed source that the certificates which Zambians had were fake because they were not obtained from government authorised health institutions.

He said the officers believed authentic certificates were dark-yellow, while the fake ones were light-yellow.

The bus on which Zambians were travelling was nearly sent back, but was later allowed entry after operators intervened, but with few passengers who got clearance at the border."

Scotland prepared for Schmallenberg

Via Farmers Guardian :

" THE PCR test used to detect Schmallenberg Virus (SBV) is now available in Scotland, scientists in Edinburgh have announced.

Scientists from Moredun Research Institute said they will be screening all suspect cases of the disease found in Scotland.

SBV was confirmed on four sheep farms in eastern England last week, the first time the new livestock disease has been found in the UK. AHVLA officials believe that the disease probably came over to the UK in midges from northern Europe in the summer or autumn and has been circulating in livestock ever since.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, AHVLA and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) are carrying out SBV testing."

Zimbabwe : Cholera fears in typhoid-hit Harare

Via Zim Online :

" City health officials and independent doctors have warned of a possible cholera outbreak in Harare, already grappling with a typhoid outbreak that has infected more than 800 people over the past two weeks.

The independent Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said the absence of clean drinking water, collapsed sewer systems and poor standards of hygiene in most Harare’s overcrowded working class suburbs provided a fertile ground for both cholera and typhoid.

The association also criticised what it called lack of urgency by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe’s coalition government in responding to the typhoid outbreak.

Harare City health director Prosper Chonzi, who has blamed the typhoid outbreak on contaminated food sold in the open in the city’s low-income suburbs, was quoted by official media as saying conditions in the city were conducive for an “outbreak of cholera anytime”."

Fiji braces for disease outbreak

Via Australia Network News :

" Health officials say water-borne diseases could be on the rise following severe flooding that hit Fiji's Western Division last week.

The World Health Organisation said flooding had increased the threat of typhoid, dengue fever and leptospirosis. The WHO said it was also bracing for a rapid increase in the mosquito population.

Dr Jacob Kool, a communicable diseases specialist with the WHO's Fiji office, told Pacific Beat there were a number of things which could trigger a disease outbreak."

UK : Outbreak of norovirus put pressure on Gorleston’s James Paget Hospital

Via EDP 24, excerpt :

" A Norfolk hospital’s recent outbreak of norovirus was its worst for more than a decade, it has emerged.

At its height, eight wards at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston were shut to new admissions, causing significant pressures and the most serious outbreak it has had since 2001.

The news comes as it emerges the Department of Health’s intensive support team, which has been working with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn to improve performance, will now be working with the James Paget to bring down its accident and emergency waiting times.

Nationally, the number of people spending more than four hours in A&E has risen, according to new figures."

8 dead as dengue fever hits Indonesia's Jambi

Article via Phil Star, excerpt :

" Eight people died of dengue fever in Indonesia's Jambi province by January, forcing the local government to extend its alert for the disease, the Jakarta Post reported on Monday.

At least 118 people were infected by the mosquito-borne disease in the month alone.Jambi Health Agency Head Polisman Sitanggang said that the agency would take emergency measures, including mapping existing cases and inviting local physicians and public health workers to discuss how to contain the outbreak.

Sitanggang said that most of the recent infections occurred in the last week of January, despite a drop in cases recorded earlier in the month."

Rwanda : Malaria On the Rise Among Workers At Nyagatare Rice Scheme

Via All Africa :

" Many workers at Kilimburi Rice Scheme in Nyagatare district have been hit by Malaria due to lack of mosquito nets.

The scheme in Tabagwe Sector, Nyagatare District, is run by Rural Sector Support Project (RSSP) and is set to produce 21,000 tonnes of rice annually with a projected annual income of Rwf 4.5 billion once complete.

When The Sunday Times visited over 170 workers camping in tents in Cyenjojo cell, most of them were suffering from severe malaria.

"I have slept in this tent for a week without going to work because of severe Malaria that hit me last week. We don't get access to mosquito nets yet this place is home to mosquitoes due to its terrain," narrated one Nzabamwita, a casual worker at the rice scheme.

Another worker, who declined to be named said; "We hear there is a massive distribution of mosquito nets around the district but we wonder why RSSP did not advocate for us to receive those prevention kits like others. And when we complain of suffering from Malaria, our managers keep a deaf ear," he said.

A report presented in a recent district security meeting cited Nyagatare District as having the highest cases of malaria compared to other districts in the country."

Uganda : Kamya demands House recall over nodding disease

Via Daily Monitor :

" Uganda Federal Alliance president Beti Kamya has petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadagga, to recall Parliament immediately to discuss the nodding disease that has hit parts of northern Uganda.

According to the petition dated January 25, Parliament should not discuss anything until a satisfactory process to deal with the disease has been reached.

“Fellow countrymen and women, for once, let’s all drop everything and unite against the nodding disease. This epidemic is worse than Aids, it is more important than oil, it is the kind of thing for which Parliament should be recalled from recess immediately,” Ms Kamya said.

Reports indicate that at least 200 children have been killed by the epidemic and 3,000 were reported affected by this month. Mr Mbonye, the commissioner for health services in the Ministry of Health, fears that the disease could spread to other parts of the region after it emerged that each family in Tumangut Sub-county in Kitgum District has a case of nodding disease."

India : State keeps vigil against poultry diseases

Via The Hindu :

" The government has stepped up surveillance against avian influenza and Ranikhet disease in Kerala to prevent an outbreak of the dreaded poultry diseases.

The Department of Animal Husbandry has intensified vigil at border checkpoints following an outbreak of Ranikhet disease in a poultry farm at Andipatty in Theni district of Tamil Nadu.

Vigilance squads and rapid action teams have been deployed to inspect vehicles bringing poultry from across the border. Byroutes used by truck operators to smuggle poultry consignments into the State are also being closely monitored.

Animal Husbandry Director R. Vijayakumar told The Hindu that all poultry imports from other States were being physically verified for symptoms of the viral disease. “We have been maintaining a strict vigil in the border areas for the last two weeks, especially at the checkpoints in Idukki and Palakkad through which most of the animal and bird import takes place,” he said. The inspection teams have been directed to submit samples of chicken with suspected infection for biological examination."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Nigeria : Rivers Records Two Cases of Lassa Fever

Via All Africa, report dated 26th January 2012, excerpt :

" The Rivers Commissioner for Health, Dr Sampson Parker, on Wednesday announced an outbreak of lassa fever in the state.

He said in Port Harcourt that two persons, including a female youth corps member, had been reported dead from the disease.

Parker explained that the victims were serving in the state, but travelled to their homes in Edo and Ebonyi during the Christmas celebration, where they developed symptoms of the fever and eventually died.

He said the state government had launched an enlightenment campaign to sensitise the people to the need to take necessary precautions against the disease.

Parker said government had received reports of "pockets of occurrences" of lassa fever in seven states, including Edo and Ebonyi."

Zimbabwe typhoid cases rises to nearly 900 amid fears of cholera outbreak loom

Via Xinhua :

" In Zimbabwe's capital Harare, many of the hotels, restaurants and open air food spots face immediate closure for failing to meet health and hygienic standards amid fears that a cholera outbreak looms, state media warned on Saturday.

The move is part of a cocktail of measures designed to contain the spread of typhoid and follow recent reports indicating that a hotel worker had tested positive for typhoid.

Health services director Dr Prosper Chonzi raised fears of a cholera outbreak given the health conditions that gave birth to typhoid."

Mexican swine flu outbreak kills 29, infects nearly 1,500

Via Channel 6 News :

" An ongoing swine flu outbreak in Mexico has left at least 29 people dead and nearly 1,500 others infected, health officials confirmed on Saturday. Thousands more are also ill as the country faces several types of flu this season.

Since the start of the ongoing winter season, at least 7,069 people have reported suffering from symptoms similar to those of swine flu. Lab tests are still underway and have so far confirmed 1,456 cases of the disease, which is officially known as A/H1N1.

According to Mexico's Health Ministry (SSA), at least twenty-nine people have died of swine flu so far this season. While no health emergency has been declared, officials expect the death toll will rise in the coming weeks as Mexico also faces A/H3N2 and B influenza."

Dengue outbreak infected over 300 people in Suriname

Machine translated article from Prensa Latina :

" At least 300 people have contracted dengue fever in Surinam during the last week, forcing the authorities to declare a state of alert for the outbreak.

The Health Ministry said on Saturday the creation of a special team to emergency situations, as well as strengthening the work of health education and awareness and control of pests. For its part, the head of the Bureau of Health, Lesley Reside, said authorities launched a batch of material and equipment pesticides to deal with the epidemic.

The outbreak even led to the hospitalization of Parliament Speaker Jennifer Simons, the agency Caribbean Media Corporation."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bangladesh : Nipah? Avoid date with raw date sap

Via BDNews 24 :

" As nipah strikes back, with at least five deaths reported so far in Joypurhat district in northern Bangladesh, prospects of fresh outbreaks of this fruit bat-borne viral infection looms large, according to health department officials.

While experts say a simple measure — not drinking raw date juice — can prevent the virus from infecting, government records show it has killed 155 of 201 infected, spreading from one district to another, since 2001, when the virus first struck as an 'unknown' ailment.

"It is totally preventable if we avoid drinking raw date sap," said Prof Mahmudur Rahman, director of the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), which oversees emerging and re-emerging diseases in Bangladesh.

"But once infected, we don't have a cure -- it's highly fatal. This year the fatality has been 100 percent so far," he said.

A highly contagious disease, Prof Rahman said the virus can pass from person to person by contact.


Nipah was first detected in Malaysia in 1998 but at present Bangladesh, a hotspot for emerging diseases, is the only country in the world that reports the disease.

Nipah has become a cause of concern for the health authorities since it strikes every year during Jan to April.

Though it is believed that border districts of India have the virus, reports are not available from the Indian government to confirm it.

This year, while IEDCR is grappling to check the spread in Joypurhat district's Sadarpara and Khetlal upazillas, where five persons died in this month's outbreak, the district civil surgeon says new suspects of infection are emerging from the area.

"We received at least five suspected infections (in hospitals)," civil surgeon Mozammal Haque told on Thursday."

Malaysia : 459 cases of dengue fever reported during third week of 2012

Article via Sin Chew Jit Poh, excerpt :

" A total of 459 cases of dengue fever, with two deaths, were reported during the week between Jan 15 and 21 this year, a drop of 22 cases with one death from the previous week, Health Director-General Datuk Seri Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman said today.

However, he said, the number of fatalities due to dengue showed an increase with four people so far this year, from only one during the corresponding period last year.

"Last week alone there were two deaths, one each in Selangor and dan Negeri Sembilan," he said in a statement here.

He said the states which showed an increase in dengue cases were the Federal Territory and Putrajaya, with 18 cases each or 39 per cent), Kelantan 13 cases (72 per cent), Melaka 6 cases (50 per cent), Negeri Sembilan three cases (38 per cent), Terengganu three cases (30 per cent), Labuan one case (100 per cent) and Penang one case (six per cent)."

Australia : Bird flu forces duck cull in Victoria

Via The Australian :

" AT least 10,000 ducks will have to be destroyed to contain an outbreak of bird flu at two Victorian farms.

The virus found in birds on the two properties is a low pathogenic avian influenza and not the deadlier form of the virus that spread through Asia, threatening humans and leading to a mass cull of poultry.

Hugh Millar, the state's chief veterinary officer, said there was no risk to the community but authorities had to act quickly to quarantine the two properties north of Melbourne.

"This is all about making sure that the virus doesn't one day in the future evolve and mutate into a more serious form," he said.

The source of the latest outbreak has not been confirmed."

India : Bird flu in Tripura, Culling begins

Via Deccan Chronicle :

" Bird flu, or avian influenza, has resurfaced in Tripura barely within a month of declaring the country free from the disease and culling has started in villages within a 3-km radius of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research at Lambuchera in West Tripura district where it was first detected.

The culling has started from Friday morning and 14 centres have been set up in the nearby villages. In the duck firm of the ICAR alone 1,600 birds will be culled. ICAR joint director M. Datta said death of the birds first came to notice in December-end but culling started only after the high security Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Bhopal, confirmed the presence of H5N1. A ban was also imposed on selling and consuming of chicken and other poultry products in a radius of 10 km."

Indonesia : Deceased Indonesian Had Swine Flu, Not Bird Flu

Via The Jakarta Globe :

" The Ministry of Health confirmed on Friday that a man who was initially thought to have died as a result of contracting bird flu was instead killed by complications caused by the H1N1 virus, formerly known as swine flu.

Rohmad, 18, from Tangerang, died on Wednesday after five days in the isolation ward at Tangerang General Hospital. He had been admitted last week complaining of high fever, shortness of breath and a sore throat.

“The cause of death of the Tangerang resident was because of the H1N1 virus, not H5N1 [bird flu],” Ministry of Health official Trihono said."

Ecuador : There are 465 cases of dengue, according to Health Ministry

Machine translated article via El Universo :

" A total of 460 cases of dengue fever and more severe type 5 were recorded only yesterday in the country, reported the Ministry of Health. Most infected people come from the provinces of Guayas and El Oro, where there are 196 and 128, respectively.

From the figures Guayas, two cases are severe (formerly known as hemorrhagic), of which one person died on 15 last January.

She was a teenager of 12 years on January 9, fever, headaches and abdominal. He received anti-inflammatory and natural medicine, the ministry said. By having a poor outcome, went to the hospital January 12 Ycaza Francisco Bustamante."

Hong Kong : A cluster of Influenza A cases in Siu Lam Hospital

Via Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" Six female patients (aged 19 to 48) and three staff members in a female severe mentally handicapped ward had presented with fever and respiratory symptoms since January 16. Appropriate viral tests had been arranged for the concerned patients and their test results were positive to Influenza A. All patients have been transferred to Tuen Mun Hospital for treatment under isolation and are in stable condition. For the three staff members, one has recovered and resumed duty while the other two are on sick leave.

Admission to and discharge from the ward have been suspended. 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."

Substandard cardiac drugs claim over 100 lives in Pakistan

Via Xinhua :

" Over 100 heart patients have been killed and 450 others were admitted to hospitals due to the adverse reaction of cardiac drugs in eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Friday, local media reported.

According to the report, during the last week of December last year, cardiac doctors of a public hospital in Lahore prescribed a combination of four medicines from the hospital's pharmacy to over 40,000 patients suffering from heart disease.

After taking the drugs, over 450 people were shifted to different hospitals in Lahore and an estimated 106 patients died till Friday, while 2,000 cardiac patients who have already used the possibly spurious drug are at risk."

Japan : 1 dead, 2 critical following flu outbreak in Saitama hospital

Via Japan Today :

" One person has died and two are in a critical condition after 39 people were infected by a flu outbreak in a Saitama hospital, officials said Thursday.

According to an Ageo Central General Hospital spokesperson, both patients and staff have been affected by the nosocomial infection. In total, 20 patients and 19 staff members are believed to have contracted the virus, TV Asahi reported. Thirty-one of those stricken have tested positive for influenza type A viruses.

The deceased is believed to have been a woman in her 80s. The hospital says the woman contracted the virus on the afternoon of Jan 20, following which her fever rose to 38 degrees. Doctors say the woman passed away within hours of showing the first signs of the virus. A man in his 80s and another in his 50s are still critical, TV Asahi quoted doctors as saying."

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mexico Ups Swine Flu Screening as Cases Increase

Via ABC News, excerpt :

" Three years after swine flu closed Mexico City and caused an international scare, the Mexican government and local media are at odds over the severity of this season's flu virus. Newspapers are warning of an alarming increase in cases while the government insists there is no cause for alarm."

Australia : Bird flu detected in Victoria

Via The Age, excerpt :

" Bird flu has been detected at two locations northwest of Melbourne.

The Department of Primary Industries has quarantined two commercial duck farms operated by the same owner, after birds at both properties tested positive to low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI).

DPI Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Andrew Cameron, on Friday said analytical tests carried out at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory at Geelong, Victoria, had given a positive response to low pathogenic H5 subtype avian influenza virus, prompting authorities to act immediately.

The cases were detected during routine testing for other conditions."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Zimbabwe : Harare typhoid cases continue to rise

Via The Zimbabwean :

" Cases of typhoid are continuing to rise in Harare, where at least 90 people have been hospitalised and more than a thousand are suspected to have contracted the disease.

Residents in and around the capital have been on high alert since the first typhoid cases were confirmed last year. But in recent months, the combination of extreme heat, summer rains and dilapidated basic municipal services, has resulted in perfect conditions for the disease to spread

"We have attended to over 600 cases in Kuwadzana alone," city health director Prosper Chonzi was quoted as saying in the state media this week. The MDC-T meanwhile said on Wednesday that more than one thousand Harare residents had been treated this month.

The bacterial disease, which spreads most easily in areas without proper sanitation, causes vomiting, fever and diarrhoea and the public have been urged to use good hygiene to prevent the situation from worsening.

The city and surrounding areas have been struck by severe water shortages since last year, with some areas not being supplied with clean water for many weeks. The shortages have sometimes resulted in residents fighting each other while trying to access water from the limited number of boreholes across the city."

Italy : Influenza Cases Start Peaking, Especially Among Under - 5S

Via AGI :

" The seasonal influenza epidemic is peaking with just last week accounting for some 380,000 Italians in bed.

Total contagions since the start of the epidemic total 1.6m, with the disease peaking among children under the age of 5. The figures were reported as part of the Italian Health Institute's latest bulletin."

Zambia : Typhoid claims another life

Via Daily Mail :

" ANOTHER person has died of typhoid in Mufulira’s Mupambe township.

This brings to three the number of people who have died since the waterborne disease broke out in December last year.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Reuben Mbewe confirmed this in an interview on Tuesday.

Dr Mbewe said the man, whose identity he withheld, died at Malcolm Watson Hospital over the weekend.

“We recorded one death over the weekend. One patient died of typhoid in the male ward over the weekend. This is the third death we have recorded since the outbreak of the disease last year,” Dr Mbewe said."

UK : Three Torquay schoolchildren treated in meningitis alert

Article via South Devon, excerpt :

" THREE schoolchildren have received hospital treatment in a meningitis alert at two Torbay schools.

Two year nine youngsters at St Cuthbert Mayne school in Torquay have been confirmed with meningococcal B infection.

One of the students remains in hospital and is responding well to treatment.

The other student has been discharged and has returned to school.

A third child, a student at Torquay Community College has been admitted to hospital with a confirmed case of a different strain of the meningococcal B infection."

Flu spreading in Japan, doubling number of cases per hospital

Via The Mainichi Daily News :

" An influenza epidemic is spreading in Japan, doubling the number of cases per hospital, according to data compiled through Tuesday by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Over 90 percent of the cases this flu season are due to the Hong Kong influenza A virus subtype H3N2, marking the first epidemic in five years of the seasonal flu virus that can cause encephalitis in infants and gravely affect elderly people, the institute said.

Data collected on a regular basis from around 5,000 medical institutions across Japan show that the average number of cases stood at 7.33 in the week through Jan. 15, up from 3.76 a week earlier.

The number of cases, which increased in all 47 prefectures, has since continued to grow, the institute added, referring to data from around 6,700 drugstores."

Hong Kong : Goose carcass found in Sham Tseng 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 (January 26) that a goose carcass found in Sham Tseng was confirmed to be H5N1 positive after laboratory testing.

The goose carcass was found and collected at Anglers' Beach, 13 milestone, Castle Peak Road, Sham Tseng, on January 20. It was highly decomposed when found and required a series of tests before H5N1 avian influenza was confirmed today.

The spokesman said there were no poultry farms within 3 kilometres of where the dead goose was found. AFCD staff have conducted inspections and found no evidence of any backyard poultry being kept there. AFCD will continue to monitor the situation and conduct inspections of the area.

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fiji : Landslide buries family

Via Stuff, another landslide this time in Fiji :

" A family of four has been killed in a landslide as severe flooding continues in Fiji, according to a report.

A 35-year-old father, 30-year-old mother, and two daughters aged three-years-old and one-year-old were buried in the landslide at Nanuku near Ba, Fiji Broadcasting said.

Villagers were able to talk to members of the family while they tried to rescue them from the landslide, the state broadcaster reported.

"However, after some time, there was no response from within the rubble."

Two farmers have also been reported killed trying to save stock in separate incidents as heavy rain from a tropical depression that is battering the western part of the country.

Fiji's Ministry of Information has said the deaths of the family are not yet confirmed, Radio New Zealand reported."

Rain hinders PNG landslide rescue effort

Via ABC News, excerpt :

" Rescue teams are arriving at the site of a deadly landslide in Papua New Guinea, but continuing wet weather and fears of another landslide are hampering their efforts.

Tumbi village near Tari, in the country's Southern Highlands, is now a mess of millions of cubic metres of rock and soil.

The landslide area is about one kilometre long and several hundred metres wide. Some of the boulders dislodged are the size of cars.

Thousands of people have gathered at the site, many with mud smeared on their faces in a sign of mourning.

PNG prime minister Peter O'Neill has inspected the area and vowed to investigate the cause of the disaster.

Mr O'Neill said an independent team of investigators would be appointed to determine the cause and he promised to help relocate those affected and to find their loved ones.

'A huge task'

Andrew Alphonse, a senior reporter from the PNG Post Courier who spent the day at Tumbi village, says locals have named 26 people they believe have been buried underneath the landslide.

He told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific that operations to retrieve the bodies have not officially started because of the difficult conditions."

India : Poultry deaths trigger bird flu panic

Via IBN Live :

" Death of poultry in Raikia block has spread bird flu panic among the residents. The deaths were reported from two SHGs.

Sources said a SHG in Gamandi village had procured 600 chicks with financial assistance from a bank on the advice of local veterinary office, on January 6. However, the members found 10 chicks dead the following day. And so far, 180 have perished.

Another SHG at Barepanga village too saw death of 50 chicks."

Vietnam : 11-month girl dies of suspected meningitis

Via Tuoitre News, excerpt :

" An 11-month old girl from the central province of Quang Tri died from suspected meningitis on January 20. If confirmed, it will be the first case in Vietnam in 2012.

The information was released by the Ministry of Health’s Department for Preventative Health that quotes information from the Nha trang Pasteur Institute.

Nguoi Lao Dong reported that the child started to show symptoms on January 19 with scarlet fever and was administered antipyretics.

She was later hospitalized at a local hospital in Quang Tri province before being transferred to the Hue Central Hospital in Hue City on January 20."

Mysterious disease kills 200 in Uganda

Via Press TV :

" At least 200 children have so far died and thousands sickened due to a mysterious Nodding disease that has struck Uganda's poor northern region, Press TV reports.

Nodding disease or the Nodding syndrome is a new, little-known disease which emerged in Sudan in the 1980s. The deadly illness affects mostly children aged between the ages 5 and 15 and causes seizures, permanent mental and physical retardation and death in most cases.

According to health officials, over 200 children have died and more than 3000 children are still struggling with the illness which struck northern Uganda 3 years ago."

Nigeria : Is Lassa fever back?

Via The Nation :

" Lassa fever is back as cases are being reported in some parts of the country. The vectors are rats and dirty environment. WALE ADEPOJU writes on the Federal Government’s effort to contain the disease.

Lassa fever, an acute viral haemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus found in rats, is on the loose in some parts of the country. The death of a medical doctor was reported in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State while unconfirmed reports claimed Imo and some northern states are experiencing what may turn out to be an epidemic, if not checked.

The Chief Medical Director (CMD), Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Prof Akin Osibogun, said Lassa Fever is related to rats. "We need to watch out to see whether there is an increase in rat population. This is because they aid the transmission of the disease. So, there is the need to take measures to reduce the population of rats and engage in environmental cleanliness such as proper refuse disposal system among others."

Dengue continues to worry Suriname

Via Stabroek News :

" Four out of six patients with a viral condition in Diakonessenhuis have dengue. Last weekend, ten cases of viral infection were admitted to the Academisch Ziekenhuis Paramaribo, AZP, [University Hospital].

In the meantime the cases keep flooding other hospitals, forcing authorities to call in the help of the Military Hospital. The Nickerie regional hospital conducted 100 lab tests in 2011, 20 of which were positive for dengue.

In January 2012, 12 cases have been uncovered so far. s‘Lands Hospitaal had 40 lab test requests between December and January, four of which tested positive, while the AZP lab had 100 positive cases."

Typhoid hits Zimbabwe capital

Article via Times Live, excerpt :

" At least 90 people were admitted to hospital and over 600 affected in a typhoid outbreak in the Zimbabwean capital Harare, a health official says.

"We have attended to over 600 cases in Kuwadzana alone," city health director Prosper Chonzi was quoted as saying in the state-owned Herald newspaper.

"We have confirmed that the disease is typhoid. We have not recorded any deaths. We have over 90 patients admitted at the Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital."

Chonzi said city health authorities found traces of the typhoid bacteria in meat samples taken from open-air vendors.

Typhoid thrives in areas that do not have proper sanitation.

Poor hygiene and sanitation have caused numerous disease outbreaks in Zimbabwe in recent years."

India : City faces dengue, chikungunya threat

Via Times of India :

" THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The mounting garbage heaps in the city have become a cause of concern with the district health administration confirming the spread of diseases like dengue and chikungunya.

"Garbage heaps have increased the number of mosquitoes in certain areas of the capital city and this is helping the spread of diseases," said National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) district programme manager Dr Unnikrishnan."

2 fatality in Indonesia suspected bird flu patients

News is coming out of the local media in Indonesia with reports of fatalities due to bird flu. First is a 4 year old boy and the other is the 18 year old suspect whom I posted earlier as in critical condition.

Below are the machine translated articles :

Allegedly Infected with Bird Flu, Boy 4 Year Deaths

JAKARTA : Nazril Ilham (4) single-child couples Maimunah (25) and Mohammed Enzen (24), of Kampung Sungai Bintaro Branch 4 RT 1.1 Hurip Jaya Village, District Babelan, Dies Bekasi District. Suspected Bird Flu Nazriel.

The victim died after being treated for six days in hospital Anna Bekasi. The atmosphere of grief is still visible at the funeral home shortly after the victim was buried in the cemetery not far from his home, Wednesday (01/24/2012). Surprisingly burial victims without assisted the hospital or health department Bekasi.

Again, Bird Flu Patient Dies

After 5 days treated in isolation space bird flu, RO, 18 years, men who indicated suspect bird flu died. RO died at 12:30 pm in the isolation room bird flu Tangerang District Hospital.

"The patient died at 12.30 pm, due to respiratory failure," said Head of Public Relations Tangerang District Hospital, Achmad Muchlis to , Wednesday, January 25, 2012. Dikatakanya, since entering the room isolation, the condition of critically ill patients and no progress.

Until finally died of respiratory failure. "Until now there has been no official information related to the correct patient infected with bird flu," he said."

Bhutan : Bird flu detected in wild birds

Via Kuensel Online :

" After chickens, the contagious bird flu has now been detected in wild birds.

Investigations will begin tomorrow in Phuentsholing to find out if the flu would affect the wild bird population in the country.

The investigation is carried out after the National Incident Command Centre (NICC) for bird flu received reports of some 18 wild birds death that died simultaneously over the last week.

First, about 15 “house crows” were found dead on January 19 near the junction of Rabten workshop and GREF camp. House crows are a species that are found in sub-tropical areas like Phuentsholing.

The satellite veterinary laboratory officer in-charge Tuku Rai said all 15 crows had decomposed and could not be used for laboratory investigation. “But we managed to find a sick crow from the same area,” Tuku Rai said. “The sample tested positive for H5 and influenza “A” virus during the filed investigation."

First cases of influenza H1N1 in Yucatan

Via The Yucatan Times :

" The head of the Yucatan Health Department Alvaro Quijano Rivas reports two cases of influenza H1N1 in the state, who also remark that the vaccination campaign is still in action.

Quijano Rivas explained that one cases is a local and the other is a person from the state of Morelos, he also said that the two persons are stable and getting better.

He commented that a big part of the population have already taken the vaccination that protects against the influenza B, H1N1 and H3N2, and for this season there are 125,238 doses available in order to avoid a massive outbreak of cases."

UK : Farmers' concerns over new livestock illness

Via BBC News :

" Farmers say they are "very concerned" about a new animal illness which can cause birth defects in livestock.

The Schmallenberg virus (SBV), which emerged in the Netherlands and Germany last year, was confirmed in the UK for the first time on Monday.

Cattle farmer Roger Long said: "We know so little about it. But of course we are concerned and the last thing we need is another virus to come over here."

Mr Long said his farm at East Dereham in Norfolk was "not a million miles away" from one of two sheep farms in the county where the disease has been detected.

SBV has been confirmed at two other sheep farms in England, one in Suffolk and one in East Sussex. The NFU said all the lambs which tested positive for SBV were stillborn or died shortly after birth."

Bangladesh : Nipah virus attack confirmed

Article via BD News 24 :

" The virus that killed five people at Jaipurhat in the last four days has been identified as Nipah.

The Institute of Epidemiology Diseases Control and Research (IEDCR) confirmed on its website on Tuesday that the five had indeed died from Nipah. A team from the institute are now working in the affected area.

The IECDR said human infections took place in Joypurhat municiplatiy and Khetlal Upazila.

Of the five deaths, two are from Khetlal and the others from the municipality. They died in Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital in Bogra and Rajshahi Medical College Hospital.

On Jan 21, a five-member IECDR expert team went to Bogra and Rajshahi to collect blood and other samples.

Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital said it had launched a separate unit for Nipah-infected patients."

Indonesia : Avian flu threatens to claim additional life

Via The Jakarta Post, excerpt :

" An 18-year-old man thought to be infected with avian flu was in critical condition at the Tangerang General Hospital as of Tuesday.

“The patient is still in isolation,” hospital spokesman Achmad Muchlis said. “He is exhibiting the symptoms of avian flu, but the team of doctors is still waiting for confirmation from laboratory results.”

The patient, a resident from Me-karsari village in Tangerang regency, suffered from a high fever for six days after which time he was taken to the private Sari Asih Hospital in Karawaci last Wednesday, when he developed respiratory problems.

As his condition worsened, the hospital transferred him to Tangerang General Hospital on Saturday.

According to the hospital’s president director, Mamahit, the family informed doctors that before the patient fell sick, one of the ducks he had raised had died.

“Referring to the case history and the symptoms he was suffering from, we treated him as a bird flu patient,” he told reporters.

A team from the Tangerang Health Agency conducted a survey around the patient’s neighborhood."

Five people die of flu complications in Taiwan

Via Xinhua :

" Five more people in Taiwan have died of flu complications since last weekend, when the traditional Spring Festival holiday began, bringing the total number of flu-related deaths on the island since last July to 36.

Taiwan's health authorities said Tuesday that four of the five people who died had suffered from chronic diseases, including diabetes and hypertension, and another 14-year-old Taiwanese had no chronic illness.

None of the five had been vaccinated against influenza, authorities said, adding that some of them died from respiratory failure, septic shock and multi-organ failure, after developing pneumonia."

WHO : Avian influenza - situation in China - update

From WHO :

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

The case is a 39 year-old male from Guiyan City, Guizhou Province. He developed symptoms on 6 January 2012 and was admitted to hospital but was in critical condition and died on 22 January 2012.‬‪

The case was laboratory diagnosed by Guizhou CDC and confirmed by China CDC on 22 January 2012. Investigation into the source of infection is ongoing. Close contacts of the case are being monitored and to date all remain well.‬‪"

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kashmir : Viral infection outbreaks in Handwara village

Via Greater Kashmir :

"Nearly 100 persons, mostly children and women, have fallen ill due to the outbreak of Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) at Yamlar Zachaldara village in this frontier district, officials said on Monday.

The outbreak of the highly contagious viral disease- has triggered panic in the village.

“Many patients with complaints of pneumonia, acute sneezing, fever and Asthama were admitted in Sub district Hospital Zachaldara,” officials said. “Several teams of doctors visited the affected villages."

Philippines : Leptospirosis deaths rise, 21 deaths recorded in 'Sendong' aftermath

Via GMA News :

" Cases of leptospirosis in areas affected by Tropical Storm Sendong (Washi) continued to rise, with 616 cases having been recorded so far. A total of 21 deaths have been recorded, officials said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Tuesday that of the 616 cases recorded as of Monday, 21 were fatal.

"As of 23 January 2012, different hospitals in Cagayan de Oro, Opol, Tagoloan, and Villanueva in Misamis Oriental and Iligan City in Lanao del Norte recorded a total of 616 cases of leptospirosis, 21 of which were fatalities," the NDRRMC said in its report.

It also said acute respiratory infections, diarrhea and fever remain the most common health concerns in evacuation centers.

Cagayan de Oro and Iligan Cities were among the hardest hit areas in the wake of Sendong, which devastated Mindanao and the Visayas in mid-December. The NDRRMC said Sendong left 1,257 dead and 6,071 injured, with 182 reported missing."

Pakistan : Drug reaction toll jumps to 63

Via Dawn :

" A total of 63 heart patients have died over the past three weeks after taking medicines from government hospitals in Lahore.

The stunning fact was revealed at a press briefing by provincial Health Secretary Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) on Monday night.

The official confirmed 27 deaths in hospitals while the Principal of the Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS), Dr Faisal Masood, said 36 cardiac patients registered with the PIC had died of suspected drug reaction in the Services Hospital.

He said the 36 deaths were in addition to those officially confirmed by the health secretary.

Both the officials made public the ‘official figure’ after reporters accused them of concealing facts related to the deaths."

Canada : Norovirus likely culprit in illness among Cuba vacationers

Aritcle via The Montreal Gazette :

" The 44 Canadians who flew home from Cuba while vomiting or suffering diarrhea last week all had "symptoms consistent with norovirus," Canadian officials say.

But the Public Health Agency of Canada says there have been no new cases since the flight they were on arrived in Ottawa Friday evening with 11 sick passengers. It was the fourth such flight to land in Ottawa or Toronto last week.

As well, 11 passengers who landed in Montreal Saturday felt nauseous, but none were actually vomiting and so public health officials weren't called in to determine whether if it were norovirus."

Philippines : Zambo health office records 57 dengue cases

Via Zambo Times :

" ZAMBOANGA CITY : The public has been advised anew to maintain clean surroundings in their respective communities.

City Health Officer Dr. Rodelin Agbulos issued the advice as he noted that 57 cases of dengue were recorded in this city for the past 22 days.

Agbulos said the number of dengue cases recorded since Jan. 1 was barely 13 cases lower than the 70 recorded in January last year.

There were also two fatalities in January of last year."

UK : Animal disease detected in Norfolk, Suffolk and Sussex

Via BBC News, excerpt :

" A new animal illness which causes birth defects in livestock has been confirmed in the UK for the first time at four sheep farms.

Tests on animals on the farms in Norfolk, Suffolk and East Sussex have detected the Schmallenberg virus.

The disease first emerged in the Netherlands and Germany last year.

It can lead to late abortions and birth deformities in newborn sheep, goats and cattle and is thought to be spread by midges.

The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), which detected the disease in the UK farms, said it was continuing to monitor it.

'Spread by midges'

Officials said that although the disease was a new one, and there were some uncertainties about it, assessment by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control suggested the risk to humans from Schmallenberg virus was very low.

A spokesman for the AHVLA said: "We have finished the initial analysis of samples we have received as a result of our enhanced surveillance for this new disease."

Swine flu death toll hits nine in Mexico as cases almost double

Via The Telegraph :

" Nine people have died from an outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, with the number of cases almost doubling in a week.

Health officials have identified 573 cases of A (H1N1), up from 333 instances on Thursday.

The strain represents 90 per cent of influenza cases in the country, the health ministry said in a statement yesterday.

Authorities brushed aside suggestions of a new health emergency.

In 2009, an outbreak of the same swine flu strain in Mexico and the United States, quickly became a global pandemic, claiming the lives of 17,000 people. In Mexico alone, 1,250 people died.

The pandemic ended in 2010, after the World Health Organisation said flu patterns had returned to normal levels."

Monday, January 23, 2012

Oman : Smuggled livestock blamed for deadly infection

Via Gulf News :

" Man who died believed to have contracted haemorrhagic fever from handling the ‘illegal cargo'

Smuggled livestock could have been the source of the Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) that killed a Bangladeshi expatriate last week in Buraimi, according to sources.

Sources at the Buraimi Hospital said an illegal Pakistani, who handled livestock, could also have died from CCHF two week ago.

The unclaimed body of the Pakistani was still lying in the Buraimi hospital morgue but no investigation was carried out to determine the cause of death although his symptoms were similar to those of CCHF."

Fiji : Lepto alert

Via The Fiji Times :

" THE Lautoka Hospital attended to two new cases of leptospirosis last week.

As a result, a fresh warning has been issued to the public about the threat posed by the illness which claimed 10 lives last year.

Hospital acting medical consultant Dr Simione Voceduadua confirmed the two patients were treated and sent home.

He said the wet weather condition could hasten the spread of the illness via contaminated water.

"This time last year many people were treated with leptospirosis. Unfortunately, some died," said Dr Voceduadua.

"Leptospirosis is much more dangerous than typhoid and people must visit the hospital should they have symptoms.

"We need to be vigilant of the places we visit and watch out for contaminated water."

Dr Voceduadua said domestic animals must also be well looked after since the illness was spread from animal waste."

Philippines : Health office records 57 dengue cases

Via Sun Star :

" ZAMBOANGA City Health Officer Dr. Rodelin Agbulos advised the public anew to maintain clean surroundings as the number of dengue cases rose to 57 in just 15 days.

The number of dengue cases recorded for the past 15 days is 13, compared to the 70 cases in January of 2011. There were also two fatalities in January of last year.

Agbulos said the 57 dengue cases were recorded in nine villages in the city."

Swine flu death toll rises in Mexico

Via IOL :

" The death toll in Mexico from an outbreak of A(H1N1) swine flu has hit nine, with 573 cases detected, officials said on Sunday.

The strain represents 90 percent of detected cases of influenza in the country, the health ministry said in a statement.

The number of cases reported was up sharply from Thursday, when health officials said 333 had been identified.

Authorities have brushed aside suggestions of a new health emergency but have begun tracking new cases since December."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

China : Guizhou Province confirmed case of human infection of highly pathogenic avian influenza

This is the official media release from China's Ministry of Health with regards to the latest avian influenza fatality. It's machine translated but you get idea of what is being reported :

" January 19, 2012, Guiyang Medical College Hospital treated one case of fever patients. January 22, by the Guizhou Provincial Center for Disease Control, China CDC laboratory confirmed cases of human infection of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

January 6 patients with disease exacerbations, after January 19 into the Guiyang Medical College Hospital intensive care unit for treatment. At 12:30 on January 22, the patient rapidly increased, blood pressure, sudden ventricular fibrillation, after she died. Up to now, has identified 71 close contacts were abnormal symptoms.

After the outbreak, the provincial health department attaches great importance, in accordance with provincial government requirements, under the guidance of the Ministry of Health, and actively carry out epidemic prevention and control.

One is to treat the patient; the second is to carry out further field epidemiology; Third, the close contacts under medical observation; fourth is to strengthen surveillance; five human bird flu prevention and control is good propaganda and education work.

Sixth issue of the "Guizhou Province Health Department on the strengthening of human infection of highly pathogenic avian influenza prevention and control of emergency," which requires a really good job around the prevention of bird flu preparations."

Man dies of bird flu in southwest China

Via Xinhua :

" A 39-year-old man died of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) in southwest China on Sunday, the Ministry of Health said.

The man, who began to suffer from fever on Jan. 6, died Sunday noon in a hospital in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou Province, after being treated with intensive care for three days, the ministry said.

The disease control and prevention centers at both the provincial and national levels have confirmed the case of H5N1 infection.

Till now, the 71 individuals who have been in close contact with the victim, have not shown unusual symptoms, the ministry said."

Indonesia : Bird Flu Positive Infected, RO Isolated

Machine translated article from Liputan 6 :

" RO, residents Mekarsari Village, Tangerang District, Banten, who was 18, Saturday (21 / 1) evening, rushed to the isolation room Tangerang General Hospital.

Appropriate description of Tangerang District Hospital Director, RO eventually tested positive for bird flu infected. He became the first bird flu patients were treated in isolation rooms newly inaugurated Minister of Health Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih in December.

Before being treated in hospitals Tangerang, since Friday morning RO treated at Mercy Hospital Sari, Karawaci. For six days earlier, a high fever RO spliced ​​with shortness of breath, and voice disorders."

Two die of A(H1N1) swine flu in Mexico: official

An AFP report :

" An outbreak of A(H1N1) swine flu claimed the lives of two people -- 19 and 21 years old -- in Mexico's capital in the first weeks of the year, health authorities said Saturday.

The health secretary of Mexico's Federal District, Armando Ahued, said there were 138 confirmed cases of the flu, including 110 cases of A(H1N1), a novel strain of the swine flu that was first detected in 2009.

Nationwide, 333 cases of the virus have been confirmed, the federal government's health secretary said earlier in the week, without saying how many deaths had been attributed to it.

The latest victims were a 19-year-old and a 21-year-old who died in separate hospitals."

CDC : Acute Muscular Sarcocystosis Among Returning Travelers - Tioman Island, Malaysia, 2011

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)from CDC, excerpt :

" GeoSentinel (the surveillance program of the International Society of Travel Medicine and CDC) has identified 32 cases of suspected acute muscular sarcocystosis in travelers returning from Tioman Island off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia. All the patients traveled to Tioman Island during the summer of 2011. Within days or weeks of returning home, all experienced fever and muscle pain, often severe and prolonged. All had peripheral eosinophilia, and most had elevated serum creatinine phosphokinase levels. Most were tested for acute trichinosis and toxoplasmosis by serology, and all of these tests were negative. Approximately half of the patients were identified in Germany; others were reported elsewhere in Europe, and in North America and Asia. Muscle biopsy from two patients demonstrated organisms consistent with sarcocystosis, one from a group of five ill travelers and one from a group of three.

Sarcocystis spp. are intracellular protozoan parasites.* Humans are the definitive host for Sarcocystis hominis and Sarcocystis suihominis, acquired by eating undercooked sarcocyst-containing beef or pork, respectively. The parasites reproduce sexually in the human intestine, where infection can cause acute gastroenteritis; however, most S. hominis and S. suihominis infections are thought to be asymptomatic (1). Although the specific species have never been identified, humans can become intermediate hosts for at least some of the 130 Sarcocystis spp. that are transmitted between predator and prey in nature. In these cases, humans ingest oocysts or sporocysts in food or water contaminated with feces from an infected predator animal. Nonspecific symptoms might arise during the reproductive and migratory phase of the parasite within the vascular endothelium. The parasite ultimately disseminates to skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscle, where it forms sarcocysts containing large numbers of parasites that are infectious for a definitive host. Sarcocyst formation can provoke eosinophilic myositis, as occurred in this outbreak. No proven treatment exists for human muscular sarcocystosis, but in all previously reported cases, symptoms resolved over weeks to months."

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Oman : Suspected Congo fever claims one in Buraimi

Article via Times of Oman :

" The spread of a tick-borne viral disease is “creating panic” in a Buraimi hospital after an expatriate with the symptoms of the viral infection died in the intensive care unit of the hospital in the wee hours of Thursday.

A Bangladeshi man died due to Crimean–Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), an infectious disease in animals that can be transmitted to people, after a multiple organ failure, according to medics.

“The patient was brought to the hospital last Tuesday. He had high fever and nasal bleeding. After lab tests, it was confirmed that the patient was infected by the tick-borne viral disease called Congo fever. Within 48 hours, his condition worsened. He suffered from multiple organ failure. He died in the wee hours of Thursday,” a medic in the hospital told Times of Oman.

Alert sounded

“The infectious disease department is on alert now. The medics, hospital employees and other patients have been given anti-viral medicines. Whosoever was in touch with the patient has been given the anti-viral dose,” the medic said, adding that the authorities concerned have taken steps to contain the spread of the disease in the entire area.

Though the infection is transmitted to humans by the bite of a tick, an increasing number of cases have also been reported to have occurred among medical and nursing staff caring for the patients in hospitals and laboratories."

UK : Meningitis kills Newbiggin boy Marshall Watkinson in 24 hours

Via Chronicle Live :

" GRIEVING mum Gemma Eastlake today revealed how a deadly strand of meningitis killed her son in less than 24 hours.

Marshall Watkinson died in hospital just 24 hours after he was struck down with a vomiting bug on Wednesday night.

But the following morning when his mother, Gemma Eastlake, took his younger brother to school the 11-year-old’s condition had rapidly deteriorated.

When she returned to their home in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, his little body was covered in a rash and he was struggling to breath.

Paramedics raced to the 11-year-old’s home and he was taken to Wansbeck General Hospital where medics frantically fought to save his life.

However, after he was transferred to Newcastle’s RVI doctors were unable to save the youngster and he died in the intensive care unit with his parents at his side."

Canada : Patient dies of C. difficile in Cape Breton

Via CBC News, excerpt :

" A Nova Scotia man whose mother died after contracting a hospital-acquired infection says the Cape Breton Regional Hospital needs to clean up its act before more people die.

Clostridium difficile has been determined as a contributing factor in the death of Julia Young, 88."

Paraguay : 29 cases of dengue fever reported

Machine translated article from Prensa Latina :

" The Ministry of Public Health confirmed 29 cases of Paraguay dengue in the first 19 days of January and kept under surveillance for suspected other 210 people, today unveiled the institution.

A statement issued here by the Directorate of Health Watch notes that 29 other cases were dismissed. The older records are (58.2 percent) of residents of Asuncion and surrounding cities, and they are the departments of Concepción (14.5 percent) and Alto Paraná (11 , 5 percent), the latter territory bordering Brazil.

The bulletin indicates that prevails dengue type two, and warns that although there were no further deaths, the risk of severe disease caused by the mosquito Aedes aegypti. During the outbreak last year killed 68 Paraguayans for this cause and thousands of notifications were reported throughout the country."

Indonesia : Bird flu alert raised after death of Jakarta siblings

Via The Jakarta Post, excerpt :

" PDY brought a sick pigeon to his home last December in Sunter Agung, Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, oblivious to the dangers of contact with fowl that might carry the lethal H5N1 virus.

The 23-year-old, who was known to love pigeons, had offered to look after the sick bird, which belonged to his friend. He tried to heal the bird, but to no avail. He then took it to a car repair shop near the Sulianti Suroso Hospital, a referral infirmary for bird flu patients, where he had kept other pigeons.

The bird died on Dec. 31, but on New Year’s Eve, PDY had a high fever. The family thought he had a usual fever and gave him pills, but only to find his condition worsening. He was eventually taken to Satya Negara Hospital, wherein he was diagnosed as having symptoms of bird flu. He died a few days later.

While his relatives mourned his death, his five-year-old sister, identified as ASR, was rushed to Persahabatan Hospital in East Jakarta after showing similar symptoms.

She was initially cleared of the H5N1 infection, but further tests proved she was bird flu positive. She died on Jan. 16, but this was only revealed by the Health Ministry on Thursday.

Their mother, Sriyati, refused to talk to journalists about the deaths of her children, saying, “It’s just very sad. I can’t remember much about how they became infected.”

Radi Permana, a relative of the victims, told The Jakarta Post that PDY and ASR were very close. “He often took his sister to the car repair shop and showed her the pigeons,” he said.

Risa, who lives next door to the siblings, said that the family became reclusive after the loss of their children.

The neighbors were also told that ASR did not die of bird flu, but of dengue. “Somehow, we knew that she died from bird flu,” another neighbor, who declined to be named, said. “But we understand why they don’t want to tell people about it."

Hong Kong : Latest update on Siu Lam Hospital patients confirmed with Norovirus

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

" Regarding the earlier announcement on a male severe mentally handicapped ward in which some patients had been confirmed with Norovirus, the spokesperson of Siu Lam Hospital made the following update today (January 21):

Two more male patients (aged 38 and 55) in the ward had presented with diarrhoea or vomiting symptoms. Appropriate viral tests had been arranged for the patients and their test results were positive for Norovirus. The concerned patients have been transferred to Tuen Mun Hospital for treatment under isolation and are in stable condition.

Admission to and discharge from the ward have been suspended. 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."

WHO : Influenza update - update 151

The latest influenza update from WHO, excerpt :

" Summary

• Influenza activity in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere remains low overall though notable local increases in activity have been reported in some areas of Canada, Europe (Turkey, Spain, Italy and Malta), northern Africa (Tunisia and Algeria), China and the middle East (the Islamic Republic of Iran).

• Countries in the tropical zone reported generally low or undetectable levels of influenza activity with the exception of southern China, where influenza type B detections are increasing, and Costa Rica, which continues to report influenza A(H3N2) but at declining levels.

• Influenza activity in the temperate countries of the southern hemisphere is at inter-seasonal levels though Chile, Paraguay and Australia all report persistent low level transmission of A(H3N2) during their summer season.

• The most commonly detected virus type or subtype throughout the northern hemisphere temperate zone has been influenza A(H3N2) with the exception of Mexico, where influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 is the predominant subtype circulating, and China which is reporting a predominance of influenza type B. Other than Mexico, only very small numbers of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 have been reported globally.

• Reports from countries that do antigenic characterization indicate that nearly all influenza A viruses tested are antigenically related to those viruses included in the current trivalent influenza vaccine. While many of the influenza type B viruses are of the Yamagata lineage, which is not included in the current vaccine, overall numbers of influenza B virus detections are quite low compared to influenza type A (with the exception of China noted above).

• Oseltamivir resistance continues to be observed at very low levels and has not increased notably over levels reported in previous seasons."

WHO : Avian influenza – situation in Viet Nam

From WHO with regards to the latest Avian Influenza fatality in Vietnam :

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

The case was an 18 year-old male from Kien Giang Province. He developed symptoms on 10 January 2012 and was admitted to hospital on 14 January 2012 but died on 16 January 2012. Confirmatory test results for influenza A (H5N1) were obtained on 17 January 2012 by Pasteur Institute, the WHO National Influenza Centre in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.

The man was reportedly exposed to ducks. Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City and the local health sector are conducting outbreak investigation and response. He is the 120th person in Viet Nam to become infected with the H5N1 virus; to date, 60 of these cases have died from complications of the disease."

Friday, January 20, 2012

India : Measles outbreak in Arunachal villages

Via Times of India :

" ITANAGAR : At least 30 cases of measles have been detected in remote villages of Chayangtajo circle in East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. The worst affected are Namchar Bagang and Soshi Bagang, about 17 km from Chayangtajo, said an official on Thursday.

The villagers have been forced to take shelter at makeshift tents in forests so that they don't contract the disease. A voluntary health camp was held at Chayangtajo on Sunday by Dr B Gara of Naharlagun General Hospital and Dr Raja Dodum of Seppa District Hospital, a source said.

To take stock of the situation, the team, later, rushed to various villages in the district and gave medicines to infected children. The team tried to reach out to all the villagers as they visited almost every household, the source added."

UK : Health chiefs in meningitis alert

Via The Leader :

" PARENTS, teachers and family doctors and their staff are being advised to be on the alert for symptoms of meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia.

Professor Qutub Syed, director, HPA North West, said: “We tend to see more cases of these diseases in the winter months so it is important for everyone to know what the symptoms are and to be prepared to take urgent action if a case is suspected.

“If parents or guardians think a child may have meningitis, they should call the doctor immediately or take the patient to the nearest accident and emergency unit."

In Rwanda, successfully fighting a resurgence of malaria

News release from UNICEF on situation of Malaria in Rwanda, excerpt :

" NYAMATA, Rwanda, 19 January 2012 : Across Rwanda, children are benefiting from faster malaria diagnosis, the widespread distribution of nets, and the diligence of hospital and health centre staffs determined to keep malaria in check.

These renewed efforts are driven by a recent resurgence in malaria cases, following the country’s drastic reduction in both illness and death rates from malaria.

“In May 2010, we had 32 malaria-related deaths of children under the age of 5 in our district,” said Celestin Nzarerwanimana during an interview in late 2011. He is a community health supervisor at Nyamata Hospital in southern Rwanda.

“This year, in May we had only 17 deaths. Our efforts are working, but we still need to remain vigilant.”

‘Our team is advancing’

The Government of Rwanda is serious about this vigilance, and has procured new equipment to ensure rapid diagnosis and treatment. Among these essential supplies is the rapid malaria test, which makes a diagnosis using blood from a pricked finger.

In addition, community health workers have visited tens of thousands of homes to check whether families were properly using their bed nets. They also provided advice about hygiene, safe water, nutrition and family planning."

India rejects 'total drug resistant TB' claim

Article via BBC, excerpt :

" Indian health authorities have rejected recent reports that some tuberculosis cases in Mumbai were totally resistant to antibiotic treatment.

A health ministry team sent to probe the cases said they were "extensively drug resistant" infections.

Earlier, doctors in Mumbai said 12 patients had a "totally drug resistant" form of TB, and three had died.

TB is one of the world's biggest killers, second only to HIV among infectious diseases.

Normally a patient with TB is given a six to nine month course of antibiotics to eradicate it.

However, new strains of the bacterium have developed which are increasingly resistant to the antibiotics most commonly used to treat it.

Partially drug-resistant TB can now be found in countries across the world, and "multi-drug resistant" strains affect countries such as Russia and China."

Indonesia : Toddler died from bird flu - Health Ministry

More information coming from The Jakarta Post with regards to the latest bird flu fatality in Indonesia :

" A toddler whose brother died of bird flu while being taken to hospital earlier this month become the country’s second casualty of the deadly virus this year.

ASR, 5, from Tanjung Priok in North Jakarta, died on Monday after receiving treatment at the Persahabatan hospital in East Jakarta since Jan. 10, the Health Ministry announced on Thursday.

The ministry’s research center said that it was confirmed on Jan. 13 that she had been infected with H5N1, after testing negative several times.

“In the earlier examinations, the bird flu was not detected. It appeared after we conducted several tests,” said Tjandra Yoga Aditama, the ministry’s disease control and environmental health chief.

Tjandra said that her condition deteriorated quickly before her death.

“Previously, she had shown good physical improvement. That’s why we took her out of the intensive care unit,” he said.

ASR is said to have often accompanied her brother, PDY, to watch pigeons around their neighborhood. The siblings were believed to have been infected with the H5N1 virus from a sick pigeon."

Hong Kong : Update on cluster of Norovirus cases in Siu Lam Hospital

From Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" Regarding the earlier announcement concerning a male severe mentally handicapped ward in which some patients had been confirmed with Norovirus, the spokesperson of Siu Lam Hospital made the following update today (January 20):

One more 46-year-old male patient and one more staff member in the ward presented with diarrhoea or vomiting symptoms. Appropriate viral tests were arranged for the patient and the test results were positive for Norovirus. The patient concerned has been transferred to Tuen Mun Hospital for treatment under isolation and is in stable condition. The staff member is currently on leave.

Admission to and discharge from the ward have been suspended. 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."

Singapore : Efforts stepped up as dengue cases in Siglap rise to 10 Efforts stepped up as dengue cases in Siglap rise to 10

Via Straits Times :

" Residents in Siglap are on the alert for possible mosquito breeding areas after more people in the area were hit by dengue fever.

The number of dengue cases in Opera Estate has grown from three last week to 10 on Thursday.

As a result, the National Environment Agency (NEA), which is in charge of dengue control, has intensified operations in the neighbourhood."

Greece : Infant dies of H1N1 flu

Via Ekathimerini :

" A seven-and-a-half month Lybian baby diagnosed with the H1N1 virus died in Athens on Friday.

The infant was being treated at the intensive care unit of the Aghia Sofia children’s hospital in Athens, Skai reported on Friday. According to the medical facility’s staff the infant had been infected with the virus before entering Greece."

Hong Kong : Two cases of scarlet fever complicated with toxic shock syndrome under investigation

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

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating two cases of scarlet fever complicated with toxic shock syndrome.

The first one is a fatal case involving a 14-year-old girl with good past health. She presented with on and off low-grade fever since January 6, associated with cough, runny nose and malaise.

The girl sought medical consultation from three different private clinics for five times from January 6 to 17. Her condition did not improve and she developed rapid breathing since January 17 and attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital early next morning. She was admitted to Paediatric Intensive Care Unit with septic shock, pneumonia and pleural effusion. Her condition deteriorated and she passed away later in the same day.

Her pleural aspirate specimen tested positive for streptococcus pyogenes (Group A).

The girl lived with her parents and a younger brother in Eastern District. Her mother and younger brother had recent upper respiratory infection symptoms. Swabs will be taken from them for further tests.

The girl used to study at a secondary school in Happy Valley and last attended school on January 16. There has been no report of outbreak of respiratory illness in the school.

As a precautionary measure, the school is advised to suspend class tomorrow for thorough cleansing and disinfection. She did not travel outside Hong Kong before onset of symptoms. But she travelled to Macau from January 7 - 8.

The second case involves an 11-year-old boy with good past health. He presented with cough and runny nose since January 8 and developed fever since January 13.

He was admitted to a private hospital on January 15. Group A streptococcus was isolated from his blood specimen.

He was transferred to Paediatric Intensive Care Unit of Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital on January 17. On the same day, he also developed generalised sandpaper-like skin rash. He is now in stable condition.

He is studying in a primary school in Wan Chai District. He last attended school on January 13. The school will start holiday tomorrow and as a precautionary measure, the school is advised to carry out thorough cleansing and disinfection.

The CHP's investigation revealed that the patient has no recent travel history. His home contacts are asymptomatic."

WHO : Avian influenza - situation in Egypt - update

Via WHO :

" The Ministry of Health and Population of Egypt has notified WHO of two cases of human infection with avian influenza A (H5N1) virus.‪

The first case is a 2 year-old female from Cairo Governorate. She visited Helwan Fever Hospital as an outpatient on 30 October 2011 with symptoms of influenza-like-illness (ILI). The case was confirmed by RT-PCR at the Central Public Health Laboratory through periodic testing of samples collected from ILI outpatients from sentinel ILI surveillance sites. The epidemiological team investigated the case after confirmation of the laboratory test. Retrospective investigation through data collected from her family identified a positive history of exposure to backyard poultry. Samples from the case have been sent to the US Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3) for further sequencing.

The second case is a 31 year-old male from Fayium governorate. He developed symptoms on 1 January 2012, received oseltamivir on 14 January 2012 and is still hospitalised under the critical care unit. The case was confirmed by the Central Public Health Laboratory, a National Influenza Center of the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network.

Epidemiological investigations into both the cases indicated that they had exposure to backyard poultry."

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

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

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health seeks to draw public attention to its investigation into a confirmed case of severe paediatric influenza B infection affecting a 13-year-old boy.

The boy, enjoying good past health, presented with cough, running nose and sore throat since January 3. He sought medical consultation and received treatment from a general practitioner on multiple occasions.

He started to develop headache, vomiting, fever and photophobia since January 15. He was admitted to St Teresa's Hospital on January 17 and was later transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital on the same day.

The boy was clinically suggestive of meningitis. He is now in stable condition.

His nasopharyngeal swabs, collected in St Teresa's Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, tested positive for Influenza B.

Investigation revealed that the boy's mother and elder sister had upper respiratory tract infection symptoms early this month and have both recovered."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Seven Newcastle Disease Outbreaks in Israel

Via The Poultry Site :

" The Israeli veterinary authorities have reported seven new outbreaks of Newcastle disease in Haifa, Hadarom, Hazafon and Jerusalem.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received follow-up report no.7 on Sunday, 15 January. The affected population comprises broilers, turkeys and egg layers.

According to the report, a total of 454,500 birds showed signs of susceptibility to the outbreak, out of which approximately 40,000 cases were reported. A total of 26,000 deaths were recorded, and 219,500 birds were destroyed, while 186,000 were slaughtered.

The source of the outbreak remains inconclusive, and the epidemiological investigation is ongoing."

Indonesia : Ministry of Health stated AS death positive bird flu

Machine translated article from Antara :

" Ministry of Health (Kemkes) in a statement here on Thursday, said the death of the girl with the initials AS (5) on Monday (16 / 1) is positive for bird flu.

AS is the nephew of PD (23) who died on January 7, 2012 ago and also tested positive for bird flu and the two alleged victims have contracted the H5N1 virus from the same source of pet birds PD.

"Since entering the hospital, AS have been given help and given medication, but is this bird flu death rate is quite high," said Director General of Disease Control and Environmental Health (P2PL) Tjandra Yoga Aditama when contacted by AFP on Thursday."

Canada : Health district trying to curb C. difficile

Via Herald News, excerpt :

" It seems particularly cruel when sick people who enter hospital to get better end up getting a hospital-acquired illness.

And if the bacterium you pick up happens to be Clostridium difficile, the cruelty can be magnified.

"There is quite a spectrum of clinical illness, everything from no symptoms to very severe," says Dr. Kevin Forward, a microbiologist with Dalhousie University.

"There can be very serious involvement, dehydration, decrease in kidney function and the bowel can cease to work."

Bowel function can be so severely affected that the wall of the bowel can perforate and leak poisons into the rest of the body.

While C. difficile can be found in any hospital or long-term care facility, two recent outbreaks at Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney have raised concerns about the potentially fatal bacterium.

An outbreak early last year was linked to the deaths of 11 patients in seven of the nine hospitals under the direction of the Cape Breton district health authority. A total of 64 patients contracted C. difficile before the outbreak was declared over in May.

A Public Health Agency of Canada report on the outbreak was published just days before the latest occurrence in December."

Indonesian MOH Announces Bird Flu Fatality

From Mike Coston at Avian Flu Diary, along with his excellent comments, excerpt please go to his site for all the links :

" Ten days ago we learned of the death of a 23 year-old man living in north Jakarta from the H5N1 virus, presumably contracted from pigeons he was raising (see Bird Flu Suspect Dies In Indonesia).

At the time, there were media reports that this man’s sibling (ASR, age 5) was also ill and hospitalized, but it was reported on January 9th that he/she tested negative for the H5N1 virus.

We know that testing for the H5N1 virus has always been difficult, particularly once a patient is placed on antivirals, and we’ve seen some cases where patients tested negative repeatedly up until their demise, and bird flu infection was only established post-mortem.

Which is why many observers of the bird flu situation in Indonesia take negative test results with a grain of salt.

Today, via a statement released from the Indonesian Ministry of Health (h/t Gert van der Hoek on FluTrackers), we now learn that a 5 year old girl from the same neighborhood (with exposure to pigeons) has died after testing positive for the virus on January 13th."

MSF closes its largest medical centres in Mogadishu after killings

Media release from Médecins Sans Frontières :

" Other projects in Somalia continue, but MSF medical assistance in Somali capital reduced by half

19 January 2012 – Following the tragic killings of our colleagues Philippe Havet and Dr Karel Keiluhu in Mogadishu, Somalia, on 29 December 2011, the medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) sees itself forced to end all activities in the Hodan district of the capital, including the closure of two separate 120-bed medical facilities for the treatment of malnutrition, measles and cholera.

The closure of activities in this district halves the assistance MSF is providing in Mogadishu. For now, MSF projects will continue to provide medical care in the other districts of the capital, as well as in 10 locations in the rest of Somalia.

However, the continuation of MSF work to assist Somalis in need of medical care is dependent upon the respect for personnel, patients and medical facilities. Where these conditions prevail, MSF remains committed to continue its activities in Somalia.

“It is hard to close health services in a location where the presence of our medical teams is genuinely lifesaving everyday,” states Christopher Stokes, MSF general director, “but the brutal assassination of our colleagues in Hodan makes it impossible for us to continue working in this district of Mogadishu.”

In Hodan, MSF has been assisting 200,000 Somalis who have fled to the capital in recent months. Since August 2011, treatment has been provided to 11,787 malnourished children, 1,232 patients have been treated for acute watery diarrhea and 861 patients have been treated for measles. MSF teams have also vaccinated 67,228 children against measles."