By Helen Branswell

TORONTO – Australian researchers may have uncovered a clue as to why some people who catch H1N1 flu suffer life-threatening illness. And if they are right, there is an existing weapon in the treatment arsenal that could help reduce the pandemic death toll.


The group found that pregnant women who became severely ill with the new H1N1 virus had low levels of a particular antibody that is known to fight off viruses and help the body respond to vaccine. Moderately ill women were much less likely to have significantly suppressed levels of the antibody, the researchers reported.

“We all believe we may have stumbled onto something very interesting,” said Dr. Lindsay Grayson, director of infectious disease at Austin Health, a network of three hospitals in Melbourne.

“To our knowledge it’s the first time that a correlation or an association is being noted between severe influenza of any sort and a subtle but potentially important immune deficiency.”

full story


•  Tasmania hospitals overstretched to capacity last 3 months (Link)

•  H1N1 influenza: issues, responses and challenges of the flu pandemic (Link)

•  China: Macao’s confirmed A/H1N1 flu cases rise to 2,247 (Link)
•  Hong Kong: update: 717 new cases in 24 hours, 8 serious, 6 critical  (Link)

•  Ghana swine flu cases rise to 13 (Link)

•  Chandigarh health department exhort vigilance in school management (Link)
•  Mumbai and its state Maharashtra now have over 100 deaths (Link)
•  3 more deaths in Surat and Valdodara  (Link)
•  Hyderabad records 20th death, more listed (Link)

•  Kenyan high school reports 11 more cases of swine flu (Link)

•  287 new cases in past week (Link)

•  Mozambique reports first two deaths of A/H1N1 flu (Link)

•   General advice to citizenry for Eid  (Link)

Saudi Arabia
•  Schools won’t reopen until Oct 10th (Link)

United Kingdom
•  Cumbria reports 445 collecting meds between M-Thurs (Link)
•  Northern Ireland: 5 swine die from swine flu (Link) and (Link)

United States
•  FL: residents raise funds to help local survivor of H1N1  (Link)
•  ID: Confirmed Swine Flu in Magic Valley (Link)
•  MN: H1N1 Eleven cases in Two Harbors schools (Link)
•  NC: Gaston Memorial flooded with flu-like cases (Link)
•  NC: Governor Perdue to declare September “Emergency Preparednes Month” (Link)
•  TN: School closure and comments by Dr. Niman about ‘increased viral loads’ (Link)
•  VA: Shenandoah County Schools’ H1N1 flu cases confirmed (Link)

•  Vietnam H1N1 testing institute stretched thin (Link)

•  Zambia inoculates 120 pupils against swine flu (Link)

•  Wide swine flu threat (Link
•  NYTimes story about Egypt ‘mishandling’ swine flu by killing all swine (Link)
•  UN’s WHO requests for funds and vaccine supplies to help developing world (Link)
•  Kuwait’s PM in NY for UN opening session praises global approach to H1N1(Link)
•  Laurie Garrett, Renowned Health Author, Has Swine Flu (Link)
•  Swine flu’s tendency to strike the young is causing confusion (Link)