July 23, 2009

TORONTO – Another storm may be brewing for the coming flu season: A component of the seasonal flu shot may not be well matched to the circulating viruses, potentially setting up what’s known as a vaccine mismatch.

Some samples of the emerging new strain of H3N2 viruses show a substantially reduced response to antibodies generated by the corresponding virus in the seasonal vaccine, raising the possibility of significantly reduced protection in some cases.

Vaccine mismatches are bad at the best of times. More people get sick during flu seasons with mismatches. But a seasonal flu vaccine mismatch coinciding with a flu pandemic? That is no one’s idea of a good time.

Dr. Allison McGeer groaned when she heard a new H3N2 variant is circulating in some parts of the Southern Hemisphere.

“It’s going to be a long winter. I know that already,” said McGeer, an influenza expert and head of infection control at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital.

“It’s not going to be pleasant because … it’s going to be one big long influenza season, from some time in September until next May.”

The new variant has been seen on a number of continents, though it still remains a minority member of the H3N2 family, according to experts at the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

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Argentina
•  Second wave of influenza in the first fortnight of August (Link)
•  Eight districts extend student recess (Link)

Australia
•  45th person dies with swine flu (Link)
•  Two more swine flu deaths in Queensland (Link)

Canada
•  Swine flu in Manitoba claims seventh victim (Link)
•  Quebec man had drug-resistant swine flu (more info) (Link)
•  Vaccines for H1N1 likely won’t arrive in area by October (Link)
•  Don’t delay pandemic planning (Link)
•  Nunavut communities not updated on swine flu (Link)
•  Farm workers sickened by flu strain more common to swine (Link)
•  Ottawa woman with swine flu dies (Link)
•  Death toll of A/H1N1 flu in Canada rises to 55 (Link)

China
•  Hong Kong’s swine-flu infections surpass 2,000 (Link)
•  China began clinical test of H1N1 vaccine (translated) (Link)

France
•  British swine flu children ‘treated like dangerous criminals in France’ (Link)

Germany
•  Swine flu spreading rapidly in Germany (Link)

Guam
•  Officials: Stay calm: Procedures in place to treat flu patients (Link)

India
•  29 new cases of swine flu push India’s tally to 371 (Link)

Laos
•  Laos reports first A/H1N1 flu death (Link)

Malaysia
•  1 dies in Malaysia, suspected of contracting A/H1N1 flu (Link)
•  Uitm Dungun, School Ordered Closed (Link)
•  Another school closing (Link)

Mexico
•  Baby girl, H1N1 ‘Patient Zero’, found alive  (Link)

Phillipines
•  Emergency declared in village over flu (Link)

South America
•  3 new flu deaths in Paraguay (Link)
•  Flu death toll mounts in South America (Link)

United Kingdom
•  NHS managers more confident than doctors over swine flu (Link)
•  Swine flu: the health conditions that put virus victims at high risk (Link)
•  Swine flu: intensive care beds will be swamped experts warn (Link)
•  Swine flu: Tales from the front line of pandemic Britain (Link)
•  England – Flu infects 100,000 in past week (Link)
•  Swine flu: how the numbers add up (Link)
•  Weekly pandemic flu update (~100,000 new cases) (Link)
•  Poisoned chalice? Swine flu hits church wine(Link)
•  National Flu Service website and hotline goes live (Link)
•  Ashfield Show headliners Sugababes in swine flu scare (Link)
•  Met police hit by swine flu cases (Link)
•  Mum-to-be at Crosshouse has swine flu (Link)
•  Infant Tamiflu Shortage (Link)

United States
•  New CDC Study Finds Low Vaccination Rates  (Link)
•  8th H1N1 flu death confirmed (Link)
•  FL: Swine flu claims three more lives in Tampa Bay area (Link)
•  VA: Another H1N1 death (Link)
•  FL: Swine flu death confirmed in Hernando County (Link)
•  CA:  Petaluma man 3rd local swine flu death (Link)
•  WA: King Co. child dies from swine flu (Link)
•  FL: 9th Person Dies Of Swine Flu In Miami-Dade (Link)
•  Florida – Woman, 46, is Palm Beach County’s third confirmed death from swine flu (Link)
•  Florida – Three local residents die from swine flu (Link)
•  Texas – Swine Flu Causes Seizures in Children (Link)
•  Long Beach reports city’s first swine flu death (Link)

Vietnam
•  H1N1 attacks another HCM City school (Link)

Maps
•  Central America Human Cases of H1N1 Flu Infection (Link)
•  South America Human Cases of H1N1 Flu Infection (Link)

Commentary
•  Daily Kos: swine flu basics (Link)
•  Effect Measure: Tamiflu resistance puzzle (Link)
•  Swine flu tests limits of public comms (UK) (Link)
•  Opinion: On being a flu vaccine guinea pig (Link)

General News
•  The new front page of Pandemicflu.gov (Link)
•  Arab Countries Ban Elderly, Young From Hajj (Link)
•  Swine flu vaccine: Out-dated methods ’cause delay’ (Link)
•  All Hands on Deck For Anticipated Swine Flu Surge (Link)
•  Swine flu more infectious than 1918 flu (Link)

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