H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Economic impact, newly affected countries, Aussie antiviral strategy, H1N1 & MRSA

Jun 23, 2009

World Bank expects pandemic to dent economic output
In a report yesterday on effects of the economic downturn, the World Bank said the severity and impact of the current pandemic seem to resemble the Hong Kong influenza pandemic of 1968-69, which could mean a drop in gross domestic product of 0.7%. The World Bank said developing countries are most vulnerable to pandemic effects because of high population density, weak healthcare systems, and high prevalence of chronic diseases. The pandemic will likely erode Mexico's output by 5.8% in 2009.
[Jun 22 World Bank report]

Montenegro, Latvia report first novel flu cases
Montenegro's health minister today confirmed the country's first novel flu case, in a student who was returning from New York to his home in Macedonia, the Balkan Insight Web site reported. The patient has been isolated, and his relatives and contacts he visited in Belgrade are being monitored in their homes. Meanwhile, Latvia also reported its first novel flu case, in a woman who got sick on a flight home after visiting the United States and Canada, Agence France-Presse reported.

Honduras, Philippines report first deaths
Honduras and the Philippines reported their first novel flu fatalities yesterday, according to media reports. The Honduran patient was a 23-year-old pregnant woman who lived in a rural area and died in mid June, Reuters reported. The Filipino victim is a 49-year-old woman who also suffered a heart attack, news services said. She worked for the country's House of Representatives, which was shut down for 5 days so the building could be sanitized.

Australian expert pushes broad antiviral use in aboriginal groups
A disease-control specialist in Australia's Northern Territory said today that the government's recent decision to restrict oseltamivir (Tamiflu) to "critical case criteria" should be relaxed for aboriginal patients who have suspected pandemic flu symptoms, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. The expert said that 50% of people in the communities have chronic health conditions and that broader antiviral use could reduce the risk of disease transmission to vulnerable people.
[Jun 23 ABC story]

Buffalo teen dies of H1N1 with secondary MRSA infection
A 15-year-old boy in Buffalo, N.Y., died Jun 19 of novel H1N1 flu that was complicated by a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection, the Buffalo News reported today. A few children die each year of seasonal flu with secondary MRSA infections, and the CDC has been watching to see if similar coinfections occur with the new virus. Meanwhile, a 9-year-old boy in Buffalo is currently in critical condition with H1N1 and MRSA infections, the story said.

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