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.
Pneumonia & Flu
About 100 low- and middle-income countries could receive donated shipments of the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine as early as November, Marie-Paule Kieny, of the WHO, told journalists Monday, Agence France-Presse reports. “Dozens of millions of doses are being lined up following offers from pharmaceutical companies,” including Sanofi-Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline and MedImmune, as well as a coalition of developed nations “that have pledged to release 10 percent of their vaccine purchases for poor nations,” the news service writes (10/12).
Lancet Comment Examines Efforts To Subsidize ACTs A Lancet comment examines an Affordable Medicines Facility for malaria (AMFm) program to help countries procure subsidized artemisinin-based combination treatments (ACTs). The authors write though it is worth celebrating the recent advances in malaria prevention, “these successes cannot hide the fact that close…
The Associated Press examines how the decision by U.S. health officials to stop counting new cases of H1N1 (swine flu) in July has complicated the government’s ability to assess groups particularly hard hit by the virus. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is relying on a patchwork system of gathering death and hospitalization numbers. Some states are reporting lab-confirmed cases. Others report illnesses that could be the new swine flu, seasonal flu or some other respiratory disease,” the news service writes.
Tuberculosis deserves an effort as “substantial” as the one mounted against swine flu “to develop a new vaccine,” David McMurray, a TB expert at Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, writes in a Houston Chronicle opinion piece. “Since April, … nearly one million men, women and children have died from TB, compared to 4,200 who have died from H1N1 flu globally. Why didn’t you see any headlines? Because 98 percent of the nearly two million people who die each year from TB live in the developing world, in places like Kenya … Yet TB continues to be a problem in [the U.S.] as well because in an age of globalization, germs cross borders without a passport,” McMurray writes.
As epidemiologists in China continue to investigate the country’s first death from H1N1 (swine flu), Chinese health experts have called for strengthened measures to control the spread of the virus in remote regions, China Daily reports.
The WHO on Tuesday continued to express confidence in the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine as few mild adverse effects have been reported by patients participating in China’s vaccine campaign, the Associated Press reports. Out of the 39,000 people in China who received the H1N1 vaccine, four reported experiencing side effects such as muscle cramps and headache, according to WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl (Higgins, 10/6).
The number of H1N1 (swine flu) cases reported in WHO regions worldwide has grown by at least 24,000 in two weeks to cross the 340,000 mark since the virus was first detected in mid-April, the CDC reported Monday, according to Agence France-Presse.
Two million infants die within 24 hours of birth each year and almost nine million children died before the age of 5 in 2008, according to a report by Save the Children, which says it would take $40 billion annually to “dramatically” cut these numbers, Agence France-Presse reports.
U.N. officials on Sunday said that the H1N1 (swine flu) virus had arrived in poorer countries, highlighting a growing need for financial assistance and H1N1 vaccines for such regions, SAPA/News24.com reports.