H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Australia sees surge in cases, 3 new US deaths, global count tops 17,000, US orders intranasal vaccine

Jun 1, 2009

Global novel H1N1 flu cases top 17,000
The global number of confirmed novel H1N1 cases rose to 17,410, including 115 deaths, from 62 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today. Countries new to the list since the last update are the Bahamas, Bolivia, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Jamaica, Paraguay, Venezuela, and Vietnam. The United States has the most cases, though Mexico has the most deaths (97). Lebanon has also reported its first case, which is not yet included in the total.
[WHO update 42]

Australia reports surging H1N1 cases
Australia's health department has confirmed 401 novel flu cases, including 306 in the southwestern state of Victoria, Bloomberg News reported. The number is doubling every 2 days, with evidence of community spread that might prompt the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise the pandemic alert level to 6, Raina MacIntyre, a health official from University of New South Wales, told Bloomberg.
[Jun 1 Bloomberg News story]

Cases mount in South America
Chile's health ministry said yesterday that it had confirmed 276 novel H1N1 flu cases, the most in South America, Agence France-Presse reported. Officials said most of the illnesses have been mild, though three patients have been hospitalized. Meanwhile, Argentina reported 115 cases, the second-highest in South America. Influenza experts are closely watching developments in the southern hemisphere, which is just starting its annual flu season.

US H1N1 cases push past 10,000
The nation's number of confirmed and probable novel H1N1 cases climbed to 10,053, with all states and the District of Columbia now reporting cases, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported. Today's total includes the first cases in Alaska and West Virginia. The number of fatalities grew to 17, up two since the May 29 update. The new deaths appear to be fatalities in Arizona and Illinois that were reported last week.
[Current CDC numbers]

Officials link three more US deaths to new flu
Three more US deaths have been linked to the novel flu virus, according to reports from Texas and New York. Both of the Texas patients were from El Paso and died in late May, the Associated Press reported on May 30. One was a 24-year-old pregnant woman whose baby survived; the other was a 42-year-old man with an underlying health condition. Authorities in New York are exploring what role the virus played in the death of an 11-week-old baby from the Bronx, according to other media reports.

US orders intranasal vaccine for novel flu
MedImmune, Inc., based in Gaithersburg, Md., said today that US officials have awarded the company an initial $90 million contract to produce a live attenuated nasal-spray vaccine to protect priority groups identified in the nation's pandemic flu plan against the novel H1N1 virus. The US is the only country that has licensed MedImmune's intranasal vaccine technology, though the company said it would make vaccine for countries that offer regulatory approval if it has enough production capacity.
[Jun 1 MedImmune press release]

New virus dominates US circulating strains
Seventy-seven percent of US influenza virus isolates tested during the week of May 17 to 23 were the novel H1N1 type, the CDC reported May 29. Four states reported widespread activity: Arizona, California, New Jersey, and Virginia. None of the 139 novel H1N1 isolates that were tested showed resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors. The proportion of deaths from pneumonia and flu was below the epidemic threshold, and outpatient visits for flu-like symptoms were below the national baseline.
[CDC influenza surveillance report]

This week's top reads