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November 14, 2010

Over 900 people dead, 14,000 infected in Haitian cholera outbreak

Over 900 people dead, 14,000 infected in Haitian cholera outbreak

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Haiti
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Vibrio cholerae
Image: Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility.

New figures show an estimated 917 have died and 14,000 more infected with cholera in Haiti’s present outbreak. However, it is suspected that many deaths in mountainous regions far from hospitals are going unreported.

Clinics are rapidly filling up and many deaths are being reported. “The trend is extremely, extremely alarming. We have not reached a peak yet, but it could arrive next week,” said the head of mission for Medecins Sans Frontieres, Stefano Zannini. A health official described the situation in Port-Au-Prince as “[growing] more pathetic each day.” The official also said that hospitals in the capital are not able to cope with all of the patients.

The United Nations has appealed to donor nations for US$164 million in order to import more doctors, medicine, and water purification systems.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “experience from the Peru outbreak in the early 1990s and from other countries in Latin America suggests that we should expect to identify additional cases for many months to several years.”

CDC says cholera is “an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but sometimes it can be severe… In severe cases, the infected person may experience profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps, which can cause rapid loss of body fluids and lead to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.”

Quote

No one alive in Haiti has experienced cholera before, so it is a population which is very susceptible to the bacteria. Cholera, now that it is in Haiti, probably the bacteria will be there for a number of years to come. It will not go away.—World Health Organization spokesman Gregory Hartl



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October 26, 2010

Over 250 dead in Haiti cholera outbreak, thousands infected

Over 250 dead in Haiti cholera outbreak, thousands infected

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cquote1.svg Now that cholera has established itself with a strong foothold in Haiti, it’s clear to us that this will not go away for several years Cquote2.svg

—Jon Andrus, deputy director of PAHO

At least 259 people are dead and over 3000 people have been infected in the Haitian cholera outbreak. Officials from the United Nations have said that they fear that the disease will spread across the entire country. As the cholera spreads quickly across the country anxiety levels are high as fears mount that the disease will spread to the earthquake ravaged city of Port-au-Prince. However, so far only a few cases have been reported in the capital which occurred when five people from the Artibonite region traveled to the capital where the disease became symptomatic.

Image of cholera bacteria
Image: Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility.

A field hospital has been setup in Saint-Marc to help treat patients while Oxfam has sent specialists to set up sanitation, hygiene and water facilities. The Health minister, Alex Larsen, and the president, Rene Preval, toured the affected areas and Larsen revealed that the government was launching a large anti-cholera campaign, aided by the WHO and US health officials. The UN has set up cholera treatment facilities in the Artibonite region and sent additional doctors. Facilities were also set up in the capital. It is believed that the massive surge of deaths will soon subside, but there will be more cases in the future due to the disease being established in the atmosphere.

Cquote1.svg A nationwide outbreak with tens of thousands of cases is a real possibility Cquote2.svg

—United Nations

According to the CDC cholera is “an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.” The CDC also says, “the infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe. Approximately one in 20 (5%) infected persons will have severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these people, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.” Cholera is contracted from drinking water or eating food contaminated by the Vibrio cholerae bacteria.



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October 23, 2010

Nearly 200 dead in Haitian cholera outbreak

Nearly 200 dead in Haitian cholera outbreak

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Image of cholera bacteria
Image: Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility.

Nearly 200 people are confirmed dead and approximately 2600 are ill in a central Haitian cholera outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and United Nations (UN). Haitian officials place the death toll at 194 deaths with 2,364 people being infected.

According to CDC officials Dr. Rob Quick and Dr. Carleene Dei an eleven man team is being sent to Haiti to investigate and determine the best course of action for the country. The USAID has said that they will provide supplies to set up treatment centers and have already provided 300,000 oral re-hydration kits and water purification kits.

A majority of the reported cases are in the Central Plateau and Artibonite regions located just north of the earthquake ravaged capital, Port-Au-Prince. Officials fear that the disease could spread to the capital city if not brought under control. It has been reported that many people are flooding the St. Nicolas hospital, which is the main medical facility in St. Marc, for treatment, causing pandemonium outside the gate. An aid worker who visited the hospital called it a “horror scene”, while another worker, David Darg, of Operation Blessing International wrote “The courtyard was lined with patients hooked up to intravenous drips. It had just rained and there were people lying on the ground on soggy sheets, half-soaked with feces.”

The cholera outbreak developed after recent rains flooded the Artibonite River, however it is not certain whether this was the cause of the outbreak. According to the CDC, cholera is “an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.” They also said that “Approximately one in 20 infected persons has severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these persons, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.” Cholera is passed on through contaminated water.


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October 21, 2010

Whooping cough outbreak kills ten infants in California

Whooping cough outbreak kills ten infants in California

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

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Ten infants have died and nearly 6,000 others have been infected in California, United States with whooping cough, or pertussis, since the beginning of this year. Health officials are referring to the event as the worst outbreak of the cough in 60 years.

File photo of a young boy suffering from whooping cough.
Image: CDC.

A spokesman from the California Department of Public Health, Michael Sicilia, says all of the deaths occurred in infants under three months and that nine of the deaths were found in infants under eight weeks old. This leads to the conclusion that the children were too young to receive the vaccine for the disease.

Sicilia indicated that an estimated 50% of children received the disease from parents or caregivers. Earlier in July of this year California recommended that anyone over seven years old who was not fully vaccinated for Pertussis get a Tdap pertussis booster.

Some parents are refusing to have their children vaccinated against the disease and the vaccine has worn off in some adults. Alison Patti, a spokesperson from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pointed out that the vaccine does not protect individuals indefinitely and health officials are urging that people get the vaccine again if they have not received it within the past five years.

According to the CDC, for the first week or two the symptoms of the cough are similar to the common cold; soon after the child begins to “cough violently and rapidly, over and over, until the air is gone from their lungs and they’re forced to inhale with a loud ‘whooping’ sound.” Pertussis carries side effects, such as a 20 percent chance of pneumonia and about a one percent chance of convulsions, which makes it very deadly to infants.

Doctors and parents often miss the symptoms of whooping cough in infants under six months old due to the absence of the “whooping” sound. Alison Patti said that the “whooping” characteristic is absent in adults which makes them think they don’t have pertussis. She recommends that anyone with a persistent cough get tested for the whooping cough.



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Pertussis (Whooping Cough) – What You Need To Know

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March 21, 2010

WHO releases report on drug resistant tuberculosis

WHO releases report on drug resistant tuberculosis

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the most common cause of tuberculosis
Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The World Health Organization released their annual report on the world prevalence of tuberculosis in 2008. The report said that there were 9.8 million cases of tuberculosis, with 1.8 million resulting in death. The report also said that there were 440,000 cases of multi drug resistant tuberculosis, with about one-third of them being fatal.

The average cost to treat a case of tuberculosis was US$20 (€14.78, £13.32), over a six month period. The cost to treat a case of drug resistant tuberculosis was US$500 (€365.55, £333.00), and up-to two years of treatment.

Some of the hardest hit regions include nations of the former Soviet Union, and specifically Tajikistan which according to the report “[had] proportions of 16.5 percent MDR-TB [sic:Multi-Drug Resistant tuberculosis] among new TB cases and 61.6 percent MDR-TB among previously treated TB patients in Dushanbe city and Rudaki district, or the highest proportion ever reported among previously treated TB patients in a subnational area,”.

The prevalence of tuberculosis in the United States dropped 11.5% with only 11,540 new cases, with 108 of them being drug resistant.



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November 6, 2009

Wikinews discusses the H1N1 pandemic with the CDC

Wikinews discusses the H1N1 pandemic with the CDC

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Friday, November 6, 2009

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a US government agency. In an interview with Wikinews, Jeff Dimond, a member of the Division of Media Relations for the CDC, answered a few question regarding the current situation of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic.

The CDC reported that during week 42 (October 18–24) of this year, the swine flu activity increased in the United States with 19 confirmed deaths by swine flu, while week 43 (Oct. 25–31) faced 15 confirmed deaths.


Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.pngHow does the CDC feel the media has handled the H1N1 flu pandemic?

Jeff Dimond: Media coverage has been quite good.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWhat measures are the CDC taking to combat the swine flu?

JD: Public health information is being distributed nationwide, scientists worked hard to identify the H1N1 virus and produce a vaccine in record time.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWhat areas around the world are affected most by the swine flu?

JD: This is a question for the WHO (World Health Organization).

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngAre the current anti-flu vaccines effective and how sufficient is the current supply?

JD: All current anti-flu vaccines are effective. Manufacturers are producing doses as fast as possible. Spot shortages may occur, but there is not an overall shortage of vaccine. For the most severe cases, a drug called Peramivir has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngHow can one avoid infection and how deadly is this disease?

JD: Proper hand sanitation and avoidance of individuals who have flu-like symptoms is the best way to avoid becoming ill. To date more than 1000 Americans have died from LABORATORY CONFIRMED cases of H1N1 and of those 129 are under the age of 18. The most at-risk populations are pregnant women, younger people in the 18–49 age group and those with other complicating conditions such as asthma, COPD, diabetes and morbid obesity.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWhat efforts have the CDC made to insure vaccines are available for those with no or poor health-care?

JD: Distribution of vaccine is up to the state health departments. CDC is not a regulatory agency.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIf someone suspects they have swine flu what would the best course of action be?

JD: They should seek medical attention.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWhen will the swine flu die down and cease being a pandemic?

JD: No idea.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngBesides the CDC, what other entities, governmental and private, are involved in stopping this disease and how?

JD: All public health and medical agencies with a stake in H1N1 are cooperating to control the spread of H1N1.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIs there a significant risk of H1N1 mutating and becoming more deadly?

JD: Flu viruses are unpredictable so there is no way of answering this question. The CDC is constantly monitoring these viruses.



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This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
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October 25, 2009

Obama declares swine flu emergency in US

Obama declares swine flu emergency in US

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

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US president Barack Obama declared a swine flu emergency in the country on Saturday, according to a statement released by the White House.

Obama signed a declaration late on Friday, authorising health secretary Kathleen Sebelius to bypass some federal rules, in order to let health officials respond more efficiently to the outbreak of the H1N1 virus. The move is aimed at making it less difficult for people affected by the virus to seek treatment, and allow medical providers to give it immediately, bypassing potential hurdles such as health privacy regulations.

“As a nation, we have prepared at all levels of government, and as individuals and communities, taking unprecedented steps to counter the emerging pandemic,” the president wrote in the declaration.

Swine flu has now been circulated in 46 of the 50 US states, and has resulted in at least 411 confirmed deaths since the end of August. Production of antiviral vaccines has been slower than initially predicted, and it is likely that the US government’s targets for delivery won’t be met by drug makers, according to Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



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June 6, 2009

Swine flu: recent developments worldwide

Swine flu: recent developments worldwide

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

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The H1N1 swine flu virus has now spread to 66 different countries throughout the globe, with at least 19,273 confirmed cases and 117 deaths having been reported according to the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) tally. A majority of the cases were reported by the United States, which now has at least 10,053 confirmed infections from the disease.

Egypt, Bulgaria, and Nicaragua each reported their first case, while Lebanon reported three.

The WHO’s pandemic alert level is at the fifth level, on a scale of one to six. In order for a transition for the highest level to be made, the organisation must confirm a significant spread of swine flu in at least two continents. The WHO has recently been under pressure to include the severity of a disease spread to its criteria, not just the geographical spread of a virus. The WHO said that its committee had agreed that a statement on the strength of an epidemic should be made in any future pandemic declarations.

“There was a broad consensus on the importance of including information on severity in future announcements,” the WHO said in a statement.


Australia

Australian health minister Nicola Roxon said that there are currently 878 confirmed cases of the influenza in Australia. The bulk of the cases have been in the state of Victoria, which has 752 infected persons. New South Wales is the second, with 74 infections.

Roxon predicted that the swine flu will be a problem in the next two winters, despite efforts to curb its spread.

“I would have thought we’re not at the halfway point, given that we still don’t have an extensive spread in Australia,” Roxon said. “We are only part way, but closer, to having a vaccine and we are still prepared to put all our efforts into containing the disease as much as possible.”

Roxon said that Australia’s hospitals will start taking samples from people infected with the flu to monitor its spread. She said that “it gives us the tools to monitor how much of the flu in the coming weeks is seasonal flu, how much is actually this H1N1 strain, and we will simply have to keep monitoring that over the coming months.” Roxon added that “this is a time to be cautious, where the combination of the flus might turn it into something much less virulent or something more virulent.”

Meanwhile, Singapore has urged its residents not to travel to Victoria. A warning at the government website said that Melbourne and Victoria were affected by the disease, and advised any Singapore residents returning from those areas to keep an eye on their health for swine flu symptoms.

Brazil

The health ministry of Brazil announced on Tuesday that the number of infected people in the country has been increased to 23 after two new cases were confirmed. 25 people are also suspected to be infected.

The ministry said that both new patients are in stable condition, and had both been infected after traveling to the U.S.

Of Brazil’s H1N1 cases, nine are in São Paulo, seven in Rio de Janeiro, four in Santa Catarina, and one apiece in Rio Grande do Sul, Tocantins, and Minas Gerais. Seven of the cases had been transmitted domestically.

Canada

A map showing the spread of the swine flu worldwide.

██ Confirmed cases followed by death

██ Confirmed cases

██ Unconfirmed or suspected cases

See also: H1N1 live map, WHO updates

1,795 laboratory-confirmed cases of H1N1 were reported in three territories and nine provinces of Canada as of Wednesday. The federal health minister, Leona Aglukkaq, pledged on Friday to give CA$10.8 million to help fight the flu. The Canadian government is creating a new swine flu network to help connect health officials with researchers.

“These projects will have huge benefits […] They will help public health officials across Canada in their efforts to plan, design and evaluate interventions to control the spread of the virus and protect the health of Canadians,” Aglukkaq said.

Chile

Almost four hundred swine flu cases in the South American country of Chile have been reported, local health officials say.

The Institute of Public Health in Santiago reported that 393 cases were confirmed in the country in a statement on its website. The institute said that while 98% of cases were only “mild”, about two percent of all infections were fatal.

Swine flu cases in Chile have increased twofold within the last seven days.

New Zealand

New Zealand now has eleven confirmed cases of the swine flu. A further 63 are in quarantine and have been prescribed the antiviral drug oseltamivir (which goes by the trade name of Tamiflu).

Philippines

Health officials from the Philippines said that seven more people tested positive for the influenza on Thursday, increasing the number of confirmed infections from the disease in the country to 29. There are a further 47 laboratory results pending confirmation.

Francisco Duque, the Philippine’s health secretary, said six of the cases were in Filipinos who had returned from visits to the U.S.

“With further characterization of the virus in our local cases, if we see that A/H1N1 poses no severe threat and is self-limited in most cases, we may be seeing a shift in our control strategy to outpatient and home management of patients showing only mild symptoms,” Duque said.

Russia

Russia has reported its first case of the flu, in an unidentified 28-year-old man who had recently been in New York. The man had initially passed a medical check when he arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport last Monday, but began to feel ill two days later and was hospitalised the same day. It is currently uncertain how he obtained the virus.

Russian officials are currently screening flights that have departed from “countries of concern”, including all countries in the Americas, as well as Japan and Spain. People arriving on flights from such countries have their temperatures checked by remote sensors, and those with high temperatures are hospitalised and tested for the H1N1 virus. Over a score of people so far have been identified as having symptoms of the disease, but all of them were cleared after later tests.

Turkey

Turkey’s first case happened on May 16 when a passenger flying from United States to Iraq through a connected flight over Turkey entered to İstanbul Atatürk International Airport. With the latest arrival of 2 Turkish passengers from New York and Toronto on June 3, the number of confirmed cases increased to 10.

The Turkish Ministry of Health reported that no infections related for human-to-human transfer of the virus are observed until now and the hospitalized cases are treated in a dedicated hospital in Istanbul.

United Kingdom

486 people have been confirmed as infected with the H1N1 virus in the United Kingdom. 27 new cases in England were confirmed recently. Five people in the Glasgow area have been hospitalised. Three of them are in intensive care, although one man recently improved and was moved into to high dependency. A 44-year-old woman, who is said to have had underlying health conditions, is also in high dependency, at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, in Paisley.

Scotland is the part of the UK with the highest ratio of affected people to population.

United States

The U.S. is the country with the highest number of confirmed swine flu infections. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that at least 27 people have died from the virus, and a further 13,271 cases have been reported throughout the country. All fifty states, as well as two territories, have reported cases.

The state of Wisconsin has been the worst hit, with 2,217 infections, as well as three additional suspected cases.

“What is unusual today is not that there has been a death from influenza. Over 37,000 people die in the United States each year of seasonal influenza, and the rates of death and illness from this novel H1N1 strain does not appear to be radically different,” said Seth Foldy, a Wisconsin health official. “What is unusual this year is that influenza continues to be widely circulating in Wisconsin and many, many other states this late in the year.”

Vietnam

Vietnam’s fourth swine flu infection was confirmed on Thursday, in a six-year-old girl in Vietnam’s capital of Ho Chi Minh City, a local media report said. The child is currently receiving treatment. All of the infected patients had recently traveled to the United States.

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May 11, 2009

Wikinews Shorts: May 11, 2009

Wikinews Shorts: May 11, 2009 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: May 11, 2009

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A compilation of brief news reports for Monday, May 11, 2009.

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United States reports third death from H1N1 swine flu

Image: Grochim.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Sunday that 2,532 confirmed cases of the H1H1 swine flu virus and three casualties have been reported in 44 states throughout the country. The figure was updated from Saturday’s figures, which had the number of confirmed cases at 2,254, with 104 persons hospitalised.

Currently, the US is the country with the second number of fatalities from the virus. Mexico is first, with 48 confirmed deaths, while Canada and Costa Rica both have one death each from the flu.

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Boston trolleys crash

Image: Adam E. Moreira.

Two trolleys collided in Boston, Massachusetts on the Green Line on Friday, causing the line to be shut down. About 50 people were hurt with minor cuts and bruises. One of the trolley’s conductors was allegedly text messaging to his girlfriend at the time of the crash. The head of the city’s transit authority has said he will ban bus drivers or conductors from carrying cell phones on board their vehicle.

“I want to remove any temptation by one or two people stupid enough to think a moment of convenience is worth the lives of the people they’re transporting,” said general manager Daniel Grabauskas. “I’m not going to wait for someone to die to institute a policy whose time I think has come.”

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May 4, 2009

Swine flu cases worldwide top 1,000

Swine flu cases worldwide top 1,000 – Wikinews, the free news source

Swine flu cases worldwide top 1,000

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Monday, May 4, 2009

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The United Nations’ World Health Organization reported on Monday that the total number of confirmed cases of the H1N1 swine flu virus worldwide has surpassed one thousand. The chief of the WHO, Margaret Chan, told the UN General Assembly in New York that 1,003 confirmed infections have been reported throughout the world since the outbreak began.

Chan said that there was “no indication that we are facing a situation similar to that in 1918,” when an outbreak of the flu killed fifty million people. She did, however, warn that if the virus were to start in a second wave, it “would be the biggest of all outbreaks the world has faced in the 21st century.”

“I’m not predicting the pandemic will blow up, but if I miss it and we don’t prepare, I fail. I’d rather over-prepare than not prepare,” Chan told the Financial Times.

On Monday, Portugal reported its first confirmed case of the disease, in a woman who had recently visited Mexico. Other European countries, such as Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain, have also announced new cases of the flu. Currently, there have been 27 casualties resulting from the disease, with 26 in Mexico and the other in the United States.

The WHO has recently increased its pandemic alert level to the fifth level, on a scale of one to six, although it has said an increase to the highest level is not probable. Keiji Fukuda, the WHO Assistant Director, said that “We do not have any evidence to suggest that we should move to phase six today, or any such move is imminent right now.” A transition to the sixth level would only take place if the disease were to start spreading significantly on at least two continents.

Androulla Vassiliou, the European Union Health Commissioner, stressed that there was no need to panic about the outbreak. She said that a pandemic would not necessarily result in mass deaths from the virus.

“We are worried, but we are on top of things,” Vassiliou said. “The fact that we have been preparing ourselves in the EU for an event such as this for some years now, and the experience gained so far, puts us in a much stronger position.”


██ Confirmed cases followed by death

██ Confirmed cases

██ Unconfirmed or suspected cases

See also: Live map of swine flu, H1N1 live map

Brazil

The Brazilian government has reported that there are fifteen suspected infections of the H1N1 virus, up from four earlier in the week. 44 patients displaying symptoms of the flu are being monitored.

In a televised interview on the weekend, Brazilian health minister Jose Gomes Temporao stated Brazil is well prepared to fight a possible epidemic. “The virus is not circulating in the country, and if it does, we are prepared for it,” he said, adding that the government had enough raw materials on hand to give prescriptions to up to nine million cases.

China

Tens of Mexican citizens visiting China were placed under quarantine this week, despite not showing any symptoms of the swine flu, prompting allegations of discrimination from Mexican diplomats. The action was taken after a Mexican woman who had arrived in China from Mexico was found to be infected with the disease.

Chinese foreign spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu said that the move was not discrimination against Mexicans, but correct procedure. The incident has soured the two countries’ relations, as Mexico is China’s largest trade partner in Central America.

Mexico

Government officials in Mexico, the epicenter of the outbreak, have said that there are signs that the outbreak has been successfully curbed. Mexican health minister Jose Angel Cordova said “the trend is slowing”. He warned against complacency, though, adding that “there could be a resurgence, and that could occur in the next few days or even much later.”

The current number of confirmed deaths from the flu have reached twelve, and 260 confirmed cases.

The Mexican economy has suffered from the epidemic. The government ordered tourist sites and businesses to shut down until Wednesday, after a five-day close down nationwide. The closures are estimated to be threatening 450,000 and costing the economy $100 million per diem.

The United States has pledged to purchase 13 million packages of antiviral treatment, and export 400,000 of them to Mexico.

Portugal

A Portuguese woman who had recently traveled to Mexico has been confirmed to have the H1N1 virus, the government reported, making her the first confirmed case in the country.

“She was not seriously ill and it is several days now since she displayed any more symptoms. Her relatives and a group of people who traveled with her [to Mexico] have been tested and none of them have been infected,” said the Portuguese health minister, Ana Jorge.

Spain

Spain’s health minister Trinidad Jimenez said that the country now has 57 confirmed cases of the swine flu, making Spain the country with the most confirmed incidents in Europe. The number was up from 44 cases reported as of Sunday.

Jimenez said that out of the confirmed cases, only eleven persons remained hospitalized, while the rest have been released. An additional 63 people are under observation for the flu.

United States

The swine flu has been reported in more than 25 of the fifty US states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that thirty states have now reported incidents of the virus, with a total of 226 confirmed cases. The only fatality from the disease in the country was in a Mexican child who died in Texas.

“Virtually all of the United States probably has this virus circulating now,” said the CDC’s interim public health deputy director, Anne Schuchat. “We expect a number of additional states to confirm the virus in the days ahead. I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet.”

In his weekly broadcast, President Barack Obama said that he “would sooner take action now than hesitate and face graver consequences later,” saying there was “the potential for a pandemic”. The president has also requested a US$1.5 million fund from Congress in order to buy additional emergency equipment and antiviral drugs.

Janet Napolitano, US Homeland Security secretary, denied claims that the government was scaring the public, saying that “once you get behind flu, you can’t catch up. You have to get ahead of it.”

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