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SEVERE OUTBREAK OF VIRULENT FLU

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muriel46 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote muriel46 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: SEVERE OUTBREAK OF VIRULENT FLU
    Posted: December 22 2006 at 2:26pm
6 area children with flu on life support (in Birmingham, Alabama)
Number, severity of early cases alarm officials
Friday, December 22, 2006
LISA OSBURN             News staff writer

Six children are on life support at Children's Hospital fighting severe cases of influenza, hospital officials said.  The severity of the cases, many developing in the past two weeks, has raised concerns in Birmingham's pediatric medical community, said Dr. David Kimberlin, who specializes in pediatric infectious diseases at UAB.

"It is not the volume and not even the time of year that is jumping out at us," he said. "It is more that, for a number of otherwise healthy children, they are ending up on life support from the flu. The number of times that is occurring - it seems out of the ordinary, at least for now."

Influenza has hit Birmingham area children hard and early this year, with at least 10 reports of critically ill children, said Raenetta Ellison, influenza surveillance coordinator for the Jefferson County Health Department.  Normally, cases of that number and severity are not reported until late January, February and March, she said.

Alabama elevated its weekly influenza report to the "widespread outbrea" category this week, compared with the "regional outbreak" category last week, said Katina James, an epidemiologist with the Alabama Department of Public Health.  Since influenza is not a reportable disease, there are no numbers available for flu cases, she said. Her office had no other reports of severe cases like those seen in Jefferson County.

"Alabama had influenza activity earlier than most other states this year," Kimberlin said. "Right now, we and Florida and perhaps Georgia are really experiencing the largest outbreak of influenza in the country. We have a lot of children in the hospital with influenza, and that includes some very sick children in ICU."   The level of life support varies among the six patients, all of whom have respiratory failure, Kimberlin said. In some cases, in addition to a ventilator, additional support is needed, such as a heart and lung bypass machine.
While most of the younger flu patients are not that severely ill, emergency rooms and doctor's offices are staying packed with sick children, he said.

I would like to know more so we can better understand what we are comparing this against," Kimberlin said. Outside of data that would better track the number of pediatric flu cases, "we are left with clinical impression. And this seems to be a particularly bad year, at least for some normal children who are getting the flu," he said.

Kimberlin, who is an associate professor of pediatrics at UAB, mentioned the 2003-04 flu season, when 153 influenza-associated deaths in children younger than 18 were reported by state health departments across the country. At that time, doctors determined that they did not know enough about how many children get sick during a flu season. Although studies and other types of surveys have been established since then, more time is needed to better compare one year with another, he said.

While the Birmingham and Jefferson and Shelby county school systems are not reporting a spike in sick students overall, there have been isolated cases of the flu hitting individual schools or classrooms, said Cindy Warner, spokeswoman for Shelby County schools.

Mt Laurel Elementary School has taken the brunt of that in Shelby County. At least two of its students have been hospitalized, one in critical condition, and the school had 80 students out sick over the past few weeks, Warner said.

Hundreds sick:

Pinson Elementary and Chalkville Elementary in Jefferson County have reported hundreds of children out sick, many with flu-like symptoms, said Nez Calhoun, Jefferson County schools spokeswoman.

Two weeks ago, the schools had 300 and 400 students out sick, many with flu-like symptoms, on a Thursday and Friday, compared with about 30 to 40 students out sick a year ago. School officials sent letters home to parents urging them to keep sick children at home, she said.

Ellison, who monitors the number and severity of flu cases with the help of participating physicians, said she is urging parents to get their children flu shots and practice good hygiene.

For the week of Dec. 10-16, 186 patients with influenza-like illness, mostly children, sought treatment with a physician participating with the Jefferson County influenza surveillance program, she said. There were 50 such patients at the same time last year.

"It's not too late to vaccinate, and please do so," Kimberlin said. "If you do come down with the flu, there are treatments available."

http://www.al.com/news/birminghamnews/index.ssf?/base/news/1166793395185660.xml&coll=2

  I am going to email or call whomever I can find contact info for and try to see if they are testing for H5N1.  I am sure they are; it would be totally irresponsible and negligent not to do so.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 22 2006 at 3:02pm
 
 
Florida is showing the largest outbreak..."widespread"
they are not showing it on the map yet
as "widespread" for Alabama....
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 22 2006 at 3:07pm
 
OK..... Doctors....get on your laptops and
 
comapare ..  confirm ..... your cases.
 
.......................................................................................
 
"...I would like to know more so we can better understand what we are comparing this against," Kimberlin said.
 
Outside of data that would better track the number of pediatric flu cases, "we are left with clinical impression. And this seems to be a particularly bad year, at least for some normal children who are getting the flu," he said.
 
Kimberlin, who is an associate professor of pediatrics at UAB, mentioned the 2003-04 flu season, when 153 influenza-associated deaths in children younger than 18 were reported by state health departments across the country. At that time, doctors determined that they did not know enough about how many children get sick during a flu season. Although studies and other types of surveys have been established since then, more time is needed to better compare one year with another, he said.
 
...............................................................
 
 
or... enter cyber space.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 22 2006 at 4:21pm
"It is not the volume and not even the time of year that is jumping out at us," he said. "It is more that, for a number of otherwise healthy children, they are ending up on life support from the flu. The number of times that is occurring - it seems out of the ordinary, at least for now."
 
Thanks for posting this. Am watching the situation closely and will look for any follow up articles found.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 22 2006 at 5:13pm
Thanks for all the posts and follow-ups, I could never keep up without all of you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 22 2006 at 8:33pm
from Birmingham, Alabama

http://www.abc3340.com/news/stories/1206/382336.html

Children's Hospital Reports Six Children on Life Support From Flu
Friday December 22, 2006 11:00am

Birmingham (AP) - The number of flu cases among children in the Birmingham area is increasing.

    Some of those cases are severe. Children's Hospital officials say there are six children on life support fighting severe cases of influenza.

    A U-A-B doctor who specializes in infectious diseases among children, Doctor David Kimberlin, says it's the severity of the influenza cases that is alarming health officials.

    He says the concern is that otherwise healthy children are winding up on life support from the flu.

    A Jefferson County Health Department official, Raenetta Ellison, says the flu has hit Birmingham area children early this year. She says there have been at least ten reports of critically ill children in the area from flu.
.........................................................

    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2006 at 12:12am
Kids shouldnt have to deal with stuff like this.Makes me ill.
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6 Area Children With Flu On Life Support (Birmingham, Ala)
Birmingham News ^ | 12-22-2006 | Lisa Osburn

6 area children with flu on life support

Number, severity of early cases alarm officials

Friday, December 22, 2006
LISA OSBURN
News staff writer

Six children are on life support at Children's Hospital fighting severe cases of influenza, hospital officials said.

The severity of the cases, many developing in the past two weeks, has raised concerns in Birmingham's pediatric medical community, said Dr. David Kimberlin, who specializes in pediatric infectious diseases at UAB.

"It is not the volume and not even the time of year that is jumping out at us," he said. "It is more that, for a number of otherwise healthy children, they are ending up on life support from the flu. The number of times that is occurring - it seems out of the ordinary, at least for now."

Influenza has hit Birmingham area children hard and early this year, with at least 10 reports of critically ill children, said Raenetta Ellison, influenza surveillance coordinator for the Jefferson County Health Department.

Normally, cases of that number and severity are not reported until late January, February and March, she said.

Alabama elevated its weekly influenza report to the "widespread outbrea" category this week, compared with the "regional outbreak" category last week, said Katina James, an epidemiologist with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Since influenza is not a reportable disease, there are no numbers available for flu cases, she said. Her office had no other reports of severe cases like those seen in Jefferson County.

"Alabama had influenza activity earlier than most other states this year," Kimberlin said. "Right now, we and Florida and perhaps Georgia are really experiencing the largest outbreak of influenza in the country. We have a lot of children in the hospital with influenza, and that includes some very sick children in ICU."

The level of life support varies among the six patients, all of whom have respiratory failure, Kimberlin said. In some cases, in addition to a ventilator, additional support is needed, such as a heart and lung bypass machine.

While most of the younger flu patients are not that severely ill, emergency rooms and doctor's offices are staying packed with sick children, he said. "I would like to know more so we can better understand what we are comparing this against," Kimberlin said. Outside of data that would better track the number of pediatric flu cases, "we are left with clinical impression. And this seems to be a particularly bad year, at least for some normal children who are getting the flu," he said.

Kimberlin, who is an associate professor of pediatrics at UAB, mentioned the 2003-04 flu season, when 153 influenza-associated deaths in children younger than 18 were reported by state health departments across the country. At that time, doctors determined that they did not know enough about how many children get sick during a flu season. Although studies and other types of surveys have been established since then, more time is needed to better compare one year with another, he said.

While the Birmingham and Jefferson and Shelby county school systems are not reporting a spike in sick students overall, there have been isolated cases of the flu hitting individual schools or classrooms, said Cindy Warner, spokeswoman for Shelby County schools.

Mt Laurel Elementary School has taken the brunt of that in Shelby County. At least two of its students have been hospitalized, one in critical condition, and the school had 80 students out sick over the past few weeks, Warner said.

Hundreds sick:

Pinson Elementary and Chalkville Elementary in Jefferson County have reported hundreds of children out sick, many with flu-like symptoms, said Nez Calhoun, Jefferson County schools spokeswoman.

Two weeks ago, the schools had 300 and 400 students out sick, many with flu-like symptoms, on a Thursday and Friday, compared with about 30 to 40 students out sick a year ago. School officials sent letters home to parents urging them to keep sick children at home, she said.

Ellison, who monitors the number and severity of flu cases with the help of participating physicians, said she is urging parents to get their children flu shots and practice good hygiene.

For the week of Dec. 10-16, 186 patients with influenza-like illness, mostly children, sought treatment with a physician participating with the Jefferson County influenza surveillance program, she said. There were 50 such patients at the same time last year.

"It's not too late to vaccinate, and please do so," Kimberlin said. "If you do come down with the flu, there are treatments available."

E-mail: losburn@bhamnews.com

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2006 at 5:31am
Merged two similar threads...  We can also hold this as a sticky topic for the next day or two since it has quite a bit of interest.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2006 at 7:01am
Thanks Albert.

I think this will turn out to be a "B" virus type like closed schools in some other states. The seasonal flu shots are for protection from some "A" virus strains and is having no effect against this.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Judy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2006 at 7:10am
This is very disturbing. Thanks for making this a sticky, Albert.
If ignorance is bliss, what is chocolate?
   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote muriel46 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2006 at 11:28am
I called the Birmingham News this afternoon, and was told that they had no new information at the moment, but they were working on it this afternoon, and would most likely have another article tomorrow in Sunday's paper.  We'll see what they find out, if anything.  Somehow I doubt that typing of the virus will be mentioned.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2006 at 8:39pm
this is interesting,,
a friend of mine in missouri said her son (7 yrs old) broke out with a bad case of the flu.  he's in the hospital, the rest of the fam is on tamiflu as prescribed by his dr (they didn't even know what it was) and they had to report it to the CDC.
 
does this strike you as kinda over the top for the "regular" flu?
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2006 at 9:17pm
 
It Began in September 2006....
 
 
 

Flu outbreaks in south Alabama towns unrelated

By M.J. Ellington
DAILY Staff Writer

mjellington@decaturdaily.com · (334) 262-1104

 
 
excerpt...

MONTGOMERY — Two southeast Alabama towns less than 25 miles apart have flu outbreaks, but state health officials say the outbreaks are from different strains of the disease and unrelated.

That means that people with influenza A H1N1 in Ozark did not pass on the bug to their neighbors in Dothan, less than 25 miles to the south. The three confirmed Dothan cases of influenza B Shanghai type turned up in the last week.

 
.........................................................................................................
 
 
FDA panel recommends flu vaccine changes for 2006/07


Fri Feb 17, 2006 6:00 PM ET
http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=healthNews&storyID=2006-02-17T225959Z_01_N17187894_RTRUKOC_0_US-FLU.xml


By Todd Zwillich
 
 
 
Excerpt....

Influenza causes an estimated 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths per year in the United States, according to the CDC.
The vast majority of cases are caused by Influenza A viruses.
The FDA advisory panel voted to change the current vaccine's "California" strain of the H3N2 Influenza A virus to a different H3N2 strain known as a "Wisconsin" strain.
 
Experts also recommended a shift from the less common
 
"Shanghai" Influenza B strain to a different B strain known as
 
"Malaysia/2506."
 
The panel recommended no change to the current vaccine's "New Caledonia" strain of the H1N1 Influenza A virus.
 
 
..............................................................................................................
 
 
An interesting report...
 
 
 
another...
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2006 at 11:45pm
 
UPDATED FLU MAP.....  
 
 
 
From the CDC...
...............................
 
Influenza Activity as Assessed by State and Territorial Epidemiologists*:
During week 50, the following influenza activity†† was reported:

Widespread activity was reported by three states (Alabama, Florida, and Georgia).

Regional activity was reported by nine states (Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas).
 
Local activity was reported by six states (Connecticut, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Utah).

Sporadic activity was reported by the District of Columbia, New York City and 26 states (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming).

• No influenza activity was reported by six states (Kansas, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, and West Virginia).
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 24 2006 at 8:29am
hey, ya'll from lower southern Alabama. My son lives in Prattville, outside of Montgomery, he states that alot of children in his children's shools have been out sick. They ended school there, I think he said Dec. 15 for Christmas break.His daughters are fine so far. There is alot of sickness going around here (Mobile) my DH just got over flu like symptoms which lasted 10 days.  Thank goodness we had already had our flu and pneumonia shot, thanks to infor we got on this thread. Our local Bruno's had disposable hand wipes at the door to use prior to pushing your cart. There has been several articles here in the Mobile Register about flu, pandemic flu, and avian flu. These were all seperate articles about 1 wk. ago.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 24 2006 at 11:54am
This is very troubling.   Why would life support be necessary for
so many ?   If I'm not mistaken 'life support' means things like
ventilation,  intravenious feedings,  etc.    That is serious.

During previous flu outbreaks has this been necessary ?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 24 2006 at 10:46pm
We were told in NC when we closed schools in two counties, that the flu was type B, we were not vacinated this year for type B, but type A. I wonder if some of the children, who typically dont get any flu shots, could have maybe got both forms of the flu and that is why they are so sick?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Twiggley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 25 2006 at 3:57am
another deadly case of Influenza B (18 year old)

Bragg soldier's bride dies during honeymoon

By Nancy McCleary
Staff writer
http://www.fayobserver.com/article?id=250237

HOPE MILLS — Four weeks ago, Aarika Marie White was married to Adam McKay in a ceremony at the Main Post Chapel on Fort Bragg.

Her family decided to wait until she returned from her honeymoon in Maine, Adam’s native state, before announcing the marriage.

But her wedding announcement won’t run in the paper. Her marriage will be announced as part of her obituary.

Aarika, 18, died Thursday at a hospital in Bangor, Maine. Doctors told her parents, Chris and Shari White, she died from the effects of the flu.

“Nobody wants to believe it,” said Shari White. “It’s not real.”

Aarika and Adam, 21, dated two years before marrying on Nov. 25, Shari said.

They left for Maine on Dec. 16, planning to ski and visit with Adam’s parents.

The following Tuesday, Shari said, she spoke with Aarika, who was getting ready to go shopping, for 1 hours.

Aarika didn’t complain of feeling bad, just feeling cold, Shari said. Aarika, a 2006 graduate of South View High School, promised to call her mother the next day.

The phone never rang, Shari said, and when she hadn’t heard from Aarika by midday on Thursday, she knew something was wrong.

At 3:30 p.m., Shari got a call from Adam who said Aarika was being admitted to a small hospital in Bangor, a town of about 33,000, that serves central and eastern Maine.

Shari was able to speak to Aarika.

“She was having back pain, and she was cramping,” said Shari, her eyes tearing occasionally behind her glasses.

“She was crying.”

Adam took the phone and was talking to his mother-in-law when Aarika’s blood pressure suddenly dropped. She was transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center.

At 5:30 p.m., Adam’s father called, Shari said, and told her she and her husband needed to come as quickly as possible. A doctor spoke with Shari and told her the same thing.

She and Chris checked, but all flights were booked. Chris’ parents said they would come from Holden Beach, pick up the Whites and make the 17-hour drive to Maine.

But they never got on the road. While Shari was talking with the doctor on the phone, Aarika went into cardiac arrest. Medical workers tried to revive her, but it was too late.

Aarika was dead.

Doctors suspected septic shock or bacterial meningitis, Chris said, but tests ruled them out. The only thing tests showed was that Aarika had influenza B, Chris said.

“I talked to her Tuesday afternoon and Thursday, she’s gone,” Shari said.

Adam, a soldier in the 82nd Airborne, is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in January. He is still in Maine and taking his wife’s death hard, Shari said. He and his mother will fly to North Carolina with Aarika’s body on Tuesday.

Between now and then, the Whites have to have some semblance of Christmas. They must for their 1-year-old grandson, Camron Williams, who was Aarika’s nephew.

Shari also passed on celebrating her 42nd birthday Friday.

The family is comforted by the thought that Aarika found so much happiness in the past four weeks.

“She was having a ball,” Shari said.
Staff writer Nancy McCleary can be reached at mcclearyn@fayobserver.com or 486-3568.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jdljr1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 25 2006 at 7:50am
     A very tragic story above from Maine.
     Fortunately latest research shows this years's vaccine, one of three of the components in it being of B flu but not Yamgata B currently causing half the B flu cases in the country, will nevertheless probably cross-protect against the Yamagata B also.  However, flu mist, the nasal live-vaccine, may not as it does not cross-protect well with B flus not in the vaccine..  See the various posts re. this topic on our forum.
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