Monday, December 7, 2009

Cartoon: How to tell if you booked the wrong holiday flight...

Japan Today: 70% of Japanese see need to stock food if H1N1 flu spreads

About 70% of Japanese consumers believe it is necessary to stock up on food if the H1N1 flu spreads further and they are instructed to refrain from going outdoors, according to a recent government survey.

Of the 893 people who said food needs to be stocked in the poll, the largest number of respondents, or 33%, said they want about seven days’ supply, showed the findings by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Some 80-90% cited rice, canned food and wheat-based items such as instant noodles as the types of food they intend to buy if the need arises.

Japan Today: 70% of Japanese see need to stock food if H1N1 flu spreads

Friday, December 4, 2009

Montana's News Station: H1N1 e-mail scam making the rounds

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services is reporting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned the state about fraudulent e-mails referencing a CDC sponsored State Vaccination Program.

The scam asks recipients of the messages to register personal information if they received a 2009 H1N1 vaccine. But, the CDC has not implemented a state vaccination program requiring registration.

Users that click on the e-mail are at risk of having a malicious program code installed on their computer's operating system.

Montana's News Station: H1N1 scam making the rounds

WHO investigates Tamiflu resistance, updates antiviral recommendations for H1N1 patients with severely compromised immune systems

Following recent reports of clusters of Tamiflu resistance, the WHO recommended that patients with severely weakened immunesystems who become infected with the H1N1 (swine flu) virus receive additional antiviral treatment as needed throughout the duration of their illness, Agence France-Presse reports.

'Although the WHO said there was no evidence that the two clusters found in Wales and in North Carolina [U.S.] marked a wider public health threat, it reiterated calls for vigilance and modified treatment advice for the frontline flu drug,' the news service writes.

In addition to ramping up antiviral treatment, the agency advised physicians treating patients with suppressed immune systems who are not responding to Tamiflu be given the alternative antiviral, Relenza (12/2).
The WHO also announced an investigation into the Tamiflu-resistant cases of H1N1 in hospitals in Wales and the U.S. showed the virus had not spread among hospital workers and the community, the Canadian Press reports.

Read the rest of this article:
WHO investigates Tamiflu resistance,
updates antiviral recommendations for H1N1 patients with severely compromised immune systems

AFP: Netherlands reports mutant swine flu death

Dutch authorities said Thursday a patient infected by a mutant strain of the swine flu virus had died, but added that this was not the cause of death.

Harald Wychgel, spokesman for the Dutch Institute for Health and the Environment, told AFP that there had been a 'minor change in the virus to make it resistant to Tamiflu,' a key treatment for influenza.

'He died not because the virus was resistant but because he was seriously ill and caught the Mexican (swine) flu,' Wychgel said.

The man, whose age had not been given, died Sunday in the northern city of Groningen, local health official Hans Coenraads said.

'We have carried out tests on the patient's associates to see if the mutation had spread but we found no such indications', he said.

Reports said that two more patients in the Netherlands had shown resistance to Tamiflu.

It is the fifth fatal case of mutated A(H1N1) flu in Europe, after two in France and two in Norway.

The World Health Organisation said last month that mutations had been observed in Brazil, China, Japan, Mexico, where the swine flu pandemic began, Ukraine, and the United States, as early as April.

Italy also reported a non-fatal case on Monday.

'The mutations appear to occur sporadically and spontaneously. To date, no links between the small number of patients infected with the mutated virus have been found and the mutation does not appear to spread,' a WHO statement said on November 20.

The WHO also underlined that there was no evidence of more infections or more deaths as a result, while the mutated virus detected up to that point remained sensitive to antiviral drugs used to treat severe flu, oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza).

Scientists fear that mutations in flu viruses could cause more virulent and deadly pandemic flu. The global health watchdog reiterated a call for close monitoring.

'Although further investigation is under way, no evidence currently suggests that these mutations are leading to an unusual increase in the number of H1N1 infections or a greater number of severe or fatal cases,' it added.

AFP: Netherlands reports mutant swine flu death

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Salt Lake Tribune - H1N1 spread continues to slow

Three more Utahns have died and 37 more have been hospitalized due to the H1N1 flu, according to the state's weekly update.

One person, between the ages of 5 and 24, died in the Weber-Morgan Health District. A woman older than 65 died in the Central Utah Health District, and a woman between the ages of 50 and 64 died in the Southwest Utah Health District. A total of 23 Utahns have died from causes related to the flu since its second wave in late August.

Nevertheless, the percentage of patients seen for influenza-like illness has dropped for the fifth straight week.

Read the rest of this article here:
Salt Lake Tribune - H1N1 spread continues to slow

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CDC: Swine flu less widespread, down to 32 states

Swine flu infections seem to be dropping, but the number of children who died with the illness rose by about 30, according to a government report released Monday.

Widespread infections of swine flu were reported in 32 states as of Nov. 21, down from 43 states the week before, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said.

The CDC also said there were 27 new lab-confirmed swine flu deaths in children under 18, bringing the total to about 200 children. That’s the largest one-week tally for children since the pandemic started.

Since it was first identified in April, swine flu has sickened an estimated 22 million Americans, hospitalized about 98,000 and killed 4,000. It has proved to be similar to seasonal flu but a bigger threat to children and young adults.

The swine flu pandemic has so far hit in two waves in the United States: First in the spring, then a larger wave that started in the late summer.

In late October, 48 states reported widespread flu activity

Read the rest of this article here:
CDC: Swine flu less widespread in the USA, down to 32 states

AfricaNews - Swine flu causes deaths in Northern Africa - The AfricaNews articles of KingsleyKobo

The A/H1N1 influenza is currently causing havoc in northern Africa notably in Egypt, Morocco, Libya and Algeria, according to recent statements released by the health ministries of these countries.

After Algeria’s tragedy of three deaths over the weekend, Morocco announced its first swine flu victim – a 24-year-old pregnant woman from the northern city of Tangier.

She died on Sunday after contracting the H1N1 virus, the country’s health ministry said on Monday.

Eighty-three new cases of the disease were diagnosed over the weekend, bringing the total to 1,710 cases in Morocco.

Egypt reported one more death case of A/H1N1 flu on Monday, bringing the country's death toll from the virus to 21, Al-Ahram daily said.

AfricaNews - Swine flu causes deaths in Northern Africa First case of H1N1 influenza virus infection in dogs

Two dogs were reported yesterday to be infected with the H1N1 influenza virus, according to the China Daily news. The dogs were both located in Beijing, China.

While not confirmed, it is likely that the dogs became infected with the H1N1 influenza virus through contact with infected people.

Dogs are susceptible to their own form of influenza virus, called canine influenza. However, these are the first documented cases of the H1N1 virus strain infecting the canine species. The canine influenza virus is not known to be transmissible to people but can be passed easily from dog to dog. It appears that the H1N1 virus can be passed from people to dogs and likely from dogs to people as well.

Chinese health officials are trying to reassure people that their dogs are not a threat to them. They say that because the virus has been found in so many species (pigs, ferrets, cats and people), it is not surprising that that it has been found in dogs as well. First case of H1N1 influenza virus infection in dogs

Monday, November 30, 2009

H1N1 France: From vaccine refusal to panic and riot police in just 7 days

"Please speak into the hygiaphone." photo: Flickr (CC)

There’s nothing like a good dose of reality to get people to change their minds about things. And the H1N1 vaccine debate in France is a textbook example of that.

The extreme cynicism with which the French considered H1N1 vaccination just one week ago has been replaced by panic and exasperation at not being able to get vaccinated. Riot police have been deployed at certain vaccination stations.

Flesh & Stone has already reported that people have been taking the government to court for attempted mass poisoning or, as the charge sheet puts it: “Attempting to administer substances…of a nature which could result in death.” Polls taken as recently as two weeks ago showed that around 80 percent of the population wouldn’t or most probably wouldn’t, get vaccinated against H1N1, and there has been violent public reaction against government attempts to persuade people to get their children vaccinated. Figures suggest that children represent almost 75 percent of those infected.

Sections of the national media have had a lot of fun ridiculing attempts to get people to vaccinate, and one video skit showed a supposedly desperate health minister begging people to be nice to her and take “my” vaccine.

Things have changed extremely quickly. The days of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories have evaporated into thin air in the space of just one week, replaced by crowds of worried people clamouring to be vaccinated and overwhelming vaccination stations and their staff.

This situation has come about because of the sudden and dramatic rise in infection rates and, with it, the sudden and dramatic rise in the number of dead, particularly among the young.

Read the rest of this article here:
H1N1 France: From vaccine refusal to panic and riot police in just 7 days

Sunday, November 29, 2009 How the H1N1 vaccine is made (using 1.2Bn eggs in the process!)

The most striking feature of the H1N1 flu vaccine manufacturing process is the 1,200,000,000 chicken eggs required to make the 3 billion doses of vaccine that may be required worldwide. There are entire chicken farms in the US and around the world dedicated to producing eggs for the purpose of incubating influenza viruses for use in vaccines. No wonder it takes six months from start to finish. But we'll get to that in a minute.

The most commonly used process for manufacturing an influenza vaccine was developed in the 1940s -- one of its co-inventors was Jonas Salk, who would go on to develop the polio vaccine -- and has remained basically unchanged since then. The process is coordinated by the World Health Organization and begins with the detection of a new virus (or rather one that differs significantly from those already going around); in this instance, the Pandemic H1N1/09 virus.

Once the pandemic strain has been identified and isolated, it is mixed with a standard laboratory virus through a technique called genetic reassortment, the purpose of which is to create a hybrid virus (also called the 'reference virus strain') with the pandemic strain's surface antigens and the lab strain's core components (which allows the virus to grow really well in chicken eggs). Then the hybrid is tested to make sure that it grows well, is safe, and produces the proper antigen response. This takes about six to nine weeks.

Read the rest of this article here: How the H1N1 vaccine is made

The Canadian Press: Vaccinations, antiviral supply mean H1N1 no threat to 2010 Olympics

The World Health Organization is sending a representative to monitor for potential disease outbreaks at the 2010 Winter Olympics, but Games officials and health experts say the threat from H1N1 has likely passed.

Most athletes, officials and spectators are expected to be vaccinated against H1N1 by the time the Winter Olympics begin in February.

'If the vaccination rate is high enough, I don't think H1N1 is going to be a risk,' said Dr. Patricia Daly, chief medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, the agency overseeing health services for the Olympics.

Planning for the possible impact H1N1 could have on the Games has been underway since before the WHO declared an official global pandemic in June.

In April, B.C. health officials made a decision to increase the stockpile of antiviral drugs available in the province because of the Games, according to briefing notes released under Access to Information.

How much it cost was censored in the documents, but B.C.'s provincial health officer said in an interview the original supply was boosted by three million doses, bringing the total amount available to 10 million.

Read the rest of this article here:
The Canadian Press: Vaccinations, antiviral supply mean H1N1 no threat to 2010 Olympics Do We Really Need Anti-Viral Kleenex?

Kleenex Anti-Viral Tissue is a moisture-activated facial tissue designed to kill common cold and flu viruses from droplets caught in the tissue, thus protecting the hands from contacting the viruses.

Kleenex states these tissues kill 99.9% of these viruses within 15 minutes. These tissues are 3-ply, with the middle layer containing the anti-viral ingredients, and are easily identified as the Anti-Viral brand by the little blue dots all over the layer. They are standard size tissues, measuring 8.4 X 8.2 inches. I've seen them available in the 120-count rectangular box and the 60-count cubed box.

Active anti-viral ingredients include food-grade Citric Acid and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Since these ingredients are food-grade, the EPA does not require any warning labels, and the tissues are safe for little ones.

Kleenex also boldly states that these tissues have not been tested against bacteria, fungi, or other viruses.
But do we really need them? Do We Really Need Anti-Viral Kleenex?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Netherlands to sell surplus flu shots

The Dutch government is going to sell its surplus swine flu vaccine doses to countries who are experiencing acute shortages. Some two million doses will be sold.

They are no longer needed next month for the national vaccination drive.

Another 18 million doses may be sold in the first months of next year. The cabinet says it wants to help countries unable to inoculate all of their risk groups. Health Minister Ab Klink expects no other groups in the Netherlands need to be vaccinated.

The number of people to visit their general practitioner with flu complaints has begun dropping. Eight people, however, died of the A H1N1 virus last week.

All of them had been suffering from other complaints by the time they contracted the flu.

Netherlands to sell surplus flu shots

H1N1 Re-infections Raise Pandemic Concerns

Dr. Debra Parsons, a pediatrician at Kid Care West in Cross Lanes, was met with reactions of doubt from local health officials last month when she said two flu tests had come back positive for H1N1, or swine flu.

Parsons first came down with the virus, complete with all the telltale symptoms, in August.

Her son became ill at the same time with the same symptoms. Figuring they had the same bug, Parsons tested herself to see what it was.

The test came back positive for Influenza A, so the lab at Charleston Area Medical Center sent it to be sub-typed. Parsons was positive for H1N1.

Parsons and her son recovered, but in October they started having the same symptoms, but they became much worse.

They were both tested this time, and the results were the same -- they were positive for Influenza A and then H1N1.

'It was swine flu both times,' Parsons said.

Read the rest of this article here:
H1N1 Re-infections Raise Pandemic Concerns

AAP: Two deaths in France from mutated H1N1

Two patients who were infected by a swine flu mutation that was also recently detected in Norway have died in France, health officials say.

'This mutation could increase the ability of the virus to affect the respiratory tracts and, in particular, the lung tissue,' a statement from the French government's Health Surveillance Institute (InVS) said on Friday.
'For one of these patients, this mutation was accompanied by another mutation known to confer resistance to oseltamivir,' it added, referring to the main drug being used to treat swine flu, under the brand name Tamiflu.

The case was the first drug-resistant strain found in France among the 1,200 strains experts have analysed here, the InVS said, adding that 'the effectiveness of vaccines currently available is not being questioned'.
The two patients were not related and had been hospitalised in two different cities in France, it said.

The death toll in mainland France now stood at 76, the InVS statement said.
The World Health Organisation said on Thursday it was investigating reports of mutations in the swine flu virus, after half a dozen countries recorded cases in which the virus was transforming.

AAP: Two deaths in France from mutated H1N1

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

H1N1 Cases Declining In Hospitals Across US

The swine flu pandemic has taken a turn in the United States. Doctors in several cities are now reporting fewer cases of the H1N1 virus, prompting some to believe the outbreak may have peaked. Still, the virus has killed nearly 7,000 people worldwide since April, and health officials say there could be another outbreak in the U.S.

At its peak, there were so many outbreaks of H1N1 flu, this children's hospital in Texas had to set up tents for its patients. Two months later, the tents are down and so are the number of people who are sick.

'At some points we were seeing as many as 70 percent of patients testing positive for the flu, and now it's down below 10 percent,' Dr. Pat Crocker, Dell Children's Medical Center estimates.

Read the rest of this article here:
H1N1 Cases Declining In Hospitals Across US

TheMedGuru: Hajj pilgrims in Mecca and Medina unconcerned about swine flu threat

Millions of devout Muslims are descending on the holy cities of Mecca and Medina for the largest annual pilgrimage in the world despite the underlying fears of the pandemic swine flu affecting the Hajj.

A decrease in the turnout had been anticipated sparked by the global pandemic, but pilgrims have poured from the four corners of the world into Saudi Arabia in preparation for this year's Hajj, which will begin on Wednesday, Nov. 25.

According to official sources, around 500,000 pilgrims offered Friday prayers in Medina, the second holiest city in Islam.

Nevertheless, fears of disease were well founded as already four have fallen prey to the lethal virus - the first among pilgrims. The health ministry stated the deaths were due to underlying health issues and the failure of the victims to take adequate precautions and get vaccinated before embarking on the pilgrimage.

Fortunately the number of infections is less than had been feared by Saudi authorities. Only 20 pilgrims had been detected with the virus. Of these, 12 have been treated and discharged, while four remain critical in hospital.

Read the rest of this article here:
TheMedGuru: Hajj pilgrims in Mecca and Medina unconcerned about swine flu threat H1N1 flu virus mutation detected in Hong Kong

Hong Kong's Department of Health announced that it had found the same mutation in a H1N1 flu virus sample as the one detected in Norway recently.

The department said that it had examined the genetic sequence of H1N1 flu viruses in its monitoring system. Out of the 123 sequences studied, one sample showed the same mutation as the Norway strain.

The virus was taken from a year-old boy who developed flu-like symptoms July 22. He was admitted to Prince of Wales Hospital July25 and discharged three days later. He has recovered.

Mutations are frequently encountered in influenza viruses. According to the World Health Organization, the same mutation of the virus has been found on the Chinese mainland and in other countries, including Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Ukraine and the United States.

The virus with this mutation remained sensitive to antiviral drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza. No evidence suggests these mutations are leading to an unusual increase in the number of H1N1 flu infections or a greater number of severe or fatal cases. H1N1 flu virus mutation detected in Hong Kong New swine flu strain resistant to Tamiflu

Could there be a new strain of H1N1? That's what health officials are investigating after a few cases seem to be resistant to the treatment drug, Tamiflu.

It was discovered that a few patients at Duke University Medical Centers and a few others overseas in whales were diagnosed with a strain of flu too strong for Tamiflu to treat.

Health officials with the CDC say this doesn't indicate a health emergency. But there is concern over what appears to be mutations of the virus.

'We are unable to say if their deaths were caused by influenza, they are influenza associated but they had medical issues that were compromising their health,' says Megan Davies, a North Carolina State Epidemiologist.

The virus is just as severe, but this new mutation of H1N1 has a different characteristic. It might not be treatable with medications currently available.

Read the rest here: New swine flu strain resistant to Tamiflu

Reuters: WHO probing drug resistant swine flu

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization is looking into reports in Britain and the United States that the H1N1 flu may have developed resistance to Tamiflu in people with severely suppressed immune systems, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Britain's Health Protection Agency (HPA) said five cases have been confirmed in Wales of patients infected with H1N1 resistant to oseltamivir -- the generic name of Roche and Gilead Sciences Inc's antiviral drug Tamiflu.

The patients had serious conditions that suppressed their immune systems, which can give the virus a better than usual opportunity to develop resistance, the HPA said. It said the drug-resistant strain had probably spread person to person.

'We have seen the reports, we need to look into them,' WHO spokesman Thomas Abraham said in Geneva.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week also reported four cases of H1N1 resistant to Tamiflu at Duke University Hospital in North Carolina. All were said to be very ill with underlying severely compromised immune systems and multiple other complex medical conditions.

Read the rest of the article at:
Reuters: WHO probing drug resistant swine flu

BBC News - Canada's doctors told to stop using swine flu vaccine

GlaxoSmithKline has advised doctors in Canada to stop using a batch of its swine flu vaccine, amid reports of severe side-effects in some patients.

The batch of some 170,000 doses was put on hold because of the reported higher than usual number of patients having anaphylactic reactions.

This may include breathing problems, raised heart rate and skin rashes.
The pharmaceutical company said it was investigating the reports, which could lead to the withdrawal of the batch.

The reports say one in 20,000 people suffered adverse reactions to the batch of GlaxoSmithKline's Pandemrix vaccine. This is five times the expected number.

None of the patients reportedly suffered long-term ill-effects.

BBC News - Canada's doctors told to stop using swine flu vaccine

RT Reports: Mutant drug resistant H1N1 showing up in U.S

Swine flu mutation - Same receptor as 1918 Spanish flu pandemic found in Ukraine virus

According to analysis of genetic testing done by the World Health Organization, the Ukraine flu virus is an H1N1 mutation that is similar to the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.

The two flu virus outbreaks both have changes in the receptor binding domain D225G, and similar symptoms, which include bleeding in the lungs. Current estimates of the deaths attributed to the Ukraine flu outbreak is as many as 400, and increasing daily.

In 1918, the Spanish flu pandemic killed between 20 million and 40 million people. The pandemic took place during the end of World War I, but ten times as many Americans died from the Spanish Flu as died in the war - nearly 700,000.

Read the rest of this article here:
Swine flu mutation - Same receptor as 1918 Spanish flu pandemic found in Ukraine virus

Dutch begin mass vaccinating 830,000 children, a musical variation

The Netherlands has begun vaccinating up to 830,000 children against swine flu in one of the country's largest vaccination programs.
Children between six months and four years old have received invitations to be vaccinated against the H1N1 virus.
The Netherlands has ordered enough vaccine to inoculate the entire country of 16 million people. Pregnant women, the elderly, and people with autoimmune diseases were vaccinated first.
A major center in Amsterdam is expecting 64,000 children Monday, the first day of a three-day campaign.
Children and parents arrived in a constant stream of buggies and bikes, and were greeted with clowns singing songs about how shots don't hurt - though an occasional wail could still be heard.

The NOS Jeugdjournaal (Junior News) reports (in Dutch):

And a funny re-edit of the mass-vaccination, on music

Sunday, November 22, 2009

SF Chronicle: Fear spreading faster than swine flu in Ukraine

One night at the height of the panic over what people here call the California flu, as 24-hour news stations tracked a rising death toll and politicians speculated about a mystery lung plague, Ukraine's prime minister rushed to the airport to greet a shipment of Tamiflu as if it were a foreign dignitary. Not to be outdone, the president, a bitter political foe, dispatched a top aide to meet the plane, too.

In neighboring Belarus, the government took an opposite tack, accusing drug companies of fanning hysteria over swine flu to boost profit. In Poland, the health minister is under fire for refusing to stock up on a vaccine, while doctors in Hungary are resisting orders to administer the shot. In Turkmenistan, the authorities have been accused of covering up an epidemic, with infectious-disease wards reportedly full and people being turned away.

As the pandemic H1N1 influenza surges with the onset of winter, the nations of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union appear particularly vulnerable to the deadly virus. Burdened with weak health care systems, relatively inexperienced news media and shaky governments that have little public trust, the region also seems ripe for panic and political strife over the flu.

Read the rest of this article at:
SF Chronicle: Fear spreading faster than swine flu in Ukraine

And a report at RT Wladiwostok:

Today.AZ: WHO to send extra swine flu medicines to Azerbaijan

The World Health Organization (WHO) has sent to Azerbaijan extra Tamiflu sufficient for treatment of 38,700 people for swine flu, project coordinator of WHO office in Azerbaijan Elkhan Gasimov said.

He said the major A/H1N1 (swine flu) medicines were brought to Azerbaijan at the end of last week.

“WHO did not send medicines only to Azerbaijan. There are other countries in this list, too,” he said.

Elkhan Gasimov said in May WHO sent Tamiflu to Azerbaijan for treatment of 10,000 people.

The first part of the vaccines against the swine flu will be brought to the country late in November – early in December.

Nearly 170,000 doses of vaccines (2 percent of the population) will be brought to Azerbaijan.

Today.AZ: WHO to send extra swine flu medicines to Azerbaijan

USA Today: Drug resistant H1N1 found in USA and UK

Epidemic experts say they are investigating the apparent spread of Tamiflu-resistant swine flu virus among four patients at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and five in a hospital in Wales.

These clusters appear to be the first in which a virus resistant to the antiviral Tamiflu, a mainstay of flu treat, has spread from person to person, researchers said Friday.

If Tamiflu-resistant virus spreads widely, swine flu will become tougher to treat and may cost more lives, says Duke's Daniel Sexton, who is leading the hospital's investigation.

Doctors say investigations of the two hospital outbreaks are underway, but the preliminary genetic evidence suggests that the virus spread among patients at the hospitals.

Read the rest of this article here:
USA Today: Drug resistant H1N1 found in USA and UK

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Next Gen Pharma: Lower dose of H1N1 vaccine may be enough

With flu season hotting up, debate over the use of Influenza A (H1N1) vaccines continues to divide opinion. Now, Swiss-based pharmaceutical giant Novartis has announced that half of the currently-approved US dose actually fulfils immune response criteria for adults and the elderly.

Novatis' announcement is based on new interim data from ongoing clinical trials, and shows how a single 3.75µg dose of MF59-adjuvanted A(H1N1) 2009 vaccine met serologic protection criteria against influenza A(H1N1) in children ages three to eight, adults ages 18 to 64, and the elderly.

As such, the pharmaceutical firm is now in discussions with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is set to perfrom additional analysis suggested by the agency.

Read the rest of the article here:
Next Gen Pharma: Lower dose of H1N1 vaccine may be enough

Fear of needle drives people away from H1N1 shots

The very word needle seems to petrify some people, as much as the sight of one sliding into the skin.

Experts believe this fear of needles may be preventing people from rolling up their sleeves for the H1N1 shots.

'Pain and the actual fear of getting the injection is often the barrier that prevents people from getting the vaccine,' said psychologist Christine Chambers, based at Dalhousie University.

Concerned that students who are making health decisions for themselves may be bypassing immunization for H1N1 because of their fear of needles, Chambers assures there are things they can do to reduce pain.

Read the rest of the article here:
Fear of needle drives people away from H1N1 shots

Reuters: China's official H1N1 death count suspect

China may have had more H1N1 flu deaths than have been reported, with some local governments possibly concealing suspect cases, a prominent Chinese medical expert said in an interview published on Thursday.

Zhong Nanshan, a doctor based in the far southern province of Guangdong, said he doubted the current official death toll from the influenza strain, also called 'swine flu', that has medical experts worldwide worried.

'I just don't believe that nationwide there have been in all 53 H1N1 deaths,' Zhong told the Southern Metropolis Daily, a popular Guangdong newspaper.

Zhong said that 'some areas have not been testing deaths from severe (pneumonia) and treating them as cases of ordinary pneumonia without a question,' the paper reported.

Zhong is respected by many people in China for his candour and work in fighting 'severe acute respiratory syndrome' (SARS) in 2003, when nationwide panic and international alarm erupted after it emerged that officials hid or underplayed the spreading epidemic.

China, the world's most populous country, has reported 28 new H1N1 deaths in the last week during a cold snap across much of the country, the Ministry of Health said on its website (

The latest national death tally issued on Monday on the same website showed 53 death cases.

Read the rest of the article here:
Reuters: China's official H1N1 death count suspect

Ukraine Dead Increase to 344

1,502,345 Influenza/ARI
85,904 Hospitalized
344 Dead

The above tally is from the latest update from the Ukraine Ministry of health. The 344 dead represents an increase of 16 from yesterday's total, which is similar to recent daily increases. The steady climb in fatal cases highlights the importance of the release of sequences by Mill Hill a WHO regional center in London.

Included in the sequences from 10 isolates were four HA sequences with the receptor binding domain change, D225G, which was found in the one throat and three lung samples. The change was not found in isolates from nasopharyngeal washes, suggesting D225G may lead to high concentrations of H1N1 in patient's lungs. The high concentration of virus leads to a cytokine storm that destroys the lungs in a few days.

The finding of D225G in lung tissues raises concerns rergarding sequencing of isolates from nasopharyngeal swabs. The monitoring of this important genetic change in the receptor binding domain may require sampling of lung tissues or fluids.

Read the rest of the article:
Ukraine Dead Increase to 344 - Sequences Released

Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports:
Austria is sending Ukraine nearly 500,000 face masks, 150,000 pairs of protective gloves and 3000 bottles of disinfectant to combat Mexican flu, also known as swine flu.
Ukraine has been badly hit by the flu and over the weekend it called on neighbouring countries for help.

AP: 1.5M per day getting swine flu vaccine in China

China's health minister said Wednesday his country is vaccinating 1.5 million people a day against swine flu, part of a mammoth effort to reach nearly 7 percent of inhabitants of the world's most populous country by year's end.

Chen Zhu told The Associated Press that more than 50 million Chinese have been immunized so far.

He also defended China's aggressive quarantine of foreigners with flulike symptoms as well as health detentions of its own citizens.

'With initial efforts of containment, actually we not only reduced the impact of the first wave to China, but we also won time for us to prepare the vaccine' now being given to China's people, Chen said in an interview during the Havana meeting of the Global Forum for Health Research.

The Associated Press: 1.5M per day getting swine flu vaccine in China

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Elderly in Line for Swine Flu Shot and some other new cartoons

The other cartoons are here

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fox News: Has H1N1 Peaked?

According to Fox News, H1N1 shows signs of peaking in some area's.

Has H1N1 Peaked?

KSTP TV | Fears of Higher H1N1 Risk in Mexico Debunked

Watching the H1N1 flu pandemic - The Big Picture

Health officials around the world are stepping up vaccination efforts and are closely tracking the progress of the H1N1/09 virus (often referred to as 'swine flu' in the media).

World Health Organization officials recently noted that the virus has spread to virtually every country in the world, reaching as far as remote tribes in Venezuela and aboriginal populations in Australia.

Although the number of deaths attributed to H1N1 this year (over 7,000 to date) remains low compared to a normal seasonal flu outbreak of several hundred thousand deaths in a year, health officials remain concerned because of the instability of H1N1/09 combined with its tendency to affect younger healthier people.

Collected here are photos of people around the world preparing for and dealing with the current H1N1 pandemic. (37 photos total)

More pictures at:
Watching the H1N1 flu pandemic - The Big Picture -

Security Bytes: Russian cybercriminals target H1N1 Swine flu fears

Researchers at security vendor Sophos’ Canadian-based research labs have released a report outlining how some Russian cybercriminals are making millions off the H1N1 flu by pushing counterfeit Tamiflu through well organized affiliate programs.

The cybercriminals have created an affiliate network to make it more difficult to track them down by distributing responsibility for different spam tasks while increasing advertising space to gain visibility and more potential victims. It’s been an evolving process and today there are literally hundreds of malicious affiliate networks touting everything from phony dating websites, porn and pharmaceuticals such as Tamiflu.

Rather than direct spam campaigns that flood inboxes, the cybercriminals use Web marketing campaigns and drive potential victims to partner affiliate websites using a mixture of spam, search engine results (search engine optimization), blogs and forum posts, the report finds. Each affiliate gets a small cut but most of the profits go to cybercriminal gangs in Russia:

"Many organize expensive parties for their members, send generous gifts for holidays, run lotteries where a top producer wins a luxury car, and the list goes on. In some cases, the war between different partnerkas turns ugly, where one portal may get DDoS’ed by a competing gang."

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Security Bytes: Russian cybercriminals target H1N1 Swine flu fears

And here is the complete report (as PDF)

AP: WHO says swine flu samples from Ukraine showed no significant mutation

The World Health Organization says tests on swine flu samples from Ukraine show no significant mutation of the virus.

WHO had sent an expert team to Ukraine last week after reports of an unusual flu outbreak.

The global body said Tuesday that preliminary genetic sequencing at laboratories in Britain and the United States showed that the virus in Ukraine was similar to that used for production of the pandemic flu vaccine.

The Ukrainian Health Ministry has registered some 1.4 million cases of flu and respiratory illness since the start of the swine flu outbreak.

WHO says most cases are likely swine flu and the infection rate is in line with neighbouring countries such as Russia and Poland.

AP: WHO says swine flu samples from Ukraine showed no significant mutation

Dr. Leonard Horowitz: "Swine flu is biological sabotage against humanity"

The following is the translation of a report which has appeared in several Russian language media, in the wake of the recent outbreaks in Ukraine

In mid-August 2009 forensic group Health Protection Agency - Health Protection Agency (HPA) of California, which oversees the pharmaceutical industry, discovered documents revealing the criminal and subversive activities of a number of pharmaceutical companies, united in an international cartel that conspired among themselves and are engaged in the production of highly toxic vaccines 'against' swine flu H1N1.

In the conspiracy the same pharmaceutical giant Baxter (city of Deerfield, Ill.) and Novavaks (Bethesda, Md.) are involved, infamous for the 'error' in February 2009 whereby toxins pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza were found in lieu of the flu vaccine and which triggered a short burst in avian influenza. They have involved in these activities a number of other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the U.S.

The investigation revealed that all the traces lead to the Corporation of New York City Partnership 'sponsored' trust company of David Rockefeller, which included several wealthy and influential partners on Wall Street, including media moguls Rupert Murdoch, Morton Zuckerman and Thomas Glauser. One of the partners of the 'trust' company is Jerry Spreer - former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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Dr. Leonard Horowitz: "Swine flu is biological sabotage against humanity"

Monday, November 16, 2009

One-Quarter Of Canadians Have Received H1N1 Shot

Canada's top doctor says Canada has suffered relatively few deaths due to the H1N1 influenza because of high vaccination rates.

Approximately one quarter of Canadians have received the H1N1 flu shot, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. David Butler-Jones said, and that’s why we’ve seen a relatively low rate of serious cases and few deaths.

Canada has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, he added.

After a very bumpy start to the immunization campaign that saw overwhelming lineups at public clinics and temporary shortages, Butler-Jones said the program is running smoothly now and shipments of shots are flowing well.

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One-Quarter Of Canadians Have Received H1N1 Shot

Roche Gets FDA Emergency Approval For Swine Flu Test

Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche Holding AG said Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted a fast approval for the company's detection set for the A/H1N1 swine flu virus.

The kit detects ribonucleic acid, or RNA, of the swine flu virus and allows rapid and accurate identification of patients infected with this virus, the Basel-based company said in a statement.

The emergency use authorization, which can be used to provide swift countermeasures in case of a national public health emergency, is a small positive for the company, Karl-Heinz Koch, analyst at Swiss independent broker Helvea, said.

'The test should support Roche's diagnostics sales towards the end of the year,' the analyst said. He expects an addition to sales in U.S. dollars in the low double-digit-million range. Koch rates Roche at buy.

However, Roche is competing with others in this market, Koch adds.

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Roche Gets FDA Emergency Approval For Swine Flu Test -

Disney World takes steps to fight swine flu

(AP - Orlando, Fla.) How about some hand sanitizer before greeting Mickey Mouse?

In an effort to halt the spread of the swine flu, Walt Disney World has installed dozens of hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the theme park, hotel lobbies and character meet-and-greet areas, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Disney is also reminding visitors of basic health safety tips, like covering their mouths while sneezing and washing hands regularly, on fliers that list park hours and show times.

In all, more than 60 bulk hand sanitizer dispensers have been added at Disney World and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.

The health precautions are the most visible steps taken by any of Orlando's major theme parks since the swine flu outbreak last spring.

Medical Doctor Retracts H1N1 Vaccine Advice After Reading Insert

Dr. Roby Mitchell, M.D. ( issues a retraction to nurses he originally advised to get the H1N1 flu vaccination. After reading the insert of the vaccine, he retracted his advice. This video exposes what is actually IN the vaccine our government is so eager to inject into our population.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Morning Fix: The (political) dangers of H1N1

Long lines of people wait for the swine flu vaccine.
Photo by Tracy A. Woodward of the Washington Post

President Obama's decision to declare the H1N1 flu a national emergency over the weekend is a recognition of the political peril the virus could inflict on the White House.

The declaration came after 72 hours of stories -- both locally and nationally -- focused on the long lines for the swine flu vaccine and the mounting fear surrounding the illness.

And, it came just days after a Washington Post/ABC national poll showed that a majority (52 percent) of Americans were worried that they or someone in their family would contract H1N1 -- up from 39 percent who said the same in a mid-August survey.

Given that context, Obama's announcement, which essentially allows hospitals more leeway in the way they deal with the outbreaks, is rightly understood as an attempt to show the American people that the president understands their concern and is ensuring the government is doing everything it can to help.

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Morning Fix: The (political) dangers of H1N1

Sunday, October 25, 2009

USA Today: Obesity a swine flu risk factor?

Some swine flu cases in America are raising questions about obesity's role in why some people with infections become seriously ill.

A high proportion of those who have gotten severely ill from swine flu have been obese or extremely obese, but health officials have said that might be due to the fact that heavy people tend to have asthma and other conditions that make them more susceptible. Obesity alone has never been seen as a risk factor for seasonal flu.

But in a report released Friday, health officials detailed the cases of 10 Michigan patients who were very sick from swine flu in late May and early June and ended up at a specialized hospital in Ann Arbor. Three of them died.

Nine of the 10 were either obese or extremely obese. Only three of the 10 had other health problems. Two of the three that died had no other health conditions.

This hardly settles the question of whether obesity is its own risk factor for swine flu. It's possible the patients had undiagnosed heart problems or other unidentified conditions.

Still the finding was striking, investigators acknowledged.

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USA Today: Obesity a swine flu risk factor?

New York Times: Worst Case - Choosing Who Survives in a Flu Epidemic

New York state health officials recently laid out this wrenching scenario for a small group of medical professionals from New York-Presbyterian Hospital:

A 32-year-old man with cystic fibrosis is rushed to the hospital with appendicitis in the midst of a worsening pandemic caused by the H1N1 flu virus, which has mutated into a more deadly form. The man is awaiting a lung transplant and brought with him the mechanical ventilator that helps him breathe.

New York’s governor has declared a state of emergency and hospitals are following the state’s pandemic ventilator allocation plan — actual guidelines drafted in 2007 that are now being revisited. The plan aims to direct ventilators to those with the best chances of survival in a severe, 1918-like flu pandemic where tens of thousands develop life-threatening pneumonia.

Because the man’s end-stage lung disease caused by his cystic fibrosis is among a list of medical conditions associated with high mortality, the guidelines would bar the man from using a ventilator in a hospital, even though he is, unlike many with his illness, stable, in good condition, and not close to death. If the hospital admits him, the guidelines call for the machine that keeps him alive to be given to someone else.

Would doctors and nurses follow such rules? Should they?

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New York Times: Worst Case - Choosing Who Survives in a Flu Epidemic

FDA warns of bogus swine flu products on the Internet

If there is money to be made from people's fear or misery, there is someone who has something to sell you.The Federal Food and Drug Administration warns many bogus products are now circulating on the Internet that falsely claim to relieve symptoms or even prevent the H1N1 swine flu virus.

Scam artists with such things as air sterilizers, supplements, face masks; shampoos and fake Tamiflu, are selling these bogus products over the Internet. Tamiflu is a FDA-approved product made by Switzerland's Roche Group and is currently being rationed.

A fake Tamiflu circulating on the Internet has been tested by the FDA. The agency found it to contain powered talc and generic Tylenol.

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FDA warns of bogus swine flu products on the Internet

Washington Post: Scientists study pig farming for answers on swine flu

TIPTON, IOWA It may be crowded and carpeted in manure, but the long, white building beside State Route 38 is one of the most pathogen-free homes a pig could have.

The animals never know the feel of grass, mud or sunshine, and hardly the touch of man, in their six months of life. But they are also free of many of the infections that slow the growth and occasionally end the lives of their outdoor cousins.

'We're producing the most efficient animal, one that is healthy every day,' said Devon Schott, the 34-year-old farmer who owns the building. To do that, he said, 'biosecurity is of utmost importance.'

Despite the buttoned-up methods of farmers such as Schott, many experts think pig farming presents a serious and overlooked risk to public health. Proof of that assertion -- indirect but indisputable, in the opinion of virologists -- is the 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza.

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Washington Post: Scientists study pig farming for answers on swine flu

Radio Netherlands Worldwide: Europe opts for widespread flu vaccination

An increasing number of European countries are opting for widespread vaccination against the Mexican flu. Even in countries such as Italy and Sweden, where vaccination of vulnerable groups began last week, all inhabitants are now being called up to receive the vaccine.

In Britain, France and Germany, the general public can be vaccinated at the local GPs from Monday. In Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain, large-scale vaccination will get under way in the first two weeks of November.

After much hesitation, the Norwegian government has also decided to extend its vaccination programme from high-risk groups to as much of the population as possible, starting in late November and early December.

Radio Netherlands Worldwide: Europe opts for widespread flu vaccination

Dayton Daily News: Hundreds turn out for H1N1 FluMist clinic

Milder temperatures, plenty of parking and vaccines kept Warren County’s H1N1 flu vaccine clinic at the Lebanon Raceway/Warren County Fairgrounds moving smoothly Saturday morning, Oct. 24.

People started to arrive at the fairgrounds after midnight, and Health Commissioner Duane Stansbury said at 6 a.m. there already was a line to enter the grandstand area for the FluMist vaccine for the H1N1 flu, also known as swine flu.

“We can’t afford to get sick,” said Lisa Cecil of Lebanon who brought one of her three sons to the clinic Saturday and has insisted they all get the vaccine. “If there are any preventative measures available, we’re going to take them.”

Gwen Motley of Carlisle came with her two daughters, ages 3 and 6, and said she was concerned about the new influenza strain.

Read the rest at:
Dayton Daily News: Hundreds turn out for H1N1 FluMist clinic Obama Declares Swine Flu Outbreak a National Emergency

WASHINGTON — President Obama has declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency, allowing hospitals and local governments to speedily set up alternate sites for treatment and triage procedures if needed to handle any surge of patients, the White House said on Saturday.

The declaration came as thousands of people lined up in cities across the country to receive vaccinations, and as federal officials acknowledged that their ambitious vaccination program has gotten off to a slow start. Only 16 million doses of the vaccine were available now, and about 30 million were expected by the end of the month. Some states have requested 10 times the amount they have been allotted.

Flu activity — virtually all of it the swine flu — is now widespread in 46 states, a level that federal officials say equals the peak of a typical winter flu season. Millions of people in the United States have had swine flu, known as H1N1, either in the first wave in the spring or the current wave. Obama Declares Swine Flu Outbreak a National Emergency

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tracking the progress of H1N1 swine flu

This map and the data behind it were compiled by Dr. Henry Niman, a biomedical researcher in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, using technology provided by Rhiza Labs and Google. The map is compiled using data from official sources, news reports and user-contributions and updated multiple times per day.

Rhiza's web-based mapping product, Insight, is helping Dr. Niman get official and unofficial data into the tracking system faster while giving researchers and the public many options for viewing the data in a useful and understandable way.

FluTracker - H1N1 Swine Flu and Influenza Outbreak Tracking from Rhiza Labs

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cons even oppose the flu shots

Conservative media figures oppose everything proposed by the Obama administration, even flu shots.

Listen to this Media Matters Minute on Air America Media