first_imgJun 11, 2009WHO declares influenza pandemic phase 6The World Health Organization (WHO) said today that the novel H1N1 virus has achieved pandemic status. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan announced the move to pandemic alert phase 6. “The scientific criteria for a pandemic have been met,” she said. “The world is now at the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic.” She noted that most cases have been mild and the epidemic been moderate in relatively well-off countries, but a “bleaker picture” may emerge as it spreads in poor countries.[Jun 11 Chan statement]Global H1N1 count nears 29,000The WHO today released its latest case count for novel H1N1 influenza worldwide: 28,774 cases and 144 deaths in 74 countries, up 1,037 cases and 3 deaths from yesterday’s numbers. Countries reporting the greatest increase in laboratory-confirmed cases since yesterday were Mexico (524 new cases), Britain (156), Australia (83), Japan (33), and China (32).[WHO update 47]Australians urged to conserve TamifluSupplies of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) are scarce at some Australian pharmacies, prompting health minister Nicola Roxon to state that many patients with mild illnesses don’t need that drug and that government stockpiles are reserved for those at highest risk, such as those with underlying medical conditions, the Melbourne Herald Sun reported today. The country’s case count has risen to 1,275, with several hospitalizations, including four with reportedly no risk factors in intensive care units.Manitoba intensifies measures to limit novel flu spreadAmid rising novel flu cases and hospitalizations, Manitoba’s regional health authority warned residents to limit hospital visits and asked people with flulike symptoms to stay away, the Winnipeg Globe and Mail reported today. Two more people were placed on ventilators yesterday, bringing the total to 27. Many are from the province’s First Nations communities. The chief of one group said authorities are sanitizing public places and that crowded housing is contributing to flu spread.Hong Kong closes all schools after finding local clusterHong Kong’s government announced today that it has identified its first local novel H1N1 case cluster, in a school, which prompted government officials to close all schools and childcare centers from tomorrow until Jun 25. Officials also announced plans to open eight designated flu clinics on Jun 13, which could expand to 10 more sites if needed. Officials noted their approach to control the spread of the virus is moving from containment to mitigation.CDC urges pneumococcal vaccine for at-risk groupsThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently posted interim guidance on use of the 23-valent pneumococcal vaccine during the novel flu outbreak. The vaccine is still recommended for those age 65 or older and patients aged 2 to 64 who have certain high-risk conditions. However, the CDC urges that those younger than 65 who have underlying health conditions receive the vaccine, because vaccination rates are low and rates of severe novel H1N1 infections are high.[Jun 9 CDC 23-valent pneumococcal vaccine guidance]last_img

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