News Scan for Dec 31, 2013

H7N9 case in Taiwan
US flu activity, deaths

Taiwan reports its 2nd H7N9 case

Taiwan has confirmed a second case of H7N9 avian flu, in an 86-year-old man who lives in Jiangsu province in mainland China, according to a news release today from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP).

The man traveled to Taiwan on Dec 17 and had symptoms that included loss of appetite and chest discomfort starting Dec 19. He sought aid at a Taiwan hospital on Dec 24, the CHP said. A story today from China's Central News Agency (CNA) said he was placed on a ventilator that day.

A clinical specimen was tested by Taiwan's health authority and found positive today, the CHP said.

Most of the man's 25-person tour group has returned to the mainland, but two of his daughters have stayed with him, according to the CNA report. The daughters have had no symptoms, the story said.

Taiwan announced its first H7N9 case, in a 53-year-old man who had traveled to mainland China, on Apr 24.
Dec 31 CHP news release
Dec 31 CNA story
Apr 24 CIDRAP News story "Taiwan reports first H7N9 case outside of China"


Multiple US states report increased flu activity, deaths

Influenza activity is markedly increasing in North Carolina, Oregon, Arkansas, and Texas, according to media reports, and three of those states are reporting deaths.

In North Carolina, health officials recently confirmed the state's eighth flu death and will soon add more that occurred last week to the tally, the Raleigh-based News Observer reported yesterday. And Duke University Health Systems in Durham was temporarily limiting visitors because of the high volume of flu cases, the story added.

Elsewhere, 98 people are hospitalized in the Portland, Ore., area with influenza, up from about 60 a week ago, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB).

In the South, Arkansas has now confirmed five flu deaths, including two in children, Little Rock–based KTHV reported yesterday. The Arkansas Department of Health has confirmed 78 flu cases so far this season.

Texas continues to be the hardest-hit state. Dallas County health officials have confirmed three adult flu deaths and are investigating two more, The Dallas Morning News reported yesterday. Late last week a CBS/AP story noted that Texas is experiencing a spike in flu cases and Houston has confirmed 13 flu deaths so far.

In addition, a child from northern Mississippi has become that state's first flu death, according to the Jackson-based Clarion Ledger yesterday. All states are reporting that 2009 H1N1 is the dominant flu strain.
Dec 30 News Observer story
Dec 30 OPB report
Dec 30 KTHV report
Dec 30 Dallas Morning News article
Dec 27 CBS/AP story
Dec 30 Clarion Ledger article

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