What’s the latest on the H1N1 flu epidemic?
Swine Flu (H1N1) Reaches Level 6 Pandemic
On Thursday, June 11, the World Health Organization elevated the flu pandemic level to the highest level – level 6. Level 6 means that the “spread of the virus continues and activity has become established in at least two regions in the world.” The last time this has happened was 41 years ago during the pandemic Hong Kong flu of 1968 which killed about 1 million people worldwide. As of June 12, the number of cases in the US has reached 17,855 in all states and territories. 45 deaths have been reported. Worldwide, the number of confirmed cases has reached 29,669, with 145 fatalities covering 74 countries.
Hong Kong closes all primary schools
On June 12, Hong Kong officials ordered the closure of all kindergartens and primary schools as mitigation against the H1N1 swine flu epidemic. Several students have tested for the flu virus last week. The closure is estimated to be for two weeks and is affecting 510,640 students at 1,626 schools.
H1N1: Origins and evolution of the current epidemic
A group of scientists have traced the evolutionary origins and genomics of the H1N1 swine flu epidemic. They found out “that the initial transmission to humans occurred several months before recognition of the outbreak.”
Novartis says it has produced first swine flu vaccine batch
Also last week, the Swiss pharma giant Novartis announced it has pronounced its first batch of swine flu vaccine. However, the vaccine is still at the experimental stage and still need to be tested in humans for safety and efficacy.
What’s the latest health-related legislations?
Senate passes the most sweeping tobacco-control bill
Also last week on June 11, the US Senate passed then Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, a historic and unprecedented legislation that gives the US Food and Drug Administration full authority to regulate tobacco and tobacco products. For details on the new tobacco bill, see post at Battling Cancer.
Rhode Island Senate passes medical marijuana bill
Another medically-related legislation was passed last week. Rhode Island becomes the third state in the US to allow selling marijuana for medical purposes. The patients qualified for medical marijuana include those suffering from chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer’s disease. The marijuana will be sold by licensed dispensaries run by non-profit organizations.
Have a nice week!
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