November 18

NEWS SCAN: Multistate E coli outbreak, H9 flu case in Hong Kong, WHO pandemic guidance

first_imgNov 3, 2009E coli outbreak with 2 deaths linked to ground beefAn outbreak of 28 Escherichia coli cases in 16 states, with two deaths, has been linked to ground beef from a firm in New York, according to federal officials. The US Department of Agriculture reported Oct 31 that Fairbank Farms of Asheville, N.Y., was recalling 545,699 pounds of ground beef potentially contaminated with E coli. Yesterday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said isolates from seven patients genetically matched an isolate from an opened package of the firm’s ground beef from a Massachusetts patient’s home. Most of the patients fell ill between Sep 17 and Oct 10, the CDC reported. Sixteen were hospitalized, 3 suffered hemolytic uremic syndrome, a form of kidney failure, and 2 died, the agency said. States affected by the outbreak are California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Vermont. Most of the recalled products list “Est. 492” on the USDA mark of inspection and carry the date “091509” or “091609.”Oct 31 USDA recall noticeNov 2 CDC statementChinese woman treated for H9 avian flu in Hong KongA woman from Guangdong province on the Chinese mainland is being treated in Hong Kong for a rare case of H9 avian influenza, Hong Kong government officials reported today. The woman fell ill with breathlessness and a cough Oct 26 and was admitted to a Hong Kong hospital 2 days later, the statement said. The woman, who has a preexisting medical condition that requires regular medication, is in stable condition in isolation. Five previous H9 infections have been identified in Hong, all involving children, in 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2008, officials said. They gave no information about the source of the infection.WHO issues pandemic guidance for non-health sectorThe World Health Organization (WHO) has released a set of guidelines—developed before the H1N1 influenza pandemic—on pandemic preparedness outside the health sector. The 18-page document includes sections on business continuity management, interdependencies among essential services, government’s role, and the role of other organizations. A foreword cautions that, because the guidance was developed before the H1N1 pandemic, some information and recommendations may not be relevant to the current situation.WHO document “Whole-of-Society Pandemic Readiness”last_img read more

October 19

Europe locks down as global virus panic spreads

first_imgWith European nations already closing their borders, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she would ask the leaders of the bloc’s Schengen-free border zone to stop all non-essential into the area.”Concretely, all trips between non-European countries and EU countries will be suspended for 30 days,” Macron said in his address.This follows a ban on inbound travel to the United States, whose President Donald Trump steeled the nation for a fight against the virus that he warned could last months. European leaders are set to ban non-essential travel into the continent on Tuesday, the latest drastic attempt to curb the coronavirus pandemic that has upended society, battered markets and killed thousands around the world.With French President Emmanuel Macron describing the battle against COVID-19 as a “war”, governments around the world are imposing restrictions rarely seen in peace-time, slamming borders shut and forcing citizens to stay home.The crisis is infecting every sector of the economy and Wall Street stocks sank on Monday more than 12 percent in the worst session since the crash of 1987, despite emergency interventions by central banks and governments to shore up confidence. ‘Test, test, test’ The head of the World Health Organization called for every suspected coronavirus case to be tested, something which would send the known tally of the sick sky-rocketing.”You cannot fight a fire while blindfolded,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists. “Test, test, test. Test every suspected case.”Very few countries have been left untouched by the virus as it continues its relentless march across the globe, and a cascading number are taking increasingly drastic responses.Britain called for an end to all “non-essential” contact and travel, while Switzerland declared a state of emergency. Germany banned gatherings in churches, mosques and synagogues and said playgrounds and non-essential shops would close.Tens of millions of people in Southeast Asia were ordered into effective home quarantines, with Malaysia and the Philippines announcing Monday unprecedented lockdowns.In India, the world’s second most populous country where most schools and entertainment facilities have already shut down, the Taj Mahal was on Tuesday closed to visitors.Iran, the country with the highest number of infections and deaths in the Middle East, on Monday closed four key Shiite pilgrimage sites.Chile, Peru announced a total closure of their borders, while Canada closed its borders to foreigners, except Americans for now.Security forces on motorcycles enforced a “collective quarantine” in Venezuelan capital Caracas.And around the world people are having to contend with disruption to almost every aspect of daily life and new border restrictions have caused pandemonium as travellers scramble to get home.There are also growing doubts over the European football championships set to take place in 12 countries this summer and the Olympics in Japan, as the virus decimates the sporting calendar. ‘Apocalyptic vibe’ Trump said he was asking Americans to restrict gatherings to groups of fewer than 10 people — as the streets of New York and the capital Washington stood largely deserted.One customer at a French restaurant in Brooklyn said she felt the moves were unprecedented.”I want strong leadership, but it’s scary. I’ve never experienced anything like this before and I don’t think my parents have, I don’t think anyone has,” Kelly McGee told AFP.”There’s something about being in this apocalyptic vibe and being with other people and experiencing it together that I think I still crave.”Trump acknowledged the United States “may be” heading into a recession due to the virus, as G7 leaders vowed to coordinate their response to the virus and “do whatever it takes, using all policy tools” — after a meeting held via videoconference.Every sector from tourism to food to aviation is affected, as the global economy effectively goes into shutdown.European car makers including Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot began shutting down their factories and major world airlines axed almost all flights temporarily, triggering pleas to help carriers survive.Emergency measures by the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan failed to lift spirits on Wall Street, which plunged nearly 13 percent and Asian stocks continued the volatility, Japan’s Nikkei-225 swinging from red to green in a choppy session.center_img After an initial outbreak in a Chinese city in December, Europe has emerged as the epicenter of the virus with more deaths now recorded outside China than inside.Italy — the hardest hit nation in Europe — announced another surge in deaths, taking its overall toll to more than 2,000 from a worldwide total of more than 7,000. More than 175,530 cases have been recorded in 145 countries.In a somber address to the nation, Macron ordered the French to stay at home for 15 days starting midday Tuesday, banning all non-essential trips or social contacts and warning violations would be “punished.” Topics :last_img read more