Friday, May 01, 2009

Flap's Dentistry Blog Links May 1, 2009


Ventura County has its first two confirmed cases of swine flu, according to the Ventura County Public Health Department, closing two Oxnard schools today. A 9-year-old and a 13-year-old, both Oxnard boys, have tested positive for the H1N1 virus, or swine flu. The 9-year-old boy attends Art Haycox School and the 13-year-old boy goes to Blackstock Jr. High, both in the Hueneme School District. In order to minimize the spread of disease, county health officials said they asked Hueneme Superintendent Jerry Dannenberg to close down for about one week beginning today.

Two boys from Oxnard -- one 9, the other 13 -- have become Ventura County's first identified cases of swine flu, health officials said this morning. As a precaution, county Public Health Officer Robert Levin asked that the two schools the boys attend be closed for a week starting today. Students at Haycox Elementary and Blackstock Junior High have been advised to see a doctor if they develop a fever and flu-like symptoms, Levin said. The appearance of swine flu is not a surprise, he said. "We've been expecting it,'' Levin said. "But it's not time for panic, either. We have an adequate supply of Tamiflu available for these patients and are well prepared to care for them."

Influenza is an important cause of mortality in temperate countries, but there is substantial controversy as to the total direct and indirect mortality burden imposed by influenza viruses. The authors have extracted multiple-cause death data from public-use data files for the United States from 1979 to 2001. The regression model attributes an annual average of 41,400 (95% confidence interval: 27,100, 55,700) deaths to influenza over the period 1979–2001. The study also uses regional death data to investigate the effects of cold weather on annualized excess deaths.

A swine-flu patient in Spain who hadn’t traveled to Mexico may signal a new front of the outbreak, potentially heralding the first influenza pandemic in 41 years. The World Health Organization raised its six-tier alert to 5, the second-highest, and said a pandemic declaration may come soon. It urged countries to make final preparations to deal with a virus that may sweep across the globe. The WHO has confirmed 154 cases in nine countries, and hundreds of people are being tested for the virus from Australia to New York. Eight of those known to have had swine flu have died, though many more may be carrying the virus and not getting seriously ill, the WHO said. The case in Spain may signal that the disease is being transmitted easily outside of Mexico, where the outbreak began, officials said.

The World Health Organization has increased its tally of confirmed swine flu cases around the world to 236 from 148. The global body says most of the new confirmed cases came from Mexico. WHO's flu chief Keiji Fukuda said Thursday the number of confirmed cases in Mexico has increased to 97 from 26, including 7 deaths. WHO's tally of confirmed cases has lagged behind those that individual countries report because it has to wait for formal notification from the affected nation.

As the World Health Organization raised its infectious disease alert level Wednesday and health officials confirmed the first death linked to swine flu inside U.S. borders, scientists studying the virus are coming to the consensus that this hybrid strain of influenza -- at least in its current form -- isn't shaping up to be as fatal as the strains that caused some previous pandemics. In fact, the current outbreak of the H1N1 virus, which emerged in San Diego and southern Mexico late last month, may not even do as much damage as the run-of-the-mill flu outbreaks that occur each winter without much fanfare.

The 39-year-old woman who was the first to die in Mexico's swine flu epidemic spent the last eight days of her life going from clinic to clinic to find out what was wrong with her but doctors were baffled. The woman, from the southern state of Oaxaca, died shortly after being admitted to hospital as an emergency case. Experts only identified the virus that killed her 10 days later.

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