NEWS SCAN: Indonesian H5N1 update, latest in zombie preparedness, polio in Pakistan, dengue control

Oct 17, 2011

H5N1 suspected in death of Indonesian mother
The mother of two Indonesian children from Bali who died recently from H5N1 avian flu has died at her home after having a fever and being treated in the hospital, according to a report today from Bird Flu Information Corner, a Web message board operated by Kobe University in Japan and Airlangga University in Indonesia. The woman died 2 days after leaving the hospital, where her blood tests were negative for H5N1 infection. Public health officials suspect that the woman may have had an H5N1 infection and are taking precautions, such as having officers wear protective clothing and requiring mourners to wear masks, according to the report. It's not clear if the woman had received oseltamivir (Tamiflu) prophylaxis after H5N1 was confirmed in her children, who died in the hospital on Oct 9. Translated reports from the Indonesian media on the mother's death said she had fled the hospital before she died, according to FluTrackers, an infectious disease message board that monitors foreign-language news reports. Family illness clusters raise concerns about possible human-to-human H5N1 spread, though in this instance cause of the mother's death hasn't been confirmed, and previous media reports suggested a possible common exposure to the virus. The children had reportedly handled dead poultry in their home.
Oct 16 FluTrackers post
Oct 10 CIDRAP News story

CDC introduces zombie preparedness graphic novella
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today announced publication of a new two-part graphic novella, "Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic" as a fun way of conveying the importance of emergency planning. The novella features Todd and Julie, a young couple, and their dog Max as they cope with a strange new disease that turns people into zombies. The CDC's Emergency Preparedness and Response Web site also plays a key role as Todd searches online for preparedness tools to cope with the unfolding pandemic—caused by a flu-like virus dubbed Z5N1. The CDC's home page for the teaching tool says, "Stick around to the end for a surprising twist that will drive home the importance of being prepared for any emergency." Readers can find a real-life all-hazards preparedness checklist at the end of part 2 of the novella.
CDC zombie novella landing page
Emergency Preparedness and Response planning page

Pakistan's religious leaders urge polio vaccination
Pakistani religious leaders yesterday urged parents to have their children under 5 years old immunized against polio, the Lahore-based newspaper The Nation reported today. Muslim scholars Maulana Hazrat Said and Maulana Riazullah said at a press conference that, contrary to what some groups are propagating, the vaccine contains nothing against the Islamic faith nor harmful ingredients. The leaders emphasized that refusing the vaccine risks polio-caused paralysis in their children and said it is society's responsibility to eradicate the disease. Pakistan is battling an outbreak of more than 100 polio cases this year, according to recent news reports.
WHO urges coordinated anti-dengue effort in the Western Pacific
Western Pacific countries need to make a more committed, coordinated effort against dengue fever, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged in a news release last week. At a Regional Committee for the Western Pacific Region in Manila, the agency said that, of 2.5 billion people at risk globally, 1.8 billion, or 70%, live in Asia-Pacific counties. In 2010 nations in the WHO's Western Pacific region confirmed nearly 354,000 dengue cases and 1,075 deaths. Countries reporting a "significant" number of cases in the region this year are Australia, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam, with Cambodia and Singapore reporting an increase over 2010 case numbers. The WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, Dr Shin Young-soo, said in the release, "We should integrate dengue prevention and control activities into proven initiatives such as Integrated Vector Management and the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases," adding that community involvement is a crucial element.

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