WHO says flu pandemic has reached 168 countries

Aug 4, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – In an update on H1N1 influenza activity, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today that 168 countries and territories on all continents have now had cases and that the new virus increasingly dominates the flu landscape.

The WHO said 13 countries and jurisdictions reported 3,548 "detections" of the pandemic virus to the WHO in the week of July 20 through 26. The new virus accounted for an average of 71% of all flu viruses identified in those countries, including 66% in the northern hemisphere and 89% in the southern hemisphere.

Hong Kong led the list of countries reporting new detections with 1,788, followed by Australia with 834 and Italy with 600.

The number of deaths among known H1N1 cases reached 1,154 as of Jul 31, up from 816 on Jul 27, the agency reported.

While noting that the number of confirmed cases understates the real numbers, the agency said the confirmed case tally reached 162,380 as of Jul 31, compared with 134,503 on Jul 27. The WHO on Jul 16 stopped asking governments to report confirmed case counts, saying testing is burdensome and unnecessary for monitoring the pandemic.

Six oseltamivir-resistant H1N1 cases have been detected so far, including three in Japan and one each in Denmark, Hong Kong, and Canada, the WHO reported. All but one of the patients had been treated with the antiviral, and all have recovered. All the resistant viruses carried the characteristic resistance-linked mutation at position 274/275.

Today's statement lists "qualitative indicators" of the H1N1 situation for the week of Jul 13 through 19. It says that most countries in North and South America had widespread activity, whereas in Europe only the United Kingdom and Portugal had widespread cases. Several other European countries had localized or regional outbreaks. Most Asian countries reporting cases had only localized outbreaks, the agency said.

The report lists the following case counts and deaths tolls for WHO regions as of Jul 31: the Americas, 98,242 cases and 1,008 deaths; the Western Pacific, 26,661 and 39; Europe, 26,089 and 41; Southeast Asia, 9,858 and 65; the Eastern Mediterranean, 1,301 and 1, and Arica, 229 cases with no deaths.

The latest countries to report confirmed cases are Azerbaijan, Gabon, Grenada, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Monaco, Nauru, Swaziland, and Suriname, the WHO said.

See also:

Aug 4 WHO update

Jul 16 CIDRAP News story "WHO suspends reporting of H1N1 case counts"

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