1,893 cases of Influenza A (H1N1) Infection World-wide

Updates:

“Although very few Americans have developed serious swine flu complications, those who have are surprisingly young, United States health officials said Wednesday.

Across the United States, the number of confirmed cases rose to 642 in 41 states, up from 408 on Tuesday. Illinois now has the most confirmed cases, with 122, surpassing New York with 97.

Dr. Besser said that might be because Illinois was testing more. He said that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, on a visit to the C.D.C. earlier, had been asked by a reporter why New York had been surpassed, and had answered: “You want 200 more cases? We’ll test 200 more people.”

At a W.H.O. news conference, Marie-Paule Kieny, chief of the W.H.O.’s vaccine research initiative, estimated that the world’s vaccine makers had the capacity to make a maximum of 1.2 billion doses of a new H1N1 vaccine within six months after getting a seed vaccine, which the C.D.C. is now working on.”

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Don’t Eat Infected Pigs

As much as I love bacon, I will not be eating any bacon that comes from a pig infected with the H1N1 virus.

The WHO states that it is “possible for flu viruses to survive the freezing process and be present in thawed meat, as well as in blood.” They are slightly more cautious than the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), which say “import bans are not required to safeguard public health because the disease is not food-borne and has not been identified in dead animal tissue.”

The director of WHO’s Department of Food Safety says that “…blood (and meat-juice) from influenza H1N1-infected pigs may potentially contain virus, but at present, this has not been established.”

After reading about dead pigs and blood and meat juices, I’m really not that hungry for bacon anymore anyways.

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1,490 cases of Influenza A (H1N1) Infection World-wide

Schools are being advised that it is no longer necessary to close up shop when somone has the swine flu.

According to the CDC, they expect the virus to show up in all 50 states soon.  So far, only 35 people have been hospitalized in the U.S. due to this flu.  Yet, the “CDC expects that more cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths from this outbreak will occur over the coming days and weeks.”

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Look to the South

So the H1N1 virus is not a big deal anymore, right?  Not according to this article, which has some pretty scary things to say.

“The Southern Hemisphere has been mostly spared in the swine flu epidemic. That could change when winter starts in coming weeks with no vaccine in place, leaving half the planet out in the cold.

Experts fear public health systems could be overwhelmed — especially if swine flu and regular flu collide in major urban populations.

“You have this risk of an additional virus that could essentially cause two outbreaks at once,” Dr. Jon Andrus said at the Pan American Health Organization’s headquarters in Washington.

There’s also a chance that the two flus could collide and mutate into a new strain that is more contagious and dangerous.

“We have a concern there might be some sort of reassortment and that’s something we’ll be paying special attention to,” World Health Organization spokesman Dick Thompson said in Geneva.

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1,085 cases of Influenza A (H1N1) Infection World-wide

I came home to find CNN putting up soothing articles,  like “When a Pandemic Isn’t a Pandemic” and “Swine Flu No Worse Than Regular Flu.”

Apparently, you can have a pandemic without a large number of deaths.  Or at least, that’s what the WHO is saying now.  Before, the WHO’s definition of a pandemic, which appeared on their website,  said

“that a pandemic flu causes “enormous numbers of deaths and illness. After a CNN reporter pointed this out, WHO spokeswoman Natalie Boudou called back to say the definition was in error and had been pulled from the WHO Web site.”

“It was a mistake, and we apologize for the confusion,” she said. “(That definition) was put up a while ago and paints a rather bleak picture and could be very scary.”

The correct definition is that “pandemic” indicates outbreaks in at least two of the regions into which WHO divides the world, but has nothing to do with the severity of the illnesses or the number of deaths.”

Now, to me, this sounds like the WHO still isn’t really sure what they want the definition of a pandemic to be.  It seems very important to the WHO and other health agencies to constantly remind people that this new virus certainly isn’t shaping up to be like the 1918 killer virus.  I have to wonder when, and not if, there will be another pandemic like the one in 1918.

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