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Vaccine Basics: Take This Great On-Line Class To Learn Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Vaccines


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The new WHO pandemic update #76 is out and notes that worldwide more than 207 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009. The illness remains relatively mild worldwide however there are now over 7820 deaths attributed to the pandemic virus.

Northern Hemisphere

In temperate regions* of the northern hemisphere, the early arriving winter influenza season continues to be intense across parts of North America and much of Europe.

  • In North America, the Caribbean islands and a limited number of European countries there are signs that disease activity peaked.
    • In the United States and Canada, influenza transmission remains very active and geographically widespread.
    • In the United States, disease activity appears to have peaked in all areas of the country.
    • In Canada, influenza activity remains similar but number of hospitalizations and deaths is increasing.
    • Most countries in the Caribbean have ILI and SARI** levels coming down.
  • In Europe, widespread and increasing transmission of pandemic influenza virus was observed across much of the continent and most countries that were not yet experiencing elevated ILI activity in the last few weeks, have seen a rapid increase in ILI.
    • Very high activity is seen in Sweden, Norway, Moldova and Italy. Over 99% of subtyped influenza A viruses in Europe were pandemic H1N1 2009.
    • Impact on health care services is severe in Albania and Moldova. Some countries seem to have peaked already: Belgium, Bulgaria, Belarus, Ireland, Luxemburg, Norway, Serbia, Ukraine and Iceland.
  • In East Asia, influenza transmission remains active.
    • Intense influenza activity continues to be observed in Mongolia but has peaked already.
    • In Japan, influenza activity remains stably elevated, but may be decreasing slightly in populated urban areas.
    • ILI activity in India and Nepal and Sri Lanka has increased.

Tropical Zones

  • In the tropical zone of the Americas and Asia, influenza transmission remains variable but low in many countries.
    • In the tropical areas of Central and South America, most countries continue to report declining influenza activity, with the exception of Ecuador and Venezuela.

Southern Hemisphere

In the temperate region of the southern hemisphere, little pandemic influenza activity has been reported.

*Countries in temperate regions are defined as those north of the Tropic of Cancer or south of the Tropic of Capricorn, while countries in tropical regions are defined as those between these two latitudes.
**Abbreviations: influenza-like-illness (ILI), acute respiratory infection (ARI), and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI)


One of my favorite blogs is The Virology Blog – everything you wanted to know about viruses and viral disease.  The blogger is Vincent Racaniello, a professor at Columbia University.  If you haven’t been there, it is well worth your time.  He posted a great lecture yesterday on Vaccine Basics.  He uses the poliovirus and influenza virus vaccines to illustrate general principles of immunization.  You can click on the link below to go directly to the blog and view the presentation or you may download it.

Download ‘Vaccines’ video.

67 MB .mov video file

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