H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Funds for states; community measures; first Tanzania, Zimbabwe cases; New Zealand flu season; home care

Jul 9, 2009

HHS to fund $350 million for state preparedness
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to rapidly distribute $350 million that Congress recently provided for pandemic efforts by states, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said today. Speaking at a federal "flu summit," Sebelius said HHS will announce the funding tomorrow. She said $260 million will go to state health departments for general and vaccine efforts and $90 million will go to hospitals for surge capacity. "We hope to push the money out the door by July 31," she said.
[HHS pandemic flu Web site]

Thailand, Argentina launch community mitigation measures
Thailand's government has ordered more than 1,000 schools to close for 15 days starting Jul 13 and has asked Internet cafes, popular with youth, to close during the time to curb the spread of pandemic flu, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported today. Elsewhere, Argentina will close financial markets and banks tomorrow to slow the spread of the virus, Reuters reported yesterday. It encouraged private businesses to do the same. Today is a national holiday in Argentina.
[Jul 9 ABC story]

Tanzania, Zimbabwe confirm first novel flu cases
Tanzania's health ministry today confirmed the country's first novel H1N1 case, a British student who arrived in the country about a week ago and told immigration officials he felt sick, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Also, Zimbabwe's state media today reported the country's first two cases, an Asian man who had recently arrived from London and a squash player hospitalized in South Africa, the Kenya-based Daily Nation reported. It's unclear where the player was infected.
[Jul 9 AP story]

New Zealand: flu season eclipses 12-year high
An official with New Zealand's influenza center said today that flu activity has reached a 12-year high point and predicted the season hasn't peaked yet, Bloomberg News reported. A flu surveillance report released today for the week ending Jul 5 notes that novel H1N1 makes up 80% of circulating flu strains in New Zealand, an increase from the 48% reported in the previous week's report.
[Jul 9 Bloomberg News story]

Japan quarantines American university student group
Japanese health officials quarantined 20 American university students Jul 3 after two of their Japanese instructors were diagnosed as having novel flu, the AP reported yesterday. Authorities are monitoring the students' health, but so far none have shown any flu symptoms. The students are from California colleges, and the quarantine is scheduled to end tomorrow.

CDC updates home care guidance
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday updated its guidance on caring for people who are sick with novel H1N1 flu at home. The revision incorporates interim guidance on facemask and respirator use that the CDC updated in late May. The updated home care guidance suggests that all caregivers, not just those in high-risk groups, who must have close contact with a sick person try to use a facemask or N-95 disposable respirator. The update also lists where to buy the items.
[Jul 8 CDC home care guidance]

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