HEALTH

Swine flu inaccurate moniker; CDC identifies 3 strains in H1N1 virus

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization renamed what had become known as the “swine flu” to H1N1 in part because sequencing results of the virus was found to contain genetic reassortment of three viruses which have been circulating in pigs in Europe, Asia and America since 1998.

The new information suggests that the progenitor virus strain was a virus circulating in swine and has evolved in humans through gradual mutations over a 10-12 year span, and has avian and human components.

The new information also provides other insight into influenza virus strains, such as the fact that influenza viruses, whether in humans or among animals, are constantly evolving genetically, along with changes in their ability to cause morbidity and mortality in humans or animals. These changes may be gradual or very rapid.

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FDA, FTC take action against fradulent ads of products for swine flu

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission have taken action against Web sites that advertise fraudulent products for the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, popularly known as swine flu.

The two agencies urged the public Friday to be wary of Web sites and other promotions for products that claim to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure the virus and advising companies that operate the Web sites that they must take prompt action to correct or remove promotions of the products lest they face enforcement action.

“Consumers who purchase products to treat the novel 2009 H1N1 virus that are not approved, cleared or authorized by the FDA for the treatment or prevention of influenza risk their health and the health of their families,” FDA acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs Michael Chappell said in a statement. “In conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission, the FDA has developed an aggressive strategy to identify, investigate and take regulatory or criminal action against individuals and businesses that wrongfully promote purported 2009 H1N1 influenza products in an attempt to take advantage of the current flu public health emergency.”

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HHS releases television, radio PSAs on swine flu

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday announced the availability of television and radio public service announcements on steps people can take against 2009 H1N1 influenza, also known as the swine flu.

The TV PSA, a 60-second spot featuring Acting Surgeon General Steven Galson, will be satellite fed 2 p.m. on Friday. The feed will be handled by the National Association of Broadcasters.

The NAB has posted a broadcast quality download at this site: https://download.yousendit.com/WnBSMFhqQ0M5RlpMWEE9PQ.

Three 30-second radio PSAs in English and another three in Spanish are available for download at a site hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The spots are in MP3 format and are accompanied by matching live-read scripts.

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