H1N1 pandemic news started 06/11/2009

Stuff that’s happening in the world that may pertain to our survival. Please keep political debates off the forum.

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Kathy in FL
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Re: H1N1 pandemic news started 06/11/2009

Post by Kathy in FL » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:45 pm


Northwest suburban boy dies of swine flu-related illness

By Robert McCoppin | Daily Herald StaffContact writerPublished: 10/27/2009 12:19 PMSend To:

A 5-year-old boy from Northwest suburban Cook County has died from H1N1 virus-related causes, officials said Tuesday.

Like many other victims of H1N1, also known as swine flu, the boy had a chronic underlying medical condition, Cook County Health Department spokesman Sean McDermott said.

"It's a tragic situation," McDermott said. "It underscores the need for the public to take this disease seriously and take precautions at home, to cover your cough, stay home if you're sick, and most importantly, when vaccine is available, if you fall into one of the priority groups, to get vaccinated."

Cook County has scheduled vaccinations starting Thursday for students at Palatine Elementary School District 15, and is supplying vaccines to some hospitals, but is awaiting the arrival of more vaccine before making it available to the general public.

http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=332047&src=1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: H1N1 pandemic news started 06/11/2009

Post by Kathy in FL » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:46 pm

All of these pediatric deaths just bother the heck out of me. :(
Portsmouth school chief: Student death may be swine flu

1:27 PM Tue, Oct 27, 2009 | Permalink
Gina Macris Email

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. -- A student attending private school in town died Monday of what is believed to be swine flu, according to an e-mail Schools Supt. Susan F. Lusi sent to parents.

The Department of Health, meanwhile, said Tuesday only that they are testing for the H1N1 virus and doing an autopsy on a person under the age of 18.

Lusi wrote, "I received word this evening that a student from a local private school may have passed away from the disease. I say "may have" because I have not received any direct confirmation from the school involved. My heart goes out to any children and families who have been so severely affected by this disease. At the same time, though, I want to remind all of us that it is important for us, as adults, to remain calm and thoughtful as we guide our children through a challenging time. In this vein, I want to share how we are reporting on and handling H1N1 cases (or more frequently, probable cases) in the Portsmouth schools.

Lusi did not identify which school in her e-mail.

Lusi, meanwhile, said there has been a small number of laboratory-confirmed cases of H1N1 in Portsmouth public schools but have not reported every probable or confirmed case to the public because that is not the protocol recommended by the Department of Health.

She reiterated the steps intended to prevent the disease: covering the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing, using the elbow, when possible, rather than the hands, frequent and thorough hand-washing, using hand sanitizer, staying home while sick and not returning to school or work until 24 hours after a fever has passed.


http://newsblog.projo.com/2009/10/possi ... e-flu.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: H1N1 pandemic news started 06/11/2009

Post by Kathy in FL » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:47 pm

Local expert confirms H1N1 an airborne virus

660 News Staff | Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 11:37 am

With all the publicity surrounding the flu pandemic, many people are still confused about exactly how the virus spreads.

An expert in microbiology and infectious disease at the University of Calgary says contrary to what some are saying, H1N1 is an airborne virus.

Dr. Glen Armstrong told 660News it's one of the reasons the flu spreads so quickly.

Dr. Armstrong says when a person has the flu, their body will try to shed it through sneezing or coughing. He says that releases the germs into the air for a short period of time, but long enough for someone close by to inhale them.

Dr. Armstrong says when those sneeze droplets settle they can also live on a surface for as long as a half hour, and can then be transmitted to another person by contact. He says touching your mouth, nose or eye area after coming in contact with the virus on a surface is the most common form of virus transmission.

http://www.660news.com/news/local/more. ... 33326_8992" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: H1N1 pandemic news started 06/11/2009

Post by JakkSchitt » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:48 pm

My son went to this school. I am concerned that they were only cleaning the school once a week. I wonder how many other schools are not keeping up on the sanitzing.
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Student's sudden death fuels swine flu fears

Posted on Tue, Oct. 27, 2009
By Edward Colimore
Inquirer Staff Writer
http://www.philly.com/philly/health_and ... fears.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

He went to classes at Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly every day last week and showed no sign of illness, school officials said.

But on Saturday, 17-year-old Andre Mendez's temperature shot up to 104 degrees and he was having convulsions when paramedics arrived, according to the officials.

Mendez, a sophomore, died at Virtua Memorial Hospital in Mount Holly later that day, school authorities said, leaving health officials with a mystery they hope to solve today or tomorrow when lab tests are to be released by the state.

News of the death saddened students and parents and set off concerns yesterday that Mendez may have had the H1N1 virus that state health officials say has claimed 18 lives in New Jersey since the first case in June.

"Though there may be rumors, the cause of death is unconfirmed," said Michael Moskalski, the high school superintendent and principal. "H1N1 is a possibility, but we're awaiting the results from the cultures and testing."

Deaths involving the virus typically come days after a person is infected and are caused when his or her lungs fill with fluid, health officials said.

Those from the seasonal flu often occur one or two weeks after a person's initial infection, because the person has developed a secondary bacterial infection, such as a staph infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The test results will be released to the Burlington County Health Department, which will share them with school officials.

In the meantime, Moskalski said that he will ask the school board at a meeting tonight to authorize a school-based clinic to provide H1N1 vaccinations, probably in the gymnasium.

If approved, the shots would likely be given by the county health department by the end of November, he said.

"We have been sanitizing hard surfaces weekly and that will be increased to nightly so we can be sure the buildings will be clean," Moskalski said. But the flu "is spread through the air so that might not make a difference. {close the school..}

"We're doing everything that has been recommended," he said. "The goal this fall is to keep the schools open." {why??? why isn't the health of those kids the goal??}

News of Mendez's death was shared with the students and staff members over the school intercom and counselors were made available.

"We have a crisis-intervention team that goes into place to provide the counseling services in a safe room for all grieving students," said Moskalski.

"If additional resources are needed, we can call on other districts to send people."

According to school staff, Mendez was in class all last week and appeared to be "fine on Friday. They didn't notice anything unusual and he didn't go to the nurse's office," the superintendent said.

The Burlington County health Department in Westampton will hold H1N1 flu shot clinics to vaccinate residents in priority groups from 2 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 6, 13 and 20, said Loretta O'Donnell, a county spokeswoman.

The groups include children 6 months to 5 years old, pregnant women, caregivers of children and health-care workers.

Vaccinations will be given throughout the Mount Laurel school system today through Thursday, O'Donnell said.

Additional clinics will be scheduled as the vaccine becomes available.

"This is a long-term campaign that will continue for months until everyone who wants an H1N1 vaccination has received one," said county Public Health Coordinator Robert Gogats.
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Re: H1N1 pandemic news started 06/11/2009

Post by JakkSchitt » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:50 pm

Jenny wrote:Yep and it is back. The Swine Flu is back. In Arkansas 9 are dead from the Swine Flu. In other states there are Swine Flu deaths as well as Seasonal Flu deaths. The highest number is in California. I will post more later when I know more.
Jenny, it never left.

The deaths have been due to H1N1. 99% of the samples tested come back as H1N1, not seasonal flu.
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Re: H1N1 pandemic news started 06/11/2009

Post by Kathy in FL » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:51 pm

Oklahoma County teen dies from swine flu complications

Published: 10/27/2009 2:00 PM
Last Modified: 10/27/2009 2:00 PM

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma County teenager has died after being hospitalized for complications from swine flu.

Netesha Hart, 13, had been at The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center for nearly a month, said hospital spokesman Allen Poston. He said she died last night.

So far, 14 Oklahomans have died from swine flu and complications. Hundreds have been hospitalized.

Read more: http://www.newsok.com/oklahoma-county-t ... z0VAFTwaKg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article. ... rimgs76041" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: H1N1 pandemic news started 06/11/2009

Post by Kathy in FL » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:53 pm

Citing swine flu, Catholics alter practices

Posted by Michael Paulson October 27, 2009 01:26 PM
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articl ... _cath.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, in an effort to help stop the spread of swine flu, is recommending that parishes stop offering laypeople consecrated wine at Communion and also discourage laypeople from hugging, shaking hands, or otherwise having physical contact during the "sign of peace" at Mass.

The steps, which are supposed to take effect Saturday, are among the broadest recommendations to date by a large Massachusetts institution to change public practices in an effort to stem swine flu, which is now spreading widely throughout New England and the nation. An estimated 294,000 people attend Catholic Mass in the Archdiocese of Boston each weekend.

In addition to recommending a suspension of Communion from the cup, and the change to the sign of peace, the archdiocese is also urging parishes to more regularly and carefully disinfect holy water fonts in churches. Communion from the cup is thought to pose a potential health risk because multiple worshipers drink from the same chalice; the exchange of peace can pose a risk as worshipers touch one another's hands, and the fonts are a concern because worshipers dip their hands in the water.

The disease, caused by the H1N1 virus, can be spread through hand-to-hand contact or contact with objects that have recently been exposed to the germ.

"Given the extraordinary precautions being taken across the nation to prevent the spread of the H1N1 influenza, the Archdiocese has instituted a series of steps to be followed for the time being during the celebration of the Mass," the Rev. Jonathan Gaspar, co-director of the archdiocesan Office of Worship and Spiritual Life, said in a statement. "We thank our priests, deacons, religious and parishioners for their understanding and support of these directives, which aim to protect the health of our people."

The archdiocese said it had made the decisions in consultation with public health officials, and said the recommendations would be lifted whenever the risk of flu infection subsides.

Here is the text of the archdiocesan recommendations, which were sent to parishes over the weekend:

The Holy Water fonts are to be drained, cleaned with a disinfecting soap, and re-filled with holy water on a regular basis. Please note that old holy water should be disposed of in the sacrarium.

The distribution of the Precious Blood for the faithful is suspended, with the exception of those who must receive from the cup due to medical reasons. The faith of the Church teaches that Christ, whole and entire, is received even under only one species.

The exchange of the Sign of Peace is to be offered without any physical contact. If the priest celebrant chooses to extend the invitation for the sign of peace, the faithful, instead of a handshake, may bow to the persons nearby.

While the faithful retain the option of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue or in the hand, all ministers of Holy Communion are advised to distribute the consecrated hosts with care, being cautious not to touch the tongue or the hand of the communicant.

Parishioners should be reminded that if they are ill or suspect they are ill with a contagious illness, they are not bound by the Sunday Mass obligation. They should remain at home and return to church when they are well.

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Re: H1N1 pandemic news started 06/11/2009

Post by mantis » Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:32 pm

This is exactly why people need to be concerned and not dismiss this disease as being overblown:

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2009 ... 6-sun.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

A perfectly healthy boy just a month past his 13th birthday, no underlying health problems, physically fit - in fact he was an un and comming hockey star. He started showing flu symptoms at a hockey tournament in London, Ontario on the weekend and then 48 hours later he's gone. It's a damned shame and it scares the hell out of me when I consider that my Little Brother (big brothers volunteer) is the same age and in similar physical condition.
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Re: H1N1 pandemic news started 06/11/2009

Post by sheddi » Wed Oct 28, 2009 2:50 am

Immunisation is causing some controversy in Germany, it seems, but not for the usual reasons.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters ... paign.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
BBC wrote:How not to run an immunisation campaign

Just days after the UK began vaccinating priority groups against H1N1 swine flu, Germany began its immunisation campaign. Both countries have bought vaccines from the same two manufacturers, GSK (Pandemrix) and Baxter (Celvapan). But whereas the vaccination programme seemed to get off to a smooth start here, it was quite another matter in Germany.

The difference is that in Germany, ministers, government officials and the armed forces are getting Celvapan, while the general public will receive Pandemrix. This has led to complaints of a two-tier health service, but a government spokesman said it was simply the results of different departments making their purchases without coordinating.

In the UK, ministers are not eligible for swine flu jabs unless they fall into one of the priority groups (and if they do they will get the same jab as the public). Likewise 15,000 British troops in Afghanistan are to receive Pandemrix. Indeed, there are so few doses available of the Baxter jab in the UK that it is being reserved largely for those with a severe egg allergy. Unlike the GSK jab, it is not grown in eggs.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made it clear that if she is advised to be immunised by her doctor, then she will get the Pandemrix vaccine, intended for the general public.

The BBC's Tristana Moore filed a report from Berlin on the row which you can watch here. (See original article for the link). Much of the debate in Germany centred on the fact that Pandemrix contains an adjuvant, a booster chemical, called AS303 which I wrote about in my last post.

GSK has just released new data on Pandemrix and forecast that by the end of this week nearly 500,000 people across Europe will have been immunised with the vaccine. It also published results from a small trial in Belgium suggesting that the vaccine is effective in the elderly as well as younger age groups.

This is important because some studies of seasonal flu vaccines have shown that they are less effective in older age groups.

The row in Germany is a reminder of how easy it is to undermine public confidence in healthcare. Ministers and officials need to ask themselves, "what might people think?" with any decision they make. Whilst it may have been a perfectly innocent purchasing decision that led to ministers and the armed forces being allocated a different vaccine to the general public, it doesn't look good. Forget the fact that both vaccines have been licensed by the European Medicines Agency.

However efficiently Germany conducts its H1N1 swine flu programme in the coming months, damage has been done and it will undoubtedly put some people off having the jab.
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Re: H1N1 pandemic news started 06/11/2009

Post by LtCmdLeia » Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:17 pm

THis is that anti-viral drug I mentioned here the other day

FDA Allows Use of Experimental Antiviral Drug to Treat H1N1

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125648831388306547.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is allowing the use of an experimental antiviral drug to treat severe cases of H1N1 or swine flu.

The drug, peramivir, is currently being developed by BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. and is undergoing testing required for regular FDA approval.

The FDA issued a so-called emergency use authorization late Friday that allows doctors to use peramivir, which is delivered intravenously, in certain hospitalized adult and pediatric patients with confirmed or suspected H1N1 influenza.

A handful of doctors have already treated patients with severe cases of H1N1 using peramivir obtained through the agency's expanded access rules that allow individual patients to obtain experimental drugs if certain conditions are met. The emergency-use authorization allows use of the drug without prior FDA approval.

The FDA said there's only limited clinical data about whether peramivir is safe and effective, but "based upon the totality of scientific evidence available, it is reasonable to believe that peramivir IV may be effective in certain patients."

The company said it is completing production of approximately 130,000 courses of peramivir and is prepared to make more, if required.

The FDA said peramivir should only be used in patients who have not responded to or can't take the oral antiviral drug Tamiflu, made by Roche or Relenza, which is an inhaled drug made by GlaxoSmithKline PLC. Like Tamiflu and Relenza, Peramivir works by inhibiting neuraminidase, an enzyme that's involved with the spread of the influenza virus within the body.
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Re: H1N1 pandemic news started 06/11/2009

Post by Kathy in FL » Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:53 am

New daily high in fatalities ... the last high figure was 50 for the USA, yesterday's was 70 in a single day. :cry:

Please note we are up to 195 confirmed pediatric fatalities at this point and 1375 overall for the USA..
DAILY FATALITY SUMMARY (Reports posted on October 28,2009)

Alabama 1
Arizona 16
California 5*
Colorado 6
Connecticut 3
Delaware 1
Florida 2
Illinois 1
Iowa 1
Louisiana 1*
Maryland 1
Minnesota 1
Nevada 6
New Mexico 5
North Carolina 8
Pennsylvania 1
Tennessee 1
Texas 2
Utah 4
Vermont 1*
Virginia 1
Wisconsin 2

Ontario 1

Afghanistan 1*
Bulgaria 1
China 1
Iran 12
Mexico 50*
Norway 3
South Korea 13*
United Kingdom 2

NOTES: The US total is 1375 which includes 195 pediatric cases. California and Louisiana have one suspect case each.Vermont has had it`s first fatality. The total for Oct. 28 is a new daily high at 70.

The big jumps in Iran and Mexico are based on newly updated national totals not daily reports. South Korea has had 13 deaths in the last 3 days. Afghanistan has had it`s first reported fatality.

One of the Oct.26 cases was a duplicate which has already been allowed for in the US totals. I`ll make the correction later today on the Oct. 26 th report. Canada has "deconfirmed" one previous death for those keeping up with that country`s total.

There are reports of up to 20 fatalities in Ukraine from an unknown virus. When it has been identified we will inform the readers. It seems that testing facilities are limited so be patent.

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Re: H1N1 pandemic news started 06/11/2009

Post by Kathy in FL » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:04 am

Swine Flu Vaccination Regimen Divides Nations as WHO Weighs In

By Jason Gale and Kanoko Matsuyama
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid= ... wR28sUqrMY" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- A World Health Organization advisory panel will be asked today to answer a question dividing governments from the U.S. to Japan: whether one or two doses of swine flu vaccine are needed to fight the pandemic virus.

Initial results of tests on pandemic vaccines produced by companies including Sanofi-Aventis SA, the world’s largest maker of flu shots, suggested one inoculation protects most adults. The U.S. and Australia have begun a mass immunization program based on a single-dose regimen. Japan and the European Union aren’t convinced and are calling for two shots.

The number of shots given will determine how many people can be immunized before infections peak, especially in poor nations which may receive only 10 percent of global supply. In making their recommendation, WHO’s so-called strategic advisory group of experts on immunization will need to balance optimal protection for an individual against sufficient protection for an entire population, said Albert Osterhaus, head of virology at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam.

“There is a definitely an issue of equitable distribution,” said Osterhaus, who was invited to participate in today’s discussion, in an interview yesterday.

About 3 billion doses of the pandemic vaccine may be produced within 12 months, the WHO estimated in September, not enough to cover a world population of 6.8 billion people in which “virtually everyone is susceptible to infection by a new and readily contagious virus.”

At least 1.5 billion doses have been accounted for by developed nations, according to WHO. France contracted to buy 94 million doses for its 64 million people. The U.K., with 61 million people, ordered 90 million.

‘Safe and Sound’

“There are extra options in Europe which might not be the case in other countries,” said John Oxford, professor of virology at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, in an interview yesterday. “You are playing ‘safe and sound’ with two doses.”

Most low- and middle-income nations lack money to compete for an early share of limited doses, Geneva-based WHO said in a Sept. 24 statement, adding that vaccine supplies in these countries will largely depend on donations from manufacturers and other nations.

Preliminary data from a study on GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Pandemrix showed 98 percent of those aged 18 years to 60 years had an immune response indicative of protection after one shot. Tests on the elderly found 87 percent of those older than 70 had a sufficient immune response after one dose, London-based Glaxo said yesterday.

Antibody Levels

The findings are based on antibody levels used to gauge the efficacy of seasonal flu shots, and support results from similar trials in China, the U.S. and Australia.

The WHO panel will probably be swayed by the data and join the U.S. National Institutes of Health and agencies in Australia and China in recommending a single-dose regimen, Oxford said.

“That would relinquish supplies for either countries that have not bothered to prepare themselves -- which is quite a lot of them -- or haven’t got the wherewithal to do it,” he said. “WHO has to factor in all these political and economic things.”

The discussion on flu vaccine is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. Geneva time and result in a set of recommendations for WHO Director-General Margaret Chan to consider. Reporters are slated to be briefed on the final outcome on Nov. 6.

Some authorities have already decided.

Glaxo, Novartis

Though data available for Glaxo’s Pandemrix and Novartis AG’s Focetria vaccines indicate that one dose may be sufficient in adults, the information is too limited to allow the European Medicines Agency to recommend the general use of a single shot, the regulator said in a statement last week.

Japan’s health ministry said on Oct. 20 that most of its citizens should get two doses to maximize protection. Health- care workers should be vaccinated first, followed by pregnant women, people deemed to be at higher risk because of existing conditions like diabetes, and children ages 1 to 6, it said.

Some experts said the decision would limit the amount of vaccine available for children, who won’t be given priority though they are most likely to catch the bug and develop complications.

“If Japan keeps the rule to give a two-shot course to high-risk people, the country won’t have enough vaccine to cover children,” Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a virology professor at the University of Tokyo, told a scientific meeting in the Japanese capital on Oct. 26.

Priority Groups

Japan began immunizing health-care workers this month and plans to have vaccine for as many as 77 million people, or 61 percent of its population, by March. Children aged 1 year to 6 years will be inoculated starting early December, with the program extended to older children about two weeks later, according to the ministry.

“We need to start a discussion on the priority ranking for vaccination,” said Hitoshi Oshitani, a professor at Tohoku University in Sendai, northern Japan. “In Japan, more children with swine flu are in serious condition compared with other high-risk groups.”

Pandemic vaccines have their greatest impact as a preventive strategy when administered before or near the peak incidence of cases in an outbreak, according to the WHO.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jason Gale in Singapore at j.gale@bloomberg.net; Kanoko Matsuyama in Tokyo at kmatsuyama2@bloomberg.net.

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Re: H1N1 pandemic news started 06/11/2009

Post by Kathy in FL » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:05 am

Swine Flu Vaccine Scarcity Stirs Anger in U.S. Cities (Update1)

By Meg Tirrell and David Olmos
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid= ... HKVGJB0FXg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- San Diego health officials said the county depleted its main supply of swine flu vaccine today after receiving only 25 percent of the 411,000 doses anticipated for October, as reports of shortages nationwide mount.

New shipments may arrive “in the next week or two, we hope,” said Jose Alvarez, a spokesman for the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. From New York, where October deliveries fell short by 400,000 doses, to Dallas and Phoenix, which have postponed mass vaccinations, to San Francisco, where one family clinic is fielding 400 calls a day, local officials are being pressured by parents for swine flu vaccine as the death toll for children in the U.S. reached 95.

The U.S. received about 9 million more doses of H1N1 vaccine from drugmakers in the last week, bringing the total available for distribution to 23.2 million, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said today. The supply isn’t enough, Thomas Frieden, director of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a call yesterday with reporters. Local officials and doctors agree.

“Some parents are very angry,” said Joanne Cox, associate chief of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital in Boston. “We have very high demand. The phones are ringing off the hook.”

Nicole Lurie, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at health and human services, said Oct. 23 that the U.S. won’t get the 195 million doses it had planned for by the end of the year because of production delays at two drugmakers and one manufacturer’s failure to gain regulatory approval for its product.

Vaccine Suppliers

GlaxoSmithKline Plc and AstraZeneca Plc, both based in London, Sanofi-Aventis SA of Paris, Novartis AG in Basel, Switzerland, and CSL Ltd. of Melbourne, Australia, provide the bulk of the U.S. supply. Sebelius said today that production of the vaccine is being “accelerated” and the reasons for the slow start have been fixed.

While the U.S. may receive 42 million doses from the drugmakers to distribute to states by mid-November, that is 8 million fewer than earlier U.S. estimates, Lurie said. Local health departments are already feeling the pinch.

San Diego received only 100,000 doses of the vaccine it was expecting this month, Alvarez said yesterday. About 16,500 doses were distributed through county clinics over the weekend, he said. The county ran out of vaccine delivered through injections today, and has limited supplies for pregnant women, said Tom Christensen, a spokesman, in a telephone interview today.

Parents Confused

Parents are getting mixed messages from schools and doctors offices, which are urging them to vaccinate kids when supplies often aren’t available, said one Boston-area mother.

“Do I want my kids to be vaccinated? Sure,” said Margaret Birchall, a mother of four kids ages 10 to 22 in Topsfield, Massachusetts. “But what do you do? You’re being told to be sure to get the vaccine, but then they don’t have it.”

Dallas County, Texas, canceled a mass vaccination effort planned for Oct. 24 because it didn’t have enough doses, said Zachary Thompson, director of the county’s Health and Human Services agency.

“We may get a lot of vaccine on the back end, in November or December, but our goal is to do mass vaccinations as early as possible,” Thompson said yesterday. News coverage has heightened awareness of the pandemic “and everybody is ready to take the vaccine,” he said.

Many Questions

About 400 people a day are calling East Bay Pediatrics, a physician practice that serves about 14,000 children in Berkeley and Orinda, California, east of San Francisco, said Mary Gilbert, a registered nurse. The pediatricians’ office received about 300 doses of the vaccine in mid-October, and the supply was gone in three days, Gilbert said.

“It’s very hit or miss as to when we get the product,” she said. “We just keep telling people to be patient. Most people are just scared from what they’re reading in the newspapers.”

Maricopa County, Arizona, which includes Phoenix, has received about a third of the vaccine supply it had anticipated by now, said Rebecca Sunenshine, an epidemiologist with the Department of Public Health. In total, the county expects to get about 250,000 doses, she said in a phone interview yesterday.

With temperatures in the high 80s, “we had tremendous lines” that lasted for hours over the weekend at pediatrician offices, pharmacies and clinics, Sunenshine said.

17,000 Vaccinations

The county vaccinated 17,000 people on Oct. 24, focusing on higher risk groups, she said. A series of mass immunization programs at schools has been postponed, she said.

New York City will get 800,000 doses of the vaccine by the end of this month, compared with the 1.2 million it expected, said Jessica Scaperotti, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. A vaccine program in schools started today with 125 elementary schools.

President Barack Obama declared swine flu a national emergency on Oct. 24. The disease is widespread across the country and accounted for 411 confirmed deaths and more than 8,200 hospitalizations from Aug. 30 to Oct. 17, the CDC said.

While H1N1 produces similar symptoms as seasonal flu, it is targeting a younger population and can lead to severe illness and death. The seasonal flu kills about 36,000 people a year in the U.S., though the majority of those deaths are in people older than age 80.

Children’s Deaths

Ninety-five children 17 years old or younger have died from confirmed swine flu since April 2009, more than the toll for a typical year of influenza, according to the CDC Web site.

A World Health Organization advisory panel is deliberating today whether one or two doses of the vaccine are needed to fight the virus. The U.S. and Australia have begun mass immunization programs based on a single-dose regimen, while Japan and the European Union are calling for two shots.

The vaccine will reach Hong Kong by the end of the year, about three months after an initial wave of cases peaked, a health official there said. China and Russia each have had four deaths from the H1N1 virus, news agencies reported today.

Chicago-based Aon Corp., the world’s largest insurance broker, is offering to cover companies against the risk of their offices being shut by the pandemic.

Concern that there are shortages is bound to boost demand from those afraid the product won’t be available in time to head off the disease, the CDC’s Frieden told reporters in his call yesterday.

About 11.3 million doses had been shipped to states as of Oct. 21, according to the CDC.

California received the most vaccine as of Oct. 21, at 1.3 million doses, according to the CDC’s Web site. Texas was next with 831,400, followed by New York, at 729,100. As of then, 14.1 million doses were available for ordering.

“Some of those early challenges have definitely been addressed,” Sebelius told reporters at a Washington news conference today. “The growth rate” of vaccine doses “is much more robust.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Meg Tirrell in New York at mtirrell@bloomberg.net; David Olmos in San Francisco at dolmos@bloomberg.net.

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Post by Kathy in FL » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:05 am

D.C. Metro:

Swine flu-related deaths up in region

2 in each state reported, bringing total in Md. to 12 and toll in Va. to 11

By Michael Laris
Thursday, October 29, 2009
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 18_pf.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Maryland confirmed two more swine flu-related deaths Wednesday, bringing the state's total to 12. The death toll in Virginia has reached 11, officials said.

The Maryland cases involved two adults from the Baltimore area who apparently had no underlying medical conditions, according to state health officials.

The latest Virginia case involved a woman from the Charlottesville and Louisa County area. She suffered from a preexisting ailment "that put her at higher risk for complications from the flu," said Melodie Martin, a spokeswoman for the state health department. A Jetersville girl was the 10th Virginia death. She was "the first otherwise healthy person" with no underlying conditions to die, Martin said.

Heaven Skyler Wilson, 6, loved "watching the leaves fall from trees, peering at the moon and talking with God," according to an obituary from the Joseph McMillian Funeral Home.

The District had reported no such deaths as of Wednesday.

In Montgomery County on Wednesday, 1,000 people ages 2 to 24 were vaccinated at each of three school sites using the nasal mist form, but hundreds of others were turned away, officials said.

Montgomery health officials have canceled clinics scheduled for the next two Wednesdays because they don't have enough vaccine. Officials said they are considering setting up a clinic for pregnant women only but have not settled on the specifics.

One of those who died was Walter Brooks, who graduated in May from North County High School in Glen Burnie and was a student at Anne Arundel Community College. The loss and an appeal from his grieving family to take precautions have seized the attention of classmates, said Linda Schulte, the college's director of public relations.

"Hearing it through the family's voice . . . has made an impact on some students, particularly those who might have been taking this in a cavalier fashion," Schulte said. "It's one thing for an institution or a parent to tell students or their children to wash their hands. It's another for a family that has had such a tragic loss to say, because they care, take these things seriously."

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Post by Kathy in FL » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:06 am

Tamiflu shortages have parents on wild dose chase

Liquid form of drug used to treat youngest victims of swine flu is in short supply

By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 29, 2009
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 03823.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

First it was the rush for hand sanitizer. Then it was the quest for the vaccine. Now, as increasing numbers of children are coming down with swine flu, more parents are facing yet another anxiety-provoking chase: the hunt for liquid Tamiflu for kids.

Spot shortages of the liquid form of the antiviral medicine are forcing mothers and fathers to drive from pharmacy to pharmacy, often late into the evening after getting a diagnosis and prescription from a pediatrician, in search of the syrup recommended for the youngest victims of the H1N1 pandemic.

"It was so frustrating," said Cheryl Copeland of Silver Spring, who finally found some of the medication for her 5-year-old son, William, at an independent drug store Monday after having no luck at a CVS and Rite Aid. "There was a moment when the first pharmacist said, 'We don't have it. There's been a run on it,' when I said to myself, 'Where on Earth am I going to find it?' "

The drug can make the flu milder, go away more quickly and may cut the risk of potentially life-threatening complications. The shortages are being caused by a surge in demand because of the second wave of swine flu sweeping the country, combined with a decision by Roche, the Swiss company that makes the medication, to focus on producing it in capsule form.

In response, the government has shipped to states hundreds of thousands of five-day courses from the Strategic National Stockpile, which is on standby in case there are disease outbreaks or bioterrorism attacks. Officials have also instructed doctors to suggest that pharmacists mix the powder from capsules with syrup to make a liquid for children if the company's version is unavailable.

The Food and Drug Administration and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also posted the formula for pharmacists to follow, including guidelines for the correct dosing by each child's weight.

Federal health officials are confident that enough Tamiflu is available in the capsule or liquid forms to make sure children can be treated promptly.

"For the most part, patients are getting treated," said Greg Burel, director of the CDC's Division of Strategic National Stockpile. "There have been shortages in sporadic spots, but generally it's still available."

Roche is still producing the liquid form of the drug. But after consulting with U.S. and World Health Organization officials, the firm focused on making capsules when it increased production to meet an expected rise in demand after the H1N1 virus emerged in the spring. That allows it to produce 25 times the amount of medication it would have otherwise made, officials said.

"The bottom line is looking at how the company could ramp up as quickly as possible to get as much medicine out as possible. This was the best way to do it," said Roche spokeswoman Kristina Becker, noting that the company has been increasing production capacity since 2005, after the avian flu virus emerged in Asia.

The company also makes lower-dose capsules that children can take or parents can open to mix with a syrup to help them take it. But they should do this carefully following a doctor's instructions to ensure the proper dose, officials said.

'The earlier the better'

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released 300,000 courses of the liquid formula from the national stockpile earlier this month, including some that the FDA had to test for potency because their expiration dates had passed.

"We believe the shortage may become more severe as the disease progresses in coming weeks," Burel said. "So what we tried to do is take steps to fill a potential gap."

But the spot shortages are creating anxious hours for many parents, especially because children appear to be among those at greatest risk from the illness. While the overwhelming majority of children who get swine flu recover, nearly 100 in the United States have died from the disease so far this year, which is about double the number who die from the seasonal flu in a typical winter. Tamiflu, also known as oseltamivir -- along with another called zanamivir, or Relenza -- is highly effective, especially when taken within the first 48 hours of developing symptoms.

"The earlier the better," said Tim Uyeki, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC's influenza division. "Antiviral treatment should be started as quickly as possible."

In fact, in response to the pandemic, the FDA issued an emergency authorization in April allowing the use of Tamiflu for children younger than 1. But many infants, and many other young children, can swallow only the liquid form.

Shelley Waters Boots of Silver Spring scrambled to find liquid Tamiflu for her 2-year-old son, Carlin, who was prescribed the medication at Holy Cross Hospital last week for swine flu. Carlin is considered at high risk because he has asthma. The first seven pharmacies Waters Boots tried did not have the drug, so she began frantically calling relatives in New York, Florida and California before finding the medicine at the same pharmacy where Copeland did.

"I was like, 'Thank God.' It was pretty stressful," Waters Boots said. "They said it was so important to get it in the next 48 hours. So that night before I found it, I was freaking out."

The Kensington Pharmacy, which filled the prescriptions for Copeland and Waters Boots, has been getting requests for 10 to 15 prescriptions a day.

"The formula is very simple," said Huseyin C. Tunc, the pharmacy's owner, adding, however, that the process is more time-consuming than filling a typical prescription. "A lot of other pharmacies are calling us to see if we make it and sending us their patients."

Sudden outbreaks

Major drug store chains, including Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid, as well as pharmacies at big stores such as Wal-Mart, say pharmacists at all their locations can prepare the liquid form of the medication individually, a process known as "compounding." But several of the national chains said that some of their stores were still experiencing spot shortages if they ran low on the capsules or the syrup, which is made by two companies that have been racing to keep up with demand as well.

In some cases, pharmacies have run low because of sudden outbreaks, like the one that recently occurred in Crystal Lake, Ill.

"All of a sudden, you have hundreds of kids out of school and we couldn't anticipate hundreds of prescriptions coming in within several hours," said James Cohn, a Walgreens spokesman. "Within 24 hours or so, we are able to get supplies back into the location. But over time, we're seeing more and more instances where there have been shortages."

Combined with her hunt for vaccine for her son and daughter, who also got the swine flu, Waters Boots was frustrated by the government's response to the pandemic.

"We've been too little, too late on both counts," she said. "It's the same story."

Staff writer Michael Laris and staff researcher Madonna Lebling contributed to this report

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Post by Kathy in FL » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:06 am

As cases rise, swine flu is linked to two more deaths in Minn.

Published October 29 2009
By: Don Davis, West Central Tribune
http://www.wctrib.com/event/article/id/59276/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

ST. PAUL — Minnesota health officials confirmed two more deaths Wednesday from 2009 H1N1 flu, or swine flu as it is also known, as more schools report flu outbreaks and the number of people hospitalized continues to rise.

While the Health Department will not provide specific identifications, the family of Oliver Franklin Finley, 11, of Hastings reported he died of swine flu. He had other health problems.

Also, Mike Milbrath, 54, a south central Minnesota hospital administrator who had no other health conditions, died in Mankato. The two deaths, previously reported in the media, bring to 12 the number of Minnesotans who have died since swine flu began circulating in April.

Health experts say the flu easily is transmitted from person to person, although in most cases it is relatively mild. Young people and pregnant women, as well as people with other health problems, are most likely to be affected.

However, as Milbrath’s death shows, anyone is susceptible.

Dr. Aaron DeVries, a Health Department epidemiologist, said the death of an otherwise-healthy man shows “you need to take it seriously because it can lead to quite bad outcomes.”

In its weekly flu report, the Health Department reported 288 schools in most of the state reported flu-like outbreaks last week, up 38 from a week earlier. An outbreak is declared when a school reports at least 5 percent of its students are absent with flu-like symptoms.

Unlike what is common with the seasonal flu, no nursing homes reported an outbreak. The seasonal flu is not expected to surface until later in the year.

Swine flu, a worldwide pandemic, is the major cause for concern now.

“There has been a very high number of individuals who were sick this past week,” DeVries said.

Of 225 Minnesotans hospitalized with H1N1 last week, more than half were in the Twin Cities and central Minnesota areas. Most other cases were in southern Minnesota, although 13 were hospitalized in west central Minnesota, with nine in the northeast.

Since Sept. 1, at least 655 Minnesotans have been hospitalized with swine flu. Since the first case was reported earlier in the year, 915 have been hospitalized.

The Health Department investigates each suspected flu death before confirming swine flu as the cause.

Bonnie St. James of The Hastings Star-Gazette contributed to this story.

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Post by Kathy in FL » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:06 am

Sixth H1N1 virus death in Travis County;


Thursday, October 29, 2009


25-year-old dies of swine flu

A 25-year-old man is the sixth H1N1 virus death confirmed in Travis County, according to the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department. The man had underlying health conditions, based on a review of his medical chart, department spokeswoman Carole Barasch said.

The health department does not release names or other health information about swine flu victims.

The cause of death was confirmed by testing Tuesday, Barasch said.

http://www.statesman.com/news/content/n ... undup.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Post by Kathy in FL » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:07 am

Our view on H1N1: Government over-promises, under-delivers on flu shots

Feds deserve credit for vaccine development, but distribution lags.

Posted at 12:22 AM/ET, October 29, 2009 in USA TODAY
http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2009/10/ ... shots.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Across Massachusetts, pregnant women have been swamping physician phone lines looking for H1N1 vaccine, often with no luck. Earlier this week from East Coast to West, lines snaked around blocks outside clinics offering the shots. And in Indianapolis, a health clinic dispensed all its shots in an hour and had to turn people away.

This is what happens when you fail to follow an old business maxim, which says success results when you under-promise and over-deliver. Seems the federal government got it backwards.

For months, in an attempt to assuage fears about the H1N1 flu, also known as swine flu, the government built up the public's expectation that shots would be widely available by mid-October. In July, officials predicted 120 million doses by that time. When October rolled around, they dropped the estimate to 40 million. On Oct. 5, all the government had available were about 2.4 million doses.

That startling shortfall, however, didn't stop Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from making the rounds of TV's morning news shows on Oct. 7 to launch a public relations drive urging Americans to get vaccinated. It worked. Too well, as it turned out. To the government's embarrassment and the frustration of millions of vaccine-seekers, demand quickly outstripped supply. Though production is picking up — as of Wednesday, HHS had distributed 23 million doses — that's still the case.

Sebelius' department has done a lot of things right since H1N1 came calling last spring, in particular developing a safe, effective vaccine in record time. But a confluence of events — some beyond the government'scontrol, some not — has undermined those efforts. The H1N1 flu struck earlier than the seasonal flu does. The virus used to mass produce vaccine grew more slowly than expected in chicken eggs, the old-fashioned starting point for vaccines even in this high-tech age. Reports of healthy young people and pregnant women dying from H1N1 helped drive a surge in demand.

Given the vaccine production delays, the U.S. is fortunate that the new strain has not been even more virulent. The government now has a chance to learn from the experience, and it should.

For starters, the myriad federal agencies involved — perhaps there are too many, adding to disarray — need to keep closer tabs on vaccine production. Nicole Lurie, a top HHS official, says that despite weekly conference calls with vaccine-makers, she was surprised to learn around Columbus Day that three of them were having problems that would delay delivery. Her account raises the issue of why the government, a huge customer awaiting a vital product, didn't have better intelligence about production levels. {or about.....other things H1N1-related }

The H1N1 pandemic also highlights how the nation is too reliant on foreign vaccine producers. Only one of the five vaccine makers is based in the USA, and most of the production occurs overseas. CSL Ltd., an Australian producer, met its own country's needs first. Overseas demands on foreign companies could prove fatal to Americans in a future pandemic. More production on U.S. soil and a faster move to modern cell-based production, which doesn't rely on eggs, are feasible solutions. The first cell-based plant is set to open in North Carolina next month, but it won't be producing vaccine until 2011.

The government was right to urge a skeptical public to get vaccinated. And chances are that by mid-December, the nation will be swimming in vaccine. For some H1N1 victims, though, that will be too much, too late.

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Post by Kathy in FL » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:08 am

Canadians told to restrict travel as H1N1 vaccination gathers momentum

By Meagan Fitzpatrick and Linda Nguyen
Canwest News ServiceOctober 28, 2009 7:38 PM
http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Cana ... story.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

OTTAWA — Canadians were told Wednesday by public-health officials to avoid travel, including public transit, if they show any signs of H1N1 swine flu, a warning that came the same day a report described airports across the country as “major gateways for infectious diseases.”
Pregnant El Monte Woman Dies Of H1N1 Flu
Oct 28, 2009 8:44 pm US/Pacific

ARCADIA, Calif. (CBS) ―

Jorge Gonzalez and his 3-year-old daughter, Fernanda, are struggling with a huge loss – a wife and mother and an unborn sibling.

Monica Rodriguez, 27, who was 5 months pregnant with her second child, came down with a severe cough and fever that was ultimately diagnosed as the H1N1 flu. Rodriguez, who lived in El Monte, died Sunday.

Gonzalez, speaking to NewsCentral's Suraya Fadel in Spanish, said Rodriguez was in and out of several local clinics, but her condition got worse. Gonzalez took her to Methodist Hospital in Arcadia, where she was rushed into intensive care.

Just days after being admitted, Gonzalez and her unborn baby died.

Gonzalez, who said that his family is now struggling with funeral costs for Rodriguez and the baby he didn't get a chance to meet, said he wants to make sure pregnant women don't discount the danger of the H1N1 flu.

Rodriguez was unable to get the H1N1 vaccine because the injection given to pregnant women was not available at the time.

Gonzalez says he hopes to bury Rodriguez in her native Guatemala.

http://cbs2.com/local/Pregnant.Swine.Flu.2.1277283.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Post by Kathy in FL » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:09 am


Schools face fines if flu suspensions defied

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Health authorities yesterday signaled a tougher stance on the fight against the A(H1N1) swine flu on campuses, pointing to the likelihood of fining schools and parents who do not comply with implemented class suspension policies.

Deputy Director-General Chou Shi-hao of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was cited as saying that should the epidemic landscape grow more grave in the near future, health officials are prepared to subject disobliging schools and parents to fines between NT$3,000 and NT$15,000 as stipulated under the Communicable Disease Control Act.Repeated penalty may be imposed on repeated violations, Chou said.

Chou's remarks come amid reports of schools and parents taking advantage of loopholes in the “325” benchmark or condoning non-compliance despite multiple infections seen in classrooms.

The number of infections seen across elementary and junior high schools has seen a jump of over 10 to 20 percent. Many parents have also opted to keep sick children away from school for one or two days as to not disrupt the continuation of studies. Fever reducers are given to students when symptoms flare up, although health officials continue to warn that viruses remain active and contagious in the absence of signs of the disease.

The “325” benchmark states that should any classroom over a period of three days observe two infections, the entire class will adjourn for a period of five days, holidays included.

Infections that are reported by parents from home are not included in the count.

Teen With Lupus Dies

A teenager in Taipei County admitted to the hospital for non-flu-related symptoms succumbed to the A(H1N1) virus, dying from complications from pneumonia, health officials said yesterday.

According to the Public Health Bureau (PHB) in Taipei County, the 19-year-old female was hospitalized for hypotension, or low blood pressure, on Sept. 22, but contracted the novel flu during her hospital stay.

Health officials were cited as saying that they have not yet ruled out the possibility of a nosocomial infection, which is one that is acquired on hospital grounds and secondary to the patient's original condition.

During the victim's hospital stay, doctors diagnosed kidney stones, recurrent urinary tract infection, exacerbated by bacterial sepsis and fungal infection, the PHB noted.

A viral culture also confirmed her A(H1N1) infection.

Suffering from cardiomyopathy and systemic lupus erythematosus, commonly known as lupus, since the age of 13, the girl has long relied on corticosteroids and immunosuppressants as well as bed rest for treatment, the PHB explained.

The fatality marks the nation's 27th swine flu-related death.

As of yesterday morning, another 10 hospitalized A(H1N1) flu cases were reported, raising the total to 447, said the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The latest infections involve patients between the ages 3 and 76, said the CECC.

The CECC also indicated that 809 classes across 427 schools on the island were suspended yesterday.

The number of infected students have surpassed an unprecedented 20,000, said a United Evening News report.

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/nati ... s-face.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Post by Kathy in FL » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:10 am

Swine flu cases surge in Paris

October 29, 2009
http://www.connexionfrance.com/news_art ... hp?id=1163" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

SWINE flu infection rates have surged in the Paris area with an 80% rise in child cases in the Ile-de-France.

Just seven weeks since the epidemic started the health watchdog INVS estimated there had been 167,000 consultations on the grippe H1N1 virus last week alone with the number of positive tests "very much higher than precedent weeks".

Many of the cases have been in the 6-14 age group and INVS is recommending strongly that vaccinations be given to youngsters from six months in order to give them immunity for an expected second wave of cases during 2010.

The large-scale vaccination campaign started last week for health personnel and will continue next week for the priority groups.

However, there have been indications of a huge resistance against taking the jab – with a poll in Dimanche Ouest-France newspaper saying just 17% of the population intended to get vaccinated because of fears over the vaccine’s safety.

The same picture is being seen across Europe with large proportions of Britons, Belgians, Danes, Dutch, Finns, Germans and Spanish intending to avoid the jab after reports of severe side effects and even possible linked deaths in Sweden and Bulgaria.

There have been 44 deaths from swine flu in France, with 17 in the mainland and 27 in the overseas territories.

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Post by Kathy in FL » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:11 am


Connecticut's Frustration Grows In The Hunt For The Elusive Swine Flu Vaccine

The Hartford Courant
October 29, 2009
http://www.courant.com/health/hc-flu-va ... 2970.story" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Swine flu is spreading across Connecticut, but finding the vaccine against it can be a struggle. Calls to some pediatricians' offices produce little more than a busy signal. Other doctors have added recordings to their phone messages about high call volume because of flu.

Dr. Brad Wilkinson isn't so hard to get hold of, but you won't get the swine flu vaccine from him. Like many doctors, the Durham family physician's practice filled out the required state form to request the vaccine when it became available. But so far, he's still waiting, advising his patients to call back in two to three weeks, and, if they find a way to get it elsewhere first, to do so.

"It's been sort of an immunization black hole," he said.

Flu activity is increasing in the state, with some schools closed because of high absentee rates and, on Tuesday, the state's third death linked to the H1N1 virus since Aug. 30. The 64-year-old woman who died at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London had underlying health problems, as did two other flu patients who have died since Aug. 30.

But the H1N1 vaccine supply continues to lag behind what state and federal officials had expected, leaving some patients and doctors scrambling to find ways to vaccinate those at highest risk for complications from the virus.

State officials had expected to have more than 500,000 doses of the vaccine in Connecticut by the middle of this month, but by Wednesday, health providers in the state had received only 178,800, according to the state Department of Public Health. State and federal health officials say that eventually there will be enough vaccine for everyone who wants it, but nationwide, vaccine production and delivery lag earlier predictions.

State officials have advised people to call their doctors to get the vaccine, but some doctors don't have it yet. In those cases, state health department spokesman William Gerrish said, people should call their local mass dispensing area — a list of them is available at http://www.ct.gov/dph/mda" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; — to find out when there will be a public clinic or a clinic offered by another provider.

Patients at high risk of complications whose doctors are not carrying the vaccine can also ask for referrals to doctors who do have it, said Dr. Matthew Cartter, the state epidemiologist.

"In a pandemic situation, and I'm speaking as a physician, if a service is not provided by a doctor, I think a physician has an obligation to guide their patients to ... where they can reasonably get it," he said. {the obligation to set up clinics, to "guide" people, to where they can get a vaccine is yours at the public health department at the state level, isn't it?}

Who Gets What

Unlike the seasonal flu vaccine, which health providers can order directly from manufacturers, all the H1N1 vaccine is ordered through the state and delivered directly to providers.

So how is the limited supply divvied up?

It happens on a weekly basis, when state health officials learn from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention how much vaccine and which type the state will get.

State officials then ask providers who have registered for the vaccine to place orders. Because the vaccine is being administered only to high-risk groups for now, the state has been soliciting orders only from health providers who serve the target groups, such as pediatricians, obstetricians and gynecologists, acute care hospitals and community health centers, Cartter said.

Then, on Fridays, state health officials try to match the orders with the amount and type of vaccine that's coming. There are eight different formulations of the vaccine — some injectable vaccine can be given to people aged 4 and older, for example, while another type can be given to people 6 months and older — and part of the challenge is matching the providers' requests for a particular type of vaccine with what is being shipped to Connecticut.

Some providers may request only a certain type of vaccine, and if none is available, might not get any.

Another complicating factor: The vaccine only comes in increments of 100 or more. That meant that, initially, physicians who requested fewer than 100 doses would not get them.

Since last week, the state has been asking providers who have vaccine left over to redistribute it to other providers who need it. Because all the vaccine comes free from the federal government, it requires paperwork but no financial arrangements, Cartter said.

Although demand for the H1N1 vaccine has been high, many providers have had leftover doses of the nasal spray, which is approved only for healthy people between 2 and 49 and cannot be given to pregnant women. In some cases, Cartter said, health districts struggled to interest anyone in using the nasal spray, which is more frequently given to children and is unfamiliar to many adults. Because of the extra supply, the state raised the age limits for children to receive the nasal spray vaccine, and now all healthy children between 2 and 18 are eligible to receive it.

Some providers have already taken advantage of sharing supplies. In Old Saybrook, for example, 500 people are signed up for the Connecticut River Area Health District's H1N1 vaccine clinic today. But by Wednesday afternoon, it appeared the health district would be 100 doses short. So the health district got some from another district, director of health Mary Jane Engle said.

Inundated By Calls

Engle's health district, which covers Old Saybrook, Deep River and Clinton but also provides vaccine to Killingworth, Westbrook, Essex and Chester, had been getting inundated with calls about H1N1 and the vaccine.

So on Wednesday, Old Saybrook's police and emergency service departments opened a regional H1N1 hot line to handle calls from residents of the seven towns. People who call in can leave their names and, when vaccine becomes available, will be notified that they can get it, Police Chief Michael Spera said.

By the end of the first day, 536 people were signed up for the vaccine.

The hot line will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can be reached at 860-395-3045 or 860-395-3046.

Courant staff writer David Owens contributed to this story.

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Post by Kathy in FL » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:11 am

Minnesota / 266 hospitalized as flu death toll hits 12

288 schools had outbreaks last week

By Jeremy Olson
Updated: 10/28/2009 11:34:48 PM CDT
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New flu figures released by the Minnesota Health Department on Wednesday showed two more H1N1-related deaths — bringing the state's overall total to 12.

Influenza was also responsible for 266 hospitalizations last week and reportable outbreaks in 288 schools. H1N1 was responsible for most of the hospital cases, but at least one patient was infected with a seasonal strain of influenza.

Both the school and hospital figures were higher last week than they were the previous week, reflecting the continued spread of the new strain of H1N1, also known as swine flu. Since it emerged last spring, the virus has been responsible for more than 900 hospitalizations.

While H1N1 vaccine remains scarce, the state is continuing to allocate more doses and to earmark them for people at highest risk of infection. Those include young children, pregnant women and people with health conditions that increase the risk of H1N1-related complications.

The state provided only limited details about the two new deaths, but they appear to match those of two victims already publicly identified. One was Mike Milbrath, 54, a hospital administrator in Waseca, Minn., who had no prior medical conditions that contributed to his death. The other was Oliver Finley, 11, of Hastings, who suffered from a variety of mental and physical disabilities, including cerebral palsy.

Of the previous 10 deaths, eight involved people with underlying conditions such as asthma or weakened immune

The Upper School of St. Paul Academy and Summit School canceled classes today because of a flu-related absentee rate of more than 30 percent. Head of School Bryn Roberts said the day off, coupled with a scheduled day off Friday and the weekend, will give the students a chance to recover.

"The numbers have been growing during the week," he said. "We thought it would be good to give the kids some rest, and step back."

Absentee rates in the middle and lower schools were considerably lower, so those schools still will have classes today.

The Stillwater Gazette is reporting that Salem Lutheran School in Stillwater will be closed for the rest of the week due to H1N1 absences as well.

Jeremy Olson can be reached at 651-228-5583.

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Re: H1N1 pandemic news started 06/11/2009

Post by Kathy in FL » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:12 am


Waseca / Experimental H1N1 drug didn't save medical exec

By Jeff Hansel
Rochester Post-Bulletin
Updated: 10/27/2009 02:29:35 PM CDT
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Mike Milbrath was in the prime of life — 54 years old — and had spent months guiding Waseca Medical Center-Mayo Health System as it prepared for pandemic H1N1 influenza.

Milbrath himself was diagnosed with H1N1, commonly referred to as swine flu, on Oct. 20. His medical condition worsened, so health providers obtained an experimental drug that had shown promise in other patients seriously ill with H1N1.

He received the drug Friday, but he died Saturday evening. He hadn't qualified for the vaccine until Friday. That's why he received it too late for it to work to help ward off the illness.

"This is a tragic loss, first for the Milbrath family, but also for the medical community," said Kevin Burns, chief communications officer for Immanuel St. Joseph's-Mayo Health System.

The cause of Milbrath's death hasn't been determined, Burns said.

In the meantime, Milbrath's death might raise awareness about the rare but serious potential for H1N1 complications.

"Part of human nature, perhaps, is until it affects me directly it may not seem as real, or as relevant. All those doubts have been erased," Burns said. Now, he said, all the months of planning, late nights, extended hours and weekend meetings held to plan for H1N1 make sense.

"Now I know why this is so important," he said.

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