Tag Archives: CDC

Obama, Baxter International, CDC, Dr. Robert Weinstein, corruption ties, Chicago, Weinstein, Levine, Rezko, Blagojevich, Obama

Are you sleeping well these days with the corrupt Obama in the White House and concerns about the H1N1 Swine Flu?

Flu epidemics or pandemics are scary enough under normal circumstances, but with the reputation of Obama and his long time ties to crime and corruption in Chicago, it is hard to trust anything coming out of his administration.

Remember Dr. Robert Weinstein? He pled guilty to corruption charges a few months ago, corruption charges that linked him to Stuart Levine, Tony Rezko, Rod Blagojevich and ultimately Barack Obama. Well, it turns out that there is a Dr. Weinstein that has ties to the CDC and possibly Baxter. Are these Dr. Weinstein’s related?

Now revisit the following article:

 Obama baxter ties in corrupt Chicago

To refresh your memory:

Dr. Robert Weinstein Indictment

Governor Rod Blagojevich Criminal Complaint

Citizen Wells request to Patrick Fitzgerald, Indict Obama

Dr. Robert Weinstein pleads guilty

Dr. Robert Weinstein and the CDC

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Past Issue

Vol. 7, No. 2
Mar–Apr 2001

“Controlling Antimicrobial Resistance in Hospitals: Infection Control and Use of Antibiotics

Robert A. Weinstein
Cook County Hospital and Rush Medical College, Chicago, Ilinois, USA”

“Dr. Weinstein is chair, Division of Infectious Diseases, Cook County Hospital; director of Infectious Disease Services for the Cook County Bureau of Health Services; and professor of medicine, Rush Medical College. He also oversees the CORE Center for the Prevention, Care and Research of Infectious Disease and directs the Cook County Hospital component of the Rush/Cook County Infectious Disease Fellowship Program. His areas of research include nosocomial infections (particularly the epidemiology and control of antimicrobial resistance and infections in intensive care units) and health-care outcomes for patients with HIV/AIDS.

Address for correspondence: Robert A. Weinstein, Division of Infectious Diseases – Suite 129 Durand, Cook County Hospital, 1835 W. Harrison St.,Chicago, IL 60612, USA; fax: 312-572-3523; e-mail: rweinste@rush.edu

Read more:

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol7no2/weinstein.htm

October 24, 2006

“Yet the CDC refuses to endorse search and destroy. It is sticking to the mantra that hospital workers should wash their hands more carefully and frequently, and that in most cases patients should be isolated only after symptoms of infection with MRSA appear. Routine surveillance to find patients who may not be symptomatic, but are still contagious, is rarely practiced, and not recommended in the CDC’s new hospital infection-fighting guidelines, which were released last week after five years of deliberations. The guidelines do not include a routine recommendation for search and destroy.”

“This is a bitter pill for many infectious-disease experts, who have been joined by the relatives of dead patients, Consumers Union, and even a few Congress members in pressing the CDC. “Why are we spending millions if not billions on bird flu, a ghost that might not happen, when you have thousands being colonized by MRSA and dying of it?” asks Dr. William Jarvis, a top CDC hospital-infection expert until he resigned in 2003. At a March 29 hearing on hospital infections—which, all told, kill an estimated 90,000 patients each year—Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., charged that the CDC had stood by, despite a steady rise in infections since the early 1970s. “During that time, hospital stays have grown dramatically shorter yet infection rates continue to go up,” Stupak said. “What do we have to do to motivate CDC?””

“The counterargument is made by Dr. Robert Weinstein, a hospital-infection expert at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, and a leader on the CDC advisory committee that issued last week’s guidelines.”

Read more:

http://www.slate.com/id/2152118/

H1N1 flu update, May 14, 2009, CDC, Pregnant women risks, population has little to no immunity, Mutations, risk that the viruses will exchange genetic material and get worse

Here is the latest report from the CDC. Three aspects of the H1N1 flu strike me as significant.

  • “The population has little to no immunity against it.”
  • “Pregnant women are at higher risk of complications of influenza.” “We are also seeing some severe complications among pregnant women in this year’s novel H1N1 virus problem” “I think that the H1N1 virus that we’re dealing with is novel, and so, we don’t think pregnant women have ever seen this before or would be protected from it from years past.”
  • “Unfortunately, reassortment happens. And this means that the viruses that we’re seeing can exchange genetic material with other viruses that are circulating. This can happen in humans, in pigs, in birds. And so, we do always have a risk that the viruses will exchange genetic material and get worse, or hopefully, get better, if they do that. So, we do think that the simultaneous occurrence in the world right now of this novel H1N1 strain that appears to be very transmissible, and very virulent H5N1 (Editor′s note – this is a correction) strains that are endemic in animals in certain countries of the world in the avian population, and the seasonal H1N1 strain that is oseltamivir resistant is an unusual circumstance.”

Do not panic. Stay informed.

If you are pregnant, take extra precautions and if possible limit your exposure.

A decision to take a vaccine must be carefully weighed.

 
U.S. Human Cases of H1N1 Flu Infection
(As of May 13, 2009, 11:00 AM ET)  States* Laboratory
confirmed
cases Deaths
Alabama 9  
Arizona 187  
California 221  
Colorado 44  
Connecticut 33  
Delaware 54  
Florida 58  
Georgia 8  
Hawaii 6  
Idaho 3  
Illinois 592  
Indiana 70  
Iowa 55  
Kansas 23  
Kentucky** 10  
Louisiana 33  
Maine 6  
Maryland 23  
Massachusetts 107  
Michigan 134  
Minnesota 31  
Missouri 18  
Montana 1  
Nebraska 21  
Nevada 21  
New Hampshire 17  
New Jersey 8  
New Mexico 44  
New York 211  
North Carolina 12  
Ohio 11  
Oklahoma 22  
Oregon 74  
Pennsylvania 22  
Rhode Island 7  
South Carolina 32  
South Dakota 3  
Tennessee 57  
Texas 293 2
Utah 72  
Vermont 1  
Virginia 17  
Washington 176 1
Washington, D.C. 9  
Wisconsin 496  
TOTAL*(45) 3352 cases 3 deaths
*includes the District of Columbia

**one case is resident of KY but currently hospitalized in GA.

Press Briefing Transcripts

CDC Telebriefing on Investigation of Human Cases of H1N1 Flu

May 12, 2009, 12:30 p.m. ET

Operator: Welcome, and thank you all for standing by.  At this time, I would like to remind parties in your lines are in a listen-only mode until the question-and-answer session, at which time, press star one to ask a question.  Today’s call is being recorded.  If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time.  I’ll now turn the meeting over to Tom Skinner, you may begin.

Tom Skinner: Thank you for joining us for the update of an investigation into a novel strain of H1N1.  With us today is Dr. Anne Schuchat.  That is spelled A-N-N-E.  Last name is S-C-H-U-C-H-A-T.  She is the Interim Deputy Director for Science and Public Health program here at CDC.  She’s going to be providing some opening comments and then we’ll turn it over to reporters for Q&A.  So, Dr. Schuchat? 

Anne Schuchat: Great.  Good afternoon, everyone.  What I want to do is give you a quick situation update; talk little bit in more detail about a clinical group of patients, and then make some closing comments about where I think we are in this investigation. 

So, as of today, there are about 3,600 probable and confirmed cases in 46 states and the District of Columbia.  We have 3,002 confirmed cases in 44 states and D.C., with the most recent onset May 5th.  As you know, there have been three reported fatalities confirmed to be due to the H1N1 virus.  We have 116 hospitalizations that are being investigated at this point.  Most of those have been confirmed to be due to the H1N1 virus.  Our median age remains low at 15 years with a range, though, of 1 month of age up to 86 years.  Almost two-thirds of our confirmed cases are under 18.  Around the world, the case counts are continuing to increase.  There’s a total of 5,251 confirmed cases according to the World Health Organization, and those are occurring in 30 countries with Canada being and the United Kingdom having the largest number of confirmed cases after the U.S. and Mexico. 

In terms of our U.S. situation, you know we’ve had a active response with more than 100 field staff deployed to help with investigations in this country and Mexico.  We’ve deployed the test kits to the states, and I’m happy to report that as of today, 29 of the states are now doing their own confirmatory testing for the novel H1N1 strain.  We’ve sent the lab kits to a number of countries around the world, and testing is a critical part of understanding the situation around the world.  As we continue to investigate, we learn more and we want to share information as we get it. 

I wanted to say a few words today about this novel H1N1 influenza virus and pregnancy.  As many of you know, pregnant women are at higher risk of complications of influenza, whether it’s the seasonal influenza or pandemics of the past.  We are also seeing some severe complications among pregnant women in this year’s novel H1N1 virus problem, and I really want to make you aware of that, because I think it’s something that can have important clinical benefit.  We have about 20 cases under investigation right now where the H1N1 virus has been found in association with pregnancy.  We’re continuing to understand the illness in these patients, and a few of the patients have had severe complications.  As I think many of you know there was one fatality in a pregnant woman.  Influenza can cause worse complications in pregnancy than in people who are not pregnant.  Important complications include pneumonia and dehydration as well as complications for the newborn, like premature labor.  We think it’s very important when doctors are caring for pregnant women who they suspect may have influenza, that they issue prompt treatment with antiviral medicines.  Sometimes, physicians are reluctant to treat pregnant women with medicines, and sometimes pregnant women are reluctant to take medicines because, of course, they are sometimes risky during pregnancy.  The experts who have looked into this situation really strongly say that the benefits of using antiviral drugs to treat influenza in a pregnant woman outweigh the theoretical concerns about the drugs.  We think that either of the two medicines that this virus is susceptible to it be used for this condition.  So, while we don’t have lots and lots of experience yet with this H1N1 virus in pregnancy, it’s important to know, to look back on what we do know about seasonal influenza and pregnancy.  We strongly recommend pregnant women receive the seasonal flu vaccine to protect them from complications of influenza during pregnancy.  And for this novel H1N1 virus, we really want to get the word out about the likely benefits of prompt antiviral treatment in pregnancy when you’re suspecting influenza.  We are going to be issuing an MMWR report with some clinical and some data about the pregnancy cases that we’ve been investigating, and I think I would look for that to come out fairly soon with a little bit more detail than what I’ve shared. 

Yesterday at the media briefing, a few of you had questions about a recent article that came out in “Science Express.”  I think it came out two minutes before the press conference yesterday, so I wasn’t fully prepared, but I wanted to make a couple comments about this.  It’s an article by Christoph Frasier and colleagues called “Pandemic Potential of a Strain of Influenza: H1N1 Early Findings.”  This was a modeling analysis looking at data from Mexico in collaboration with investigators there.  And I think it’s very important that the infectious disease modeling community is aggressively responding to this novel virus and trying to share lessons learned in real time.  It’s important to say that uncertainty remains, that we’re learning more about transmissibility and attack rates.  In the article, the authors concluded that the virus characteristics in Mexico were not of the severity or transmissibility that we had seen in the 1918 pandemic, but they compared it with something of a magnitude of the 1957 pandemic.  It’s important to say that we may see changes as this virus is present in different countries, depending on the health care resources of the countries and the types of interventions that are carried out as well as potential changes that the virus goes through, as influenza viruses can mutate and evolve in the course of their spread.  So, I think this was an important report, and I applaud the authors for taking on this topic, and we hope that the international community will continue to collaborate to learn as much as we can about this new virus and how it behaves in large populations. 

I also want to comment about seasonal influenza.  We have been mentioning, and on our website, you see that we have cases of the regular seasonal flu strains, the seasonal A-H1N1, the seasonal A-H3N2 (Editor′s note – this is a correction), and the seasonal B viruses.  They are continuing to circulate now at a time when this novel H1N1 virus is also circulating.  One thing you can see from our flu view on the website is that there is an uptick of these other viruses in addition to the H1N1 virus.  We don’t think that there was a decrease in seasonal flu and then an increase in seasonal flu.  We think that pattern suggests that more people with influenza-like symptoms are being tested and more of those viruses are being studied so that our efforts to respond to this outbreak have led to recognition of more seasonal influenza.  It’s important to say that a large proportion of the strains currently being tested are due to this novel H1N1 virus, but there are other strains circulating.  So, that’s an important occurrence.  It maybe foreshadows what we have to face next fall, when seasonal strains of influenza are likely to circulate, and we may see this H1N1 strain come back, perhaps, in worse or milder form. 

The last comment is just to continue to say that vaccine development efforts have been of interest.  This is the time when we are growing up isolates to potentially identify a candidate virus that would be handed off to manufacturers to work on manufacturing or development stages.  CDC has sent five isolates to several different institutions around the world where candidate vaccines, viruses could be developed.  And there are active discussions being carried out across the U.S. government, including with manufacturers, to understand next steps and potential vaccine development and manufacturing.  So, in closing my prepared remarks, I just want to say that I think we are transitioning to the long view now.  We have a focus on the southern hemisphere, where illness may be on the upswing soon, and where we hope to learn as much as possible to help them respond and also to learn for what might be the case here in the northern hemisphere next year.  We’re also preparing for the fall, including exploration of vaccine development and manufacturing discussions.  We’re also trying to learn as much as we can from the experience of the past few weeks so that we can be better prepared going forward.  So, with that, I’d like to answer questions that you might have. 

Tom Skinner: First question, Rose? 

Operator: Our first question is from Elizabeth Weise, USA Today.  Your line is open.

Elizabeth Weise: Hi, thank you for taking my question.  I wanted to go back to your focus on pregnant women and the specific problems they face.  You said you have about 20.  Do you have any sense of percentages, about what percentage of pregnant women might be at risk for this?  Is pregnancy in and of itself the main, underlying condition, or is it pregnant women who also have other underlying conditions as well? 

Anne Schuchat: Pregnancy is a well-documented risk factor for complications of influenza.  It’s not that we think pregnant women get influenza, seasonal flu, for instance, more than other people, but we think when they suffer an infection with influenza, they can have a worse time.  For instance, they may develop pneumonia, they may develop dehydration, and their metabolic system may not be able to handle the infection as well.  So, there are a number of reasons that pregnant women can have a worse time, including some complications, such as preterm labor and complications for the newborn.  So, this is a group that we include among our populations at higher risk for influenza complications, and that’s why for the past several years we’ve been strongly recommending women who are pregnant receive the influenza vaccine, to protect them and to have a better outcome of their pregnancy. 

Elizabeth Weise: Follow-up question.  Is there then the sense that this H1N1 novel influenza is any worse or better than seasonal flu when it comes to pregnant women, or is it just you’re trying to reiterate to women that they shouldn’t be afraid to take antivirals and to see a doctor if they get it? 

Anne Schuchat: You know, I think that the H1N1 virus that we’re dealing with is novel, and so, we don’t think pregnant women have ever seen this before or would be protected from it from years past.  Many years with seasonal flu strains circulating, a lot of pregnant women may have some immunity to the strands that are circulating.  We still think vaccination’s a good idea for pregnant women, but I think because of this — because this H1N1 virus is targeting younger people and because it’s totally new and because we know that pregnancy is a risk factor for worse complications, we really want to focus our attention on it and make sure that pregnant women and their health care providers have this concern in mind.  Next question? 

Operator: The next is from Jennifer Corbett, Dow Jones.  Your lone is open.

Jennifer Corbett: Yeah, hi.  I have two questions.  The one — do you recommend for seasonal flu that women, pregnant women, take antivirals or is this specific to the H1N1?  And then the other question I had is at the top you mentioned that there’s been a death of a pregnant woman.  Was that one of the women in Texas?  Was she the one in Texas? 

Anne Schuchat: That’s right about the fatality we do think that when influenza occurs in pregnancy, it should be treated with antivirals.  The message today, the time of year we’re at right now, the majority of what we’re seeing that is influenza-like illness, or half of what we’re seeing is this H1N1 strain, so it’s in this circumstance that we’re really trying to remind people that treatment of influenza-like illness in pregnancy is appropriate.  We don’t know as much as we would like to know about the H1N1 virus that we’re seeing.  And certainly, every day we’re learning little bit more.  As we’ve accumulated some experience with this illness, we are trying to share clinical, interim clinical recommendations.  So, I think that things could change as we get further along in the investigation, but so far, of course, one of our three fatalities was a very sad story in a woman who was pregnant.  Next question, please? 

Operator: The next is from Mike Stobbe, Associated Press. Your line is open.

Mike Stobbe: Hi, thanks for taking the call.  Doctor, that “Science” article had an estimate about when the virus might have first appeared.  Can you tell us, you know, as this has been going on, what’s science telling you at this point about when it first appeared?  Did it first appear in a pig?  Who infected who?  Do you have any update on that?  And I have a second question. 

Anne Schuchat: Yeah, the paper in “Science” talked about beginning — there’s a virus emerging in the middle of February, and I think the working hypotheses for much of the influenza community right now is that this strain was circulating in pigs somewhere, and eventually, you know, reassorted and was able to infect humans easier, the people got it and then it became easily transmitted between people.  That’s a working hypothesis, but of course, the scientific community and CDC included is very open to other hypotheses.  We don’t have new information about the specific origins.  We think that’s an important investigation that the scientific and public health community is taking on, but so, the clinical illness — that paper suggested mid-February, and we don’t have reason to believe that humans were having a large problem with this before that.  But of course, you know, investigations are active in a number of places. 

Mike Stobbe: Okay.  My second question — we’ve begun to see announcements from companies about the availability of commercial tests for this novel virus coming online.  Can you assess those for me?  Are those good tests?  Are they solid?  Are they starting to contribute to the case counts? 

Anne Schuchat: I won’t — I don’t have the information to be able to answer the question.  I’m sorry.  I think that it’s — you know, we have disseminated information on sequence and the primers and probes that can be used to identify this virus.  We’ve also distributed agents and test kits for the public health laboratory network to be able to recognize this.  It’s very possible for manufacturers, biotech companies, to make kits that would work similarly to the ones the CDC has distributed.  There’s usually a validation process that goes forward, and I’m not — I don’t know whether there’s any systemic evaluation of the commercially produced kits that — I don’t know if CDC’s involved in any of that.  So, sorry about that.

Tom Skinner: Next question, Rose.

Operator: The next is from Michael Smith, Med Page Today.  Your line is open.

Michael Smith: Dr. Schuchat, you talked about antivirals in connection with pregnant women.  On the Hubra press conference earlier today, they said that antivirals are being aggressively used in Europe, where they’re mainly employee cases, and were being reserved really largely for serious cases in the U.S. and Mexico.  Can you comment on how antivirals are being used in the U.S.? 

Anne Schuchat: Yes, that’s right.  The circumstances in the U.S. are very different from the circumstances in a number of European countries.  We have this virus in every — pretty much, almost every state in the country, and suspected it’s likely already to the states that haven’t confirmed it yet.  We don’t have a situation where we can contain the virus’s geographic distribution, and our focus is on reducing illness and death and mitigating the impact that this virus has as well as focusing our efforts on areas where they can have the most impact.  So, the priority here is for antiviral drugs for treatment of influenza, where we think the treatment will make a difference, and that’s for people with severe illness presentation or for people who have underlying medical conditions or pregnancy, where the complications of an influenza infection might be worse than in other people.  So, our focus for antiviral drugs is primarily on treatment.  And we are aware that there are some other countries where there’s a lot of preventive use of antiviral drugs around the traveler, around the first case that they’ve seen.  That circumstance is not likely to have a benefit here in the United States based on the transmission patterns we’re seeing and the stage of the outbreak that was present by the time we recognized this virus.  Did you have a follow-up question, or —

Michael Smith: No, that’s good.  Thank you. 

Anne Schuchat: Okay.  Is there another question? 

Operator: The next is from Emma Hitt, Medscape, your line is open.

Emma Hitt: Yes, hi, thank you for taking my question.  You talk about the novel H1N1 virus coming back during the fall.  Is that a certainty?  And will it definitely pick up back in the fall?  And also, do you expect the H1N1 virus to be more robust during the summer months than the seasonal flu strain? 

Anne Schuchat: We wish that we knew what was going to happen in the fall.  Influenza is usually seasonal, and usually, there is very limited circulation in the northern hemisphere during our summer months.  But there is increased circulation in the southern hemisphere during that same time period.  We don’t know whether the novel H1N1 virus will circulate in the U.S. next fall, and if it circulates, whether it will be more severe, of similar severity or less severe than now.  We think that if we have good information coming from the southern hemisphere and we see a lot of disease or severe disease associated with this virus, that that would increase the likelihood that we would continue to see problems in the fall.  But we, unfortunately, cannot predict.  The other thing is that these viruses continue to change.  Because we have seasonal influenza strains, including an H1N1 strain that is resistant to oseltamivir and zinamivir.  But because we have an H1N1 strain that’s circulating that’s resistant and we have this novel H1N1 strain, we also don’t know whether there might be a reassortment between the human seasonal flu strain and the novel strain.  So, there’s a lot of unknowns, a lot of uncertainties and a real priority to have good laboratory surveillance and monitoring of the circumstances in the southern hemisphere and the ongoing occurrence here in the U.S.  Next question? 
Operator: The next is from Allen Miranda.  Your line is open. 

Alan Miranda: Hi.  Well, I would like to follow up on what you just said.  You said also at the beginning that there are also other kinds of viruses circulating.  And I was about to ask you, if this virus could reassort with any other kind, any other strain, Avian flu, for instance. 

Anne Schuchat: Unfortunately, reassortment happens. And this means that the viruses that we’re seeing can exchange genetic material with other viruses that are circulating.  This can happen in humans, in pigs, in birds.  And so, we do always have a risk that the viruses will exchange genetic material and get worse, or hopefully, get better, if they do that.  So, we do think that the simultaneous occurrence in the world right now of this novel H1N1 strain that appears to be very transmissible, and very virulent H5N1 (Editor′s note – this is a correction) strains that are endemic in animals in certain countries of the world in the avian population, and the seasonal H1N1 strain that is oseltamivir resistant is an unusual circumstance.  Certainly, our efforts to control seasonal influenza with our annual immunization campaign will be important, and of course, there are discussions going on about vaccine development and potentially manufacturing and even use, eventually, of an H1N1 virus vaccine.  Those are important discussions, as well as the ongoing efforts to try to control the Avian H5N1 problem in birds in some of the world.  Next question? 

Operator: I’m showing no questions at this time. 

Tom Skinner: Okay.  Rose, thank you, and thank you all for joining us for this update.  Please stay tuned and continue to go to http://www.cdc.gov for updated information, and we’ll keep you apprised as developments warrant.  Thank you. 

End

####

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

CDC, Press briefing transcripts, May 7, 2009, 4 PM ET, New England Journal of Medicine Articles on H1N1 Flu, 1918 flu pandemic, H1N1 Virus, Triple Reassortant Swine Influenza A (H1)

Read the following transcript and provide your thoughts:

“Press Briefing Transcripts

CDC Telebriefing on New England Journal of Medicine Articles on H1N1 Flu

May 7, 2009, 4 p.m. ET”

“>>> Welcome and thank you for standing by.  At this time, all participants are in listen-only mode until the question and answer period of today’s conference call.  During the question and answer session, you may press star one to ask a question.  At this time, I’ll turn the call Over to Mr. Dave Daigle.  You may begin. 

>> Hi, this is Dave Daigle, with CDC Media Relations, thank you for joining us on this short-notice telebriefing to discuss two “New England Journal of Medicine” publications: The Emergence of Novel Swine-Origin Influenza A H1N1 Virus in Humans and Human Infections with Triple-Reassortant Swine Influenza A (H1) in the U.S. from 2005 to 2009.  Joining us today are Drs. Michael Shaw, Lyn Finelli, Carolyn Bridges and Fatimah Dawood. I think we’re going dispense with opening statements and just go right into the questions.  So can we have the first question, please? 

>> Thank you, again. If you would like to ask a question, please press star one.  Our first question comes today from Donald McNeil with “The New York Times.” You may ask your question. 

>> Hi.  In reading over the article about the triple-reassortant swine influenza A. I’m assuming this is tracing infections that do not include the Eurasian swine sequence found in the patients in the current outbreak, and I wondered if you can tell us more about whether or not that Eurasian swine strain had ever been found in the United States, whether you can tell from genetic sequencing where it got into the combination along with these triple reassortants or give us any details of that.

>> Those genes had never been seen in the Americas before. 

>> Wait one second, this is Dr. Michael Shaw.

>> Thank you.

>> This was the first time they had been seen in any virus in any human or animal.  And the genetic lineage of the virus we can trace back, there’s clearly a gap in the surveillance because there are no really close relatives, nothing that we can say was an immediate precursor.  Because of this new finding, a lot of researchers in the field are going back through their archives now, digging through their freezers to see if they had something that was overlooked but there’s absolutely nothing in the literature, nothing publicly available and nothing that our colleagues knew about when this was first found. 

>> This is Carolyn Bridges.  I think it’s also important maybe to just point out and maybe you want to take questions over to USDA as well, but from our understanding, there were no importation of pigs into the United States from Eurasia.

>> Next question, please.

>> Our next question comes from Maggie Fox with Reuters. 

>> Oh, darn, I wanted someone else to ask some first.  Can we go back over that, what is it that’s new and any hint as to whether somebody might have carried this reassortant to Mexico or whether it emerged there considering the surveillance we have is of people who had that triple-reassortant in the U.S. 

>> This is Michael Shaw again.  Genetics are indicating that the origin of this virus apparently happened before anyone was aware of it occurring in animals or humans.  It was six of the genes were similar to what had already been seen in the Americas circulating in pigs and that we knew about.  The acquisition of these two new Genes from the Eurasian lineage have never been seen in the Americas.  There is importation of pigs, the way I understand, too to Europe and Asia for breeding purposes, but not the other way around.  So whether it might have come into this hemisphere by a person or an animal, we have no idea.  There’s just not — we’re not in a position to say right now. 

>> Thank you, Maggie.  Next question, please.

>> Thank you, our next question comes from Mike Stope from Associated Press.  Ask your question. 

>> Hi, thanks, doctors, for doing this.  Two questions.  The first one, I saw in one of the articles, we saw this in I think the MMWR2, 38% of cases in the U.S. looking at the U.S. cases also involved vomiting or diarrhea.  That’s not typical of seasonal influenza.  What explains that in this virus?  Can you give us any information about what is it about this virus that’s causing those symptoms at a higher amount? 

>> Yes.  This is Fatimah Dawood.  We did find in the first 642 cases or patients who are diagnosed with swine-origin influenza virus infection that 25% either had diarrhea or vomiting.  This is a new virus and we’re still learning how transmission occurs.  But because we’ve made this observation, we are recommending that clinicians think about transmission not only through a respiratory route but also through the gastrointestinal route as fecal-oral transmission, but it’s not fully understood what role those symptoms played yet.

>> Thank you, Mike.  Next question, please. 

>> Thank you.  Our next question comes from Heidi Sloot with “Internal Medicine News.”  You may ask your question.

>> Hi.  Thanks for taking my question.  This is sort of a follow-up to the previous question.  What right now is the take-home message then for clinician relating to this as far as symptoms to watch for or what to tell patients? 

>> This is Fatimah Dawood again.  In our paper, again we looked at the first 642 cases and we found that the majority of people with confirmed swine-origin influenza virus infection had symptoms that are typical of seasonal influenza.  Those would include fever, cough and sore throat, which are the three most common symptoms observed.  As mentioned previously, diarrhea and vomiting were prominent symptoms as well, so what I would say is that clinicians and people should be aware of those symptoms and I think that as members of the community have symptoms that are concerning to them, they should discuss that with their clinician.

>> Thanks very much.  Next question, please.

>> Thank you, our next question comes from Daniel Denude with webmd.

>> Thanks for taking my question.  I have to push beyond this.  Perhaps you all noticed there was also a paper published at the same time about the signature features of pandemic flus in the past and it strikes me that these flus continually seem to have some of the features that we’re seeing here, striking younger people, and that there is a wave phenomenon.  I wonder if you could comment on the risk groups that you’re seeing for this virus and what we might expect looking forward from our experience with pandemic flu about what future waves of viruses tend to look like as they tend to become pandemic.  I know that’s a wide question but I appreciate you addressing it.

>> This is Fatimah Dawood.  You know, I would say that this is an evolving outbreak and we’re still learning about how this virus works, but what we observed in our paper is that 60% of confirmed cases occurred in people who are 18 years of age and younger.  Now there may be several possible explanations for that. One is the possibility that younger people are more susceptible to the virus, but there may also be a bias in the way that we are finding cases right now because the numbers of cases were identified in school outbreaks and still more young people are being tested right now.  There is also the possibility that older people may have some antibodies to other influenza viruses that give them cross protection against the current virus.  I think it’s difficult to make predictions at this point. 

>> This is Dr. Carolyn Bridges. In terms of the second part of your question about what we might expect, of course we’ll have to sort of wait and see, that’s always the tricky part with influenza.  We never sort of know what we’re going to get until we get there.  But with past pandemics where there’s been a novel strain where there has been initiation or introduction of that virus, the initial outbreaks if they occur in the summer are generally milder.  We know that the influenza virus, in general, prefers lower humidity, lower temperatures for transmission.  So as we’re in the summertime, we expect it to be seasonal influenza but what we’re likely to see is some transmission that occurs over the summer with the possibility that in the fall when the weather turns cooler again that we might see an increase in cases that will be looking closely toward the southern hemisphere, during their winter that is coming up to see what happens and that may give us some clues as to what we might expect in the upcoming winter months here in the United States.

>> Thank you very much.  Next question, please. 

>> Our next question comes from John Warren with Bloomberg News, you may ask your question.

>> Hi.  Thanks for taking my question.  Yeah, I was wondering if you could talk more about whether the ancestors of this virus may have been circulating in people before it was in pigs and whether that might have given immunity to older people.  Thanks.

>> This is Michael Shaw.  Well, ultimately all of the ancestors of this particular swine strain and circulating seasonal H1N1 can be traced back to the 1918 pandemic.  That virus established itself both in humans and in pigs.  And they’ve been evolving along separate tracks.  And in the process being both mammalian species they’ve maintained the ability to go back and forth, which is what we’ve seen obviously, for example, in the other paper we’re talking about today that they are able to make the jump.  What’s unusual about this particular case, is that it’s able to apparently establish sustained transmission.  What’s clear from what we’re seeing genetically and just the behavior of the virus, it was already well-adapted for transmission in humans before it popped up in this particular case.  But ancestors are the same.  You can trace them all back to 1918. 

>> Thank you, John.  Next question, please.

>> Thank you.  Our next question comes from Elizabeth Weiss with “USA Today.”  You may ask your question. 

>> Hi.  Thanks for taking my call.  This is follow-up on that then. You talked about there may be a missing link in observation or surveillance.  How much observation and surveillance is there worldwide and how likely is it that you would actually see something close to real-time virus like this popping up? 

>> This is Carolyn Bridges.  I think what we can say is that we certainly are much better prepared this year than we would have been a few years ago.  And although what we were preparing for most urgently was potential emergence and spread of H5N1, the avian virus, those investments have paid off in spades.  And so we have invested from the U.S. government with many colleagues from different countries.  Other donors in increasing laboratory capacity in countries around the world.  So I can’t tell you for sure how early we might be able to identify — have identified this virus, but we certainly are in much better shape than we would have been even just two years ago.

>> Thanks.  Next question, please.

>> Thank you, our next question comes from Mary Manning with “Las Vegas Sun.”  You may ask your question.

>> Yes.  Thank you for taking my question.  I’d like to know if there’s been any studies done on how long this virus lasts when it gets out in the environment? 

>> This is Michael Shaw.  There have been no — we haven’t had the virus long enough to do studies on this particular one.  All I can go by is past experience with other influenza viruses.  It depends on the environmental conditions.  It survives better on a hard surface than a porous surface, for example.  It’s inactivated quickly at higher temperatures.  Those are just general facts about flu.  But these particular strains, people are working on it.  We haven’t done — don’t have that information yet. 

>> Thanks very much.  Next question.

>> Thank you, our next question comes from Brian Thompson with KS public radio.  You may ask your question.

>> Hi.  Thanks for this opportunity.  As for the predecessors of this virus that emerged in pigs in the late 1990s, the humane society of the U.S. has made the argument that intensive factory farming is responsible for the shift in the genes that caused all this to happen.  I’d like you — Juergen Rick at Kansas State University, by the way ,argues that backyard pigs would be more susceptible because they are exposed to more viruses left by bird droppings and such.  So I would like you to weigh in on that, please. 

>> This is Carolyn Bridges.  I’m not sure we can really speculate about that, given what we believe based on the data that we have available from the genetic databases is that we don’t have any precursors like this in the United States despite tremendous amount of surveillance that goes on here in the U.S.  So I can’t speculate.  I wouldn’t able to say one way or the other. 

>> Thanks very much.  Next question.

>> Thank you.  Again, I’d like to invite parties who would like to ask a question, press star one.  Record your name prior to asking a question.  Our next question comes from Carrie Peyton with Sacramento Bee newspaper.  You may ask your question.

>> Hi.  Thanks for taking this question.  As we continue to do genetic analyses of these virus throughout the southern hemisphere flu season, what markers, if we start seeing changes in different markers, which ones would be especially troubling.  What areas of the genome do we not want to see change or would be early signs of it changing in ways that could make it much more prominent? 

>> This is Michael Shaw, there’s several critical parts of the genome that we look at.  Obviously the one primary concern right now is the determinants of resistance to the antiviral agents.  That’s going to be a high priority to continue monitoring.  Also any potential changes in the surface proteins that could potentially complicate selection of a vaccine strain.  As you know, under ordinary circumstances circulating influenza varies a great deal which is why the vaccine has to be updated every year.  There is the possibility that once it starts circulating more wide lane and different populations that you’re going to see, subpopulations popping up that could not be reactive with whatever vaccine strain might be chosen.  So we just have to keep an eye on changes in general, but the ones we look for in particular are the ones that are affecting the genetic makeup of the proteins that react with the vaccine and antiviral resistance or susceptibility.

>> Thanks very much.  Next question.

>> Thank you.  Our next question comes from Mike Shope with Associated Press.  You may ask your question.

>> Here’s the second question I was trying to ask earlier.  There’s a little bit more detail on the chronic conditions that the severe cases in the U.S., especially in the cases of the two deaths, the 22-month-old child had it looks like four conditions and a pregnant woman had several including autoimmune disease that was under treatment.  Can you tell me about those constellations of underlying conditions.  Would seasonal flu have killed those patients given those conditions?  Or are you learning anything about the patients who suffered severely who had underlying conditions?  What’s working together there? 

>> This is Fatimah Dawood.  I think we’re still learning about what patients are still most at risk for swine origin influenza virus and complication of that infection.  But what we do know from seasonal influenza is there are groups of people with characteristics with a higher risk.  That includes children younger than age 5, people with chronic underlying medical conditions.  Pregnant women and adults older than 65 years of a and one thing that we looked at in the 642 patients that were described in this paper and then in the subset of patients who were hospitalized, we had data for 22 patients.  About half of those patients had one of those characteristics.  Which does suggest that those groups of people may be at higher risk.  Those groups may not be the only groups but certainly we are seeing that those groups are well represented amongst the people who are hospitalized at this point. 

>> Thank you it, Mike.  Next question.

>> Thank you, our next question comes from Elizabeth Sweeth with “USA Today.”  You may ask your question.

>> Thanks again.  Just a quick question, I’m reading these paper, some of the facts are actually from May 5th.  I’m wondering when are these going to published and have you all ever done this quick a turnaround before I don’t recall having seen it.

>> This is Lyn.  I may be here the longest of anyone at this table.  I have never seen such a paper come out so quickly, I don’t think.  Is that what the question was? 

>> Right.  I mean there’s data in there from two days ago.  When I’m wondering when is it going to come out in print?  From your memories, some of the AIDS papers came out quickly, but quickly went three or four weeks.  I have never seen anything show up two days later.

>> I think print of both of these papers is going to come out the first week of July. 

>> This is Carolyn Bridges, but I understand these version are available online to anyone, not just by subscription, anyone would have access to these papers. 

>> This is Fatimah Dawood.  I would just add to that this paper is an effort by so many people in county and state health departments as well as CDC to really make this information available as soon as possible to people. 

>> Yeah, and this is Michael Shaw.  I want to emphasize we were getting this genetic information out basically as soon as we had it.  We had the first gene segments up there in April 25 and made special arrangements at NCBI and NIH to have them released essentially as they were submitted so.  April 27th, things started to getting up on the NIH, NCBI website right away as soon as we had the data.  There was no holding back of it.

>> Operator, this is Dave.  I think that was our last call.  So I want to thank everybody for taking the time to join us today to ask questions.  We’ll plan another daily update briefing tomorrow, regular CDC press briefing.  Thanks, everyone. 

>> Thank you.  At this time, that does end this conference.  All parties may disconnect. 

End

####

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Link to transcripts:

http://www.cdc.gov/media/transcripts/2009/t090507b.htm

H1N1, Swine flu, Obama, flu shots, Baxter International, Chicago IL, pandemic, corruption, influenza A, CDC, Obama ties to Baxter, Owned stock, political contributions, generated bird flu?, Lethal Vaccine?, modeled after the 1918 flu, Chinese connection

I take the responsibility of producing articles and presenting information very seriously. Since the inception of this blog, just over a year ago, the readership has steadily grown and coupled with the fact that people have come to rely on this blog for credible information in the absence of reliable, accurate reporting from the MSM, the pressure to provide timely, credible reports has increased. There sometimes is a fine line between withholding important information and doing something that resembles crying fire in a crowded theatre. This is truly a serious responsibility.

For several months I have been receiving reports from credible sources, some, ex military officers. The reports were about coming flu pandemics and conspiracies to harm and control the American public. These reports were compelling and had more credibility in the context of the Obama camp coming to power and making rapid changes based on fear and contrived scenarios in the housing and financial markets. The question before me then was should I present this information or let the dust settle and gather more information. Today the CDC provided an update at 11:00 AM ET about the current status of the H1N1, Swine flu. Here is a sentence from the report:

“The ongoing outbreak of novel influenza A (H1N1) continues to expand in the United States. CDC expects that more cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths from this outbreak will occur over the coming days and weeks.”

CDC update

Earlier today the Citizen Wells blog reported that the Obama Administration was considering an unprecedented fall vaccination campaign of three flu shots.

Read more

After reading these updates I decided that it was time to share some of the emails I received in March 2009 along with some additional research on why I and others are concerned about any plans the Obama administration has in response to a potential flu pandemic or contrived pandemic.

Three emails that I received in March 2009:

From a retired military officer

March 10, 2009

“The one important thing you need to know now is: the Avian Bird Flu has been mixed into vaccines.  Get things you need now in event of Quarantine. Epidemic outbreaks are reason for Quarantine and Martial Law. So this could have been done accidentally or purposely.  May want to get Echinacea, lots of Vitamin C, Nano-silver to help fight. Source: www.organics4u.org.  Mainstream Media has a BLACKOUT on this ——–as of yesterday. May have lifted by now?”

 

From a long time commenter and helper

March 17, 2009

“If that wasn’t enough, I logged in on Friday March 13 to look at a few things. Knowing I was banned from posting links I tried to post an article on the page of a friend/colleague. The article came from www.naturalnews.comregarding a company named Baxter, associated with Bayer, which sent flu vaccines tainted with active bird flu (H5N1) to 18 different countries (http://www.naturalnews.com/025760.html). It was an independent Microbiology Lab in Canada that blew the whistle. A message appeared that stated I was blocked from posting links, and the next thing I knew my account was disabled.
That my account was disabled is no big deal—meeting people in person to talk about the issues is much more gratifying; civility is vital when trying to discuss controversial topics. Moreover, it’s just as easy to create a new account or join a new social networking site altogether. But the point is, even in a virtual realm, our liberties of free speech are, with every account deletion, being removed.”
From the retired military officer

March 18, 2009

“Dear Friends,   URGENT URGENT URGENT  ==== I have hesitated to release this until substantiated.  Please review ALL the information. It takes some time I know —but our lives and those of our children and our future is more than worth it. I will hold off on further e-mails until you have had time to digest and work this.  It is a matter of LIFE and DEATH.
 
This is a diabolical plan to KILL Americans and confiscate our Private Property for  China’s use. This is designed to happen soon because Americans are waking up.  All the information is here.  I just got off the phone with Dr. Carley. Contact your State Legislators immediately to get the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act rescinded in your state if it exists. Share ALL this information with them after you have gone through it and are convinced (like me).  If you can trust your US Congressman/Senator – share this information with them as well. This must be STOPPED before it begins.  I have contacted the following in Florida: Reps. Murzin, Ford, Sansom and Evers. We could use more to  get involved.  US Congressman Jeff Miller’s office.
I have had this information since Thursday of last week.  I have spent the last six days reviewing it, researching it, listening to the two doctors (Carley and Ott) involved speak about it and finished speaking last night with Dr. Ott on a radio program where he was the guest.  This is no JOKE. When I asked him if he had been threatened because of this information, he said yes and stated for the record on the program that 38 American and international microbiologists have been killed whose intentions were to divulge this diabolical Eugenics/genocidal plot.
 
This is a plot between the Power Elite and China to kill us with a Lethal Vaccine that has been modeled after the 1918 Flu (which was most likely planned as well)  but has been greatly enhanced. A record of the Vice Chairman of China’s military commission below indicates they must kill Americans on our own soil and preserve the land and air for livability. Already large containers with holes that hold about 3 bodies are being shipped into the US in the thousands. Many of the Detention Center have crematoriums as well to burn the bodies.
 
There will be a “generated” bird flu (it doesn’t normally kill humans unless tampered with to do that per Dr. Ott) pandemic which will require this  mandatory vaccine – designed to target 18-40 year olds.  An almost 10 year Genome Mapping project resulted In identifying the susceptible cells in that age group.  The thinking is that the children and the elderly will go along with a new regime.  Already, the media has been planting the bird flu pandemic possibility…………..
 
Already, the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act is in place in 39 states  (Florida and NC included) under the HHS which make Vaccines for a Pandemic mandatory.  It is a felony if one won’t take it – they go to quarantine area – Detention Camps – until they do. There is a Private Property confiscation clause both in it and in the Executive Order. All the data is below. It’s voluminous.  There are so many IN on THE FIX in all levels of government, it’s hard to know HOW we can avoid this PLOT.  I know you all are resourceful and have many contacts. Interestingly enough, the new HHS (Kansas Gov – Katherine Sebelius) is a member of the Bilderberg Group. She would oversee this operation.
 
Dr. Ott was on a program last night and I got a lot of questions answered. Dr. Carley will be on www.tsrn.us on Thursday night at 7 p.m. Central on Michelle’s show.   He was going to send me the list. We have GOT to expose this immediately.
 
I am working from my end here.  Because this plot goes all the way to the top we will need many working to break and get an investigation started and it stopped.
Part of it almost happened within the last few weeks as Baxter  (based out of Chicago and BO owns stock in this company)was found to have “mysteriously” gotten bird flu virus (the one that’s been specially made to kill) mixed up with vaccines.  Canada broke that story.  Dr. Ott stated that Baxter Headquarters is in Chicago.
 
 But it’s going to take hundreds if not more contacts because of the pervasiveness of this plot.
 
Dr. Ott says that his contacts in the Chinese Embassy (and he was there for the Olympics) tell him that Hillary Clinton did in fact deliver an eminent domain agreement in the event we did default on loans -our land would be taken.
I will send more info as I receive it.” 
 
The first email was sent March 10, 2009

Remember when you read this article that Barack Obama has long time, documented in court records, ties to crime and corruption in Chicago and Illinois including, but not limited to, Tony Rezko, Stuart Levine, Rod Blagojevich and a host of others.

Baxter International Inc. HQ in Chicago IL

March 13, 2003

“Baxter International Inc. jarred investors Thursday, disclosing that earnings will fall short in 2003 because of even poorer-than-anticipated sales of the company’s top-selling blood therapies.”

“This time, investors punished Baxter with authority. Shares fell nearly 21 percent, or $5.67 a share”

Read more

April 16, 2009

“Baxter’s first-quarter earnings surpasses Wall Street expectations”

“Baxter International Inc. increased its first-quarter profit by 20 percent experiencing robust market growth amidst a weakened global economy.”

Read more

April 25, 2009

“Baxter to work to contain Mexico flu outbreak”

“Deerfield-based medical product giant Baxter International Inc. is working with the World Health Organization on a potential vaccine to curb the spread of the swine flu outbreak in Mexico, the company confirmed today.

Baxter, which has a growing vaccine business, has worked with foreign countries in the past to develop vaccines for the H5N1 virus commonly known as bird flu. Baxter has a cell-based technology that allows the company to more rapidly produce vaccines in the event of a pandemic than a decades-old method that uses eggs to process vaccines and can take weeks or even months longer.”

Read more

April 27, 2009

“Swine flu: Baxter seeks swine flu sample to begin work on vaccine”

“Baxter confirmed over the weekend that it is working with the World Health Organization on a potential vaccine to curb the deadly swine flu virus that is blamed for scores of deaths in Mexico and has emerged as a threat in the U.S.

Shares of Baxter were up 2.4 percent, or $1.16, to $49.23 a share in trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.”

Read more

Obama and Baxter have ties to Indonesia

February 7, 2007

“Indonesia, which has had more human cases of avian flu than any other country, has stopped sending samples of the virus to the World Health Organization, apparently because it is negotiating a contract to sell the samples to an American vaccine company, a W.H.O. official said yesterday.”

“Indonesia signed a memorandum of agreement with Baxter today.”

Read more

Obama’s ties to Baxter in addition to Chicago HQ

February 22, 2005

“Less than two months after ascending to the United States Senate, Barack Obama bought more than $50,000 worth of stock in two speculative companies whose major investors included some of his biggest political donors.

One of the companies was a biotech concern that was starting to develop a drug to treat avian flu. In March 2005, two weeks after buying about $5,000 of its shares, Mr. Obama took the lead in a legislative push for more federal spending to battle the disease.”

“But he put $50,000 to $100,000 into an account at UBS, which his aides say was recommended to him by a wealthy friend, George W. Haywood, who was also a major investor in both Skyterra and AVI BioPharma, public securities filings show.”

“Within two weeks of his purchase of the biotech stock that Feb. 22, Mr. Obama initiated what he has called “one of my top priorities since arriving in the Senate,” a push to increase federal financing to fight avian flu.”

“His first step came on March 4, 2005, when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved his request for $25 million to help contain the disease in Asia; the full Senate later approved that measure. And in April 2005, he introduced a bill calling for more research on avian flu drugs and urging the government to increase its stockpiles of antiviral medicines.

Mr. Obama repeated this call in a letter that Aug. 9 to Michael O. Levitt, the health and human services secretary. And in September 2005, Mr. Obama and Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, succeeded in amending another bill to provide $3.8 billion for battling the flu.

Meanwhile, the drug company in which he invested, AVI BioPharma, had been working to develop its own medicine to treat avian flu victims. In a conference call with Wall Street analysts on March 8, 2005, the company’s chairman, Denis R. Burger, said the firm was “aggressively going forward” with its avian flu research and hoped to work with federal agencies on it.”

Read more

April 28, 2005

“Senator Obama introduces the AVIAN Act (S. 969). Senator Obama introduces the first comprehensive bill to address the threat of an avian influenza pandemic.”

Read more

Obama warns of a flu pandemic in 2005

June 6, 2005

“Grounding a Pandemic

By BARACK OBAMA and RICHARD LUGAR”

“It is essential for the international community, led by the United States, to take decisive action to prevent a pandemic.”

“So what should we do? Recently, the World Health Organization called for more money and attention to be devoted to effective preventive action, appealing for $100 million.” 

“Accelerating research into avian flu vaccines and antiviral drugs.”

“Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, is its chairman.”

Read more

Baxter International is being investigated.
Baxter International has indeed been investigated for killing people with contaminated Heparin from a Chinese supplier and sending flu viruses to labs in Europe.

We have the most corrupt person that has ever been in the White House, with ties to corruption and crime, who has hidden his past, refused to produce his long form birth certificate and habitually lied to the American public. On at least the level of corruption ties, Obama is the Manchurian Candidate of the likes of Tony Rezko and George Soros. Is Obama the Manchurian Candidate of a foreign power? I would not be surprised.

Do not overreact or underreact to this flu.

Please stay informed and ponder carefully any decision to take flu shots.


I will leave you with this parting comment:

“Veteran flu watchers all recall that in 1918, the spring wave of H1N1 was very mild. It was the second wave — cooked in the summer and fall of 1918, in the trenches of WWI — where the virus gained its ability to kill by the millions. And it was the third wave that incapacitated President Wilson (NOT a stroke, but Spanish Flu in April 1919) that allowed the punitive actions of Britain and France against aggressor Germany to move forward, and sowed the seeds for the Third Reich. That is your history lesson for today.

A swine pandemic was feared by experts long before the 1976 swine flu debacle. This is what caused the major calamity that we now call the Swine Flu Debacle.  This new strain, with its curious mixture of swine, avian and human genes, is headed for an uncertain future.  But we cannot simply assume that a lack of mortality or lethality is necessarily good news in the long run.”

Read more

Obama, swine flu, H1N1 virus, CDC, United States, 1918 H1N1, Germany latest country, US scientists race to prepare a vaccine against new strain of flu

From ABC News, Friday, May 1, 2009:

“Overreaction? Will Swine Flu Become a Run-of-the-Mill Outbreak?

More Schools Continue to Close, Even if They Don’t Have Confirmed Cases of Flu”

“President Obama said today that while the United States is still preparing for the worst in the wake of the swine flu scare, the outbreak could end up falling short of a pandemic and run its course just “like ordinary flus” that pass through the country every winter.

“I’m optimistic that we’re going to be able to manage this effectively,” Obama said.

“We don’t know for certain that this will end up being more severe than other flus,” he said. “It may turn out that H1N1 runs its course like ordinary flus.”

The head of the CDC’s influenza division Dr. Nancy Cox, said today that preliminary research suggests that the make up of this current virus is lacking some key components of the 1918 flu pandemic that killed between 30-50 million people and to which the new strain has recently been compared.

“What we have found by looking very carefully at the sequence of the new H1N1 virus is that we’re not seeing the markers for virulence that we saw in 1918 virus,” she said. But she added that scientists still may not know all they need to know about the 1918 H1N1 strain and are “continuing to look for virulence markers.”

Dr. Julie Gerberding, former head of the CDC, said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that we “have to be careful not to over-rely on that kind of information because these flu viruses always evolve.”

“Officials still remain cautious about the outbreak. Friday afternoon a United Airlines flight from Germany to Washington D.C. was diverted to Boston after a passenger complained of flu-like symptoms.

Meanwhile, as more schools across the United States close in response to the swine flu outbreak, some estimate that a quarter of a million schoolchildren were out of school this morning.”

The CDC reports a total of 141 cases and one confirmed death in the United States, with more flu cases likely to come as state and federal health officials analyze samples.

 

The latest state to join the list of state-confirmed cases as of this afternoon was Florida, where Gov. Charlie Crist said two cases of swine flu — an 11-year-old boy and the 17-year-old girl in different counties — had been verified.

On Friday, Germany became the latest country to report a swine flu infection. A total of 11 countries now have at least one case, and the number of confirmed cases is 331, according to the World Health Organization, up from 257 Thursday.

U.S. authorities have promised to produce enough swine flu vaccine for the country, but the it won’t be available until fall at the earliest.”

“U.S. Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Craig Vanderwagen told lawmakers that it would take several months before pilot tests on humans could ensure that any vaccine would be safe and effective against the flu. Assuming that everything goes well, mass production of the vaccine could begin in the fall.

“We think 600 million doses is achievable in a six-month time frame” from that fall start, he said, adding, “I don’t want anybody to have false expectations. The science is challenging here.”

Until then, the government has stockpiled anti-viral medicines to help ease symptoms of the flu and prevent further infection. So far, the medications are said to have worked effectively.

In the midst of concerns that the current outbreak could resurface as a new flu strain in the fall, U.S. authorities are now shipping millions of doses of anti-flu drugs to all states.”

“Did an Obama Staffer Bring the Virus to the U.S.?

The Obama administration may have had a brush with the swine flu outbreak after a member of the White House advance team on Obama’s recent trip to Mexico apparently came down with the disease.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the staff member, whom he did not identify, began to feel ill April 16 after he accompanied Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to Mexico in advance of Obama’s arrival. Two days later, Gibbs said the staff member returned to the United States on a United Airlines flight to Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C.

On April 28, the individual’s wife, son and nephew tested positive for H1N1, Gibbs said, adding that samples had been sent to the CDC to determine if it is the same strain of H1N1 that now threatens to spark a global pandemic.”

“The first death from swine flu in the United States occurred Wednesday, when a 22-month-old baby boy in Texas died.

The worst hit state so far is New York, with 51 confirmed cases.”

“Swine Flu Ground Zero

With the flu spreading quickly in the United States and across the globe, the actions of Mexican health officials are under the microscope. Many health experts question whether the government has done enough to contain the flu.

Oscar Barrera, who was diagnosed with the flu Monday and prescribed Tamiflu, said he was sent home by medical officials and simply told to keep away from other people.

Barrera claimed that health officials did not test his pregnant wife and three-year-old son, or anyone in the cell phone shop where he worked, for the flu.

“What worries me most is if the officials don’t do enough to protect my family,” Barrera told ABC News.

According to Mexico’s health ministry, there now have been 12 confirmed deaths of the swine flu in Mexico, but roughly 176 deaths are suspected of having been caused by the virus. There are nearly 3,000 suspected cases.”

Read more:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/SwineFlu/story?id=7477216&page=1