Swine Flu News Round-Up

The German government is looking to sell over 2 million leftover doses of the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine, the country’s health minister said Monday, Agence France-Presse reports. “A health ministry senior official in the state of Thuringia, Hartmut Schubert, said that the vaccines could even be donated and that there had been requests from Afghanistan and Eastern European countries including Ukraine,” the news service adds (12/7).

In related news, “South Korea’s [P]resident [Lee Myung-bak] offered Tuesday to send swine flu medication to North Korea amid reports that the virus killed dozens of people and is spreading fast in its impoverished communist neighbor,” the Associated Press/New York Times reports. According to a report from the President’s office, Lee asked his Cabinet to look into the reports of the H1N1 outbreaks in the North and examine ways to send supplies to the North.

”It would be good if emergency aid is provided as there are concerns that swine flu could spread rapidly,” Lee told the Cabinet meeting, according to the statement from the President’s office (12/7).

The AP also reports that Israel is treating patients suspected to have H1N1 from Gaza in hopes of containing the virus: “The move is a rare loosening of the tight blockade Israel imposed on Gaza after Hamas militants seized the coastal area in June 2007. Israel usually only allows patients with life-threatening conditions into Israel” (12/8). According to the Jerusalem Post, H1N1 has been confirmed in 1,250 Palestinians in the West Bank, but has not been linked to any deaths; in Israel, the virus has infected 8,500, killing 67 (Katz, 12/8).