H1N1 (swine flu) weekly update: Sept. 30 to Oct. 6

fluOct8Here are this week’s H1N1 updates from the HealthMap team of the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program.

  • Bulgaria, China, and Portugal reported their first H1N1 deaths.
  • Twenty-five states, counties and cities in the United States 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 health care 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 percent 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 to 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 These findings are the opposite of those from an unpublished Canadian study leaked last week.

For more information from Children’s Hospital Boston on the seasonal and H1N1 flus, visit our Flu Information Center.