NEWS SCAN: Asia-Pacific flu summit, avian flu risk factors, CDC emergency resources for older adults

Jun 12, 2012

Asia-Pacific region holds first flu summit
In a first for the region, the 2-day Asia-Pacific Influenza Summit began today with the goal of helping experts review flu control policies in the region's countries and establish collaborations for promoting best practices for controlling the disease. About 200 experts are expected to participate in the meeting, hosted by the Asia-Pacific Alliance for the Control of Influenza (APACI), according to an APACI press release e-mailed to journalists today. Cohosts include the Influenza Foundation of Thailand and the country's Department of Disease Control. Other themes of the meeting are how to improve low influenza vaccination levels in the region, including those of healthcare workers, and how to gear national policies to protect those at greatest risk for flu complications, the APACI said in its press release. The group added that the summit is modeled after similar events held in Europe and the United States in 2011.
APACI Web site

Study highlights avian flu risk factors in ducks
Small-farm ducks in Indonesia that scavenged around the neighborhood and that were from flocks in which birds had died and were consumed by the farmers were at higher risk of contracting highly pathogenic H5 avian flu, according to a study today in Epidemiology and Infection. Indonesian and Australian researchers visited 96 small farms twice, 14 months apart, in 2007 and 2008 and measured bird- and flock-level incidence of highly pathogenic H5. Each farm housed from 10 to 700 birds. The investigators analyzed more than 30 possible risk factors. In addition to the scavenging and carcass-consumption risk factors, the team found that confining a flock overnight on the farm and recording sudden deaths of birds between visits were associated with a lower risk of the flock's developing H5 antibodies as determined by hemagglutination-inhibition assay. The authors said their findings can help in avian flu prevention efforts.
Jun 12 Epidemiol Infect abstract

CDC launches older adult emergency planning resources
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently unveiled resources to help states and communities plan for protecting older adults during public health emergencies. The CDC said that, unlike older adults in group settings like nursing homes, seniors in the community are sometimes overlooked during emergency planning. It said factors such as multiple chronic conditions, cognitive and physical disabilities, and limited financial resources can make it difficult for some older people to prepare for and respond to emergencies. Its new 44-page guide suggests scenarios to consider for planning for such events as hurricanes and influenza pandemics and addresses topics such as how to best identify and communicate with vulnerable older people, how to leverage assistance from other community partners, and how to navigate legal issues. The CDC's Web portal addresses planning, collecting and using data, developing and using registries, training exercises, legal issues, preparing older adults and their caregivers, and sheltering older adults.
CDC guide for older adults
CDC Web portal for older adults

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