H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Panamerican coordination, Cuba aid, hajj ban, first China death, differing responses to flu

US, Canada, Mexico discuss flu coordination
Officials of the US, Mexican, and Canadian governments met in Mexico City Monday to map out cross-border communication and immigrations issues raised by the continuing spread of H1N1 flu, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The United States was represented by officials from DHS, the Departments of State and Agriculture, the Transportation Security Administration, and Customs and Border Protection.
Oct 5 DHS press release

Cuba asks international help getting vaccine
The Cuban government has asked the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization to help the country acquire H1N1 vaccine, saying the formula is too expensive for it to afford on its own. The island nation has officially recorded 468 cases of H1N1 flu but no deaths since the pandemic began.

Tunisia prohibits hajj pilgrimages
Though some Muslim countries have taken measures to limit the number of people making the hajj pilgrimage to curb the spread of pandemic flu, Tunisia today became the first to bar its citizens from making the trip, Reuters reported today. The country's religious affairs ministry said a vaccine would not arrive in time to vaccinate pilgrims for November travel. About 10,000 Tunisians typically make the trip every year.
Oct 6 Reuters story

China reports first pandemic flu death
China's health ministry has confirmed the nation's first pandemic H1N1 death today, an 18-year-old woman from Tibet's capital, Lhasa. The ministry said it has confirmed 21,453 cases of pandemic flu and that 78.7% of the patients have fully recovered. On Sep 21 China became the first nation to start vaccinating its people against the novel H1N1 virus.

Study shows regional variance in pandemic response
In the first several days after the WHO declared pandemic level 5 on Apr 29, Malaysians showed greater concern than their European counterparts but also more preparedness steps, according to a study released today. Forty-two percent of Malaysians and only 5% of Europeans said they were "very concerned" about the outbreak. Malaysians also ranked higher in reduced public transport use (48% to 22%), flight cancellations (56 % to 17%), and intent to buy protective equipment (41% to 15%).
BMC Infect Dis study abstract

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