Disease Updates - 1/12 to...

Peter Petrisko ptp at primenet.com
Tue Jan 13 21:49:00 EST 1998


1/13/98 - CNN & Reuters confirm Disease Updates posts / Kenya RVF Dispute?
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UNITED STATES - from a CNN broadcast - "Australian Flu Outbreak In U.S."

   Tourists from Australia on a cruise ship that docked in New York last
September were sick with influenza, according to CDC scientists quoted on
CNN today.
   It is believed by these scientists that this strain, labelled by the
CDC in Atlanta as "influenza A/Sydney", is responsible for 40% of the flu
cases in the U.S. this winter.
   Flu shots can't protect you from this strain because vaccines are
formulated by March each year, for the following fall/winter flu season,
and the influenza A/Sydney didn't hit until a full six months after the
most recent vaccine was created.
   CDC scientist, Dr. Stephen Ostroff, was quoted as saying he expects
more people will die of flu this year than in other years. He added that
the CDC's flu predictions are usually more accurate but this year they
couldn't protect against a virus that surfaced so late.
   The good news? The other 60% of flu cases ARE of the types covered by
this year's vaccine. Just be sure to get vaccinated before you get the
flu, because once you have it a vaccine won't matter.

REUTERS also covered the large number of influenza outbreaks in the U.S.,
with a headline about "Flu Hits 15 States"...
   Reuters reported influenza outbreaks in 15 US states, a 50% increase
from the beginning of last week according to federal health officials
quoted in the article.
   The CDC was quoted as saying that flu activity was most widespread in
New York, Tennessee & Texas as of the week ending Jan. 3. (TN & TX is no
surprise if you've been reading these updates.)
    Outbreaks were also reported in Alabama, Arizona, California,
Colorado, Conneticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi,
Pennsylvania, South Dakota & Virginia. Again, according to the CDC.
   All other states, excepting two, reported only sporadic flu-like
illnesses.

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Nairobi, KENYA -  Doubts in Kenya today, as to the cause of 310+ deaths
attributed to Rift Valley fever by the World Health Organization (WHO)
last week.
   Kenya's top gov't epidemiologist, Dr. Maina Gahindo, said the mortality
rate isn't consistent with Rift Valley fever, and that in previous
outbreaks it hadn't killed whole herds of animals, only younger
members of the herds.
   Experts at the Nairobi-based African Medical Research Foundation also
dispute WHO's findings, saying this outbreak has killed camels & other
animals not usually decimated by Rift Valley fever.
   Laboratories have ruled out Ebola and Marburg Disease.
   WHO's response to these latest assertions to be posted, when given, in
a later Update.

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