By Emily Senger - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 0 Comments
First case of H7N9 virus found outside China
The avian flu, virus H7N9, that is spreading in China is dangerous and highly contagious, an official from the World Health Organization warned.
The are concerns that this new strain is more easily transmitted from birds to humans than H5N1, another form of avian flu that has infected nearly 600 people since 2003 and has killed 371 people, says Keiji Fukuda, WHO assistant director general for health security.
The World Health Organization and Chinese officials have still not found evidence of human-to-human transmission.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 11:32 AM - 0 Comments
A new strain of bird flu that has killed 17 people in China and…
A new strain of bird flu that has killed 17 people in China and infected at least 82, may have been transferred from human-to-human, officials said.
Up until now, officials in both China and at the World Health Organization have urged calm, saying that the H7N9 virus only appeared to be transferred from a bird to a human and not from human to human.
One of the families that is causing the concern is the first reported case, a 87-year-old man who died of the virus. He may have transmitted the virus to his two sons, Chinese news agencies report. “Further investigations are still under way to figure out whether the family cluster involved human-to-human transmission,” Feng Zijian, director of the health emergency center of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters. He went on to say that “human-to-human transmission, in theory, is possible, but is highly sporadic.” Continue…
By Emily Senger - Friday, April 5, 2013 at 10:07 AM - 0 Comments
Six people are reported dead, thousands of birds have been destroyed and international travel…
Six people are reported dead, thousands of birds have been destroyed and international travel stocks plummeted Friday as fears mount over an outbreak of the H7N9 avian flu virus.
The large bird cull occurred Friday after a sample of pigeons at a Shanghai live poultry market tested positive for the H7N9 virus. More than 20,000 birds were killed and the market was also shut down, reports Reuters.
Meanwhile, the number of confirmed human cases of the virus has risen to 14, with six of those cases resulting in fatalities. All of the human cases of H7N9 have been in Eastern China, with four of the deaths in Shanghai. Continue…
By Julia Belluz - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 6:42 PM - 0 Comments
Unpredictable, wily, erratic: If the seasonal flu were a person, he would be Charlie Sheen. In any given year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates influenza-associated deaths range from a modest 3,000 to the population of a small city, or 48,000. To confront this annual onset, public health agencies ready themselves with preventative measures (flu vaccine) and treatments (such as Tamiflu).
Last month, during peak flu hysteria, the Public Health Agency of Canada made an announcement: that it would release a bunch of the influenza drug Tamiflu from the emergency national stockpile to ensure all Canadians who needed the medication had access. The release was suspect for one key reason: it did not reflect any of the doubts and questions that have been raised by the international research community about Tamiflu, namely, recent high-quality studies that show the medicine may not be as effective as the drug-maker claims.
By Susan Mohammad - Monday, April 27, 2009 at 6:43 PM - 2 Comments
See how swine flu compares
Swine flu, which has killed about 150 and sickened another 1,900 in Mexico since April 13, is spreading fast. Cases have now been confirmed in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Scotland and Spain, prompting governments to issue travel warnings and to declare public health emergencies. The swine flu has also stoked plenty of fear among the general public. (Photos: As a country dons surgical masks, the rest of the world braces for the worst) For a little perspective, here’s a brief history of global outbreaks and pandemics:
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
Death toll: Almost 800
Symptoms: High fever, headache and an overall feeling of discomfort. Some sufferers develop mild respiratory symptoms and a dry cough. About 10 to 20 per cent experience diarrhea. Most develop pneumonia.
How it spread: When a person touched a contaminated surface and then touched his or her mouth, nose, or eyes. Or person-to-person contact (coughing, sneezing). Chinese health officials in Guangdong province initially listed the first case of SARS as “atypical pneumonia.” It only went public when Dr. Carlo Urbani, who was working in Vietnam, reported it to the WHO (Urbani later died of SARS). Starting in early 2003, the virus spread to more than 30 countries, infecting 8,000 people, in a few months.
Avian flu (1997- )
Death toll: 257
Symptoms: Typical flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches).
How it spread: Most commonly passed along through contact with infected poultry, or surfaces contaminated with secretion/excretions from infected birds. Person-to-person transmission is very rare. The first major outbreak occured in Hong Kong in 1997, with 18 cases (six died). The most recent outbreak began in December 2003. Avian flu has killed more than 60 per cent of those who have contracted the virus.
Hong Kong influenza (1968-1969)
Death toll: About one million
Symptoms: It’s often confused with the common cold. But the symptoms (high fever, joint pain, lack of energy) worsen and last longer. Symptoms normally cause a victim to become bedridden for up to two weeks.
How it spread: Human to human (coughing, sneezing). Named after the city where it was first detected in 1968, the virus returned in 1970 and 1972. The elderly were hardest hit. In the U.S., 34,000 fell victim to the Hong Kong influenza between September 1968 and March 1969.
The Asian flu pandemic (1957-1958)
Death toll: About four million
Symptoms: Fatigue, aches and pains and fever that can last two weeks.
How it spread: From person-to-person contact. The pandemic was first identified in the Far East in February 1957, and was detected in wild ducks in Southern China before mutating with the existing human flu strain. The virus first made its way to the U.S. in the summer of 1957 (in all, it would be blamed for 70,000 deaths in the U.S.). Although infection rates were highest among children and pregnant women, the elderly suffered the highest rates of death.
The Spanish flu pandemic (1918)
Death toll: 20 to 100 million
Symptoms: The flu was initially misdiagnosed as cholera, dengue or typhoid since (unlike other flu strains) victims experienced hemorrhaging from the nose, stomach, and intestine, or bled from the ears. Most deaths were caused by bacterial pneumonia caused by the influenza.
How it spread: Some researchers say it began in Tibet but moved towards Europe along trade/shipping routes. It was deadliest in young adults between 25 and 30, killing more men than women. By some estimates, as much as 40 per cent of the world’s population became ill.
Russian flu pandemic (1889)
Death toll: 1 million
Symptoms: Fever, pneumonia and traditional flu-like symptoms.
How it spread: The ‘Russian flu’ is believed to have originated in China, but spread rapidly throughout Europe before landing in North America, Japan and Latin America.
Bubonic plague — ‘The black death’ (14th to 17th century)
Death toll: 25 million — the disease originated in Asia but some say it killed 50 per cent of Europe’s population, having spread by fleas.
Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory failure, headache and swollen lymph glands. Other symptoms included spots on the skin that are red and then turn black, heavy breathing, vomiting blood, and pain caused by the decaying of the skin.
How it spread: Bites from infected fleas, rodents, and lice. There are still between 1,000 to 3,000 cases reported annually, but antibiotics can be used to treat the disease if caught early.