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Early this year an outbreak of MDR Acinetobacter Baumannii swept over Arizona, 236 cases in just two months. It was reported by the state disease monitoring systems, but ignored on the national level.
...one strain of multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii carries the largest collection of genetic upgrades ever discovered in a single organism. Out of its 52 genes dedicated to defeating antibiotics, radiation, and other weapons of mass bacterial destruction, nearly all have been bootlegged from other bad bugs like Salmonella, Pseudomonas, and Escherichia coli.
www.chinaview.cn 2007-01-26 20:59:48
MANILA, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Philippine airport authorities Friday placed the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals on heightened alert against bird flu, after a number of cases of human infection have been reported in Asian countries since the beginning of the year.
All passengers arriving at the NAIA terminals from abroad must undergo thermal screening before they are allowed to enter the country, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said.
Until now, only passengers from countries with recorded cases of bird flu were screened.
MIAA said that its medical personnel would make sure that all arriving passengers, including airline crew members, pass through the thermal camera scanners set up at the corridor of the arrival section of the airport.
"Anyone who will reflect an unusually high body temperature as indicated by the thermal scanner will be checked by the medical staff on duty," it said.
The MIAA has also identified a holding area for the aircraft carrying passengers with suspected avian flu cases, while passengers with high temperature will be brought to an isolation area, said the MIAA.
Several new bird flu cases have been reported in China, Hong Kong of China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam since the beginning of the year.
The Associated Press
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Hungarian laboratories have detected the presence of the deadly strain of H5N1 bird flu virus, the agriculture ministry said Tuesday.
"Bird flu tests have shown a high pathogenic H5 type, which looking at previous test results, belongs to the deadly N1 strain," the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said it would send samples to the official European Union lab at Weybridge, England for further tests.
Hungary has also notified EU officials about Wednesday's test results.
Earlier this week, some 30-40 geese — discovered on a farm in southeastern Hungary dead or showing signs of damaged nervous systems — were suspected of having been infected by the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus.
By Tuesday, the farm's 3,300 birds were culled.
The ministry said normal preventive measures to avoid the spread of the disease were in place. Further measures will not be taken and additional culling is unnecessary, the statement said.
Hungary's first case of H5N1, detected in February 2006, was found to be carried by wild birds including swans and gray geese, while the deadly virus was first found in domestic poultry...
Interestingly Macedonia and Bulgaria are in the middle of a worse than normal flu' season. H3N2 and H1N1 not normally a reason to worry but in these countries it is causing a abnormally high fatality rate..As H1N1 did in Alabama (not fatality but 6 kids on life support.).These flu' strains need to be looked at again!! NOW throw H5N1 into the region too...Microbial storm!!
HEALTH / WHO ASKED FOR HELP
Tissues to be tested for signs of mutation
The Public Health Ministry will ask for the World Health Organisation's help in examining lung tissues collected from the body of a 41-year-old man and a five-year-old girl who died from the H3 strain of influenza virus, to look for signs of virus mutation. The man, from Nong Khai's Si Chiang Mai district died on Monday, a day before the second bird flu outbreak of this year was confirmed in the district. The girl, from the southern province of Prachuap Khiri Khan, also died this week from the H3 influenza virus.
The H3 influenza virus could be found in many influenza patients and was not so virulent as to kill most patients, especially adults, said Kamnuan Ungchusak, director of the Public Health Ministry's epidemiology bureau.
After the virus killed two people in one week, the ministry was monitoring the pattern of the H3 virus epidemiology, said Dr Kamnuan.
He said the samples would be sent to the National Influenza Centre at the Medical Sciences Department, run jointly by WHO and the ministry, for an in-depth examination.
''We have to pay extra attention to these cases,'' said Medical Sciences Department chief Paijit Warachit. ''We need to find out what made them die from the H3 influenza virus.''
Dr Paijit said the experts wanted to know if there had been any changes in the virus genes that had made it become more virulent.
The team would also study the link between the H5N avian flu virus outbreak and the detection of H3 influenza virus in the Nong Khai villager, whose house is located close to a bird-flu infected chicken farm.
Epidemiologists were sent to the provinces to investigate the cause of the fatalities, while four members of the man's family have been put under 10-day disease surveillance period.
Bird flu was first confirmed in the country in early 2004, when 17 people died from the H5N1 strain. The number of fatalities fell to 12 in 2005, and five in 2006.
Nong Khai flu death not due to H5N1
BANGKOK, Jan 25 (TNA) - Lab tests have confirmed that the 41-year-old man who died earlier this week in Thailand's northeastern province of Nong Khai did not succumb to avian influenza.
Medical Science Department director-general Dr. Paijit Warachit said that Apichart Prombutr, suspected of contracting the H5N1 virus, died of the more common influenza H3 strain not the H5N1 avian flu virus.
Mr. Apichart died after he developed the flu-like symptoms for two days.
The man lived in Si Chiang Mai district where nearly 2,000 chickens in Si Chiang Mai district in Nong Khai were culled on January 20 after the H5N1 virus was found in poultry. The suspicious deaths of more than 200 chickens were reported.
Dr. Paijit said a five-year-old girl in the upper southern province of Prachuap Khiri Khan also died recently of the H3 influenza strain.
He said that it was puzzling that the H3 strain virus caused such a severe infection to have killed them. Normally, it caused common human flu, so it is necessary to determine the reason why the two patients died after contracting only the H3 strain.
Disease Control Department head Dr. Thawat Suntrajarn also said that it was quite unusual.
He also said the elderly and children should receive flu vaccine free of charge and a factory to produce influenza vaccine should be establish to supply adequate vaccines to meet local demand if the outbreak occurs. (TNA)-E004
Virus outbreak: Worst in 10-20 years
County and nation weather highly contagious stomach bug.
By Cindy Stauffer
Lancaster New Era
Published: Jan 11, 2007 2:31 PM EST
LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - Your sister spent Christmas Day hugging the toilet. Your nephew had a very unpleasant trip home from the Penn State bowl game.
Heaven forbid, but you also may have experienced the vomiting, diarrhea and other nasty symptoms of a gastrointestinal bug outbreak that some are saying is the worst here in 10 to 20 years.
The bug has been spreading across the state and nation for a number of weeks. Canada and Europe also have had outbreaks.
Here, the stomach ailment has hit schools and nursing homes, closing floors in at least two facilities. A hospital in a neighboring county, Lebanon’s Good Samaritan, also recently closed a floor to keep the virus from spreading.
Dr. Robert Baird treated many patients for the bug over the past few weeks at Manor Family Health Center in Millersville. Then he got it himself.
“I just laid on the couch all day,” he said. “I couldn’t move.”
Some believe the outbreak could be fueled by a norovirus, a common and stubborn cause of stomach ailments.
Whatever the culprit, the bug has wiped out hundreds here.
The virus started hitting back in November and peaked around the holidays, when gatherings helped to accelerate its spread.
Many folks dragged themselves, clutching their stomachs, into the emergency department at Lancaster General Hospital.
“Having done this for over 20 years, this is the worst I’ve seen in terms of consistent symptoms,” said emergency room physician Dr. Don Berkow.
The proof was written on the emergency department’s board, which lists patients and their symptoms.
“It was one abdominal pain after the next,” Berkow said, estimating that as many as a quarter of his patients had the bug on a given shift during the peak.
Doctors gave intravenous fluids to rehydrate some patients but admitted few to the hospital.
Generally, the bug, which also can cause headaches and low-grade fevers, passes in 24 to 48 hours.
Dr. Bill Longenecker said patients with the bug have filled examining rooms at Crossroads Family Practice in Brownstown.
“I would say it’s as bad as I’ve seen in the last 10 years,” he said.
One of the factors feeding the spread is that the virus is very contagious.
“Our infection control nurse stresses the importance of handwashing,” said Joanne Eshelman of Ephrata Community Hospital, which has seen up to seven patients a day with the bug in its emergency department. “Good handwashing is our best defense against viral illness.”
That’s one reason why the ailment has spread so quickly among children, who often aren’t the most hygienic creatures on the planet.
Mary Kay Transue, nurse manager at Roseville Pediatrics in Manheim Township, said the virus gets passed around easily in the close quarters of classrooms, where kids share computer keyboards, pencils and other items.
The recent mild winter weather also may have exacerbated its spread, she said, as people are out and about more, shopping, visiting and congregating.
Even the staff at Roseville has been laid low this year.
“I’ve never had nurses out like this, bang, bang, bang,” Transue said. “One would come back and the next would go out. It’s just unbelievable.”
And Transue cautioned that the bug might hang around for a while longer.
“Right now, we are seeing a lull because the kids were on vacation (from school),” she said. “We may see an uprise because of being back in school.”
Hempfield School District sent about a half-dozen students home Monday with the bug. However, that isn’t an outrageous amount, said school nurse Susan Horan, who hopes that the worst has passed.
Masonic Village and Brethren Village officials share that hope.
Both closed floors of their nursing homes — Masonic’s was closed around the holidays, Brethren’s was closed from last week until early this week — when the virus hit.
“The community has definitely had it,” said Joyce Heisey, assistant director of nursing for Masonic Village. “Now we’re on the down side.”
Richard McGarvey, spokesman for the state health department, said a number of nursing homes across the state have had outbreaks.
“What we’re hearing is there’s a lot of cases out there in the general public,’ he said.
Across the nation, the bug has hit victims as varied as San Antonio Spurs basketball players, San Quentin State Prison inmates, Carnival cruise ship passengers and Montana nursing home patients.
Fortunately, it causes few deaths and comes and goes quickly.
But its misery is memorable, McGarvey said.
“If you’re sick with it,” he said, “you think it’s more than a nuisance.”
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
Seize up, gastro-enteritises
A nail will drive out the other
IN last WEEKEND, the data of the Sentinelles network announced the continuation of the epidemic of gastro-enteritises and the proximity of that of influenza. Confirmed forecasts. With, like new information, the awaited decline of the intestinal virus diseases to the profit of the virus grippal.
During the period of the 8 at January 14, gastro-enteritises pulverized the calculated epidemic threshold with 284 cases for 100.000 inhabitants, by touching 654 French out of 100.000. Such a level of contagion is associated figures raised on all the statistical criteria. 1,1 million people consulted their general practitioner during the first four weeks of the epidemic. On January 7, 17 areas had crossed the epidemic threshold. It was about: North - Pas-de-Calais (1 173 per 100.000); Alsace (840); Corsica (838); Paca (567); Languedoc-Roussillon (556); Basse-Normandie (533); Brittany (525); Franche-Comté (507); High-Normandy (505); The Rhone-Alps (459); Lorraine (441); Auvergne (392); Picardy (387); Aquitaine (335); Island-of-France (312); Burgundy (298); Champagne-Ardenne (287). Affecting the young subject especially, these virus diseases touched, more once on two, of the 26 years subjects or less. The epidemiologists of Inserm-Upmc UMR-S 707 envisage a fall of the epidemic activity as of the next week.
A decrease to which should succeed an epidemic of influenza. Indeed, for the week of which the data are reported, the national incidence arrived just at the epidemic threshold, that is to say 171 cases for 100.000 inhabitants. With the stressing of the tendency awaited for the following week, France is in epidemic situation. The individuals reached are a little older than those carrying the intestinal virus, with 33 years a median age. The infection is of weak gravity, since it justified only 1% of hospitalizations. Four areas crossed for the moment the epidemic threshold: The Limousin (329 cases for 100.000); Languedoc-Roussillon (299); North - Pas-de-Calais (235) and the Rhone-Alps (189).
Association Asthma & Allergies recall to asthmatic that it is still time to be made vaccinate.
> Dr. GUY BENZADON
The Daily newspaper of the Doctor of: 19/01/2007
French medical review
Calgary doctor says superbug spreading in Canada
Sharon Kirkey, CanWest News Service
Published: Tuesday, January 02, 2007
A superbug that causes infections from large, boil-like lesions to hemorrhagic pneumonia and, in rare cases, flesh-eating disease is poised to "emerge in force" across Canada, a new report warns.
While the prospect of a flu pandemic has governments scrambling to develop emergency plans, an epidemic of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or CA-MRSA, is raging in the U.S. and beginning to entrench itself here, infectious disease experts report today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
In the U.S., clusters have been reported in groups from NFL players to toddlers in day care.
In Canada, outbreaks have occurred in Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The Calgary Health Region sees between 40 and 70 cases per month. Infections are also being reported in Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City.
Doctors are now investigating the possible transmission of the community-acquired staph strain among a small group of Calgary hospital patients, which would be one of the first cases of CA-MRSA being transmitted between hospital patients.
"Not a day goes by where I'm in clinic that I'm not pulling out a scalpel to drain one of these things," says Dr. John Conly, co-author of the report and an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at the University of Calgary.
"We're seeing far too many of them."
The organism is an "old foe with new fangs," a pathogen that is virulent, drug-resistant and has an uncanny ability to "disseminate at large," according to the CMAJ report. So far, its prevalence is thought to be low, but rising in most parts of the country.
"Front-line physicians need to be aware of the increasing prevalence and the potential severity of CA-MRSA infection," the researchers write.
The germ killed a healthy 30-year-old Calgary man and a three-month-old baby in Toronto in 2005. Both died of necrotizing pneumonia, or lung abscesses.
The infection begins with what looks like a spider bite, a red, very tender area that rises up and comes to a head just like a small boil. If not treated promptly, the lesions can develop into large, spreading abscesses in the soft tissues that can grow to the size of a baseball "or even a grapefruit in some settings," Conly said in an interview.
People develop fever and flu-like symptoms. In some cases, MRSA can cause bleeding in the lungs. "For some reason, there are people who are predisposed to develop what looks like standard pneumonia and very quickly they begin to cough up blood," Conly said.
Previously confined to hospital patients, the staph infection is now occurring in healthy people. The community strain "doesn't carry as much genetic baggage" as the hospital strain and is sensitive to other antibiotics, Conly says.
"But it seems to have a propensity to cause very large abscesses in the soft tissues with copious drainage, and seems to spread much more readily than the hospital strain has done."
It's also moving out of the traditional risk groups, such as intravenous drug users, the homeless, First Nations, the military and people infected with HIV.
This year's flu season has officially hit Europe, a body which monitors the virus said.
The European Influenza Surveillance Scheme (EISS) confirmed there is an increase in "activity" of influenza reported in five countries.
They are Greece, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Spain and Switzerland - and this has been accompanied by increases in laboratory-confirmed cases.
England and Scotland were also included in a list of countries where the majority of flu detections in Europe were reported.
During a season, or epidemic, the death toll from flu and its complications is up to half a million people annually worldwide.
And so far, this year's cases have primarily been of the H3 strain of influenza A, said by the body to be more virulent than influenza B, which dominated in Europe last year.
Studies have found there is "significantly higher mortality" associated with the A H3 virus compared with the B virus, the EISS said.
The EISS said the increase in activity signals the start of the influenza season and based on previous data, influenza activity is expected to increase in many more countries over the coming weeks.
Confirmed cases from population-based samples for the whole of Europe have risen to more than 350 a week in week two of 2007.
They are expected to peak at between 1,000 and 2,000 as the acute respiratory illness sweeps through more countries.
H3N2 was one of the top runners for next pandemic influenza until a few people starting hyping H5N1. H3N2 is dangerous because most people born after 1957 would have no immunity, from what I understand.
Swine influenza (A/New Jersey/76 [H1N1]) represented an antigenic shift from the previous H3N2 strains to an H1N1 strain. IN 1993 The Netherlands was hit with a nasty outbreak of H3N2; It was reassortment between old human H3N2 (1973/75- like) and avian H1N1. I had tried to discuss the possibility of the next pandemic coming from an influenza virus other than H5N1 but it wasn't received real well. However, the possibility of just that happening is real.
Fever kills 400 in Russia
Jan 27, 2007, 0:45 GMT
LIPETSK, Russia (UPI) -- Experts blame this winter`s unusually warm weather for the outbreak of hemorrhagic fever that has killed at least 400 people in Russia.
The virus dies at 30 degrees below zero, Itar-Tass reported.
Itar-Tass reported that one in three field mice in the Voronezh and Lipetsk regions is infected with the virus. Regional authorities allocated money for pesticides to kill the rodents, which carry the virus and transmit it to humans through the air.
Japan confirms third bird flu outbreak
The ministry said in a statement that tests showed the presence of a type of bird flu among chickens at the farm in the city of Takahashi in Okayama Prefecture, where 49 birds out of 12,000 have died since Friday.
The ministry said it had ordered all poultry at the farm to be killed and the site to be disinfected. Movement of people and goods within a 10 km (6 mile) radius of the farm was to be restricted, it added.
Earlier this month, Japan had two H5N1 outbreaks among poultry in the southwestern prefecture of Miyazaki, the country's biggest poultry producing region.
"Prevention is better than cure"
Landcare Research scientists are taking a "prevention is better than cure" approach to diseases they say are a threat to native birds and plants and livestock in New Zealand.
The scientists say that international evidence points to an increase in disease epidemics and emergencies.
Dr Dan Tompkins is coordinating research which he says aims to pre-empt the emergence of these diseases, rather than tackling outbreaks after they occur.