H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Almost 22,000 cases, US deaths, surges in Australia and Scotland, little genetic change

Jun 5, 2009

World's novel flu count nears 22,000
The global count of novel flu cases jumped to 21,940, including 125 deaths, from 69 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today. The count was up 2,667 since the last report 2 days ago. Appearing on the list for the first time are Barbados, Luxembourg, and Saudi Arabia. Besides the United States, Mexico, and Canada, countries reporting more than 300 cases are Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Chile.
[WHO update 44]

US case total passes 13,000
The number of confirmed and probable novel flu cases in the United States reached 13,217 today, 27 of them fatal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced. The death toll rose by 10 since the CDC's Jun 3 count. Wisconsin has the most cases (2,217), followed by Texas (1,670), Illinois (1,357), California (973), and New York (858).
[Current CDC numbers]

Deaths reported in five more states
Five more novel H1N1 deaths were reported over the last day, one each in Arizona, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Utah, according to news reports. The patients from Arizona, Illinois, and Pennsylvania were older than 55 and had underlying conditions. (The Arizona patient also had pneumonia.) The California patient was a 9-year-old girl who also had a bacterial infection. The patient from Utah was younger than 18, and reports didn't say if he or she had an underlying condition.
[Jun 5 Associated Press story]

Australia's novel flu case count tops 1,000
Australia's tally of novel H1N1 cases reached 1,006 today, up by 130, and Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the government expects the virus to spread nationwide, according to Bloomberg News. The total is the most of any country outside North America. The state of Victoria added 122 cases today for a total of 874. Australian officials said earlier this week that they were seeing sustained community transmission. But Roxon said the cases are mild and travel restrictions are not warranted.
[Jun 5 Bloomberg report]

Scotland sees surge of H1N1 cases
Scotland confirmed 22 new cases of H1N1 flu today, bringing its total to 141, the Scottish government said in an online update. None of the new cases were travel-related. The country has seen a sixfold increase in H1N1 flu cases this week, Bloomberg news reported today. As of yesterday, Scotland's 119 cases accounted for about a quarter of the 459 cases in the United Kingdom, the story said.
[Scottish government's Jun 5 H1N1 update]

Cayman Islands, French Polynesia report first cases
The Cayman Islands and French Polynesia have both reported their first cases of the novel flu. The Cayman Islands case was confirmed yesterday in a young person who recently returned from a trip to New York City, the Associated Press (AP) reported. In French Polynesia, the illness was found in a young American woman who arrived from Los Angeles and was flagged through thermal screening at the airport, Radio Australia News reported. The woman and her husband were isolated and treated.
[AP report on Cayman Islands case]

International novel flu isolates show little genetic change
Influenza experts at the CDC who have been analyzing genetic sequences of novel H1N1 isolates from a wide geographic area, including New Zealand, have seen little variation, said Anne Schuchat, MD, interim deputy director of the CDC's science and public health program, at a press briefing yesterday. Global health officials have voiced concern that the new strain could mutate as it spreads to other regions, including the southern hemisphere, where the flu season is just starting.
[Transcript of Jun 4 CDC briefing]

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