25 November, 2009

H1N1 (swine flu) Weekly Highlights: November 18 - 24, 2009

Somalia reported its 1st cases of H1N1, while Lithuania, Switzerland, Macedonia, Maldives, Madagascar, Romania, Estonia, and Denmark reported their 1st deaths.

The World Health Organization (WHO) tallied over
525,000 H1N1 cases and about 6,750 deaths worldwide.

As the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported
decreased flu activity in all regions of the US, the WHO noted the eastward spread of H1N1 across Europe and Asia.

Four H1N1 related deaths have been reported among pilgrims for the
Hajj which starts on the 26th.

As immunization campaigns continue in over
40 countries, the WHO reiterated the safety of the H1N1 vaccine, adding that investigation into 40 post-vaccine deaths (among the over 65 million doses given in 16 countries alone) has found no association between the vaccine and the documented fatalities.

In a development
not unexpected among experts, Tamiflu-resistant H1N1 clusters emerged among hospitalized patients with severe underlying medical conditions in Wales and North Carolina.

Norwegian scientists announced detection of a mutated H1N1 virus that may allow infection deeper into the airways leading to more severe disease. Hong Kong then reported the same mutation, and Finland saw it in July. The WHO subsequently stated that a similar mutation had been observed in six other countries as early as April. Despite the mutations, the H1N1 vaccine is still effective.

A single batch of H1N1 vaccine in Canada has been pulled after a higher than usual rate of
severe allergic reactions.

CDC has confirmed a rare
second H1N1 infection in the same individual in West Virginia.

In a study of
US Army personnel, those who received the 2008 seasonal flu vaccine were 45% less likely to contract H1N1 and 62% less likely to be hospitalized if infected.

Photo source:

18 November, 2009

H1N1 (swine flu) weekly highlights: November 11 - 17, 2009

Burundi and Greenland have reported their 1st cases of H1N1, while North Cyprus, Bosnia, Poland, Kosovo, Tunisia, and Morocco have reported their 1st H1N1 deaths.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended early administration of
antiviral medicines to prevent death in pregnant women, very young children, and people with underlying medical problems who fall ill with H1N1. Additionally, the WHO has warned of the dangers of H1N1 spreading rapidly at any big sporting or cultural events, as Saudi Arabia prepares for the arrival of 2.5 million pilgrims for the Hajj (November 25–29). Nine cases have already been diagnosed among the 500,000 early arrivals. Amidst recommendations that those with underlying health conditions delay their pilgrimage by a year, media reports predict a 40% reduction in attendance. Saudi Arabia is mandating vaccination for its citizens who will be participating, and many other countries are mounting widespread vaccination campaigns before the Hajj.

The United States CDC has released
revised estimates for H1N1's impact in the U.S.: approximately 22 million infections and 3,900 deaths, including around 540 children.

New research suggests that more people may be able to
fight off H1N1 influenza A than previously thought.

Some experts believe that this year's flu season is anything but
typical, particularly as more children have already died from H1N1 flu complications than in any regular flu season in recent years.

Disputes have been ongoing over whether or not a
new strain of the H1N1 virus has been circulating within the Ukraine. The WHO has stated that preliminary tests reveal no significant change to the H1N1 pandemic virus.

Photo: http://cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm

11 November, 2009

H1N1 (swine flu) weekly highlights: November 4 - 10, 2009

Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Slovakia, and St. Lucia reported their first H1N1 deaths, while Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Latvia, and Armenia reported their 1st cases of H1N1.

Last week, Ukraine (population 46 million) saw a first wave of H1N1 begin. Since last week's blog, the number infected has increased at least five-fold to
1.3 million sick and 174 dead. Neighboring Slovakia and Russia tightened their borders as Ukraine's outbreak spread.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that H1N1 has become the
dominant influenza strain around the globe, as the number of deaths due to the virus passed 6,000 worldwide. In addition, the WHO has emphasized the need for doctors and veterinarians to work together to monitor animals as well as farm workers for H1N1 infection.

pet cat in Iowa tested positive for H1N1. The cat is believed to have caught it from its owners.

Cases of H1N1 virus showing resistance to antiviral drugs are '
isolated and infrequent' according to the WHO.

Recent studies conducted by the California Department of Public Health have shown that H1N1 has disproportionately affected
younger individuals, however people who are obese or elderly have a higher risk of death if they become infected.

A new study shows a benefit of
combining H1N1 and seasonal influenza vaccines.

HealthMap is now providing Massachusetts state data for the new Google flu clinic finder.

Photo: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h00CIlceU0saqI6YM40N2ty4Huxw

04 November, 2009

H1N1 (swine flu) weekly highlights: October 28 - November 3, 2009

Afghanistan, Ukraine, Moldova, Croatia, Belarus, Slovenia, Austria, and the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Yukon reported their first H1N1 deaths.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported the number of
global H1N1 deaths jumped to over 5,700 worldwide.

In other statements, WHO reiterated that the
vaccines are safe, that one dose is sufficient for adults and children over 10, and that pregnant women should be vaccinated since they are a high-risk group.

Researchers at the annual meeting of the
Infectious Diseases Society of America reported that influenza vaccination of pregnant women was "85 percent effective in preventing hospitalization in their infants under 6 months of age." The study also indicated babies of vaccinated women were bigger, healthier and less likely to be premature.

Following last week's declaration of a national emergency in the US,
New York state and the city of Philadelphia made similar declarations. This allows hospitals and local governments freedoms from certain restrictions during the emergency. HHS Secretary Sebilius suspended additional regulations relating to H1N1 treatment.

Long lines and vaccine shortages plagued H1N1 vaccine clinics throughout the
United States and Canada.

As the number of
US children who have died of H1N1 climbed to 114 and 48 states reported widespread flu, the CDC noted that only half of people who most need immediate treatment for H1N1 swine flu are actually seeking it.

Photo courtesy of: http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-me-swine-flu-clinics4-2009nov04,0,3665600.story?track=rss