GAVI CEO Dr Lob-Levyt, speaking at a reception to celebrate the Alliance’s status as an independent international institution in Switzerland, noted that, “The demand by low-income countries for new, life-saving vaccines has never been higher. We must answer their call.” GAVI said that nearly 2.3 million children continue to die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases, even while the overall mortality rate of children continues to drop, based on UNICEF’s announcement last week that the number of children dying before their fifth birthday each year has fallen below nine million for the first time on record. GAVI said that 25% of the remaining deaths could still be prevented through proper vaccination. Dr. Lob-Levyt said that, by far, the biggest vaccine-preventable killers of children are pneumonia and diarrhoeal diseases, and that the new Accelerated Vaccine Introduction initiative has targeted delivery of pneumococcal vaccine in 42 countries and rotavirus vaccine in 44 countries by 2015.
The Weekly Epidemiological Record (WER) for 18 September 2009, vol. 84, 38 (pp 385–396) includes: Onchocerciasis (river blindness); Vaccine-derived polioviruses detected worldwide, January 2008–June 2009
The MMWR for September 18, 2009 / Vol. 58 / No. 36 includes:
Vol. 302 No. 11, pp. 1141-1248, September 16, 2009
What Mexico Taught the World About Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Community Mitigation Strategies
Alexandra Minna Stern; Howard Markel
Vol. 302 No. 11, pp. 1141-1248, September 16, 2009
Book and Media Reviews
Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases
Mark D. Widome
18 September 2009 Vol 325, Issue 5947, Pages 1461-1584
News of the Week
Swine Flu Outbreak: China First to Vaccinate Against Novel H1N1 Virus
No country has taken stricter measures than China to protect residents from pandemic swine flu. Although its draconian quarantine system sparked scientific debate and more than a few diplomatic spats before it was scaled back a couple of months ago, China’s latest exploit is winning praise: Earlier this week, China was first off the blocks to launch a mass vaccination campaign against the novel H1N1 virus. As the swine flu pandemic picks up steam, China is racing to immunize a sizable percentage of its 1.3 billion people before the pandemic’s expected peak here this autumn or early winter. Epidemiologists here forecast that, without mass vaccination, tens of millions will become infected in China and hundreds of thousands will seek treatment.
The WHO continues to issue weekly “updates” and briefing notes as below:
Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 – update 65: 11 September 2009
“In the temperate region of the southern hemisphere (represented by countries such as Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa), influenza activity continues to decrease or return to baseline.
Active transmission persists in tropical regions of the Americas and Asia. Many countries in Central America and the Caribbean continue to report declining activity for the second week in a row. However, countries in the tropical region of South America (represented by countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela) are reporting increasing levels of respiratory disease. In the tropical regions of Asia, respiratory disease activity remains geographically regional or widespread but the trend is generally increasing as noted in India, Bangladesh, and Cambodia.
In the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere activity is variable. In the United States, regional increases in influenza activity are being reported, most notably in the south eastern states. Most of Europe is reporting low or moderate respiratory diseases activity, but parts of Eastern Europe are beginning to report increases in activity.
WHO Collaborating Centres and other laboratories continue to report sporadic isolates of oseltamivir-resistant influenza virus. 21 such virus isolates have now been described from around the world, all of which carry the same H275Y mutation that confers resistance to the antiviral oseltamivir but not to the antiviral zanamivir. Of these, 12 have been associated with post-exposure prophylaxis, four with long term oseltamivir treatment in patients with immunosuppression. Worldwide, over 10,000 isolates of the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus have been tested and found to be sensitive to oseltamivir. WHO will continue to monitor the situation closely in collaboration with its partners, but is not changing its guidelines for use of antiviral drugs at this time.
Pandemic (H1N1) influenza virus continues to be the predominant circulating virus of influenza, both in the northern and southern hemisphere. All pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza viruses analysed to date have been antigenically and genetically similar to A/California/7/2009-like pandemic H1N1 2009 virus. See below for detailed laboratory surveillance update.
Of note, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week reported on an analysis of 36 fatal pandemic influenza cases in children under the age of 18 years. Sixty-seven percent of the children had one or more high-risk medical conditions, most commonly neurodevelopmental disorders. In addition, ten of 23 children for whom data were available were found to have strong evidence of secondary bacterial co-infections.