US CHAMBER GUIDE “IT’S NOT FLU AS USUAL: AN H1N1 BUSINESS PREPAREDNESS GUIDE”
On September 18, 2009, the U.S. Chamber released “It’s Not Flu as Usual,” which is an H1N1 preparedness guide written for businesses of all sizes. This guidance is intended to provide recommendations on how businesses can:
- Prepare for the next wave of H1N1 flu, which may be more severe, in order to maintain business continuity.
- Protect employees’ health.
- Cut through the maze of public information to focus on essential action steps.
The guide can be obtained online by clicking on:
FIRST H1N1 (SWINE FLU) VACCINE AVAILABLE EARLY OCTOBER AND WHO ANNOUNCES SWINE FLU VACCINE PRODUCTION TO FALL SHORT
More than three million doses of H!N1 vaccine will be available by the first week of October, a little earlier than had been anticipated. However, nearly all those 3.4 million doses will be of the FluMist nasal spray type, a live attenuated vaccine which is not recommended for pregnant women, people over 50 or those with asthma, heart disease or several other problems. Even so, it will still be possible to vaccinate people in other high-risk groups: health care workers, people caring for infants and healthy young people.
Flu Mist, is a nasal spray that gives a stronger immune reaction but carries a small risk that the virus will multiply too quickly in people with compromised immunity. The normal side effects of FluMist include fever, headache, muscle aches, runny nose, vomiting and wheezing. These side effects, of course, mimic the flu, leading to the rumor that flu vaccines cause the illness. There is now “widespread” flu activity in 21 states, up from 11 a week ago, and virtually all the samples tested are the new swine flu.
Global production of swine flu vaccines will be “substantially less” than the previous maximum forecast of 94 million doses a week, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced September 18. 2009. The number of doses produced in a year will therefore fall short of the 4.9 billion doses the global health body previously hoped could be available for the pandemic.
The United States joined eight other countries when they announced Thursday that they will share part of their vaccine supply with poorer countries. WHO welcomed the move Friday, saying it “demonstrates the commitment of these countries to fairness in sharing of scare resources.” WHO says that in theory all the world’s 6.3 billion people should receive at least one dose of vaccine against the pandemic strain of H1N1 — also known as swine flu — to ensure comprehensive protection against the disease, which has so far killed over 3,400 people.
WHO GLOBAL STATUS REPORT
- In the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, influenza activity remains widely variable. In North America, the United States is reporting increases in influenza-like-illness activity above the seasonal baseline, most notably in the southern, southeastern, and parts of the northeastern United States.
- In Canada, influenza activity remains low.
- In Europe and Central Asia influenza activity remains low overall, except in France, which is reporting increases in influenza-like-illness activity (for week 37) above the seasonal epidemic threshold. Geographically localized influenza activity is being reported in several countries (Austria, Georgia, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, and Israel). In Japan, influenza activity remains stably increased above the seasonal epidemic threshold with the most notable increases being reported on the southern island of Okinawa.
- In the tropical regions of the Americas and Asia, influenza transmission remains active. Geographically regional to widespread influenza activity continues to be reported throughout much of South and Southeast Asia, with increasing trends in respiratory diseases being reported in India and Bangladesh. Geographically regional to widespread influenza activity continues to be reported for the tropical regions of Central and South America without a consistent pattern in the trend of respiratory diseases (continued increases are being reported in Bolivia and Venezuela).
- In the temperate regions* of the southern hemisphere, influenza activity continues to decrease or has returned to the seasonal baseline in most countries. In Australia, later affected areas are also now reporting declining levels of influenza-like-illness. In South Africa, influenza activity appears to have recently passed over the second peak (the first peak was due to seasonal influenza A (H3N2) and second peak was due to pandemic (H1N1) 2009).