H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Cases top 5,000; first cases in Cuba, Thailand, Finland; pregnancy risk; restocking stockpile; infected hospital workers

May 12, 2009

Global novel H1N1 flu cases surpass 5,000
The global count of novel H1N1 influenza (swine flu) case confirmations has increased to 5,251 from 30 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today. The total includes 2,059 cases with 56 deaths in Mexico and 2,600 cases and 3 deaths reported in the United States as of yesterday. Canada has had 330 cases and 1 death, and Costa Rica has reported 8 cases and 1 death.
[WHO update 26]

US H1N1 cases top 3,000
The number of confirmed H1N1 cases in the United States rose to 3,009 and 3 deaths in 45 states today, an increase of 409 since yesterday's update, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today. The number of states reporting cases rose by one, as Montana reported its first case. Yesterday CDC official Anne Schuchat, MD, said at a press briefing that many states don't report flu cases over the weekend, so the agency expected a big increase in the H1N1 count today.
[Current CDC numbers]

Cuba confirms first H1N1 case, accuses Mexico of hiding outbreak
Cuba's health ministry yesterday announced the nation's first novel H1N1 case, in a Mexican medical student who was studying at a clinic in Cuba and had recently returned from a visit to his home country, the Associated Press (AP) reported. A few hours later, Fidel Castro, Cuba's former president, posted a column on the government's Web site accusing Mexico of hiding the flu outbreak until after US President Obama's visit in April.
[May 11 AP story]

Thailand, Finland report first novel flu cases
Two more countries—Thailand and Finland—confirmed their first novel H1N1 cases today, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported. Thailand reported two cases in people who had traveled to Mexico, and Finland also confirmed two, though few details were available. The four cases are not included in today's WHO total.
[May 12 AAP story]

CDC warns about flu risk in pregnant women
At a news briefing today, Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC warned that pregnant women are at increased risk for flu complications such as pneumonia, dehydration, and premature labor, especially with the novel H1N1 strain. She said the CDC is investigating 20 cases of the disease in pregnant women, a few of whom have had severe complications, and one fatality, a previously reported Texas woman. Schuchat urged prompt antiviral treatment for pregnant women.
[May 12 CDC briefing transcript]

Roche donation restocks WHO Tamiflu stockpile
Roche, the maker of Tamiflu (oseltamivir), announced today that it is donating 5.65 million treatment courses to the WHO to replenish a 2-million-course regional outbreak stockpile and a 3-million-course rapid-response stockpile. The donation also establishes a pediatric stockpile of 650,000 courses. Production capacity will reach 110 million courses over the next 5 months and will amount to 36 million courses per month by the end of the year if needed.
[May 12 Roche press release]

Novel H1N1 infections reported in Toronto hospital workers
Four workers at two Toronto hospitals, one of whom had contact with patients, have tested positive for the novel H1N1 flu, the Toronto Star reported today. Two of the employees were reportedly exposed to the virus in the community, and one of them passed it on to two coworkers. A hospital spokeswoman said so far no novel H1N1 infections have been reported in any patients that had contact with the sick staff members.
[May 12 Toronto Star story]

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