Pandemic idea sharing. Regardless of cause, H5N1, SARS or Ebola the same basic plannings are the same. While a few are tasked with creating the plans, the many are tasked with carrying them out. Disucss plans, ideas, fears and rescources here.
H1N1 in england
July 17, 2009 at 2:14 pm #75978
NOT sure about how much of this is the spreading of FUD(Fear Uncertainty & Doubt) but...
By JEANNE WHALEN
LONDON -- The medical establishment in Britain, the nation hardest hit by swine flu outside North America, is scrambling to roll out a large-scale vaccination program in an effort to protect its population against a virus that threatens to spread rapidly here in coming weeks.
The state-run health system is deciding whether to hire private contractors to help doctors carry out the massive vaccination job, said Peter Holden, a general practitioner who represents the British Medical Association in pandemic-flu planning with the government. Doctors would rather handle the shots themselves, he said, but as phone calls and office visits related to swine flu have jumped, they are concerned the extra work will overwhelm them unless they suspend some other routine care.
In his own practice in the Peak District in central England, Dr. Holden is making plans for each doctor or nurse to vaccinate between 30 and 40 people an hour. "There'll be no chitchat. It will be, 'Are you allergic to anything? Bang, in, out,'" he said.
It isn't yet clear how many doses will be needed per person, but many flu experts believe it will be two.
Since the spring, 17 Britons have died after being infected with the H1N1 virus that is causing the swine-flu pandemic, according to U.K. officials. The U.K. recently recorded its first swine-flu death in an otherwise healthy patient, an event that set off further concern, even as other deaths, including that of a 6-year-old girl last week, have gained attention.
As of July 6, the U.K. had 7,447 confirmed cases, ranking the country fourth in the world, behind the U.S., Mexico and Canada, according to the World Health Organization's most recent figures. World-wide, 429 people have died from swine flu and 94,512 have been infected, according to the WHO.
The latest reports from some governments indicate higher death tolls than the WHO figures. Argentina's health ministry on Tuesday reported that the number of deaths from the swine flu had reached 137, with a total of 3,056 officially confirmed cases. The latest tally puts Argentina second only to the U.S. in swine-flu deaths -- passing Mexico, which this week reported its toll had risen to 124 dead, with 12,645 confirmed cases.
Many in Argentina believe the official count has been slow to confirm swine flu and the actual toll could be much higher.
The number of cases in the U.K. is several times greater than in any other European country. Ian Jones, professor of virology at the University of Reading, says the U.K. has been hit hard because many Britons were traveling to Mexico and the U.S. when the virus first appeared there.
Wendy Barclay, chair in influenza virology at Imperial College London, said the U.K. also has a good surveillance system that ensures that a high percentage of infections are reported.
The country has ordered enough vaccine to cover all 60 million of its residents. The government plans to offer everyone free shots as soon as they become available, a Department of Health spokeswoman said on Tuesday. It won't require people to get the shots, but will make vaccine available to everyone, she said.
The health department expects the first doses to arrive in the fall, and will start vaccinating certain groups first, including health-care workers, children and pregnant women. The U.K. expects enough vaccine for 30 million people, or about half the population, to be available by the end of the year, the health department spokeswoman said.
The companies supplying Britain with the vaccine -- GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Baxter International Inc. -- have already won preliminary approval for their pandemic vaccines from the European Medicines Agency, or EMEA, Europe's top medicines regulator. Preliminary approval is possible because flu vaccines are generally made in the same way, with the same basic ingredients. The main element that changes is the type of virus used in the vaccine.
Because the companies have already supplied the EMEA with plentiful data on their vaccine ingredients and won the preliminary approval, it shouldn't take the agency long to review their completed H1N1 shots, an EMEA spokeswoman said Tuesday. The agency expects to receive more information from the companies around the end of September, and could make a decision within five days after that, she said.
The U.S. -- which has had 211 deaths from swine flu and 37,246 confirmed cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- is also making plans for a voluntary vaccination program. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said last week that as many as 100 million doses of vaccine would be available in the U.S. by mid-October.
U.S. health officials have said clinical trials must be conducted first to be sure the vaccine is safe and effective. They expect those trials to get under way in early August, with some results in early October.
Earlier this month, U.K. Health Secretary Andy Burnham said that if current infection rates continue, new swine flu infections could rise to 100,000 a day by the end of August. But he stressed that this was a projection, and also that the vast majority of cases so far have been mild.
Dr. Jones said he didn't think infection rates would grow as quickly as the health minister projected, but that the U.K. could have half a million cases by the end of the year. There is a good chance that many of these cases will be mild, he said, because the H1N1 virus has shown little evidence yet of becoming more virulent.
A public awareness campaign organized by the Department of Health has done a good job of teaching people how to avoid infection, which should help reduce infection rates, he said. Ads telling people to wash their hands frequently and cover their sneezes have been running for months in women's magazines, bus stations, and on the London Underground, as well as on supermarket trolleys and ATM screens.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called the U.K. one of the countries best prepared to cope with swine flu. In addition to ordering vaccine, the U.K. has stockpiled enough antiviral medication, including Tamiflu, to treat 50% of the population, and is aiming to increase that to 80%. Antivirals are used to reduce symptoms in a person already infected with the flu, while vaccines are used to prevent infection.
July 18, 2009 at 12:20 am #75980
Another great article - thank you. The news may ignore H1N1 but the virus has not gone away.
The spread of H1N1 in Northern hemisphere over the summer is suprising but impossible. (Duh, not impossible but many think flu migrates to the southern like birds but it does not. Flu is only more prevelent in the colder less humid months.
Now is the time to "learn what works" , what different people have tried and do. Most of all to prepare. At current rates each dollar spent on preperation saves seven in recovery. Basic preparation for flu pandemic is also preparation for black out, hurricane or job loss.
The one correction is "Do not be suprised" In my opinion, those who are suprised by this either lack imagination or is restricted by the public information office. Why? Physics have not changed. Germs are moved by physical laws. Yes we have better food and more hygine but does not seem to be enough. I listened to two professional from another company talk of how one kid got H1N1, then it was in the office and adults where getting sick. It should be no suprise.
Nor should it be all bad news. The same actions that help guard us from getting a cold help protect against the flu. Public awareness as well as practicing social distancing.
BTW - the two best PSA I'd llike to see are Harry Potter's Prof Dumbledorff saying "Stopping H1N1 is not magic. You do not need a wand - just a clean hand" The other PSA would be Geico Cavemen "Hey we have been through multiple pandemics. Practice the basics. Don't give up your life just the risk." Then the inverwer says "Ohh it so easy a caveman could do it?"
I closing - do prepare. Do be informed for the fall. Do be a friend and tell others. We are all in this together.
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