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WHO, CDC Issue H1N1 Updates

Though H1N1 (swine flu) activity worldwide has slowed, the potential of a new wave of infections in the northern hemisphere in late winter or early spring remains viable, Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s top flu expert, said Monday at the start of the WHO’s weeklong Executive Board meeting, Reuters reports. The H1N1 pandemic “initially sparked widespread concern about antiviral and vaccine supplies, especially in developing countries, but many nations have cut back their vaccine orders recently because the pandemic has not turned out as deadly as originally feared,” the news service writes (Nebehay, 1/18).

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Series Papers Examine Surveillance, Economic Impact Of NTDs “As national programmes respond to the new opportunities presented for scaling up preventive chemotherapy programmes for the coadministration of drugs to target [several neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)] possible synergies between existing disease-specific policies and protocols need to be examined,” write the…

WHO Official Rejects Claims Agency Overhyped Threat Of H1N1

Keiji Fukuda, the special adviser to the WHO director general on pandemic influenza, on Thursday dismissed allegations that the agency exaggerated the threat of the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic and has been influenced by the pharmaceutical industry, the Washington Post reports. Fukuda’s defense came amid reports this week that the Council of Europe will investigate the WHO’s actions and as several countries slash H1N1 vaccine orders.

WHO To Review Its Handling Of H1N1 Pandemic

Amid recent complaints that the WHO exaggerated the threat of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus, the agency announced Tuesday an upcoming independent review of the agency’s handling of the pandemic, Agence France-Presse reports (1/12).

UNICEF Program Aimed At Curbing Deaths In West Africa Falls Short Of Goals, Study Finds

A $27 million UNICEF program that aims to decrease disease-related child deaths in West Africa did not meet its goal of reducing death rates by at least 25 percent at the conclusion of 2006, according to a Lancet study published on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. “The U.N. children’s agency pursued strategies like vaccinating children, giving them vitamin A pills and distributing bednets to protect against malaria from 2001 to 2005 in parts of 11 countries,” according to the article.

Media Outlets Examine U.S. Plans For Leftover H1N1 Vaccine, Efforts To Keep Flu Vaccine Production On Track

After working to ensure the U.S. had access to enough H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine, health officials may now face a new dilemma – a vaccine surplus, the Associated Press reports. “Get ready for a huge flu-shot push as health officials try to rekindle interest in protection against this new influenza strain that, despite plummeting cases, still is threatening lives – even as they reassess just how much more vaccine needs to be shipped,” the news service writes.

Official H1N1-Related Death Count Approaches 13,000 Worldwide, WHO Says

H1N1 (swine flu) has killed 12,799 people worldwide since the virus first emerged, the WHO said on Friday, United Press International reports (1/8). According to the WHO, more than half of the H1N1-related deaths worldwide occurred in the Americas, China Daily reports (1/9).

Canada Loans 5M Doses Of H1N1 Vaccine To Mexico

Canadian Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq on Wednesday announced plans for the country to loan Mexico five million doses of the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine, Agence France-Presse reports. The loan will help Mexico meet its innoculation demand, while the country waits for H1N1 vaccine orders to be fulfilled by several manufacturers.

Developing Countries Reassess Need For Donated H1N1 Vaccine

As the number of H1N1 (swine flu) cases in some regions of the world continues to fall, developing countries scheduled to receive donated H1N1 (swine flu) vaccines from the WHO are reassessing just how much vaccines their countries need, the Canadian Press reports. “The WHO had hoped to provide vaccine for up to 10 per cent of the populations of developing countries that wanted donated vaccine,” the newspaper writes.