CDC says H1N1 virus has claimed 47 children's lives
Forty-seven children died of confirmed 2009 H1N1 flu between Apr 26 and Aug 29, the CDC reported in an MMWR early release today, up from 43 such deaths the CDC reported in a weekly update last week. Today's report, an overview of flu activity from April through August, notes that cases declined in July and early August but picked up in the Southeast in the last 2 weeks of August, reaching levels usually seen during winter peaks. This may signal an early start to the 2009-10 flu season.
Sep 10 MMWR early release
Resistant H1N1 strain found in summer camp cabin mates
A report in the Sep 11 MMWR describes the first known instance of oseltamivir-resistant H1N1 infection in patients with epidemiologic links. The virus was found in two girls who shared a cabin at summer camp and had received prophylactic doses. Respiratory specimens revealed two mutations, including I223V, which had not been seen before. Elsewhere, two other resistant cases were noted in media reports today, one in Hong Kong and the other in Israel.
Sep 11 MMWR report
Colleges report big increase in flu-like illness cases
The American College Health Association, in its surveillance report for the week ended Sep 4, reported 4,974 flu-like illness cases at 236 participating schools, a 105% increase from the week before. The report doesn't list the flu subtype, but federal officials have said the pandemic virus makes up 97% of circulating strains. Schools in the South had the most cases, but Washington and Kansas also reported big increases. About 96% of the new cases occurred in the 17- to 24-year-old age-group.
Sep 8 American College Health Association surveillance report
EU official says early H1N1 vaccine trial results promising
The head of the European Union's drug regulatory agency said early clinical trial results for pandemic H1N1 vaccines in Europe look promising, Reuters reported today. "The immune response to all these vaccines is very promising, whatever type of vaccine it is, whether it is adjuvanted or non-adjuvanted," said Thomas Lonngren, executive director of the European Medicines Agency. He said the first vaccines could be licensed by the EU in early October if all goes well.
Sep 10 Reuters report
NIAID launches trial of pandemic vaccine in pregnant women
Federal officials yesterday announced the start of the first clinical trial of a pandemic H1N1 vaccine in pregnant women, who face an increased risk of complications from the virus. The trial is to enroll up to 120 women in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said. The women will receive two doses, 21 days apart, of a Sanofi Pasteur vaccine. NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said interest in the trial has been "extraordinary."
Sep 9 NIAID news release
Flu absences shutter special-needs school
Officials at an Atlanta public high school for students with severe cognitive disabilities suspended classes yesterday after about half of its 50 students were out sick, 15 of them with confirmed flu-like symptoms, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Five of the school's teachers were also sick. One student was hospitalized. Officials will sanitize the building before classes resume Sep 14.
Sep 9 Atlanta Journal-Constitution story