On the heels of the release of a draft report by an independent panel of experts examining the WHO’s response to H1N1 (swine flu), BMJ News reports on a recently approved resolution and accompanying report released by the European Union parliament that calls on EU countries to revise their flu prevention plans “to make them more effective, coherent, and flexible” and for the WHO to revise its definition of pandemic to take into account not only geographical spread of disease but also severity.
Pneumonia & Flu
Pollution from indoor cooking stoves, typically open fires that that burn solid fuels such as wood, charcoal or dung, kills two million globally each year, scientists at NIH said in a study published in the journal Science on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reports. Smoke emitted from the stoves, used by three billion people worldwide, “causes pneumonia and chronic lung disease that particularly affects women and children who tend to spend more time in the home while men are outside working,” AFP writes, adding that “little public awareness surrounds what the World Health Organization describes as the globe’s top environmental killer” (Sheridan, 10/13).
NPR’s food blog “The Salt” reports on the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves’ efforts to “bring in celebrities, chefs and politicians to help create awareness for the need for cleaner fuels and better cookstoves,” the smoke and gases from which contribute to nearly two million deaths a year — more than malaria — according to a study released by the WHO last week. “The technology is easy, but getting the stoves and cleaner fuels to impoverished millions is not,” the blog writes.
The third annual World Pneumonia Day will be observed on Saturday. The following is a summary of several pieces published in recognition of the day.
In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University, reports on how World Pneumonia Day, inaugurated in 2009 by financier Lance Laifer, has grown from an idea into a movement, writing, “World Pneumonia Day 2010 is engaging governments, child health organizations and advocates in an effort to spotlight the leading killer of children” and “perhaps even more exciting is the way this movement has grown in just one year, engaging everyday citizens in the effort to raise awareness in creative ways.”
“A global push to bring a vaccine against the bacterial cause of pneumonia to communities that need it most is ramping up quickly, expanding to nearly 60 countries in the next five years,” PBS NewsHour’s “The Rundown” reports. “At least three million child deaths could be prevented in the next decade through the global vaccine rollout, according to a new analysis published Thursday in the journal of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene by health experts from Children’s Hospital Boston and Johns Hopkins University, among others,” the blog states, adding, “More new research released this week by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health called the rate of the rollout and its quick expansion ‘unprecedented.'”
The Agence-France Press examines the debate over how much developed countries are spending to fight the H1N1 virus.
Also In Global Health News: Plague In China; U.S. Contribution To Clean Water Initiatives; TB Vaccine Trial; HIV In Mozambique; New HIV Strain
Third Person In China Dies Of Pneumonic Plague, Officials Seal-Off Area A third person died of pneumonic plague in China on Monday, local health authorities said, Xinhua reports. The outbreak began on July 30 and an additional nine people in the town of ZiketanÂ are reportedly ill (8/3). “Pneumonic plague, which…
The WHO on Tuesday maintained that roughly two billion people could become infected with the H1N1 (swine flu) virus, Reuters reports.
Efforts to fast-track the approval of H1N1 (swine) flu vaccines will not compromise the safety or quality controls of vaccine production, the WHO said in a written statement Thursday, the Mail & Guardian reports.