H1N1 (swine flu) weekly highlights: November 11 – 17, 2009

Burundi and Greenlandhave reported their 1st cases of H1N1, whileNorth CyprusBosnia,PolandKosovoTunisia, and Morocco have reported their 1st H1N1 deaths.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended early administration of antiviral medicines to prevent death in pregnant women, very young children, and people with underlying medical problems who fall ill with H1N1. Additionally, the WHO has warned of the dangers of H1N1 spreading rapidly at any big sporting or cultural events, as Saudi Arabia prepares for the arrival of 2.5 million pilgrims for the Hajj (November 25–29). Nine cases have already been diagnosed among the 500,000 early arrivals. Amidst recommendations that those with underlying health conditions delay their pilgrimage by a year, media reports predict a 40% reduction in attendance. Saudi Arabia is mandating vaccination for its citizens who will be participating, and many other countries are mounting widespread vaccination campaigns before the Hajj.

The United States CDC has released revised estimates for H1N1’s impact in the U.S.: approximately 22 million infections and 3,900 deaths, including around 540 children.

New research suggests that more people may be able tofight off H1N1 influenza A than previously thought. 

Some experts believe that this year’s flu season is anything but typical, particularly as more children have already died from H1N1 flu complications than in any regular flu season in recent years.

Disputes have been ongoing over whether or not a new strain of the H1N1 virus has been circulating within theUkraine. The WHO has stated that preliminary tests revealno significant change to the H1N1 pandemic virus. 

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