NEWS SCAN: H5N1 in Indonesia, stopping polio, surge in UK dengue cases

May 12, 2011

Indonesia reports H5N1 death
Indonesia's health ministry recently announced that an 8-year-old girl from West Jakarta died of H5N1 avian influenza, according to a translation published today by Bird Flu Information Corner, a Web message board operated by Kobe University in Japan and Airlangga University in Indonesia. The girl started having symptoms on Apr 1 and was taken to an avian flu referral hospital in Jakarta on Apr 8 where she died the same day. The report did now say if the girl had been exposed to sick or dead birds. If the World Health Organization confirms her illness, her case will be listed as Indonesia's 177th and its 145th death from the disease.

Good news, bad news on drive to eliminate polio
Last year brought good progress in the effort to eliminate polio, but three countries have seen increases in cases this year, and the goal of eliminating the disease by the end of 2012 is in doubt, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today. A total of 1,291 wild poliovirus (WPV) cases were reported worldwide in 2010, 19% lower than in 2009, the CDC said in a summary of an article in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Cases dropped 94% in India and Nigeria, and the number of WPV type 3 cases was the lowest ever. But in the first 3 months of this year, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Pakistan had substantially more cases than in the same period in 2010. "Although successful interruption of WPV transmission in India in 2011 is in sight and possible in Nigeria, the goal set in 2009 of interrupting all WPV transmission globally by the end of 2012 is in jeopardy based on current trends," the CDC said.
May 13 MMWR article
In other developments, Myanmar is launching a polio vaccination drive targeting 2.9 million children, with help from the United Nations, according to a Xinhua report today. Vaccinators hope to reach every child under age 5 in 126 townships in nine regions and states on May 14 and 15 and June 11 and 12. The United Nations Children Fund and the World Health Organization are helping with the campaign, the story said. Myanmar was free of polio from December 2007 until November 2010. A total of 414 acute flaccid paralysis cases were reported in the country in 2010, according to the report.
May 12 Xinhua report

Dengue, chikungunya cases rising among British travelers
Cases of dengue fever in British travelers more than doubled from 2009 to 2010, while chikungunya cases increased 34%, the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) reported yesterday. The dengue case count increased from 166 to 406, while chikungunya cases rose from 59 to 79, the HPA said. The two tropical diseases are both spread by mosquitoes but not from person to person, and there is no vaccine or specific treatment for either. Dr. Jane Jones, head of the HPA's travel and migrant health section, commented that the mosquitoes that spread both diseases bite in the daytime, unlike those that spread malaria. The HPA said its case numbers are based mainly on lab tests requested by referring clinicians. Since there is no active surveillance for the two diseases, the actual case numbers may be higher, the agency said.
May 11 HPA statement

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