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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Malaysia : Miri, Sibu on cholera watch list

Via NST :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

New Zealand : Influenza rates in Canterbury soar

Via Stuff :

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

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

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

Concern grows over swine flu outbreak in Bolivia

Article via Channel News Asia :

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

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

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

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

Unknown disease kills 60 Cambodian kids in 3 months

Article via The Star :

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

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

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

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

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