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Too Early To Declare End Of H1N1 Pandemic, WHO Says

Though there are signs the H1N1 (swine flu) has peaked in the U.S. and Canada, a WHO flu expert said Thursday it is too early to declare the pandemic over, Canadian Press reports. “‘In the Northern Hemisphere, we continue to see an up and down pattern by countries. And so what you see in one country is not necessarily what you are seeing in another country,’ Keiji Fukuda, special adviser to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan on pandemic influenza, said in a teleconference briefing,” the news service writes.

H1N1 Reported In Gaza, Southern Sudan

Two women have become the first to die from H1N1 (swine flu) in Gaza, health officials said Monday, Agence France-Presse/Inquirer.net reports.

WHO Group Hopes To Have Virus-Sharing Draft Agreement Finalized By Friday

Countries are narrowing in on a “deal to speed up their response to the next flu pandemic by sharing virus samples in return for access to affordable vaccines,” co-chairs of a WHO working group told reporters on Tuesday, Reuters reports. The group, which is meeting this week and just last week was in meetings with drug manufacturers and WHO member states about the plans, says it hopes to have a draft agreement finalized by Friday to be voted on during next month’s World Health Assembly, according to the news service (Nebehay, 4/12).

Virus-Sharing Draft Agreement Very Close; U.S. Yet To Formally Approve, Reuters Reports

A draft agreement that would ensure countries would share virus samples in exchange for access to affordable vaccines derived from such samples in the event of a pandemic is nearly complete, senior diplomats told Reuters on Thursday. “Consensus has been reached across all regions, including Indonesia which three years ago stopped sharing influenza samples with the World Health Organization (WHO), but the United States has yet to give formal approval, they said,” according to the news service.

Experts Blame Lack Of Immunization Coverage For Pakistan’s Measles Outbreak

In 2012, measles “claimed the lives of more than 300 children in Pakistan,” with more than 200 of those deaths from Sindh province, and health experts and the WHO are saying “the huge difference in routine immunization coverage between the provinces, districts and cities is at the root of the…