Date: Thu 14 Jun 2012
Source: The Royal Gazette online [edited]
<http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20120613/NEWS06/706139906>

An unusual spike in influenza, including cases that required hospital care, is being monitored closely by the Health Department. 8 people have been admitted to King Edward VII Memorial [Hospital] with flu-like symptoms since 21 May 2012 -- 7 of them children.

A spokeswoman for the Bermuda Hospitals Board said the increase seen at the Emergency Room most likely meant a larger number of cases being reported to private doctors. She added: "There have been approximately 26 patients with flu-like symptoms (viral illness, influenza, flu) seen by the emergency department between Wed 6 and Wed 13 Jun 2012." And a Health spokeswoman said the increase in flu and respiratory illness was "above the level ordinarily seen" for this time of year. Such illnesses can remain a threat long after their usual peak season in January and February.

The currently available flu shot is considered effective against the present strain[s] of flu. Supplies of the vaccine are available until the end of this month [June 2012], and are advised for young children, senior citizens, pregnant women, or people with chronic illness. Flu symptoms include a high fever, coughing, and muscle aches. Those with signs of illness, or who have been in contact with people with symptoms, are encouraged to seek doctors' advice, since early medical attention is important when symptoms are severe. Covering up sneezes, washing hands, and avoiding public areas are also recommended when experiencing respiratory symptoms. Cases are being monitored by the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the Health Department. For more information go to <http://www.health.gov.bm> or <http://www.cdc.gov/flu/>.
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[Unfortunately this report provides no identification of the influenza virus (or viruses) responsible for these late season cases in Bermuda. Further information would be appreciated. According to the most recent WHO global update influenza B was the predominant virus circulating in both Canada and the USA with co-circulation of mainly influenza A(H3N2) virus. In the Caribbean and Central America influenza virus activity has been reported from the Dominican Republic and El Salvador where A(H3N2) and influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus were the main circulating virus subtypes respectively.

The interactive HealthMap of Bermuda can be accessed at
<http://healthmap.org/r/2zK_>. - ProMed Mod.CP]
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2011 23:41:31 +0200 (METDST)

MIAMI, Sept 29, 2011 (AFP) - Ophelia became the fourth hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic season on Thursday and was forecast to gather strength, weather experts said, announcing a storm watch was in effect for Bermuda. Ophelia, a category one storm on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale, was located 770 miles (1,235 kilometers) south-southeast of Bermuda, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (120 kph) and was moving north-northwest at a speed of almost nine miles an hour. "Some additional strengthening is forecast during the next day or so," the center warned, adding that Bermuda would begin to experience tropical storm force winds late Saturday. Hurricane Irene was the most severe of the previous three hurricanes, unleashing deadly floods and storm surges in the eastern United States.
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2011 05:10:25 +0200 (METDST)

MIAMI, Sept 5, 2011 (AFP) - Hurricane Katia swelled to a massive category four hurricane in the Atlantic late Monday far from land for now but unleashing potentially life-threatening rip tides, the National Hurricane Center said.

Packing sustained winds of 215 km/h (135 mph), the center of Katia was churning about 725 kilometers (450 miles) south of Bermuda at 0300 GMT, the NHC said in its latest advisory. "Large swells generated by Katia are expected to affect most of the east coast of the United States, Bermuda, the greater Antilles and east-facing beaches of the Bahamas during the next few days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions," the NHC warned.

Forecast models vary, but several tracks show the hurricane taking aim at the US eastern seaboard, parts of which are still suffering the crippling effects of Hurricane Irene, which slammed the densely populated region last week. Katia, the 11th named storm of the Atlantic season, had been downgraded to a tropical storm last week, but regained hurricane status after passing over warmer water.
Date: Mon 22 Aug 2011
Source: Bernews [edited]
<http://bernews.com/2011/08/several-cases-of-mumps-reported/>

Bermuda Health Department: Several Cases Of
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The Department of Health today [22 Aug 2011] confirmed that physicians in the community have reported several cases of mumps, a vaccine preventable disease, in August. Although a serious disease, mumps is now very uncommon. There have been only a total of 8 confirmed cases of mumps reported on the island over the past 10 years.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Cann expressed concern over the number of reported cases this year, in light of our high immunization coverage rates. He noted that mumps is highly communicable and it only takes a few unvaccinated individuals to initiate transmission.

Mumps is usually a mild viral disease characterized by mild fever, headache, muscle ache and swelling of the parotid salivary glands (located in the area between the neck and jaw, below the ears). Serious side effects of mumps are more common among adults than children. The disease is spread by contact with an infected person, through coughing and sneezing.

Mumps vaccine [contained in MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) combined vaccine] can prevent this disease. The vaccine given to children on a 2-dose schedule prevents almost all cases of mumps [But see: ProMED-mail post 'Mumps - Czech Republic: (SK) supplementary vaccination? 20110822.2553 - Mod.CP]. The MMR vaccine was introduced for general use in Bermuda in 1983 as part of Bermuda's childhood immunization programme. The majority of children have been fully immunized by the age of 6 years. MMR is given at 15 months and a booster is given between the ages of 4 to 6 years.

The Department of Health recommends that parents check their child's immunization record to see if he or she has had the mumps or MMR vaccine. If your child has not been vaccinated and is 15 months of age or older, contact your pediatrician or family physician to have your child vaccinated as soon as possible.

In addition, the department recommends that parents, who suspect that their child has mumps, contact their physician for diagnosis and treatment Public Health Nurses will contact parents of children who may have been exposed to individuals with mumps to ascertain their immunization status and help determine whether they are protected. The Health Department also said that children with suspected mumps should be excluded from school/day care for at least 9 days after the swollen glands 1st appeared.
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[It may be that MMR vaccine coverage in Bermuda in recent years has been less than optimal. It is not stated whether the mumps cases are unvaccinated individuals. However it is now well established that the mumps component of the triple MMR vaccine is less protective than the other 2 components, and a small proportion of vaccinated individuals may still be at risk of infection.

The HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of Bermuda can be accessed at:
<http://healthmap.org/r/1a6J>. - ProMed Mod.CP]
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2011 18:03:01 +0200 (METDST)

MIAMI, Aug 15, 2011 (AFP) - Tropical Storm Gert, the seventh of the season, moved away Monday from Bermuda where authorities lifted storm warnings, the National Hurricane Center said. At 1500 GMT, Gert was about 95 miles (155 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda and moving to the northeast with maximum sustained winds of 60 miles (95 kilometers) per hour, according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center. There had been fears that the storm would pose a threat to the British-owned island, which prompted authorities to post tropical storm warnings, but by Monday morning it was moving well to the east of it into the ocean. "A turn toward the north-northeast accompanied by an increase in forward speed is expected during the next couple of days," the hurricane center said. "On the forecast track, the center of Gert is expected to pass well to the east of Bermuda later today."
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