OSHA inspections, prolonged virus shedding, cell-based vaccine, sham products, shots before pregnancy, hospital restrictions

OSHA to issue standards for H1N1-related healthcare inspections
The US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on Oct 14 that it would soon issue a compliance directive to help its inspectors conduct uniform investigations in high-risk pandemic H1N1 flu settings, such as healthcare facilities. The directive will be designed to ensure that healthcare employers follow controls recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and adhere to OSHA respiratory protection standards.

Study: Some H1N1 patients still shed virus a day after fever ends
Researchers who studied an H1N1 outbreak at the US Air Force Academy reported today that 19% (11 of 58) of patients were still shedding the virus after they had been symptom-free for at least 24 hours. Also, 7 of 24 samples taken 7 days after illness onset contained viable virus, according to the report published online by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The authors cautioned that virus shedding does not necessarily mean the virus can spread.
American Journal of Preventive Medicine study

Novavax launches trial of virus-like-particle H1N1 vaccine
Novavax, a US-based company, announced today the launch of clinical trials in Mexico to test the safety and efficacy of its virus-like particle pandemic H1N1 vaccine. Amivex, a company that will distribute the cell-based vaccine in Mexico in 2010 pending approval, is supporting the trial. If initial findings in 1,000 volunteers are favorable, the second stage of the trial will be conducted in 3,000 adults starting in January.
Oct 20 Novavax statement

FDA, FTC warn firm to stop selling fake H1N1-related products
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said they issued a joint warning letter to a Web site marketing supplements falsely said to help prevent the spread of the H1N1 flu virus. The Oct 15 letter, the first to be issued jointly by the agencies, warned the site owners they would face legal action if they didn't stop the deceptive marketing. The FDA said it has warned more than 75 Web sites to stop selling fraudulent H1N1-related products since May.
Oct 19 FDA announcement of warning letter

Women planning pregnancy are advised to get H1N1 vaccine
In a joint statement, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised fertility clinics to urge women who are planning pregnancy to be vaccinated against both seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 flu. Women who are planning a pregnancy may need to wait a few weeks for the H1N1 vaccine to become available, the groups said. They noted that pregnant women are at risk for serious or even fatal complications of flu.

Flu-related visitor restrictions at hospitals raise questions
A number of hospitals around the country have limited visits from children and adults to curb the spread of pandemic flu to patients, though there is little scientific evidence that the measure works, the Associated Press reported yesterday. Some experts say the measures are needed because children are known to spread the virus easily, but others say having visitors benefits patients and that requiring short-term visitors to wear a mask and wash their hands might prevent flu transmission.

Pandemic virus found in Ontario turkeys, Oregon ferret
Ontario officials said today that the pandemic H1N1 virus has been found in turkeys at a breeding farm in the province. The results were confirmed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Oct 16. The farmer had noticed a drop in egg production. Officials said there is no risk of foodborne transmission and that an infected worker may have passed the virus to the birds. Meanwhile, officials in Oregon confirmed pandemic flu in a ferret whose owner had recently been sick with the virus.
Oct 20 Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs press release

Two Iraqi provinces close schools to prevent H1N1
Officials in two of Iraq's provinces have announced the country's first school closures to slow the spread of the pandemic H1N1 virus, Agence France-Presse reported today. A 5-day closure in Wassit province starts tomorrow and affects 980 schools, and a 10-day closure in Dhi Qur province starts Oct 22 and applies to 1,477 schools. Both provinces are in southern Iraq. Colleges in the areas will remain open.

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