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WHO Swine Flu Update

Posted by vikievikie at 0:00 - 1st, June 2009
April 25, 2009

Swine influenza - Statement by WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan
The current situation constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. However, more information is needed before a decision could be made concerning the appropriateness of the current alert level.

• vikie


 

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vikie vikie
News comment 1 | User comment 384 | 14:02 - 29th, Apr 2009


Influenza-like illness in the United States and Mexico

24 April 2009 -- The United States Government has reported seven confirmed human cases of Swine Influenza A/H1N1 in the USA (five in California and two in Texas) and nine suspect cases. All seven confirmed cases had mild Influenza-Like Illness (ILI), with only one requiring brief hospitalization. No deaths have been reported.

The Government of Mexico has reported three separate events. In the Federal District of Mexico, surveillance began picking up cases of ILI starting 18 March. The number of cases has risen steadily through April and as of 23 April there are now more than 854 cases of pneumonia from the capital. Of those, 59 have died. In San Luis Potosi, in central Mexico, 24 cases of ILI, with three deaths, have been reported. And from Mexicali, near the border with the United States, four cases of ILI, with no deaths, have been reported.

Of the Mexican cases, 18 have been laboratory confirmed in Canada as Swine Influenza A/H1N1, while 12 of those are genetically identical to the Swine Influenza A/H1N1 viruses from California.

The majority of these cases have occurred in otherwise healthy young adults. Influenza normally affects the very young and the very old, but these age groups have not been heavily affected in Mexico.

Because there are human cases associated with an animal influenza virus, and because of the geographical spread of multiple community outbreaks, plus the somewhat unusual age groups affected, these events are of high concern.

The Swine Influenza A/H1N1 viruses characterized in this outbreak have not been previously detected in pigs or humans. The viruses so far characterized have been sensitive to oseltamivir, but resistant to both amantadine and rimantadine.

The World Health Organization has been in constant contact with the health authorities in the United States, Mexico and Canada in order to better understand the risk which these ILI events pose. WHO (and PAHO) is sending missions of experts to Mexico to work with health authorities there. It is helping its Member States to increase field epidemiology activities, laboratory diagnosis and clinical management. Moreover, WHO's partners in the Global Alert and Response Network have been alerted and are ready to assist as requested by the Member States.

WHO acknowledges the United States and Mexico for their proactive reporting and their collaboration with WHO and will continue to work with Member States to further characterize the outbreak

vikie vikie
News comment 2 | User comment 384 | 14:03 - 29th, Apr 2009


Swine flu illness in the United States and Mexico - update 2

26 April 2009 -- As of 26 April 2009, the United States Government has reported 20 laboratory confirmed human cases of swine influenza A/H1N1 (8 in New York, 7 in California, 2 in Texas, 2 in Kansas and 1 in Ohio). All 20 cases have had mild Influenza-Like Illness with only one requiring brief hospitalization. No deaths have been reported. All 20 viruses have the same genetic pattern based on preliminary testing. The virus is being described as a new subtype of A/H1N1 not previously detected in swine or humans.

Also as of 26 April, the Government of Mexico has reported 18 laboratory confirmed cases of swine influenza A/H1N1. Investigation is continuing to clarify the spread and severity of the disease in Mexico. Suspect clinical cases have been reported in 19 of the country's 32 states.

WHO and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) are sending experts to Mexico to work with health authorities. WHO and its partners are actively investigating reports of suspect cases in other Member States as they occur, and are supporting field epidemiology activities, laboratory diagnosis and clinical management.

On Saturday, 25 April, upon the advice of the Emergency Committee called under the rules of the International Health Regulations, the Director-General declared this event a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

WHO is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions.

vikie vikie
News comment 3 | User comment 384 | 14:04 - 29th, Apr 2009


Swine influenza - update 3

27 April 2009 -- The current situation regarding the outbreak of swine influenza A(H1N1) is evolving rapidly. As of 27 April 2009, the United States Government has reported 40 laboratory confirmed human cases of swine influenza A(H1N1), with no deaths. Mexico has reported 26 confirmed human cases of infection with the same virus, including seven deaths. Canada has reported six cases, with no deaths, while Spain has reported one case, with no deaths.

Further information on the situation will be available on the WHO website on a regular basis.

WHO advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders. It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities.

There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products. Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness.

vikie vikie
News comment 4 | User comment 384 | 14:05 - 29th, Apr 2009


Swine influenza - update 4

28 April 2009--The situation continues to evolve rapidly. As of 19:15 GMT, 28 April 2009, seven countries have officially reported cases of swine influenza A/H1N1 infection. The United States Government has reported 64 laboratory confirmed human cases, with no deaths. Mexico has reported 26 confirmed human cases of infection including seven deaths.

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths - Canada (6), New Zealand (3), the United Kingdom (2), Israel (2) and Spain (2).

Further information on the situation will be available on the WHO website on a regular basis.

WHO advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders. It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities.

There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products. Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness.

vikie vikie
News comment 5 | User comment 384 | 14:07 - 29th, Apr 2009


Swine influenza - update 5

29 April 2009 -- The situation continues to evolve rapidly. As of 19:00 GMT, 29 April 2009, nine countries have officially reported cases of swine influenza A/H1N1 infection. The United States Government has reported 91 laboratory confirmed human cases, with one death. Mexico has reported 26 confirmed human cases of infection including seven deaths.

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths - Austria (1), Canada (13), Germany (3), Israel (2), New Zealand (3), Spain (4) and the United Kingdom (5).

Further information on the situation will be available on the WHO website on a regular basis.

WHO advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders. It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities.

There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products. Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness.

Alex Alex
News comment 6 | User comment 4834 | 14:11 - 29th, Apr 2009


the thing i don't get is why it's such a big deal. only 125 people in mexico have died from this so far. Sad but as deb put it yesterday, it's a drop in the bucket so to speak. i think i read somewhere that there seems to be a new stream of it, but still 125 in a population of 8 million, and then take into consideration that a lot of those people died from dehydration and not being able to get proper medical attention, because their in Mexico. the first reported death happened in the states today or yesterday. all over the news, but she was in mexico when they found out she had it and she died before they could give her proper medical care. she was almost 2 years old. the thing i find strange is that most of the people dying, from what i understand at least, is people in their late teens and 20's. normally the body should be able to take care of itself at that point. oh well, here's to the oncoming zombie epidemic!

vikie vikie
News comment 7 | User comment 384 | 14:22 - 29th, Apr 2009


Alright, so here is what I personally gathered:

People 20 to 40 years old are more affected by the flu simply because they immune system is strong and react more violently ( more lung inflamation, mucus discharge etc ) to the flu. So it kind of backfire on young/healthy people.

Also:
Only 7 people have died of the Swine flu so far, not 150 as the media said. These other people died of other from of flu-like disease.


1St death in US:
It was a mexican toddle that was shipped to TX to received treatment. He did not make it, but was not "from the US".

Curt Curt
News comment 8 | User comment 281 | 14:46 - 29th, Apr 2009


It's the aporkalypse! (get it!?)

I think the thing that scares so many people is that genetically we're pretty similar to pigs, and if pigs can get a certain disease, then we can too. Now that this strain of the flu has jumped to humans, and the flu can get around pretty well (we still deal with human flu every year), this has some people scared.

It probably doesn't help that Mexico isn't exactly well known for their super-clean medical system (whether deserved or not) or lack of emigration or tourism.

Personally, I don't think it's as much of a big deal as the news media says it is. I think it's good that the WHO isn't taking chances and is being careful, but it's not like we're involved in a pandemic or anything.

Carl Carl
News comment 9 | User comment 1159 | 8:17 - 30th, Apr 2009


I don't think it is that much of a big deal either. Me and Lucas both have gotten a cold recently. Were not freaking out. The human cold kills more people yearly then this swine flu probably will. Do we see people freaking about the common cold every winter. As long as your in good health, keep hydrated, rest and take your meds, life is great.

I agree Mexico probably in all likelyhood has horrible medical system compared to us. I think we are prepared and if anything has proven so far is that all Canadian cases have been mild as in we have the average cold. I think SARS had more of an impact then this flu. SARS was quite lethal in comparison I would say.

With my asthma things get a bit tricky since infections cause a bit of a problem but as long as I take my pumps on a regular schedule then all is good.

Christophe Christophe
News comment 10 | User comment 766 | 19:26 - 2nd, May 2009


please god let the deceased turn into zombies

Alex Alex
News comment 11 | User comment 4834 | 21:02 - 2nd, May 2009


i was saying the EXACT same thing!

Alex Alex
News comment 12 | User comment 4834 | 14:16 - 7th, Aug 2009


resurrecting an old post. just got this from my media guy here at garda, very interesting

Could Catching Swine Flu Be Good For You?
Robyn Meredith, 08.05.09, 12:01 AM ET
HONG KONG -
When word came in April that an entirely new, highly infectious disease--swine flu--was spreading beyond Mexico, this was the most paranoid city in the world. Land at the airport with a fever and runny nose, and you'd risk being quarantined for a week, just in case you'd brought the new disease with you. People in this city, scarred by the SARS epidemic, still shudder when they hear someone cough. For Hong Kongers, the sound brings back memories of the scary time when the city nearly shut down and residents feared death from a new mystery disease. Schools were closed. When people left their homes--which wasn't often--many wore medical masks to reduce their exposure to anyone who might be sick.
Fast-forward. If you catch the flu in Hong Kong today--or in most places--you won't be rushed to the isolation ward just in case it proves to be the new swine flu. You'll be told to go home and rest and not cough on anyone. "Everyone has finally realized that this is going to spread," said Dr. Anthony Mounts, a flu specialist at the World Health Organization. What a change.
That's because SARS and swine flu are proving such opposites. Both are new diseases, which means that none of the 6 billion people on the planet had immunity to them when they came on the scene. The World Health Organization feared that if they developed into full-blown pandemics and raced around the world, millions would die, defenseless against new strains.
SARS had a relatively high mortality rate, but it just so happened that it wasn't easy to catch. Swine flu is the opposite: easy to catch, like any seasonal flu, but with a mortality rate no higher than seasonal flu for most people.
But doctors expect many more people will die of swine flu than regular flu because more people will catch it. In a normal year, 8% to 10% of the population comes down with the flu, and a fraction of those sickened by flu die from it. With a new pandemic flu, like swine flu, experts expect at least three times as many people to catch it because of the lack of exposure to the new disease, said Dr. Mounts, the WHO medical officer.
But with a third of the world population likely to get swine flu, even a small mortality rate is amplified. After all, even during the notorious 1918 flu outbreak, the mortality rate was merely 2%--meaning that 98% of those who got the flu survived. The WHO doesn't have a reliable estimate for the mortality rate of swine flu, but it appears to be similar to that of a mild seasonal flu, except for high-risk groups like pregnant women and those who are already sick with other ailments.
That's lucky, since swine flu is now spreading across the globe uncontrollably. Worldwide, the World Health Organization has confirmed 162,000 cases of swine flu, a number officials concede is an undercount because many governments have stopped testing and tracking all but the most severe cases.
Like other governments around the world, Hong Kong--where there are now more than 4,500 confirmed cases, up by 232 from 24 hours before--has stopped trying to prevent the flu, and has switched to slowing down its spread. Essentially, the new swine flu management strategy is for doctors and governments to try to buy time until a swine flu vaccine, expected in the fall, arrives.
"Our strategy is to slow down the spread of the disease as well as minimizing complications and fatality through promulgation of personal hygiene practices and other mitigation measures, and wait for the vaccine to be available in the coming months," said Dr. Thomas Chung, spokesman for the Hong Kong Center for Health Protection.
But flu viruses constantly mutate, sometimes growing more deadly, sometimes less. A cluster of swine flu cases resistant to Tamiflu, the most popular treatment, recently developed along the U.S.-Mexican border.
Some doctors say that catching swine flu now, while it is mild, could prevent a more serious infection later by building immunity in those sickened by the new flu virus.
"In the U.K. and Europe and America, it is spreading so fast that it is very likely that most people will be exposed to or get swine flu, and this will help them develop immunity before the second wave," said Dr. Raymond Ng, a doctor with OT and P, a family practice in Hong Kong. That second wave could be a mutated, more lethal flu. "Having some immunity gives us some protection against this virus," Dr. Ng said.
Global health journalist Maryn McKenna, author of Beating Back the Devil and the forthcoming Superbug, said that would only be true for those not at special risk--pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems. And even so, early infection with swine flu could produce false confidence about beating it again later. "For instance, if the flu mutates in the fall enough that you are not protected by having caught this one, but think you are protected, you might be at risk," McKenna said.
Health professionals are counting on the arrival of swine flu shots. "The safest way to acquire immunity is to get vaccinated," said Dr. Chung of the Hong Kong Center for Health Protection.
In a study released Tuesday, the University of Hong Kong found that in households where one person had the flu, the risk of infection for others in the family dropped by nearly 70% when those in the house wore surgical masks and frequently washed their hands.
Pandemic specialists agree that simple precautions are the answer now that quarantining people is pass?. "If you're sick, stay home. If you have to go out, cover your mouth when you cough. Wash your hands frequently," said the WHO's Dr. Mounts.
The disease may be new, but the best solution is old-fashioned prevention.

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