May 5, 2009
Texas reported the nation's second death from the novel H1N1 influenza (swine flu), in a woman from Cameron County who had a chronic health condition. According to an update posted on the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) Web site, she died earlier this week. The first US death from the new flu strain also occurred in Texas, a 22-month-old boy from Mexico City.
US Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said today at a press briefing that drug companies will accelerate production of the seasonal flu vaccine to help provide the capacity to make a vaccine against the novel H1N1 virus. Health officials have said the CDC is developing a seed strain as the first step toward making the vaccine, though a decision to use the vaccine would be considered separately.
Mexico sent a plane to China to pick up about 70 Mexicans who were quarantined there, Reuters reported today. The plane made stops in Shanghai and Beijing and was scheduled to go on to Guangzhou and Hong Kong before flying home, the story said. Meanwhile, a Chinese plane picked up 79 Chinese in Mexico City and was expected to pick up 20 more in Tijuana before flying them home, Reuters reported, citing a Xinhua story.
US House Democrats have unveiled a $94.2 billion emergency supplemental spending bill that includes $2 billion for battling a potential worsening of the flu epidemic, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report. President Barack Obama had asked for $1.5 billion for the flu epidemic. Most of the money in the bill is intended for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. [AFP report]