H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Summer camps; nurses’ mask complaint; Australia, Chile top 10K cases; first case in Tonga

first_imgAmerican Lung Association recommends closing affiliated summer campsThe American Lung Association (ALA) has asked about 50 summer camps with which it is affiliated with to close, after four children who attended one of the camps were diagnosed with H1N1 flu, the Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday. An ALA spokeswoman said she wasn’t sure how many ALA camps would follow the advice. Patients who have asthma and other chronic conditions are at greater risk for flu complications. In June the Muscular Dystrophy Association canceled its camps for similar reasons.California nurses detail complaint about masksThe California Nurses Association yesterday detailed the complaints of nurses at a Vallejo hospital about inadequate respiratory protection to care for patients with novel flu. They said the hospital had too few N95 masks, and the masks were not properly fitted. Also, they said they were asked to reuse masks repeatedly and to wear surgical masks over the N95s. A hospital official told the Associated Press that only one employee had confirmed H1N1 flu and that the masks could be safely reused.[Jul 14 California Nurses Association press release]Australia and Chile each exceed 10,000 H1N1 casesAustralia and Chile have both counted more than 10,000 H1N1 flu cases, according to reports today from Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Reuters. In Australia, which has had 22 deaths, patients’ average age is 19, and authorities are worried about a growing number of serious cases in young, otherwise healthy people, according to AFP. Chile has had 33 deaths, and its case count is the highest in South America, according to Reuters.Tonga reports first H1N1 casesThe South Pacific archipelago of Tonga has reported its first two cases of novel H1N1 flu, according to a report today from Radio Australia News. Blood tests conducted in Australia confirmed the illness in two women, one a resident and the other a visitor from Brisbane, Australia, the report said.[Radio Australia report]last_img read more

Gas leak at Indian chemical plant kills 11

first_imgPrayers The incident had echoes of one of the worst industrial disasters in history when gas leaked from a pesticide plant in the central Indian city of Bhopal in 1984.Around 3,500 people, mainly in shanties around the plant operated by Union Carbide, died in the days that followed and thousands more in the following years. People still suffer its after-effects now.”I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being in Visakhapatnam,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter.The plant, operated by LG Polymers, a subsidiary of LG Chem, is on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam. The city and the surrounding area are home to around five million people.LG Chem said in a statement released in South Korea the “gas leak situation is now under control”.In a later statement the company’s local branch expressed its “deepest condolences to the deceased and their families”.It said its “top priority” was to work with authorities to get medical help to the victims, and that it was assisting with an investigation into the incident.The plant had been left idle because of the coronavirus lockdown, according to Swaroop Rani, an assistant police commissioner in Visakhapatnam.”[The gas] was left there because of the lockdown. It led to a chemical reaction and heat was produced inside the tanks, and the gas leaked because of that,” Rani told AFP.She said local villagers raised the alarm about 3:30 am, saying there was gas in the air, and police who rushed to the scene had to quickly retreat for fear of being poisoned.”One could feel the gas in the air and it was not possible for any of us to stay there for more than a few minutes,” she said.LG Chem confirmed the plant, which makes polystyrene products, was not operating because of the lockdown, but there were maintenance staff at the facility, a spokesman in Seoul told AFP. Rashes, sore eyes According to the Times of India, the dead included an eight-year-old girl, and 5,000 people had fallen sick. Residents complained of breathing problems, rashes and sore eyes, it added.Authorities advised people to wear wet clothes and masks, avoid eating uncovered food and consume bananas and milk to “neutralize the effect of the gas”.According to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the gas was styrene, which is likely carcinogenic and combined with oxygen in the air forms the more lethal styrene dioxide.The leak happened because the gas was not stored at the appropriate temperature, causing pressure to build up and breaking the valve, the CSE said. The container was also “old and not properly maintained” and there was no monitoring mechanism installed to specifically detect styrene, it said.The incident “shows us that there are ticking bombs out there as the lockdown ends and industries start resuming activities,” it added. Footage on Indian television channels showed people, including women and children, slumped motionless in the streets after locals raised the alarm in the early hours.”There was utter confusion and panic. People were unable to breathe, they were gasping for air. Those who were trying to escape collapsed on the roads — kids, women and all,” local resident Kumar Reddy, 24, told reporters.Local police commissioner RK Meena, said that by Thursday afternoon 11 people had been confirmed dead.B K Naik, district hospitals coordinator, said 1,000 had initially been hospitalized but by the afternoon around 600 remained in treatment, with none in a critical condition. Eleven people were killed and hundreds hospitalized after a pre-dawn gas leak at a chemical plant in eastern India on Thursday that left unconscious victims lying in the streets, authorities said.Fears that the death toll from the incident on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam, an industrial port city in Andhra Pradesh state, might rise significantly were not borne out however.The gas escaped from tanks at a complex owned by South Korea’s LG Chem that had suspended operations because of India’s coronavirus lockdown. center_img “This is a calamity,” Naik told AFP. Pictures taken by AFP at the King George Hospital in the city early in the day had shown two or three patients on each bed, many of them children, and several unconscious. Topics :last_img read more