Friday, July 31, 2009

Times Online: Tamiflu causes sickness and nightmares in children, study finds

More than half of children taking the swine flu drug Tamiflu experience side-effects such as nausea and nightmares, research suggests.

An estimated 150,000 people with flu symptoms were prescribed the drug through a new hotline and website last week, according to figures revealed yesterday.

Studies of children attending three schools in London and one in the South West showed that 51-53 per cent had one or more side-effects from the medication, which is offered to everyone in England with swine flu symptoms.

Times Online: Tamiflu causes sickness and nightmares in children, study finds

Queensland Country Life: A/H1N1 flu found in New South Wales piggery

News from Australia:
Swine flu, or the influenza A/H1N1 (2009) virus, has been detected in a NSW piggery as a result of human-to-pig transmission.

Australian Pork Ltd has moved quickly to reassure consumers that the transmission holds no implications for Australian consumers.

APL chief executive Andrew Spencer says consumers can 'have the utmost confidence in pork as a safe and healthy meat to eat'.

Mr Spencer said experts in Australia and overseas, including state and federal health departments, the Australian Medical Association, Australian Veterinarian Association, the World Health Organisation and the World Organisation for Animal Health, have agreed there is no food safety risk associated with the flu virus.

Queensland Country Life: A/H1N1 flu found in New South Wales piggery

CDC H1N1 Flu | Novel H1N1 U.S. Situation Update

Total U.S. Novel H1N1 Flu Hospitalizations and Deaths as posted July 31, 2009, 11:00 AM ET

Reporting States and Territories* - 47
Hospitalized Cases 5,514
Deaths 353
*Includes the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The number of hospitalized novel H1N1 cases and deaths presented in this table are an aggregate of reports received by CDC from U.S. states and territories and will be updated weekly each Friday at 11am.

For state level information, refer to state health departments.

CDC discontinued reporting of individual confirmed and probable cases of novel H1N1 infection on July 24, 2009.

CDC will report the total number of hospitalizations and deaths weekly, and continue to use its traditional surveillance systems to track the progress of the novel H1N1 flu outbreak.

For more information about CDC’s novel H1N1 influenza surveillance system, see Questions & Answers About CDC's Novel H1N1 Influenza Surveillance.

CDC H1N1 Flu | Novel H1N1 U.S. Situation Update

WHO | Pandemic influenza in pregnant women

Research conducted in the USA and published 29 July in The Lancet [1] has drawn attention to an increased risk of severe or fatal illness in pregnant women when infected with the H1N1 pandemic virus.

Several other countries experiencing widespread transmission of the pandemic virus have similarly reported an increased risk in pregnant women, particularly during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. An increased risk of fetal death or spontaneous abortions in infected women has also been reported.
Increased risk for pregnant women

Evidence from previous pandemics further supports the conclusion that pregnant women are at heightened risk.

While pregnant women are also at increased risk during epidemics of seasonal influenza, the risk takes on added importance in the current pandemic, which continues to affect a younger age group than that seen during seasonal epidemics.

WHO strongly recommends that, in areas where infection with the H1N1 virus is widespread, pregnant women, and the clinicians treating them, be alert to symptoms of influenza-like illness.

WHO | Pandemic influenza in pregnant women

BBC NEWS - 'Swine flu liner' docks in France

A cruise ship carrying dozens of victims of swine flu among its 5,000 passengers and crew has docked in the south of France, officials have said.

Sixty crew members have so far been diagnosed with the H1N1 virus, while 70 of their colleagues were also showing signs of being infected, they added.

They will be treated on board the ship while it docks at Villefranche-sur-Mer.

On Thursday, officials said a 14-year-old girl infected with H1N1 had become France's first fatality from the virus.

However, they cautioned that it did not appear that her death, at a hospital in the north-western city of Brest, had been directly linked to the virus.

BBC NEWS - 'Swine flu liner' docks in France

Thursday, July 30, 2009

DJ Whoo Kid & Tony Yayo - The Swine Flu (free from YOURAUDIOFIX.COM)

"Yes indeed, it is here! Tony Yayo & DJ Whoo Kid finally release The Swine Flu! Sorry, no long winded description or synopsis for this one YAF viewers, I mean come on it’s The Talk of New York, Tony Yayo! Tracklist and Download after the jump!"

DJ Whoo Kid & Tony Yayo - The Swine Flu US Swine Flu Plan Would Put Some Ahead for Vaccine

A panel of health experts laid out a plan on Wednesday for vaccinating certain people first in the likely event that not enough swine flu vaccine will be available to immunize every American in time for the expected surge of cases this fall and winter.

The top priority group, 159 million Americans, or about half the population, would include health care workers and emergency medical responders, because their jobs are critical.

It would also include people with the highest risk of complications and severe illness from the new H1N1 virus: pregnant women; children and young adults from 6 months to 24 years; and people ages 25 to 64 with medical problems like asthma, diabetes or heart disease." US Swine Flu Plan Would Put Some Ahead for Vaccine

Friday, July 24, 2009

CDC: Up To 40 Percent Of Americans May Get Ill

U.S. health officials say swine flu could strike up to 40 percent of Americans over the next two years and as many as several hundred thousand could die if a vaccine campaign and other measures aren't successful.

Those estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mean about twice the number of people who usually get sick in a normal flu season would be struck by swine flu. Officials said those projections would drop if a new vaccine is ready and widely available, as U.S. officials expect.

The U.S. may have as many as 160 million doses of swine flu vaccine available sometime in October, and U.S. tests of the new vaccine are to start shortly, federal officials said this week. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention Estimates Up To 40 Percent Of Americans May Get Ill

WHO | Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 briefing note 4

The number of human cases of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 is still increasing substantially in many countries, even in countries that have already been affected for some time.

Our understanding of the disease continues to evolve as new countries become affected, as community-level spread extends in already affected countries, and as information is shared globally. Many countries with widespread community transmission have moved to testing only samples of ill persons and have shifted surveillance efforts to monitoring and reporting of trends.

This shift has been recommended by WHO, because as the pandemic progresses, monitoring trends in disease activity can be done better by following trends in illness cases rather than trying to test all ill persons, which can severely stress national resources. It remains a top priority to determine which groups of people are at highest risk of serious disease so steps to best to protect them can be taken.

In addition to surveillance information, WHO is relying on the results of special research and clinical studies and other data provided by countries directly through frequent expert teleconferences on clinical, virological and epidemiological aspects of the pandemic, to gain a global overview of the evolving situation.

WHO | Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 briefing note 4

Al Jazeera English - H1N1 virus spreads to 160 countries

The H1N1 flu virus has spread to at least 160 countries across the world, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

The global virus, which the UN health agency declared a pandemic in June, has resulted in nearly 800 deaths worldwide since it was first detected in Mexico four months ago, WHO officials said in Geneva, Switzerland, on Friday.

'The spread of this virus continues, if you see 160 out of 193 WHO member states now have cases, so we are nearing almost 100 per cent, but not quite yet,' said Gregory Hartl, a WHO spokesman.

'For the moment we haven't seen any changes in the behaviour of the virus,' he said.

'What we are seeing still is a geographic expansion across countries.'

Al Jazeera English - H1N1 virus spreads to 160 countries

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reuters: U.S. has bought 195 million doses of H1N1 vaccine

The U.S. government has bought 195 million doses of H1N1 swine flu vaccine for a possible autumn vaccination campaign, a U.S. federal official said Thursday.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department has also contracted for 120 million doses of adjuvant, a compound to stretch the number of doses of vaccine needed, the department's Dr. Robin Robinson told a meeting of Food and Drug Administration advisers.

Five companies are making H1N1 vaccine for the U.S. market -- AstraZeneca's MedImmune unit, Australia's CSL Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Novartis AG and Sanofi-Aventis SA.

Earlier, an FDA official said vaccine makers were only getting about 30 percent as much vaccine from eggs as they usually get with seasonal influenza vaccine.

Reuters: U.S. has bought 195 million doses of H1N1 vaccine

CBC News - Health officials: Tamiflu-resistant strain is rare

Health officials say a recent Quebec case of drug-resistant swine flu shouldn't prompt Canada to change its approach to Tamiflu, as the strain remains rare worldwide.

A 60-year-old Quebec man is one of five people around the world found to have a strain of H1N1 flu resistant to the antiviral drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir). The other cases occurred in Japan, Denmark and Hong Kong.

The Quebecer was given a low preventive dose of Tamiflu as a precaution because he had a pulmonary condition and doctors thought he might have been exposed to swine flu.

CBC News - Health officials: Tamiflu-resistant strain is rare

Sky News UK: Swine Flu Latest: 100,000 New Swine Flu Cases Reported In Past Week

One hundred thousand new cases of swine flu have been recorded in the last seven days.

The figure for England is double the total of the previous week.

Some 840 people are described as being 'seriously ill' in hospital with the illness - and 63 people are being treated in intensive care.

The death toll in the UK stands at 31, but that is likely to climb when the Department of Health releases its weekly update online later.

Sky News UK: Swine Flu Latest: 100,000 New Swine Flu Cases Reported In Past Week

ComputerWorld Hong Kong: Swine flu raises telework questions

The possibility of a widespread swine flu outbreak is prompting companies to think about business continuity and how options such as telework or telecommuting may become a necessity.
A recent whitepaper by Nortel Networks on business continuity and teleworking posed the following questions to enterprises:

1. Can your business operate at 60% of its employee capacity?

2. Due to quarantine mandates, can you maintain business operations when you cannot permit your employees to work from their office?

3. How do you continue to conduct business when health officials and your organization have banned your business travel into affected geographical areas?

4. During times of crisis, do you have the capability and capacity to seamlessly communicate status and share information with all stakeholders

Companies that have solid telework plans in place are in good shape, says Chuck Wilsker, president and CEO of the Telework Coalition in the US.
Those that aren’t prepared to have employees work offsite may find operations at a standstill if the swine flu threat were to escalate to the point of widespread absenteeism or building closures.

ComputerWorld Hong Kong: Swine flu raises telework questions


More A/H1N1 cartoons here

CBS News Video: H1N1 Pregnancy Risks

On CBS News dr. Jennifer Ashton spoke with Harry Smith about the heightened flu danger for pregnant women.

CBS News Video: H1N1 Pregnancy Risks U.S. trials for H1N1 vaccine announced

In a race to beat the flu season, medical institutes across the United States will begin human trials for a new H1N1 flu vaccine starting in early August, the University of Maryland announced Wednesday.
Concern about the H1N1 virus grew after it spread quickly around the globe earlier this year.

Concern about the H1N1 virus grew after it spread quickly around the globe earlier this year.

In the hope of getting the vaccine to those who will need it most by October, the clinical trials will enroll as many as 1,000 adults and children at 10 centers nationwide, said officials at the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which will lead the effort. The trials will measure the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

The research is a first step toward U.S. health officials' goal of developing a safe and effective vaccine against H1N1, also known as swine flu, which has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization

The time frame for developing a vaccine is a tight one.

'It's going to be close,' said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. 'I believe it can be [ready by October] if things run smoothly. We hope they will, but you never can tell when you're dealing with biological phenomena like making vaccines and administering them.'

The announcement of the U.S. trials followed the announcement earlier this week, by an Australian company, CSL Ltd., of the first human trials of a swine flu vaccine. U.S. trials for H1N1 vaccine announced

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Closure of schools during an influenza pandemic

In response to WHO raising the influenza pandemic alert level from phase five to phase six, health officials around the world are carefully reviewing pandemic mitigation protocols.

School closure (also called class dismissal in North America) is a non-pharmaceutical intervention that is commonly suggested for mitigating influenza pandemics.

Health officials taking the decision to close schools must weigh the potential health benefits of reducing transmission and thus case numbers against high economic and social costs, difficult ethical issues, and the possible disruption of key services such as health care.

Also, if schools are expected to close as a deliberate policy option, or just because of high levels of staff absenteeism, it is important to plan to mitigate the negative features of closure. In this context, there is still debate about if, when, and how school closure policy should be used.

The Lancet published a Review, in which a multidisciplinary and holistic perspective and review the multiple aspects of school closure as a public health policy is taken. Implications for the mitigation of the swine-origin influenza A H1N1 pandemic are also discussed.

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Closure of schools during an influenza pandemic

AFP: Stay away from Mecca over swine flu, pilgrims warned

Egypt has become the latest country to warn vulnerable Muslims against pilgrimage to Mecca, after an Egyptian woman back from Saudi Arabia became the first swine flu death in the Middle East and Africa.

Egypt's health ministry 'has warned the elderly, pregnant women, children and those suffering from chronic illness not to perform the hajj or omra pilgrimages,' the official MENA news agency reported late Monday.

As well as the annual hajj, which all Muslims are required to make once in a lifetime if they have the means, the faithful can also make a lesser pilgrimage to the holy places, known as omra, at any time of the year.

Upwards of two million people are expected in Saudi Arabia over the next five months on pilgrimages to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina in the west of the kingdom.

The ministry 'has asked them to delay taking part so that they are not exposed to the risks... of swine flu,' MENA quoted health ministry official Amr Qandil as saying.

The warning came ahead of a meeting of Arab health ministers in Cairo on Wednesday to coordinate arrangements and precautions to be taken during the pilgrimage season.

Egypt on Sunday reported its first death linked to swine flu after a 25-year-old woman returning from a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia died in hospital.

AFP: Stay away from Mecca over swine flu, pilgrims warned

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Reuters: UK school children quarantined for H1N1 flu in China

A group of 52 British school children and their teachers have been quarantined in Beijing after four pupils were admitted to hospital infected with the H1N1 flu virus, Britain's Foreign Office said Saturday.

(A hospital worker wearing an isolation suit stands
at the entrance of a flu inspection clinic in
Beijing's Ditan Hospital. REUTERS/Jason Lee

The group arrived in China earlier this week for a culture and study tour. But shortly after arrival at Beijing airport, four of the students -- all believed to be teenagers -- were admitted to hospital showing symptoms of swine flu infection.

As a precaution, the remainder of the group was quarantined in their four-star hotel in Beijing.

'We can confirm that a group of 52 British school children and teachers are being held in quarantine in their hotel,' a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

Reuters: UK school children quarantined for H1N1 flu in China

Swine Flu Diary - Melissa Auf der Maur

Photo courtesy of Melissa Auf der Maur

Musician Melissa Auf der Maur, formerly of Hole and the Smashing Pumpkins has Mexican Flu.
She writes in her weblog:

"About two weeks ago, I was reading an article in The Globe and Mail over breakfast, when a question crossed my mind: 'Have I been kissed by the gloom of Swine?'

You might think it’s a shocking or silly question, but I’d been sick on and off for a month. It turns out that, somewhere between a video shoot in Vermont, a heavy metal concert in London, and my own musical showcase in Toronto, I had indeed fallen victim to a world pandemic. I am now officially on the mend – thanks to a combination of naturopathic treatments and heavy-duty antibiotics, among other survival tools – and I’ve gathered enough energy to type out this, my swine flu chronicle."

Swine Flu Diary - Melissa Auf der Maur

Swine flu reports jump by half in a week - Times Online

Influenza graph

The number of swine flu cases has jumped by nearly 50 per cent in a week, figures released yesterday indicate.

Data from a sample of GPs’ surgeries, seen by The Times, shows that up to 40,000 people complained to their doctor last week of “flu-like illness” in England and Wales, with a huge rise in the number of young children being affected.

The report shows that the highest rates of reported illness are in children aged five to 14, with 160 of every 100,000 in this age group reporting symptoms, followed by 114 per 100,000 of the 0 to four-year-olds.

Overall, the rate of people complaining of symptoms increased to 73.4 cases for every 100,000 people in the week to Sunday, compared to 50.3 cases per 100,000 the week before.

Times Online: Swine flu reports jump by half in a week

Edmonton Sun: Swine flu on wane, but health officials anticipate comeback

Three months after Canadian scientists first became aware of a mysterious influenza outbreak in Mexico, the rate of new swine flu cases in this country finally seems to be ebbing.

But public health officials warn the virus will be back with a vengeance in the fall.

'We're still seeing new cases (but) it appears there are fewer,' Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada's chief public health officer, said yesterday. 'We are seeing fewer people admitted to hospital, so it seems to be on the wane.'

But he added, 'It's an amazing, adaptive disease and it's always full of surprises.'

So full of surprises, apparently, that British officials this week projected a worst-case scenario of up to 65,000 deaths in the U.K. from H1N1. Their bleak assessment included an estimate that 30% of the population could become infected, and that half of British children could contract H1N1.

Edmonton Sun: Swine flu on wane, but health officials anticipate comeback

Thursday, July 16, 2009

WHO stopped tracking swine flu cases

In a move that caught many public health experts by surprise, the WHO quietly announced Thursday that it would stop tracking swine flu cases and deaths around the world," the New York Times reports.

As the 2009 pandemic evolves, the data needed for risk assessment, both within affected countries and at the global level, are also changing.

At this point, further spread of the pandemic, within affected countries and to new countries, is considered inevitable.

This assumption is fully backed by experience. The 2009 influenza pandemic has spread internationally with unprecedented speed. In past pandemics, influenza viruses have needed more than six months to spread as widely as the new H1N1 virus has spread in less than six weeks.

The increasing number of cases in many countries with sustained community transmission is making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for countries to try and confirm them through laboratory testing. Moreover, the counting of individual cases is now no longer essential in such countries for monitoring either the level or nature of the risk posed by the pandemic virus or to guide implementation of the most appropriate response measures.

WHO | Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 briefing note 3

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ministry of Tourism in Malaysia to brain-storm on fears over A/H1N1

A two-day brain-storming session to tackle the Influenza A (H1N1) issue will be held by the Tourism Ministry of Malaysia today.

The ministry’s officers from 44 locations around the world would be attending the session and come up with strategies to allay fears of the virus and encourage more visitors to the country, said Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

“We need feedback to understand the real situation that we are in now,” Ng said after attending the “Loving Heart Cheongsam Night”, an event organised by the Federation of Hakka Association of Malaysia at the KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall here yesterday.

Ng said the ministry would collaborate with the Federation of Hakka Association to tap the federation’s vast network around the world.

A session with nine selected advertising agencies would also be held to discuss promotional strateties for the country.

“People are afraid to travel these days.

“Each time we lose 10% of our tourists, we will lose an income of RM4.9bil,” she said.

Ministry of Tourism in Malaysia to brain-storm on fears over A/H1N1

The Guardian: Swine flu strikes Downing Street – and almost reaches G8 summit

The first case of swine flu has struck Downing Street and it nearly caused a diplomatic crisis.

Gordon Brown's senior climate change adviser Michael Jacobs was banned from attending the G8 summit in Italy for fear he would pass the contagious disease to Barack Obama and other world leaders.

It is understood that Jacobs contracted the disease while involved in climate change talks in Mexico.

He had travelled to Rome for some preliminary negotiations on the draft of the G8 communique text, and was told by his personal doctor that he was no longer suffering from the disease. He then planned to travel to the conference site in L'Aquila, Italy, but was told by Brown that he could not risk him going.

The Guardian: Swine flu strikes Downing Street – and almost reaches G8 summit

Pandemic Information News: Swine flu vaccine production hits a snag: yield so far is 'less than optimal'

Swine flu vaccine production has hit a snag, with manufacturers reporting a disappointingly low yield when vaccines viruses are grown in eggs.

The World Health Organization says so far the yield for egg-based production is half or less what manufacturers get when they make vaccine to protect against seasonal H1N1 viruses. The lion's share of influenza vaccine is made by companies that grow the viruses in eggs.

New seed strains are being made in the hopes of increasing the vaccine yield, a report by the WHO's vaccine chief, Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny says.

But if the yield cannot be increased, it will slow the rate at which pandemic vaccine comes out of the production pipeline, adding to the time it takes to protect populations in countries like Canada that have purchased vaccine. And countries that haven't pre-ordered pandemic vaccine would face substantial delays before manufacturers have product to sell to them.

'There's nothing to suggest it will take longer to make vaccine, if in fact everything goes as planned. The question is: How much?' says Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

'There is nothing magical about making this virus. The questions will be: How much? When? and Where will it be available?'

The yield problem is revealed in presentations WHO staff made to last week's special meeting of the expert panel that advises the Geneva-based global health agency on vaccine issues.

Pandemic Information News: Swine flu vaccine production hits a snag: yield so far is 'less than optimal'

U.S. To Spend Another $1 Billion To Fight Swine Flu

The United States is ready to announce another $1 billion in orders for swine flu vaccinations.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says she will announce Monday that Washington has approved another billion dollars to buy components of the vaccine.

Sebelius said on Sunday that research is under way to provide a safe and effective vaccine to fight a flu strain that could be a pandemic.

Sebelius and other top officials are bracing for fall's flu season.

She said leaders are watching the Southern Hemisphere for clues how serious the U.S. flu season might be.

Sebelius appeared on CNN's "State of the Union."

U.S. moves forward with preparations for H1N1 vaccination campaign

The Obama administration on Thursday said a nationwide vaccination program could begin as early as mid-October to protect Americans from the H1N1 (swine flu) virus and pledged $350 million to help prepare communities across the country for this effort.

"I think it's clear that although we were fortunate not to see a more serious situation in the spring when we first got news of this outbreak, the potential for a significant outbreak in the fall is looming," President Obama said, speaking by phone from the G8 summit in Italy to U.S. health officials who gathered in Maryland for a daylong flu summit organized by his Cabinet, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. "We want to make sure that we are not promoting panic, but we are promoting vigilance and preparation," he said.

"The White House has drawn up a battle plan for taking on the virus when influenza season returns to the northern hemisphere in several weeks' time," contingent on the development of a viable H1N1 vaccine. Clinical trials on the first H1N1 vaccine are scheduled to start next month, according to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "We know that a safe and effective vaccine is the best means of both preventing the disease in individuals and stopping the community spread of the virus," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

U.S. moves forward with preparations for H1N1 vaccination campaign

Friday, July 3, 2009

NZ Herald: Be prepared, or face the consequences when the pandemic peaks

In a column in the New Zealand Herald, Gill South wrote:

"For many New Zealand businesses, the swine flu virus has arrived at the worst possible time; when they are already leaning heavily on a depleted staff, with many personnel doing more than one job, the idea of losing even more employees for a period is enough to send many management teams into despair.

The Ministry of Health says businesses can expect absenteeism to be as high as 50 per cent for a two-week period during the peak of the pandemic, and businesses need to be aware the overall pandemic could last around eight weeks.

There has been plenty of news about how to handle the clinical side of things in the workplace, but how should companies respond in a more considered managerial way?

Business continuity specialist David Dunsheath, who runs Business Continuance Planning, says managers should be trying to protect their reputation, operation and finances. Don't think of this as a pandemic, think of it as a business continuity challenge, he says. 'It's about preparedness.'

The consultant recommends larger operations not only have a crisis management team, but a business continuity team and a clinical health team."

NZ Herald: Be prepared, or face the consequences when the pandemic peaks

U.S. scientists discover why A/H1N1 flu virus spreads less effectively

The new A/H1N1 strain of flu has a form of surface protein that binds inefficiently to receptors found in the human respiratory tract, which make it spread from person to person less effectively than other flu viruses, scientists said.

A team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the discovery Thursday in the online edition of Science.

'While the virus is able to bind human receptors, it clearly appears to be restricted,' says Ram Sasisekharan, director of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) and the lead MIT author of the paper. Sasisekharan and his laboratory co-workers have been actively investigating influenza viruses.

That restricted, or weak, binding, along with a genetic variation in an H1N1 polymerase enzyme, which MIT researchers first reported three weeks ago in Nature Biotechnology, explains why the virus has not spread as efficiently as seasonal flu, says Sasisekharan.

Sasisekharan and CDC senior microbiologist Terrence Tumpey have previously shown that a flu virus's ability to infect humans depends on whether its hemagglutinin protein can bind to a specific type of receptor on the surface of human respiratory cells.

U.S. scientists discover why A/H1N1 flu virus spreads less effectively

ABC News: "Babies should wear face masks"

A New South Wales Health Department expert says all children younger than two should wear face masks to prevent the spread of swine flu.

The senior clinical adviser to the department's Chronic Disease Program, Professor Ron Penny, says parents should heed his advice because influenza has a higher mortality rate in babies.

Professor Penny says anyone with flu symptoms or lung disease should also wear face masks.

He says Australians need to accept responsibility to prevent disease spreading.

ABC News: "Babies should wear face masks"

First Chinese A/H1N1 fatality "was electrocuted"

A 34-year-old woman who became the first swine flu victim to die in China may have actually been electrocuted in the hospital toilet, it has emerged.
The unnamed patient was found dead early on Wednesday morning in the Number One People's Hospital in the eastern city of Hangzhou.

The woman had been admitted to the hospital on June 23, but had shown signs of recovery as her fever abated.

Doctors told Xinhua, the state newswire, that her temperature had been normal for a week and that her only remaining symptom was occasional coughing.

Yesterday, relatives of the woman attacked the hospital, smashing the entrance lobby and an ambulance with rocks. They said the woman had died from an electric shock while using the bathroom.

First Chinese A/H1N1 fatality "was electrocuted"

China A/H1N1 flu patient dies "accidentally"

Thursday, July 2, 2009

BBC NEWS | Health | Swine flu in UK 'cannot be contained rising number of swine flu cases mean trying to contain the virus is no longer an option, the government says.

Ministers said the emergency response would now move to a new 'treatment' phase across the UK as there may soon be 100,000 new cases a day.

It means anti-flu drugs will no longer be given to the close contacts of those infected nor will lab testing be done to confirm cases.

BBC NEWS | Health | Swine flu in UK 'cannot be contained

Reuters: Roche finds 1st case of H1N1 resistance to Tamiflu

(Reuters) - A patient with H1N1 influenza in Denmark showed resistance to Roche Holding AG's Tamiflu, the main antiviral flu drug, a company executive said on Monday.

'While receiving the drug, the patient appeared to develop resistance to it,' David Reddy, Roche's pandemic taskforce leader, told reporters on a conference call on the Danish case. 'This is the first report we have of it in H1N1.'

The World Health Organization has raised its pandemic flu alert on the H1N1 flu virus to phase 6 on a six-point scale, indicating the first influenza pandemic since 1968 is under way.

Reuters: Roche finds 1st case of H1N1 resistance to Tamiflu