Pandemic Update – August 23, 2009

There have been over 2,600 deaths due to the new H1N1 virus.

There have been at least 522 deaths in the United States. Of special note, 30 cases have recently been reported in Puerto Rico. Most states have reported declining numbers of cases of infection, presumably due to the summer vacation. Schools have begun to open in the US. Local upsurges in influenza activity have been reported in cities where schools have opened.

The number of deaths in Brazil has increase to over 488. Most of these deaths have occurred in São Paulo, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul. There are anecdotal reports of many new infections with severe symptoms in Brazil. 439 deaths have been reported in Argentina. There are likely many more than yet to be reported by the government. 128 deaths have been reported in Chile.

It is increasingly difficult to determine what is happening in Australia and New Zealand. ICUs in some regions appear to be full. It is not clear what sorts of decisions are being made about who is to receive access to ventilators or whether there have been deaths among flu patients or other patients due to lack of access to advanced medical care.

In Asia, the focus of attention has been on India. 67 deaths have now been reported. The city of Pune has been closed. Japan now reports 3 dead. However, the CFR there is quite low. This has been attributed by some medical authorities there to prompt use of Tamiflu.

In the Africa region, 5 deaths have been reported in Mauritius. With only 40 reported cases, this represents a very high CFR. Schools in Mauritius have been closed. 8 deaths have been reported in South Africa where cases of new infections continue to increase.

Although there has been much discussion of the availability of vaccine, in the US, and likely other countries, the first available vaccine is now not expected until the end of October. Most vaccine will likely not be available until December 2009 or January of 2010.

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