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Mysterious U.S. Swine Flu Probe Widens as Mexico Finds Swine Flu *updated*

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posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 03:08 PM
6th Wisconsin resident dies from swine flu

Portage -- A sixth Wisconsin resident has died of the swine flu.

Portage County Health Officer Faye Tetzloff says a county resident with an underlying condition has died at Saint Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield. The department is releasing few details, including gender, age or exact place of residence in accordance with state guidelines.

Two adults and two adolescents in Milwaukee have died from the virus and a 12-year-old Wausau girl.

Data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show Wisconsin has had more than 6,000 cases - the most in the nation.

State officials have attributed the high number to an early aggressive testing policy and the state having four laboratories to do the work.

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 03:10 PM
Marin Records Second H1N1 Flu Death

SAN RAFAEL -- Marin health officials Monday announced that a 55-year-old San Rafael man has become the county's second fatality due to a H1N1 flu infection.

Dr. Anju Goel, Marin County Deputy Public Health Officer, said the man died July 8 at a Marin hospital. Health officials received confirmation of the H1N1 results from the state lab on July 17..

So far this year there have been at least 55 deaths related to H1N1 infection in California, and at least 263 deaths in the United States

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 03:14 PM
Mount Sinai Microbiologist Warns Of More H1N1 Deaths If Toronto City Strike Continues

Toronto, Ontario (AHN) - The head of Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital's Infection Control Department warned on Sunday of more Influenza A (H1N1) virus deaths if the strike gripping the city on its fifth week would last longer.

Microbiologist Dr. Allison McGeer admonished 1,800 union workers from Toronto Public Health Unit not to join picket lines, but to monitor instead the reach and extent of the swine flu virus, follow up patients confirmed by laboratory tests as having H1N1 and to prepare plans to set up vaccine clinics and flu assessment centers.

She also suggested that health workers organize ways to assist homeless Toronto residents who lack access to health care and to help in the dissemination of H1N1 information to the public and fellow medical workers.

However, Toronto medical officer of health Dr. David McKeown said the strike does not affect the city's provision of health services particularly on the management of the H1N1 pandemic through its 200 non-union staff, although he acknowledged they could not fill in the void left by striking health workers.

Aside from more swine flu deaths, McGeer forecast a higher number of H1N1 infections and hospital confinements.

While Toronto representatives continue to haggle with negotiators from the two locals of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, city mayor David Miller threatened over the weekend to use legal action to permit residents to cross picket lines and dispose their garbage on city-established temporary dumping grounds. He issued the warning after observing failure of striking city employees to follow the law by blocking CUPE members who wanted to return to work.


posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 06:23 PM
New London (WTNH) - The Coast Guard Academy is taking preventative measures after a recent outbreak of the H1N1 Virus on the school's grounds.

As of right now, there have been 37 confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus at the academy. Of those, 37 people, 31 are "SWABS," four are cadets and two are clinical staff.

The school has those infected isolated in either the medical ward or Chase Hall, which is scheduled for remodeling but the project has been put on hold to create an additional area for sick students.

Thankfully, all of the cases here are described as "mild."

"We still have 15 people in isolation, who are experiencing H1N1 symptoms," said Petty Officer Ryan Doss of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. "We are going to continue to keep them in isolation until they are symptom free or the seven day period expires. We actually had a Coast Guard medical team come in from the headquarters in D.C. [They] did an assessment of what we are doing here, they were very pleased with everything they saw."

"SWAB" summer is demanding on incoming freshman, so many are having to play catch-up if they missed an extended period of time. SWABS also spend a week on the famed "Eagle" ship during the summer; the academy is evaluating how that will be done in light of the H1N1 outbreak.

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 06:40 PM
As New York City braces for a second wave of swine flu this fall, health officials are making plans to carve space out of hospitals, clinics and other buildings to screen people before they can overwhelm emergency rooms.

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 06:48 PM
Toronto businesses are not prepared and are "struggling to keep ahead" when it comes to planning for a global H1N1 pandemic, warns the head of a Toronto-based non-profit that focuses on urban health.

"Many organizations have not done proper risk management to prepare for the inevitability of people being away from work," said Rick Blickstead, CEO of the Wellesley Institute. "There are some really large business and social issues that people have not put pen to paper in terms of developing plans."

Companies need to figure out how to set up systems so that ill employees can work from home, develop policies that deal with large numbers of paid (or unpaid) sick days and create opportunities for childcare, said Blickstead, who spent 25 years in the private sector doing organization revitalization for companies such as Rona, Wal-Mart and the City of Toronto before joining the Wellesley Institute.

He says companies have been preoccupied by the recession and have neglected to focus on their own, in-house pandemic plans while relying on public health officials to take the lead.

If companies don't have a pandemic plan, "they should get one very quickly," said Carol Wilding, president and CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade.

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 06:51 PM
People may decide to avoid being exposed to the virus by staying away from public places, shops and the workplace.

Tourism would also be hit as visitors opt to stay away from the UK and airlines refuse to fly passengers suspected of having the virus.

Another 3% could knocked off UK output, leaving the economy facing its worst decline since 1921.

And a severe outbreak could dash any hopes of an early recovery, potentially hitting output next year by another 1.7%,

[edit on 20-7-2009 by wizardwars]

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 07:03 PM
But while most adults are not overly concerned about their own health or that of their families, they are worried about the financial hit they will take if illness or school closings keep them home from work, according to the survey by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 07:13 PM
Ministers were urged tonight to rethink their policy of keeping schools open through the swine flu pandemic after research showed that a shutdown would curb the spread of infection and limit the number of deaths.

As Andy Burnham, the health secretary, announced that a flu helpline to take the pressure off GPs' surgeries would go live this week, two infectious disease experts said school closures should be considered to reduce the number of cases and buy time until a vaccine is available.

Schools across Britain have now broken up for summer holidays, and experts hope this will help to slow the spread of the virus. But there are fears that when classes resume in the autumn the number of cases will increase rapidly.

School closures would cause serious difficulties for working parents, lead to a 1% loss in GDP through absenteeism and see as many as 30% of NHS staff having to take time off just when they are needed to treat growing numbers of patients.

In a study published in the today Lancet , Government adviser Professor Neil Ferguson and Dr Simon Cauchemez, both of the department of infectious disease epidemiology, Imperial College London, said "prolonged" closures could reduce the scale of the outbreak by 13-17% and at the pandemic's peak shutting schools could bring down the number of cases by 38-45%.

"It is therefore hoped that closure of schools during the pandemic might break the chains of transmission, with the following potential benefits: reducing the total number of cases; slowing the epidemic to give more time for vaccine production; and reducing the incidence of cases at the peak of the epidemic, limiting both the stress on healthcare systems and peak absenteeism in the general population, and thus increasing community-wide resilience," the researchers said.

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 07:20 PM
The type-A (H1N1) influenza virus directly attacks the human lung, developing severe symptoms that can lead to death, the Public Health Ministry said Monday.

" We found that most patients with severe type-A (H1N1) influenza symptoms also suffered severe pneumonia," said the director-general of the Medical Service Department, Dr Rewat Wisarutwej.

The finding was revealed by health experts meeting at the department to examine the character of the new influenza virus and its severity when infecting humans - based on patient's medical records, laboratory tests, and x-ray results.

" The virus has been found deep in the bottom of the lungs," Rawat said, adding that most patients developed the symptoms after contracting the virus in large amounts from other infected patients. The Public Health Ministry will reveal details from its first autopsy on a swine flu patient this Wednesday.

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 07:34 PM
Some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies are reaping billions of dollars in extra revenue amid global concern about the spread of swine flu.

Analysts expect to see a boost in sales from GlaxoSmithKline, Roche and Sanofi-Aventis when the companies report first-half earnings lifted by government contracts for flu vaccines and antiviral medicines.

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 07:39 PM
TORONTO -- A flurry of innovative vaccine trials is in the offing as governments and regulatory agencies prepare for the probable launch of mass swine flu vaccination programs in the fall.

The results of the trials could determine whether people with egg allergies can be offered pandemic (and regular) flu vaccine, whether pandemic and seasonal flu shots could be given at the same time and whether one company's vaccine can be given with another's adjuvant, a compound that boosts its potency.

Vaccine manufacturers are either unable or unlikely to undertake the complicated studies required to answer these questions. Governments will fund the work instead.

Infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says the goal here for organizations like the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases -- which he heads -- is to fill key knowledge gaps for vaccine regulators.

"What are they going to need that somebody else can't do?" Fauci explains.

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 07:48 PM
British school pupils have been quarantined in China because the country is employing strict controls to contain swine flu.

It is trying to prevent those infected from getting into China, and quarantines those with the H1N1 virus already inside the country.

China's Ministry of Health says these measures have proved more effective than those used by many developed countries.

So far there have been no reported deaths from swine flu in mainland China and only about 1,500 confirmed cases out of a population of more than 1.3 billion.

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 08:01 PM
It sounds like it could be the format for a new British game show — Dialing for Tamiflu. But this program is for real.

The U.K.’s state-run health service is planning to allow people in England who think they have swine flu to bypass their general practitioner when seeking treatment. Instead they can just answer a bunch of questions online or with a telephone call center.

If they answer the questions right, they’ll be diagnosed with swine flu and given a number that will allow them or a “flu friend” to pick up Tamiflu (a Roche drug) from a collection center.

Britain’s National Health Service’s going to try to prevent a flood of people from overwhelming doctors’ offices, Health Secretary Andy Burnham told the House of Commons today. The U.K. has more swine flu cases than any other country in Europe, most likely because Britons were big travellers to the U.S. and Mexico when the virus first hit.

Health officials say they are counting on people to be honest and not abuse the system to get Tamiflu unnecessarily. For now, the service will be available in England only –- not in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, which haven’t been hit as hard by swine flu.

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 08:11 PM
Taipei, July 20 (CNA) The Department of Health (DOH) may propose a nationwide school closure if the current swine flu or influenza A (H1N1) outbreak gets more serious after local schools reopen following the summer break, a health official said Mondy.

"Schools will be the focus of epidemic control after the summer vacation and we will not rule out the possibility of suggesting the Ministry of Education shut down schools throughout the country if the swine flu outbreak gets more serious, " said Kuo Hsu-sung, director-general of the DOH's Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

According to Kuo, the new swine flu virus is transmitting and mutates very rapidly. The number of swine flu cases recorded in Taiwan have reached several thousands, but most were mild cases.

"More than 85 percent of local flu patients recorded over the past week were infected with the swine flu virus, " Kuo said, adding that the ratio may even surpass 95 percent in the furture as has been seen in the United States, Britain, Japan and Australia.

Taking cues from those countries' experiences, Kuo went on, the CDC has drawn up plans to cope with possible further spread of the disease, particularly after local schools reopen in the autumn.

"Campus flu infections are most likely to trigger community cluster infections, so we may suggest the Education Ministry close all schools to contain a further spread of the virus, " he said, adding that schoolchildren who have developed fevers should stay at home and refrain from attending summer schooling projects.

Taiwan reported its first severe swine flu case July 17. The 34-year-old man came down with a fever, cough and sore throat July 2 and was hospitalized July 9 with abnormally fast breathing.

Kuo said the man's vital signs has improved but is still staying in an intensive care unit.

posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 08:18 PM
The Government of Buenos Aires Province confirmed this afternoon 8 new deaths due to the H1N1 virus, making the total number of deaths 77.

During a press conference, the director of Epidemiology for the province, Mario Masana Wilson, detailed in addition that there are still 2,870 cases under investigation.

Claudio Zin, Buenos Aires Health Minister, said that the cases of H1N1 are being recounted in order to have a better idea of how the pandemic is evolving because they may not correctly reflect the magnitude of the situation.

Zin also said that "it is possible that there be a resurganc of cases" of the H1N1 virus through the first two weeks of August.

However, he denied the possibility of not opening schools on August 3, after one month of winter recess.

posted on Jul, 21 2009 @ 05:18 AM
HELSINKI, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Finland's national carrier Finnair said on Monday that passengers with A/H1N1 flu will not be allowed to board its aircraft.

Finnair imposed the measure as the new flu was classified as a common dangerous infectious disease by the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare.

According to Finnair, its staff will keep a look out for virus sufferers at check-in desks and when passengers are entering the plane. However, a final decision on a passenger's health will be made by a physician.

Carriers like British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have introduced similar measures.

Petri Ruutu, a researcher at the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, questioned the carriers' measures, pointing out that it was difficult to diagnose A/H1N1 flu with any reasonable degree of certainty without laboratory

posted on Jul, 21 2009 @ 05:29 AM
Hospital workers are supposed to be first in line for any pandemic influenza vaccine so they can keep Canadian hospitals running during an outbreak – but that strategy hinges on workers agreeing to take an unproven vaccine for an uncertain threat.

Across Canada, somewhere between 40 and 60 per cent of health-care workers opt for a flu shot each season, despite extensive efforts to persuade the entire work force to get immunized. In a normal flu season, that's not a major problem.

But in a serious outbreak of H1N1, the unwillingness of large numbers of doctors, nurses, paramedics and others could lead to soaring absenteeism rates, draining the health-care system of workers just as they are needed most. Faced with lesser risks, Canadian health officials have tried to make flu shots mandatory, but those efforts have typically failed, with the rights of the individual trumping any broader societal concern.

That may leave the state of Canada's health-care system dependent on voluntary efforts that have so far proven unable to spur health-care workers to get flu shots.

posted on Jul, 21 2009 @ 05:31 AM
MOSCOW: Russia’s top health official warned yesterday that swine flu was spreading within the country and urged Russians to get vaccinations.

“I think that by the end of today we will have reported around at least five or six more (people) whom we have confirmed as sick” with the A(H1N1) virus, Gennady Onishchenko, Russia’s public health chief, said.

“We have registered an increase, a sharp increase in the number of individuals whom we... certify as sick,” he said at a news conference. Onishchenko warned that infection with the virus may spike in the autumn as Russians return from holidays and urged the population to get vaccinated.

“I advise maximum vaccination,” he said. The total number of swine flu cases registered in Russia since late May has reached nine so far, authorities said. All the sick Russians contracted the virus while travelling abroad, Onishchenko said. He warned however that the virus was propagating further within Russia and said contamination was possible within the country.

“The virus is now not just Moscow’s concern but also that of the regions” outside the capital, Onishchenko said. Confirmed or suspected cases have been registered in the country’s five regions, including the cities of Saint Petersburg, Tomsk in Siberia and Perm in the Urals, he said. “We should be getting ready to register these cases. There’s no need to make a tragedy or panic out of it.” He also said mass production of swine flu vaccine should be launched by September, noting Russia could produce 40 million doses.

Cases rise in Croatia

Meanwhile, Croatian swine flu cases more than tripled after an outbreak among 60 students who returned from a Spanish excursion with the virus, an official said. Tests confirmed the high school graduates from the central coastal town of Sibenik were positive with A(H1N1), Ira Gjenero Margan of the public health institute said. The new cases bring to 86 the number of people infected with the virus in Croatia. Of them, only one girl was admitted to hospital, while the others were being treated at home.

[edit on 21-7-2009 by wizardwars]

posted on Jul, 21 2009 @ 05:35 AM
The death toll from swine flu is continuing to rise in South and Central America, with Argentina upping its figures to 165.

Argentina is now the second worst-affected country after the United States.

Argentine Health Minister Juan Manzur said the number of fatalities caused by the A(H1N1) virus had risen by 28 since figures were last released by the Health Ministry on July 14.

Only the United States, where 211 people have died, has been harder-hit by the worldwide pandemic that first emerged out of Mexico in April.

Elsewhere in the region, Panama reported its first fatality from the virus - a nine-month-old baby.

Panama's Health Ministry said in a statement that the infant died on Sunday night at a children's hospital in the capital of "respiratory complications."

So far, authorities in Panama have confirmed 541 cases of swine flu in the country, with the majority of those in the area around Panama City.

Meanwhile, in El Salvador, authorities reported the country's sixth A(H1N1)-related fatality.

The Ministry of Education in the country, where 467 cases of infection have been recorded, has ordered classes be suspended for 12 days in four districts in the east of the country where the virus has hit hardest.

In Bolivia, the death toll from swine flu rose by two to five fatalities, authorities said. So far, around 700 people in the country have been infected with the virus, according to the Bolivian Health Ministry.

Paraguay's Health Ministry on Monday raised its death toll to 10 and said it had confirmed 175 cases of infection with the disease.

In Mexico, where the pandemic was first detected, the health ministry reported three new fatalities, taking the death toll to 128 and the number of infections to 14,229.

And in Peru, a 58-year-old man who suffered from hypertension and other ailments succumbed to swine flu in the northeastern region of Ancash, bringing the number of swine flu-related deaths across the country to 12, health officials said

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