The New York Times examines how Saudi Arabia is preparing for the upcoming annual pilgrimage of some “2.5 million people from 160 countries” to Mecca, some who “will be bringing the swine flu.”
Pneumonia & Flu
The New York Times examines the “debate over whether the United States and other rich nations spend too much on AIDS, which requires lifelong medications, compared with diarrhea and the other leading killer of children, pneumonia, both of which can be treated inexpensively.”
The U.S. will hold off on donating H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine stockpiles to developing countries until “at-risk Americans” receive the vaccine, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday, Agence France-Presse reports. Last month, the U.S. pledged to donate H1N1 vaccine stockpiles to developing countries. However, manufacturing delays of the H1N1 vaccine have driven the supply to “about 10 million doses short of the 40 million doses they had expected to have by the end of this month,” the news service writes.
Gates Foundation Praises U.S. Global Health Investments, Calls For 15-Year Goal Of Cutting Child Deaths Worldwide By Nearly Half
As part of a “major push to convince the United States to maintain government spending on worldwide health initiatives, despite the financial crisis and a soaring U.S. budget deficit,” the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is urging U.S. policymakers to commit to cutting “the number of child deaths each year, from 9 million to 5 million” by 2025, CNN reports.
CDC Says U.S. H1N1 Vaccine Supplies On The Rise; Senators Question Government’s Handling Of H1N1 Vaccination Program
Supplies of the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine are steadily increasing in the U.S. and should soon be more widely accessible in the next two weeks, the CDC said on Tuesday, CQ HealthBeat reports. During a press briefing, CDC Director Thomas Frieden said that 22.4 million vaccine doses are now available for states to order (Norman, 10/27).
President Barack Obama declared the H1N1 (swine) flu outbreak a national emergency, the Wall Street Journal reports. “The declaration, which Mr. Obama signed Friday, authorizes the administration to waive or modify certain federal requirements involving Medicare, Medicaid and health-privacy rules to speed treatment,” the newspaper writes (McKay/Simpson/Whalen, 10/26).
The Washington Post examines H1N1 vaccine supplies across the U.S.: “With only a fraction of the tens of millions of doses of vaccine that authorities predicted would be available arriving in states, cities and towns, public health officials who spent months planning for a massive immunization program are instead scrambling to parcel out their limited supply of nasal sprays and shots,” the newspaper writes.
The WHO concluded a three-day meeting on H1N1 (swine flu) in Washington, D.C., on Friday, where health experts issued recommendations that patients with symptoms of H1N1 and pneumonia be treated quickly with antivirals, even before the results of H1N1 tests are complete, the San Francisco Chronicle blog, “ChronRX” reports.
As countries around the world roll out H1N1 (swine flu) virus vaccine campaigns, the Atlantic examines, “[W]hat if everything we think we know about fighting influenza is wrong?”
New studies suggest that “[d]eveloping countries with limited access to advanced health-care facilities may be in for a rough ride with swine [H1N1] flu and even countries with high-tech ICUs may find themselves pushed to the limit as their hospitals struggle to save gravely ill H1N1 patients,” the Canadian Press reports. The studies, which compare outcomes among H1N1 patients admitted to intensive care units in Canada and Mexico,” show “the death rate in the latter was more than double that seen among Canadian patients. Just over 40 percent of critically ill Mexican patients succumbed to their illness by day 60, compared to 17.3 percent of Canadian patients by day 90.” The findings were reported online in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on Monday.