H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Cases top 25,000, Australia hit hard, New Orleans mayor quarantined, ill cruise crew, funding brouhaha

Jun 8, 2009

Global novel flu cases soar past 25,000
The world tally of novel H1N1 cases rose to 25,288, including 139 deaths, in 73 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today. The total is 3,288 more than the last report on Jun 5. The list includes the first cases from the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Arab Emirates. Outside North America, countries reporting more than an additional 40 cases since the last report include Australia, Argentina, Chile, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
[WHO update 45]

Cases in Australia grow steadily
The number of novel flu cases in Australia grew by 201 over the weekend to 1,207, the government reported today. The greatest increase was seen in Victoria, which has the most cases. Double-digit gains were recorded in Western Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales. An Australian health expert today warned that the county's indigenous populations may be at greater risk for infections because of greater levels of chronic diseases, the Australian media reported.
[Jun 8 Australia Department of Health and Ageing update]

Martinique confirms first novel flu case
The Caribbean island nation of Martinique on Jun 6 reported its first novel H1N1 case, the Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday. The patient was a local resident who had recently traveled to Las Vegas and had stopped in Puerto Rico on his way home. Government sources told the AP the man was hospitalized in satisfactory condition. Several other Caribbean nations have also recently reported their first novel flu cases.
[Jun 7 AP story]

Canadian farmer culls remaining swine
An Alberta, Canada, farmer whose pigs apparently contracted the novel H1N1 virus from an infected worker recently culled the rest of his herd, the Canadian Press (CP) reported yesterday. He had originally culled 500 of his pigs. He said he had the remaining 3,000 animals destroyed because they were under quarantine and he was unable to market them. The farmer is expected to seek government assistance with replacing his herd.
[Jun 7 CP story]

Chinese officials quarantine New Orleans mayor over flu fears
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, his wife, and a security guard were placed under quarantine at a Shanghai hotel on Jun 5 after a passenger on their flight into China got sick with suspected novel flu symptoms, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. Nagin's staff said the mayor and his groups have shown no flu symptoms. The report did not say if the airline patient tested positive for the virus. In late May China quarantined a group of US high school students under similar circumstances.
[Jun 8 AP story]

Alaska cruise crew members sick with novel flu
Three crew members on an Alaska cruise ship tested positive for the novel flu virus and are being treated and isolated in their cabins, the Alaska Daily News reported today. The 1,460-passenger Holland America Line boat had recently visited Ketchikan and had returned to Seattle on Jun 5. The patients are recovering, and the cruise line said it reported the infections to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The company said no passenger illnesses were reported.
[Jun 8 Alaska Daily News story]

Proposal to divert BioShield money into flu effort draws fire
The leaders of a bipartisan commission on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) criticized President Obama's proposal to use $3 billion in Project BioShield money to battle novel H1N1 influenza, the Washington Post reported today. The administration included the proposal in a funding request to Congress last week. Former senators Bob Graham and James Talent, leaders of the commission, asserted that using the BioShield funds for the flu threat would reduce US preparedness for WMD attacks.
[Washington Post report]

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