It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
THE World Health Organisation is investigating whether a form of swine flu resistant to antiviral drugs being stock-piled in Britain is spreading from person to person.
The strain has been identified in a 16-year-old girl who was stopped by officials at Hong Kong airport after falling ill. She had arrived on a flight from San Francisco.
The symptoms were mild and she was released from hospital after a week. However, subsequent tests revealed she was carrying a form of the virus that was resistant to Tamiflu, the main drug used to combat swine flu.
Two other patients, in Denmark and Japan, have been identified with a Tamiflu-re-sistant strain of the virus, but they developed it after being treated with the drug, indicating that it had mutated.
Crucially, the girl in Hong Kong had not been given Tamiflu, suggesting that she had picked it up from another person. Health officials are now trying to trace everyone she had been in contact with.
The development of a widespread resistant variant of swine flu would limit treatment options before a vaccine becomes available. In Britain, the government has stock-piled 30m courses of Tamiflu and is giving the drug to every patient with the virus.
Health authorities are investigating whether the Hong Kong type developed after swapping genes with existing seasonal H1 flu strains, almost all of which are resistant to Tamiflu.
Dr Nikki Shindo, a medical officer with the World Health Organisation, said: “The Hong Kong case is different because this person hasn’t seen any treatment. She has been identified at the airport so we suppose there are a considerable number of contacts in the aeroplane.”
John Oxford, professor of virology at Queen Mary, University of London, sounded a note of caution. He said: “At this stage it is just one case. The predominant strain of swine flu remains susceptible to Tamiflu.”
Andy Burnham, the health secretary, has warned that fresh cases of swine flu could top more than 100,000-a-day by the end of next month.
The actor Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films, announced that he took a few days off his latest film because of a mild bout of swine flu.
Health Minister, Juan Manzur, said today that there are 55 patients confirmed to have died in the entire country by the Influenza A virus (H1N1).
"We received the (Institute) Malbrán laboratory-confirmed patients who have suffered from the presence of H1N1 and is today the official figure of 55 patients confirmed to have died" because of the virus, said the official.
A MAN with serious medical problems including diabetes has become the second person to die in NSW after contracting swine flu, health authorities say.
NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the 57-year-old was diagnosed with the virus on Friday and died on the same day at Westmead Hospital, in Sydney's west.
He has become the 11th person in Australia infected with swine flu to have died.
"Because of underlying medical conditions, the man was at greater risk of severe illness from H1N1 Influenza 09," Dr Chant said.
Last Monday, a 45-year-old man, who also had other medical problems, died in Nepean Hospital after testing positive for swine flu.
The number of confirmed swine flu cases in NSW has more than doubled to 1,375 in the past fortnight.
There are currently eight people in intensive care - six men and two women aged from 18 to 49 - in NSW who have swine flu, Dr Chant said.
Of these, five have underlying risk factors including asthma, obesity, chronic lung disease and diabetes, but the remaining three have no clear risk factors.
"Scientists and public health experts forecast that the impact of H1N1 may well worsen in the fall - when the regular flu season hits, or even earlier, when schools start to open - which is only five or six weeks away in some cases," Secretary Sebelius said. "The goal of the Summit is to launch a national influenza campaign by bringing federal, state and local officials, emergency managers, educators and others together with the nation's public health experts to build on and tailor states' existing pandemic plans, share lessons learned and best practices during the spring and summer H1N1 wave, and discuss preparedness priorities."