H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Latest H1N1 activity, delaying pregnancy in China, safety of vaccination in Japan, football ads tout vaccination

Dec 31, 2009

CDC: Flu indicators for Christmas week were mixed
Only four US states had widespread flu activity last week, down from seven the week before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today. However, outpatient medical visits for flu-like illness, which were at the national baseline the previous week, edged back above that level, reaching 3.2%. Also, deaths due to pneumonia and flu climbed back above the epidemic threshold. There were four flu-related deaths in children, down from nine the previous week.
CDC FluView report

China advises delaying pregnancy till pandemic over
Women in China are being advised by the country's health ministry to wait to become pregnant until the risk of pandemic H1N1 influenza lessens, according to a Xinhua article today. Women are encouraged to avoid others with flu symptoms, stay away from crowds, keep offices and apartments well ventilated, and wear masks when outside. Nearly 14% of H1N1 deaths in mainland China have been in pregnant women. The country provides free vaccination for all pregnant women and new mothers.
Dec 31 Xinhua article

Japan to study whether H1N1 vaccine is risky for chronically ill
Japan's ministry of health announced Wednesday that it will begin an epidemiologic study next spring to evaluate whether pandemic H1N1 flu vaccination can increase the risk of death in people with serious chronic diseases, says a Kyodo News story. Of people in Japan vaccinated with domestically produced H1N1 vaccine, 104 have died, about 80% of whom were 70 years of age or older and had chronic diseases. Almost 1,900 cases of vaccination side effects have been reported.
Dec 30 Japan Times article

Bowl games will feature HHS message urging vaccination
Viewers of four college football bowl games over the New Year's holiday will see an ad encouraging Americans, especially young people, to be vaccinated against H1N1 flu, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today. The HHS spot will run during the Outback Bowl, Gator Bowl, Valero Alamo Bowl, and GMAC Bowl telecasts. The ad is aimed at young people because they have been hit hard by the virus, the HHS statement said.
Dec 31 HHS press release

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