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H1N1 swine flu second wave coming

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009, 13:32 This news item was posted in health category and has 0 Comments so far.

Swine flu causing H1N1 influenza A virus is getting ready for second wave of attack in the coming months, alerts WHO in a press release.

Countries in the northern hemisphere need to prepare for a second wave of H1N1 virus pandemic spread. Meanwhile, countries with tropical climates, where the H1N1 virus arrived later than elsewhere, also need to prepare for an increasing number of swine flu cases.

Countries in temperate parts of the southern hemisphere should remain vigilant as the H1N1 pandemic spread through the second wave. As experience has shown, localized “hot spots” of increasing transmission can continue to occur even when the pandemic has peaked at the national level, the WHO release advised.

Swine flu pandemic spreading H1N1 virus strain is here to stay in the coming months as the virus continues to move through susceptible populations in the form of second wave infection. Evidence from multiple outbreak sites demonstrates that the H1N1 pandemic virus has rapidly established itself and is now the dominant influenza strain in most parts of the world.

Even though H1N1 virus shows no sign of emerging into a more dangerous form, close monitoring of viruses by a WHO network of laboratories shows that viruses from all outbreaks remain virtually identical.In most of the patients H1N1 cuases only illness. However, H1N1 virus can cause very severe and fatal illness, also in young and healthy people. But the number of such fatalities remains small.The clinical picture of pandemic influenza is largely consistent across all countries.

Even if the current pattern of usually mild illness continues, the impact of the pandemic during the second wave could worsen as larger numbers of people become infected. Larger numbers of severely ill patients requiring intensive care are likely to be the most urgent burden on health services during the second wave, creating pressures that could overwhelm intensive care units and possibly disrupt the provision of care for other diseases.

Regarding reports that say H1N1 virus is getting resistant to oseltamivir (Tamiflu), WHO release said only a handful of pandemic viruses resistant to oseltamivir have been detected worldwide, despite the administration of many millions of treatment courses of antiviral drugs, at present. All of these cases have been extensively investigated, and no instances of onward transmission of drug-resistant virus have been documented to date. Intense monitoring continues, also through the WHO network of laboratories.

While H1N1 virus infection disruption is manageable in affluent countries, swine flu virus could have a devastating impact in many parts of the developing world. So, the situation in developing countries – as the second wave of H1N1 infection emerges– will need to be very closely watched.

The 2009 influenza pandemic is the first to occur since the emergence of HIV/AIDS. Data from two countries suggest that people co-infected with H1N1 and HIV are not at increased risk of severe or fatal illness, provided these patients are receiving antiretroviral therapy. In most of these patients, illness caused by H1N1 has been mild, with full recovery, WHO release stated.

Around 33 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Of these, WHO estimates that around 4 million were receiving antiretroviral therapy at the end of 2008.

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