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Friday, February 26, 2010

New inhaled drug protects from flu in single dose

We need more ammo in our arsenal to fight flu pandemics, let it be H1N1 or H5N1. Based on the article from Reuters we may be well on the way to get more fire power.

" A single dose of an experimental influenza drug saves more mice from H5N1 avian influenza than the preferred drug Tamiflu, researchers reported on Thursday, and can also protect against infection.

The tests of Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd's CS 8958 or laninamivir show one inhaled dose worked better than Tamiflu to keep mice alive when infected with a normally deadly dose.

The report in the Public Library of Science Journal PLoS Pathogens covers one of the dozens of ongoing studies of a new batch of influenza drugs being developed by a variety of companies."

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61P07I20100226

Singapore - Boy, 5, dies from H1N1

The latest from Singapore:

" A FIVE-YEAR-OLD boy is the latest to die from the Influenza A (H1N1) virus here.

This brings the total number of deaths related to H1N1 here to 21.

The boy had no underlying conditions and died at the KK Women's and Children's Hospital two days ago, said a Ministry of Health spokesman."

http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_495268.html

I have said this one to many times, we in the South East Asia are still going through the H1N1 pandemic and we must pay attention it.

More about the latest fatality from Singapore:

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1039951/1/.html

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Beware of H1N1 even if it's waning

A clear warning and advice to Singaporeans and this should apply to all of us here in Malaysia and South East Asia too.

" Has Influenza A (H1N1) run its course? It is on the wane, said the Ministry of Health, when it lowered the yellow alert to green nearly two weeks ago.

Time for some relief, but probably not yet celebration. Elsewhere, infections have not returned to levels normally seen for seasonal influenza. Nor has it stopped infecting people that usually do not catch the flu.

Previous pandemics, including the 1918 Spanish flu, packed a much deadlier second wave that killed younger and healthier people as well as the sick and elderly. The H1N1 pandemic has yet to peak, 10 months after the virus surfaced in Mexico and spread around the world. "

http://www.asianewsnet.net/news.php?id=10328&sec=3

WHO: A/H1N1 pandemic flu yet to pass peak

Via Xinhua:

" The A/H1N1 pandemic influenza has not fully passed its peak yet despite decling transmission of the virus in many parts of the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

Dr Keiji Fukuda, the WHO's special adviser on pandemic influenza, made the announcement following a teleconference of the UN agency's Emergency Committee on Tuesday.

The committee, composed of 15 world experts, held two hours of in-depth discussions on the pandemic influenza situation, and it advised that "it was really too early to conclude that the pandemic was in a post-peak period," Fukuda told a news conference in Geneva."

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-02/24/c_13186484.htm

Panel recommends annual flu vaccinations for all

Via AP, a future recommendation for flu shots. I think it's a good idea.

" A government panel is now recommending that virtually all Americans get a flu shot each year, starting this fall.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices had gradually been expanding its recommendation for flu shots - 85 percent of Americans were already included."

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_MED_FLU_SHOTS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2010-02-24-18-56-30

From WHO: Director-General statement following the seventh meeting of the Emergency Committee

" A detailed update was provided to the Committee on the global pandemic situation. After asking additional questions and reviewing the evidence and holding extensive discussion, the Committee was of the view that there was mixed evidence showing declining or low pandemic activity in many countries, but new community level transmission activity in West Africa. Moreover, they expressed concern that the winter months of the Southern Hemisphere had not yet started and there was uncertainty whether additional generalized waves of activity might occur and the need to not undermine preparations. The Committee advised that it was premature to conclude that all parts of the world have experienced peak transmission of the H1N1 pandemic influenza and that additional time and information was needed to provide expert advice on the status of the pandemic. The Committee accordingly suggested that the Committee be re-convened in a few weeks to review intervening developments and related epidemiological information."

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/7th_meeting_ihr/en/index.html

H1N1 Pandemic Situation In Malaysia - Week 07/2010 (14 - 20 February 2010)

The latest update from the Ministry of Health in Malaysia with regards to the H1N1 cases. They missed out an update last week for week 06/2010 (7 - 13 February 2010). Anyway here's the excerpt from Bernama with regards to the update:

" A total of 379 new patients were admitted to hospital for Influenza-like illnesses (ILI) in the week ending Feb 20, Director-General of Health Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said Wednesday.

He also said that in the same period, 383 cases were discharged from hospital."The number of ILI cases still being treated nationwide until Feb 20 was 343 in 38 government hospitals and two private hospitals.

From this number, only three patients or 0.9 per cent were confirmed positive for Influenza A (H1N1) by laboratory tests," he said in a statement."

http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsindex.php?id=477811

As you can see the numbers are still high in Malaysia and I think WHO did an excellent job by not declaring the pandemic as over and they have put into consideration the situation in the Southern Hemisphere. Kudos to WHO!

The link from the MOH in Malaysia with the latest H1N1 update:

http://h1n1.moh.gov.my/KenyataanAkhbarTerkini.php

Children and obese hard hit by swine flu: experts

Via Reuters, more evidence on who is the hardest hit by H1N1:

" People who were morbidly obese and school-aged children were much more likely to become seriously ill or to die from H1N1 swine flu, U.S. experts said on Wednesday.

Preliminary data showed the morbidly obese had four times the rate of hospitalizations and deaths, while the death rate for children was five times higher than usual, experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said."

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2419902520100224

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

H1N1: A Deadly After Effect

More information on H1n1 sypmtoms and so on. It's never too late to educate ourselves.

http://www.wftv.com/health/22632148/detail.html

More from Reuters - WHO assessment on H1N1

More links for Reuters:

Is flu pandemic waning? Not yet, experts say

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61N0F920100224

ANALYSIS -Is flu pandemic waning? Not yet, experts say

http://www.reuters.com/article/asiaCrisis/idUSN23119072

UPDATE 1-Pandemic has not yet peaked, WHO experts advise

I will post more on this when I have more updates or news releases but for the time being the message is clear as stated below:

"The pandemic of H1N1 swine flu has not yet peaked, a committee of experts advised the World Health Organization on Tuesday."

"The committee advised that it was premature to conclude that all parts of the world have experienced peak transmission of the H1N1 pandemic influenza and that additional time and information was needed to provide expert advice on the status of the pandemic," WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said by e-mail."

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2315022520100224

H1N1: Pandemic was emotional as well as physical

Via CNN Health, an article which reflects on what has happened and what will happen with H1N1. No matter what it is, different parts of the world reacts differently. We in the South East Asia region are entering or are in the midst of the 2nd wave. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

" Last spring, U.S. doctors' offices were barraged with phone calls and worried patients packed into hospitals. Schools closed. Face masks and Tamiflu were suddenly in short supply. The country verged on an H1N1 panic.

The new flu virus, first widely reported in Mexico, was infecting the young and healthy, rather than those usually most at risk, the elderly and infirm. Beginning in April 2009, H1N1 flu fanned across the globe. The World Health Organization declared it a global pandemic in June.

Hand sanitizer was suddenly seen everywhere, and, heeding the often-repeated advice of top U.S. health officials, many people began coughing into their shoulders or elbows rather than covering their mouths with their hands."

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/02/23/h1n1.flu/index.html?hpt=Sbin

Flu experts assess whether H1N1 pandemic peaked

" Flu experts convened Tuesday to assess whether the H1N1 pandemic has peaked, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Such a recommendation -- which is widely expected -- would signal infections are falling in most countries but fresh waves can still occur and health authorities should remain vigilant."

Please read the whole article and you will know when to expect the outcome of the meeting.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61M3CD20100223

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thailand - H1N1 flu toll rises to 209

As I mentioned before, the worst is NOT over yet in South East Asia. Human lives are still being lost due to H1N1. God bless their souls. Rest in peace.

The whole report:

" Three more people died of type A(H1N1) flu last week, bringing the death toll since the outbreak of the disease to 209, Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanavisit said on Monday.

Mr Jurin said they were a two-year-old child in Bangkok who was sufferring from chronic lung ailment, a 65-year-old woman in Chiang Mai who had kidney disease and diabetes, and a boy, 3, in Phitsanulok who had no record of a chronic disease.

A total of 291,302 people in the five risk groups had been vaccinated against the flu, he said."

http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/169295/h1n1-flu-toll-rises-to-209

After H1N1, Researchers Warn of a Potential New Superbug

Mankind's worst nightmare :

" But the close of the H1N1 pandemic does not eliminate the long-term threat from influenza. Another pandemic could arise at any time, and a new paper published in the Feb. 22 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) demonstrates that it could even come from an existing flu virus that many of us have forgotten about: the H5N1 bird flu, which has infected 478 people in 15 countries since 2003, with 286 deaths — a fatality rate higher than 50%."

It's a must to read the whole article:

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1967118,00.html?xid=rss-health&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+time%2Fscienceandhealth+%28TIME%3A+Top+Science+and+Health+Stories%29

Flightless mosquitoes may curb dengue

A solution to reduce dengue cases??

" Genetically altered mosquitoes that cannot fly may help slow the spread of dengue fever and could be a harmless alternative to chemical insecticides, U.S. and British scientists said on Monday.

They genetically altered mosquitoes to produce flightless females, and said spreading these defective mosquitoes could suppress native, disease-spreading mosquitoes within six to nine months."

http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/articles/20100223091729/Article/index_html

USM to help in anti-malaria effort

Via News Straits Times Malaysia:

" Concerns raised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that half the world population was at risk of malaria has spurred Universiti Sains Malaysia and University of Parma to enter into an agreement to develop an anti-malaria treatment.

University of Parma's head of pharmaceutical department, Prof Paolo Colombo, yesterday revealed that the global incidence of malaria was now at 500 cases per year."

http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/articles/20usm/Article/index_html

Monday, February 22, 2010

ECDC H1N1 update published on the 19th Feb 2010

The latest H1N1 via ECDC, the situation in European countries.

PDF format:

http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/activities/surveillance/EISN/Newsletter/100219_EISN_Weekly_Influenza_Surveillance_Overview.pdf

Nearly 1,000 dengue cases reported in Argentina, Paraguay

Dengue - another serious threat to mankind. We should not treat it lightly.

" BUENOS AIRES, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Argentine health authorities on Friday reported about 500 dengue cases in the country, while the number of people infected with the fever in neighboring Paraguay reached 477.

In Argentina, most of the dengue cases were registered in the northeastern provinces including Misiones, Chaco, Corrientes and Santa Fe."

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/health/2010-02/20/c_13180728.htm

Influenza activity under control in U.S.

Via Xinhua Health page, the latest from CDC with regards to H1N1 situation in the U.S.

" HOUSTON, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Influenza activity in the United States was under control during the week ending on Feb. 13, with most key flu indicators below the threshold of pandemic or national baselines, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday.

"During week six (Feb. 7 to 13), 7.7 percent of all deaths reported through the 122-Cities Mortality Reporting System were due to pneumonia and influenza (P&I). This percentage, slightly higher over the previous week (7.3 percent), but remained below the epidemic threshold of 7.8 percent for week six," the CDC said on its web site."

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/health/2010-02/20/c_13180902.htm

WHO may declare post-peak pandemic phase next week

Via Reuters, the top guns at WHO are going to discussions with regards to the status of H1N1. I hope they consider all aspects / regions / hemispheres before making their decisions. Some of us are in the 2nd wave right now...and some of us are preparing for it.

" GENEVA (Reuters) - Flu experts will advise next week whether the world is in a post-peak phase of the H1N1 pandemic, signaling infections are falling in most countries but new waves may still occur, the World Health Organization said on Friday.
Health Swine Flu

The U.N. agency declared last June that the new virus was causing the first influenza pandemic in more than 40 years and raised the alert level to the maximum 6."

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSWLB737620100219

Reviewers urge Glaxo's Avandia come off market

Via Reuters, a possible recall to GlaxoSmithKline PLC's diabetes drug Avandia? Only time will tell........

" WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. drug safety reviewers have recommended that GlaxoSmithKline PLC's diabetes drug Avandia be pulled from the market after concluding it is more dangerous to the heart than a rival medicine, according to documents released on Saturday.

The Food and Drug Administration will again ask an advisory panel to consider the risks of the drug, Glaxo's second biggest-selling product before questions about a possible link to heart attacks emerged in 2007."

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61J0PY20100221

WHO - Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 - update 88

The latest from WHO:

" 19 February 2010 -- As of 14 February 2010, worldwide more than 212 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including at least 15921 deaths.

WHO is actively monitoring the progress of the pandemic through frequent consultations with the WHO Regional Offices and member states and through monitoring of multiple sources of information. "

http://www.who.int/csr/don/2010_02_19/en/index.html

If you read through the whole article from WHO, you will notice something which I have mentioned many times in my older posts which is the number of H1N1 is South East Asia is increasing and honestly I see not many people are reporting it or even interested in it.

I really hope and pray that the Malaysian Health Ministry and also all the health Ministries in the South East Asia region of countries are prepared for a new onslaught. All of us have our role to play in combatting H1N1, let us start before its too late.

Friday, February 19, 2010

H1N1 vaccine — I had an allergic reaction

Another interesting report via CNN, excerpt (but please read whole informative article):

" I am an allergy sufferer — from seasonal sniffles to mushrooms and penicillin. Although I’ve been careful and lucky enough to have to use an adrenaline auto-injector only once, I’m wary of trying new things, whether it’s food or a new vaccine, out of fear of discovering yet another allergy. Despite my hesitation, I felt the protection granted by receiving the H1N1 vaccine outweighed the risk of a possible allergic reaction.

Early this month, I made an appointment with my school’s health center to receive the nasal spray vaccine. When I went in, I bravely tilted my head back, pinched one nostril and then the other for my two shots of vaccine nasal spray. The nurse told me not to blow my nose for 10 minutes and I was free to go."

http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2010/02/16/h1n1-vaccine-%e2%80%94-i-had-an-allergic-reaction/

WHO recommends H1N1 be part of next seasonal flu vaccine

Via CNN, WHO latest press release with regards to influenza vaccination:

" The World Health Organization is recommending that the H1N1 flu virus that’s currently circulating be included in the next seasonal flu vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere.

The WHO meets twice a year to determine which flu strains are the most dominant and chooses three strains to include in the regular flu vaccine.

Based on recommendations from flu experts from around the world, it was decided at the meeting Thursday in Geneva, Switzerland, that the pandemic H1N1 influenza strain go into the vaccine for the coming fall and winter, according to the Special Adviser on Pandemic Influenza to Dr Keiji Fukuda, director-general of the WHO."

http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2010/02/18/who-recommends-h1n1-be-part-of-next-seasonal-flu-vaccine/?hpt=Sbin

The pdf version from WHO:

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/influenza/201002_Recommendation.pdf

Thursday, February 18, 2010

HK reports 70th fatal case of influenza A/H1N1

Every single death is a tragedy. God bless their souls. Rest it peace.

" Hong Kong health authorities reported a new death case of the influenza A/H1N1 on Wednesday, bringing such cases in the city to 70.

The case involving a 51-year-old male patient with diabetes mellitus and lung disease. He attended Princess Margaret Hospital on Dec. 30 last year due to flu symptoms. Positive result for influenza A/H1N1 was confirmed on the same day."

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-02/17/c_13178154.htm

500,000 people vaccinated against A/H1N1 flu in Mexican capital

It's good to know that some countries are still keen in getting people vaccinated:

The whole report via Xinhua:

" MEXICO CITY, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- At least 500,000 residents of Mexico City have got vaccinated against the A/H1N1 flu, the city's health official told media on Wednesday.

The city has launched a vaccination campaign in the main stations of its metro, light railway and its largest markets.

Armando Ahued, head of Mexico's health department, urged the residents to get vaccinated because a series of cold spells were passing over the city raising risks for respiratory illnesses, including the A/H1N1 virus.

The A/H1N1 flu had killed 780 people and infected more than 67,200 others in the country till the end of 2009 since its outbreak in mid-April."

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/health/2010-02/18/c_13178391.htm

Government probes potential risks of cancer, flu, MS drugs

Via Reuters:

" U.S. health regulators are reviewing potential risks of medicines from Roche Holding AG, Novartis AG and other companies.

The Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday it was probing reports of hearing loss with Novartis cancer drug Gleevec, hypothermia with Roche's flu drug Tamiflu and pericarditis with Biogen Idec and Elan Corp's multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri."

The whole article:

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61H0DE20100218

Happiness helps when it comes to the heart

We all should smile more and be happy dealing with life. Life is short, we need to appreciate what we have and be happy about it.

Via AP:

" You've heard it before: to avoid a heart attack don't smoke, eat right and exercise. But it also may help to be happy, a new study says.

Even if you're grumpy by nature, just try to be cheerful.

Researchers at Columbia University rated the happiness levels of more than 1,700 adults in Canada with no heart problems in 1995."

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_MED_HAPPY_HEART?SITE=MYPSP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2010-02-17-19-03-23

Liow: Be alert to heat exhaustion

Most of us here in Malaysia right now are going through a very bad heat wave. It's getting hotter and hotter. I myself have been sweating even at night because of the weather.

" The current heat wave could pose health hazards, including death, if no precautions are taken.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said those in the high-risk category were infants, people with respiratory problems and heart defects."

http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/articles/9DRY/Article/index_html

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rapid Flu Test Most Accurate for Young Kids

"A widely available rapid influenza diagnostic test is good, but not perfect, in determining whether a child has the flu, a new study shows.

The findings are applicable to both the seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu that recently swept across the globe, said Dr. Andrea T. Cruz, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and lead author of a report published online Feb. 15 in the journal Pediatrics."

The whole article:

http://health.yahoo.com/news/healthday/rapidflutestmostaccurateforyoungkids.html;_ylt=AldE5Yj3sVRo7WB6mJxtQ5KmxbAB

Swine flu outbreak threatens at World Cup: minister

Via Yahoo health:

"South Africa faces a possible health crisis if a swine flu outbreak strikes during the soccer World Cup this year, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told parliament on Monday."

"One of our biggest nightmares is the fact that 2010 is going to be held in June when there is a possibility of another bout of H1N1," Motsoaledi said.

The whole article:

http://health.yahoo.com/news/reuters/us_soccer_world_flu.html;_ylt=Asofk21lU4BI9FSKHQr4kAmmxbAB

Saturday, February 13, 2010

H1N1 Vaccination For High-Risk Groups

Via Bernama in Malaysia, the whole report:

" KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 (Bernama) -- Those with high risks of suffering complications from the influenza A (H1N1) infection were vaccinated beginning this week, said the Director-General of Health, Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican.

He said those categorised as the 'priority target groups' could get the vaccination at 104 government health facilities identified throughout the country.

"In view of the limited supply of the vaccines, the vaccination will be given on 'first come, first served' basis and the clinical evaluation carried out by the attending medical officer will be taken into consideration in determining the suitability of the vaccines on the individuals, he said in a statement, here Friday.

He said 391 new patients with influenza-like illnesses (ILI) were admitted to hospitals between Jan 31 and Feb 6.

Dr Mohd Ismail said that during the same period, 356 cases had been discharged.

Those who wish to seek the latest information on influenza A (H1N1) and preventive measures against the illness can do so via the website http://www.moh.gov.my or http://h1n1.moh.gov.my, hotline 03-88810200 and 03-88810300."

http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsindex.php?id=475497

- very limited info.......

A (H1N1) under control, dengue cases on the rise

Via Malaysia's The Star, the whole article:

" KUALA LUMPUR: While Influenza A (H1N1) is under control, the number of dengue cases is still at an alarming level with 1,103 reported cases and 18 deaths within the first five weeks of the year, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said.

“Despite all efforts, the number of cases are still high. We need to combat it together. I have directed the director-general to ensure that we wage an all-out war against dengue,” he said after visiting the 1Malaysia clinic in Desa Rajang people’s housing project in Setapak Jaya here yesterday.

On A(H1N1), Liow said there were between 15 and 20 cases reported weekly."

http://thestar.com.my/ah1n1flu/story.asp?file=/2010/2/13/ah1n1flu/5672586&sec=ah1n1flu

Hmmm, I wonder why we are seeing different media being published with regards to H1N1 but we are seeing something else in their (Malaysia's Ministry of Health) weekly update (see below my earlier post yesterday).

WHO Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 - update 87

The latest from WHO:

" 12 February 2010 -- As of 7 February 2010, worldwide more than 212 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including at least 15292 deaths.

WHO is actively monitoring the progress of the pandemic through frequent consultations with the WHO Regional Offices and member states and through monitoring of multiple sources of information."

Please read the whole update and you will notice the rise in South East Asia and the Western Pacific. We should be on guard once again. Better to be safe than sorry.

http://www.who.int/csr/don/2010_02_12/en/index.html

Friday, February 12, 2010

WHO experts to determine if worst of flu pandemic is over

From the other part of the world where H1N1 is decreasing, not for us in South East Asia, Australia & New Zealand. We are seeing increasing numbers. I'm sure WHO will take note of this before taking any decision.

From the report mentioned in title:

" The World Health Organisation said Thursday that its emergency panel of swine flu experts would meet this month to formally determine whether the pandemic has passed its peak."

" WHO will be asking the emergency committee to convene later this month to review the situation and provide the WHO with guidance on whether we are entering a post peak period," said Keiji Fukuda, Special Adviser to the WHO Director-General on Pandemic Influenza.

Please read the whole article:

http://health.yahoo.com/news/afp/healthfluwho_20100211172541.html;_ylt=Avnk0jkqdKUfKzI7PgLpiNumxbAB

H1N1 sent higher proportion of patients to ICU than regular flu: report

A clip from the whole informative article, and please read it:

" H1N1 influenza landed a higher proportion of Canadians in ICUs and on ventilators, and at a much younger age on average, than seasonal flu does in a typical year, says a report assessing the comparative impact of the pandemic virus.

The study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information compared hospitalization statistics for H1N1 patients between April and December to data for patients with regular flu during the 2007-2008 season."

http://health.lifestyle.yahoo.ca/channel_health_news_details.asp?news_id=20557&news_channel_id=0&channel_id=0

Half of Ottawa residents got H1N1 flu shot, says medical officer of health

From Canada:

"OTTAWA - More than half of Ottawa's residents rolled up their sleeves for the H1N1 flu shot.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Isra Levy estimates 53 per cent of the population have received the vaccine since it was first available at the end of October.

It was the largest mass vaccination campaign in Ottawa Public Health's history.
Levy estimates there is probably immunity in the community of 60 or 70 per cent, which puts Ottawa in a good position if the H1N1 strain resurfaces.

Levy says a third wave of the H1N1 flu virus is unlikely in the city since a majority of Ottawa residents are now vaccinated against the virus.

Ottawa Public Health has been operating H1N1 and seasonal flu shot clinics since late October, with mass vaccination clinics continuing in January and February."

http://health.lifestyle.yahoo.ca/channel_health_news_details.asp?news_id=20554&news_channel_id=0&channel_id=0

H1N1 Pandemic Situation In Malaysia at week 05/2010 (31 January - 06 February 2010)

The latest update from the Ministry of Health in Malaysia with my translation:

" Number of cases of influenza A (H1N1) reported in week 05/2010 has increased by 25% compared with the last two weeks. The number of cluster cases also increased from 4 in week 04/2010 to 8 cluster incident in week 05/2010. 5 out of the 8 cluster cases are positive for influenza (H1N1). Preventive and control measures for the H1N1 infection in each school / national service training centers has been implemented."

(If you would like to know more about the 8 cluster cases please go to the Ministry of Health website link which I have provided below)

" A total of 391 new patients with symptoms of Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) has been admitted to hospital for treatment within the last week (31 January - 06 February 2010). Meanwhile, 356 cases have been discharged.

The remaining ILI cases that are still being treated across the country on the last day of week 05/2010 (06 February 2010) is 380 cases in 48 hospitals including 4 private hospitals. Of these, 14 patients or 3.7% is Influenza A (H1N1) positive confirmed through laboratory tests.

At the same time one (1) case was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. 2 cases are currently being treated in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on the last day of the week. One of these case is a child is less than 5 years old. Until 06 February 2010, the number of cummulative cases positive influenza A (H1N1) since the beginning of the pandemic is 12,419. No new cases of H1N1 death was reported and the total remains at 77 now."

As I have predicted a couple of weeks ago, when "everyone else was in denial" H1N1 is currently increasing in Malaysia and I really won't be surprised if we are INDEED in the second wave which the officials will reveal much later.

I really wonder what preventive and control measures was taken....I hope this would be answered.

The whole report from MOH in Malay language. You can use google translate to understand what's being said:
http://h1n1.moh.gov.my/KenyataanAkhbarTerkini.php

H1N1 Vaccine Priority For Front-Line Staff

The latest from Malaysia with regards to H1N1 vaccination. The whole report:

" Priority on the H1N1 immunisation vaccine will be given to front-line staff comprising health workers in public and private sectors, police, fire and rescue department, immigration and military personnel.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said, such measures were implemented due to the limited supply of the vaccine.

He said the respective state health departments were currently distributing the vaccine, adding that the health ministry had also identified the high-risk target group to be given the vaccine.

"The group comprises pregnant women and those undergoing pregnancy care at government health facilities, patients with kidney failure and undergoing dialysis at government facilities.

"Priority will also be given to patients who suffer from chronic diseases and get treatment at government health facilities, and individuals with morbid obesity or suffering from any chronic disease and get treatment at government facilities," he said in a statement here Thursday.

Dr Mohd Ismail said those who were categorised in the above-mentioned groups could get the vaccine at 87 government health facilities nationwide."As the vaccine supply is limited, it will be given on a first-come, first- served basis," he said."

http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsindex.php?id=475265

Reading the whole news article, sometimes makes me wonder about our priorities in life with limited resources. Hmmmm.......

Monday, February 8, 2010

As Swine Flu Fades, Experts Ponder Next Season

Via Healthday a long but very interesting article about H1N1 and it's future. As all the experts predict, flu is very "unpredictable":

"After nearly a year of headlines, worry and confusion, the H1N1 swine flu virus is now out of the news. Is it out of circulation as well?

The latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds no states reporting widespread influenza activity and only five reporting regional activity.

H1N1 flu activity seems to have leveled off, but the virus does continue to circulate causing illness, hospitalizations and deaths," Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during a noon teleconference Friday."

The whole article:
http://health.yahoo.com/news/healthday/asswineflufadesexpertspondernextseason.html;_ylt=AiCnlKSmSC3UenCoNLHKyymmxbAB

WHO - Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 - update 86

The latest from WHO with regards to the H1N1 pandemic:

"5 February 2010 -- As of 31 January 2010, worldwide more than 209 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including at least 15174 deaths.

WHO is actively monitoring the progress of the pandemic through frequent consultations with the WHO Regional Offices and member states and through monitoring of multiple sources of information."

A special highlight on the situation in Asia, especially countries neighbouring Malaysia, I hope the officials from the MOH are taking note:

"In South and Southeast Asia, pandemic influenza transmission remains active but geographically localized to regional. The overall intensity of respiratory diseases activity was reported to be low to moderate in most places. In India, influenza activity continued to decline in all regions of the country, however, the most active areas of transmission currently are in the western states. An overall peak in the number of pandemic H1N1 cases was recorded in India during mid December 2009, and the majority of these cases were identified in the northern and western states of India. In Thailand, overall ILI activity remained low, however focal increase in activity were observed in several central and northern provinces.

In East Asia, pandemic influenza transmission remains active and geographically widespread across the region, however, overall activity continued to decline. In Japan, overall influenza activity continues to decline but transmission remains higher on the southern island of Okinawa than in other places. In the Republic of Korea (South Korea), rates of ILI continued to decline to near baseline after a substantial wave of activity which peaked during early to mid November 2009. In Mongolia, after a period of sustained elevated ILI activity since early November 2009, levels of ILI have recently fallen to the expected seasonal range. In northern and southern China, rates of ILI have returned to levels seen during recent seasons; however, approximately 30% of respiratory specimens tested were positive for influenza suggesting that active transmission of influenza viruses persists. Of note in China, in recent weeks the circulation of pandemic influenza H1N1 continued to decline with a concomitant increase in the circulation of seasonal influenza type B viruses (pandemic H1N1 and seasonal Type B viruses accounted for 34% and 66% of all influenza viruses detected, respectively). Active transmission of pandemic influenza virus also persists in Hong Kong SAR (China), although at significantly lower levels than an earlier peak of activity during September and October 2009."

Please read the whole informative article:
http://www.who.int/csr/don/2010_02_5/en/index.html

U.S. health officials urge second dose of A/H1N1 vaccine for kids

As I mentioned before in my blog, another wave is greatly being predicted throughout the world, with us in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand preparing for our second wave but in the northern hemisphere namely US, warnings are out for the third wave:

"U.S. health officials have asked parents to get their children under 10 years of age fully vaccinated against the A/H1N1 flu virus as another wave of strike might be coming soon.

Hawaii state health department said on Tuesday that, in Hawaii and a number of other states, there are many children who have not received their second dose, and that there are still many children who have not been vaccinated against the A/H1N1 at all."

The whole report:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/health/2010-02/06/c_13165882.htm

A/H1N1 flu vaccine shortage becomes surplus in U.S.

In "some" countries we don't have enough vaccine to cover 1% of the population but in the US it's another story all together. We need to get our act together to prepare better for future pandemics:

"Out of nearly 120 million A/ H1N1 vaccine doses distributed in the United States, only about 70 million have been used, it was reported on Saturday.

An additional 35 million doses have been produced but not shipped and instead may be donated overseas, the Los Angeles Times said, quoting federal officials."

Read the whole article:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/health/2010-02/07/c_13166478.htm

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fresh swine flu outbreak hits Bac Kan (Vietnam)

"A new spate of swine flu (A/H1N1) has broken out in the northern province of Bac Kan, health officials reported February 3.

Eighteen people have recently contracted the A/H1N1 virus in the province’s Na Ri District, said Dr. Nguyen Huy Nga of the Preventive Health and Environment Department. The patients have shown typical symptoms of the virus including fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle pain, he added."

The whole article:

http://english.vietnamnet.vn/Health/201002/Fresh-swine-flu-outbreak-hits-Bac-Kan-893274/

Health Officials Say Third Wave Of Swine Flu Is Possible

Something all of us here in Malaysia and South East Asia can learn from. We may / may not be in our second wave of H1N1 influenza activity but in the Northern Hemisphere, they are preparing for a third wave. Better to be safe than sorry. The whole report:

"Ohio County health officials said there is a chance for a third wave of the swine flu to strike.

The popularity of the vaccine has recently leveled off, but the county's health director said it's still an important form of health protection to consider.

"Don't let your guard down," said Dr. William Mercer, director of the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department. "There's still a good chance that it could come back. If we learned anything from 1957, there was another wave and that started in the middle of February.

The seasonal flu is also expected to peak soon. Mercer said he is encouraging people to get both the swine and seasonal flu vaccines.

In a month, Mercer predicted flu levels to be much higher."

http://www.wtov9.com/health/22463366/detail.html

WHO Western Pacific H1N1 internet site

I had some free time today so I decided to go the WHO's Western Pacific H1N1 site :

http://www.wpro.who.int/health_topics/h1n1/

To my horror, I discovered how outdated and how poor the coverage is with regards to H1N1 in the Western Pacific. I know WHO's main site (you can see the link on the right corner of my blog) is constantly updated, but please I hope whoever in charge of the Western Pacific should do something about this.

I'm pretty sure that the WHO officials would want people like us from the Western Pacific to get our facts from a reliable source about H1N1 rather than from sources who are rumour mongering. That being said I hope to see some improvement in this site when I visit again. Hopefully!

Thais urged to voluntarily get vaccinated against A/H1N1 flu

Vaccination programs starts in Southeast Asia. A report via Xinhua:

"Thailand's public health ministry Thursday instructed public health stations nationwide to urge people to voluntarily get vaccinated against the A/H1N1 influenza.

Only some 125,670 Thais were vaccinated against the A/H1N1 influenza during a period from January 11 to 29, Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanavisit disclosed Thursday."

The whole article:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/health/2010-02/04/c_13163754.htm

Swine flu pandemic hit European children: Study

" The pandemic of H1N1 swine flu raised the death rate among children across Europe late last year but not adults, researchers reported on Thursday.

Early reports showed about a 28 percent rise in deaths among children aged 5 to 14 in eight countries, Anne Mazick of the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark and colleagues found.

This added up to about 77 deaths above what would normally be seen in that age group in those months, they reported in the online journal Eurosurveillance at http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=19480."

Read the whole article:
http://health.yahoo.com/news/reuters/us_flu_children_europe.html;_ylt=AuVL3jqyCr8u5x5ygHzEUQOmxbAB

Three more die of dengue

Dengue and chikungunya a real threat in Malaysia and the tropical countries. The latest from Malaysia, the whole report:

"Three people, including a nurse, were the latest victims of dengue, bringing the total number of deaths last month to 14.

The three were a 45-year-old nurse from Baling, Kedah,also a thalassemia patient; a restaurant waiter, 25, of Shah Alam; and a driver, 46, from Miri who died of dengue haemorrhagic fever.

The nurse and the waiter died of dengue shock syndrome.Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said 1,101 dengue cases were reported last week.Between Jan 1 and Jan 30, 4,132 dengue cases were reported nationwide, with 14 deaths, compared with 5,534 cases and 14 deaths during the same period last year."Although the number of cases has reduced slightly from the previous week, it is still worrying," said Dr Ismail.

Dr Ismail urged the people to cooperate with the health authorities to destroy aedes-breeding grounds by participating in gotong-royong activities.As for chikungunya, he said 76 new cases were reported last week, an increase of 12 per cent compared with 68 cases in previous week.Dr Ismail said 74 of the new cases were reported in Sarawak and another two in Sabah."

http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/articles/21dg/Article/index_html

Thursday, February 4, 2010

H1N1 Update in Malaysia - Week 04/2010 (24 - 30 January 2010)

The latest on the situation in Malaysia. It looks obvious that there is an increasing trend comparing to the report from the Ministry of Health last week. This weeks report with my translation :

"Within the last week (24 to 30 January 2010) a total of 357 new patients with symptoms of Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) has been admitted to hospital for treatment and while 337 cases have been discharged. The remaining cases that are still being treated across the country until the last day of the week 04/2010 (January 30, 2010) is 345 cases in total 42 government hospitals. Of these, only 4 patients or 1.2% is a case of Influenza A (H1N1) which is confirmed through laboratory tests. Until January 30, 2010, the cummulative number of cases which are positive influenza A (H1N1) is 12,389. For your information, there is 1 case of H1N1 currently being treated in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The case is a child age less than 5 years old.

There are three (3) ILI cluster cases that has been reported throughout the week in 3 separate schools, namely a high school, Al-Ittihadiah, Kuala Lipis, Pahang (involving 3 students) while two (2) in SK Pengkalan Berangan, Marang (involving 7 students) and Maahad Tahfiz Darul Iman, Tok Jiring, Terengganu (involving 17 students). Two of the three cluster cases are positive for influenza A (H1N1). No new cases of H1N1 death and the total remains at 77."

The whole article in Malay language :

http://h1n1.moh.gov.my/KenyataanAkhbarTerkini.php

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Preventive Steps Helped Summer Campers Avoid Swine Flu

Something which all of us can learn from:

"An Alabama summer camp managed to contain the spread of swine flu by giving preventive Tamiflu to kids at risk and encouraging the use of sanitizers for hands and surfaces, a new report says.

Children are especially vulnerable to swine flu, also known as H1N1. The disease struck three boys who attended a two-week boys' camp in July 2009. They were given medication and sent home, according to the report."

The whole article:

http://health.yahoo.com/news/healthday/preventivestepshelpedsummercampersavoidswineflu.html;_ylt=AlQPkYYJPZRzpD9zWCZJ8T6mxbAB