Americans not worried about H1N1 but will get vaccine
More than 60% of Americans say they are not worried about the novel H1N1 flu, but 55% plan to get the H1N1 vaccine for themselves or someone in their household, according to a Washington Post ABC News Poll. The poll indicates that about one in eight Americans is very worried that the pandemic will affect his or her family, while twice as many are not at all worried, the Post reported. Nearly 75% were confident that the government will be able to cope effectively with the epidemic.
Aug 19 Washington Post story
Many British firms have had H1N1-related absences
In a survey of 429 small and medium-sized British companies, 72% said they had weathered staff absenteeism because of the H1N1 flu and 38% expected that their sales would suffer, Reuters reported yesterday. The survey by the law firm Eversheds also found that one in five businesses said they expected to have to close or partially close premises, and 87% said they had introduced new sanitation measures to combat the virus.
Aug 19 Reuters report
Canada expects November vaccination launch, adequate supply
Canadian officials hope to license the country's novel flu vaccine and begin immunizing people in November, the Canadian Press reported yesterday. Canada's vaccine supplier, GlaxoSmithKline, will ship about 10 to 15 million doses and will be able to quickly replenish supplies as healthcare workers administer the vaccine to patients. Officials project that GSK's antigen production will outpace its fill-and-finish capacity but said finishing the vaccine elsewhere would cause delays.
Australian doctors question country's vaccination plans
Australia's major infectious disease society is questioning the safety of the country's novel H1N1 vaccination plans, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported today. In a letter to the government, the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases cited a risk of cross-contamination when using multidose vials and said the flu epidemic has subsided, so the campaign needn't be rushed. A spokeswoman for vaccine maker CSL countered that the single-dose approach would be slower and more expensive.
Aug 20 Australian Broadcasting Corp. story
Novel H1N1 deaths in Latin America exceed 1,300
Deaths from H1N1 flu in Latin America, the world's hardest-hit region, have reached 1,303, more than 70% of the global total of 1,799 listed by the World Health Organization, Agence France-Presse reported yesterday. Argentina has had 404 deaths, the second-highest toll after the United States' 477, and Brazil has 368, the story said. Trailing Brazil are Mexico, with 164 deaths; Chile, 105; and Peru, 62.
Zimbabwe, Belarus report first novel flu cases
Zimbabwe's health ministry today announced the confirmation of the country's first novel H1N1 cases, in five private-school children who got sick in early August, Agence France-Presse reported. Doctors at Zimbabwe's state hospitals are on strike over wage and allowance issues, but the health minister said the medical system is coping. Meanwhile, Belarus confirmed its first novel flu case yesterday, in a Chinese man who had recently returned from visiting China, the Interfax news agency reported.