H1N1 (swine flu) weekly highlights: August 21 to 27

vaccinepicHere are this week’s H1N1 updates from the HealthMap team of the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program.

  • United Arab Emirates, Oman, Northern Ireland, Malta, and Greece reported their first H1N1 fatalities.
  • Chilean authorities announced that they have detected the H1N1 flu virus in turkeys, marking the first time the virus has been found outside of humans and pigs.
  • In a new set of guidelines, the WHO stated otherwise healthy people infected with H1N1 do not need antivirals like Tamiflu. This decision should increase availability of the drugs to those who may need them most, as the Northern Hemisphere prepares for a second wave of H1N1 infections.
  • A study in Hong Kong found that half of health care workers rejected the H1N1 vaccination.
  • As SINOVAC Biotech Company reported a successful preliminary clinical trial for its A/H1N1 influenza vaccine, the WHO urged China to share its vaccine with needy countries.
  • While many countries hurried to make mass vaccination plans (particularly in the Northern Hemisphere), New Zealand has taken a “wait and see” approach.
  • In the US, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology urged the government to help drug companies expedite the supply of swine flu drugs and vaccines. They also warned that 30,00 to 90,000 Americans could die, almost 2 million be hospitalized, and 30% to 50% of the country could be infected.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , however, urges people not to panic over the President’s Council’s estimates.
  • French researchers reported that H1N1 was 100 times more likely to directly cause death than seasonal influenza in a study performed in Mauritius and New Caledonia.
  • In an effort to avoid a rapid increase in cases, the Sultanate of Oman is waiting until December to resume classes.
  • Fearful of people infecting prized animals, livestock shows around the world have limited human access or canceled pig exhibits.

For more information on Flu (seasonal and H1N1) from Children’s Hospital Boston, visit http://www.childrenshospital.org/patientsfamilies/Site1393/mainpageS1393P385.html

Image taken from http://healthmapblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/h1n1-swine-flu-weekly-highlights-august_25.html