“The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Monday warned about a new mutant strain of the deadly bird flu H5N1 virus in China and Vietnam, saying there could be a ‘major resurgence’ of the disease,” Agence France-Presse reports. In a statement, FAO “said it was concerned about ‘the appearance in China and Vietnam of a variant virus able to sidestep the defenses provided by existing vaccines,’ adding that the new strain was known as H5N1 – 22.214.171.124,” the news agency notes. The organization said the virus, which can be spread by wild bird migration, “poses a direct threat to Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia as well as endangering the Korean peninsula and Japan” (8/29).
Pneumonia & Flu
ABC News on Thursday posted six videos in its “World In 3” health series. The three-minute videos examine malaria in Uganda, neglected tropical diseases in Niger, pneumonia in the Philippines, sleeping sickness in the Democratic Republic of Congo, tuberculosis in South Africa, and parasitic worms in Brazil (8/25).
The “reports during the past two weeks of two recent infections and another death” from H5N1 (avian) influenza “raised little concern except among public health officials,” Robert Gatter, co-director of the Center for Health Law Studies and professor of law at Saint Louis University, writes in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution opinion piece, adding that “[t]he fact that bird flu in developing nations receives little public attention reveals that the world has become complacent about this threat.”
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health announced on Tuesday the launch of “a groundbreaking new study called the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) study â€¦ a large multi-country case-control study of severe pneumonia in hospitalized children under five years of age â€¦ being conducted in Bangladesh,…
“The World Health Organization is declaring an end to the global swine flu pandemic,” the Associated Press/Seattle Times reports. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan “said Wednesday the pandemic is considered over by WHO’s emergency committee due to global factors and reports from several nations” and because “the new H1N1 virus has largely run its course,” according to the news agency.
The Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia recently announced the World Pneumonia Day 2011 Small Grants Program, aimed at funding innovative events and activities on or around World Pneumonia Day that address gaps in prevention and control of the disease, according to a press release.Â (8/5). This year’s theme, “I am the…
“The first human antibody that can knock out all influenza A viruses has been shown effective in lab mice, an exciting step forward in the hunt for a universal vaccine, researchers said Friday,” Agence France-Presse reports (Sheridan, 7/30).
“More than 100 public health experts have wrapped up a three-day meeting in Geneva to review a Global Action Plan for Influenza Vaccines that was developed in 2006, and to develop a strategic plan of action for the next five years,” VOA News reports, noting that the WHO “says the world is better prepared for the next influenza pandemic than it was in the past” (Schlein, 7/14).
GAO on Monday published two reports on the government’s response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. The first report examines lessons learned from the government’s response that can be incorporated into future planning (6/27). The second report examines how production delays for the H1N1 vaccine “heightened interest in alternative technologies…
A new variant of H1N1 (swine) influenza that is easily spread and retains some resistance to the two major drugs used to treat flu has been detected in Singapore and Australia, according to a report from the WHO’s influenza research group published in the journal Eurosurveillance, Bloomberg reports (Cortez, 6/9).