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U.S. Won’t Donate H1N1 Vaccine To Developing Countries Until ‘At-Risk’ Americans Receive Vaccine

The U.S. will hold off on donating H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine stockpiles to developing countries until “at-risk Americans” receive the vaccine, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday, Agence France-Presse reports. Last month, the U.S. pledged to donate H1N1 vaccine stockpiles to developing countries. However, manufacturing delays of the H1N1 vaccine have driven the supply to “about 10 million doses short of the 40 million doses they had expected to have by the end of this month,” the news service writes.

Deaths From H1N1 Rise By 700 In One Week, WHO Reports

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).

H1N1 Cases Increase In China, Japan; Afghanistan Attempts To Contain Virus

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).

Number Of New Active TB Cases Increases From 2007 To 2008, WHO Says

The WHO’s Stop TB Department released data on Thursday at the 40th Union World Conference on Lung Health indicating that the number of new active TB cases worldwide rose from 9.27 million in 2007 to 9.4 million in 2008, Reuters reports. Experts gathered for the conference in Cancun, Mexico “called for more research funding to develop better diagnostic tests, vaccines and drugs for tuberculosis, which killed 1.8 million people around the world last year,” according to the news service.

Measles Deaths Decline Worldwide By 78%, Experts Warn Against Complacency

Measles deaths fell from 733,000 in 2000 to 164,000 in 2008 – 78 percent – thanks, in part, to increased vaccination efforts that reached an estimated 700 million children, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S.-based Measles Initiative, Reuters reports.

Also In Global Health News: Rotavirus Vaccine; Guinea Worm Eradication; Health Systems; Zulu King Calls For Male Circumcision

West African Group Calls For Governments To Vaccinate Children Against Rotavirus The West African Rotavirus Advisory Board is calling on governments to vaccinate children against rotavirus, IRIN reports. At a recent meeting in Dakar, Senegal, which was “financed by GlaxoSmithKline, makers of one of two rotavirus vaccines” the board issued…

Also In Global Health News: Uganda Bill; USAID; ARVs And Food; Polio Declines In Nigeria

News Outlets Examine Reaction To Uganda’s Anti-Gay Legislation Effect On HIV/AIDS Efforts The Daily Monitor reports on a statement released Friday by U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), chair of the Senate’s Committee on Africa, on Uganda’s anti-gay legislation. “Its passage would hurt the close working relationship between our two countries, especially…

Former CDC Head To Lead Merck’s Vaccine Division

The pharmaceutical company Merck on Monday named former CDC head Julie Gerberding as president of the company’s vaccine division, Reuters reports. “Gerberding, who led the CDC from 2002 to 2009 and stepped down when President Barack Obama took office, will head up the company’s $5 billion global vaccine business that includes shots to prevent chickenpox, cervical cancer and pneumonia,” the news service reports.

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