28 October, 2009

H1N1 (swine flu) weekly highlights: October 21-27, 2009

Serbia, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Finland, Russia, and the U.S. state of North Dakota have all reported their first H1N1 deaths.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that there have been 414,945 confirmed cases of H1N1 worldwide, and nearly 5,000 deaths.

The WHO's Director-General Margaret Chan also stated that the pandemic would reach its natural end when enough people had become immunized.

United States President Barack Obama declared H1N1 (swine flu) a national emergency, as the US death toll surpassed 1,000.

Also in the United States, manufacturing difficulties are delaying the delivery of the H1N1 vaccine. The CDC said that only 16.1 million out of an expected 30 million doses had been shipped. While H1N1 vaccine shipment is delayed, increases in school closures, hospitalization rates, and 11 more pediatric influenza-related deaths point to an intensifying pandemic throughout the US.

Photo courtesy of: http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/News/948015/Government-releases-new-set-swine-flu-ads/

21 October, 2009

H1N1 (swine flu) weekly highlights: October 14-20, 2009

Trinidad & Tobago and Iceland have reported their first H1N1 deaths.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the ongoing H1N1 pandemic remains a cause for concern because of its unpredictable nature, and announced that more than 4735 deaths
can now be attributed to the virus. In addition, the WHO identified those most at risk and underscored the risk to the young and healthy. Doctors have been urged to treat suspect cases quickly, as the virus may cause viral pneumonia much more commonly than seasonal influenza.

The FDA has warned of online products purported to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure the H1N1 influenza virus.

The USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories have confirmed H1N1 in 3 pigs exhibited at the Minnesota State Fair (held Aug. 26-Sept. 1). These are the first pigs in the US diagnosed with pandemic H1N1.

The CDC announced that approximately 6 million doses of H1N1 vaccine have been shipped throughout the United States, however about 25% fewer doses than expected will be available this month because of delays in production.

A recent study from the University of California at Davis may explain why many people over the age of 60 carry antibodies or other types of immunity against the new virus.

The humanitarian agency World Vision, has warned that the spread of H1N1 to developing countries, without adequate means to track the outbreak or to treat those infected, could prove disastrous.

Photo courtesy of: http://www.u.tv/News/Teenager-with-swine-flu-dies/6191b85d-d897-4fae-80c4-28d4b5a0a7c6

14 October, 2009

H1N1 (swine flu) weekly highlights: October 7-13, 2009

Germany, Cuba, Tanzania, Jordan and Tibet reported their first H1N1 deaths.

WHO reported that over 340,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 4,525 have died.

Concerns about H1N1 developing resistance to antiviral medications increased as Vietnam reported three Tamiflu-resistant cases and Japan saw a resistant case in a teenager not previously treated with the drug.

The largest U.S. analysis of hospitalized adult swine flu patients to date found 46% did not have underlying conditions.

With 19 new H1N1 deaths in children, the CDC reported 76 US children had died so far.

Two studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association provide further evidence H1N1 can be unusually aggressive in young healthy adults.

A third study in JAMA reported m
ost patients who underwent extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for H1N1 associated respiratory failure survived.

Researchers at Stanford University created a computer model of the H1N1 pandemic to evaluate the effect of vaccination. In the Annals of Internal Medicine, they report that vaccinating 40 percent of the U.S. population in October would save 2,051 lives and $469 million. Vaccinating 40% in November would still save 1,468 lives and $302 million.

Photo taken from: http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-10-12-voa43.cfm

07 October, 2009

H1N1 (swine flu) weekly highlights: September 30-October 6, 2009

  • Twenty-five states, counties and cities in the U.S. started receiving shipments of the H1N1 vaccine this week. Due to the limited quantities available, priority has generally gone to high risk groups such as healthcare workers and children. Australia also launched its mass H1N1 flu vaccination efforts earlier this week, its largest campaign ever.
  • A Consumer Reports poll found that only about a third of Americans plan on definitely getting the H1N1 vaccine, while almost half are undecided. The WHO meanwhile reiterated its confidence in the H1N1 vaccine and encouraged mass vaccination.
  • A new report warned of a potential hospital bed shortage in 15 states if 35% of Americans were to get H1N1.
  • The CDC reported that bacterial co-infections are playing a role in the H1N1 influenza pandemic, finding that almost one third of a sample of patients who died in the past four months from H1N1 had bacterial infections that complicated their illnesses.
  • Two studies on the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic were reported this week. One study found that children of women who were infected during the 1918 flu pandemic while in pregnancy were at greater risk of having heart disease later in life. Another found that aspirin misuse might have led to the high death toll during that pandemic.
  • A study using data from Mexico found that hospital patients with laboratory-confirmed H1N1 were less likely to have received a flu shot last winter. These findings are the opposite of those from an unpublished Canadian study leaked last week.
Photo taken from: http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=83266