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Post WHO updates
WHO Says that 1/2 of All Flu Cases in China are H3N2




From today's WHO Update #70

"...half of the influenza viruses detected in China are seasonal influenza A (H3N2) viruses, which appeared prior to and is co-circulating with pandemic H1N1 2009 virus..."


http://www.flutrackers.com/forum/showth ... light=h3n2

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Post Re: WHO updates and comments
WHO: Swine Flu Causes More Viral Pneumonia Than Common Flu

By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 16, 2009; 11:20 AM

The World Health Organization urged doctors Friday to treat suspected swine flu cases as quickly as possible with antiviral drugs, warning that the virus can cause potentially life-threatening viral pneumonia much more commonly than the typical flu, sometimes in relatively young, otherwise healthy people.

"It's not like seasonal influenza," said Nikki Shindo, a medical officer in the WHO's Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response Department. "It can cause very severe disease in previously healthy young adults."

Shindo's comments came at the conclusion of a special three-day meeting in Washington of more than 100 experts from around the world. The WHO called the meeting to review the latest research on the new H1N1 virus and to revise guidelines for treating the infection.

Unlike the seasonal flu, Shindo said, the virus appears more likely to travel deep into the lungs, where it can cause viral pneumonia. Such a condition can cause severe lung damage and a life-threatening condition known as acute respiratory distress syndrome.

"Remarkably different is this small subset of patients that presents very severe viral pneumonia," Shindo said.

Shindo noted that some hospitals in Australia and New Zealand were severely strained by seriously ill swine flu patients during their recently ended winter.

"This disease overwhelmed emergency rooms and especially intensive care units because of the very severe patients that required special care," Shindo said, urging hospitals to prepare for a possible significant number of patients requiring intensive care.


"We can expect more severe disease during the upcoming influenza season," she said.

Shindo noted that, although a few cases of people who have been infected with virus that is resistant to antiviral drugs, the medications remain highly effective for most patients if administered quickly.

"Do not delay treatment," Shindo said. "Do not miss this opportunity for early treatment."


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 01384.html

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Post Re: WHO updates
Swine flu now endemic in East Africa, says WHO
By DAGI KIMANI
Posted Monday, October 19 2009 at 00:00
http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/-/ ... index.html

H1N1 has probably become endemic in East Africa, with statistics from the World Health Organisation showing that the region has reported the highest number of confirmed cases on the continent outside South Africa.

According to the WHO figures for the period running to October 4, Tanzania has reported the highest number of confirmed cases in the East African Community, with 174 people having been diagnosed with the so-called swine flu. Kenya had reported 154 cases in the same period, while Uganda had confirmed 61, giving a total of 389 cases for the three EAC countries.

No cases had been confirmed to the WHO by Rwanda or Burundi, but by last week, Rwanda had however reported 15 cases.

The number of confirmed cases in East Africa however pales in comparison to those detected in South Africa, which had by October 4 confirmed 11,545 infections out of the 12,442 total reported to the WHO from 24 African countries.

According to the global health agency, the infections across the continent have caused at least 70 deaths, although the number is probably higher due to under-reporting.

Going by the WHO data, the rate of infection across East Africa is picking up, with 31 of Tanzania’s cases alone being reported between September 28 and October 4.

In Uganda 26 cases, or about 40 per cent of the country’s confirmed cases were also reported within the same short period.

EAC countries also became the first countries in Africa to receive the first batch of H1N1 vaccine from the WHO.

Last Wednesday, in a sign that H1N1 had reached a critical threshold, Ugandan education authorities ordered all schools to cancel visitations and inter-school activities for their students following outbreaks in several institutions.

Other measures ordered by the ministry included the isolation of suspected cases, and reducing over-crowding by maintaining a 0.6 metre gap between beds.

The measures announced by the Ugandan authorities followed the confirmation of infections in three schools — Ndejje SS in Luwero district, Katabi Seminary in Bushenyi, and Nyakasura School in Kabarole.

The WHO recognises schools and colleges as potential hotspots for H1N1, and recently issued guidelines on how to handle the situation in these environments.
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Post Re: WHO updates
Washington

WHO Recommends Antivirals For Patients With Symptoms Of Both H1N1, Pneumonia
Article Date: 20 Oct 2009 - 3:00 PDT

The WHO concluded a three-day meeting on H1N1 (swine flu) in Washington, D.C., on Friday, where health experts issued recommendations that patients with symptoms of H1N1 and pneumonia be treated quickly with antivirals, even before the results of H1N1 tests are complete, the San Francisco Chronicle blog, "ChronRX" reports (Allday, 10/16).

"Experts stress that most people who get the H1N1 virus either never get sick or recover easily. But some young adults, possibly especially women, are falling seriously ill at an unexpectedly rapid pace and are showing up in intensive care units and dying in unusually high numbers, they say," the Washington Post reports. "Although why a minority of patients become so sick remains a mystery, new research indicates that H1N1 is different from typical seasonal flu viruses in crucial ways -- most notably in its ability to penetrate deep into the lungs and cause viral pneumonia" (Stein, 10/17).

H1N1 Vaccines Shortages In U.S., Mexico

Also on Friday, the CDC announced the number of H1N1 vaccine doses to arrive in the U.S. by the end of October would be about 10 million short - "about 25% fewer than expected" - due to slower than anticipated vaccine production, the Los Angeles Times reports. "Despite the current low production, however, there are no plans to use adjuvants -- chemicals added to increase the immune response to the antigen -- to extend the supply of the pandemic H1N1 vaccine, said Dr. Jesse Goodman of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration" (Maugh/Ellingwood, 10/17).

"Yields for vaccine are lower than would be hoped," Anne Schuchat, of the CDC, said during a telephone press conference, Reuters reports" (Fox, 10/16). According to the Associated Press, "[W]hat CDC calls the 2009 H1N1 flu is causing widespread disease in 41 states, and about 6 percent of all doctor visits are for flu-like illness - levels not normally seen until much later in the fall" (Neergaard, 10/17).

The Los Angeles Times reports that Mexico is also facing H1N1 vaccine shortages, where "[o]fficials had promised 30 million doses, but now say they don't expect the first batch of 5 million to 8 million doses until late December," due to "the huge demand for vaccines around the world." Even so, the newspaper notes, "reaction to the H1N1 pandemic in Mexico has been more muted than it was in the spring, when the country was the first to be hit hard by the outbreak."

"Nearly 20,000 new cases of swine flu infection have been confirmed in that country since early September, with at least 61 fatalities, according to health authorities there. That contrasts with the nearly 42,000 cases and 260 deaths reported since the outbreak began in the spring -- though authorities cautioned that the winter flu season has just begun," the newspaper writes. "This time, health officials are stressing good hygiene and prompt medical treatment for flu-type symptoms, but say there is no need for widespread precautionary closures" (10/17).

In related news, Rwanda could receive the country's first batches of H1N1 vaccine from the WHO as early as next month, according to the Minister of Health, Richard Sezibera, New Times/allAfrica.com reports (Nambi, 10/17).

The Hill Examines Congressional Positions On H1N1 Vaccine

Meanwhile, the Hill examines discussion over whether Americans should receive the H1N1 vaccine. "In the Senate, the topic has accomplished the rare feat of uniting Democrats and Republicans - members of both parties are promoting vaccinations regardless of the rhetoric," the newspaper writes (Rushing, 10/18 ).

This information was reprinted from globalhealth.kff.org with kind permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery at globalhealth.kff.org.

Link is http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/167957.php

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