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Archive for April, 2010

Global’s H1N1 Update – 04/29/10

The next update will be on Tuesday, May 4th, at 0830 hrs PST.

The WHO Pandemic Alert level remains at Phase 6

Influenza A (H1N1) Cases and Deaths*

*Cases reported by The World Health Organization (WHO) are as of April 4, 2010

International News

Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration has widened its probe into CSL’s seasonal flu vaccine, which includes the pandemic strain, after children receiving the shot had fevers and convulsions.  The agency asked all states and territories to examine all reports of fever in children under 5 for evidence of any pattern.  Also, New Zealand reported today that five children experienced convulsions after flu vaccinations, according to news reports in that country.  Bloomberg

Researchers found that the commonly used CDC case definition may not work for detecting mild pandemic H1N1 flu. They reviewed medical records of 44 patients with lab-confirmed H1N1 who were hospitalized in early summer 2009 and found that many of them had no fever. They found cough to be a more sensitive H1N1 indicator. The authors conclude that “the standard case definition for 2009 H1N1 influenza has low sensitivity for mild influenza infection.”  American Journal of Infection Control

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The next update will be on Thursday, April 29th, at 0830 hrs PST.

The WHO Pandemic Alert level remains at Phase 6

Influenza A (H1N1) Cases and Deaths*

WHO Map 04.04.10

*Cases reported by The World Health Organization (WHO) are as of April 4, 2010

National News

Overall influenza activity has continued to be low for at least 17 consecutive weeks.  Only one specimen (out of 1,379) tested positive for pandemic H1N1 2009 in the third week of April.  No new H1N1-related hospitalizations and deaths have been reported this week.  To date, only 14 hospitalizations and two deaths have occurred across Canada since the beginning of 2010.  As of week 14, influenza activity level in the Southern Hemisphere continues to be low in general.  Of note, however, in Chile, there was evidence of early localized pandemic influenza virus transmission in advance of the usual start of the southern hemisphere winter influenza season.  PHAC FluWatch

International News

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has reported that the number of children in West Australia who had convulsions or fever and vomiting after receiving a seasonal flu vaccine that covers the pandemic strain has grown to 251.  Officials say the immunizations likely came from multiple batches.  Queensland is also investigating the possibility of adverse reactions in children, and police in Brisbane are probing the death of a recently vaccinated 2-year-old, according to other ABC reports.  ABC

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The next update will be on Thursday, April 27th, at 0830 hrs PST.

The WHO Pandemic Alert level remains at Phase 6

Influenza A (H1N1) Cases and Deaths*

*Cases reported by The World Health Organization (WHO) are as of April 4, 2010

International News

After a quiet start to the year, Bangladesh is reporting rapid spread of pandemic flu this month and has placed health officials across the country on alert. “The virus sustained at a lower level in Bangladesh during January-March period, but it showed rising trend since the beginning of this month,” a health official said, adding that April through September is typically the busiest season for flu.  He did not specify case numbers.  Balita

Nigeria has yet to receive any H1N1 pandemic vaccine and is concerned that cases may grow as nearby Ghana is reporting an outbreak.  Nigeria has confirmed 11 cases and 2 pandemic deaths.  The story quoted unnamed experts as saying global demand for the vaccine has outpaced supply, making it difficult for developing countries to obtain doses.  Nigeria Bulletin

In the biggest and most detailed look yet at pandemic flu infections in pregnant women, researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that early antiviral treatment was linked to fewer intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and that severe illnesses and deaths are more likely to occur during the third trimester.  The CDC researchers, along with a Pandemic H1N1 Influenza in Pregnancy Working Group made up of health officials from several U.S. states, based their findings on reports of pregnant women who were sick with pandemic H1N1 infections through August plus more recent reports of women who were admitted to ICUs.  The findings appear in the Apr 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).  CIDRAP

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The next update will be on Tuesday, April 22nd, at 0830 hrs PST.

The WHO Pandemic Alert level remains at Phase 6

Influenza A (H1N1) Cases and Deaths*

*Cases reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), as of April 4, 2010

National News

Canadian researchers have reported that patients who became severely ill with H1N1 swine flu last year often developed kidney failure, which worsened their illness and raised costs.  Doctors should be on the lookout for kidney damage in patients who are hospitalized with the virus, they told a meeting of the National Kidney Foundation.  “It’s concerning that so many people got some form of kidney injury, although it was reversible in the majority of them,” Dr. Manish Sood of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg said in a statement.  Sood’s team looked at the cases of 47 critically ill patients with confirmed H1N1 infections who were admitted to one of seven intensive care units in Manitoba.  National Post

International News

Just weeks before it hosts the World Cup, South Africa is reporting a shortage of H1N1 vaccine.  Doctors and pharmacies have run out of the vaccine, imported from Australia, and say no more is available.  The country received 1.3 million doses, which are being used for “front line” port-of-entry workers and certain HIV patients.  A further 3.5 million doses donated by the World Health Organization (WHO) will be used on pregnant women and others at high risk.  West Cape News

Health officials in Chile are concerned that only 600,000 of a hoped-for 4 million people have received the H1N1 vaccine in a country that saw 300,000 cases and 1,800 hospitalizations last year.  And this year a Feb 27 earthquake destroyed 5,000 hospital beds in the central region.  One university faculty member explained that getting the shot early is essential to prevent overloading of hospitals, because immunity takes about 2 weeks to build.  Santiago Times

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The next update will be on Thursday, April 15th, at 0830 hrs PST.

The WHO Pandemic Alert level remains at Phase 6

Influenza A (H1N1) Cases and Deaths*

*Cases reported by The World Health Organization (WHO) are as of April 4, 2010

National News

The premature expiry of a batch of adjuvanted H1N1 vaccine has prompted the Alberta government to ask manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline for a refund.  The vaccines were supposed to last for 18 months, based on scientific evidence at the time; however, Health Canada has announced a new expiry date of only six months, after tests found the vaccine’s potency declined after that time period.  Alberta has around 650,000 to 700,000 doses of the affected vaccine, worth $2.2 million.  CBC

International News

U.S. researchers recently presented a study at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting that showed reports of Guillain-Barré Syndrome associated with H1N1 vaccination in the U.S. were extremely low.  For every 10 million H1N1 vaccinations administered in the U.S. last year, officials received about six reports of people developing Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder.  But memories of problems during a 1976 immunization campaign and public anxiety during last year’s H1N1 pandemic stoked fears that mass inoculation using a new vaccine would result in a rash of serious side effects, health problems and even deaths.  Now that the peak of the pandemic has passed and researchers are looking back at the response, signs indicate many of those public fears were exaggerated, or even unfounded.  Globe and Mail

The American College Health Association (ACHA) has said that flu activity at U.S. colleges has dropped to its lowest level since August when surveillance began.  The increases seen in southeastern states in February and March are also easing.  The attack rate last week was 1 case per 10,000 students, a decrease of 38% from the previous week.  No hospitalizations or deaths were reported, and the ACHA saw no evidence of sustained transmission. Vaccine uptake held at 8%, where it has been for several weeks.  ACHA

A laboratory in Namibia recently confirmed the country’s first pandemic H1N1 case, a patient who had traveled with a group to Thailand.  The illness is also suspected in a second patient who was with the group.  Namibia’s health minister expressed disappointment that the finding was first reported in the media before the case was reported to health officials.  The country expects to launch its vaccine campaign in May with 220,000 doses from the WHO.  Nambian

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