Flu updates, November 10



swine flu4Pandemic (H1N1) 2009, Ukraine
The Ministry of Health of Ukraine reported more than 250,000 cases with flu-like symptoms this week. 235 patients have been admitted to intensive case and 70 deaths have been reported.

H1N1 infects pet cat, ferrets
Pets may also get the H1N1 flu. Unlike humans, they are not eligible for the vaccine as there isn’t enough to go around. A 13-year old cat was for H1N1 flu at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Ferrets were also reported to have caught the flu from their human families. Experts, however, believe that these cases are rare.

Venezuela: Indians Die From Swine Flu
At least five Yanonami Indians in the Amazon died from the H1N1 flu, the New York Times report. The flu has spread to the South American rain forests and is affecting the indigenous community.

H1N1 deaths highest in those 50 and older
The young are most like to get it but the old are most likely to die from it, at least in California. The analysis of California cases  revealed the following:

  • 1,088 hospitalized cases from April 23 to August 11, 2009.
  • 32% were younger than 18.
  • Median age was 27 years
  • 7% of children who died were under 18.
  • Highest rate of fatalities is 11%, among the 50 plus age group.

Most fatal cases had underlying medical conditions such as obesity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and gastrointestinal disease. The most common causes of death were viral pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

FDA Warns of Unapproved and Illegal H1N1 Drug Products Purchased Over the Internet
Drugs and other remedies purported to be effective against the H1N1 flu are being sold over the Internet and the US FDA has issued a warning to consumers. The FDA itself is investigating the online vendor by placing orders. The products were then analysed by the FDA labs and most proved to be bogus or impure.
According to FDA Commissioner of Food and Drugs Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D.

“Products that are offered for sale online with claims to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus must be carefully evaluated. Medicines purchased from Web sites operating outside the law put consumers at increased risk due to a higher potential that the products will be counterfeit, impure, contaminated, or have too little or too much of the active ingredient.”

Health Canada issued a similar warning this week.

Officials Defend Distribution of Flu Vaccine to Companies
Because of the shortage of H1N1 vaccines, US health officials have to prioritize who gets the shots. Which why people are wondering why Wall Street banks are getting some of those doses in New York City, according to this New York Times report. According to a NYC health department spokesperson, the priority is to get the vaccines to “pediatricians, obstetricians, gynecologists, community health centers and public and private hospitals.” However, private companies may also be able to get the vaccine as long as the shots are given to high risk employees, e.g. pregnant women and those with serious chronic conditions. The vaccine allocation in NYC is as follows:

  • 39% for school vaccination programs
  • 21% for paediatricians
  • 19% for hospitals
  • 6% for health services employees

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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