Flu has killed 39 children this season, but virus activity continues to decline - Canada News Media
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Flu has killed 39 children this season, but virus activity continues to decline

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While it’s still too soon to say definitively that the flu season is past its peak, the dips in the past two weeks were dramatic.
A teen's final days with the flu
Even though flu activity is coming down, “we’re still at pretty high levels right now,” said Lynnette Brammer, team lead of the CDC’s domestic influenza surveillance team.
The virus still remains widespread in nearly every state, with high levels of activity in 32 states.
Despite the overall drop nationally, the latest data shows a strain of virus, influenza A, is increasing. As a result, Brammer said the US could potentially see a second wave of flu infections.
“The increase in A activity, we don’t know what effect that is going to have. Influenza activity may go up again,” she said. “This is something we’re going to watch pretty carefully.”
If the emerging virus does strike hard, the flu vaccine looks well matched to protect against it. That hasn’t been the case with the majority of flu that’s been out there so far this season, influenza B, which affects children more than adults and has been particularly tough on them. So far, 39 children in the United States have died from flu this season, 28 from the influenza B strain of the virus.
The CDC estimates that this flu season, which started on September 29, there have been at least 13 million cases of the flu in the US, 120,000 hospitalizations and 6,600 deaths.
The CDC says its still not too late to get a flu shot.
“I absolutely believe we still have plenty of flu season to come,” Brammer said.

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Japan confirms third case of new coronavirus – The Japan Times

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The health ministry said Saturday it has confirmed a third case of a new deadly virus that has been rapidly spreading in China and beyond.

The patient is a woman from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak of the mysterious coronavirus began, the ministry said, adding she arrived in Japan on Jan. 18.

The ministry has not disclosed her nationality and from where she entered Japan.

The woman in her 30s, who is in stable condition, is said to have had no symptoms at the time of arrival but developed a fever and started coughing on Tuesday night, according to the ministry.

She visited a Tokyo hospital on Thursday and later tested positive for the virus, which has killed at least 41 people in China.

The number of people with pneumonia caused by the virus topped 1,300 worldwide on Saturday, just as hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens set out on domestic and overseas trips at the start of the Lunar New Year holiday.

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China coronavirus Death toll rises

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Health officials in China say a coronavirus has killed 15 more people in the province of Hubei, where the outbreak first started.

There are currently 1,287 confirmed cases in China, 41 of whom have died.

It comes as China is begins celebrations of the Lunar New Year, one of the most important dates in its calendar.

Many events have been cancelled and a new hospital is being built in the city of Wuhan.

The virus has now spread to Europe, with three cases confirmed in France.

The first case was in Bordeaux, while the other two were in the Paris area, the French health minister said on Friday night.

And one case has been confirmed in Australia.

Chinese media outlets said the new 1,000-bed hospital could be ready within six days. A total of 35 diggers and 10 bulldozers are currently working on the site.

The project will “solve the shortage of existing medical resources” and would be “built fast [and] not cost much… because it will be prefabricated buildings”, the Changjiang Daily said.

Pharmacies in Wuhan have begun to run out of supplies and hospitals have been filled with nervous members of the public.

Symptoms seem to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough and then, after a week, leads to shortness of breath and some patients needing hospital treatment.

Around one-in-four cases are thought to be severe.

What restrictions are in place in Hubei?

Travel restrictions vary from city to city.

Wuhan is effectively on lockdown: all bus, metro and ferry services have been suspended, and all outbound planes and trains cancelled.

Residents have been advised not to leave, and roadblocks have been reported.

Ezhou, a smaller city in Hubei, shut its railway station. The city of Enshi has suspended all bus services.

And the rest of China?

City officials in the capital, Beijing, and Shanghai have asked residents who return from affected areas to stay at home for 14 days to prevent the spread of the virus, local media report.

  • Have you been affected? Get in touch: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk

Authorities have also shut major tourist sites including the Forbidden City in Beijing and a section of the Great Wall, and cancelled major public events in other parts of the country, including:

  • Traditional temple fairs in Beijing
  • An international carnival in Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong’s annual football tournament
  • All public Lunar New Year celebrations in Macau

Shanghai’s Disney Resort is temporarily closing, as are McDonald’s restaurants in five cities.

On Thursday, a coronavirus patient died in northern Hebei province – making it the first death outside Hubei.

Another death was later confirmed in north-east Heilongjiang province, more than 2,000km (1,200 miles) from Wuhan.

Earlier, when the death toll was 17, information from China’s National Health Commission said the youngest person who died from the virus was 48 and the oldest was 89.

But 15 of the 17 were over 60, and more than half suffered from other chronic diseases including Parkinson’s and diabetes. Just four were women.

What’s the global situation?

French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn said one of the French cases, a 48-year-old man of Chinese origin who had been visiting Wuhan, had been hospitalised in Bordeaux. Little was known about the second case, in hospital in Paris, except that the patient had been travelling in China.

It was likely other cases would occur in Europe, Ms Buzyn added.

She confirmed a third case, in Paris, later on Friday evening.

On Saturday, Australia reported its first case, a patient who is in hospital in Melbourne, after arriving from China last weekend.

Earlier on Friday a case was confirmed in Chicago, the second in the US.

Singapore confirmed its third case, known to be the son of another patient, also on Friday. Nepal recorded its first case on the same day.

Thailand has five cases confirmed; Japan, Vietnam and South Korea two each; and one in Taiwan.

Other nations are investigating suspected cases, including the UK, US, and Canada.

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The World Health Organization has not classed the virus as an “international emergency”, partly because of the low number of overseas cases.

“It may yet become one,” said the WHO’s director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.


Learn more about the new virus

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Federal Government Increasing Measures to Monitor Wuhan Novel Coronavirus Risks at Canadian Airports, Including Pearson – Government of Ontario News

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TORONTO — Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and co-chair of the federal-provincial-territorial health table, released the following statement on Ontario’s preparedness for the Wuhan novel coronavirus following a joint call with her federal and provincial counterparts:

“While there remain no confirmed cases of the virus in Canada, the federal government is putting in place enhanced screening and detection measures at Toronto Pearson International Airport to further protect the health of the public from the Wuhan novel coronavirus.

Today, I joined Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health for Canada, and my ministerial colleagues from each of the provinces and territories to share important information and further coordinate our joint efforts to protect the health and well being of all Canadians, including Ontarians, from the emerging issues of the Wuhan novel coronavirus. The federal government outlined their enhanced measures, which now include:

  • Screening questions at border kiosks will now include questions about previous travel to Wuhan, China in the past 14 days. A positive response would trigger an enhanced screening process, including sending the traveller to a Canadian border agent for further questioning about their health status. The border agent will determine whether the traveller needs to seek immediate medical assessment and treatment and, if so, EMS will transport the traveller from the airport directly to hospital. This screening will be done in Vancouver and Montreal as well.
  • Fact sheets are also being developed in English, French and Chinese for people who have travelled to China and are not currently exhibiting signs of illness. These fact sheets will outline the symptoms that individuals should watch for and any next steps should they experience symptoms, including seeking an immediate medical assessment.

The federal government’s enhanced screening measures build on Ontario’s robust and comprehensive protocols in place to actively monitor for, detect and contain any suspected cases of Wuhan novel coronavirus. The federal government’s measures will further support my ministry, in collaboration with Public Health Ontario, local health units, hospitals and health care providers, to monitor the Wuhan novel coronavirus and contain any cases, should one present in Ontario.

While the risk to Ontarians remains low, we will continue to be in close contact with the Public Health Agency of Canada and other jurisdictions to monitor this developing situation and safeguard the health of all Ontarians.

I’d like to thank all our partners for their on-going efforts in responding to this emerging situation. I want to reiterate our top priority will always remain safeguarding the health of the public, patients and care providers.”

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