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NaturalNews) While the talking heads on TV have recently reported that thousands of people in the U.S. are now infected with the new "swine flu", or H1N1, there's another infectious disease problem brewing that has received little attention. The over-use and abuse of antibiotics has produced antibiotic-resistant bacteria. According to the National Institutes of Health, over the past forty years, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus has changed from a usually controllable nuisance into a serious public health problem.
At first, it was primarily one of the most common hospital-acquired infections. But in recent years, new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, often dubbed "super bugs", have popped up in communities and caused severe, even life-threatening infections in otherwise healthy people, involving the skin, heart, blood or bones.
Now a paper just published in the June edition of The Lancet Infectious Diseases discusses an emerging and potentially deadly threat from community acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) -- necrotizing, i.e. "flesh eating", pneumonia. And according to previous research published in Nature News, this type of pneumonia is fatal in 75 percent of cases..
The State Health Department confirmed today a third death in Hawaii involving the H1N1 flu.
It's the first death on a neighbor island -- a 51-year old Big Island resident.
Donna Altamirano died last week Tuesday.
Her daughter says it all happened so suddenly.
They thought she had the seasonal flu and would recover from it.
Altamirano spent seven days at Kona Community Hospital, hooked up to tubes and machines, before passing away on July 7th
State Epidemiologist Sarah Park said, "Although flu was the primary cause of death for this individual, she had serious underlying medical conditions that exacerbated her condition and contributed to her decline and death."
"She was a smoker I know that, and they said she had a heart problem, like a leaky valve but she already had it for three years and none of these conditions bothered her. And that's the problem. She's had the cold and flu before but this one is way different," said Glenn.
Hospitals are showing signs of being under strain from the tide of flu sufferers.
Dunedin and Southland hospitals are preparing to take patients from Christchurch, which is inundated with swine flu cases. Christchurch Hospital has eight people in its intensive care unit.
With intensive care units around the country filling up, some operations may have to be deferred
A 49-YEAR-OLD man, confirmed to have Influenza A (H1N1), was admitted to Changi General Hospital's intensive care unit yesterday.
The patient, who has diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, was in critical condition, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).
He was warded in intensive care immediately after he sought treatment at CGH's emergency department in the morning.
The patient had flu-like symptoms over the past four days, including severe pneumonia.
Two other H1N1 patients - a pregnant woman and a kidney transplant patient - are in stable condition in ICU at KK Hospital and the Singapore General Hospital, respectively.
Another 51-year-old male patient at CGH was moved out of ICU yesterday.
"If he continues to recover, he can expect to be discharged soon," said the MOH.
There are now 36 - down from 50 on Wednesday - confirmed H1N1 patients hospitalised.
Bandar Seri Begawan - The Ministry of Health (Mon) has once again urged the public to disregard unconfirmed reports regarding Influenza A (H1N1), stating that they should refer only to information provided by the ministry for the most recent updates and development of the pandemic.
The ministry informed The Brunei Times yesterday that the public should rely on press releases, statements, website or posters issued by the ministry for the latest information regarding the state of H1N1 in the country.
"Our standing with rumours is that the Ministry of Health is the right source," it said, adding that any information pertaining to an issue will come only from the ministry's press releases or statements. The healthline and website on the other hand will provide health information.
A science teacher who declined to be named agreed that any information regarding the pandemic which lacked confirmation from the ministry should be ignored. "They are the governing body and therefore they are the only ones who can really tell us what is going on. Other information are just hearsay," he said.
However, he added, the ministry should do its part by providing what the public wants -fast and truthful updates.
"If you look at local boards and forums on the Internet, the ministry is really under fire about not publishing or releasing the truth. I cannot comment on why people think this is so but there has to be a reason why they have garnered such negative reputation," he said, adding that all of these rumours could probably be dispelled by means of faster or real-time updates.
"We are now in the wired era where information can be disseminated to large audiences almost immediately. Maybe the ministry should update the statistics on its website once every two hours instead of once a day," he said.
"It is in our human nature to want to know the most recent news. If information is relayed at a later time, then people are going to believe something they heard first. It may not be as credible, but people will believe and spread the information anyway," he explained.
With more than 114 confirmed cases of swine flu in South Africa, medical experts insist there is no need to panic as the current strain of the virus is similar to that of seasonal flu.
And with millions of children heading back to school tomorrow, health and education officials have urged parents not to be alarmed following two reported cases at private schools in Gauteng this week.
The executive director at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), Professor Barry Schoub, said the outbreak of swine flu in South Africa was similar to ordinary seasonal flu, although it was spreading faster and was more likely to affect younger people, who were less likely than adults to have built up “some sort of immunity” to flu viruses.
“It’s very similar to seasonal influenza both in terms of how it is spreading, as well as the severity of the disease. It appears to be fairly mild, like our ordinary seasonal influenza,” he said.
Schoub added that while respiratory infections, like swine and seasonal flu, spread in school-like environments, there was no need to panic.
“Internationally there haven’t been any recommendations for school closures and we’re following that. What we are recommending is that if a child does have flu-like symptoms, he or she should stay at home for at least seven days as a precaution,” he said.