Disease Updates 1/19 to...

Peter Petrisko ptp at primenet.com
Tue Jan 20 03:23:00 EST 1998


19 Jan. 1998 - UPDATE

U.S. flu outbreak / CHINA 'bird flu' ? / herpes education in U.S. / 
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UNITED STATES - With the unusual number of flu (or flu-like) cases in many
U.S. states, especially Tennessee, Texas & New York (according to CNN) and
California (according to health & news sources there), with a varying
number of cases in all but two other states (again, CNN) it isn't clear
yet how many are due to the influenza A/Sydney strain, not included in
this year's flu vaccine, and to what extent this strain is missed in the
immnue response to that vaccine.
   Even as you read this, it has been brought to the attention of "Disease
Updates" that the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is now
working on influenza strain typing. When these results are released, we
will see if A/Sydney is the prevalant 'bug' in these cases, and how much,
if any, effect this year's vaccine has had against it.
   The lack of flu symptoms in some reported cases (no muscle aches, no
high fever) combined with a (non-flu) dry & lingering cough in those same
cases, makes one wonder if something else won't be discovered if & when
influenza A/Sydney is confirmed.

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Beijing, CHINA - Hainan island, China's southernmost province, banned
chicken imports from the Guangdong province, which is next to Hong Kong,
after outbreaks of an avian virus was reported there, according to a
Reuters report.
   Officials in both Guangdong and Beijing insisted, as they have since
the 'bird flu' caused panic in Hong Kong last month, that the disease has
not been detected in China.
   One Agricultural Ministry official said there are many avian viruses,
not just H5N1, and that the government is investigating these reports.
   Since Beijing has denied any 'bird flu' infections on the mainland
ever, any discovery of influenza A/H5N1 would prove pretty embarrassing,
to say the least.

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UNITED STATES - At least 40 million Americans have herpes, but up to
two-thirds of them don't even know it.
   The American Social Health Association (ASHA) is sponsering a public
education campaign, to help reduce the spread of this uncurable viral
infection that is usually spread through sexual contact.
   Symptoms of herpes can include genital itching and tenderness, and/or
blisters which turn into open sores on the genitals or buttocks during
severe breakouts. 
   After the initial infection, the itching/tenderness can be accompanied
by a fever lasting 2 to 10 days.
   Thereafter, the time between breakouts can be as short as weeks or as
long as decades.
   A blood test can confirm a diagnosis of genital herpes. For more info
or a brochure, call the ASHA at: 800-230-6039

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end 19 Jan 1998 update



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