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Archive for the ‘Medical Oversight’ Category

The next update will be on Thursday, May 18th, 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 May 9, 2010

National News

H1N1 claims the life another Canadian

A Quebecois man who recently returned from a trip to Cuba has died after contracting the H1N1 virus. The man passed away in a Montreal hospital after transferring from Shawinigan, near his home. Quebec health authorities say the death does not mark the beginning of a third pandemic wave. “We know now that there are many flu cases in Cuba,” said Dr. Gilles Grenier, a public health director in the Shawinigan region. “The hypothesis is that he got the virus over there, so it’s really an isolated case.” The man, who was in his fifties, suffered from asthma and had not been vaccinated against H1N1. CBC News

 International News

 India approves its first H1N1 vaccine supplier

The Drug Controller General of India has approved pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadilia to market its own H1N1 vaccine. The nod makes Zydus Cadilia the first company in India to domestically to launch an H1N1 vaccine. The Ahmedabad-based company will use Vaxxicare, its preventative medication division, to sell the vaccine under the trade-name VaxiFlu-S. “With the development and launch of vaxiflu-s, Zydus now has proven capabilities in researching, developing, and manufacturing of safe and efficacious vaccines,” said Pankaj Patel, the company’s chairman and managing director. He went on to say that he expects Zydus Calilia to soon produce vaccines for other viral, bacterial and protozoal infections. Hindustan Times

Researchers say the benefits of H1N1 prophylaxis must be quantified against side-effects

A study published in the European science journal Eurosurveillance reports that side-effects are a significant factor in the dispensing of the anti-viral drug oseltamivir as a mass, preventative antiviral blanket. Of the students and staff at a British elementary school given the drug in June 2009 as a prophylactic measure, 42% reported adverse side-effects and 15% did not complete the course of oseltamivir due to adverse effects. The authors of the study call for an assessment of each patient’s likelihood of infection to avoid unnecessary treatment. Eurosurveillance

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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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Pneumonia is worse when mixed with H1N1

Researchers at the University of Chicago have discovered that the pandemic H1N1 flu virus has the intrinsic ability to cause more severe pneumonia than seasonal H1N1 flu. This ability is a measure of a flu virus’s pandemic potential. They found pandemic H1N1 caused a pneumonia in certain patients that was intermediate in severity between seasonal H1N1 and the highly pathogenic H5N1. University of Chicago Journal of Infectious Diseases

H1N1 Evolution

Scientists at the University of Hong Kong have isolated the first reported genetic reassortment of the H1N1 virus. The reassortment is a hybrid of the original swine flu and the human pandemic H1N1 virus. Reassortments occur when a single host is infected by more than one strain of virus, and the mixed virus particles assemble themselves into something new. The Chinese Department of Agriculture released a statement saying that the new virus does not pose a public health risk or food-safety issue. University of Minnesota CIDRAP

H1N1 Adds Risk to Pregnancy

An Australian study has found that pregnant women can be particularly vulnerable to H1N1 especially if the mothers are asthmatic, diabetic, or obese. However, effects of H1N1 on the fetus are less well understood. Doctors recommend flu shots for pregnant women, but many women are reluctant to receive immunizations or take drugs during pregnancy. The researchers note there is evidence that doctors’ lack of awareness may be “a major contributor, with good acceptance by mothers when the risks and benefits are explained.” Reuters

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