H1N1 UPDATE – MAY 18, 2009

The World Health Organization Health Assembly began today and will go through Friday, five days less than normally held because health ministers are monitoring H1N1 outbreaks in their own countries. 

As of Sunday, 8,480 persons have been ill from the virus in approximately forty countries.  Seventy-five deaths have resulted so far, most in Mexico.  Chile announced its first case Sunday.  Japan’s Health Minister confirmed more than 120 definite cases today. 

There have been 6 deaths in the United States: 3 in Texas, 1 each in Washington and Arizona. In New York City, a beloved Assistant Principal died last night.  He had had symptoms of the virus for a week before his school was closed last Thursday.  He was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator.  It is suspected that the virus, as well as complications all played a part in his death.

The World Health Organization’s main focus will be combating the outbreak of the virus as well as holding discussions on developing a vaccine.  In Southern Hemisphere countries, the annual flu season will soon begin.  If a new vaccine is to be developed for the H1N1 strain, production for seasonal flu would be switched to production for the H1N1 virus vaccine.

In the U.S., we are not hearing of as many cases, and school closings have slowed down.

However, we must remain alert to the symptoms of many types of flu:

  • High fever
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If symptoms persist, see your doctor, stay away from others, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol sanitizers.

Source: AP