US flu activity continues retreating, but 3 pediatric deaths reportedBy most measures, the seasonal influenza epidemic in the United States waned further last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an update today, continuing a trend first apparent a week earlier.Just two states, New Jersey and New Mexico, and Puerto Rico still had high influenza-like illness (ILI) activity for the week, down from seven states and Puerto Rico the week before. Seven states and New York City had moderate activity.Flu cases continued to be geographically widespread in 29 states last week, but that was 10 fewer than the previous week. Meanwhile, the share of clinic visits prompted by ILI dropped to 2.9%, from 3.2% the week before, but remained above the national baseline of 2.1%.Three flu-related deaths of children were reported during the week, one more than the previous week. Those cases raised the season total to 33. One death was attributed to an influenza A/H1N1 virus, one to a type B virus, and one to a type A virus that was not subtyped.The share of respiratory samples testing positive for flu dropped again, to 18.3% of 21,959 samples, compared with 20.1% of 23,946 the week before.Flu-related hospitalizations reported last week raised the estimated cumulative incidence for the season to 21.4 per 100,000 people, up from 18.2 per 100,000 a week earlier.One flu marker that rose was the share of deaths related to pneumonia and flu as measured by the CDC’s 122 Cities Mortality Reporting system, which was 7.7%, versus 7.3% the week before. That was just above the epidemic threshold of 7.2% for the week.The CDC’s other system for counting deaths due to flu and pneumonia, operated by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), put the number for the week ending Mar 12 at 7.3%, which was below the epidemic threshold of 7.6% and down from 7.4% the week before. The NCHS system lags 2 weeks behind the 122 Cities system.Apr 1 CDC FluView report Flu vaccine 42% effective during H1N1-dominated flu season in UKInfluenza vaccination has shown significant effectiveness in preventing primary care visits in the United Kingdom (UK), especially those due to confirmed H1N1 infection, according to a study yesterday in Eurosurveillance.Researchers analyzed 1,548 samples from 182 people with confirmed influenza and 1,366 controls midway through the 2015/16 flu season. From Oct 1, 2015, to Jan 22, most case-patients with flu had H1N1 (151), while the remainder were positive for H3N2 (3), unknown type A viruses (9), and type B (20).When compared with controls, H1N1 cases were more likely to occur in children under the age of 5 (16.8% of 198 children under 5 presenting to a primary care clinic) and people who had not received the flu vaccine (11.1% of 1,215). The highest percentage of H1N1 cases occurred in January (23.2% of 333 primary care visits), the authors said.In terms of preventing confirmed flu infections resulting in primary care consultations, the flu vaccine had an overall effectiveness of 41.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 3%-64.7%), an effectiveness of 49.1% against H1N1 infections (95% CI, 9.3%-71.5%), and effectiveness of 47.3% against all type A infections (95% CI, 9%-69.5%).The authors observed some variation in the H1N1 hemagglutinin gene, though changes appeared to have little effect on the virus’s antigenic properties. As the flu season continues, shifts in strain predominance in the UK may affect vaccine effectiveness, the authors said.Mar 31 Eurosurveillance study Studies find high-path avian flu viruses rare in US wild birdsSurveillance during an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N2 in Minnesota garnered only two HPAI isolates from wild birds, according to a study yesterday in Emerging Infectious Diseases. A similar study reported yesterday in Virology Journal revealed no evidence for HPAI circulation among migratory wild birds in Alaska.Researchers in Minnesota tested 104 sick or dead wild birds and took 3,139 waterfowl fecal samples between Mar 9 and Jun 4, 2015, roughly the same period as an outbreak of H5N2 in 23 Minnesotan counties.HPAI viruses were isolated from a Cooper’s hawk found in Yellow Medicine County in April 2015 and in a black-capped chickadee submitted by a wildlife rehabilitation center in July 2015, the authors said. Among 148 fecal samples taken near the site of the first outbreak, low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) was identified in two pooled samples. Thirty pooled samples from 85 birds in other locations were LPAI-positive.The researchers concluded that HPAI viruses were not prevalent in wild birds during the 2015 outbreak.Mar 31 Emerg Infect Dis studyA similar study of 1,129 migratory birds on Alaska’s Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta during the spring and summer of 2015 found no evidence of HPAI viruses.Five LPAI viruses were isolated from cackling and greater white-fronted geese, including four viruses of combined subtypes H6N1, H6N2, and H9N2, and one virus composed of H3 and N7 gene segments. Three genetic segments were similar to HPAI H5 viruses recently detected in North American birds, the authors said.Though HPAI did not appear to circulate in geese during the spring and summer, genetic evidence demonstrates intercontinental avian flu virus exchange in migratory birds, the authors said.Mar 31 Virol J study
Konecranes has today completed the acquisition of the remaining shares of Jiangsu Three Horses Crane Manufacture Co. Ltd. (SANMA) and now owns 100 percent of the company.In November 2009, Konecranes announced that it had finalized the acquisition of a majority holding (65 percent) in SANMA.The acquisition is an important step for Konecranes and SANMA will continue as one of Konecranes power brands in China. Konecranes will also continue to develop the unit as part of its global supply organization.SANMA is based in Jingjiang, about two hours’ drive northwest of Shanghai. SANMA has a strong position as a nationwide supplier of its wire rope hoists in China and as a crane supplier especially in Jiangsu and the neighboring provinces.[mappress]June 12, 2014
In a far off land, word spread far and wide of a holy man with magic so powerful it could relieve the most severe suffering. After seekers of healing travelled through the wilderness to reach him, he’d swear them to secrecy about what was next to pass between them. Once they took the vow, the holy man asked a single question: What are you unwilling to feel? We all struggle with stress and anxiety but often we believe that we are alone with these kinds of painful feelings. Yet anxiety and worry is commonplace and ordinary in our modern world. We get bombarded with news about what is wrong around the world, with technology constantly demanding our attention, over and above the normal everyday demands. Often when we feel anxious or afraid, which is totally normal and human, we go to all lengths to hide it so that others will not see us as vulnerable or weak. This of course exacerbates feelings of anxiety and creates a nightmarish cycle of anxious thoughts and physiological sensations of often overwhelming proportions. Learning to directly face anxiety and fear with the RAIN meditation – Recognise, Allow, Investigate, and Nurture – gives you a pathway to inner transformation and a fearless heart. Recognising the tranceAt a seminar on RAIN and stress, a workshop attendee, Mrs X, asked for some help with a personal situation. She’d recently been hired as a marketing vice-president (VP) in a large corporation, but she felt intimidated by the CEO, who was very quick to cut off and humiliate anyone who he felt was wasting his time. He ruled over the weekly staff meetings, which Mrs X described as “torture” that put her into a state of “brain freeze.”“I shouldn’t be worried about my competence,” she said. “I was recruited because I got an industry award at my last job. But the atmosphere here is totally different – really corporate, and the other VPs pretty much ignore me. I just go back to my office with my stomach churning and wonder how long I’ll last here.”It was suggested that Mrs X practice RAIN for a few minutes right before each meeting and she was asked what was going on for her at that time.“On those mornings I can really feel the anxiety building, and it lands me in a frenzy of busyness… reviewing reports, marking what I might need to comment on… nothing really productive.”We can all recognise that feeling of being in a frenzy. Before she starts RAIN, she was told to imagine pressing the pause button on that frenzy. Mrs X closed her eyes and pictured herself at her desk, a half-hour before the weekly meeting.As she paused, she was told that her first “invitation” was to Recognize (R) the anxiety and Allow (A) it to just be there. Next she was asked, what does she notice if she brings her attention and interest to how it feels in her body? Beginning to Investigate (I), she muttered, “dry mouth and wet palms really tight chest… heart hammering… and, my stomach in knots.” It was suggested she place her hand on her abdomen and send her breath there with a long slow inflow and outflow of air. This would be to help her steady her attention and stay in contact with the fear. Now she was guided to ask the scared place inside her what it needed most, a key inquiry in Investigating. After a moment, she looked up, surprised, stating, “It said, ‘let it be okay that I’m here’.”The Nurturing (N) which that scared place needed was to be accepted, and not to be made wrong, bad or useless. Mrs X was asked how the wisest, kindest part of her wanted to respond. Could she find a way to acknowledge this very vulnerable part of herself with compassion? She sat quietly, still breathing slowly, her hand on her belly. Then she nodded. “I just sent the message – it’s okay, this belongs. And… it does feel more okay. I’m actually a bit more relaxed.”This became Mrs X’s RAIN practice each week before going to the staff meeting. And when she felt anxiety spiking during the meeting, she’d simply breathe into it and send the message – it’s okay.About three months later, Mrs. X reported back that her tension around the CEO hadn’t disappeared, but her anxiety had lessened somewhat. More important, it didn’t feel like such a big deal: “I’m not so alarmed when I get anxious,” she said.“I was fighting it so hard, but now it’s okay that it’s there. That really does free me up.” She also shared some real progress in making creative contributions and connecting with others.Asking yourself “what am I unwilling to feel?” can open you to deep spiritual healing. Fear is the feeling that something is wrong and that, rather than facing it, we need to act to protect ourselves. When, instead, we have the courage to pause and meet fear with the mindfulness and compassion engendered by practising the RAIN meditation, our awareness and wisdom enlarges. If we need to respond to a real threat, we’ll do so – with increased balance, presence and creativity. But often we’ll see: It’s just anxiety, it’s okay… this belongs – and begin to unhook from a lifetime pattern of reactivity. While fears continue to arise, we have access to a heart space that is open and free. Anxiety and fear, when worked with in this way can be a portal to greater self-awareness and insight. It has the potential to awaken us to living fully in the here and now and allows deeper connection to ourselves and others. Carin-Lee Masters is a clinical psychologist. Write to her at [email protected] or send a WhatsApp message or SMS to 082 264 7774.