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January 18, 2011

Two children die after contracting H1N1 virus in Northern Ireland

Two children die after contracting H1N1 virus in Northern Ireland

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Swine Flu
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In Northern Ireland, a two-year-old boy has died after contracting the H1N1 virus. Hours later, it emerged that another boy, aged ten months, had also died after contracting the virus.

The second boy had underlying health difficulties. It is unknown if the first had other problems with his health. Since the start of the flu season in the United Kingdom, the total number of deaths in Northern Ireland as a result of contracting the H1N1 virus has now increased to 19. At least two of those 19 dead had other underlying health issues.

Michael McGimpsey, Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland, expressed his sympathy. “This is tragic news and my thoughts and sympathies are with the family of this baby at this very sad and difficult time,” he stated.

Following these incidents, Dr. Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, is attempting to reassure the parents of children that are in good health. “We continue to offer vaccinations to any child under five in an at risk group as advised by the joint committee. The question has been posed if we should extend to healthy under-5s. I know the JCVI is keeping this under close and active review and we will continue to be guided by their expert advice.”

Michael McGimpsey pointed out that he acknowledges the anxiety that young childrens’ parents may be experiencing. “I have recently spoken to other UK health ministers about Northern Ireland’s current flu picture,” he explained. “I have also spoken to Mary Harney, the Republic of Ireland’s health minister. In addition, I have consulted with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about the particular circumstances here. They do not recommend extending the vaccination programme beyond the current at risk groups.”



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January 14, 2011

Fifteen flu sufferers die in Wales in one week

Fifteen flu sufferers die in Wales in one week

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Friday, January 14, 2011

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Over the course of the last week, fifteen people who have suffered from influenza have died in Wales, as reported to the Welsh Assembly Government. The total amount of flu-related deaths in Wales since October 2010 has now increased to 27.

Cquote1.svg Despite the slight increase in the clinical consultation rate for influenza this week compared to the previous week, the rate of consultations for flu-like illness in Wales still remains within the levels of normal seasonal flu activity. Cquote2.svg

Dr. Tony Jowell, Chief Medical Officer of Wales

On Tuesday, 49 people were being treated in critical care beds in hospitals around Wales, according to health officials. With twelve reported admissions, Aneurin Bevan Local Health Board had the highest amount of critical care patients in Wales. Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board has the second highest total number of patients experiencing this critical care in the country, with eleven being cared for. Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board have nine important care admissions each. Cwm Taf NHS Trust contains five of such patients, while Hywel Dda NHS Trust has three.

The age group of 25–34 years old had the largest amount of meetings with general practitioners; the rate of consultation was 147 people for every 100,000. For all age groups, 93 people out of every one hundred thousand have been consulting with a GP; on January 5, the total figure stood at 85 meetings per 100,000.

“Despite the slight increase in the clinical consultation rate for influenza this week compared to the previous week, the rate of consultations for flu-like illness in Wales still remains within the levels of normal seasonal flu activity,” said Dr. Tony Jowell, the Chief Medical Officer of Wales. “Most healthy people will recover from flu-like illnesses within five to seven days with plenty of rest and drinking non-alcoholic fluids. On the issue of vaccination against seasonal flu, whilst we have been working to make stocks of the vaccine that was developed against swine flu available to be used where supplies of seasonal flu vaccine have run low, we are now well into the flu season.”

According to Media Wales, 13 patients experiencing flu-related symptoms were getting treatment at Withybush General Hospital in Haverfordwest on Tuesday. Meanwhile, five were receiving hospital treatment at Bronglais General Hospital in Aberystwyth. Also, Carmarthenshire NHS Trust in Llanelli and West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen both had a solitary patient.

Jowell also commented: “People in at-risk groups are at a higher risk of complications from seasonal flu, and the best protection is early vaccination. A press and publicity campaign has been running since October and has included television, radio and bus adverts to let people know if they are in an at-risk group, and that the vaccine is available free of charge to those groups from GPs. We have also encouraged health boards and GPs to ensure that their patients and front line NHS staff are vaccinated against seasonal flu.”

Throughout the United Kingdom, 62 individuals reportedly died in the last week, as the result of suffering from influenza. The majority of these victims were suffering from swine flu. In most of these cases, the sufferers were aged between 15 and 64. However, nine of the fatalities were of children aged below fourteen.



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July 13, 2010

Six H1N1 cases appear in the Philippines

Six H1N1 cases appear in the Philippines

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

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Six students in Ilocos Sur, Philippines tested positive for the H1N1 influenza virus. This occurrence is part of a rise in A(H1N1) and malaria during recent weeks in two provinces, as was the confirmation of twenty cases of malaria in Zambales.

Officials from the Department of Health say that they are not surprised, as A(H1N1) cases began to appear at about the same time last year, coinciding with the onset of the local flu season. Other health officials believe that the rise is due to the onset of the rainy season. The department noted that all prior cases in the Philippines have been “mild” and patients fully recovered. In the current case, five of those affected have recovered, while one still shows slight symptoms.

“If we look at the pattern for this month, it was also the same time last year when cases of A(H1N1) started increasing,” says Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, “As it is, it is flu season already.” The Department of Health believes that the appearance of the virus should not cause distress; however, Suy warns that a new strain could appear.

The Philippines reported their first case of A(H1N1) in May 2009 in a ten-year-old child from the United States. According to the World Health Organization, 214 countries and territories have confirmed cases of A(H1N1), with a total of more than 18,311 deaths. As of June 2009, around 129 cases have been reported in the Philippines.



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June 6, 2010

WHO\’s reaction to H1N1 influenced by drug companies, reports claim

WHO’s reaction to H1N1 influenced by drug companies, reports claim

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Reports suggest the World Health Organisation’s declaring a swine flu pandemic was an error driven by drug companies, and lead to unjustified fear. A year after the swine flu pandemic was declared, stocks are left unused and governments try to abandon contracts, pharmaceutical companies have profited at least £4.6billion from the sale of vaccines alone.

Reports by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) and the Council of Europe claim that The World Health Organisation reaction to H1N1 was influenced by pharmaceutical companies and that key scientists behind advice had financial ties with firms Roche and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). These conflicts of interest have never been publicly disclosed by WHO, an apparent violation of its own rules.

The World Health Organisation issued H1N1 guidelines in 2004, recommending countries to stockpile millions of doses of antiviral medication. The advice prompted many countries around the world into buying up large stocks of Tamiflu, made by Roche, and Relenza manufactured by GSK.

A joint investigation with the BMJ and the BIJ, found that scientists involved in developing the WHO 2004 guidance had previously been paid by Roche or GSK for lecturing and consultancy work as well as being involved in research for the companies. “The WHO’s credibility has been badly damaged,” BMJ editor Fiona Godlee said in an editorial.

A report by the health committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a 47-member human rights watchdog, found that the WHO’s reaction was influenced by drug companies that make H1N1 antiviral drugs and vaccines. It criticised WHO lack of transparency around the handling of the swine flu pandemic and says the public health guidelines by WHO, EU agencies and national governments led to a “waste of large sums of public money and unjustified scares and fears about the health risks faced by the European public.”

Cquote1.svg We’re still in the pandemic Cquote2.svg

—Margaret Chan of the World Health Organisation said yesterday.

A spokesman for WHO said the drug industry did not influence its decisions on swine flu. Margaret Chan, the organisation’s director, had dismissed inquiries into its handling of the A/H1N1 pandemic as “conspiracy theories” earlier this year, she had said: “WHO anticipated close scrutiny of its decisions, but we did not anticipate that we would be accused, by some European politicians, of having declared a fake pandemic on the advice of experts with ties to the pharmaceutical industry and something personal to gain from increased industry profits.”

Yesterday, a 16-member “emergency committee” consisting of advisors from the World Health Organisation said that the H1N1 pandemic is not yet over. The WHO has refused to identify committee members, arguing that they must be shielded from industry pressure, so possible conflicts of interest with drug companies are unknown. The BMJ report also reveals that at least one expert on the “emergency committee” received payment during 2009 from GSK.

In related news, Reuters reported, Pfizer Inc, the world’s biggest drugmaker, is selling its swine vaccine business to Chinese Harbin Pharmaceutical Group for $50 million.

Related news

  • “WHO: H1N1 influenza virus still a pandemic” — Wikinews, June 4, 2010

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June 4, 2010

WHO: H1N1 influenza virus still a pandemic

WHO: H1N1 influenza virus still a pandemic

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Friday, June 4, 2010

The World Health Organisation says that the H1N1 influenza virus, although not as intense as it has been in the past, still poses a threat and the pandemic is not yet over.

Margaret Chan, the organisation’s director, commented that the pandemic alert level will remain at six, the highest possible rating. She noted that the WHO may look at the situation again in July and see if a revision is necessary then.

An emergency committee consisting of fifteen advisors stated that countries should remain on the lookout for the pandemic, and encouraged measures to be implemented for disease surveillance and control. The panel actually was held on Tuesday, but Chan didn’t announce the comments until yesterday.

“We’re still in the pandemic,” said a spokesman for the organisation, Gregory Hartl, to the Reuters news service.



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March 31, 2010

Wikinews discusses H1N1 with the WHO

Wikinews discusses H1N1 with the WHO – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews discusses H1N1 with the WHO

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Flag of the World Health Organization.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a program of the United Nations and a global authority on human health. In an interview with Wikinews, the WHO tells about the current H1N1 pandemic.

The organization’s 93rd update as of March 26, 2010 states 213 countries, territories, and other communities have laboratory-confirmed cases and there have been at least 16,931 confirmed deaths, including 4,653 deaths in Europe and 7,673 in the Americas.

Wikinews reporter Mike Morales talks with Karen Mah, a media relations representative for the WHO, and asks her several questions.

Interview

Wikinews waves Left.pngMike MoralesWikinews waves Right.pngCan you tell us what exactly H1N1 is and how it affects us today?

Wikinews waves Left.pngKaren MahWikinews waves Right.pngAs of 21 March 2010, worldwide more than 213 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including over 16,931 deaths. This number is a large underestimation of total deaths with total figures unavailable until a year or two after the pandemic is declared over.

Wikinews waves Left.pngMMWikinews waves Right.pngHow does the WHO feel the media coverage has been and does the WHO suggest any changes to coverage and if so, what kind?

Wikinews waves Left.pngKMWikinews waves Right.pngWHO does not have any comment with regards to media coverage nor is it in our purview to suggest changes to coverage. The pandemic is a global event and media coverage can’t be characterized with any generalities.

Wikinews waves Left.pngMMWikinews waves Right.pngWhich areas around the world are most affected by the pandemic and why?

Wikinews waves Left.pngKMWikinews waves Right.pngCurrent disease activity and epidemiological activity indicates we are seeing the highest levels of activities occurring in Southeast Asia, West Africa, and in the tropical zone of the Americas. After a period of sustained pandemic influenza transmission in Thailand over the past two months, overall activity now appears to be decreasing. In West Africa, limited data suggests that active transmission of pandemic influenza virus persists without clear evidence of a peak in activity. In Central America and in the tropical zone of South America, an increasing trend of respiratory disease activity associated with circulation of pandemic influenza virus has been reported since early March 2010 in an increasing number of countries.

The H1N1 virus.
Image: Cybercobra.

Wikinews
This article is a featured article. It is considered one of the best works of the Wikinews community. See Wikinews:Featured articles for more information.

Wikinews waves Left.pngMMWikinews waves Right.pngWhat advice does the WHO recommend to any areas affected by H1N1? What does the WHO recommend to governments’ health authorities of countries affected?

Wikinews waves Left.pngKMWikinews waves Right.pngThis is a very far-reaching question and answer and paraphrasing the pandemic preparedness guidelines is too simplistic. I will refer you to this page [URL below] to see the whole spectrum of guidance for countries ranging from response, surveillance, reduction of spread, travel, hygiene etc. From a WHO perspective, we have to offer the broadest range of guidance to cover developing, mid-level and developed countries.

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/guidance/national_authorities/en/index.html

Wikinews waves Left.pngMMWikinews waves Right.pngWhat does the WHO recommend for those individuals affected by H1N1? How does H1N1 affect someone who is infected?

Wikinews waves Left.pngKMWikinews waves Right.pngSince the H1N1 pandemic virus is now the dominant influenza virus circulating worldwide, most cases of influenza-like illness are likely pandemic influenza.

Typical symptoms to watch for include fever, cough, headache, body aches, sore throat and runny nose.

WHO advises health care providers to treat people with influenza-like illness based on their symptoms and the progress of their illness, and not to wait for laboratory confirmation of pandemic influenza. The pandemic H1N1 virus has already spread worldwide.

Regarding laboratory testing of cases, public health authorities and WHO partners continue to do selective testing of samples from patients with influenza-like illness to characterize outbreaks, monitor the virus and identify disease trends.

Anti-viral drugs (which are medicines that act directly on viruses to stop them from multiplying) should not be taken to prevent H1N1. There are two antiviral drugs are being used to treat pandemic influenza infections. These are oseltamivir and zanamivir, which both block the action of an influenza virus protein called neuraminidase.

For patients with symptoms of severe illness that are probably due to pandemic influenza, WHO recommends that treatment with oseltamivir should start immediately, no matter when the illness started and without waiting for laboratory results to confirm infection.

For patients at higher risk for serious disease from pandemic influenza, including pregnant women, children under age 5 and those with certain underlying medical conditions, WHO recommends treatment with either oseltamivir or zanamivir as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms, and without waiting for the results of laboratory tests.

Otherwise healthy people who are not from a higher risk group but who have persistent or rapidly worsening symptoms should be treated with antivirals. These symptoms include difficulty breathing or a high fever that lasts beyond three days.

Wikinews waves Left.pngMMWikinews waves Right.pngHow does H1N1 affect someone who is infected?

Wikinews waves Left.pngKMWikinews waves Right.pngPandemic H1N1 virus is spread from person to person in the same way that seasonal influenza viruses are spread. It is transmitted as easily as the normal seasonal flu and can be passed to other people by exposure to infected droplets expelled by coughing or sneezing that can be inhaled, or that can contaminate hands or surfaces.

Signs of the pandemic influenza are flu-like, including malaise, fever, cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and runny nose, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea.

The majority of people with pandemic influenza experience mild illness and recover fully without treatment. However, people should seek medical care if they experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or if a fever, and especially high fever, continues more than three days. For parents with a young child who is ill, seek medical care if a child has fast or labored breathing, continuing fever or convulsions (seizures).

Supportive care at home with plenty of rest, drinking plenty of fluids and using a pain reliever for aches and pains is adequate for recovery in most cases. A non-aspirin pain reliever should be used for children or adolescents under age 18.

The public should be made aware that there are specific groups of people who appear to be at higher risk of more complicated or severe illness which include:

  • pregnant women;
  • infants, and young children particularly under age 2;
  • people of any age with certain chronic health conditions (including asthma or lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease or some neurological conditions);
  • people with severely compromised immune systems.

Currently, people age 65 or older are the least likely to be infected with the pandemic influenza, but those who do get sick are also at high risk of developing serious complications, just as they are from seasonal flu.

Wikinews waves Left.pngMMWikinews waves Right.pngIs it known when the virus will become less virulent and cease becoming a major threat to health and of so when?

Wikinews waves Left.pngKMWikinews waves Right.pngIt is impossible to predict when the pandemic H1N1 virus will become less virulent.

Diagram showing antigenic shift.

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

Wikinews waves Left.pngKMWikinews waves Right.pngInfluenza viruses constantly change through a process called antigenic drift. All influenza viruses undergo this process but there is no way to predict if, when and how the pandemic H1N1 virus will shift.

Wikinews waves Left.pngMMWikinews waves Right.pngAre the current anti-flu vaccines effective and how sufficient is the current supply? Can you explain how these anti-virus vaccine work and any possible side effects?

Wikinews waves Left.pngKMWikinews waves Right.pngThe current H1N1 vaccines are effective and supply is sufficient. The safety profile of H1N1 vaccines is very good. Outcomes of studies completed to date indicate that pandemic vaccines have a similar safety record as seasonal influenza vaccines. Pandemic influenza vaccines underwent the same production and testing methods as seasonal vaccines.

The safety tracking of the vaccine for adverse events after its distribution and use worldwide has likely been the most thorough and sensitive in history.

Influenza vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

Possible side effects can depend on the type of vaccine, how it is administered and the age of the recipient. There are two main types of vaccines: one is manufactured with inactivated viruses, the other uses live viruses. Inactivated vaccines, administered by injection, commonly cause local reactions such as soreness, swelling and redness at the injection site, and less often can cause fever, muscle- or joint- aches or headache. These symptoms are generally mild, do not need medical attention, and last 1 to 2 days. Fever, aches and headaches can occur more frequently in children compared to elderly people.

Rarely, such influenza vaccines can cause allergic reactions such as hives, rapid swelling of deeper skin layers and tissues, asthma or a severe multisystem allergic reaction due to hypersensitivity to certain vaccine components.

Live vaccines are given via a nasal spray, and can commonly cause runny nose, nasal congestion, cough, and can less frequently cause sore throat, low grade fever, irritability and head- and muscle- aches. Wheezing and vomiting episodes have been described in children receiving live influenza vaccines.

Wikinews waves Left.pngMMWikinews waves Right.pngWhat action has the WHO taken, if any, to insure vaccines are available?

Wikinews waves Left.pngKMWikinews waves Right.pngDuring the first stages of the pandemic in 2009, the Director-General highlighted the need to make vaccine and medicines available to countries who would be unable to access them on their own. As the WHO pandemic vaccine donation programme was first established, all countries were surveyed by WHO, and 95 identified as having no access to pandemic vaccines, and therefore eligible for donations.

Based on the pledges of donated vaccine, a plan was prepared for a two phase approach to supply sufficient vaccines for 10% of the population in these countries; an initial supply to cover health workers and other essential workers, equivalent to 2% of the population, and a second supply of 8% for other priority groups. The sequencing of supply was based on assessments of vulnerability to the pandemic, and readiness to utilize vaccines.

To date, 25 countries have received donated H1N1 vaccine totaling more than 10 million doses, along with ancillary supplies. Another 15 to 20 countries will be receiving their vaccine shipments in the upcoming few weeks.

The 25 countries who have received shipments are: Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Fiji, Kiribati, Kosovo, Laos PDR, Maldives, Mongolia, Nauru, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Togo, Tonga, Vanuatu, Cuba, Honduras, El Salvador, Kenya, Samoa, Tokelau, Cook Islands, Pakistan, [and] Philippines

Wikinews waves Left.pngMMWikinews waves Right.pngLast November, the WHO stated the H1N1 virus is world’s most dominant virus. Is this still true?

Wikinews waves Left.pngKMWikinews waves Right.pngOn February 18th, WHO concluded a four-day meeting to look at vaccine strains for seasonal influenza vaccine for the 2010 and 2011 season. This is part of the routine work that WHO does twice yearly to determine vaccine strains to be included in upcoming northern and southern hemisphere seasonal influenza vaccines.

During the scientific discussions which ended on the 18th of February, it was confirmed that the overwhelming number of influenza viruses that were isolated around the world were the pandemic H1N1 virus. The experts believe that based on this information that this virus will continue to be one of the dominant viruses in wide circulation in the coming fall and winter season.

Wikinews waves Left.pngMMWikinews waves Right.pngIs there anything that the WHO believes to be very important for the public to know about the H1N1?

Wikinews waves Left.pngKMWikinews waves Right.png

  • The overall impact of the pandemic has been moderate and most people experienced mild symptoms or illness. However, some groups are more vulnerable and have a higher risk of complications or severe illness, for example pregnant women, infants, young children and people with chronic diseases.
  • Many of the severe cases have been due to viral pneumonia, which is harder to treat than the bacterial pneumonia normally associated with seasonal influenza. Many of these patients have required intensive care, which has led to intensive care units being frequently overwhelmed at the peak of the outbreak.
  • Most of the deaths caused by the pandemic influenza disease occurred among younger people than is the case during seasonal influenza outbreaks, including among those who were previously healthy.
  • To protect people from infection and avoid related severe outcomes, the H1N1 vaccine is an important public health tool as long as the pandemic H1N1 virus is circulating and causing illness.
  • Since September 2009, more than 75 Member States and territories have implemented immunization programmes, and 290 million doses of the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 vaccine have been administered.

Wikinews waves Left.pngMMWikinews waves Right.pngThank you for your time.

Related news

  • “WHO states H1N1 swine flu world’s most dominant virus” — Wikinews, 6 November 2009
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January 11, 2010

Health expert: Swine flu outbreak exaggerated by pharmaceutical companies for profits

Health expert: Swine flu outbreak exaggerated by pharmaceutical companies for profits

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Swine Flu
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People in Mexico City wear masks on a train due to the swine flu outbreak
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Wolfgang Wodarg, a European health official, has said that the severity of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic was intentionally exaggerated by pharmaceutical companies so they could receive large profits.

Wodarg, who is the Council of Europe’s head of health, claimed that the manufacturers of the anti-virus drugs pressured the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare a global pandemic over the outbreak. The Council said it would investigate the allegations in a debate scheduled for later in January.

Wodarg commented about his accusations to the Al Jazeera news agency. “There is a very inefficient work of our agencies. They made a big panic with the bird flu and they made big panic with the swine flu. The national governments spent billions of euros to buy their vaccines [for H1N1] so we have to investigate what was behind it, we cannot afford such agencies that spent the money for useless health measures,” he said.

The official also commented that “it’s just a normal kind of flu. It does not cause a tenth of deaths caused by the classic seasonal flu,” as quoted by FOX News. “The great campaign of panic we have seen provided a golden opportunity for representatives from labs who knew they would hit the jackpot in the case of a pandemic being declared.”

“We want to clarify everything that brought about this massive operation of disinformation. We want to know who made decisions, on the basis of what evidence, and precisely how the influence of the pharmaceutical industry came to bear on the decision-making […] A group of people in the WHO is associated very closely with the pharmaceutical industry.”

The drug company GlaxoSmithKline responded to Wodarg’s allegations. “Allegations of undue influence are misguided and unfounded. The WHO declared that H1N1 swine flu met the criteria for a pandemic. Responding to it has required unprecedented collaboration. As WHO have stated, legal regulations and numerous safeguards are in place to manage possible conflicts of interest,” it stated.

Swine flu’s impact across the world hasn’t been as serious as was initially predicted, the Guardian reports; in the UK, up to 65,000 deaths from the virus were anticipated at the height of the scare, now the estimate is about a thousand, and the current death toll from H1N1 is 360. As a result, there is now a surplus of vaccines.

David Salisbury, the Department of Health’s director of immunisation, said that it hasn’t yet been decided what to do with the UK’s surplus of vaccine, although talks are underway. “We have to keep a stockpile for ourselves because we simply don’t know what is going to happen over 2010, and we know that there are proportions even within the risk group who have not been vaccinated. If there were a UK resurgence during 2010, we would look very foolish if we had disposed of a valuable stockpile.”



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January 10, 2010

Adult H1N1 swine flu death takes Northern Ireland death toll to seventeen

Adult H1N1 swine flu death takes Northern Ireland death toll to seventeen

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Swine Flu
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People in Mexico City wear masks on a train due to the swine flu outbreak
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  • Swine Flu
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The Department of Health in Northern Ireland announced the death of an adult with the H1N1 ‘swine flu’ virus. The gender of the adult who died is currently unknown. The obituary was discovered in the swine flu information update provided by the Department of Health weekly.

The death of this adult brings the total number of people who have died from swine flu in Northern Ireland up to 17, not including the two people who were from the area but were outside Northern Ireland at the time of their deaths from the disease, as of January 6. Michael McGimpsey, who is the Health Minister in Northern Ireland, announced: “Sadly, we have been notified of a further swine flu related death in an adult. I would like to express my sincere sympathy to the family and would ask everyone to respect their privacy and allow them to grieve for their loved one in peace.”

Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, who is the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, talked about the H1N1 swine flu virus. She said: “Swine flu has now been circulating within Northern Ireland since May 2009. We have seen two waves of infection from the virus and our planning and preparation has meant that the likelihood of a further wave has been significantly reduced. This is due in part to the extent in which the virus has already circulated in the community, and also as a result of the very successful vaccination programme in Northern Ireland. We know from experience of previous pandemics that flu viruses can be unpredictable so we can not completely rule out the possibility of a further wave. We will therefore continue to monitor the situation carefully and adapt our plans accordingly. The vaccine remains the best way to be protected against swine flu.”



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December 23, 2009

UK Wikinews Shorts: December 23, 2009

UK Wikinews Shorts: December 23, 2009 – Wikinews, the free news source

UK Wikinews Shorts: December 23, 2009

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A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, December 23, 2009.

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Map of United Kingdom with Northern Ireland highlighted in dark blue.

Two-year-old child in Northern Ireland dies of H1N1 swine flu virus

The Department of Health (DHSSPS) in Northern Ireland has announced that a child aged two has died after falling victim to the H1N1 swine flu virus. The toddler had underlying health problems. The death brings the total number of people from Northern Ireland that have died as a result of having the disease to 17, also including one person who was in Spain and one person who was in England at the times of their deaths.

Michael McGimpsey, health minister of Northern Ireland, expressed his sympathy. “Sadly, we have been notified of the death of a two-year-old child who was confirmed as having swine flu,” he stated. “The child had underlying medical conditions. I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the family at this very sad time for them.”

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Woman killed in collision with ambulance in Staffordshire, England

Map of England with Staffordshire highlighted in red.

An elderly woman has been killed in a car collision physically involving an ambulance in Staffordshire, England. The incident occurred when the woman and her female passenger, travelling in a Ford Ka, crashed into a West Midlands Ambulance Service vehicle that was flashing its full emergency lights. The crash occurred at approximately 15.15 GMT at the junction of Quarry Hills Lane and Tamworth Road. An air ambulance subsequently arrived at the scene and took the 72-year-old passenger to a hospital; she suffered included damage to her chest and her head. The driver of the Ford was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. It is believed that icy road conditions were not a factor of the collision.

A spokesperson for Staffordshire Police said that : “the woman driver of the Ka was pronounced dead at the scene. Her female passenger was airlifted to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, suffering from head and chest injuries. The male driver of the ambulance vehicle was taken to Stafford Hospital after suffering minor injuries.”

Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer Keith Prior from West Midlands Ambulance Service also spoke about the incident. “All our thoughts are with the families of all of those involved in this tragic crash. We have launched an internal investigation to examine the circumstances of this incident,” said Prior. “We have already been working with our colleagues in Staffordshire Police and this will continue.”

Sources



90-year-old man dies after car crash in Northern Ireland

A man aged 90 has died after being involved in a road traffic accident in Northern Ireland. The accident, which occurred at 1030 GMT on Sunday, involved two vehicles and took place on the Doagh Road in the suburb of Newtownabbey in County Antrim. The man died the following day from the injuries he sustained in the accident. At the request of his family, the police have not yet publically identified the gentleman.

Sources



Man dies while carrying child in railway station in Edinburgh, Scotland

Map of Scotland with Edinburgh highlighted in dark blue.

A man has died while carrying his child in a railway station in Edinburgh, Scotland. The man, who was aged 47, was carrying his young daughter in Waverley Station in Edinburgh when he suddenly either collapsed or slipped near a taxi rank at approximately 0900 GMT on Wednesday; his head impacted with a parked car. The man, who came from the city of Dundee, suffered from injuries to his head as a result of the impact. After being treated by staff at the scene, he was taken to hospital where he later died as a result of his injuries.

A spokesperson for Network Rail has released a statement about the incident. “We can confirm that a man has died following a tragic incident at Waverley station this morning,” said the spokesperson. “We are co-operating fully with the police investigation into this matter.”

A post-mortem examination is to be held to try and determine the cause of the man’s death. The police have yet to have identified him publically, however his next of kin have been notified. The British Transport Police have now launched an investigation. “About 0920 GMT on Wednesday, 23 December 2009, a man in his 40s appeared to fall as he walked on the concourse of Edinburgh Waverley station,” said a spokesperson for them. “He was taken by ambulance to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he later died. Inquiries are ongoing into the circumstances surrounding his death, although at this stage there do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances. It is anticipated that a post mortem will take place in due course to establish his cause of death and full report will be submitted to the local procurator fiscal by Lothian and Borders Police.”

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December 7, 2009

Gaza Strip reports first swine flu cases

Gaza Strip reports first swine flu cases

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Palestine
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Health officials in the Gaza Strip confirmed the territory’s first five cases of H1N1 swine flu earlier today.

The territory’s Health Ministry is working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to obtain the supplies needed to treat the potentially deadly virus.

Neighbouring Israel has a blockade on Gaza, and Egypt restricts movement across its border with the territory as well. Health officials say that isolation likely kept the H1N1 virus from affecting Gaza sooner.

Mahmoud Daher, a senior official for the WHO, said that Gaza has around 1,000 vaccine doses for the 8,000 medical workers in the territory. West Bank Health Ministry official Asad Ramlawi, however, commented that an additional one million doses would be delivered to the area at the end of the year.



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