H1N1 BREAKING NEWS: No vaccine priority in Canada yet, possible plateau in Britain, US Air Force unit, rapid flu test guidance

Jul 30, 2009

Canadian officials hold off on flu vaccine priority list

Canadian health officials said yesterday that they would wait until at least September to finalize pandemic H1N1 vaccine priorities, Canwest News Service reported today. Dr David Butler-Jones, chief public health officer, said authorities still have time to assess developments, such as the southern hemisphere's evolving flu season. Yesterday US officials recommended five priority groups to receive the vaccine, with pregnant women topping the list.

[Jul 30 Canwest News Service story]

H1N1 cases in Britain may be leveling off

Britain's Health Protection Agency estimated today that the country had about 110,000 new cases of H1N1 flu last week, as compared with about 100,000 the week before. But the agency said overall indications are that the number of cases is "no longer rising rapidly, and may have plateaued." Cases appear to have decreased in 5- to 14-year-olds but were still rising in other age-groups, officials said.

[UK weekly pandemic flu update]

Novel flu strain found in second Canadian pig herd

Quebec's agriculture ministry announced that it detected the novel H1N1 virus in a pig herd, the second such finding in Canada, the Alberta Farmer news Web site reported on Jul 28. Clinical signs were detected in late June, the herd has recovered, and no other farms were affected, the ministry said. Authorities suspect a human source for the outbreak, though no illnesses in the farm family, workers, or visitors have been reported.

[Jul 28 Alberta Farmer story]

Pandemic flu strikes Air Force unit

Four pandemic H1N1 illnesses have been confirmed in airmen at the US Air Force's Hurlbut Field, a special operations command based in northwestern Florida, the Associated Press reported today. A spokeswoman for the unit said 59 more airmen were suspected of having the virus, but will not be tested.

Moldova, Azerbaijan report first pandemic flu cases

Moldova's health ministry reported the country's first pandemic H1N1 case, in a 24-year-old woman who had recently taken a 2-week trip in Europe, the Associated Press reported today. In other developments, Azerbaijan reported its first two novel flu cases, in a 14-year-old boy and a woman. Both were returning from European countries and were screened and identified at the airport as they returned home, Reuters reported today.

[Jul 30 AP story]

CDC issues guidance on use of rapid flu tests

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday issued interim guidance for detecting novel H1N1 influenza with rapid tests. The agency advises labs that use rapid tests to add to result reports a statement describing the tests' limitations to help physicians make treatment decisions. The note would emphasize that rapid tests do not distinguish influenza A subtypes, including the novel one, and that if a test is negative for A and B, clinical presentation should guide diagnosis.

[Jul 29 CDC rapid testing guidance]

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