Despite reports that the numbers of new H1N1 (swine flu) are leveling off in some parts of the Northern Hemisphere, the virus continues to spread, the WHO said Friday, Reuters reports. “In an update on the H1N1 swine flu virus, the WHO said parts of the southern and southeastern United States, as well as Iceland and Ireland, seemed to have weakening levels of disease after an unusually early start of the winter flu season,” the news service writes.
Ahead of the anticipated CDC release of revised U.S. H1N1 (swine flu) death toll estimates, Reuters examines how the agency and WHO measure the impact of the virus, after both organizations “stopped trying to count actual cases months ago, once it became clear that H1N1 was a pandemic that would infect millions.”
Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline announced plans on Tuesday to donate 50 million doses of its H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine to the WHO for use in developing countries within the next few months, Reuters reports.
The WHO on Friday reported on a rising number of H1N1 (swine flu) cases in China and Japan, Reuters/Washington Post reports. “In China, after an earlier wave of mixed influenza activity (seasonal H3N2 and pandemic H1N1), pandemic H1N1 influenza activity now predominates and is increasing,” the agency said. “Sharp increases in pandemic flu infections continue to be reported throughout Japan, particularly on the northern island,” the news service writes (Nebehay, 11/6).
The H1N1 (swine flu) virus is now the dominant flu strain worldwide, the WHO reported Thursday, with the virus accounting for up to 70 percent of the flu viruses sampled in some countries, the Associated Press reports. “We remain quite concerned about the patterns that we’re seeing,” Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s Special Adviser on Pandemic Influenza to the Director-General, said during a press briefing.
U.S. health officials briefing Congress on Wednesday would not outline a timeframe for when enough H1N1 (swine flu) vaccines would be available to reach all high-risk populations in the country, the Washington Post reports.
A WHO official on Tuesday backed the Afghan government’s decision to declare H1N1 (swine flu) a health emergency, forcing the closure of all schools in the country for three weeks in an effort to contain the virus, IRIN reports. H1N1 has reportedly infected over 300 people, resulting in two deaths.
U.S. Clinical Trials Show Single Dose Of H1N1 Vaccine Protects Pregnant Women, Children Under 10 Need Two Doses
U.S. government data released on Monday confirmed that a single dose of the vaccine protects pregnant women from the virus, while children under the age of 10 years need two doses of the vaccine, the Washington Post reports. The findings came the same day that a team of experts tasked with monitoring the national H1N1 vaccine campaign for any adverse side effects met for the first time.
The number of deaths from H1N1 (swine flu) rose by 700 in a week, to top 5,700 since the virus was first identified in April, the WHO reported Friday, Agence France-Presse reports (10/30). “The biggest rise in the past week was recorded in the Americas, w[h]ere 636 more people were reported killed by swine flu, bringing the region’s death toll to 4,175, the UN agency said, AFP reports in a second story. “Fatal cases in Europe also climbed to at least 281, while those in Asia-Pacific rose to 1,070” (10/31).
The New York Times examines how Saudi Arabia is preparing for the upcoming annual pilgrimage of some “2.5 million people from 160 countries” to Mecca, some who “will be bringing the swine flu.”