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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fiji : Ministry reports new cases

Via Fiji Village :

" There are now 31 cases of typhoid, 39 cases of leptospirosis and 22 cases of dengue fever reported by the health ministry to date.

Spokesperson Peni Namotu said these cases were reported from the Western Division.

Namotu said this has increased with the fourteen case of typhoid from the Naitasiri settlement in Ba and Koroboya in Tavua which are under public health emergency declaration."

Nigeria : NEMA Raises Alarm Over Spread Of Lassa Fever

Via Leadership :

" Worried by the outbreak of Lassa fever in about 12 states in Nigeria which has recorded almost 400 suspected cases and claimed no fewer than 40 lives, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is making efforts to stop the disease from spreading to other parts of the country.

NEMA acting zonal coordinator, North West, Alhaji Musa Ilallah, said that enquiries conducted by experts showed that people become infected by eating food contaminated with rat excreta/urine deposited on food and water or surfaces like floors, and household utensils, and by direct contact or inhalation of infected body fluids such as blood, saliva and urine."

Zimbabwe : Typhoid spreads nationwide

Via The Herald Online :

" The typhoid outbreak has spread to other centres with more cases reported in two provinces.

Government has indicated that it does not have adequate resources to deal with the outbreak.

Typhoid cases have since been reported in Bindura, Mashonaland Central and Norton and Zvimba in Mashonaland West.

Epidemiology and Disease Control director in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare Dr Portia Manangazira said this when she appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Welfare.

Murehwa North legislator Cde David Parirenyatwa chairs the committee.

Dr Manangazira said weekly reports on the outbreak show cases have risen from around 30 to more than 200."

Congo-Kinshasa : Alert On As Cholera Hits DRC

Via All Africa :

" A cholera outbreak in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has seen government officials in Kigali locked up in discussions to prevent the disease from spreading to Rwanda.

Officials in the DRC say that up to 1,228 cases of cholera have been registered in North Kivu since January 2012, leading to 11 deaths last week.

North Kivu is close to the Gisenyi border in Rubavu District, Western Province."

Hong Kong : Cluster of Norovirus cases in Kowloon Hospital

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

" Eight patients (aged 53 to 86) in a female psychiatric ward had presented with vomiting and diarrhoea symptoms since February 19. Appropriate viral tests have been arranged for the patients and all tested positive for Norovirus. The patients are being treated under isolation and are in stable condition.

Infection control measures have already been enhanced and no admission to the ward concerned is allowed for the time being. Visiting to the isolated cubicle in the ward is also suspended. Other patients in the ward concerned are under close surveillance."

Vietnam : A week more cases of hand, foot and mouth total 1500

Machine translated article via Vietnam Net, excerpt, the article also carries information on the influenza situation in Vietnam :

" Within a week, there were 1403 cases more hand, foot and mouth.

From early 2012 to 21/2, there were 6328 cases of hand, foot and mouth. From 22 - 29/2 additional 1403 new cases, bringing the total number of infected in the country number in 7731 patients, of which 9 patients died.

This is the week of new cases jumped over the week ago (in early 2012). The previous week every week only recorded from 900 -1000 new cases. Services limbs mouth Preventive Medicine Department identified as still complicated with some questions on the country remains high. Hot area of this outbreak is concentrated in the central provinces."

Deadly drug resistant tuberculosis stalks Uganda, country renews fight

Via Xinhua :

" As tens of thousands of Ugandans continue to get infected with the deadly Tuberculosis (TB) disease, a top expert here is warning that the country is being gripped by a lethal mutated strain of the disease.

Francis Adatu, head of the National Leprosy and Tuberculosis Program, told Xinhua in an interview on Tuesday that the deadly disease which manifests itself as a chronic cough associated with chest pain, evening fevers, night sweat and evident loss of weight remains a major public health problem in the East African country."

Fourth death from bird flu reported in Vietnam

Article via Bikya Masr :

" A man suffering from bird flu is in critical condition in southern Vietnam, health officials said on Tuesdya. The 22-year-old from Binh Duong province is the fourth person to contract the virus this year, sparking fears that the deadly avian virus could be returning en force.

The man caught the virus reportedly after eating a meal that contained duck blood.

Two others in the area have already died as a result of the virus as health authorities continue to scramble to contain the virus in South Vietnam.

Truong Phu Son was first taken to hospital on 17 February with a high fever and respiratory failure. Tests showed he had contracted the H5N1 strain of the virus.

Son is thought to have caught the virus from a meal of duck blood pudding, a kind of noodle soup that is served with pieces of congealed blood.

On Sunday, the Animal Health Department raided shops in Son’s hometown illegally trading in live poultry and slaughtering birds, the newspaper Viet Nam News reported. The area around his home was also disinfected."

India : Two test positive for swine flu

Via Times of India :

" Two persons from the city tested positive for swine flu on Monday. Both are undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Malakpet and are stable.

Hospital authorities said that there is no travel history and termed these cases as 'sporadic'. Among the two patients, one is a 56-year-old woman from Gaddiannaram. Treating doctor at Yashoda Hospital, Malakpet, Krishna Mohan Reddy said that the woman, who got admitted to the hospital on February 22, is diabetic and suffers from cardiac lung disease.

The second case is that of a 44-year-old resident of Hayatnagar. Hospital authorities said that the man got admitted to the hospital on February 26 with cold, cough and fever. He was tested positive for swine flu a day later."

Hong Kong : Oriental magpie robin tests positive for H5 virus

From Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection :

" A dead Oriental magpie robin found in Cheung Chau has tested positive for the H5 avian influenza virus in preliminary testing, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (February 29), adding that further confirmatory tests are being conducted.

The dead bird was found and collected at 80 Hok Loo Lane, Cheung Chau, on February 27. The Oriental magpie robin is a common resident bird in Hong Kong.

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

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

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

Avian influenza – situation in Egypt – update

Press release from WHO :

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

The first case is a thirty-two year old male from Behira governorate, in the Abo Elmatameer District. He developed symptoms on 16 February 2012 and was admitted to hospital on 21 February 2012 where he received oseltamivir treatment upon admission. He died on 28 February 2012.

The second case was a thirty seven year-old female from Kafr Elshihk governorate in the Kelleen District. She developed symptoms on 18 February 2012 and was admitted to hospital on 23 February 2012 where she received oseltamivir treatment upon admission. She died on 26 February 2012.

Preliminary investigations into both cases with regard to the source of infection indicate close contact with sick or deceased backyard poultry at the cases' respective residences.

Both cases were confirmed by the Central Public Health Laboratories, a National Influenza Center of the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network.

Of the 163 cases confirmed to date in Egypt 57 have been fatal."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hong Kong : Update on cluster of Clostridium Difficile toxin cases at Wong Tai Sin Hospital

Press release from Hong Kong's CHP :

" The spokesperson for TWGHs Wong Tai Sin Hospital (WTSH) made the following update today (February 28) regarding an earlier announcement on a cluster of Clostridium Difficile toxin cases in a tuberculosis and chest ward.

One more 34-year-old female patient who previously stayed in the ward presented with diarrhoea symptoms. The test results for the patient concerned were positive for Clostridium Difficile toxin. The patient was transferred to Kwong Wah Hospital on February 22. She is being treated under isolation and is in stable condition.

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

Wales : Abergavenny farmer fears Schmallenberg virus will hit livestock

Via BBC News, excerpt :

" A farmer says it is only a matter of time before the Schmallenberg virus which causes birth defects and miscarriages in livestock reaches Wales.

Chief vet Dr Christianne Glossop said tests have been held on Welsh farms but there have been no confirmed cases.

The disease has been affecting livestock in England."

Nigeria: Cholera Still On Rampage

Article via All Africa, excerpt :

" The annual rampage of the cholera disease is now so predictable that millions of Nigerians rarely pay attention to it.

Yet, its re-occurrence in areas most prone, have had devastating effects with death numbers steadily climbing. In the midst of these harvest of deaths, we also have oasis of hope, that is the near cholera free states. Why are some states cholera prone and some cholera free? Daily Trust Health Insight investigates.

The casualties started trickling in before the rains began last year. Five deaths in Adamawa, 30 in hospital; 11 deaths in Nasarawa; another 11 deaths in Oyo. They spanned 203 local government areas across 26 states.

With a fatality ratio estimated at 3.2%, the disease claimed 742 lives by year end. Epidemiologists in weekly updates overseen by the federal health ministry recorded a total 23, 377 cases.

With the change of season around September, the outbreak began to dwindle. There still were new cases but the number of deaths had reduced.

The first two months in 2012, just two states have recorded cholera cases, the federal health ministry said in its weekly epidemiological update.

The first five weeks saw 14 cases with no death in Kaduna and Gombe. One week later, the suspected cases jumped to 40; one death was reported."

Malaysia : Increase in number of dengue cases worrying

Via Borneo Post Online :

" The increase in the number of dengue cases reported nationwide is worrying.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said 580 dengue cases were reported last week as compared to 400 cases previously.

“Most of the dengue cases were reported in residential areas and major towns.

“Hence, we really hope that the Communication for Behavioural Impact (Combi) programme will be intensified in the Neighbourhood Watch areas, as well as residential areas,” he told reporters after presenting donations to fire victims in Kampung Baru Cina Ketari near here.

A total of 120 people from 26 families were made homeless in the fire which broke out at 3.55pm last Wednesday."

Vietnam creates indigenous bird flu vaccine

Via Saigon Daily :

" Vietnamese scientists at the Company for Vaccine and Biological Production (Vabiotech), under the Ministry of Health, have succeeded in producing a vaccine against bird flu, after eight years of scientific research.

The vaccine is being considered as one of the 15 important scientific achievements in the medical field in the last 10 years.

Dr. Professor Nguyen Thu Van, director of the vaccine research centre, said her efforts and those of her colleagues’ are going to be rewarded when bird flu vaccine Fluvax will be used effectively to cure people.

Bird flu hit Vietnam in 2003, spreading rapidly throughout the Southeast Asian country, recording 52 deaths. The World Health Organisation warned that bird flu virus could mutate during the pandemic to a more lethal form to cause deadly human flu if there is no effective vaccine found."

Hong Kong : Crested goshawk and Oriental magpie robin test positive for H5 virus

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

" Preliminary testing of the carcasses of a crested goshawk and an Oriental magpie robin found in Mong Kok and Cheung Chau have returned a positive result for the H5 avian influenza virus, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (February 28), adding that further confirmatory tests are being conducted.

The crested goshawk was found and collected at Diocesan Boys' School, 131 Argyle Street, Mong Kok on February 24. The crested goshawk is an uncommon resident bird in Hong Kong.

The Oriental magpie robin was found and collected at the rooftop, 3/F, 76 Hing Lung Back Street, Cheung Chau on February 25. The Oriental magpie robin is a common resident bird in Hong Kong.

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

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

Vietnam : Vietnamese man hospitalized with H5N1 infection

From Lisa Schnirring at CIDRAP :

" A 22-year-old man in Vietnam is in critical condition with an H5N1 avian influenza infection, according to media reports.

Nguyen Van Vin Chau, Ho Chi Minh City's director of tropical diseases, said the man is from Binh Duong province, located in the southeastern part of the country, Asia News Network (ANN) reported today. He was hospitalized on Feb 23 after experiencing a high fever and respiratory symptoms.

Samples were positive for H5N1, and the man is receiving treatment, according to the report. The investigation so far has found that during the Tet holiday the man ate chicken and duck from unknown origins in two different provinces and in Ho Chi Minh City.

So far this year Vietnam has reported three H5N1 infections, including two deaths, after recording none in 2011. All three cases have been in adults. If the World Health Organization confirms the new case, it will be listed as Vietnam's 122nd case, which includes 61 deaths."

Australia : Indigenous more vulnerable to swine flu

Via Nine Msn, excerpt :

" Another swine flu outbreak would result in avoidable deaths because authorities have failed to focus on the specific needs of Aboriginal people, a researcher is warning.

Indigenous people had a five times higher risk of death than non-indigenous Australians during the 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 influenza pandemic."

Malaysia : HFMD - Situation has stabilised in Sarawak, says Liow

Via The Star :

" Cases of hand-foot-mouth disease in Sarawak has stabilised.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said there was an accumulated number of 1,231 cases since January this year, compared to 295 cases during the same period last year.

"The situation is stable and most of the patients show mild symptoms of the disease," he told a press conference here."

PAHO, CDC publish guide on preparing for chikungunya virus introduction in the Americas

Via Pan American Health Organization :

" The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has published new guidelines on chikungunya, a mosquito-transmitted virus transmitted that causes fever and severe joint pain. The Guidelines for Preparedness and Response for Chikungunya Virus Introduction in the Americas aims to help countries throughout the Americas improve their ability to detect the virus and be prepared to monitor, prevent, and control the disease, should it appear.

Hundreds of people who have traveled from the Americas to Asia and Africa in the past five years have become infected with the chikungunya virus. While the virus has not spread locally in the Western Hemisphere, experts say there is a clear risk of its introduction into local mosquito populations. Local transmission could occur if mosquito populations in the United States or elsewhere in the Americas became infected with the virus and began spreading it to people in that area.

From 2006 to 2010, 106 laboratory-confirmed or probable cases of chikungunya were detected among travelers returning to the United States. This compares with only three cases reported from 1995 to 2005. Since 2004, chikungunya virus has caused massive and sustained outbreaks in Asia and Africa, infecting more than 2 million people, with attack rates as high as 68% in some areas. With the movement of travelers, local transmission has taken place in areas where the virus was not previously found, including northern Italy and southern France. Nine cases have been reported in the French territories of the Americas since 2006 (three each in Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Guaina). To date, none of the cases has led to local transmission; however, they demonstrate the ongoing risk of introduction and possible sustained transmission of chikungunya virus in the Americas, experts say.

The name chikungunya means “that which bends up.” The disease is rarely fatal, but the severe joint pain it produces can last for months. There is no specific treatment or commercially available vaccine against the disease. Chikungunya virus is spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes, particularly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (the “Asian Tiger Mosquito”). Aedes aegypti, which can also transmit dengue and yellow fever, is common in tropical and subtropical areas of the Americas, including the southern United States. Aedes albopictus is found in more temperate areas of the Americas and is widespread in the southeastern states and East Coast of the United States.

“The broad distribution of mosquitoes capable of spreading chikungunya virus, coupled with the fact that people in the Americas have not been exposed to chikungunya virus, places this region at risk for the introduction and spread of the virus,” write the authors, Otavio Oliva, PAHO advisor on viral diseases; José Luis San Martín, PAHO advisor on dengue; and Roger S. Nasci, chief of the Arboviral Diseases Branch at CDC.

“Chikungunya-infected travelers continue to bring the virus to the Americas, including the United States,” said Nasci. “These guidelines provide the information needed to develop a comprehensive regional plan for rapidly detecting and, hopefully, reducing the potential impact of chikungunya virus in the Western Hemisphere.”

Only through coordinated, strong responses to an introduction of the virus can we expect to avoid the establishment of local transmission,” said Oliva.

To download the guide, Preparedness and Response for Chikungunya Virus Introduction in the Americas select this link."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Australia : Two typhoid cases halts transfer of asylum seekers

Via ABC News :

" The Immigration Department has halted the transfer of a planeload of asylum seekers from Christmas Island to the mainland because two detainees have typhoid.

The department says two people who arrived on separate boats have been diagnosed with the disease.

A spokeswoman says they were immediately isolated and one of the men has since been transferred to a hospital on the mainland.

The department says it is working with local and state health authorities to ensure the disease does not spread to Christmas Island residents.

There are just under 1,500 asylum seekers on the island."

Nigeria: Containing Lassa Fever Outbreak

Via All Africa :

" Forty fatalities including two medical personnel due to a recent outbreak of Lassa fever illustrate a lack of adequate information on how to manage this dangerous disease.

The deaths occurred in twelve states where the disease has been detected in the last six weeks. According to the Minister of State for Health, Dr Mohammed Ali Pate, who made announcement in Abuja, the over 397 cases of Lassa fever so far reported came from Edo, Nasarawa, Plateau, Ebonyi, Taraba, Yobe, Ondo, Rivers, Gombe, Anambra, Delta and Lagos states. In response, over 750, 000 doses of Ribavirin injection as well as safety gloves and protective vests for health workers have been were distributed to affected states, he said.

Besides, nine specialist centres have been opened across Nigeria where tests for Lassa fever can be carried out, in addition to the National Institute for Lassa Fever Research and Control, in Irrua, Edo State.

Medical authorities reported that there had been a 60-percent rise in suspected cases of the disease, and 80-percent increase in confirmed cases. Key to effective treatment is early diagnosis, within six days of infection. The annual number of deaths, according to the Community Medical Director at the Irrua institute, Dr A. O. Asogun, could top 58,000 if the current rate of infection continues. Health workers are at greater risk of contracting the disease mainly from exposure to infected patients. Since 2008, seven medical doctors have reportedly died from the disease. Pregnant women are also at high risk of contracting Lassa fever."

ECDC : Influenza season epidemics may be approaching their peak in first affected countries

The latest influenza update from ECDC :

" The national influenza season epidemics in Europe may be approaching their peak in the first affected countries and remain dominated by A(H3) viruses. The influenza A(H3) and B viruses circulating this season have moved genetically and antigenically away from 2011–2012 seasonal vaccine viruses which has prompted WHO to recommend different vaccine viruses for the 2012-2013 seasonal vaccine. This is reported in the latest edition of the ECDC Weekly Influenza Surveillance Overview.

During week 7/2012 medium intensity was reported by 16 countries while two countries reported high intensity. Geographic spread was reported as widespread by 11 countries, regional by six, local by four and sporadic by six.

Typical for the 2011-2012 influenza season is that it started later than in recent seasons and has been without any clear geographic progression.

Virological surveillance for the period shows that out of 1 873 sentinel specimens tested, 927 (49.5%) were positive for influenza virus. Of the 2 901 influenza viruses detected from sentinel and non-sentinel sources during week 7, 2 788 (96.1%) were type A and 113 (3.9%) were type B. Of the 1 085 influenza A viruses sub-typed, 1 065 (98.2%) were A(H3) and 20 (1.8%) were A(H1)pdm09.

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

China sends man to labor camp for SARS rumor

Via Reuters, excerpt :

" Police in a north China city said on Monday that they have sentenced a man to two years of "labor re-education" for spreading rumors of an outbreak of the SARS virus in the city."

Vietnam : More HPAI Discovered

Via The Poultry Site :

" The Vietnamese veterinary authorities have reported further cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Nam Dinh.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received follow-up report no. 67 on Friday, 24 February.

According to the report, a total of 180 birds were found susceptible to the outbreak, out of which 145 cases were reported. 100 deaths were recorded, and the remaining 80 birds were destroyed.

The source of the outbreak remains unknown."

Pakistan : Dengue fever 'hits' Lahore again; 59 cases reported

Via Pakistan News Service :

" After unleashing a killing spree last year, dengue has reappeared in the city with 59 fresh cases reported at different hospitals of the provincial capital during the last two months.

As many as 59 fresh cases of dengue fever were reported during the first two months of 2012 in different hospitals across the provincial metropolis.

According to details, 41 new dengue patients were admitted to Mayo Hospital, 13 to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, three to Services Hospital and one each to the Lahore General Hospital (LGH) and Jinnah Hospital.

Experts say that dengue fever cases usually appear in September. They say dengue virus appears twice a year – first from February to April, and again from September to November. This year, fresh cases have started appearing from the very start of the year, which indicated that the virus was becoming a greater threat, and also that the anti-dengue campaign needed to be conducted more vigorously. Last year, more than 378 people died of the fever across the province, and another 0.5 million were affected by the virus."

Hong Kong : CHP investigates influenza-like illness outbreak

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

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

The reminder followed the CHP's investigation into an influenza-like illness outbreak at a primary school in Tseung Kwan O, affecting 23 students.

The affected students, comprising 13 males and 10 females aged from 6 to 10, developed symptoms of respiratory tract infection, including fever, cough and sore throat, since February 15.

None required hospitalisation. All are in stable condition."

China : Guangdong's Hepatitis C cases under investigation

Via Xinhua :

" China's Ministry of Health (MOH) has dispatched experts from various medical fields to help investigate recent Hepatitis C cases in the country's southern province of Guangdong.

MOH spokesman Deng Haihua made the remarks at a press conference on Monday, noting that the medical fields include epidemiology, lab detection, clinical medicine and infection control.

Medical malpractice was suspected of infecting more than 200 people in Zijin county with the Hepatitis C virus on Feb. 23.

The number was tallied by the patients themselves and has not been confirmed by local authorities.

According to local officials, a preliminary investigation has ruled out drug injection, plasma collection and hemodialysis as possible causes of the infections, and the local government is launching a further investigation."

Vietnam : Binh Duong reports first human bird flu case

Via Saigon Daily :

" The southern province of Binh Duong has confirmed the first case of bird flu on humans and the patient has been carried to Ho Chi Minh City for treatments.

The patient is Truong Phu Son, born in 1990. He was living in a house in Phu Loi Ward, Thu Dau Mot Town, according to the provincial Department of Health

He returned to his home province of Thanh Hoa during the Lunar New Year holidays late January, and has come back to Binh Duong to work. On February 17, he had high temperatures and breathing difficulty, and was brought to a local hospital.

On Feb. 23, he was transferred to the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Infectious Diseases and Tropical Diseases as his conditions became worse.

Blood samples later showed that Son was infected with the deadly bird flu virus A/H5N1.

Health officials said where he was infected with the virus was still unknown."

China : Infection cases 'not SARS'

Via China Daily, excerpt :

" Swine, bird flu also ruled out; final investigation report due this week

A final epidemiological investigation report on the PLA 252 Hospital infections that sparked speculation of a SARS outbreak will be issued in a week, and SARS is not the culprit, said an army source.

The source with the Institute for Disease Prevention and Control of the People's Liberation Army, who declined to be identified, said that the infections are fully under control.

"There are no critical cases or deaths. Most patients just had symptoms like fever, cough and sore throat and many didn't need to be hospitalized at all," he said.

The Ministry of Health issued an online notice on Saturday, in which it said that the patients with respiratory tract infections and fevers who are being treated at the Baoding-based PLA 252 Hospital in Hebei province were not infected by SARS.

"By confirming with relevant departments, (we have) ruled out SARS, H1N1 swine flu and bird flu, and diagnosed them with a respiratory tract inspection caused by adenovirus type 55," said the ministry in the notice.

Adenovirus is a common cause of respiratory infection, and it usually leads to cold-like symptoms, it said. Most cases are relatively mild and have a favorable prognosis.

Starting last week, many Chinese citizens voiced concern over a possible SARS outbreak in the hospital and some alleged that hundreds had been hospitalized in isolation wards and that at least one person had died.

"Most of the patients are newly recruited local young soldiers and the symptoms are usually mild, like coughing and fever," the source told China Daily on Sunday.

"Actually, so far it's hard to give an exact number of the infected as they were detected successively," said the source, when questioned about the scale of the outbreak.

"Also, we couldn't test everyone with mild cold-like symptoms for the virus and it's not necessary," he said.

The infection is not caused by a new virus, and it is just like a common cold, which is easy to treat, he said, adding that there is no need to panic.

A man surnamed Wang at the public relations office of the hospital said the facility is "operating normally" and, "the special in-patient department for military people is just managed separately from other departments"."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Malaysia : Hand, foot, mouth disease close to an outbreak in S’wak, warns Liow

Via The Star :

" The number of hand, foot, mouth cases in Sarawak is showing an upward trend and heading towards an outbreak in the state, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

He urged the public to continue to observe personal hygiene and environmental cleanliness to prevent the spread of the disease.

He said the number of such cases for the first seven weeks of this year was 806 cases, compared to 213 cases during the same period last year.

He said only one case of coxsackie A virus was reported in the state this year.

He was speaking at the launch of the Taman Medan Health Clinic."

Australia : SE Asia travellers warned of dengue fever danger

Via ABC News :

" The Northern Territory Centre for Disease Control says there have been more cases of dengue fever detected in the first two months of this year than the whole of 2011.

There CDC says there have been 34 cases in January and February, compared with 29 last year.

All were detected in travellers returning from trips to south-east Asia, including Bali and East Timor.

Dr Peter Markey says the incubation period is about a week and many people only realise they have the disease when symptoms arise at home.

"The big one, first of all, is fever," he said.

"Headache is invariable with dengue and it is usually behind the eyes.

"The most oppressive thing about dengue is the muscle and joint aches and pains.

"It really does give you this whole body ache.

"It is very difficult to move around.

"Some people call it breakbone fever."

Dr Markey says about half of the cases have required hospitalisation and the disease can be fatal."

Nigeria to probe Lassa fever outbreak

Via Xinhua :

" The Nigerian government has set up a Lassa Fever Rapid Response Committee to investigate, prevent and control further outbreaks of the disease which has already killed 40 people in 12 states across the country.

Chaired by Sunday Aremu Omilabu, a senior staff of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), the 23-man committee having representatives of government agencies and development partners was inaugurated here on Thursday, by the minister of state for health Muhammad Ali Pate.

Speaking at the inauguration, the minister said the committee would coordinate responses from government and development partners in controlling the spread of the disease."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hong Kong : CHP actively follows up with Ministry of Health on SARS rumour

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

" A spokesman for the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (February 23) said that the CHP had successfully contacted the Ministry of Health (MOH) to ascertain a rumour concerning an incident of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Hebei province and was initially confirmed by MOH that there was no SARS outbreak. The Mainland authority concerned will announce relevant information later.

The spokesman said that there are well-established communication channels, including the SARS notification mechanism, between Hong Kong and the Mainland to enable timely exchange of important information about infectious disease incidents and outbreaks.

The CHP will continue to follow up actively with the MOH and monitor the latest development."

Alarming increase in cases of dengue fever in Colombia

Via Colombia Reports :

" Reported cases of dengue fever in Colombia have more than doubled since last year, according to the government.

As of Feb 11, 5,174 cases of dengue fever were reported, compared to 2,222 for the same period last year. Of the cases reported, 51 have been deemed serious and the fever has led to at least two deaths.

Health Minister Beatriz Londoño and National Health Institute director Juan Gonzalo Lopez issued a statement requesting health officials to be extra vigilant in their treatment, prevention, and reporting of the disease.

The departments with the largest number of reported cases are Huila (14%), Meta (10%), Valle (8%) and Caqueta (8%)."

Lives in the balance: The urgent need for HIV and TB treatment in Myanmar

From Médecins Sans Frontières, excerpt :

" MSF calls for urgent action to save lives in Myanmar

In a report released today Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the largest provider of HIV treatment in Myanmar (1), highlights the critical need for increased HIV and Tuberculosis (TB), including multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), treatment in the country.

According to the report, 85,000 people in urgent need of lifesaving anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in Myanmar are today unable to access it. Of an estimated 9,300 people newly infected with MDR-TB each year, so far just over 300 have been receiving treatment.

Lives in the Balance shows the devastating effect that the cancellation of an entire round of funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, will have on the struggle to provide HIV and TB treatment in Myanmar. The cancellation of Round 11 means that there will be no foreseen funding to expand treatment for HIV or TB and its drug-resistant forms until 2014.

“Yet again, donors have turned their backs on people living with HIV and TB in Myanmar” said Peter Paul de Groote, Head of Mission, MSF Myanmar. “Everyday we at MSF are confronted with the tragic consequences of these decisions: desperately sick people and unnecessary deaths.”

Between 15,000 and 20,000 people living with HIV die every year in Myanmar because of lack of access to lifesaving anti-retroviral therapy (ART). TB prevalence in Myanmar is more than three times the global average and Myanmar is among the 27 countries with the highest MDR-TB rates in the world. MDR-TB has the same airborne transmission as non-resistant TB, but it is far more complex and lengthy to treat (2). As with non-resistant TB, perfectly healthy people can easily be infected with MDR-TB."

Avian influenza – situation in Egypt – update

From WHO :

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

The case is a 45 year-old female from Menofia governorate. She developed symptoms on 10 February 2012, received oseltamivir treatment on 17 February 2012 and is still recovering. The case was laboratory confirmed by the Central Public Health Laboratories; a National Influenza Center of the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network on 18 February 2012.

Epidemiological investigation into the source of infection indicate that the case had exposure to backyard poultry.

Of the 160 cases confirmed to date in Egypt, 55 have been fatal."

Vietnam : Two HPAI Outbreaks in Bac Ninh

Via Poultry Site :

" The Vietnamese veterinary authorities have reported two new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza, both in Bac Ninh.

The World Organisation for Animal Health received follow-up report no. 66 yesterday, 21 February.

According to the report, a total of 192 birds were found susceptible to the outbreak, out of which 290 cases were identified. 150 birds were found dead, while the remaining 342 were destroyed.

The source of the outbreak remains inconclusive."

Indonesia : 5 Possible Bird Flu Cases in S. Sulawesi

Via The Jakarta Globe :

" Five people from a remote village in Gowa district, South Sulawesi, were rushed to the Wahidin Sudirohusodo Hospital in Makassar late on Monday under suspicion that they had contracted the avian flu virus.

The hospital’s medical service director Khalid said on Tuesday that the five, who lived in the same village and included two babies less than 7 months old, had not tested positive for the H5N1 virus but said they had been showing symptoms similar to those infected.

“We have taken their blood and saliva samples to be tested in our laboratory,” the doctor said. The results should be available on Thursday."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Vietnam : Cases of hand, foot and mouth disease rocket

Via Vietnam Net :

" The number of cases of hand, foot and mouth disease in the first 6 weeks of the year has reached 6,328. The number is 7.3 times higher than in the same period of a year earlier, and 9 cases have been fatal, the Health Ministry’s Preventive Health Department reported.

The developments of the disease in the past one and a half months showed that the this year the illness would likely be more serious than last year, when about 100,000 people suffered from the disease and nearly 200 children died, Tran Thanh Duong, deputy head of the department, warned."

Hong Kong : Cluster of Clostridium Difficile toxin cases at Wong Tai Sin Hospital

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

" Five patients (two male and three female, aged 60 to 78) in a tuberculosis and chest ward recently presented with diarrhoea symptoms. Appropriate tests were arranged for the patients and they were found to be positive to Clostridium Difficile toxin. Four of the patients are being treated under isolation, of whom three are in a stable condition while one is in a serious condition due to underlying chronic disease. The other patient recovered and has been discharged.

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

Dengue confirmed in New Caledonia

Via Radio NZ :

" The authorities in New Caledonia have confirmed this year’s first case of dengue outside the Noumea area.

The local newspaper says the infected person is in Ponirihouen on the main island’s east coast.

It is the third locally contracted case this year after the discovery of two dengue sufferer in the capital area.

In addition, two residents have dengue, which they contracted while they were on holiday on the Indonesian island of Bali."

Malaysia : HFMD returns - Sharp increase seen in number of reported cases

Via The Star :

" The state’s Health Department has declared an outbreak of hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) in Kuching, Samarahan and Betong districts.

Its director Dr Zulkifli Jantan said there was a sharp increase in the number of reported cases, which nearly tripled to 609 between Jan 1 and Feb 14, from 213 cases in the same period last year.

He said Kuching detected 189 cases, followed by Bintulu with 73, Miri 51, Betong 48, and Sarikei 36.

“The majority of the cases seen so far were mild infections, with only 35 cases or 5.9% requiring hospitalisation mainly because of poor feeding.

“There were no cases with serious complications or death reported so far this year,” he added in a press statement yesterday.

Dr Zulkifli said the department’s sentinel surveillance had detected that the causative organism was a combination of EV71 and Coxsackie virus A16, with 90% of the patient samples testing positive of EV71."

Finland : Flu season reaching peak

Via YLE :

" This winter's flu wave is going to hit Finland particularly hard within the next few weeks. According to the National Institute of Health and Welfare (THL), resistance to the currently spreading H3N2 virus is low among the population at the moment.

“There are many cases of infection all around Finland. The flu season has been at its worst for a couple of weeks already and will likely remain like this for some weeks,” forecasts research professor Ilka Julkunen from the THL.

The H3N2 strain first struck Finland three years ago, but it has mutated so that even those who have had it before are not necessarily immune."

Australia : Third Cairns dengue case linked

Via Cairns :

" A MANUNDA woman has become the third person to contract dengue fever in Cairns this year, with another case in Townsville sparking warnings about a possible outbreak of the contagious disease.

Disease control teams are working at Manunda to spray larvae and adult mosquitoes, after a woman was confirmed to have contracted the dengue fever virus.

Cairns Public Health Medical Office Dr Richard Gair said the Manunda case had been linked to the previous two cases.

They are the first known locally-acquired dengue fever cases in Cairns since March last year."

Uganda: Cholera Strikes Mbale, Kills Two, 14 Admitted

Via All Africa :

" Authorities in Mbale District have ordered the closure of all eating places that do not meet minimum health standards following a cholera outbreak that has left two people dead and left 14 others admitted to hospital.

This outbreak comes at a time when the district is facing water shortage for close to a week now.

The district health officer, Dr John Baptist Waniaye Waniaye told Sunday Monitor on Friday that about 14 people who had been admitted at Mbale Regional Hospital have been transferred to Busiu health centre IV Cholera treatment centre and that the district health technical team has already issued warnings to people to stop buying prepared food and drinks sold along the streets in Mbale suburbs, in order to curb further spread of the disease."

Indonesia : Four Residents Feared Bird Flu Suspects

Via VIVA News :

" Four residents of Gowa, South Sulawesi, were rushed to the nearest hospital after showing the symptoms of H5N1 virus or famously known as the bird flu. The four residents of Kunjung Mae Hamlet, Panakkukang Village in Pallangga were having high fever, cough, and flu, which were suspected as the symptoms of the bird flu.

The four residents are SM (3 months), R (7 months), MA (6 years), and S (32 years). Their family did not want to take any risks, especially since the past 3 days, dozens of the residents’ chickens suddenly died with the symptoms of H5N1 virus.

“That’s why we rushed them to the hospital, because family members are worried,” said Daeng Kenna, a family member on Monday night, Feb 20.

Meanwhile, the Syekh Yusuf Gowa Hospital immediately treated the patients with standard procedures in handling the H5N1 virus, in isolation room. According to one of the officers there, Dr Nurul, the four patients are still under treatment.

However, the hospital has yet to find the exact cause of their sickness, because the hospital in Gowa is not included as a referral hospital in handling H5N1 virus. The hospital is planning to recommend the patients to be transferred to Wahidin Sudirohusodo Hospital in Makassar."

Canada : Cases of flu virus in Ontario and Toronto at five-year low

Via Healthzone, excerpt :

" After riding the wave of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, Ontario residents appear to have avoided the seasonal onslaught of coughing and sneezing — so far.

The number of laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu by the end of January was the lowest it’s been in the past five years, according to data from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

In Toronto there were only 64 confirmed cases of influenza since September. Sixteen were part of an institutional outbreak in the last week of January. At the same point last year, Toronto had already seen 1,106 confirmed cases of the flu."

Indonesia : Bird Flu Case Report

Press release from Indonesia's Ministry of Health with regards to the latest fatality in the country due to bird flu :

" Ministry of Health through the Directorate General of Disease Control and Environmental Health, announced a new case of H5N1 have been confirmed by the Center for Basic Biomedical and Health Technology, Balitbangkes.

Patient name Kh (female, 19 years) from Kebumen, working as a maid in Tangerang South, Banten province. On February 8, 2012 symptoms of fever, February 9, went to the doctor in private clinics, and on February 12, 2012 were treated at Mercy Hospital Sari Karawaci Tangerang. Kh died on February 13, 2012.

Epidemiological investigations have been conducted in the home environment where employers and patients in Tangerang Integrated Team Ministry of Health and local Health Department with the results of risk factors is unclear."

Indonesia : Bird Flu Claims Third Victim This Year in Jakarta

Article via The Jakarta Globe :

" Tests on a 19-year-old woman who died last week showed she had contracted the bird flu virus, Indonesia’s third human death from the deadly disease this year, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

Concerns about avian influenza have risen in the region with China, Cambodia and Vietnam all reporting deaths from the H5N1 virus this year.

The latest Indonesian victim died on Feb. 13, a day after being admitted to a hospital in Tangerang district on the outskirts of the capital Jakarta, the ministry said.

Tests on the victim after she died confirmed she had contracted the virus, but a health ministry team that surveyed her house and neighborhood was unable to determine its source.

The ministry added the woman had a fever for four days before arriving at the hospital.

Indonesia recorded two bird-flu fatalities in Jakarta in January. The country has been the hardest-hit by bird flu, with 150 deaths reported between 2003 and 2011, according to the World Health Organization."

Vietnam : Another HPAI Outbreak

Via The Poultry Site :

" Another new outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza has been reported in Quang Nam.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received follow-up no. 65 on Saturday, 18 February.

Out of a total of 5050 susceptible birds, 878 cases were reported. A total of 106 deaths were recorded, and 4944 birds were destroyed.

The source of the outbreak remains inconclusive."

Mozambique : Cholera outbreak in Inhaca island

Via Xinhua :

" The Inhaca Island located at 32 kilometers from the capital Maputo has been reporting increasing cases of cholera due to lack of safe water and the practice of non hygienic methods, the Maputo daily paper Noticias reports on Monday.

According to local health unities at least 20 cases of cholera are treated every month but they fear that the number of cases could be more than the figures indicated because many patients do not seek for medical assistant when they are sick due to the long distances they have to walk to find one.

The municipal district Health director, Isac Piassone, said that the residents of the island do not have the habit of building conventional latrines and do everything outdoors."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hong Kong : Suspected case of paediatric scarlet fever investigated

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

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (February 20) investigating a suspected case of scarlet fever complicated with toxic shock syndrome involving an 8-year-old boy.

The boy, with good past health, presented with fever and a sore throat on February 14. He developed a skin rash over the neck since February 16 and sought medical consultation from a general practitioner on February 15, 17 and 18. He was referred to the Accident and Emergency Department of Kwong Wah Hospital on February 18 and was admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit for further management on the same day.

Pneumonia and shock was noted on his admission. The preliminary result of his blood culture taken on admission yielded gram positive cocci. His nasopharyngeal specimen was tested positive for influenza B. His current condition is critical.

The CHP's investigation revealed that the boy did not have a recent travel history. He lives with his parents. His mother had fever and runny nose on February 10 and has recovered already.

Investigation continues.

A CHP spokesman explained that scarlet fever is caused by Group A Streptococcus bacteria and can be cured by appropriate antibiotics. The disease usually affects children between 2 to 8 years of age and presents as fever, sore throat and rash. The rash appears over the trunk and neck and spreads to the limbs, especially the armpits, elbows and groin. The illness is usually clinically mild but can be complicated by shock, heart and kidney diseases."

Nearly 340 cholera cases in Republic of Congo

Article via WGME, excerpt :

" A health official says the small Republic of Congo has seen nearly 340 cholera cases in recent months.

Dr. Jean Martim Mabiala said Monday on national radio that there have been nine cholera deaths since June in the area of Likouala, some 500 miles (800 kilometers) north of the capital."

South Sudan: Health Ministry Declares Nation Meningitis Free

Via All Africa :

" The health ministry on Friday declared South Sudan meningitis free and denied media reports that an outbreak of the disease had occurred in parts of the country, which reportedly lies in the "meningitis belt."

Lul Riek, the ministry's director general for community and public health said in the last six weeks, only 24 suspected cases were reported in the country, through its surveillance reports conducted weekly.

Of the 24 cases, 20 were reported in Central Equatoria state, while the other four were from other unspecified states.

"[Out] of the reported suspected cases, 5 specimen of cerebral spinal fluid specimen were collected and sent to AMREF reference laboratory in Nairobi. These specimens tested negative for Neissaria Meningococcal meningitis," said Riek, in reference to the bacteria that causes meningitis.

The health ministry, he assured the public, remains in full alert to respond to any disease outbreak through its emergency unit.

In the case of meningitis, Riek said the ministry, through the state ministries of health, rapidly responded by investigating all suspected cases after samples collected were tested and found to be negative."

Nigeria : Govt confirms outbreak of lassa fever in Rivers

Via Vanguard :

" RIVERS State Government has confirmed the outbreak of lassa fever, a dreaded viral infection, in the state.

Commissioner for Health, Dr Samson Parker, who spoke on the situation, weekend, said it was a disease carried by a specie of rat.

He said: “Rivers State currently has a challenge of lassa fever. It is real. It is the first time medical notice of the ailment is taken in the state. With one person already dead, it is an epidemic.

Lassa fever is carried by species of rats with eight breasts, which stay in filthy environments. We must ensure personal and environmental hygiene, as well as good waste disposal.

All domestic wastes should be covered in bags and disposed of appropriately."

Australia : Townsville child contracts dengue fever

Via Sky News :

" A north Queensland school student has contracted dengue fever, sparking warnings about a possible outbreak of the contagious disease.

Queensland Health confirmed on Monday that a Townsville primary schooler tested positive for the tropical disease last week in the first locally acquired case for the region in 2012.

Queensland Health spokesman Steven Donohue says authorities are concerned about more cases to come.

'This is a very serious situation that could be the start of quite a big outbreak,' Dr Donohue told reporters on Monday."

Fiji : Statistics not alarming-Health Ministry

Article via Fiji Village :

" There are now 20 confirmed cases of typhoid, 27 cases of leptospirosis and 4 cases of dengue fever from the Western division from January 25th to date.

Health Ministry spokesperson, Peni Namotu said there are more suspected cases and they can only comment on those after the lab tests.

So far the Commissioner Western, Commander Joeli Cawaki has said that a Lautoka woman has died from dengue fever and two people from Ba have died after getting leptospirosis.

However Namotu said these are suspected cases.

Namotu also stressed that the number of cases has not reached an alarming level to declare an outbreak."

WHO allows publication of bird flu research

Via ABC News, excerpt :

" After months of controversy, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has decided to allow the publication of controversial research into bird flu.

Scientists in the Netherlands and the United States have made versions of the virus which could potentially spread more easily between humans.

There were calls for the research to be kept secret, but the WHO has decided it is in the public interest to release it.

The disease remains a huge problem in countries from Indonesia to Egypt.

When the H5N1 strain of bird flu has been contracted by humans, more than 60 per cent have died, making it one of the most lethal strains of flu ever detected.

James Cook University microbiologist Dr Graham Burgess says if the virus hit Australia, more than 1 million people would die."

Vietnam records first hand-foot-mouth death in 2012

Via Thanh Nien News, excerpt :

" A 22-month-old child in the central city of Da Nang has become the first to be killed by the hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) in Vietnam this year, VnExpress Friday.

Da Nang’s Department of Preventive Health on Friday was quoted as saying that tests at the Nha Trang Pasteur Institute in the central province of Khanh Hoa showed that Nguyen Anh Khoa tested positive for Enterovirus 71, which causes the disease.

The boy had a fever on February 8 and was brought to the local Hoan My Hospital the next day, according to the newswire. He was diagnosed with viral fever and was allowed to go home

His fever didn’t decrease and he developed abnormal symptoms like paranoia and an enlarged belly. Khoa was then brought to the Da Nang Center for Obstetrics and Pediatrics later that same day.

The child was then diagnosed with HFMD at level 2, VnExpress said.

Two days later, Khoa’s condition worsened as the disease reached level 4 – the most critical stage. He died on February 14."

Hong Kong : HPAI Affects Wild Bird Species

Via The Poultry Site :

" Dr Thomas Sit, Chief Veterinary Officer/Assistant Director from Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received follow-up report no. 8 on Friday, 17 February.

An oriental magpie robin was found dead on 7 February at Yuen Long as a result of the outbreak.

An intensive surveillance system is in place for all poultry farms, poultry markets and pet bird shops in Hong Kong. The H5N1 infected wild birds and goose carcass from unknown source were detected in ongoing surveillance programme on wild birds.

The dates of the outbreaks are the same as the dates the birds were collected (i.e. 17 December 2011, 30 December 2011, 1 January 2012, 12 January 2012, 20 January 2012 , 30 January 2012 , 6 February 2012, 7 February 2012 and 8 February 2012 respectively).

A total of 19,451 poultry, including 15,569 chickens, 810 pigeons, 1,950 pheasants and 1,122 silky fowls were culled in the Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market on 21 December 2011. The Wholesale Poultry Market was closed. Importation of live poultry and movement of poultry in local farms is banned for 21 days.

Surveillance and monitoring of local chicken farms has been stepped up. No H5 virus was detected in samples taken from the 30 chicken farms in Hong Kong. The Wholesale Poultry Market was reopened on 12 January 2012.

The source of the outbreak remains inconclusive."

India : After polio, Indian state Bihar targets sand-fly transmitted disease

Article via Xinhua :

" Bihar, an eastern Indian state which has not reported a single case of polio since September 2010, is now turning its attention to "kala azar", a disease transmitted by the sand fly that killed at least 50 people and affected 15,000 in the state last year.

"Bihar has not reported even a single case of polio in the last 16 months and the state has virtually become polio free, now we will work hard to make it a kala azar free state," Health Minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey said in Patna, the capital of Bihar, over telephone.

Kala azar, medically called Visceral leishmaniasis, is also known as the poor man's disease because it affects the poorest.

Choubey said the government had decided to observe March 15 as the kala azar eradication day. He said special programs would be organized in all affected districts from March 15 to March 21 every year.

"We have to check and control the tiny sand fly that causes kala azar and create awareness about preventable measures among people, mostly the poorest of the poor in affected districts," Choubey said.

The state government has launched a massive anti-kala azar strategy to contain the spread of sand fly vectors in 16 seriously affected districts."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

WHO : Influenza virus activity in the world

Another update from WHO with regards to the types influenza active around the world, excerpt :

" Based on FluNet reporting (as of 14 February 2012, 12:35 UTC) during weeks 4 to 5 (22 January 2012 to 4 February 2012), National Influenza Centres (NICs) and other national influenza laboratories from 85 countries, areas or territories reported data. The WHO GISRS laboratories tested more than 41423 specimens. 7382 were positive for influenza viruses, of which 5693 (77.1%) were typed as influenza A and 1689 (22.9%) as influenza B. Of the sub-typed influenza A viruses, 995 (23%) were influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and 3327 (76.9%) were influenza A(H3N2). Of the characterized B viruses, 106 (33%) belong to the B-Yamagata lineage and 215 (67%) to the B-Victoria lineage.


During weeks 4 and 5 in 2012, laboratory confirmed influenza activity increased in many countries in the northern hemisphere with localized to widespread activity occurring.

Globally influenza A(H3N2) continued to be the predominant virus subtype detected. In general, influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and B activity was low, except in Mexico where A(H1N1)pdm09 remained the predominant virus and some Asian countries where influenza B continued to be the main circulating virus type. The overall proportion of two B lineage viruses remained the same as reported for the previous fortnight, with approximately two thirds being B-Victoria and one third B-Yamagata viruses.

In Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and North America, influenza A(H3N2) activity increased in many countries. Influenza B virus was detected at low levels with A(H1N1)pdm09 detected only sporadically.

In Asia, influenza activity of A(H3N2) and B viruses continued to increase, with B viruses predominating in China and China Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and A(H3N2) viruses in Japan, Republic of Korea and a number of other countries. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 was detected at low levels."

WHO : Influenza update 153

From WHO, excerpt :

" Summary

• Influenza activity in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere remains low overall. It has continued to increase in the United States and Canada, though overall activity is low. Some countries of western Europe, North Africa, and northern China appear to have reached peak transmission but activity continues to increase in eastern Europe. The levels of both mild and severe disease have been relatively low compared to previous years in most areas reporting.

•Countries in the tropical zone reported low levels of influenza activity with the exception of a few countries in the Americas and parts of southern Asia.

• 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 and the surrounding countries which are reporting a predominance of influenza type B.

• Notable differences have been reported in the distribution of viruses in severe cases and between age groups. In Canada, influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 accounted for 27% of all influenza A viruses that have been subtyped in <5 year olds but only 5% of subtyped influenza A viruses in cases over the age of 65 years. In Europe, influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 was disproportionately found in cases admitted to hospital for severe acute respiratory infection compared to outpatient cases of influenza-like illness (13-20% vs. ~1.5% respectively).

• Nearly all influenza A viruses detected were antigenically related to the viruses contained in the current northern hemisphere trivalent vaccine.

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

Friday, February 17, 2012

Scientists compare dual-use H5N1 and Asilomar meetings

From Lisa Schnirring at CIDRAP :

" Some experts involved in the controversy over two H5N1 transmission papers have called the pause in research and discussions over the dual-use nature of the work an "Asilomar moment," referring to a scientific meeting held in the 1970s to discuss the potential dangers of recombinant DNA research.

Yesterday on National Public Radio's (NPR's) All Things Considered program, three of the more than 100 scientists who took part in that meeting that took place in February 1975 at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, Calif., discussed similarities and differences between the issues raised almost four decades ago and the topics scientists are confronting today and tomorrow at a meeting of flu technical experts convened by the World Health Organization (WHO).

One of the participants in the WHO meeting is Paul Keim, PhD, who first raised the Asilomar analogy. Keim is acting chair of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), an outside advisory group to the National Institutes of Health that was asked to review dual-use issues surrounding the studies. The NSABB recommended that two studies be published in Science and Nature without key details.

Paul Berg, PhD, Nobel prize winner in chemistry and professor emeritus of molecular and genetic medicine at Stanford University, told NPR that the meeting was called as scientists took their first steps into the field of genetic engineering, and the discovery that triggered the meeting was his group's first experiments with recombinant DNA.

He said his first reaction when some scientists raised concerns about the research was, "Nonsense!"

However, he said he realized that he couldn't ensure that there was no risk and that the scientific tools were advancing rapidly, with more researchers doing similar work. He said he and other scientists asked their peers to hold off on their experiments until a consensus could be reached on safety ground rules."

US : Norovirus sickens about 85 GWU students

Via The Washington Times, excerpt :

" Dozens of George Washington University students have reported being sickened this week by an outbreak of the norovirus, school officials said Thursday."

Norway paying victims of swine flu vaccine

Via The Local :

" Norwegian authorities have so far received 93 compensation requests from people who claim to have suffered serious side effects from the swine flu vaccine widely administered amid a global outbreak of the virus in 2009.

Among the claimants are six adults and 30 children who say they developed narcolepsy after receiving the Pandemrix vaccine, newspaper VG reports.

Six children diagnosed with the sleep disorder have already had their claims for damages approved by the Norwegian System of Compensation for Injuries to Patients (NPE)."

Brazil : Rio faces dengue epidemic - health minister

An AFP report hosted by Google News, excerpt :

" Brazilian Health Minister Alexandre Padilla on Thursday warned that Rio de Janeiro faced a major dengue epidemic, although he said the virus strain prevalent was not fatal.

"I believe that Rio could this year face one of the worst dengue epidemics in its history, in terms of number of cases," he said in a television interview.

Padilla said the dengue virus strain prevalent in Rio was not the most serious and was not fatal.

The official Agencia Brasil said since the start of the year, 3,499 dengue cases have been recorded in Rio, compared with 2,322 last year, but none were fatal."

Hong Kong : CHP investigates influenza-like illness outbreak

Another press release from Hong Kong's CHP :

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

The reminder followed the CHP's investigation into an influenza-like illness (ILI) outbreak at a primary school in Wong Tai Sin, affecting 40 students.

The affected children, comprising 20 males and 20 females aged between 6 and 11, developed symptoms of respiratory tract infection, including fever, cough and sore throat, since February 10.

Medical consultation was sought for 30 of the affected students. One of them, a 6-year-old girl, was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. She has already been discharged. All are in stable condition.

The hospitalised girl's nasopharyngeal aspirate tested positive for influenza B."

Malaysia : Authorities still unable to detect source of outbreak in Perak

Via The Star :

" The rotavirus responsible for the acute gastroenteritis (AGE) outbreak in Perak continues to evade detection.

Perak Health Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said nine water samples taken from the affected areas tested negative for rotavirus while the results for 14 samples were pending.

He said more than half of the stool samples from patients had tested positive for rotavirus.

“Of the 95 stool samples, 59 or 62.8% were positive for rotavirus, 10 came back negative while the results of the remaining 25 samples are pending,” he told The Star.

Dr Mah advised parents to bring their children for medical treatment as soon as they showed symptoms like fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.

To prevent AGE, he said drinking water should be boiled thoroughly.

He reminded the public to practise personal hygiene like washing hands before cooking or handling food and after going to the toilet.

A total of 188 new cases were reported as at 8am yesterday, bringing the total number to 3,444 since the start of the outbreak on Jan 27, Dr Mah revealed.

Of the fresh cases, 114 were detected in the Hilir Perak district and the rest in Batang Padang.

Dr Mah added that of the new cases, 15 of those who remained warded were children."

Hong Kong : CHP investigates acute gastroenteritis outbreak at residential child care centre

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

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (February 17) reminded members of the public and management of institutions to maintain personal and environmental hygiene to prevent gastroenteritis.

The appeal was made following the CHP's investigation into an acute gastroenteritis outbreak at a residential child care centre in Wan Chai involving 22 children.

The affected, comprising 16 males and six females aged from three to 20 months, developed symptoms of gastroenteritis, including fever and diarrhoea, since February 2.

Medical attention was sought for 17 of them. One of them, a 1-year-old boy, required hospitalisation. He was discharged yesterday. All those affected are now in stable condition.

Officers of the CHP have visited the institution and provided health advice to the staff concerning proper disinfection, disposal of vomitus, and personal and environmental hygiene."

India : Pregnant woman tests positive for swine flu in Jodhpur

Article via Times of India :

" A pregnant woman has tested positive for swine flu in Jodhpur. It is the seventh case of the disease this winter and the woman has been admitted to the MDM Hospital here.

The hospital authorities have kept her in the isolation ward to ensure that it does not spread.

Jodhpur chief medical and health officer Dr R C Mathur said, "The condition of the patient is improving. She is all right as the doctors have started treatment after diagnosis."

The patient is a resident of Sursagar area of Jodhpur. She was brought to the hospital early this week with symptoms of swine flu. After tests, the doctors confirmed on Wednesday that she has swine flu.

So far this winter, seven persons with swine flu were admitted to the MDM Hospital. Four of them belonged to Jodhpur and two are from Pali and one from other district. In the beginning of January, a swine flu patient died which alerted the health department."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Malaysia : Woman dies of dengue in Selangor

Via New Straits Times :

" A 39-year-old woman died of dengue fever in the week beginning Feb 5 when 513 cases of the disease were reported in the country, down from 545 cases involving four deaths in the week before, according to the Director-General of Health Datuk Seri Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman.

He said in a statement today that the woman, a technician in a communications company, was from Selangor.

"Her house was found to have a high incidence of Aedes mosquito breeding, at 2.9 per cent. As such, the local community conducted a gotong-royong clean-up of their area to destroy the Aedes breeding grounds," he said.

Dr Hasan said there was a rise in the number of dengue cases in five states in the week in question compared to the previous week, namely Terengganu (from 19 to 46), Perak (36 to 39), Perlis (three to five), Sabah (10 to 12) and Melaka (14 to 15).

A total of 2,926 cases were reported between Jan 1 and Feb 11, up by 79 cases compared to the corresponding period last year, he added."

England : Merseyside measles outbreak declared

Via BBC :

" A measles outbreak has been declared on Merseyside after six people required hospital treatment, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has said.

There have been 13 confirmed and 16 suspected cases in patients who range in age from nine months to adults in their 20s.

In comparison, there was one confirmed case on Merseyside in the first six weeks of 2011.

The HPA is warning parents to ensure children are fully vaccinated.

Four children and two adults needed hospital treatment for the disease."

Fiji : One dead due to dengue

Article from The Fiji Times Online :

" A 28-YEAR old woman has died of dengue fever.

The mother of one becomes the first victim of water-borne diseases brought on by heavy rain over a two week period.

The death - and an increase in flood-related diseases - has compelled Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki to issue an urgent health warning to all residents of flood ravaged areas.

He said there were 18 confirmed cases of dengue.

And of the 14 reported cases of typhoid, 12 have been confirmed. Of the 69 suspected cases of leptospirosis, six have been confirmed.

"This is a serious matter and we are urging members of the public to always take extra precautions," Cdr Cawaki said.

"All cases are from flood affected areas," he said.

Maraia Lewatu of Naviago in Lautoka died on Sunday morning. She leaves behind her nine-year old daughter.

Cdr Cawaki said Maraia had a cut on her leg and it was first thought that her illness was caused by the mud."

Uganda: Water Shortage Hits Kasese, Escalates Cholera Outbreak

Via All Africa :

" Government officials and non-governmental organisations in Kasese District have joined efforts to fight cholera in Bukonzo West where the disease resurfaced two weeks ago.

This comes after one person died and at least 100 cases were treated at Bwera Hospital last week.

In an interview with Daily Monitor on Tuesday, Bwera Hospital administrator Pedson Buthalha attributed the cholera outbreak to water scarcity in the cotton growing area of Nyakiyumbu Sub-county in Bukonzo West. He said: "Due to shortage of water, people have resorted to drinking dirty and contaminated water." However, he said the situation was being contained as the number of cholera patients had reduced to 26 at the weekend.

The district chairperson, Rtd Lt. Col. Mawa Muhindo, who is leading the campaign, asked residents to maintain hygiene in their homes. He asked village leaders to reprimand heads of families who lack proper pit- latrines. But Ms Grace Kabugho, a resident of Nyakiyumbu, blames local leaders for failing to sensitise communities on sanitation and enforcing the law on time."

France : Flu epidemic getting stronger

Via The Connexion :

" THE FLU epidemic sweeping through France has now affected 280,000 people over the past two weeks, with Auvergne, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Rhône-Alpes, Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Languedoc-Roussillon particularly hard hit.

With a total of 173,500 cases in the last week alone the epidemic is strengthening and it is thought the number of cases will continue to rise this week.

The flu - mostly of the virus A/H3N2 - is characterised by a sudden fever with temperature above 39C, muscle and joint pains and breathing difficulty.

Figures collected by the GPs' network Sentinelles show that the grippe epidemic limit of 161 cases per 100,000 inhabitants had been smashed in the worst-affected regions.

Auvergne has 584 cases per 100,000, Paca 546, Rhône-Alpes 395, Nord-Pas-de-Calais 316 and Languedoc-Roussillon 311 - with the national average being 273 cases per 100,000. However, in Auvergne there are large areas with very few cases."

Bird flu virus spreads to nine provinces in Vietnam

Via Saigon Daily :

" The Department of Animal Health under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, on February 14 announced that the H5N1 bird flu virus had spread across nine provinces in Vietnam.

The department said that three new provinces have now been affected, namely the northern provinces of Bac Giang, Thai Nguyen and the Mekong delta province of Kien Giang.

All in all, the H5N1 bird flu virus has now spread to the northern provinces of Thanh Hoa, Hai Duong, Hai Phong, Thai Nguyen, Bac Giang, the central provinces of Quang Tri, Ha Tinh, and the Mekong delta provinces of Soc Trang and Kien Giang.

The virus has also infected over 12,000 poultry in the country. According to the Steering Board of Avian Flu Prevention, the disease did not occur during the same period as last year; therefore, medical experts blame halt on vaccinations."

Vietnam : Two HPAI Outbreaks in Ha Tinh

Via The Poultry Site :

" The Vietnamese veterinary authorities have reported two outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Ha Tinh.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received a follow-up report no. 64.

A total of 2000 birds were found susceptible, out of which 1230 cases were reported. A total of 800 deaths were reported, and 1200 were destroyed.

The source of the outbreak remains inconclusive."

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

Another press release from Hong Kong's CHP, excerpt :

" 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 5-year-old girl.

The girl, with chronic illness, lives in Kwai Tsing. She presented with fever and convulsion on February 14. She was admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit of Princess Margaret Hospital on the same day.

The clinical diagnosis was pneumonia. Her current condition is stable.

Nasopharyngeal aspirate taken from the patient tested positive for influenza B.

She has no recent travel history. Her home contacts do not have symptoms of influenza-like illness."

Bangladesh : 22,000 bird flu affected fowls culled in Manikganj

Via The Daily Star :

" District administration and livestock officials culled 21,885 bird flue affected parent stock of fowl and 6,227 eggs of Green Valley Agro Complex at Andharmanik in the town on Tuesday night.

"After I informed the district livestock officials on Monday, they visited the firm on Tuesday morning and took samples of parent stock to the Field Diseases Investigation Lab (FDIL) in Manikganj for examination," said Dr Raja Pramanik, deputy general manager of the agro complex.

As FDIL officials found bird flue germ in the parent stock, Director (Health and Administration) of Livestock Directorate Dr Mosaddek Hossain asked the local administration and district livestock office to cull the bird flue affected parent stock and eggs, said District Livestock Officer (DLO) Dr Mrinal Kumar Nath.

Dr Mosaddek also directed banning all activities of the firm for the next three months, Dr Mrinal said."

Malaysia : 188 new AGE cases in Perak

Via The Star :

" Up to 188 cases of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) involving adults and children were detected in two districts in Perak on Thursday, raising the total number of cases to 3,444 since the outbreak late last month.

State Health, Local Government, Consumer Affairs, Environment, Public Transport and Non-Islamic Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said 114 of the fresh cases were detected in the Hilir Perak district and 74 in Batang Padang.

"Six people were admitted to hospital in Hilir Perak and three in Batang Padang," he said when contacted by Bernama. The total number of cases in Hilir Perak so far is 2,220 and in Batang Padang, 1,224.

Two infants, aged two months and 10 months respectively, died in Hilir Perak on Feb 10. They are believed to have been infected by Rotavirus which causes AGE.

Dr Mah said 94 samples of stool were taken for tests and it was found that 59 of them contained Rotavirus, 10 did not and the remaining 25 were still under analysis."

Hong Kong : Public urged to be vigilant against upper respiratory tract infection

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

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (February 16) called on the public to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent upper respiratory tract infection (URI).

The appeal followed the CHP's investigation into a URI outbreak at a residential care home for persons with disabilities in Kowloon City involving 20 residents aged from 27 to 62.

The investigation revealed that the affected persons, comprising 13 males and seven females, developed URI symptoms including fever, cough, runny nose and sore throat since January 27. None required hospitalisation. All those affected are in stable condition.

Staff of the CHP conducted a site visit and provided health advice to the institution. It was put under medical surveillance."

Nepal : HPAI Reported in Mechi and Koshi

Via The Poultry Site :

" The country's veterinary authorities have reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Kosha and Mechi.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received follow-up report no. 2 yesterday, 15 February. The affected population consists of backyard birds and layers.

Out of 12214 susceptible birds, 6094 cases were reported. All 6094 affected birds were found dead. A total of 6120 birds were destroyed.

The source of the outbreak remains inconclusive."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Macau : Over 60 students affected by flu

Via Macau Daily Times :

" A total of 63 students from five different schools were affected by influenza virus, the Health Bureau reported yesterday.

All affected students received medical treatment and are in stable medical condition. Two were hospitalised due to high fever, but they are recovering.

The bureau stressed that most of the affected students did not get the anti-influenza vaccine for the winter of 2011 and 2012. Health authorities collected samples from some sick students and asked the school to observe infection control measures.

Health Bureau specialist Leong Iek Hou told reporters yesterday that the flu peak season would last longer this year until at least March.

She added that the number of flu cases has been increasing also in neighbouring cities like Taiwan and Hong Kong, where there were “several death cases”. No death cases were reported in Macau so far, Leong added.

The physician urged residents to take the anti-influenza vaccination. There are some 30,000 vaccines free of charge available."

Australia : Warning as three die from soil disease

Via The Australian, excerpt :

" Health authorities in northern Australia have warned residents to take precautions against a killer soil-borne illness after revealing it has caused three deaths and a record number of infections.

The disease, melioidosis, is caused by bacteria that live in the soil, and is a seasonal hazard across the Top End, as well as parts of Southeast Asia.

The Northern Territory Centre for Disease Control yesterday warned people to take extra care as the disease had infected 54 people so far this wet season - a record at this stage of the year. Three of the patients had died, with the most recent death at the end of last month.

CDC director Vicki Krause said the melioidosis season did not end until the rains abated and the ground dried out, meaning people would remain at risk of infection "for several months yet".

The disease is caused by bacteria called burkholderia pseudomallei, which normally live deep in the soil but after heavy rains can be found on the surface, in muddy puddles and can even be airborne."

India : Niali youth tests positive for dengue

Via Times of India :

" BHUBANESWAR: Dengue continues to haunt Odisha as a 24-year-old man tested positive for the mosquito-borne disease, sources said on Tuesday. This is the third case in the past one month.

The man from Cuttack's Niali area tested positive for both dengue and malaria. He has been admitted to a private hospital for the past four days and shifted to Capital Hospital on Monday evening.

Chief medical officer (CMO) of the hospital Dr Sudarshan Das said the man is stable. "The private hospital test says that the man suffered from dengue and malaria. He has symptoms of dengue. We are treating him for dengue and malaria and sent fresh samples for confirmation," Das said. The confirmatory test results are likely to come on Wednesday, he added.

Hospital sources said the man had low platelet count and was given three transfusions of the blood component. Nodal officer in-charge for vector-borne diseases Dr Pramila Baral said the health department has started investigating to figure out the source of the transmission. Of the earlier two cases, one was detected from Cuttack district while another was found in the adjacent Jajpur district."

Seasonal flu ramps up in U.S.; bird flu talks to start in Geneva

Via Los Angeles Times, excerpt :

" Flu was in the news Tuesday, with updates on seasonal influenza in the U.S. and on the debate over bird flu research that is raging around the world.In general, Americans have had a mild flu season this year.

But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in its weekly Flu View Surveillance Report that, for the first time this season, more than 10% of respiratory specimens collected in the U.S. tested positive for the flu -- 10.5%, versus 7.6% the prior week. According to the CDC, surpassing 10% is considered an indication that "flu season is beginning.

"Also this week, California became the first state to report widespread flu activity
this season. The FluView summary also stated that "Further increases in activity are expected in the coming weeks." Currently, the prevalent flu strain in the U.S. is influenza A (H3N2), but the number of cases of 2009 H1N1 viruses -- also known as swine flu -- has been increasing.

All of the flu strains detected can be treated with antiviral drugs, the CDC said.

In the meantime, researchers and policy makers prepared to discuss how to proceed with research into the transmissibility of H5N1, the bird flu that has ravaged flocks
in Asia and the Middle East and has killed several hundred people around the

The first Vietnamese swine influenza A/H3N2

Machine translated article via Dantri :

" On 15/2, Tran Thanh Duong, Deputy Director of Preventive Health (MOH) said Vietnam has detected cases of A/H3N2 flu originated from pigs. These cases originated from influenza A/H3N2 was first recorded in Vietnam.

As reported by the National Influenza Center - Pasteur Institute of Ho. Ho Chi Minh, influenza surveillance system key southern countries found cases of A/H3N2 flu originated from pigs.

This is a new 2-year-old female patients in Duoc, Long An influenza have been treated at Children's Hospital 1 and then cured. Samples of these patients have been tested in a laboratory at the CDC standard WHO official - the United States and has been confirmed.

Yang said, this is the first case reported in Vietnam A/H3N2 flu originated from pigs. This slight movement of cases and no evidence of transmission from person to person.

According to the National Influenza Center, from 4/2011 so far not found more cases of new flu strains.

First A/H3N2 flu infection in pigs derived from the first note, the Health Ministry has instructed the sentinel surveillance system countries strengthen influenza surveillance and early detection of cases of influenza that originated in on the pig and coordinate with the Office of WHO in Vietnam organized epidemiological investigation of this case."

Hong Kong : CHP investigates influenza-like illness outbreak

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

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

The reminder followed the CHP's investigation into an influenza-like illness (ILI) outbreak at a primary school in Tai Kok Tsui, affecting 20 students.

The affected children, comprising 12 males and eight females aged between six and nine, developed symptoms of respiratory tract infection, including fever, cough and sore throat, since February 5.

Among the affected students, 16 sought medical consultation. One of them, a 6-year-old boy, was admitted to a private hospital. All are in a stable condition.

The hospitalised student was diagnosed to have bronchopneumonia. His nasopharyngeal swab tested positive for influenza B."

Indonesia : Govt rolls up sleeves to anticipate bird flu outbreak

Via The Jakarta Post :

" The Health Ministry says it has taken necessary measures to anticipate a possible bird flu outbreak, such as by ensuring the availability of medical workers, community health centers, hospitals and antiviral drugs.

The ministry's head of animal-borne infectious disease control, Rita Kusriastuti, said that her ministry had prepared 100 hospitals with bird flu treatment facilities, including in all but one of the 32 provinces across the archipelago.

Rita said that the ministry had trained its staffers on how to survey bird-flu medical facilities as well and had trained medical workers how to recognize bird flu symptoms.

Rita added that her ministry had also cooperated with a research consortium led by the University of Indonesia’s School of Medicine to work on a prototype of a bird flu vaccine.Thejakartapost/Andi Hajramurni

So far, the ministry has distributed the antiviral drug oseltamivir to community health clinics in 13 endemic provinces: Jakarta, Banten, West Java, Central Java, Jogjakarta, East Java, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, South Sumatra, Riau, Lampung, Bali and South Sulawesi. In other non-endemic provinces, oseltamivir is provided at respective provincial health agency."

Vietnam : More Cases of HPAI Reported in Hai Phong

Via The Poultry Site :

" The Vietnamese veterinary authorities have reported further outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Hai Phong.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received follow-up report no. 63 yesterday, 14 February.

Out of a total of 2100 susceptible birds, 800 cases were identified. A total of 625 deaths were reported, while the remaining 1475 were destroyed.

The source of the outbreak has still not yet been identified."

Malaysia : Dr Mah - Water tests for rotavirus in AGE negative

Article via The Star :

" The cause of over 3,000 cases of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) and two related deaths in Perak over the last three weeks remains a mystery.

The patients who are mostly young children are from Batang Padang and Hilir Perak.

Perak Health Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said tests for the rotavirus which was believed to be the cause of the outbreak was negative so far.

“Tests for rotavirus on water samples taken from eight locations in Batang Padang over three days, Feb 11, 12 and 13 are negative.

“The results on water samples taken from Hilir Perak on Feb 14 are not out yet,” Dr Mah told The Star.

There were 1,990 cases of AGE in Hilir Perak and 1,078 cases in Batang Padang since three weeks ago.

To a question, Dr Mah said the negative test results could be due to the very low concentration of the virus in the water samples taken."