Vol. VI, No. 01~ EINet News Briefs ~ Jan. 10 , 2003
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In this edition:
1. OVERVIEW OF INFECTIOUSDISEASE INFORMATION
Below is a semimonthly summary of AsiaPacific emerging infectious diseases.
China (Hong Kong) — Officials Find New Case of Bird Flu
China (Hong Kong) — Vaccinations against Bird Flu
China (Hong Kong) — Chickens Killed amid Growing Bird Flu Fears
The government slaughtered more than 16,000 chickens on a farm on Dec. 28, 2002, after a number of dead birds were found there. To prevent the spread of the avian flu, the government also closed Hong Kong's wholesale poultry market for cleansing on Monday. Two weeks ago, 20 dead chickens found in Mui Wo market on Lantau island had the bird flu.
The avian virus detected so far is not of the same strain [H5N1] that crossed
over into humans in 1997.
Philippines (Caraga) — Unexplained Deaths
According to the Philippine Department of Health Statistics, in 2001 measles
was the 8th leading cause of morbidity for children 0נ years of age, and the
4th leading cause of death for this age group.
Thailand — Rate of HIV Infection Grows Among Thai Teenagers
Although the ministry plans to buy 26 million condoms to distribute at health
offices this year, adding that more condom vending machines would be installed
in public places, Thailand's National AIDS Prevention and Control Commission complained
recently about authorities removing vending machines, or refusing to install them,
fearing they promote promiscuity.
Australia (Victoria) — Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning Alert
Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Dr Robert Hall, said “The symptoms of
PSP ranged from slight tingling and numbness about the lips to, in the most severe
cases, complete paralysis and death from respiratory failure,” and “People
should note that cooking shellfish does not destroy the toxin.”
Chile (Easter Island) — Yellow Fever Vaccination Required For Travel to and from Easter Island
As of November 8, 2002, the Government of Chile requires obligatory vaccination against yellow fever for all persons from areas where the disease is endemic. The government also requires yellow fever vaccination for all persons returning from or traveling by any means to Easter Island. Although there have been cases of dengue fever, with the Aedes aegypti mosquito being the vector of both dengue fever virus and yellow fever virus in Easter Island, there have been no cases of yellow fever reported in the island.
(ProMed 12/11/02) Canada (Alberta) — New Cases of Hantavirus Infection Reported
People in Alberta are cautioned to avoid mouse droppings or urine after two cases of hantavirus infection were reported to provincial officials last week. Four cases of the disease were confirmed in the province in 2002. Since 1989, there have been 27 confirmed cases of the disease in Alberta, with eight deaths reported. The only confirmed carrier of Hantavirus is the deer mouse, but it's possible that other rodents could carry the virus. The disease usually appears in one or two weeks after the infection, but it can take up to six weeks to appear. Symptoms resemble severe influenza, with a high fever, body aches, chills and troubled breathing. Anyone who develops difficulty breathing with the history being in an area contaminated by rodents should see a doctor immediately.
(ProMed 12/24/02) USA (Ohio) — Salmonellosis, Raw Milk
On Jan. 2, 2003, local health officials said that the salmonella outbreak linked to a local dairy didn't begin there. Since December 2002, 47 people have been confirmed with cases of the foodborne illness. Test results pointed to nonpasteurized milk as the cause, but analysis of bacterial strains statewide show the salmonella connected to the dairy is the same as one found in Ross County in southcentral Ohio in October 2002 and in Columbiana County, Ohio near Pennsylvania in the summer of 2002. “It did not originate at the dairy,” said Charles Patterson, Clark County's health commissioner. “We're trying to find some epidemiological link between (the dairy) and where it came from.” But finding that link may be difficult, he said. A Columbiana County person with salmonella in September 2002 still carried the bacteria as late as last month, Patterson said. Salmonella is usually contracted from eating such things as raw eggs or uncooked meat or from improper hygiene, such as not washing hands.
USA — CDC Update: West Nile Virus Case Count
As of Dec. 31, the total reported human case cases of West Nile Virus for 2002 reached 3,873. There have been 246 human fatalities. These numbers have been reported and verified to CDC/Arbonet. For more information, visit the CDC WNV Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm USA, Canada – Viral Gastroenteritis
There are many outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis due to suspected norovirus reported from the United States and Canada. In Michigan, USA, Norwalk virus or a similar norovirus has sickened more than 100
nursing home residents and staffers. At the Sparrow Dimondale Nursing Center, about 80 of the 170 residents have been suffering from diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting this past week. Also, 67 out of 245 staffers were affected. In British Columbia, Canada, noroviruslike virus infection has affected four Vancouver assisted living centers since before Thanksgiving. The Health District has reported 328 cases of suspected norovirus illness at the four centers since the first sick call. On board the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, hundreds of sailors have contracted viral gastroenteritis during exercises in the Atlantic, U.S. Navy officials said. When the virus infection peaked, it affected at least 300 of the more than 5000 crew members stationed aboard the ship. At Long Island Hospitals, New York, USA, several wards at Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC) and St. Charles Hospital have been closed off to new patients to prevent the spread of what may be a norovirus infection. “Just like the cruise ship where people came to the cruise ship with the virus, we believe the same situation is occurring here,” said registered nurse Maria Ninivaggi, director of NUMC's infection control division. In Minnesota, USA, state health officials said an unprecedented 25 outbreaks of illness afflicting as many as 1000 people have been attributed to norovirus infection since Nov. 1, 2002. In Alaska, USA, as of Dec. 19, 2002, at least 225 people living near Ketchikan have come down with symptoms typical of Norwalklike virus. In New Hampshire, USA, an epidemic of what is believed to be norovirus infection has caused nearly 50 residents and workers at a local nursing home to become ill. The home is not taking any admissions because of the epidemic. In Ontario, Canada, there are currently 11 hospitals with confirmed cases of the virus and 42 more with suspected cases, according to the health ministry. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, norovirus infection affects 23 million people, requiring hospitalizations for 50 000 of them. Although most of the time there are no longterm health consequences, there are 310 deaths annually.
(ProMed 12/18, 19/02)
3. JOURNAL ARTICLES
China Makes Its First Antiretroviral Drugs for Treating AIDS
“Our production capacity will be sufficient to treat 500000 people a year, but we expect that by the end of 2003 we will have sold treatments for 20000 people,” said Ms Carras, spokeswoman for Desano's marketing department. UN estimates1.5 million HIV positive people in China at the end of 2001.
Even though the company estimates that the cost of the cocktail will be a tenth of that of imported drugs, the price will not still be affordable for many rural people infected with HIV or with AIDS without the government’s subsidy.
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