H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Infected cadets; nurses decry lack of masks; biosecurity at fairs; Chile, Thailand take steps; vaccine news

Jul 14, 2009

Novel flu hits dozens at Air Force Academy
The US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs has confirmed that 67 incoming cadets have tested positive for pandemic H1N1 influenza and that a total of 121 incoming freshmen with flulike symptoms are being quarantined in a separate dorm, the Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday. The students are among about 1,300 who recently reported to the academy for their first weeks of military training.
[Jul 13 AP story]

Nurses file complaint against hospital over protective gear
Nurses at a hospital in Vallejo, Ca., filed a complaint today with the state's Division of Occupational Safety and Health alleging that their facility hasn't supplied them with adequate masks for caring for patients with pandemic H1N1 influenza, the AP reported. Ten nurses reportedly got sick after treating three patients with novel flu infections.

Oregon beefs up pig biosecurity at fairs
Oregon's Department of Agriculture is asking fairgoers this year to help protect pigs from the pandemic H1N1 virus. In two instances, in Canada and Argentina, pig herds apparently contracted the virus from infected workers. Officials are asking people to keep at least 6 feet away from pigs and are recommending that fairs keep an adequate number of hand washing stations stocked with disinfectant nearby. They ask people with flu symptoms to stay away from pigs for at least 7 days.
[Oregon Department of Agriculture press release]

Pandemic forces postponement of surgeries in Chile
Five thousand surgeries were postponed in Chile last week to free up hospital beds for patients with H1N1 flu, according to the Santiago Times. The story said the number of delayed procedures could rise to 20,000 over the next few weeks as the country continues to battle the pandemic. As of the last World Health Organization update on Jul 6, Chile had 7,376 H1N1 cases and 14 deaths.

Bangkok to close schools for 5 days to fight H1N1
Officials in Bangkok said they will close 435 city schools for 5 days to fight the flu pandemic, Reuters reported today. The schools will be thoroughly cleaned during the interval. Also, Thailand's cabinet decided today to order 2 million doses of an H1N1 vaccine, with delivery expected by December, the story said. It said Thailand has had 4,057 H1N1 cases with 24 deaths.
[Jul 14 Reuters story]

HHS to spend $884 million for H1N1 vaccine ingredients
The US government will commit $884 million to buy additional pandemic H1N1 vaccine antigen and adjuvants, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced yesterday. The products will be additional orders under existing contracts with Sanofi Pasteur, MedImmune, GlaxoSmithKline, and Novartis, an HHS news release said. The announcement is an apparent follow-up to Sebelius's comment on CNN 2 days ago that the agency would spend another billion dollars on H1N1 vaccines.
[Jul 13 HHS announcement]

Inovio reports preclinical findings for DNA vaccine
Inovio, a biotechnology company based in San Diego, yesterday announced promising results in a preclinical trial of its DNA vaccine against pandemic H1N1 influenza. All pigs immunized with a two-dose regimen showed an antibody response, the company reported. The firm said it is conducting other animal studies to determine if the seasonal and pandemic H1N1 vaccines it is developing provide cross-protection against other circulating influenza strains.
[Jul 13 Inovio press release]

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