Flu updates: pork, vaccination, and ethnic susceptibility



What’s new in the flu front? Here’s the latest updates.

USDA Confirms Pork From Pigs Exposed to H1N1 Virus is Safe to Eat
Are pigs exposed to teh H1N1 flu virus safe for human consumption? The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the results of a study in December that showed that meat coming from pigs which were exposed to 2 strains of the H1N1 virus did not contain any virus at all and is therefore safe for eating.

According to Edward B. Knipling, administrator at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS):

“This research provides additional reassurance for consumers about the safety of pork. The information contained in the study will also benefit customers of U.S. pork products, both here and abroad.”

Interim Results: Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccination Coverage — United States, October–December 2009
In July, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued recommendations for the prioritization of the influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccine distribution. At that time, a shortage was expected. Currently, there is enough supply (even surplus?) of the vaccine. The CDC has conducted a survey to determine the exact coverage of the vaccine. Here are the figures:

  • As of January 2, about 20.3% of the U.S. population (61 million persons) had been vaccinated. This included 27.9% of persons in the initial target groups and 37.5% of those in the limited vaccine subset.
  • About  29.4% of U.S. children aged 6 months–18 years had been vaccinated.

The CDC continues:

Now that an ample supply of 2009 H1N1 vaccine is available, efforts should continue to increase vaccination coverage among persons in the initial target groups and to offer vaccination to the rest of the U.S. population, including those aged ≥65 years.

 H1N1, American Indians and Alaska Natives
Data from states in the US revealed that some ethnic groups are more susceptible to the H1N1 flu than others. The two groups identified as having higher risk compared to the rest of the population, are American Indians and Alaska Natives, who are four times more likely to die of H1N1 flu.
Says the director of the Indian Health Service, Dr. Yvette Roubideaux:

“Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your family and your community against the flu. Ask your health care provider for both the H1N1 and the seasonal flu vaccine.”

Adult Immunization Schedule for 2010 Issued
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the CDC has recently issued clinical guidelines for the adult immunization schedule for 2010. Among the major revisionss compared to the previous one concerned the following:

  • HPV vaccines – for women and for men
  • measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccines
  • hepatitis A and B vaccines
  • meningococcal vaccine
  • flu vaccines
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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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