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Senate Passes Bill Including $7.7 billion in Flu Funds

Senate Passes Bill Including Flu Funds

The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a $105.9 billion war-funding bill that "includes $7.7 billion to prepare for pandemic flu," the Washington Post reports (Bacon, Washington Post, 6/19).

Senate Approves War Funding Bill After Obama Presses Democrats
By Perry Bacon Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 19, 2009

Mobile Flu Clinics enabled with prescreening flu assessment... but do not forget the buzzing pagers!

Take a look at Kaiser Permanente's newest doctor's office on wheels, being shipped from California to Hawaii's Big Island.

Now consider this possibility if/when the swine flu infection numbers and deaths accelerate, and the media reporting begins to cause a surge of worried well into ER rooms:

- Swine flu mobile clinics.
- GIS mapping to set up the temporary clinic locations to coincide with specific geographic infection areas pinpointing communities and neighborhoods.

Neighborhood swine flu clinics open in Scotland while GPs in UK under extreme pressure

Scotland may be leading the world in opening up clinics specifically dedicated to cope with the swine flu epidemic. To date, nine clinics have been set up in the west of Scotland, the area which has been worst hit. Four of the dedicated swine flu centers are in Glasgow, with others in Paisley, East Renfrewshire, Dunbartonshire, Greenock and Clydebank.
The goal is that anyone suspected of having the virus will now be sent to one of the clinics to be tested, instead of into the multi-tasked healthcare system.

FORT DETRICK Inventory Uncovers 9,200 More Pathogens

Laboratory Says Security Is Tighter, but Earlier Count Missed Dangerous Vials

By Nelson Hernandez
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 18, 2009

An inventory of potentially deadly pathogens at Fort Detrick's infectious disease laboratory found more than 9,000 vials that had not been accounted for, Army officials said yesterday, raising concerns that officials wouldn't know whether dangerous toxins were missing.

"Building Resilient Communities" from World Bank Social Safety Net Team

New toolkit release - 'Building Resilient Communities'

The Social Protection Anchor Team [World Bank] recently launched the Building Resilient
Communities toolkit, an instrument designed to help social protection

Obama Pledges $73M To Zimbabwe

Monday, June 15, 2009

Following talks with Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at the White House Friday, President Obama pledged $73 million in aid to the country, AFP/ reports (Carmichael, AFP/, 6/13). The U.S. aid, however "will not be going to the government directly because we continue to be concerned about consolidating democracy, human rights and rule of law," Obama said (Stolberg, New York Times, 6/13), but channeled through appropriate aid agencies (ZimOnline, 6/15).

Boston Globe Examines U.S. Global Health Strategy

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Boston Globe examines the U.S. strategy towards global health aid. "President George W. Bush scored major advances in his administration's worldwide campaign against AIDS," and "[t]he Obama administration believes it can leverage Bush's successes into an assault against a much broader array of diseases that afflict poor countries," writes the Globe.

Flu researchers call for enhanced swine surveillance

Lisa Schnirring Staff Writer
Jun 8, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Government officials and researchers may have underestimated the potential role of pigs as "mixing vessels" for influenza viruses and the importance of swine surveillance for identifying new pandemic threats, veterinary experts from Mexico asserted recently.

The group based their conclusions on two genetic analyses tracing the evolution of the novel H1N1 virus that lend support to the mixing vessel theory. Their findings appeared in the Jun 4 issue of Eurosurveillance.

Following virus protein clues

WHO To Incorporate Disease Severity Into Pandemic Alert Scale

KFF Monday, June 08, 2009

A meeting of the WHO's emergency committee held Friday to discuss the H1N1 (swine) flu ended without a pandemic declaration, but experts concluded that declarations would now be based upon the severity and transmission pattern of a virus, Reuters reports (Nebehay, Reuters, 6/5). "The Emergency Committee is composed of international experts and its task is to give advice to the WHO chief on influenza outbreak responses," according to Xinhua writes (Xinhua, 6/6).

Avian Flu Fears Said to Help U.S. Prepare for Swine Flu

June 4, 2009
By Donald G. McNeil Jr.

Six years of worrying about bird flu did much to prepare the United States for the current swine flu outbreak, federal officials and an independent monitoring group said Thursday, but they cautioned that there were still gaps in planning.

After the H5N1 avian flu emerged widely in Asia in 2003, killing about 60 percent of those infected by it, many countries took steps to head off the crisis that would emerge if that virus were to acquire the ability to jump easily from human to human. It has not, but a number of the measures were helpful.

Flu Experts Discuss Severity Scale for WHO's Phase 6 June 6, 2009

By Stephanie Nebehay

Flu experts held emergency talks to assess introducing a severity scale into the World Health Organization's top level of pandemic alert and to discuss the spread of the H1N1 virus, officials said.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan called the emergency committee meeting, but no decision is expected on crossing the threshold to the highest phase, a spokeswoman said.

"The agenda is not to decide on phase 6, I would like to stress this," WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told a news briefing in Geneva.

© 2009 Reuters

For full article, visit:

Getting an Edge on Disease Outbreaks 05/05/2009

Kumanan Wilson and John Brownstein on using the internet to track outbreaks

The SARS outbreak of 2003 resulted in hundreds of deaths and billions of dollars of economic losses. While officially reported in February 2003, there was Internet evidence of the outbreak as early as November 2002. International awareness of the outbreak at that time could have led to measures that could have limited its global impact.

Vietnam Publishes Report Documenting MDG Progress

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Vietnam recently published a report tracking its progress towards the U.N. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets, which outlines the health ministry's work with other government and international agencies, Vietnam News reports.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Cao Viet Sinh said Vietnam is one of the first countries to integrate the MDGs into its own socio-economic development plan. At an event to mark the release of the report, Vietnam made seven proposals to expedite the achievement of the MDGs by 2015.

FEMA Encourages Public Participation

By Ed O'Keefe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 4, 2009

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said this week that he will devote considerable efforts to boosting citizen participation in disaster preparedness, a shift from previous emergency management perceptions of the general public as a liability.

Part of those efforts, he said, should include a concerted effort by the federal government to better promote preparedness as a basic American responsibility.

WHO weekly update on Swine Flu: "Moderate"

In the weekly update and question and answer session (5 PM every Tuesday from Geneva, Switzerland) WHO spokes person Dr. Keijii Fukuda reports confirmed infection in 64 countries. They are seeing travel related spread, as well as community spread of the virus with-in some countries. Mexico, United States and Canada are showing a mixed pattern of waxing and waning spread of the swine flu virus so that the flu will appear to be ending in a community, than re-surge.


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