China showing signs of second pandemic flu wave
China appears to be entering its second wave of the novel H1N1 pandemic, said an epidemiologist at the country's Center for Disease Control and Prevention who was quoted yesterday in China Daily. Cases are increasing rapidly, and the virus is spreading to small and medium-sized cities. China has had 26,300 known cases but just two deaths, the story said. The World Health Organization reported last week that the seasonal H3N2 flu virus was co-circulating in China with the pandemic H1N1 strain.
Oct 20 China Daily story
Flu cases increase on US campuses
Flu-like illnesses on college campuses rose modestly last week, with schools in the mid Atlantic region reporting increases, while those in the Midwest, Rocky Mountains, and Southwest still cited robust activity, the American College Health Association (ACHA) said today. The report for the week ending Oct 16 says infections may have already peaked in the Southeast and Northeast. The incidence of flu-like illnesses on member campuses was 20.9 per 10,000 students, 9% higher than a week earlier.
Oct 21 ACHA weekly surveillance report
H1N1 vaccinations begin in Britain
Britain today became the latest European country to roll out nationwide shots against H1N1 flu, beginning vaccination of front-line health care workers and high-risk hospital patients. High-risk patients in the community will begin receiving shots Oct 26, Reuters reported. Other European Union countries have already begun campaigns, including France, Italy and Sweden, with Germany expected to begin Oct. 26.
Oct 21 Reuters report
German vaccine roll-out sparks protest
A press outcry and political objections are following news that Germany's H1N1 vaccination campaign plans to use two different formulas: Baxter's cell culture-based Celvapan for politicians and essential workers and GlaxoSmithKline's egg-based, adjuvanted Pandemrix for the general public. To defuse the protest, Chancellor Angela Merkel has agreed to receive the GSK vaccine from her private doctor, Agence France Press reported. The story said Celvapan has fewer side effects than Pandemrix.
H1N1 found in Japanese swine herd
Pooled samples from 10 pigs on a 1,000-head swine farm near Osaka, Japan, were positive for H1N1 flu during routine surveillance, according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). None of the pigs died or showed signs of illness. The farm, which raises pigs from birth to slaughter age, is under limited movement control. The finding marks the first identification of H1N1 flu in swine in Japan.
Oct 21 OIE report
Argentinean report cites high rate of lung disease in H1N1 cases
An unexpectedly high rate of lower respiratory disease (8%, 166 of 2,135 patients) was found in adults with flu-like illness who were treated at a tertiary hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during the H1N1 outbreak in June and July, says a report in Emerging Infectious Diseases. Although other pathogens were not ruled out, the authors say the finding suggests that "a unique pattern of virulence, pulmonary tropism, or both" may characterize 2009 H1N1 cases.
Emerging Infectious Diseases letter report