For the upcoming influenza season, the team from HealthMap, within the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program, are introducing a weekly summary of H1N1 (swine flu) news highlights. These will be posted on Fridays and will cover the preceding week.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) reported the global confirmed swine flu case count was rapidly approaching 200,000.
- Iraq, Ireland, Mauritius, Nicaragua and the Palestinian Authority reported their first H1N1 flu deaths. In the U.S., Arkansas and Montana reported their first H1N1 flu deaths.
- India reported its first H1N1 death late last week, but the number of deaths has rapidly increased to its current total of 21 (as of August 13, 2009). Pune, in the state of Maharashtra, has been the worst hit, recording the highest number (13) of H1N1 deaths in the country thus far. To control the spread of H1N1, starting on August 13, 2009, Mumbai, India’s financial capital, will be shut down. All educational institutions and public places will be shut for one week, while malls, theatres and multiplexes will close for three days.
- Seven members of the Matsigenka tribe who live along the Urubamba river in the Peruvian Amazon have tested positive for H1N1, raising fears that the deadly H1N1 influenza virus could have a devastating impact on remote indigenous tribes, who have limited immunity to infectious diseases that circulate in the outside world.
- Swine flu was a hot topic at the North American summit attended by U.S. President Barack Obama, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
- The U.S. issued new guidelines for schools that urged them to stay open but separate sick and healthy students and staff. School boards across the country have begun preparations for the new academic year.
- Vaccine trials started in several countries, including the U.S. and the U.K., as the WHO assured the public that fast-tracking vaccines would not compromise safety.
For more information on Flu (seasonal and H1N1) from Children’s Hospital Boston, visit http://www.childrenshospital.org/patientsfamilies/Site1393/mainpageS1393P385.html