Saturday, March 25, 2017

Tsunami Preparedness Week - 2017








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The National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP) recognizes  Tsunami Preparedness Week during the last week in March to coincide with the date of the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunamis.
 
Some states and territories recognize other times of the year, and this year that includes:
While truly massive tsunamis don't happen very often, when they do they can produce extremely high mortality, and extensive property and infrastructure damage.

The two biggest ones in recent history are the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, which killed upwards to 250,000 people, and Japan's 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake/Tsunami which killed in excess of 15,000 people.

While less deadly, Alaska's 1964 earthquake produced significant tsunami effects both locally, and thousands of miles away, killing 5 in Oregon and 13 in California. Chile's 1960 Valdivia earthquake sent a train of tsunamis across the Pacific, causing heavy damage and loss of life in Hawaii, Japan, and beyond (see NOAA Report).


 
While we think of these disasters as primarily localized events, impacting a few thousand square miles, the photo above shows how our oceans can transfer the released energy from an earthquake, meteor strike, volcanic eruption, or undersea landslide across distances of thousands of miles in the form of a tsunami (or more likely, a series of tsunami waves).

The west coast of North America, since it is vulnerable to tsunamis generated by seismic events in Japan, Alaska, the South Pacific - and even the long expected `big one'  off the Pacific Northwest's coast (see Just A Matter Of Time) - is viewed as the most `at risk' region of the  United States and Canada.

But two years ago, in The Caribbean’s Hidden Tsunami Potential (Revisited), we looked at that region’s history – and potential – for generating tsunamis that could affect the Gulf Coast and Atlantic coastlines of the United States, along with Mexico, Central America, and South America.
  • This past week Tsunami preparedness drills were held for the Caribbean (March 21: Exercise - Caribe Wave (3 scenarios: Costa Rica, Cuba, and Northern Lesser Antilles) and for the Atlantic (March 22: Exercise - Lantex (Off Portugal)).
  • This coming week (March 29th), Exercise - Pacifex (Off British Columbia) will take place.  Last summer, FEMA, the Canadian government, and many other agencies took part in the massive Cascadia Rising 2016 drill, to prepare for the (likely overdue) `big one' striking the Pacific Northwest. 

While you may think it unlikely that a tsunami will affect you or your region - they are just one of many potential hazards that may threaten you and your community - and they all require similar preparedness steps.

Knowing your local threats, whether they be tsunamis, forest fires, floods, earthquakes or hurricanes  . . . and then becoming prepared to deal with them, will provide you and your family the best safety insurance available.

As far as what to do before a tsunami threatens, READY.GOV has a Tsunami Awareness Page with helpful hints. NOAA  provides several useful documents, including a Tsunami Zone PDF (see below) and Tsunami Web page.



Since you can't predict what disaster you might someday have to face, it makes sense to maintain a general level of preparedness against `all threats’.

Everyone needs an appropriate family disaster plan, just as everyone should have a good first aid kit, an Emergency NOAA Weather radio, a `bug-out bag’, and sufficient emergency supplies to last a bare minimum of 72 hours.

As the graphic above from NOAA advises, people should consider maintaining a 2-week supply of supplies in their home. A topic I address in When 72 Hours Isn’t Enough.

As we move into the spring severe storm season, and ultimately back into the Atlantic Hurricane season, now is a good time to review and refresh your emergency preparedness plans.

A couple of my (many) blogs on this subject include:

  • In An Emergency, Who Has Your Back?
  • When Evacuation Is The Better Part Of Valor
  • Friday, March 24, 2017

    OIE Confirms HPAI H7N9 In Hunan Province










    #12,343


    Earlier today, in China MOA: High Mortality In Poultry Infected With H7N9 In Hunan Province, we looked at a report highly suggestive of an HPAI H7N9 outbreak in Hunan Province, China.

    Significant if true, because this would be the first detection of this mutated virus outside of Guangdong province, where it was first reported a little over a month ago.

    This afternoon the OIE has confirmed that assumption with the following notification






    This latest detection of HPAI H7N9 is a little over 300 miles north and west of the first outbreak reported in  Meizhou city, Guangdong province.






    China MOA: High Mortality In Poultry Infected With H7N9 In Hunan Province

    Credit Wikipedia
















    UPDATED 1500 hrs: OIE Confirms HPAI H7N9 In Hunan Province


    #12,342


    For nearly four years - since H7N9 first emerged in China in the spring of 2013 - its most unusual feature was its low pathogenicity in birds (LPAI) yet its ability to produce severe, even life threatening illness in humans.

    Unlike the HPAI H5 viruses - which dramatically impact poultry - LPAI has been a `stealth virus' in chickens, geese, and ducks. Often our first sign of trouble comes only after a human in contact with healthy-looking birds falls ill.

    Last month (Feb 18th) China announced the discovery of two patients in Guangdong Province infected with a newly discovered highly pathogenic (HPAI) variant of H7N9 (see Guangdong CDC: Two H7N9 `Variants' Isolated From Human Cases). Additional HPAI samples were isolated in local poultry. 

    The following day, we also saw the Taiwan CDC: January's Imported H7N9 Case Carried HPAI Mutation. All three cases showed signs of antiviral resistance, although it wasn't clear if that developed after they received treatment.

    All HPAI H7N9 reported to date have been in Guangdong province, and so its `fitness' to spread further remains unknown. Although our knowledge of this new mutation is limited, for now we've no evidence that it substantially increases the risk to humans (see ECDC Comment On HPAI Mutation Of H7N9).
    All of which brings us to a report from China's Ministry of Agriculture detailing a recent outbreak of H7N9 in Hunan Province which resulted in observable morbidity and substantial mortality in poultry.

    Both atypical of LPAI H7N9 outbreaks. 

    Today's dispatch opens by stating the importance of following up on the H7N9 influenza virus mutant strains - a pretty good idea of what they are thinking - but it never directly refers to this outbreak as HPAI.  A genetic analysis of the HA gene is required to confirm HPAI - and perhaps they are waiting for that - but this outbreak has all the outward appearances of high path bird flu.

    Hunan province lies adjacent - and to the north and west - of Guangdong province. Hunan province reported 5 human cases last Friday, and 4 human cases today (onsets go back to early March) making it one of the more active regions these past two weeks.

    Any indication that HPAI H7N9 is on the move (possibly via migratory birds) would be an important finding. But whether LPAI or HPAI, the H7N9 virus continues to evolve, and so we must remain ready for surprises. 

    Hopefully we'll get a more definitive report (and genetic analysis) on this outbreak in the days to come (see update).

    Hunan Provincial Department of Agriculture veterinary guidance departments earnestly poultry H7N9 influenza prevention and control
    Date: 2017-03-24 17:58 Author: Source: Ministry of Agriculture Information Office

    For some of the recent detection of H7N9 influenza virus mutant strains, the Ministry of Agriculture attaches great importance to the timely follow-up, on the basis of preliminary work, to guide the local animal husbandry and veterinary departments to further carry out targeted prevention and control work. All in accordance with the requirements of a good grasp of monitoring and emergency treatment, the detection of pathogen positive or the outbreak of the farm households poultry, and resolutely culling and harmless treatment, the timely elimination of risks.

    March 19, Yongzhou City, Hunan Province, Dong'an County Veterinary Department in the monitoring found that some farmers raised breed chickens suspected bird flu symptoms, the incidence of 29,760, only 18,497 died.

    March 20, Hunan Province, animal disease prevention and control center diagnosed as suspected avian influenza epidemic. March 24, by the National Avian Influenza reference laboratory confirmed the outbreak for the H7N9 flu epidemic. After the outbreak of the epidemic, the local start of the plan, in accordance with the technical specifications to prevent the epidemic disposal work, has been culling and harmless treatment of 171179 poultry. At present, the epidemic has been effectively controlled.

     

    Hong Kong CHP Notified By Mainland Of 18 Additional H7N9 Cases












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    Hong Kong's CHP has announced their notification of an additional 18 H7N9 cases from the mainland, details of which should appear in next Tuesday's weekly avian flu report. 

    The skewing of age and gender (primarily older, male patients) continues, with the youngest patient listed as 37 year of age. Onsets are said to range from March 9th to the 15th.

    While still elevated, weekly case counts continue to decrease (down almost 20% over last week) - a sign perhaps that the closing of live poultry markets in major cities is having the desired effect. 

    Unknown, of course, are how many mild or moderate cases that are never tested or reported (see Beneath The H7N9 Pyramid).

    Today's HK update follows:


     
         The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (March 24) received notification from the National Health and Family Planning Commission that 18 additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9), including two deaths, were recorded from March 17 to 23. The CHP strongly urges the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel. 

         The 11 male and seven female patients, aged from 37 to 86, had their onset from March 9 to 15. The cases were five cases from Guangxi, four cases in Hunan, two cases each from Hubei and Zhejiang and one case each from Anhui, Fujian, Guizhou, Henan and Jiangxi. Among them, 16 were known to have exposure to poultry or poultry markets.

         Travellers to the Mainland or other affected areas must avoid visiting wet markets, live poultry markets or farms. They should be alert to the presence of backyard poultry when visiting relatives and friends. They should also avoid purchase of live or freshly slaughtered poultry, and avoid touching poultry/birds or their droppings. They should strictly observe personal and hand hygiene when visiting any place with live poultry.

         Travellers returning from affected areas should consult a doctor promptly if symptoms develop, and inform the doctor of their travel history for prompt diagnosis and treatment of potential diseases. It is essential to tell the doctor if they have seen any live poultry during travel, which may imply possible exposure to contaminated environments. This will enable the doctor to assess the possibility of avian influenza and arrange necessary investigations and appropriate treatment in a timely manner.

         While local surveillance, prevention and control measures are in place, the CHP will remain vigilant and work closely with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities to monitor the latest developments.

         The CHP's Port Health Office conducts health surveillance measures at all boundary control points. Thermal imaging systems are in place for body temperature checks on inbound travellers. Suspected cases will be immediately referred to public hospitals for follow-up.

         The display of posters and broadcasting of health messages in departure and arrival halls as health education for travellers is under way. The travel industry and other stakeholders are regularly updated on the latest information.

         The public should maintain strict personal, hand, food and environmental hygiene and take heed of the advice below while handling poultry:
     
    • Avoid touching poultry, birds, animals or their droppings;
    • When buying live chickens, do not touch them and their droppings. Do not blow at their bottoms. Wash eggs with detergent if soiled with faecal matter and cook and consume them immediately. Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling chickens and eggs;
    • Eggs should be cooked well until the white and yolk become firm. Do not eat raw eggs or dip cooked food into any sauce with raw eggs. Poultry should be cooked thoroughly. If there is pinkish juice running from the cooked poultry or the middle part of its bone is still red, the poultry should be cooked again until fully done;
    • Wash hands frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, before handling food or eating, and after going to the toilet, touching public installations or equipment such as escalator handrails, elevator control panels or door knobs, or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing; and
    • Wear a mask if fever or respiratory symptoms develop, when going to a hospital or clinic, or while taking care of patients with fever or respiratory symptoms.

         The public may visit the CHP's pages for more information: the avian influenza page, the weekly Avian Influenza Reportglobal statistics and affected areas of avian influenza, the Facebook Page and the YouTube Channel.
     
    Ends/Friday, March 24, 2017

    Issued at HKT 18:25

    Japan: MAFF Confirms Two New HPAI H5 Outbreaks (Chiba & Miyagi Prefectures)


















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    Although Japan and South Korea both saw the arrival of HPAI H5N6 within weeks of each other (last November), South Korea has reported more than 300 farm outbreaks while Japan has reported just under a dozen.  
    The last outbreak in Japan appears to have been in early February (see Japan: MAFF Reports New Outbreak Of HPAI H5 In Poultry - Saga Prefecture).

    Japan's Ministry of Environment has detected the virus in hundreds of wild bird and environmental samples (see list here), but Japan's biosecurity has held up pretty well.

    South Korea has reported a similar drop in outbreaks over the past couple of months as well. 

    Today Japan's Ministry of Agriculture is confirming two outbreaks of HPAI H5 (n-type to be determined) along the eastern seaboard.  Recent outbreaks have been centered in the southern prefectures, so this may reflect the northern spring movement of migratory birds.

    If so, we may see a resurgence of outbreaks in Korea in the weeks ahead as well.

    For confirmation of the suspected affected animals of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Miyagi Prefecture
    2017 March 24,
    the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

    For cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza is suspected in Miyagi Prefecture, which has been confirmed yesterday, the results of genetic testing, is an H5 subtype, today, it has been confirmed to be a suspected affected animals of highly pathogenic avian influenza.


    1. Overview 


    For cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza is suspected in Miyagi Prefecture, which has been confirmed yesterday, the results of genetic testing, is an H5 subtype, today, it has been confirmed to be a suspected affected animals of highly pathogenic avian influenza. 

    In the future, we will conduct the testing in animal health research department (Note) NA subtype.

    (Note) The National Research and Development Institute of Agriculture and Food Research Organization of Animal Health Research Institute: Japan's only research institute on animal health (Kenichi Division Sakamoto) 


    2. Other 


    (1) The farm has to refrain from moves such as breeding poultry from the point at which there was a report from the farmers. 

    (2) In Japan, this by eating poultry meat and poultry eggs to, cases of avian influenza virus was transmitted to humans has not been reported. 


    (3) interviews in the field, that there is a possibility that the cause of the spread of the disease, since it could violate the privacy of those farmers, thank you for your cooperation as abstain strictly.

    (4) In the future, so we will endeavor to provide quick and accurate information, so as not to be confused by such production relations and consumers, such as who is unfounded rumor, thank you for your cooperation.

    For confirmation of the suspected affected animals of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Chiba Prefecture
     
    2017 March 24, 


    the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries For cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza is suspected in Chiba Prefecture, which has been confirmed yesterday, the results of genetic testing, is an H5 subtype, today, it has been confirmed to be a suspected affected animals of highly pathogenic avian influenza. 


    1. Overview 


    For cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza is suspected in Chiba Prefecture, which has been confirmed yesterday, the results of genetic testing, is an H5 subtype, today, it has been confirmed to be a suspected affected animals of highly pathogenic avian influenza.
    In the future, we will conduct the testing in animal health research department (Note) NA subtype.

    (Note) The National Research and Development Institute of Agriculture and Food Research Organization of Animal Health Research Institute: Japan's only research institute on animal health (Kenichi Division Sakamoto) 


    2. Other 
    (1) The farm has to refrain from moves such as breeding poultry from the point at which there was a report from the farmers.
    (2) In Japan, this by eating poultry meat and poultry eggs to, cases of avian influenza virus was transmitted to humans has not been reported.
    (3) interviews in the field, that there is a possibility that the cause of the spread of the disease, since it could violate the privacy of those farmers, thank you for your cooperation as abstain strictly.
    (4) In the future, so we will endeavor to provide quick and accurate information, so as not to be confused by such production relations and consumers, such as who is unfounded rumor, thank you for your cooperation.

    Iceland Warns On Bird Flu














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    Over the past five months we've watched as Europe has battled its biggest, most widespread, and most persistent outbreak of bird flu in their history. The virus - a newly reassorted HPAI H5N8 - entered early last fall from China/Russia, funneled in via one of the main migratory bird flyways from the east (likely the Black Sea / Mediterranean flyway).



    These H5N8 viruses - and their offshoots (H5N5, H5N6) - are collectively called H5Nx, and have struck everywhere from Central Africa, to the Middle East, to nearly all of Europe. 

    With the arrival of spring, the surviving migratory birds will be returning north to their high latitude summer roosting grounds. 

    While many will travel east and north, retracing the route that originally brought the virus to Europe, the East Atlantic Flyway also funnels birds westward - to Iceland, Greenland, and North America.


    Just as the overlap between the East Asian and Pacific America flyway facilitated the spread of H5N8 from Asia to North America in 2014 - the North Atlantic Flyway is viewed as capable of bringing bird flu strains to North America from Europe (see PLoS One: North Atlantic Flyways Provide Opportunities For Spread Of Avian Influenza Viruses).

     
    This is a scenario we've discussed before (most recently in  H5Nx: Why North America Must Remain Alert), and while the potential has always been there, this winter's unprecedented level of bird flu activity in Europe, combined with the unusual persistence of this newly reassorted H5 virus in wild birds - would seem to make this year's migration particularly risky.

    Iceland is the first major landing spot for wing-weary travelers, followed by Greenland (see 2016's Avian Flu Surveillance In Greenland). 

    While no bird flu reports have been filed with the OIE, Icelandic government agencies are saying it now appears likely that infected birds either have or will arrive, and are already ordering stringent precautions be taken by poultry interests. 


    03.23.2017 News - Animal health
    The degree of preparedness of defense against avian influenza has been increased. It means that all captive birds have to be temporarily held in a covered models that wild birds can not access or bird-proof houses. Infection Prevention should be taken aimed not communicable infection from wild birds to poultry. All poultry should be included in the database Livestock .

    Industries and Innovation Ministry has published an advertisement on temporary protection measures to prevent bird flu spreading in poultry and other captive birds . This was done on the basis of a proposal to the Ministry of Food because of the high spread of avian influenza caused by severe variant of avian influenza virus type H5N8 activities in Europe since October last year. Severe variant H5N8 has been detected including in the areas where the Icelandic migratory birds stay during the winter.

    The working group, appointed experts MAST, University, Experimental University of the springs and Epidemiologist, has assessed the situation and concluded that considerable chance that this severe variant of avian influenza virus transmission of migrant specifications now have begun to stream into the country. In the epidemic that rages in Europe now is infection from wild birds considered the main route of infection in poultry. 

    There is the risk of poultry in the country infected with the migrant that occur from the affected areas, especially those that are held outdoors and where protection against infections is lacking. The consequences of the disease are severe, since a large proportion of the birds can die and order requires the killing of all birds on the estate of bird flu detected in, as well as various kinds of restrictions that are to be in operation in a large area around the affected farm. It is considered a virulence for the people of this variant of the bird flu virus and not due virulence of consumption of poultry. It is uncertain what will increase the degree of preparedness products for a long time the working group reviews the infection risk regularly.
    The following rules of biosecurity have been published:
    a) The birds shall be kept inside the enclosed models or houses.
    b) Ensure a good separation between poultry and wild birds. House and made must think birds.
    c) Ensure that no environmental bird houses attract wild birds.
    d) Feed and drinking water birds should not be accessible to wild birds.
    e) Ducks and geese must be separated from poultry birds.
    f) A hats of all vertical and loftræstitúður Optional bird for all loftræstitúður, opening a window on a bird house.
    g) Any unauthorized shall be refused access to bird houses.
    h) Any conduct that the birds should use protective clothing (bugs and boots), used exclusively there, and they also wash and disinfect hands before and after care of the birds.
    i) Before the birds are brought in from other farms must ask if the health of birds on the farm have been normal. Birds shall not be included into the estate from farms where the disease status is unknown, something seems to be wrong with your health.
    j) It is' all in - all out "system, ie all the birds are removed from the estate before the new are taken.
    k) House and did well shall be cleaned and disinfected between groups.
    l) Dispose of dead birds, the capability and shit safely.
    m) Ensure good biosecurity of water wells.
    n) Exhibition and other gatherings of birds is prohibited.

    For owners alifuglabúa 250 birds or more values besides the provisions in Articles 20 and Article 21 on the biosecurity of the Regulation. 135/2015 for the welfare of poultry.
    Consideration should be given to the welfare of poultry in leisure detained while they are held in more restraint than they are accustomed, see instructions Food that effect .
    It is important that all poultry be registered in the database Food, Livestock , also in the few poultry case. Those who have not already done so are requested to inform their poultry kept for Food, by email at mast@mast.is . Food goes from such registration. This information is important so the Food can contact with poultry owners in certain areas, if necessary.

    Forward it is important for the Food and get notification of dead birds , the cause of death is not obvious (such as when flying on power lines, on windows or cars). As already pointed out, this variant of the bird flu virus H5N8 not dangerous to humans, but it is best not to touch the bird and immediately report on the meeting.

    Food will increase the monitoring of the presence of avian influenza virus in wild birds in the spring with a sampling of the birds are most likely to carry bird flu viruses.
     

    A follow up from the Icelandic Directorate of Health reads:

    24.03.17
    Little risk of bird flu spreading to humans
    Because of the news on the web  Food on the 23/03/2017 increase the degree of preparedness of bird flu in the country is it proper to remind of that for a very small chance that avian influenza spreading to humans, but it can be dangerous to birds.
    Many types of influenza virus can infected animals, mainly birds, but rarely infect humans. The bird flu preferably expect can be sent to the country now is of type H5N8, but has never been detected in humans that we know of. Another type of bird flu has also been in the international debate is of type H7N9 and only in rare cases, the virus detected in humans and then in individuals in close contact with infected birds.

    Epidemiologist do not call for any specific action at this time in this country to prevent infection in humans. However, it should warn people to handle dead birds without proper protective equipment keeps in touch with Food for further action.
    Epidemiologist


    While a late spring arrival of HPAI H5 from Europe is always possible, the bigger threat to North America likely comes next fall, when birds begin heading south again after having shared the virus in their summer roosting grounds.  It is always possible new reassortants will emerge.

    Another unknown is how much of a toll this more virulent reassorted H5 virus will have on immunologically naive juveniles that are born over the summer.  A major die off could have far-reaching effects. 

    About all we can say with any certainty is that HPAI H5 avian flu viruses continue to evolve - and have made substantial territorial gains over the past year - making them a very unpredictable and potentially formidable foe.

    Stay tuned.