Mon 22 Sep 2003, India
NCID Probes Himachal's mysterious fever
A high-level team of doctors from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NCID)
and Institute of Virology, Pune is visiting Himachal Pradesh to try and identify a mystery
disease which has killed 10 people and caused serious illness to at least 60 people.
- - -
"The symptoms can't be categorized. That's why we are calling it fever or pyrexia of an
unknown origin or a mysterious disease," said Dr. Avdhesh Kumar, a member of the NCID team.
- - -
The disease has been recurring over the past three years during the monsoon season. While several
people have succumbed to this disease, so far doctors have not been able to find a diagnosis. - - -
Its symptoms include high-grade fever, acute body ache, and headache. A patient becomes
unconscious before eventually succumbing to multiple organ failure.
Source: ProMED Digest - Mon 22 Sep 2003 - Vol. 2003: No. 378
Tue 23 Sep 2003, Peru
Hepatitis Threatens to Wipe Out Two Amazon Tribes
The United Nations (UNICEF) says that it has launched a vaccination campaign to save two tribes in the remote Peruvian Amazon from a mysterious hepatitis B outbreak. - - -
The outbreak, which apparently began in 2001, resulted in 145 cases that year, in a population of about 2,500. (Number of deaths in 2001 not known.) After 40 deaths were reported in 2002, Peru's Minister of Health asked UNICEF for help. - - -
The cause of the outbreak remains a mystery as does the reason for the "amazingly" high mortality rate in a
disease that often takes 20 to 25 years to manifest itself.
Source:Reuters: Health News Tue 23 Sep 2003 03:38 PM ET [Edited.]
Sun 28 Sep 2003, Denmark
New Influenza A Virus, H5N7, Identified in Ducks
[This account has been reworded for emphasis. RSF] A new influenza A virus type H5N7 has been
identified for the first time in ducks in Denmark. Two different viruses were implicated in the illnesses
of 12,000 ducks being raised to be released for hunting. A Duck Virus Enteritis (DVE)* seems to
have been the primary cause of the avian illnesses but a new Influenza A(H5N7) was also isolated from
tissues from several of the ducks. This type has never been previously identified.
*According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Duck Virus Enteritis, also known as
Duck Plague, is a highly contagious disease of waterfowl caused by a herpes virus that causes internal
bleeding and severe diarrhea and kills many infected birds.
Even though all 12,000 of the ducks were exterminated on 10 Sep 2003, the new A(H5N7) virus does
NOT appear to be of the "highly pathogenic" type, nor has it been detected in humans, especially
among people who had contact with the ducks. Further analysis is being carried out.
[At this point, no indication has been given as to how long the new virus may have been present in the
duck population before it was detected. RSF]
Thur 09 Oct 2003
Hemorrhagic Fever With Renal Syndrome - France (NE)
In total 104 cases of hantavirus infection [i.e. resulting in hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome or
HFRS, the type of illness associated with hantavirus infection in Northern Europe] have been reported
by the Centre National de Reference (CNR) de Fievres Hemorragiques Virales (the National Reference
Centre for Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers) during the period fro the end of December 2002 to the end of
This number is higher than the number of cases for the preceding 3 years; during the whole of 2002 only
61 cases of infection were observed.
Fri 24 Oct 2003
Influenza, Early Case - USA, Arizona
A confirmed case of influenza in Tucson is the 1st in Arizona, and the earliest influenza seen here
[in Pima County] in more than 15 years, say county health officials. Whether that means we're in
for an especially bad influenza season -- after 2 very mild years -- is unknown. But warnings of a
potentially severe outbreak nationwide have been issued, based on high influenza case numbers
seen elsewhere in the world this summer. . . . Although Arizona's first influenza report will not get
as much attention as its 1st reported human West Nile virus infection -- also in a Pima County
resident this month -- influenza is far more dangerous, officials warn.
Source: ProMED Digest - Thur 23 Oct 2003 - Vol. 2003: No. 413
[At the present time there seems to be an unusual clustering of counties in Texas and Louisiana
that are listed as active by FluWatch.com.
In Texas, five of the nine active zip codes are new in the sense that they were not
listed as being active at anytime during the past two flu seasons. Yesterday Louisiana was elevated from
Alert to Endemic status. Although Florida is currently inactive
on FluWatch.com, a zip code in its Orange County was listed as being in a watch status from
25 Sep to 21 Oct. New Mexico was last active on FluWatch.com back in December of 2000 If New
Mexico hits the active list in the next 1-2 weeks, then one might have reason to suspect that
something out of the ordinary is happening in the southernmost states of the USA. RSF 24 Oct 2003.]
Wed 29 Oct 2003
Influenza - Canada (West)
The influenza season has hit Canada early, clogging emergency rooms in Edmonton [Alberta] and
prompting calls from health officials across the country for people to get immunized as soon as
possible." We've had 60 lab cases confirmed, but that's the tip of the iceberg. We've probably had
thousands of people affected," said Gerry Predy, medical health officer for Capital Health, which
serves 1.6 million people in the Edmonton region. . . .
The influenza season normally occurs between November and March, with peaks in late December
and again in late February. But it emerged in some parts of Canada and the U.S. weeks ago, long
before influenza vaccination clinics became active. . . .
Influenza A(H3N2) virus infection occurred in 2 schools in Dublin, Ireland during October 2003.
This cluster of cases is considered to be the earliest outbreak of influenza in Europe this season.
In the southern hemisphere during August 2003 all states in Australia (except Northern
Territory) have reported extensive outbreaks of influenza. These have been identified as due to
A(H3) type virus. High levels of influenza A(H3) were recorded in New Zealand throughout June
and July 2003, declining during August. The levels of influenza in New Zealand in 2003 have
exceeded those observed in 2001 [and in] 2002.
Mon 03 Nov 2003
Influenza - USA, Southern States
On Saturday 01 Nov, FluWatch.com
reported New Mexico as being in a watch status. (Activity in the Albuquerque area.) The timing
of this event meets the author's 24 October 2003 criteria of 1-2 weeks to be on a special lookout for activity in
New Mexico. (See above.) Add to this, the cluster of four new active counties in western Arkansas on the
same date (01 Nov). Something unusual (flu-wise) may be happening in the US southern states.
See the animated gif showing FluWatch.com activity for 15 Oct to 03 Nov 2003.
To come back to this page click on BACK. The RETURN function at the bottom of the animation will
take you to Part I of this page.
Mon 17 Nov 2003
China (Hong Kong): Students Affected by Gastroenteritis Outbreak
Following an [outbreak of an] intestinal virus infection that spread to 150 students at Sacred Heart
Canossian College, another group of pupils have come down with gastroenteritis. Last Friday
[14 Nov] 14 students, aged between 7 and 15, at Caritas Jockey Club Lok Yan School began to
show symptoms of gastroenteritis. They are now at Caritas Medical Centre receiving treatment.
Two female nurses also contracted the infection. The hospital has activated a Green Alert and the
school has suspended classes.
The parents of affected students say that the Medical Centre had at least 10 sick students as early as
ten days ago [7 Nov] who experienced vomiting, and question whether the hospital has intentionally
withheld the news. With regard to this, Caritas yesterday was temporarily unable to provide a response.
[The description of the illness suggests norovirus infection. - Mod. CP]