(CBS News) The national flu epidemic is getting worse by the day: On Wednesday, Boston — with a population of at least 600,000 — declared a public health emergency after the virus killed more than a dozen people.
At least three more states — Montana, South Dakota and Arizona — are now reporting widespread flu, bringing the total to 44 states. And the CDC says the percentage of people going to the hospital for treatment of flu symptoms has doubled in the past month.
The emergency in Boston was declared after confirmed cases of flu reached 700. There were just 70 at this time last year. Across the state, 18 patients have died.
“In the last two weeks alone we’ve doubled our number,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “So, if we continue at this rate to see new cases, we’ll have an explosion of flu in the city of Boston. We really need to get ahead of it at this point in time.”
Americans are battling a severe bout of flu that has arrived earlier than expected, leaving many pharmacy shelves and clinics lacking flu vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control each year monitor flu strains around the world to determine which will circulate in the United States. This year’s vaccine targets three strains: two strains of Influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2), one of Influenza B, according to the CDC.
But local doctors are seeing a sizeable number of patients with influenza-like illnesses, or ILI, who have received flu shots.
“The flu vaccine is not 100 percent effective, it’s about 60 to 70 percent effective for healthy individuals and even less effective for elderly people or people with low immune systems,” said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner.
Here we go again as the government is recommending vaccinations for all! Well this is a party I personally will not be attending!
Panel recommends annual flu vaccinations for all
By MIKE STOBBE
The Associated Press
Wednesday, February 24, 2010; 8:52 PM
ATLANTA — A government panel is now recommending that virtually all Americans get a flu shot each year, starting this fall.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices had gradually been expanding its recommendation for flu shots – 85 percent of Americans were already included.
On Wednesday, the panel voted to recommend a seasonal flu vaccination for everyone except babies younger than 6 months and those with egg allergies or other unusual conditions.
The panel’s recommendation now goes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC usually follows the panel’s advice and spreads the message to doctors and hospitals across the country.
“Now no one should say ‘Should I or shouldn’t I?’” said Dr. Anthony Fiore, a CDC flu specialist.
CDC vaccination recommendations tend to be influential with the doctors who give the shots and the health insurers who pay for them.
Flu shots are already recommended for 85 percent of the U.S. public, including pregnant women, children older than 6 months, adults 50 and older, people with certain chronic health conditions, health care workers and those who take care of people in a recommended group. The only people who weren’t specifically included were healthy people ages 19 to 49 who don’t have close contact with anyone at risk of flu and its complications.
But only about 33 percent of Americans actually get a flu shot, and unusually millions and millions of doses get thrown away annually.
The swine flu pandemic that hit last year caused a new momentum for flu vaccinations. Virtually all the 114 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine doses made were distributed, and more young adults and children got the swine flu vaccine than usually come out for seasonal flu.
The panel voted 11 to 0 – with one abstention – for the recommendation, prompting a short round of applause in the CDC auditorium where the meeting was held. Some public health experts and physicians had been pushing for a universal flu vaccination recommendation for more than 10 years.
Also on Wednesday, the panel gave its nod to a proposed formulation of next year’s seasonal flu vaccine. The vaccine will be built to protect against three strains of flu scientists think will be circulating next fall and winter. Swine flu is to be one of the strains incorporated into the vaccine.
At past meetings, the panel stopped short of recommending flu shots for everyone. Panel members were mindful of a history of temporary flu vaccine shortages in the United States. They worried a universal recommendation might cause demand to far surpass supply and endanger those at the highest risk of life-threatening flu complications.
“Yet every year we wasted millions and millions of doses,” said Dr. Gregory Poland, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases expert who for years has passionately pushed the panel to recommend flu shots for all.
The swine flu vaccine campaign appears to be ending the same way. Doses were scarce when the swine flu vaccine first became available in early October, but now roughly 90 million people have been vaccinated, demand is dying and millions of doses are unused.
Swine flu provided another argument for universal vaccination. The new virus proved to be unusually dangerous to young adults, and also took a surprising toll on Native Americans and obese people. Many of those hospitalized and killed by swine flu were not in groups previously recommended for annual flu shots, and that fact was another reason to expand the vaccination recommendation, experts said.
There are a few exceptions to the universal recommendation. Children under 6 months of age, who have undeveloped immune systems, will continue to be exempt. So too will people who have egg allergies (the vaccine is made using eggs) and those who have had certain severe reactions to flu shots in the past.
The panel also decided that elderly people can consider a new, revved-up version of the seasonal flu shot. It’s a Sanofi Pasteur vaccine for adults 65 and older.
In years when the flu shot is well matched to circulating flu viruses, vaccine is 70 to 90 percent effective in people younger than 65, the CDC estimates. But it tends to be only 30 to 70 percent effective in those who are older because they generally have weakened immune systems.
The Sanofi vaccine – called Fluzone High-Dose – has four times as much immunity-building antibodies as a standard dose. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine in December, and it should be available for the 2010-2011 flu season. It would cost about $25 a shot, or about twice the standard version.
The panel did not state a preference for the vaccine, however. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine through an accelerated process, and Sanofi is to do further studies to show the shot reduces flu illnesses.
I urge everyone to think carefully about vaccinations. The premise is that you can stop specific germs from making you sick. This could not be further from the truth! It is how well the environment within your body is doing. We all have germs of all kinds, what keeps them at bay is how healthy that environment is!
Yet another blow to the entire Flu vaccination scandal! WHO scientists suspected of taking bribes from the drug companies.
SHOTS HEARD ‘ROUND THE WORLD
Swine-flu bribe fever!
U.N.’s H1N1 scientists linked to companies making vaccine
Posted: December 07, 2009
9:53 pm Eastern
By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
World Health Organization scientists are suspected of accepting secret bribes from vaccine manufacturers
to influence the U.N. organization’s H1N1 pandemic declaration, according to Danish and Swedish newspapers.
Meanwhile, pharmaceutical profits from swine-flu related drugs have soared – with earnings between $10 billion and $15 billion in 2009, investment bank JP Morgan estimates.
As WND reported, the WHO Director General Margaret Chan initially raised the influenza pandemic alert to its second highest level in May – but evidence reveals the agency may have made it easier to classify the flu outbreak as a pandemic by changing its definition to omit “enormous numbers of deaths and illness” just prior to making its declaration.
The world was gripped with fears of swine flu as the alert increased from Phase 5 to Phase 6, the highest level. Immediately, pharmaceutical companies began working to develop vaccines, and countries tailored their responses to address the situation.
Danish newspaper Information reported that when Chan raised the level of pandemic alert on June 11, the declaration meant substantial economic benefits for the pharmaceutical industry – especially since many countries have contracts with major drug companies and are required to purchase vaccines in the event of a pandemic. Swedish newspaper SvD echoed Information’s report.
“Many of the apparently impartial researchers the WHO uses, however, are paid by the companies that produce vaccines,” states a translated version of the Information article, “Strong lobbying behind WHO resolution on mass vaccination.”
One expert in a WHO H1N1 advisory group, Dr. Albert Osterhaus, has been subject to a Dutch government investigation. The government convened a crisis meeting after an article in Science magazine indicated that Osterhaus has financial interests in several pharmaceutical companies.
Osterhaus, known as “Dr. Flu,” is the head of the department of virology at the Erasmus MC, University of Rotterdam. According to a European Commission Research website, Osterhaus is co-founder of two biotech companies and promotes vaccines as solutions for pandemics.
Another expert who advises WHO on vaccines, Dr. Frederick Hayden, is described as a flu-research coordinator from the Wellcome Trust in London.
However, according to the report, Hayden also serves as a “paid adviser” for pharmaceutical companies Roche, RW Johnson, SmithKline Beecham and Glaxo Wellcome.
WHO expert Dr. Arnold Monto is also purportedly a paid consultant for MedImmune (a company that produces nasal flu vaccine), Glaxo Wellcome and ViroPharma. However, WHO’s Strategize Advisory Group of Experts, or SAGE, never divulged those ties, according to the report.
The newspaper also states that numerous pharmaceutical companies maintain an active presence during WHO advisory group meetings, with representatives listed as “observers.”
Professor Tom Jefferson, epidemiologist at the Cochrane Center in Rome, told Information he believes the researchers’ dual roles are problematic, and he noted the WHO’s emphasis on drugs rather than proper hygiene habits.
“The WHO’s latest recommendation on the control of pandemic influenza has frequent washing of hands mentioned twice,” he said. “Vaccines and antivirals are, however, mentioned 24 and 18 times. Why would an international public health agency focus on much more expensive interventions, such as vaccines and medication, when it is not proven that they work?”
Jefferson said washing ones hands is the only proven method of flu prevention.
Wolf Dieter Ludwig, head of drug commission of the German Medical Association, told Der Spiegel he has no doubt pharmaceutical companies have been seeking to capitalize off what he called a “non-existent threat.”
WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told Information it’s natural to allow representatives of the pharmaceutical industry to participate in WHO meetings.
“Everybody has something to contribute in this process – industry, NGOs [non-governmental organizations] and professional players – so we can gather all information,” he said. “They cannot vote. They have no influence on the outcome, and they can only speak when they are asked. We make vaccine recommendations, so we need knowledge about what is required to produce a vaccine. Only the manufacturers have that knowledge.”
According to the report, WHO does not publicize information about advisers’ financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
“All staff must sign the declaration of conflicts of interest, so we are clear about their background,” Hartl said. “But again, Frederick Hayden is the best influenza virologist in the world, so if you want to know how influenza behaves, you ask Fred Hayden.”
Asked why WHO doesn’t publish the advisers’ financial ties to drug companies, he replied, “I’m not sure why we didn’t publish it. I can’t answer that. … It is possible that we will look at a code of disclosure of financial information, but I cannot promise anything.”
He continued, “WHO has a system that guarantees independence. … We do not let anything or anyone influence us.”
Louise Volle, journalist at the Danish daily and co-author of the report, told Russia Today, “The biggest problem seems to be that we don’t know enough. There’s not enough transparency on financial disclosure on the expert groups used by WHO. … Scientists who appear to be independent are also hired consultants working for the same pharmaceutical companies who produce the vaccines. This is clearly an issue that needs to be taken care of.”
Volle said she does not expect that the WHO will publish the financial disclosures on its experts unless public pressure is put on the organization.
Asked whether any solid investigations are being conducted to explore the allegations, she replied, “Not currently. I don’t think so. … [I]t has to be public what is going on in these meetings and what is going on in these expert groups. Who are the people working for WHO? And who else are they working for?”
According to Voice of America, Keiji Fakuda, WHO director general on pandemic influenza, refuted claims that WHO is in collusion with the pharmaceutical industry. He also noted that 150 million doses of H1N1 vaccine have been distributed in 40 countries.
Meanwhile, WHO reports the global H1N1 death toll at 8,768 as of Dec. 4.
According to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2,500 and 6,100 Americans died from swine flu between April and Oct. 17 this year.
However, the CDC also reports that during a typical U.S. winter, normal seasonal flu strains result in an average of 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 American deaths – roughly 10 times the current swine-flu death rate.
Leading epiemiologists are now predicting the pandemic may rank as the mildest on record.
Note: Concerned individuals may contact the World Health Organization.
Ahmad Fawzi, director of the news and media division; Kiyo Akasaka, undersecretary-general for public information; and Ban Ki-moon can be contacted via e-mail.
So you still doubt that this world is in trouble. Everyone it seems has a price now and it really doesn’t matter if the money is bloody or not!
I don’t think anyone really knows what is going on with this strain of flu. It is proving very difficult to predict where and how hard it will strike and even in what form! Best to be a bit cautious and build you immune system naturally!
Mutated Swine Flu Strains Block Drugs, Worsen Illness
By Michelle Fay Cortez and Marianne Stigset
Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) — Swine flu infections in which the virus mutated to a form that’s more severe or less sensitive to drug treatment are being investigated by European and U.S. public health officials.
Five patients at a hospital in Wales contracted swine flu that resisted treatment with Roche Holding AG’s Tamiflu, and three more infections are being analyzed, the U.K. Health Protection Agency said today. Four patients had resistance in a North Carolina hospital. A separate mutation that may trigger more severe illness was found in Norway among two patients who died of the flu and one who was severely ill.
While there is little risk posed by the mutations, investigators are monitoring the new clusters closely, according to health officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Influenza activity decreased last week in the U.S. and was widespread in 43 states compared with 46 states the week earlier, the CDC’s Anne Schuchat said today in a briefing. Since swine flu was identified in April, there have been 57 U.S. cases of Tamiflu resistance and “sporadic” reports of mutations similar to those in Norway, she said.
“We take this development seriously, but the HPA currently considers that the risk to the general healthy population is low,” the U.K. officials said in a statement about the Wales cases. “The Tamiflu-resistant virus has emerged in a group of particularly vulnerable individuals. These patients are known to be at increased risk of developing resistance to the drug.”
Spread Since April
Swine flu, also known as H1N1, infected about 22 million people in the U.S. and killed 3,900 people from April to Oct. 17, according to the CDC’s most recent estimate. Norway has had an estimated 700,000 infections, with 21 reported deaths. The disease has killed at least 6,770 people worldwide, according to an estimate today from the Geneva-based WHO. The agency no longer keeps an up-to-date count of global cases.
In the U.S., patient visits to doctors for flu-like symptoms declined the week of Nov. 8 to Nov. 14 from the week earlier as did the rate of influenza hospitalizations, said Schuchat, head of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
“We are beginning to see some declines in influenza activity,” she said. “But it is still much greater than we would ever see at this time of year” compared with typical seasonal flu that runs from November to March.
Difficult to Transmit
The swine flu mutation discovered in Norway is difficult to pass from person to person, said David Mercer, acting head of the communicable diseases unit of the WHO’s European region, and Geir Stene-Larsen, the head of the Oslo-based Institute of Public Health. The mutation was found in 3 of 70 patients tested, the institute said.
The infections in Wales may have passed from a person using Tamiflu to patients who haven’t taken the drug, raising the possibility that a hard-to-treat form of the disease may spread, according to the U.K. health agency. The U.S. cases occurred in October and November, according to the Atlanta-based CDC.
The patients in Wales had blood diseases that weakened their immune systems, either because of the condition itself or the chemotherapy used to treat it, according to the U.K. agency. Resistance to Tamiflu is known to occur in patients with weak immune systems. All the Welsh patients remain sensitive to GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Relenza, another antiviral treatment, the agency said.
In Norway, the changes seen in the virus may allow it to penetrate deeper into the airways and cause more severe disease.
“It seems that the mutated virus does not circulate in the population but might be a result of spontaneous changes which have occurred in these three patients,” Stene-Larsen said in a statement. “There is no indication that this change in the virus is of any importance for the effect of the vaccine or the effect of antiviral treatment.”
Sensitive to Drugs
The virus in Norway appears to be sensitive to Tamiflu and the vaccine now being offered in some areas to prevent swine flu infection, said Mercer of the WHO.
“I don’t think it yet has the public health implications that we would wonder about,” said Schuchat of the CDC. Similar mutations have been seen elsewhere and haven’t necessarily led to a more virulent disease, she said.
“It’s most likely that the virus’ capability to mutate is not just specific to Norway, it will occur in other countries as well,” Stene-Larsen said in an interview on broadcaster TV2.
To contact the reporters on this story: Michelle Fay Cortez in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgMarianne Stigset in Oslo at email@example.com
Last Updated: November 20, 2009 19:23 EST
Swine Flu 1976 & Propaganda
For more infos: www.personocratia.com
We knew this was coming. Let’s all hope and pray that we don’t see compulsory vaccinations, quarantine camps and/or martial law.
US swine flu ‘national emergency’
15 October 2009
US officials have warned there may be a delay in some vaccine deliveries
US President Barack Obama has declared swine flu a national emergency.
The White House said the president signed the proclamation concerning the 2009 H1N1 outbreak on Friday evening.
It increases the ability of treatment facilities to handle a surge in H1N1 patients by allowing the implementation of emergency plans.
Last week US officials said swine flu activity was widespread in more than 40 states. More that 1,000 deaths have been linked to the virus.
US officials said the president’s declaration was similar to ones issued before hurricanes make landfall.
It allows authorities to bypass certain federal requirements in order to deal more effectively with emergencies.
Last week, US officials warned there could be delays in the delivery of swine flu vaccines.
Anne Schuchat, of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said only 28-30 million doses would be available by the end of October, down from an earlier estimate of 40 million.
Ms Schuchat said swine flu activity was widespread, with hospitalisations and deaths continuing to increase.
If we do see mandatory vaccinations, perhaps we as a people will wake up. We can refuse as an act of Civil Disobedience!
VIRAL VIDEO ALERT!!!!! Resist injections? Go to jail! Take your kids! wow! revolution is coming!
Build your immune system naturally, organic flu buster pack
WASHINGTON (AP) –
Consumers should stop using Zicam Cold Remedy nasal gel and related products because they can permanently damage the sense of smell, federal health regulators said Tuesday.
The over-the-counter products contain zinc, an ingredient scientists say may damage nerves in the nose needed for smell. The other products affected by the Food and Drug Administration’s announcement are adult and kid-size Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs.
Loss of Smell
The FDA says about 130 consumers have reported a loss of smell after using Zicam products since 1999.
“Loss of the sense of smell is potentially life threatening and may be permanent,” said Dr. Charles Lee. “People without the sense of smell may not be able to detect life dangerous situations, such as gas leaks or something burning in the house.”
The FDA said Zicam Cold Remedy was never formally approved because it is part of a small group of remedies that are not required to undergo federal review before launching. Known as homeopathic products, the formulations often contain herbs, minerals and flowers.
A warning letter issued to manufacturer Matrixx Initiatives on Tuesday asked the company to stop marketing its zinc-based products, but the agency did not issue a formal recall. Instead, regulators said Matrixx would have to submit safety and effectiveness data on the drug.
“The next step, if they wish to continue marketing Zicam intranasal zinc products, is for them is for them to come in and seek FDA approval,” said Deborah Autor, director of FDA’s drug compliance division.
The agency is requiring formal approval now because of the product’s safety issues, she added. Matrixx Initiatives is facing multiple lawsuits over the product, but says on its Web site: “No plaintiff has ever won a court case, because there is no known causal link between the use of Zicam Cold Remedy nasal gel and impairment of smell.”
Representatives from the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company, which saw its stock price plunge to a 52-week low after the FDA announcement, did not immediately return calls for comment Tuesday.
Health officials said they have asked Matrixx executives to turn over more than 800 consumer complaints concerning lost smell that the company has on file. A 2007 law began requiring manufacturers to report such problems, but FDA regulators declined to say Tuesday whether the company broke the law.
The 130 reports received by the FDA came entirely from physicians and patients, not the manufacturer. Regulators said the relatively small number of complaints accounted for the agency’s lengthy investigation. “FDA doesn’t take action against drug products without evaluating all of the circumstances surrounding the issues with the product,” Lee said.
Shares of Matrixx Initiatives Inc. plummeted $10.71, or 55.7 percent, to $8.53 in afternoon trading.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)