To mark the first World Pneumonia Day on Monday, the WHO and UNICEF launched a $39 billion Global Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia (GAPP) aimed at preventing 5.3 million child deaths from the disease by 2015, the Associated Press reports (Cheng, 11/1).
Pneumonia & Flu
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.
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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.
“More than 24,000 infants die daily from preventable diseases in developing countries,” and child deaths have fallen in countries where governments “have shown a high level of political leadership on child health,” World Vision International said in a new report (.pdf) released on Monday as part of a five-year campaign to reduce child deaths worldwide, the Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle reports.
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 deaths of 41 people from six countries who had received the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine were not directly linked to the vaccine, the WHO said Thursday, the Associated Press/MSNBC reports (11/19).
A special edition of UNICEF’s annual State of the World’s Children report, released 20 years after the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, shows that “fewer youngsters are dying and more are going to school â€“ but an estimated 1 billion still lack services essential to their survival and development,” the Associated Press reports.