H1N1 (swine flu) weekly highlights: October 28 – November 3, 2009

AfghanistanUkraineMoldovaCroatiaBelarusSlovenia,Austria, and the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland andYukon reported their first H1N1 deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported the number of global H1N1 deaths jumped to over 5,700 worldwide.

In other statements, WHO reiterated that the vaccines are safe, that one dose is sufficient for adults and children over 10, and that pregnant women should be vaccinated since they are a high-risk group.

Researchers at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America reported that influenza vaccination of pregnant women was "85 percent effective in preventing hospitalization in their infants under 6 months of age." The study also indicated babies of vaccinated women were bigger, healthier and less likely to be premature.

Following last week's declaration of a national emergency in the US, New York state and the city of Philadelphia made similar declarations. This allows hospitals and local governments freedoms from certain restrictions during the emergency. HHS Secretary Sebilius suspended additional regulations relating to H1N1 treatment.

Long lines and vaccine shortages plagued H1N1 vaccine clinics throughout the United States and Canada.

As the number of US children who have died of H1N1 climbed to 114 and 48 states reported widespread flu, the CDC noted that only half of people who most need immediate treatment for H1N1 swine flu are actually seeking it.

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