The number of deaths from H1N1 (swine flu) rose by 700 in a week, to top 5,700 since the virus was first identified in April, the WHO reported Friday, Agence France-Presse reports (10/30). “The biggest rise in the past week was recorded in the Americas, w[h]ere 636 more people were reported killed by swine flu, bringing the region’s death toll to 4,175, the UN agency said, AFP reports in a second story. “Fatal cases in Europe also climbed to at least 281, while those in Asia-Pacific rose to 1,070” (10/31).
The H1N1 (swine flu) virus is now the dominant flu strain worldwide, the WHO reported Thursday, with the virus accounting for up to 70 percent of the flu viruses sampled in some countries, the Associated Press reports. “We remain quite concerned about the patterns that we’re seeing,” Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s Special Adviser on Pandemic Influenza to the Director-General, said during a press briefing.
The WHO on Friday reported on a rising number of H1N1 (swine flu) cases in China and Japan, Reuters/Washington Post reports. “In China, after an earlier wave of mixed influenza activity (seasonal H3N2 and pandemic H1N1), pandemic H1N1 influenza activity now predominates and is increasing,” the agency said. “Sharp increases in pandemic flu infections continue to be reported throughout Japan, particularly on the northern island,” the news service writes (Nebehay, 11/6).
Chinese and WHO officials last week agreed to open a flu research center in Beijing, Bloomberg reports. “The new collaborating center for reference and research on influenza will join a network of WHO-affiliated labs in Atlanta, London, Tokyo and Melbourne that monitor flu strains and make recommendations on vaccines to fight the virus,” the news service writes.
U.S. health officials defended their handling of the country’s H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine campaign Tuesday “against criticism that their plan to protect Americans was confusing and over-optimistic,” Reuters reports (Fox, 11/17).
The number of H1N1 (swine flu) cases in the U.S. appears to be decreasing, the CDC said Tuesday, CQ HealthBeat reports. “Flu was widespread in 32 states by the end of the week of Nov. 21, a decrease from 43 states in the prior week and 46 states earlier this fall, according to the CDC,” the news service writes.
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 on Wednesday recommended that patients with severely weakened immune systems 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.
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.
Two women have become the first to die from H1N1 (swine flu) in Gaza, health officials said Monday, Agence France-Presse/Inquirer.net reports.
The German government is looking to sell over 2 million leftover doses of the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine, the country’s health minister said Monday, Agence France-Presse reports. “A health ministry senior official in the state of Thuringia, Hartmut Schubert, said that the vaccines could even be donated and that there had been requests from Afghanistan and Eastern European countries including Ukraine,” the news service adds (12/7).