HEALTH

CDC: H1N1 surges on through the spring, possibly summer

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The novel H1N1 virus still is proliferating, even this late into the spring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday during a press conference.

“As the summer is approaching, influenza season has normally ended by now. However, the novel H1N1 influenza transmission continues in the United States,” said Daniel Jernigan, deputy director of the influenza division at the CDC. “There are two areas of the country that continue to see increased numbers of patients in the clinic with influenza-like illness, [and] both of those are in the northeast part of the United States.”

Although, overall, there continues to be influenza activity reported in 17 states.

“The United States will likely continue to see influenza activity through the summer, and at this point, we’re anticipating that we will see the novel H1N1 continue with activity probably all the way into our flu season in the fall and winter,” Jernigan said. “There is a potential for this fall that we might have multiple sub-types circulating,” he added, especially as the novel virus circulates through a typical flu season across the southern hemisphere. “In the past with pandemic strains, [there] has been a replacement [virus],” he said, such as the pandemics in 1918, 1957 and 1968. “But right now, we don’t have enough information to say that there is a replacement occurring. And at this point, we are expecting — at least planning — that there will be multiple sub-types that are circulating at the same time this fall.”

As of Friday, the CDC reported 21,449 confirmed cases throughout the states and United States territories, up some 20.2% from the number of confirmed cases reported last week, including 87 deaths. New York leads the nation with the number of deaths at 24, followed by Texas with 10.

“There are some surveys that indicate that the amount of disease in the areas that are having activity with H1N1 is perhaps around 7% of the population reporting symptoms due to influenza-like illness,” Jernigan reported, so the number of confirmed cases may still be significantly under-representative of the actual number of patients who have contracted the novel H1N1 virus. “The virus continues to impact mostly younger people. So far it is not causing significant illness and death in the elderly like we would see with seasonal influenza. And the symptoms that are being reported are consistent with influenza, [those] being predominantly fever, cough, some shortness of breath, fatigue and chills,” Jernigan said, as well as some vomiting and diarrhea.

In addition, some 81 healthcare professionals also have tested positive for the novel H1N1 virus, so far. The CDC successfully tracked 26 of those professionals prior to May 13, and determined that roughly half of them contracted the virus at their workplace.

“[One] point that’s made in this report is related to the infection control measures that are used to prevent exposure of healthcare personnel to influenza,” commented Mike Bell, associate director for infection control at the CDC. “Probably the single most important thing is that infectious patients be identified at the front door. Whether these patients are coming in through the emergency department or the ambulatory care clinic, identifying them up front is essential so healthcare personnel know that they should be doing the things that we recommend; that consistent application of precautions is important to make sure that there isn’t occupational exposure.”

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Schering-Plough teams up wih Tekscan

BY Michael Johnsen

BOSTON Schering-Plough Health Care Products and Tekscan on Thursday announced their partnership to develop a revolutionary new kiosk designed to assess a customer’s feet and recommend the optimal Dr. Scholl’s Custom Fit Orthotic.

The consumer steps up to the kiosk and onto the sensing platform and, within seconds, receives a Dr. Scholl’s Custom Fit Orthotic recommendation based on his or her foot pressure pattern, arch type and foot length. The orthotic, designed with special cushioning and support layers, offloads high-pressure areas with support and comfort in mind.

The Dr. Scholl’s Custom Fit Orthotics system uses the patented science of Tekscan’s pressure-sensing technology along with sophisticated algorithms to recommend a perfect fit.

Dr. Scholl’s Custom Fit Orthotic Kiosks can be found in Meijer, Kroger, CVS, Walmart and Walgreens retail stores in select markets, with further expansion planned.

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Bhelliom Energy Products releases new energy shot

BY Michael Johnsen

BOCA RATON, Fla. Bhelliom Energy Products on Wednesday released into the market a 2 oz. Mr Energy 8-HR Energy Shot, which includes a blend of energy berries acai, noni, goji and pomegranate.

“The acai berry is currently enjoying worldwide recognition not only as an antioxidant, but also as an energy supplement,” stated Casey McCarthy, Bhelliom president. “Acai berry’s other significant nutrients include amino acids, vitamins and trace minerals, in addition to a variety of phytonutrients.”

Goji berry has been used as a tonic by herbalists to provide a sense of well-being, McCarthy added, and noni is known among herbalists as a tonic associated with greater energy levels, as well as a powerful immune system builder.

The new energy shot is packaged in a resealable 2 oz. bottle and retails for a suggested $3.49.

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