Tag Archives: H1N1

Indonesia reports first death from H1N1 flu

2009-07-26T100314Z_01_NOOTR_RTRMDNP_1_India-413182-1-pic0

Indonesia reports first death from H1N1 flu

Indonesia has confirmed its first death linked to the H1N1 flu virus after a 6-year-old girl suffering from severe pneumonia died in Jakarta, the health ministry said.

The girl was admitted to hospital with fever, coughs and respiratory problems, the ministry said on its website.

The World Health Organisation has confirmed 800 deaths globally from the H1N1 virus, which has spread to 160 countries.

But health experts say that figure does not reflect the true number of people killed by the virus. Flu can kill people in various ways, including by causing pneumonia, heart attack, stroke or multiple organ failure.

Indonesia has confirmed 343 people have been infected with the H1N1 flu strain as of July 24.

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Costa Rican president sick with swine flu

art.oscar.arias.afp.gi

Costa Rican president sick with swine flu

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias has been diagnosed with the H1N1 virus, commonly known as the swine flu, the government said in a televised statement on Tuesday.

Arias fell ill on Sunday, complaining of a sore throat and temperature, Presidential Minister Rodrigo Arias said.

A doctor’s visit on Tuesday revealed that the president had the H1N1 virus, cases of which had been reported earlier in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose.

The president’s overall health was good, but following his doctor’s advice, he will rest at his home until Sunday, Rodrigo Arias said. The president is expected to return to work on Monday, the minister said.

As of Friday, there were 718 confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus in Costa Rica, and the virus has been blamed for 27 deaths, according to a report by the country’s ministry of health.

A majority of the confirmed cases — 480 — were in San Jose. Arias, 67, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for helping bring an end to Central America’s civil wars.

More recently, he acted as mediator between two feuding sides claiming the leadership of Honduras.


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Some measures won’t help prevent flu pandemic – report

2A woman talks on a phone through a protective mask while waiting for a health check at a hospital in Hanoi August 4, 2009.

Some measures won’t help prevent flu pandemic – report

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Closing schools, stopping large gatherings and other such measures are unlikely to do much to prevent the spread of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, a team of experts predicted on Wednesday.

They said pandemic closely resembles the pandemic of H2N2 influenza in 1957 when it quickly became apparent that there was little officials could do to stop it.

“Efforts to mitigate it were futile,” Brooke Courtney Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center said in a telephone interview.

Federal officials are expected to announce their recommendations for school closures on Friday. Local school districts and states usually make the decision to close schools, but they look to the federal government for advice.

At the height of the epidemic in May, more than 700 schools closed in the United States, according to the Department of Education.

In Mexico, where the pandemic started, officials closed government offices and schools for around two weeks in April and May, and encouraged businesses to close.

H1N1 is still circulating and, just as influenza did in 1957, it is dominating the mixture of viruses in the southern hemisphere’s flu season going on now.

In its latest update last week the World Health Organization reported 162,230 confirmed cases and 1,154 deaths. But flu experts said this probably reflected only a fraction of the true count as not every patient can be diagnosed with a lab test.

Experts expect the flu will pick up activity in the northern hemisphere’s autumn and the WHO predicted one third of the world’s population — two billion people — will eventually be infected.

TOO WIDESPREAD

Governments are taking different approaches to slowing the spread of the virus. Last month, British experts on the spread of disease said closing schools at the first sign of a new pandemic might delay the worst so health officials can prepare, but cannot prevent the spread of the disease.

Writing in the journal Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, Courtney, Dr. D. A. Henderson and colleagues said it appears that the new H1N1 is now too widespread to try to stop.

“In 1957 it was decided pretty early on that efforts to quarantine or isolate people would not be effective,” Courtney said.

As happened this year, the virus first appeared in the northern hemisphere’s spring. It worsened in the fall. “The opening of schools in September appeared to be a major factor in initiating community epidemics,” the researchers wrote.

“Schools were not closed for the purpose of trying to control the spread of disease. They were closed because too many teachers or administrators or students were out,” Courtney said.

In 1957, 25 percent of the U.S. population became ill. Global health experts estimate two million people died.

“What we saw was that the federal government took very practical steps to deal with the expected pandemic in the fall in 1957,” Courtney said. “They understood that, yes, it was expected that there would be a lot of people who got sick.”

In 1957 it took months to make a vaccine and then it was not very effective, the researchers found.

Drug companies have started making vaccine against H1N1 swine flu. But the recommended population of 160 million people, including healthcare workers and pregnant women, cannot be fully immunized until December, experts estimate. Two doses are needed for full protection.

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