Aug 31, 2009
H1N1 cases may strain ICUs this winter
Experience to date suggests that the novel H1N1 flu may put a heavy burden on intensive care units (ICUs) in coming months, said critical care specialists quoted in a Canadian Press report today. ICUs in some of the hospitals hit hardest by virus nearly ran out of specialized equipment and skilled staff. The Public Health Agency of Canada has scheduled a meeting this week in Winnipeg to discuss the problem.
Aug 31 Canadian Press story
Mexico predicts 1 million cases in next flu wave
Mexico's government projects that 1 million of its citizens will become ill this winter with the novel H1N1 virus, the Latin American Herald Tribune reported today. The country's health secretary, Jose Angel Cordova, said on Aug 28 that the number of cases is stable for now, with about 80 to 100 infections reported each day. He said the government is working on emergency plans on school closures, social distancing measures, and hospital preparations.
Aug 31 Latin American Herald Tribune story
WHO chief: H1N1 spreads at 'unbelievable' speed
Dr. Margaret Chan, head of the World Health Organization, told France's Le Monde newspaper that the novel H1N1 virus "spreads at an unbelievable, almost unheard-of speed," according to an Aug 29 Agence France-Presse (AFP) story. She said the virus can travel as far in 6 weeks as other viruses travel in 6 months and estimated that up to 30% of people in densely populated countries are at risk for infection. Chan also noted that about 40% of deaths are in previously healthy young adults.
Aug 29 AFP story
Colombia's president ill with pandemic flu
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe became ill with flulike symptoms on Aug 28 while addressing South American leaders at a summit in Argentina and was diagnosed yesterday as having the pandemic H1N1 virus, The Guardian reported today. He has continued working in partial isolation via phone and internet. So far no illnesses have been reported in other leaders or in Uribe's travel group.
Aug 31 Guardian story
HHS opens public vote for flu-prevention video
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has invited the public to help pick the best video in its Flu Prevention Public Service Announcement (PSA) Contest. The top 10 videos, chosen from among 240 entries, have been posted on YouTube, and the public is invited to view the 30-second spots and vote their choice. The winner will receive $2,500 and see the video broadcast on national television.
Aug 31 HHS news release with link to PSAs
Kuwait postpones kindergarten start
Kuwait's education ministry said yesterday that the country will delay opening kindergartens for 2 months to curb the spread of the novel H1N1 virus, AFP reported today. The measure will also apply to nurseries and schools that serve students with special needs. Other schools will reopen at the usual time, the last week of September.
Aug 31 AFP story
CVS stores to offer seasonal flu vaccine
The CVS pharmacy chain today announced that seasonal flu vaccine will be available starting tomorrow at 500 of its stores, according to a company press release. Vaccine will be available to adults and children over 18 months without an appointment. The chain said it will host about 9,000 flu clinic events starting Sep 15. With novel H1N1 vaccine expected to reach providers in October, the US CDC has said that people should receive the seasonal vaccine as soon as it's available.
Aug 31 CVS/Caremark press release