Tag Archive: CDC

Food Poisoning Bulletin

Listeriosis Outbreak in Maryland and California From Roos Cheese

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has started an investigation into an outbreak of listeriosis, caused by the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, in Maryland and California. One person  in California was sick and died, and seven people are ill in Maryland. All seven people in Maryland have been hospitalized in this outbreak.

Listeriosis Outbreak 2.22.14

Five of the illnesses, two mother-newborn pairs and a newborn, were related to pregnancy. All of the patients are Hispanic. All patients in Maryland reported consuming soft or semi-soft Hispanic-style cheese and all shopped at different locations of the same food store. At this time, the CDC is identifying the store only as Chain A. Testing of cheese products collected from Chain A stores in Maryland and Virginia found the outbreak strain of bacteria.

The cheese is identified as Caujada en Terron (fresh cheese curd), produced by Roos Foods of Kenton, Delaware. That cheese was recalled on February 15, 2014, and consumer advisories and warnings about Roos cheese products were issued on February 19 and February 21, 2014. The cheese was repackaged in the Chain A store. Listeria monocytogenes was found in the cheese before it was repackaged. Pre-packaged cheese products at Chain A stores, by Roos Foods, have tested “preliminarily positive” for Listeria monocytogenes.

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Mysterious polio-like illness affects kids in California

Mysterious polio-like illness affects kids in California

Credit: Jessica Tomei

Sofia Jarvis, 4, of Berkeley, Calif., was struck by a polio-like illness when she was 2. It left her with a paralyzed arm


Posted on February 23, 2014 at 5:29 PM


A mysterious polio-like syndrome has affected as many as 25 California children, leaving them with paralyzed limbs and little hope of recovery.

“What’s we’re seeing now is bad. The best-case scenario is complete loss of one limb, the worst is all four limbs, with respiratory insufficiency, as well. It’s like the old polio,” said Keith Van Haren, a pediatric neurologist at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif.

The first known case appeared in 2012. Sofia Jarvis in Berkeley began to experience wheezing and difficulty breathing. The 2-year-old spent days in the intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital Oakland. Doctors thought she had asthma.

On a follow-up visit, her mother Jessica Tomei, 37, realized something else was wrong.

“As we were leaving the doctor’s office, I noticed that she went to grab something with her left arm and she stopped, midway,” Tomei said.

Eventually Sofia was brought to Van Haren’s clinic with “a unique set of symptoms.” She was treated with steroids and intravenous immunoglobulin therapy, used to reduce the severity of infections by giving the body antibodies to protect against bacteria and viruses. “None of it helped,” said Van Haren, a neurology professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

“He told us right away that the prognosis was really poor and that she’s not going to get better,” Tomei said.

The diagnosis proved correct. Today, at age 4, Sofia’s left arm is paralyzed and she has some weakness in her left leg as well as slight breathing issues.

Still, parents shouldn’t panic. “This is really very rare,” Van Haren said. “But we are asking any families who notice a sudden onset of weakness to see their doctors immediately. Their doctors should contact the California Department of Public Health.”

California is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to see if there are cases outside California. So far none have been reported.

Overall Sofia’s family is grateful. “She’s still with us, she’s still running around, she’s going to preschool,” her mother said.

The case galvanized Van Haren and other neurologists, who worried a new disease had appeared. When they began to go through recent medical files, they found two more cases, both in the San Francisco Bay area.


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Polio-like disease seen in California children

Doctors investigate handful of cases of paralysis in one or more limbs
  • theguardian.com, Monday 24 February 2014 03.01 EST
Doctor giving 8 week old baby polio vaccine

A doctor gives an eight-week-old baby the polio vaccine. The children in California had been vaccinated against polio. Photograph: Alamy

A polio-like illness has afflicted a small number of children in California since 2012, causing severe weakness or rapid paralysis in one or more limbs.

The Los Angeles Times reported that state public health officials had been investigating the illness since a doctor requested polio testing for a child with severe paralysis in 2012. Since then, similar cases have sporadically been reported throughout the state.

Dr Carol Glaser, leader of a California department of public health team investigating the illnesses, said she was concerned about the request because polio had been eradicated in the US and the child had not travelled overseas.

The symptoms sometimes occur after a mild respiratory illness. Glaser said a virus that is usually associated with respiratory illness but which has also been linked to polio-like illnesses had been detected in two of the patients.


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Daily Herald

Article posted: 2/17/2014 5:30 AM

Salmonella outbreaks expose weaknesses in USDA oversight

Noah Craten of Glendale, Ariz., is shown after surgery at Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz., in October. An infection in his bloodstream had caused abscesses on his brain. Tests by state health officials showed he had been infected with a strain of Salmonella Heidelberg.

Noah Craten of Glendale, Ariz., is shown after surgery at Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz., in October. An infection in his bloodstream had caused abscesses on his brain. Tests by state health officials showed he had been infected with a strain of Salmonella Heidelberg.

Courtesy of Amanda Craten

 1 of 1 
By Kimberly Kindy and Brady Dennis


The Agriculture Department inspector showed up at Rick Schiller’s home last November to collect potential evidence from his freezer: three pounds of chicken thighs, wrapped in plastic and stamped with a Foster Farms label.


Schiller, a 51-year-old California advertising executive, had recently returned from a five-day stay in the hospital, prompted by severe vomiting, diarrhea and an infection that left his joints throbbing and his right leg purple and twice its normal size.




“I’ve been around the block. I’ve had some painful things,” he said. “But nothing like this.”


State lab tests run on Schiller had already confirmed the diagnosis: a salmonella infection linked to Foster Farms chicken, part of a widespread outbreak that has food-safety advocates and some public health officials warning about the potential for food-borne illnesses to become more and more severe in the age of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.”


Federal regulators and poultry companies are scrambling to find new ways to reduce salmonella contamination, which sickens a million Americans annually. And the Agriculture Department is planning to expand rules to limit salmonella on chicken parts, not just whole birds.


But food-safety groups say this doesn’t go far enough and the USDA should ban the most perilous salmonella strains from poultry altogether. Poultry processors have resisted such an approach, arguing that it would be expensive and ultimately futile, because salmonella is so pervasive.


The salmonella strain that sent Schiller to the hospital — a type known as Heidelberg — has been linked to numerous outbreaks in recent years, including the one at Foster Farms, which officially has sickened 430 people in 23 states.


The pathogen has sent double the usual rate of victims to hospital emergency rooms, one reason the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called dozens of experts and investigators back to work during the government shutdown last fall to more closely track the outbreak. Some strains of Heidelberg also have proved resistant to several types of commonly prescribed antibiotics.


“This isn’t your grandmother’s salmonella,” said Sarah Klein, an attorney for Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nonprofit health watchdog group.


Noah Craten was 18 months old when he ended up in an Arizona children’s hospital last October after an unshakable fever that lasted nearly a month. Doctors eventually discovered that an infection in his bloodstream had caused abscesses on the boy’s brain. Surgeons had to slice open his scalp and cut open a piece of his skull to remove them.


After three weeks in an isolated hospital room and countless doses of antibiotics, Noah returned home in early November. Tests run by state health officials showed he had been infected with a Heidelberg strain, linked to the Foster Farms outbreak.


Cases similar to Noah’s prompted the CSPI to file a petition with the USDA in 2011, outlining legal arguments for why it believes certain strains of salmonella should be banned because they present acute health risks.


The petition points to the USDA’s own efforts with dangerous, drug-resistant E. coli strains, beginning with its ban a decade ago of E. coli 0157:H7.


The agency declared a zero-tolerance policy for the strain in many beef products after hundreds of Americans fell ill and four children died in 1993 after eating tainted hamburger meat from fast-food chain Jack in the Box.


As researchers eventually identified other types of E. coli that were particularly virulent and resistant to antibiotics, those likewise got labeled “adulterants” by the USDA, meaning the agency considers them dangerous substances that should be banned from commerce. A ban gives the USDA legal authority to order recalls, something it does not have with salmonella.


The result: Over time, deaths and infections from E. coli have decreased significantly.


“It worked,” said Seattle lawyer Bill Marler, who specializes in food poisoning cases and is representing Schiller. “Ninety-five percent of my cases used to be E. coli. Today it is nearly zero. The industry will kick and scream, but they can fix it.”


The chicken industry has long argued that it would not be realistic to expect processors to do away with salmonella on raw meat and that consumers must bear some responsibility in appropriately preparing it.


“Eliminating bacteria entirely is always the goal. But in reality, it’s simply not feasible,” said Tom Super, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council. “No legislation or regulation can keep bacteria from existing. … The only way to ensure our food is safe 100 percent of the time is by following science-based procedures when raising/growing, processing, handling and cooking it.”


Both salmonella and E. coli can be killed by cooking meat to the appropriate temperature, but the USDA has determined that the risks are too great to place that responsibility on the shoulders of consumers when it comes to the more dangerous E. coli strains.


CSPI and epidemiologists hope that by expanding this approach to select salmonella strains the industry will be provided with the incentive it needs to scale back on the overuse of antibiotics on the farm. Experts say this practice has contributed to the rise of superbugs, both in animals and in humans.


As George Washington University epidemiologist Lance Price explains it, as more and more antibiotics are used on chickens, some types of salmonella are better able than others at surviving the bacteria-killing treatments.


“It’s like someone is shooting at the bacteria and some of them have put on bulletproof vests,” Price said. “The bacteria with the bulletproof vests are going to be the ones that survive.”


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Pritzker Law.com

Maple Grove Restaurant Associated with MN Salmonella Enteritidis Outbreak

Attorney Ryan Osterholm is leading our law firm’s investigation of a Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak associated with a Maple Grove, Minnesota, restaurant. The specific food responsible for the cluster of Salmonella infections (salmonellosis) has not been determined.

Ryan and our team of Salmonella lawyers are looking at whether there is a connection with a nationally distributed product. If so, there may be illnesses associated with other locations in Minnesota and other states.


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Food Poisoning Bulletin

MN Salmonella Outbreak May Be Linked to Maple Grove Restaurant

A Salmonella outbreak in Minnesota may be linked to a restaurant in Maple Grove, Food Poisoning Bulletin has learned. A cluster of Salmonella Enteritidis infections has been identified and may be linked to a restaurant about 30 miles northwest of the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Salmonella outbreak may linked to a Maple Grove restaurant.A potential source of the outbreak has not yet been identified. Health officials are collecting environmental samples from the restaurant and stool samples from those who were sickened. Tests on the samples will determine the genetic fingerprint of the Salmonella, allowing health officials to determine if the isolates from the patients are a match to any of the samples from the restaurant.


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Cruise virus outbreak one of worst in 20 years, CDC says

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Bayonne, NJ (John Makely / NBC News)</p><br /><br />
<p>The Explorer of the Seas cruise ship returns to port after hundreds of passengers b…” src=”<a href=http://media3.s-nbcnews.com/j/streams/2014/January/140131/2D11478680-140131-explorer-of-the-seas-1446.blocks_desktop_small.jpg&#8221; />
John Makely / NBC News
The Explorer of the Seas outbreak was caused by norovirus, one of the worst outbreaks in 20 years, the CDC said.The Explorer of the Seas cruise ship returns to port after hundreds of passengers became ill.

Federal health officials confirmed on Friday that norovirus was the culprit that sickened nearly 700 people on a cruise ship this week, and said it was one of the biggest norovirus outbreaks in 20 years.

But the source of the outbreak on the Royal Caribbean ship Explorer of the Seas, which returned early to New Jersey on Wednesday, may never be known, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

“CDC has been investigating the outbreak since last Sunday but no particular source has been identified and it’s quite possible a source won’t be identified,” the CDC said in a statement.

The report comes after passengers streamed off the Caribbean Princess Friday morning, the second cruise cut short this week amid reports of illness on board.

The ship, operated by Princess Cruises, returned to Houston a day early with a confirmed outbreak of norovirus. “The ship was forced to return to Houston one day early because we were informed that dense fog was expected to close the port for much of the weekend,” the company said in a statement.

“The ship did not return early because of the increased incidence of norovirus on board, despite some media reports.”

At least 178 people on board became ill during the cruise, according to the cruise line and the CDC. Sick patients were quarantined to their rooms, and other passengers said they no longer had access to buffet tongs as crew members handed out hand sanitizer.

A man passes the Caribbean Princess cruise ship being used as official accommodation for attendees of the CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet...

Toby Melville / Reuters / REUTERS
A man passes the Caribbean Princess cruise ship, which reported an outbreak of norovirus on board.

CDC health officials met the Caribbean Princess at the Bayport Cruise Terminal in Pasadena, Texas. The vessel launched on a seven-day cruise to the western Caribbean on Jan. 25 and had been scheduled to return on Saturday.

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Breaking Report: HPV Cancers Rising In Spite of Vaccination

A new study by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reveals that, despite increasing uptake of human papillomavirus (HVP) vaccines, cancers linked to HPV rose in the past decade.

The report, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, was co-authored by researchers from the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR), and found that while overall cancer death rates in the U.S. continue to decline among both men and women over the past decade, incidence rates are actually increasing for HPV-associated oral, vulva and anal cancers.

As reported by Fierce Vaccines, this finding may “irk HPV vaccine makers Merck and GlaxoSmithKline,” whose vaccines have been adopted and lauded by national and global health authorities as safe and effective, ‘live saving’ interventions.

Obviously, if the report is correct, and by 2010 as many as 48.7 percent of girls ages 13 through 17 had received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine, and 32 percent received all three recommended doses, we should expect to find a widespread decline in HPV-associated cancers if the vaccines actually work as advertised.

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Earth Watch Report  -  Biological Hazards


Chikungunya 101





RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service

Budapest, Hungary


2014-01-15 04:27:41 – Biological Hazard – British Virgin Islands

EDIS Code: BH-20140115-42291-VGB
Date&Time: 2014-01-15 04:27:41 [UTC]
Continent: Caribean Sea
Country: British Virgin Islands
State/Prov.: ,
Location: ,
City: Jost Van Dyke
Number of infected people: 3

Not confirmed information!

Three cases of the mosquitoborne virus, chikungunya, have been confirmed in the British Virgin Islands, according to a Ministry of Health and Social Development news release Monday. “We have confirmed three cases on Jost Van Dyke”, said Medical Officer of Health in the Ministry of Health and Social Development, Dr. Ronald Georges. Dr. Georges notes that the three cases were locally acquired. “It is important to note that these confirmed cases were not exposed to travel, which alerts us that the virus is already in our mosquito population,” he stated. According to Dr. Georges, the ministry has been coordinating a response with the Environmental Health Division to minimize the impact of Chickungunya. He is reminding the public to take appropriate measures to minimise exposure to mosquitoes. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported late last week, a total of 287 confirmed and probable chikungunya cases in the islands of the French
Caribbean. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) Fact Sheet, Chikungunya is a viral disease that is spread by mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain.Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.
The name of Hazard: Chikungunya

Species: Human

Status: Confirmed



Mosquito-borne virus spreading in Caribbean

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, James Gathany, File/Associated Press – FILE – This 2006 file photo made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito acquiring a blood meal from a human host at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. A mosquito-borne virus appears to be spreading quickly in the Caribbean just weeks after epidemiologists first found local transmission occurring in St.


KINGSTON, Jamaica — A mosquito-borne virus appears to be spreading quickly in the Caribbean during the winter tourism season just weeks after epidemiologists first found local transmission occurring in the French dependency of St. Martin.

Scientists said Tuesday that St. Martin now has as many as 200 cases of chikungunya, a virus found mainly in Africa and Asia that can cause a debilitating but rarely fatal sickness with fever, rash, fatigue and intense muscle and joint pain.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said new cases have been confirmed on the French Caribbean islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe and St. Barthelemy. The virus also infected a couple of residents of Dutch St. Maarten, which shares an island with St. Martin that was already battling dengue fever, a more serious mosquito-borne illness.

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By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
Watch this video

Severe flu kills 18 children this season

  • NEW: New York county has 2,347 flu cases — this time last year, there were 5 cases
  • “We are into what would classically be described as a flu epidemic,” health official says
  • Minnesota has 27 flu-related deaths; Oklahoma had 8
  • Boston mayor declares a public health emergency because of flu

(CNN) — The flu is spreading fiercely across the United States, with more than 40 states reporting widespread activity in what one of the nation’s leading health officials is calling an epidemic.

“If you look at the charts that the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) put out on their website, it clearly has gone above that threshold. So we are into what would classically be described as a flu epidemic,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday.

“It’s still on the uptick,” Fauci added.

The season has started earlier, and cases are more severe than last year, health officials say.

The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention flu advisory report, which covers the week of December 23 to 29, suggests that 41 states have widespread influenza activity, which was an increase of 31 states from the previous week. The CDC will issue an update on the flu situation Friday.

There have so far been 2,257 hospitalizations associated with laboratory-confirmed flu virus, the CDC report said. Among children, there have been 18 deaths reported during this season. Various state agencies also are compiling statistics on flu-related deaths.

This is only about week five in a 12-week flu season, according to Fauci.

“Remember, once it peaks, you still have a considerable amount of time where there is a lot of flu activity, and right now it may have peaked in some places, but for the most part, it has not yet peaked,” he said.

In Massachusetts, one of the 29 states that the CDC has identified as having high activity of influenza-like illness, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino declared a public health emergency in the city Wednesday because of the flu.

Since October 1, there have been 700 confirmed influenza cases among Boston residents, according to Menino’s office; that’s 10 times more than were seen in all of last year’s flu season.

There have been 18 flu-related deaths this season in Massachusetts, CNN affiliate WCVB reported. Hospitalization rates are higher than the last two years, Kevin Cranston of the state’s Bureau of Infectious Diseases told WCVB. Most deaths have been in older patients, he said.

Menino is collaborating with the Boston Public Health Commission and community health centers to offer free vaccination clinics this weekend. The mayor urged residents to stay home from work or school if they are sick, and to get their flu shots.

“This is the worst flu season we’ve seen since 2009, and people should take the threat of flu seriously,” Menino said in a statement. More than 4% of emergency department visits at Boston hospitals are from flu cases, up from 1% during non-flu season.

Massachusetts General Hospital has already counted 532 cases of flu among patients, which is more than the Boston hospital saw in any of the previous three flu seasons, spokeswoman Kristen Stanton said Wednesday.

Signs posted throughout the hospital discourage anyone from visiting who has a cough or fever, she said, and anyone who does visit with those symptoms must wear a mask and perform hand hygiene. All staff must wear a mask when providing care for possible flu cases. Any staff member who has not been vaccinated must wear a mask while caring for any patient.

In Onondaga County, New York, health officials counted 2,347 flu-season cases through last Saturday. In 2011, during the same seasonal time period, they counted five flu cases.

Somerville, Massachusetts, a small city north of Boston, announced that the city’s supply of flu vaccine for the season had run out. All 720 doses for the season that were being administered for free had been given out by Tuesday. Residents looking to get vaccinated should contact their primary care physician or local pharmacy, the website said.

That the city’s vaccines have all been given out is somewhat surprising because normally there are about 100 doses left over at the end of a season, spokeswoman Jackie Rossetti said Thursday. She attributes this to an earlier start of the flu season and outreach efforts.

Somerville has asked the state’s public health department if there are any more available vaccines for the city and is waiting to hear back, she said. Most local pharmacies have doses left, however, she said.

Experts: Flu spreading faster than usual

More cases, deaths in other states

The Oklahoma Department of Health said Thursday the state has had eight influenza-linked deaths since September 30.

Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Health has counted 27 flu-related deaths. “We are clearly at a high level of influenza activity in the state,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Edward Ehlinger said in a statement. “But it’s important to keep this year in perspective: What is occurring has happened before.”

Pennsylvania has had 22 flu-related deaths so far this season, according to data from the state’s Department of Health. Most of these deaths occurred among people older than 65, but the fatalities included two individuals younger than 50 who were otherwise healthy.

Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pennsylvania, set up a heated tent outside the hospital to serve as a clinic. Anyone with mild flu symptoms can be treated quickly and discharged, isolated from more serious cases. The hospital has been seeing an additional 80 to 100 patients with flu-like symptoms daily, officials told CNN affiliate WPVI.

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A public health emergency in Boston

Flu cases spike across country

How to avoid catching the flu

What you need to know about the flu

Dealing with the flu
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Hundreds monitored in Taiwan after bird flu case

by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) Jan 01, 2014




The 86-year-old man from the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu is in stable condition in hospital in Taiwan, where he was on an eight-day tour, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said in a statement.

As many as 500 people may have had contact with him, all of whom are being asked to report to doctors should they develop possible symptoms, the statement added.

The 149 people who may have had close contact include two family members accompanying him on the tour, the tour guide, bus driver, medical personnel and patients sharing the same hospital ward, it said.

“Three medical personnel have shown symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections and taken medicines as preventative treatment,” the statement said, adding that they should monitor their condition for two weeks while awaiting the outcome of tests.

They have not been placed in quarantine.


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Published: Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 – 10:29 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 – 10:39 pm


Just days after a Christmas Eve federal health advisory, Sacramento County’s top public health official warned Friday of a sudden increase in local influenza activity, possibly led by a strong resurgence of a version of the virus behind the 2009 worldwide flu pandemic.

Olivia Kasirye, the county’s public health officer, said the viral strain known as influenza A pH1N1 is atypical because it tends to hit young people and healthy adults the hardest. In 2009, the H1N1 virus caused more illness in children and young adults, compared to older adults.

“From last week to the current one, we saw a significant increase in the percentage of positive flu tests, from 6 percent to 20 percent,” Kasirye said. “Young people and healthy middle-aged people are some of the cases we have right now. Being otherwise healthy is a risk factor for this virus.”

Kasirye said though individuals in good health may not believe they need a flu vaccine, the behavior of the pH1N1 virus – a version slightly different than the 2009 virus – presents an argument in favor of getting vaccinated. “We want people to be aware, to know that it’s out there.”

State and federal officials confirmed that the pH1N1 virus is the “predominant strain” circulating so far this season both in California and nationwide. Statewide, no influenza outbreaks have been reported to date and only local – as opposed to regional – cases have popped up, according to data collected by the state up to Dec. 14.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an advisory Tuesday to physicians alerting them to “severe respiratory illness among young and middle-aged adults, many infected with influenza A pH1N1 virus. Multiple hospitalizations, including many requiring intensive care unit admission, and some fatalities have been reported.”

Among 1,071 known influenza cases between Oct. 1 and Dec. 21, the CDC reported, 92.6 percent were influenza A, and 97.7 percent of those were subcategory 2009 pH1N1.

“If pH1N1 virus continues to circulate widely,” the CDC warned, “illness that disproportionately affects young and middle-aged adults may occur.”

Kasirye’s information on the local percentage increase of flu cases week-to-week is based on informal data reported from three major hospital systems. Only one of the hospitals had hard numbers instead of just percentages to share – out of 867 specimens, 164 tested positive for the influenza A virus and nine tested positive for influenza B viruses also targeted by this year’s vaccine.

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By: CBS (posted by Greg Palmer)

HOUSTON Tex (CBS) One of the biggest health concerns each winter is flu season. And the Centers for Disease Control says the flu is widespread in four southern states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.


In some cases, it has turned deadly.
Dustin Wright, 30, of Euless, Texas, came down with the flu the week before Thanksgiving.


His wife Ashley Wright recalled, “He was achy, feverish, and chilled, nothing really more than that.”


Ashley Wright says a few days later, the husband and father was struggling to breathe, so she rushed him to the emergency room. Doctors told her he had the H1N1 strain — swine flu. On December 5, he died.


Ashley Wright said, “You don’t think it would happen to you, you know. We always worried about my son getting the flu shot. We’re never really worried about the two of us because you don’t really hear about any of this. You don’t think it will happen to you.”

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