30 September, 2009

H1N1 (swine flu) weekly highlights: September 23-29, 2009

  • Unpublished research using Canadian data has reportedly found that individuals who received the seasonal flu vaccine last year are twice as likely to catch H1N1. The CDC has stated that it has not had similar findings in the US.
  • WHO stated that regulatory authorities have licensed H1N1 vaccines in Australia, China, Hungary and the United States. Japan and several European countries will soon license vaccines.
  • WHO reported that drug makers can only produce enough H1N1 vaccine each year for half the planet because they lack factory capacity.
  • Researchers have reported that the injectable H1N1 vaccine is twice as protective as the inhaled nasal spray version of the vaccine.
Photo taken from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/5806751/Swine-flu-vaccine-to-be-given-to-entire-population.html

23 September, 2009

H1N1 (swine flu) weekly highlights: September 16-22, 2009

Martinique, Mozambique, Russia and the state of Kentucky reported their first deaths from H1N1.

The WHO reported that the global swine flu death toll has reached 3,486, with the Americas region having the highest toll at 2,625. H1N1 cases reached 10,000 on China's mainland.

A large H1N1 outbreak hit the First Nation community on Vancouver Island.

Many schools are reporting outbreaks, as students return to class including Kenya High School and Fowler Middle School. Universities and colleges are also being affected by outbreaks of H1N1 including the State University of New York at Geneseo and the University of Western Ontario.

A pig herd in Northern Ireland has become the first in Europe to test positive the novel human form of swine flu, H1N1.

New research has suggested that people suffering from influenza may be at a higher risk for having a heart attack.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the distribution plan for H1N1 vaccine, to begin in October.

In the face of a predicted shortfall of vaccine production, many nations still volunteered 10% of their vaccine supplies to help WHO efforts at vaccination in poorer countries.

The WHO stated that while the H1N1 virus can mutate at any time, it has not yet done so and is still very similar to its original state.

Image: H1N1 VIRUS: As imaged by an electron microscope. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=eyes-on-the-swine

16 September, 2009

H1N1 (swine flu) weekly highlights: September 9-15, 2009

  • WHO reports 3,200 people have died from H1N1 around the world, and 23 cases of Tamiflu-resistant infection have been documented.
  • WHO stated that school closures can be useful in controlling H1N1 outbreaks, but only if closures are instituted quickly, ideally before 1 percent of the population falls ill.
  • Studies indicate that the H1N1 vaccines provide immunity to adults after only one dose, effectively doubling the number of individuals that can be vaccinated with the expected production. Still, vaccine manufacturers expect to sell all of their supply easily.
  • The FDA in the United States approved H1N1 vaccines by four companies, and Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius stated vaccinations in the US would likely start in October.
  • Research out of Imperial College London indicates that H1N1 may infect cells deeper in the lungs than seasonal flu can.
  • Research out of the Institute of Public Health in Quebec, Canada suggests that people infected with H1N1 may be contagious for over a week, much longer than with seasonal flu.
Photo: Glass sculpture of H1N1 viral particle by artist Luke Jerram. Taken from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/picture-galleries/6151478/Artist-Luke-Jerrams-viral-sculptures-trap-bacteria-and-viruses-like-Swine-Flu-HIV-and-E-coli-in-glass.html?image=10

09 September, 2009

H1N1 (swine flu) weekly highlights: September 2-8, 2009

  • The CDC reported that more H1N1 deaths have been seen in older children than the very young, and that two-thirds of fatal pediatric cases had underlying medical issues.
  • The debate over one versus two doses of H1N1 vaccine continues as companies report encouraging results for a single dose protocol.
  • Doctors in London successfully treated a gravely ill H1N1 infected cancer patient by treating her intravenously with a batch of Relenza (zanamivir) specially prepared by the drug's manufacturers.
  • Authorities have corrected an earlier media report of an Umrah pilgrim infected with both avian and swine (H5N1 and H1N1) influenza. The man had seasonal and swine influenza coinfection.
Photo taken from: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/SwineFlu/

03 September, 2009

HealthMap has a new iPhone app! - "Outbreaks Near Me"

HealthMap has developed an iPhone application, which can be obtained free of charge from the iTunes store! The app is named “Outbreaks Near Me,” as it uses GPS technology to show health alerts and ongoing outbreak news in the vicinity of the user. The application also allows users to submit disease reports, and to search for outbreaks in specific locations worldwide.

For more information and screenshots see:

To download the app for free on the iTunes store see:

We look forward to your feedback. And stayed tuned for applications on other devices including the Google and Blackberry phones.

02 September, 2009

H1N1 (swine flu) weekly highlights: August 25-September 1, 2009

  • Angola reported its first confirmed H1N1 case.
  • WHO reports that swine flu is spreading at an "unbelievable" rate and has become the prevalent strain of flu. WHO is also warning of a severe form of flu that "goes straight to the lungs" and can leave healthy young people severely ill.
  • A soon to be published study reports that ~10% of New York City's residents (about 800,000 people) were infected with H1N1 in the spring.
  • With students returning to school for the fall semester, colleges across the US have already started seeing rises in swine flu cases.
  • The first doses of vaccine were delivered to the UK and France, although they cannot be used until the vaccine is licensed. In China, two vaccines passed safety evaluations.
  • In response to the H1N1 outbreak in Chilean turkeys last week, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stated that turkey meat is still safe for human consumption, but that the disease could spread to other poultry farms in the world, and that the most concerning scenario would be if H1N1 were introduced to poultry populations where Avian Influenza (H5N1) is common.
  • An Egyptian man who had been to Saudi Arabia for the Umrah pilgrimage has tested positive for both avian and swine flu (H5N1 and H1N1), although initial reports did not indicate if both were active infections.
Photo taken from http://www.shanghaidaily.com/sp/article/2009/200908/20090827/article_411929.htm