Pandemic Update – October 17, 2009

There have been over 5,342 reported deaths due to the new H1N1 virus. Many countries have ceased reporting their deaths, so the actual figure is likely much higher.

In the United States, some cities and states have stopped reporting their H1N1 deaths, but others continue to provide this information. There have been over 1,000 lab-confirmed H1N1 deaths in the United States, thus far. Since the schools opened, the number of children who have died of pandemic flu has skyrocketed, to well over 100. There are anecdotal reports suggesting that more adults are starting to become infected. Outbreaks are unevenly distributed across the US. Regions where schools opened early are particularly hit hard. In some cities, ICUs are already full. Except in a few cases, most of the US stockpile of Tamiflu has not been released to the general public. People are having increasing difficulty in obtaining this medication, especially the children’s liquid.

Deaths continue to be reported in some South American countries: 153  in Peru; 111 in Colombia and 91 in Venezuela.

In Europe, deaths have started to increase in numbers in the United Kingdom. There are now at least 106 dead in the UK. 45 are reported dead in Spain. Some reports suggest a cover up of some deaths at the local level. 32 have reportedly died in France, although most of these deaths are in its Overseas Departments. There is controversy over whether or not there have been deaths in Russia. One prominent virologist suggests that a cover up of the severity of the pandemic in Russia is ongoing.

In Asia, some countries have simply stopped reporting their deaths: these include Indonesia, Malaysia and the Phillipines. China has reported two deaths on the Mainland, one in Tibet and the other in Xinjiang. The lack of reports of any deaths in the populous cities on the Eastern Seaboard is not credible. India now reports at least 405 deaths.

There is increasingly good evidence that the new H1N1 virus is far more lethal than seasonal flu. The lung pathology of patients reminds investigators of H5N1. There have been a number of suggestions that there may be multiple strains of the new H1N1, some of which are more severe than others.

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