U.S. Vaccine Advisory Committee Considers Response To H1N1 Spread

The CDC convened a national vaccine advisory committee Friday to discuss the best response to the spread of H1N1 (swine flu) with an estimated 6,000 new cases in the U.S. last week alone, Reuters reports.  “The key point is this new infectious disease is not going away,” despite the fact the flu season in North America has passed, Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC said. “In the U.S., we’re still experiencing a steady increase in the number of reported cases.”

Though Schuchat said the CDC has not decided whether or not it will recommend the public receive an H1N1 vaccine after its development is complete and when the North American flu season returns in the fall, the agency is requesting that local health departments “draw up plans for how to handle distribution of the vaccines,” Reuters writes (Steenhuysen, Reuters, 6/26).

The AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports: “A potential fall swine flu immunization campaign may involve an unprecedented 600 million doses of vaccine” – two doses for each person living in the U.S. – “but health officials are still trying to figure out how to find enough workers to administer all those shots” (Stobbe, AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 6/26).

First Batches Of Chinese Version Of Tamiflu Produced

The first batches of the Chinese version of the antiviral Tamiflu – the drug shown to be effective in reducing the severity and spread of H1N1– “came off the production line in Shanghai” on Friday, Xinhua/Shanghai Daily reports. The drugs have passed the appropriate quality tests and will begin to be administered in an effort to control the spread of the virus, the newspaper reports (Xinhua/Shanghai Daily, 6/27).

Guatemala , Brazil Report First Deaths From H1N1

Guatemala on Thursday reported the country’s first death from H1N1 – a 35-year-old man, the Times of India reports. The WHO previously reported that H1N1 caused the death of a 12-year-old, however the Health Minister Celzo Cerezo said the 12-year-old died from renal failure (Times of India, 6/26). Brazil’s health ministry on Sunday reported a 50-year-old man died from H1N1, becoming the country’s first fatality from the virus, Reuters reports (Ewing, Reuters, 6/28).

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