Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The United States accounted for most of the increase, where there are now 5,469 cases, the WHO said in its daily update on the outbreak of H1N1 influenza in 41 countries.
"There is an increase of 413 cases in the past 24 hours, with most in the United States with 346 new cases," WHO spokesperson Fadela Chaib told reporters.
The UN health agency is closely watching for any signs the virus is spreading in a sustained manner in a second region outside of North America.
If so, WHO could raise its alert level from the current Phase 5 that indicates a global outbreak is likely, to Phase 6 — an epidemic occurring in at least two worldwide regions.
The swine flu outbreak has taken over the agenda at the WHO's annual meeting in Geneva this week. Health ministers have urged the agency to consider the severity of the virus in their deliberations on the alert level.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control released a study of 30 hospitalized swine flu patients that suggested obesity may increase the risk of having a severe case.
"We were surprised by the frequency of obesity among the severe cases that we've been tracking," said CDC spokesperson Dr. Anne Schuchat.
"The question of whether people with obesity need to be treated differently in terms of antiviral treatment or our seasonal flu vaccine recommendations is one we're looking into right now."
"If there truly is an increased risk of severe complications in obese patients, it would be important to take steps to attend to that."
It's not yet clear whether obesity makes a patient more vulnerable, of if the numbers reflect how common obesity is in the U.S. population, according to CDC.
Most severe cases in the U.S. were among people who had a medical condition such as chronic lung conditions, suppressed immune systems, heart disease or diabetes that increased their risk compared with healthy people.
About 17 per cent of hospitalized patients were pregnant. The immune system is known to be suppressed during pregnancy, and pregnancy can increase the likelihood of complications from any kind of influenza.
Decreased lung capacity during pregnancy may also play a role, Schuchat speculated.
As of May 15, there were 496 confirmed cases of swine flu in Canada."
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Thoughts worth thinking about
Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia
A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed
Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein
The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi
The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller
Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns
Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama
Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw
Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165
The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.