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New Cases of H1N1 Worldwide Up 24,000 In Two Weeks

The number of H1N1 (swine flu) cases reported in WHO regions worldwide has grown by at least 24,000 in two weeks to cross the 340,000 mark since the virus was first detected in mid-April, the CDC reported Monday, according to Agence France-Presse.

WHO Emphasizes H1N1 Vaccine Safety

The WHO on Tuesday continued to express confidence in the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine as few mild adverse effects have been reported by patients participating in China’s vaccine campaign, the Associated Press reports. Out of the 39,000 people in China who received the H1N1 vaccine, four reported experiencing side effects such as muscle cramps and headache, according to WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl (Higgins, 10/6).

AP Examines H1N1 Surveillance By U.S., WHO

The Associated Press examines how the decision by U.S. health officials to stop counting new cases of H1N1 (swine flu) in July has complicated the government’s ability to assess groups particularly hard hit by the virus. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is relying on a patchwork system of gathering death and hospitalization numbers. Some states are reporting lab-confirmed cases. Others report illnesses that could be the new swine flu, seasonal flu or some other respiratory disease,” the news service writes.

U.S. Should Provide More Leadership In Finding TB Vaccine, Opinion Piece Says

Tuberculosis deserves an effort as “substantial” as the one mounted against swine flu “to develop a new vaccine,” David McMurray, a TB expert at Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, writes in a Houston Chronicle opinion piece. “Since April, … nearly one million men, women and children have died from TB, compared to 4,200 who have died from H1N1 flu globally. Why didn’t you see any headlines? Because 98 percent of the nearly two million people who die each year from TB live in the developing world, in places like Kenya … Yet TB continues to be a problem in [the U.S.] as well because in an age of globalization, germs cross borders without a passport,” McMurray writes.

Studies Examine H1N1 Treatment, Outcome Differences In Mexico, Canada

New studies suggest that “[d]eveloping countries with limited access to advanced health-care facilities may be in for a rough ride with swine [H1N1] flu and even countries with high-tech ICUs may find themselves pushed to the limit as their hospitals struggle to save gravely ill H1N1 patients,” the Canadian Press reports. The studies, which compare outcomes among H1N1 patients admitted to intensive care units in Canada and Mexico,” show “the death rate in the latter was more than double that seen among Canadian patients. Just over 40 percent of critically ill Mexican patients succumbed to their illness by day 60, compared to 17.3 percent of Canadian patients by day 90.” The findings were reported online in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on Monday.

Atlantic Examines Flu Vaccine, Antiviral Skepticism

As countries around the world roll out H1N1 (swine flu) virus vaccine campaigns, the Atlantic examines, “[W]hat if everything we think we know about fighting influenza is wrong?”

Low-, Middle-Income Countries Could Receive Donated H1N1 Vaccine Shipments By November, WHO Says

About 100 low- and middle-income countries could receive donated shipments of the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine as early as November, Marie-Paule Kieny, of the WHO, told journalists Monday, Agence France-Presse reports. “Dozens of millions of doses are being lined up following offers from pharmaceutical companies,” including Sanofi-Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline and MedImmune, as well as a coalition of developed nations “that have pledged to release 10 percent of their vaccine purchases for poor nations,” the news service writes (10/12).

WHO Recommends Antivirals For Patients With Symptoms Of Both H1N1, Pneumonia

The WHO concluded a three-day meeting on H1N1 (swine flu) in Washington, D.C., on Friday, where health experts issued recommendations that patients with symptoms of H1N1 and pneumonia be treated quickly with antivirals, even before the results of H1N1 tests are complete, the San Francisco Chronicle blog, “ChronRX” reports.