FLU NEWS SCAN: H1N1 alert for Americas, flu in pregnant women

Apr 21, 2011

PAHO warns of H1N1 spread in Americas region
So far this year some countries in the Americas region have reported 2009 H1N1 outbreaks that, though limited in scope, have placed a demand on local health services, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said yesterday in an epidemiological alert. Though the outbreaks aren't surprising, because the virus is now considered a seasonal strain, countries should still keep their guard up, the agency added. Outbreaks of the 2009 H1N1 influenza this year have been reported in Ecuador, Mexico, and Venezuela, and over the past 3 weeks detections have increased in the Dominican Republic. PAHO said that, during the pandemic phase, the spread of the virus varied across the region. For example, circulation was intense in countries in the southernmost part of South America, with few detections over the winter of 2010. In some areas the proportion of the population that is still susceptible to the disease is high, which could lead to geographically limited sporadic outbreaks, the group said.
Apr 20 PAHO epidemiological alert

Study: 31% of young women hospitalized for H1N1 flu were pregnant
Close to a third of all reproductive-age (15 to 44 years) US women who were hospitalized for treatment of 2009 pandemic influenza were pregnant, according to estimates in a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AJOG). Using population-based data from the Emerging Infections Program in 10 states, researchers examined the characteristics of hospitalized reproductive-age women during the 2009 pandemic and the four flu seasons from 2005-06 through 2008-09. They found that pregnant women made up 31.0% (489 of 1,577) of the reproductive-age women hospitalized for pandemic flu and 23.5% (150 of 639) of those hospitalized with seasonal flu. In both pregnant and nonpregnant women, antiviral treatment was significantly more common for pandemic flu than for seasonal flu (86.5% vs 24.0% for pregnant women, 82.0% vs 55.2% for nonpregnant women). Also, in both seasonal and pandemic flu cases, nonpregnant women were more likely to have an underlying condition other than pregnancy. The authors say their findings underscore the importance of flu vaccination during pregnancy.
Apr 20 AJOG abstract

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