Category Archives: Influenza

Pandemic influenza | Avian flu | bird flu | Spanish flu | SARS
Include any kind of influenza where there may be a possibility of transmission to humans.

Pathogen Mishaps Rise as Regulators Stay Clear

The New York Times Denise Grady 19 July 2014

The recently documented mistakes at federal laboratories involving anthrax, flu and smallpox have incited public outrage at the government’s handling of dangerous pathogens. But the episodes were just a tiny fraction of the hundreds that have occurred in recent years across a sprawling web of academic, commercial and government labs that operate without clear national standards or oversight, federal reports show.

Despite a significant increase in “high-level containment” labs set up to work with risky microbes, there has never been a national plan for how many of them are needed, or how they should be built and operated. The more of these labs there are, the G.A.O. warned Congress last week, the greater the chances of dangerous blunders or sabotage, especially in a field where oversight is “fragmented and largely self-policing.”

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Flu cases more than double the number than last year

The Courier Mail  Laura Chalmers  July 18, 2014

QUEENSLAND is battling a horror flu season with thousands falling ill and more than double the number of cases this winter than last year.
More than 3200 Queenslanders have been diagnosed with the highly infectious virus in 2014, pushing some of the state’s biggest hospitals to breaking point.
Of those who have fallen ill this year, 361 – many of them children under 9 and adults in their 50s – have been hospitalised, with 54 in intensive care.

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CDC chief: Anthrax gaffe ‘should never have happened’

USA Today Alison Young July 16, 2014

The director of one of the world’s most prestigious public health agencies went before Congress on Wednesday to try to explain laboratory blunders that included his scientists mishandling live anthrax and unknowingly contaminating other specimens with a dangerous strain of bird flu.
Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., chairman of an oversight committee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said lab safety issues appear to be systemic at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Murphy, citing numerous reports issued by government watchdogs over the years, called the most recent incident “sloppy” and “inexcusable.”

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CDC Director Confirms Dangerous Pattern and “Insufficient Culture of Safety” Surrounding Recent Incidents Involving Anthrax

Energy & Commerce Committee US House of Representatives July 16, 2014

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), today held a hearing to review recent incidents at the Centers for Disease Control involving anthrax and other dangerous pathogens. The CDC announced in June that more than 80 workers at a CDC lab in Atlanta may have been exposed to live anthrax, prompting an investigation from this committee. Over the past month, additional reports have emerged, adding urgency to this investigation.

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July 16, 2014
July 16, 2014
July 16, 2014

CDC Botched Handling of Deadly Flu Virus

Scientific American Dina Fine Maron 11 July 2014

The third recent mistake in handling of pathogens is a “wake-up call,” says Centers for Disease Control head.  Recent incidents have occurred with H5N1, Anthrax samples, and smallpox.

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CDC closes two labs after safety breaches

Inquiry into US government labs finds flu virus cross-contamination




Register for the new CKN (Clinicians’ Knowledge Network)

Queensland Health’s new CKN is now available.  The CKN provides access to a range of Point of Care resources as well as Medicines resources such as MIMS Online and Micromedex.

The new CKN has been designed for more modern web browsers, giving you better access to journals and other resources.  It is best viewed in Mozilla Firefox which is provided on all Qld Health computers.  Please don’t use Internet Explorer 6 (IE6).

If you have old CKN links saved in your web browser bookmarks or favourites you will need to update them. Your old saved links will no longer work.

To access the new CKN from home or off-site, you will need to re-register.

Click here to re-register for CKN access

New analysis of ‘swine flu’ pandemic conflicts with accepted views on how diseases spread

EurekAlert July 1, 2014  Sarah Collins

The most detailed analysis to date of the spread of the H1N1 2009 pandemic influenza virus, known informally as ‘swine flu’, has found that short-range travel was likely the primary driver for the 2009 pandemic in the United States, in contrast with popularly accepted views on the way diseases spread.

The study, based on data gathered from health insurance claims made throughout 2009, found that international air travel, which was previously thought to be important in the pandemic, played only a minor role in its spread within the US.

The paper “Spatial transmission of 2009 pandemic influenza in the US” is published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology: Full text



UF part of research team that finds equine influenza virus in camels

(University of Florida 24 June 2014) University of Florida researchers have found evidence that an influenza A virus can jump from horses to camels — and humans could be next.

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Doctors brace for outbreak of influenza and gastro-related illnesses

The Townsville Bulletin June 25, 2014

DOCTORS are bracing for an outbreak of influenza and gastro-related illnesses as Townsville residents enjoy one of the biggest events of the year.

The Townsville showgrounds will be abuzz this long weekend as thousands of visitors pour through the gates for the annual Townsville Show.  But while the popular event will once again leave plenty of smiling faces, the event could turn sour for some.

Townsville Public Health Unit physician Dr Steven Donohue said the event generally sparked a big increase in flu, and gastro cases — some which could be avoided if precautions were taken.  Continue reading…

Evolution of equine influenza led to canine offshoot which could mix with human influenza

(American Society for Microbiology 19 June 2014) Equine influenza viruses from the early 2000s can easily infect the respiratory tracts of dogs, while those from the 1960s are only barely able to, according to research published ahead of print in the Journal of Virology. The research also suggests that canine and human influenza viruses can mix, and generate new influenza viruses.

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