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Are children at higher risk for swine flu?

Swine flu virus may not mix with other viruses: Study

2009 H1N1 Flu: Situation

WHO Says Confirmed H1N1 Deaths Worldwide Reach 1,799

Australia To Begin H1N1 Vaccination Campaign In September

Swine flu cases cross 3,000 mark

Swine flu claims its third victim in Delhi

Another swine flu death in Karnataka, toll climbs to 15

Special: Swine flu

Are children at higher risk for swine flu? (8 Sep 2009)

A main difference between swine flu and seasonal flu is that people over 60 appear to have some immunity to swine flu, while younger people seem not to. And because children and young adults are more likely to gather in groups — at school and colleges — they are more vulnerable to catching all types of flu. So while the disease does not appear to be more severe than seasonal flu, a disproportionate number of young people will probably get it.

As with seasonal flu, some people will get very sick and some of them will die. Federal health officials report that at least 36 children in the United States have died of swine flu; most had nervous system disorders like cerebral palsy or developmental delays. Some, however, had been healthy; they died of bacterial infections that set in after the flu. Doctors speculate that children with nerve and muscle disorders can’t cough hard enough to clear the airways, putting them at higher risk for complications.

Each year seasonal flu kills 50 to 100 children, and it’s too soon to know whether swine flu will turn out to be more deadly. Up to 40 percent of children contract regular seasonal flu, said Dr. Nathan Litman, director of pediatric infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York City, who added, “We almost expect that as soon as school is open we’ll start seeing increased numbers.”


Swine flu virus may not mix with other viruses: Study (3 Sep 2009)

The WHO predicts a third of the world's population will eventually be infected with swine flu.

NEW DELHI: The H1N1 swine flu virus out-competes all other strains of influenza viruses by reproducing on an average,twice as much within an infected body. This, scientists say, reduces the possibility that this superior H1N1 virus would interact and mix with other flu viruses to form a more virulent superbug.In a first study to examine how the pandemic virus interacts with other flu viruses, American scientists made three different flu viruses compete against the H1N1 inside ferrets.

"The results suggest that the 2009 H1N1 influenza may out-compete seasonal flu virus strains and may be more communicable as well. H1N1 causes more severe disease in animal studies, but it shows no signs of mixing with either of the two seasonal flu viruses to form a new so-called reassortant virus," said Dr Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

On June 11, WHO declared a new H1N1 influenza pandemic -- the first in the last 41 years. This pandemic strain is as transmissible as seasonal H1N1 and H3N2 influenza A viruses. Major concerns facing this pandemic have been whether the new virus will replace, co-circulate and/or reassort with seasonal H1N1 and/or H3N2 human strains.

"Using the ferret model, we investigated which of these three possibilities were most likely. Our studies showed that the current pandemic virus is more transmissible than, and has a biological advantage over, prototypical seasonal H1 or H3 strains," the scientists said.

Some of the animals who were infected with both the new virus and one of the more familiar seasonal viruses (H3N2) developed not only respiratory symptoms but intestinal illness as well.

"It is reassuring that this virus does not seem to be in search of additional genes to become more powerful," Perez said.


2009 H1N1 Flu: Situation

Key Flu Indicators

Each week CDC analyzes information about influenza disease activity in the United States and publishes findings of key flu indicators in a report called FluView. During the week of August 16-22, 2009, a review of these key indictors found that influenza activity is either stable, or is increasing in some areas. Activity appears to be increasing in the Southeast based on influenza-like illness data reported by health care providers.

  • Visits to doctors for influenza-like illness (ILI) were highest in February during the 2008-09 flu season, but rose again in April 2009 after the new H1N1 virus emerged. Current visits to doctors for influenza-like illness are down from April, but are higher than what is expected in the summer and has increased over the last two weeks
  • Total influenza hospitalization rates for adults and children are similar to or lower than seasonal influenza hospitalization rates depending on age group.
  • The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was low and within the bounds of what is expected in the summer.
  • Most state health officials are reporting regional or sporadic influenza activity. Two states (Alaska and Georgia) and Puerto Rico are reporting widespread influenza activity at this time. Any reports of widespread influenza activity in August are very unusual.
  • Almost all of the influenza viruses identified were the new 2009 H1N1 influenza A viruses. These 2009 H1N1 viruses remain similar to the viruses chosen for the 2009 H1N1 vaccine and remain susceptible to antiviral drugs (oseltamivir and zanamivir) with rare exception.
WHO Says Confirmed H1N1 Deaths Worldwide Reach 1,799

According to the latest WHO report out Wednesday, the number of confirmed H1N1 (swine) flu deaths since its emergence in April has reached 1,799 - a jump from 1,462 deaths since the agency's last update, Agence France-Presse/the Australian reports. The WHO report also notes Ghana, Tuvalu and Zambia became the latest countries to confirm H1N1 cases for the first time, bringing the total number of countries with H1N1 to over 170 (8/20).

Also on Wednesday, the total number of deaths from H1N1 in Latin America rose above 1,300 - "more than 70 percent of the world's fatatlities" - after the country governments reported updates, the AFP reports in a separate story. "With vaccines against swine flu still more than a month away from being available -- and wealthy countries snapping up all available pre-orders from the big drug companies -- Latin American nations are looking at ignoring patents to produce their own," the news service writes, adding, Argentine President Cristina Kirchner on Tuesday appealed for pharmaceutical companies to "drop patent protection for their vaccines." "Given the laboratories' confession that they can't produce enough A(H1N1) flu vaccine for the whole world, the economic rights should be suspended to protect the health of mankind," Kirchner said (8/19).

Australia To Begin H1N1 Vaccination Campaign In September

Australian health officials announced Thursday they anticipate launching the country's H1N1 vaccination campaign in September, "in what may turn out to be the first such program since the emergence of the disease in April," the Associated Press/Washington Post reports. According to Australian Health Minister Nicola Roxon, the first of 2 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine, manufactured by the Australian drug maker CSL will be released to the government Aug. 31, "but that safety tests from clinical trials are not yet complete," the news service writes. However, the government expects to receive an interim report from the ongoing H1N1 clinical trials next week, Roxon said.

"CSL recently notified the United States that its shipments would arrive later than promised because it first must provide batches to the Australian government," the news service adds. U.S. health officials predict the country's H1N1 vaccine campaign will start in mid-October (McGuirk, 8/20).

Swine flu cases cross 3,000 mark

New Delhi: Swine flu cases in the country on Tuesday crossed the 3,000-mark with 186 more people, including 41 in the national capital, testing positive for the disease.

With the fresh cases, the total number of cases rose to 3,095.

While Delhi reported 41 cases, Maharashtra had 34 fresh cases followed by Karnataka (29), Gujarat (23), Kerala (16), Tamil Nadu (12), Uttar Pradesh (9), West Bengal (4), Assam (2), Chandigarh (1); Haryana (1), Chhattisgarh (1) and Madhya Pradesh (1).

Of the 186 new cases reported during the day, nine have a travel history of visits abroad while the rest are indigenous cases.

Uttar Pradesh had reported 49 new Lab confirmed cases on August 24 from samples collected from 8-17 August 2009.

Swine flu claims its third victim in Delhi

New Delhi: The national capital recorded its third death due to swine flu on Tuesday when a 44-year-old woman succumbed to the H1N1 virus, health authorities said.

According to N.K. Chaturvedi, the medical superintendent of the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, the woman died at 10.15 a.m. at the hospital.

`She was admitted to the hospital on Friday. She was in a serious condition and was on the ventilator,` Chaturvedi said.

Another swine flu death in Karnataka, toll climbs to 15

The woman, a resident of Faridabad, was first admitted to a private hospital, and was brought to the RML hospital in New Delhi when her condition deteriorated.

`She had fever, breathlessness, cold and cough,` he added.

Her samples were sent for testing and on Monday it was confirmed that she was infected with the H1N1 virus.

Special: Swine flu

With the woman's death, the total death toll has jumped to 65 in the country. On Monday, the country reported 137 fresh swine flu positive cases, pushing the total number of infected people to 2,909.

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