FLU NEWS SCAN: H5N1 deaths, flu vaccine recall, H1N1 guidance readability

Oct 26, 2011

WHO confirms H5N1 deaths of 2 Indonesian siblings
The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed the H5N1 avian flu deaths of Indonesian siblings that were first reported by a hospital on Bali Oct 10. The agency said that Indonesia's Ministry of Health has confirmed the cases of a 5-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother, who were both admitted to the hospital Oct 5. She died Oct 9 and he died Oct 10. An investigation by health officers indicated that "the children lived in an area with poultry, and household and neighborhood poultry had died prior to the children's illnesses," according to today's report. Since 2003 Indonesia has confirmed 181 H5N1 cases, including 149 deaths. So far this year the country has had 10 confirmed cases and 8 deaths. The global count stands at 568 cases and 334 deaths.
Oct 26 WHO report

Cell-based flu vaccine recalled in Scotland
Scotland's government is recalling about 300,000 doses of Preflucel, the cell-culture flu vaccine produced by Baxter International of Vienna, because of reported side effects, according to a story today from the Aberdeen-based Press and Journal. Health officials said a batch distributed in early September is causing more side effects than other batches, including muscle pain, headaches, and fatigue. Baxter officials and the UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency are investigating possible causes of the increase in adverse effects, and physicians and nurses in Scotland have been instructed not to use Preflucel until further notice.
Oct 26 Press and Journal story

Study: CDC H1N1 documents were targeted to appropriate reading levels
CDC guidance documents issued during the first month of the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic were found to adequately reflect the needs and reading levels of intended audiences, according to a study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. Investigators assessed 101 documents from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site, which they grouped into six intended audiences: (1) technical personnel (eg, healthcare workers), (2) primary distributive institutions (health officials), (3) secondary distributive institutions (schools and businesses), (4) laypersons, (5) the media, and (6) multiple audiences. They then used Flesch-Kincaid grade-level scores to measure literacy level for each group of documents and found the vocabulary and writing style to adequately reflect audience needs and the reading level to be appropriate. The median reading level of all documents was the 9th-grade level, varying from the 11th grade for primary distributive institutions to the 6th grade for the media. The researchers did find, however, that the documents geared toward non-technical audiences tended to be text-heavy and densely formatted, which "may have rendered some text difficult to comprehend."
Oct 25 PLoS One study

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