Flu hits epidemic levels in U.S.

Flue EpademicPosted by feww on January 2, 2015

Influenza Activity Continues to Increase in U.S.

Mortality due to influenza and pneumonia has reached “epidemic” levels in the U.S. as flu activity spreads in 36 states, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Pneumonia and Influenza (P&I) Mortality Surveillance:

During week 51 (December 14-20, 2014), 6.8% of all deaths reported through the 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System were due to P&I. This percentage was at the epidemic threshold of 6.8% for the week.

Between October 1, 2014 and December 20, 2014, 2,643 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations were reported. The overall hospitalization rate was 9.7 per 100,000 population. The highest rate of hospitalization was among adults aged ≥65 years (38.3 per 100,000 population), followed by children aged 0-4 years (13.4 per 100,000 population). Among all hospitalizations, 2,529 (95.7%) were associated with influenza A, 100 (3.8%) with influenza B, nine (0.3%) with influenza A and B co-infection, and five (0.2%) had no virus type information. Among those with influenza A subtype information, 760 (99.9%) were H3N2 virus and one (0.1%) was 2009 H1N1. Continue reading

The Elf On The Shelf conditions children to accept a surveillance state, argues professor

Elf on the shelfFrom: The Daily Mail

  • The best-selling children’s book tells the story of an elf reporting back to Santa each night on a child’s behavior
  • Professor Laura Pinto believes that the idea ‘sets up children for dangerous, uncritical acceptance of power structures’
  • ‘You’re teaching (kids) a bigger lesson, which is that it’s OK for other people to spy on you and you’re not entitled to privacy,’ she said
  • It has sold over 6 million copies since 2005 and became a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade for the first time in 2013

Best-selling children’s book The Elf On The Shelf is a disturbing cultural phenomenon which instills in young children the idea that a surveillance state is perfectly acceptable, claims a university professor.

Laura Pinto, a digital technology professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, has published a paper in which she argues that the elf has a very sinister undertow. Continue reading

‘Highly contagious’ bird flu found at Netherlands farm

Men carry hens to be killed at a farm in Hekendorp, the NetherlandsBird flu: EU talks as Netherlands battles outbreak

From: BBC News

The European Commission is discussing protective measures to contain a “highly contagious” strain of bird flu discovered at a poultry farm in the Netherlands.
The measures will include killing all contaminated animals and the cleaning of their holding areas.
The Dutch government said the strain, H5N8, could potentially affect humans.
Authorities have already begun destroying 150,000 hens at the infected farm, in the village of Hekendorp. Continue reading