HEALTH

CDC confirms second death from swine flu

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday morning confirmed a second death attributed to the H1N1 virus out of the state of Texas. The total number of confirmed cases now stands at 642 across 41 states.

The second death was a 33-year-old pregnant schoolteacher with chronic underlying health problems, according to published reports, though no detail was shed on what those health problems might be.

While the total number of cases currently stands at 642, there may be more than 450 additional cases CDC acting director Richard Besser reported Tuesday during a news conference. “We expect that as we get these test kits out to state labs and as they get up to speed from some of the backlog they’ve had on testing will go away and we’ll see a big bump in the number of cases,” he said. “That doesn’t reflect transmission as much as it reflects we’re catching up with the testing.”

So far, the median age of confirmed cases is 16 years, ranging from 3 months to 81 years old, however, 62% of cases so far have been in patients less than 18-years-old. There have been 35 known hospitalizations as of Tuesday, with one death. The second death occurred Tuesday evening.

“We are seeing and expect to continue to see virus transmissions both around the United States and around the globe,” Besser said.  “And given what we know from seasonal flu, we would expect that we would continue to see additional hospitalizations and it’s likely we would see additional deaths.”

And while the number of increasing cases may be alarming, the CDC has a better handle on how virulent the virus may be, prompting the agency to rescind its advisory that schools should close for a two-week period if any student or teacher is diagnosed with H1N1 influenza.

“We have some information about the virus that shows it does not contain some of the factors that are associated or were associated with previous pandemics,” Besser said. “We continue to gain information about severity in this country.And what we’re seeing is severity that mirrors what we’ve tended to see with seasonal flu.”

Looking forward, tracking of the virus will now move to the southern hemisphere, which is entering its influenza season.

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FDA targets marketer that claims its products treat swine flu

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Monday targeted ReBuilder Medical Technologies as a renegade marketer pitching its $199 “SilverCure Swine Flu Protection Pack,” that includes shampoo, lotion, conditioner and soap that supposedly deposit traces of silver according to published reports, as a product indicated for the prevention or treatment of the new H1N1 influenza virus known as the “swine flu.”

“Once included, all websites and products will remain listed,” the FDA stated. “After FDA has verified that the products or the objectionable claims related to the 2009 H1N1 Flu Virus have been removed from the web site, this information will be added to the list.”

ReBuilder Medical is attempting to capitalize on its increased web traffic with a message for browsers: “Note: Sorry, ReBuilder Medical does not sell flu products. Reporter’s mistake. Not one of the “20 sites”, but as long as you are here, please read.” In its place, ReBuilder is pitching its ReBuilder Electronic Neuromuscular Stimulator, a device that delivers small electrical shocks for pain relief.

However, a Google search for “SilverCure swine flu,” generates the URL http://www.rebuildermedical.com/outbreak/, which at one time contained the following copy: “One oz. jar of SilverCure to swab into your nose with a fresh Q-tip to coat … Because the Swine flu virus is airborne, it may settle on your hair and then ….”

That site now features the message: “This market test has voluntarily ended.”

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Study: GanedenBC30 boosts the immune system

BY Michael Johnsen

CLEVELAND, Ohio A new study in the current issue of Postgraduate Medicine suggests that a specific strain of probiotics, Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, PTA-6086, increases the body’s immune response to the flu virus, Ganeden Biotech announced Tuesday.

“These results demonstrate the ability of GanedenBC30 to boost the immune system of healthy adults against viruses that cause some of the most common human illnesses,” stated Mira Baron, author of the study. “The study … adds to the emerging body of evidence that probiotics can benefit healthy people as well as those with specific health issues.”

Study data showed significant increases in T-cell production of TNF-alpha, a key immune marker, versus control upon exposure to influenza A in healthy adults who consumed a daily capsule of Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, PTA-6086 for 30 days.

The study did not evaluate the immune response to the H1N1 influenza virus, otherwise known as the swine flu, Ganeden noted.

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