WHO to stop disclosing global tables of confirmed H1N1 cases; will continue to document pandemic
GENEVA The World Health Organization announced on Thursday it would no longer provide the global tables showing the numbers of confirmed cases for all countries. However, as part of continued efforts to document the global spread of the H1N1 pandemic, regular updates will be provided describing the situation in the newly affected countries.
“At this point, further spread of the pandemic, within affected countries and to new countries, is considered inevitable,” WHO stated. “The 2009 influenza pandemic has spread internationally with unprecedented speed. In past pandemics, influenza viruses have needed more than six months to spread as widely as the new H1N1 virus has spread in less than six weeks,” making it extremely difficult for countries to try and confirm novel H1N1 infections through laboratory testing.
The novel H1N1 pandemic has been characterized, to date, by the mildness of symptoms in the overwhelming majority of patients, who usually recover, even without medical treatment, within a week of the onset of symptoms, WHO stated. But countries still need to be on guard for signals indicating a more virulent, or more deadly strain, such as spikes in rates of absenteeism from schools or workplaces or a surge in emergency department visits.
Survey finds majority of Americans anticipate H1N1 outbreak during upcoming flu season
BOSTON Approximately 6-in-10 Americans believe it is very or somewhat likely that there will be widespread cases of novel H1N1, with people getting very sick this coming fall or winter, according to a survey released Thursday.
Parents are more likely than people without children to believe this will occur, with 65% of parents saying it is very or somewhat likely, compared with 56% of people without children.
“These results suggest Americans are likely to support public health officials in prioritizing preparations for the possibility of a serious H1N1 outbreak in the fall or winter,” stated Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health, the organization which conducted the surveys.
Despite a majority believing that a serious outbreak is likely, more than half of Americans (61%) are not concerned about their personal risk — that is, that they or their family members will get sick from novel H1N1 in the next year. This level is unchanged since the previous poll conducted from May 5 to 6. The current survey further suggests that the World Health Organization’s decision to raise the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6 did not dramatically impact Americans’ level of concern about their personal risk. Only 22% of Americans knew that the WHO had raised the level, and only 8% of Americans said it made them more concerned that they or their family would get novel H1N1 in the next 12 months.
One approach that has been used in the recent outbreak as a means to slow the spread of novel H1N1 is the closing of schools. In this survey, substantial numbers of parents who have children in school or daycare report that two-week closings in the fall would present serious financial problems for them. About half (51%) of these parents report that if schools/daycares closed for two weeks, they or someone else in their household would likely have to miss work in order to care for the children. Forty-three percent of these parents report that they or someone in their household would likely lose pay or income and have money problems; 26% of these parents report that they or someone in their household would likely lose their job or business as a result of having to stay home in order to care for the children.
The situation is likely to be worse for minority parents. More African American and Hispanic parents of children in school/daycare indicate that they are likely to lose pay or income and have money problems (56% and 64% respectively), as compared to Caucasian respondents (34%). And, more African American and Hispanic parents of children in school/daycare report that they or someone in their household would likely lose their job or business (40% and 49% respectively), as compared with Caucasians (14%).
If the outbreak in the fall or winter is serious and leads to large-scale workforce absenteeism, the survey suggests the possibility of substantial difficulties for many people and the economy as a whole. If people had to stay home for seven to 10 days because they were sick or because they had to care for a family member who was sick, 44% indicate that they would be likely to lose pay or income and have money problems, and 25% reported that they would be likely to lose their job or business.
“The findings highlight the important role that employers would play during a future outbreak. Flexibility in their employee policies may help minimize some of the problems identified in this survey,” Blendon said.
Reese introduces OneTabT dose Cold and Flu Products
CLEVELAND, OHIO Reese Pharmaceutical Co. announced the launch of its OneTabT line with three new OTC dye-free, cold and flu relief tablet products.
In exchange for the two-tablets dosage from the national brands and store-brand equivalents, Reese is providing consumers with a convenient one-tablet dosage, without altering the active ingredients.
OneTabT is available for the same price as competitive national brands but comes with six additional tablets and provides customers with 30 doses per package, compared with the 12 doses from national brands thanks to OneTabT’s easy one-tablet dosages.
Individual product offerings are available to help stop cold and flu, allergy and sinus as well as congestion and cough.