Swine Flu Tied to Rise in Pneumonias Among Young

Guillain-Barre Syndrome is often severe and is usually associated with ascending paralysis with weakness in the legs that spreads to the arms and face along with complete loss of tendon reflexes. Most people recover, but the condition can be fatal.

In addition, severe allergic reactions are not more common than expected with the H1N1 vaccine, Schuchat said.

Despite this reassuring news, in Canada a batch of 172,000 doses of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine was recalled by maker GlaxoSmithKline earlier this week after use was associated with severe allergic reactions, the Associated Press reported.

In other swine flu news, China is reporting eight cases of mutated virus, and last week the World Health Organization was investigating samples of variant swine flu tied to two deaths in Norway.

However, "Shu Yuelong, director of the Chinese National Influenza Center, told the official Xinhua News Agency that the mutated swine flu virus found in China has shown an 'isolated' spread in the mainland, is not resistant to drugs and can be prevented by vaccines," the AP reported. The report did not mention if the new variants had been linked to any deaths, the AP added.

On Monday, tests conducted by the CDC revealed that four patients at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., had contracted strains of H1N1 flu resistant to the antiviral medication Tamiflu. All of the patients became very ill and have multiple, underlying medical problems, according to a Duke news release. The emergence of H1N1 strains resistant to antivirals such as Tamiflu or Relenza has been of particular concern to health experts.

With so many Americans traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, the CDC cautioned that swine flu could accompany you on your journey, especially as you pass thorough train stations and airports. To decrease the risk of getting or spreading the flu, the agency advises not traveling if you are ill, washing your hands often and covering your cough.

More information

For more on H1N1 swine flu, visit the U.S. Health and Human Services Administration.

SOURCES: Nov. 25, 2009, teleconference with Anne Schuchat, M.D., director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Associated Press, Nov. 20, 2009, news release, Duke University Medical Center

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