The World Health Organization (WHO) reported 331 cases of swine influenza H1N1 in 11 countries as of 6 a.m. GMT today. The case numbers by country are United States, 109 (1 death) (these are yesterday's totals); Mexico, 156 (9 deaths), Canada, 34; Spain, 13; United Kingdom, 8; New Zealand, 3; Germany, 3; Israel, 2; and 1 each in Austria, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. [WHO update 7]
Editor's note: Today we are launching a daily digest of the latest developments concerning the swine influenza H1N1 virus. This digest will be updated more than once a day as news developments dictate.
(CIDRAP News) As the official count of US swine influenza cases rose to 64 today, top federal health officials said it's becoming increasingly clear that the virus is spreading beyond people who recently traveled to Mexico, the epicenter of the outbreak.
(CIDRAP News) Federal officials, speaking at a White House briefing on the swine influenza outbreak today, said the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is declaring a public health emergency, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 9 more human cases.
(CIDRAP News) A spokesman for Panasonic Corp. said today that the company had no proprietary information about any increased risk of an influenza pandemic in December 2008 when it instructed some of its overseas employees to send their families back to Japan by September.
WASHINGTON, DC (CIDRAP News) Health officials worldwide are becoming increasingly concerned about influenza viruses' resistance to antiviral drugs, which can shut down a flu infection or mitigate symptoms. Flu antivirals are vital for reducing severe illness and death in average flu seasons and could be essential bulwarks against an influenza pandemic if one began.
(CIDRAP News) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to fund eight studies on whether simple measures such as handwashing, "cough etiquette," and face masks could help limit the extent of the next influenza pandemic.
The CDC announced this week it would provide a total of $5.2 million to research institutions, some outside the United States, to assess nonpharmaceutical measures for battling pandemic flu.