Press & News Articles

July, 2021

The Delta variant is the fastest, fittest and most formidable version of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 the world has encountered, and it is upending assumptions about the disease even as nations loosen restrictions and open their economies, according to virologists and epidemiologists.

Vaccine protection remains very strong against severe disease and hospitalizations caused by any version of the coronavirus, and those most at risk are still the unvaccinated, according to interviews with 10 leading COVID-19 experts.

But the evidence is mounting that the Delta variant, first identified in India, is capable of infecting fully vaccinated people at a greater rate than previous versions, and concerns have been raised that they may even spread the virus, these experts said.

As a result, targeted use of masks, social distancing and other measures may again be needed even in countries with broad vaccination campaigns, several of them said.

Israel recently reinstated mask-wearing requirements indoors and requires travelers to quarantine upon arrival.

U.S. officials are considering whether to revise mask guidance for the vaccinated. Los Angeles County, the most populous in the United States, is again requiring masks even among the vaccinated in indoor public spaces.

Even in Canada, where hospitalizations and COVID-19 cases continue to decline, national data from the Public Health Agency of Canada warns the Delta variant stands a chance of unravelling some of that progress. The data suggests that, despite ground gained on COVID-19 nationally, the Delta variant may result in “greater than previously expected resurgence this fall and winter.”

“The biggest risk to the world at the moment is simply Delta,” said microbiologist Sharon Peacock, who runs Britain’s efforts to sequence the genomes of coronavirus variants, calling it the “fittest and fastest variant yet.”

Viruses constantly evolve through mutation, with new variants arising. Sometimes these are more dangerous than the original.

The major worry about the Delta variant is not that it makes people sicker, but that it spreads far more easily from person to person, increasing infections and hospitalizations among the unvaccinated.

Public Health England said on Friday that of a total of 3,692 people hospitalized in Britain with the Delta variant, 58.3 per cent were unvaccinated and 22.8 per cent were fully vaccinated.

In Canada, though COVID-19 cases are declining, Variants of Concern represent the majority of reported COVID-19 cases — approximately 70 per cent. For the week of June 20, 2021, cases of the Delta variant sat at 39 per cent, while Alpha cases sat around 38 per cent — the first time the two variant cases were reported in similar proportions.

In Singapore, where Delta is the most common variant, government officials reported on Friday that three-quarters of its coronavirus cases occurred among vaccinated individuals, though none were severely ill.

Israeli health officials have said 60 per cent of current hospitalized COVID-19 cases are in vaccinated people. Most of them are age 60 or older and often have underlying health problems.

As new variants of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 emerge, a slew of new studies suggest that some may be able to evade immune responses triggered by a previous infection or by a vaccine. That worry has already prompted some vaccine makers to look for ways to tweak their shots to keep up with these troublesome newcomers.

Researchers had been concerned that mutations in a viral protein that helps the coronavirus break into cells could dampen the immune response against the virus. The new studies suggest that some viral variants may escape at least some of that immunity, which could put people who have been vaccinated or who have already recovered from a bout of COVID-19 at risk of getting infected (SN: 8/24/20).

Still, “we should urge caution, but not panic,” says Mark Slifka, a microbiologist and immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. “The immune system has multiple backups” to cope with ever-changing viruses, he says.

What’s more, it should be straightforward — at least in principle — to update vaccines that rely on parts of the coronavirus’s genetic code to trigger an immune response (SN: 7/10/20). And while some virus mutations could put a dent in how well the vaccines work, currently authorized shots have a long way to fall before they might become ineffective, Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Biden, said in a Jan. 21 news briefing.

COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna proved highly effective in clinical trials (SN: 12/18/20), with an efficacy of about 95 percent. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that COVID-19 vaccine candidates should have an efficacy of at least 50 percent for emergency use authorization (SN: 10/4/20).

Mix of mutations

Viruses mutate all the time, and the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is no exception (SN: 5/26/20). While most changes have little to no effect on how the virus behaves when it infects a person, a few rare alterations can make some viral variants more dangerous to people, such as making a virus more transmissible or deadly. 

Another danger can arise if a mutation helps the virus elude the body’s immune response. Protection from any virus comes, in part, in the form of immune proteins called antibodies, which latch on to proteins on the virus. The immune proteins can prevent the virus from getting into other cells or spur other immune cells into action. Mutations in viral proteins can weaken or prevent that binding, making the antibody response less effective.

Such problematic mutations are now appearing in a few versions of the coronavirus that researchers are tracking. A virus variant called B.1.1.7, first identified in the United Kingdom, appears to be more transmissible than its close relatives, giving it a potential evolutionary advantage (SN: 12/22/20). Researchers are also monitoring the spread of a variant in South Africa — dubbed 501Y.V2, and also known as B.1.351 — that has some of the same mutations as B.1.1.7, as well as other changes. Another potentially concerning variant called P.1 has emerged in Manaus, Brazil — a region that was already hit hard by the pandemic in 2020 (SN: 9/24/20).

The South Africa variant has yet to be detected in the United States. But the U.K. variant, already circulating in 24 states, could become the dominant strain in the country in March (SN: 1/15/21). And the first U.S. case of the Brazil variant was reported January 25 in someone who had traveled to the South American country.  

November, 2020

The drug maker Pfizer announced on Monday that an early analysis of its coronavirus vaccine trial suggested the vaccine was robustly effective in preventing Covid-19, a promising development as the world has waited anxiously for any positive news about a pandemic that has killed more than 1.2 million people.

Pfizer, which developed the vaccine with the German drugmaker BioNTech, released only sparse details from its clinical trial, based on the first formal review of the data by an outside panel of experts.

The company said that the analysis found that the vaccine was more than 90 percent effective in preventing the disease among trial volunteers who had no evidence of prior coronavirus infection. If the results hold up, that level of protection would put it on par with highly effective childhood vaccines for diseases such as measles. No serious safety concerns have been observed, the company said.

Pfizer plans to ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of the two-dose vaccine later this month, after it has collected the recommended two months of safety data. By the end of the year it will have manufactured enough doses to immunize 15 million to 20 million people, company executives have said.

“This is a historical moment,” said Kathrin Jansen, a senior vice president and the head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer. “This was a devastating situation, a pandemic, and we have embarked on a path and a goal that nobody ever has achieved — to come up with a vaccine within a year.”

The news comes just days after Joseph R. Biden Jr. clinched a victory over President Trump in the presidential election. Mr. Trump had repeatedly hinted a vaccine would be ready before Election Day, Nov. 3. This fall, Pfizer’s chief executive, Dr. Albert Bourla, frequently claimed that the company could have some indication of whether the vaccine worked by October, something that did not come to pass.

Stocks surged on the news. The S&P 500 gained 1.2 percent Monday, ending the day just short of a high reached in early September. Shares of companies that stand to gain most from the return of normal activity — like airlines and shopping mall operators — soared, while those whose businesses were well suited under lockdowns were sharply lower.

Independent scientists have cautioned against hyping early results before long-term safety and efficacy data has been collected. And no one knows how long the vaccine’s protection might last. Still, the development makes Pfizer the first company to announce positive results from a late-stage vaccine trial, vaulting it to the front of a frenzied global race that began in January and has unfolded at record-breaking speed.

Eleven vaccines are in late-stage trials, including four in the United States. Pfizer’s progress could bode well for Moderna’s vaccine, which uses similar technology. A Moderna spokesman said that it expected interim findings from its study this month.

Operation Warp Speed, the federal effort to rush a vaccine to market, has promised Pfizer $1.95 billion to deliver 100 million doses to the federal government, which will be given to Americans free of charge. But Dr. Jansen sought to distance the company from Operation Warp Speed and presidential politics, noting that the company — unlike the other vaccine front-runners — did not take any federal money to help pay for research and development.

“We were never part of the Warp Speed,” she said on Sunday. “We have never taken any money from the U.S. government, or from anyone.” On Monday, a spokeswoman for Pfizer clarified that the company is part of Operation Warp Speed as a supplier of a potential coronavirus vaccine.

Dr. Jansen said she learned of the results from the outside panel of experts shortly after 1 p.m. on Sunday, and that the timing was not influenced by the election. “We have always said that science is driving how we conduct ourselves — no politics,” she said.

The data released by Pfizer Monday was delivered in a news release, not a peer-reviewed medical journal. It is not conclusive evidence that the vaccine is safe and effective, and the initial finding of more than 90 percent efficacy could change as the trial goes on.

“We need to see the actual data, and we’re going to need longer-term results,” said Jesse Goodman, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at Georgetown University. Still, he said, “it’s a testament to hard work and science that we’re getting results that are so good and so fast.”

Other scientists were stunned by the data so far.

“This is really a spectacular number,” said Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University. “I wasn’t expecting it to be this high. I was preparing myself for something like 55 percent.”

If the final vaccine ends up with that level of efficacy, it “would be higher than your regular flu vaccine, and this vaccine could have a serious impact on bending the curve of this outbreak,” said Dr. Saad B. Omer, the director of the Yale Institute for Global Health.

Dr. Jansen said that because the trial is continuing, an independent board reviewing the data has not told her or other company executives other details, such as how many of the people developed mild versus more severe forms of Covid-19 — crucial information that the F.D.A. has said it will need to evaluate any coronavirus vaccine. The agency has also asked for other detailed manufacturing and safety data that could take weeks to review.

Half of the participants received two doses of the vaccine three weeks apart, and half received a placebo. The first analysis was based on 94 volunteers who developed Covid-19. To calculate the efficacy rate, the independent board of experts compared how many of those 94 cases were in the placebo group, and how many were in the vaccinated group. (If all 94 had been in the placebo group, for example, the vaccine would be considered 100 percent effective.) Dr. Jansen said the outside board did not disclose to the company how many of those cases came from each group. But with a rate of more than 90 percent effectiveness, most had to have been in the placebo group.

March, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that the government will be announcing a “significant” fiscal stimulus package in the days ahead. “We will get through this together,” he said.

The prime minister, who previously announced a $1-billion COVID-19 economic package, said decisions would be based on recommendations from medical experts and top scientists.

“We’re not closing the door to any further steps, but we will make those decisions based on what science tells us.”

  • Read the full story on what Trudeau said and how the government is preparing for COVID-19
  • Follow the developments in Ottawa, after MPs vote to suspend House of Commons until April 20

Trudeau was speaking from his home, where he is in self-isolation after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. Trudeau said he has no symptoms, feels “very well,” and is working at home as a precaution at his doctor’s recommendation.

In an interview with CBC’s Matt Galloway earlier Friday, Trudeau said that his government is looking at “everything” and that Ottawa doesn’t want people to be worried about whether they’ll be able to make rent or pay for groceries. It was not immediately clear when the full details of that plan would be available.

In a separate interview with Radio-Canada, Trudeau said Friday his government is considering closing the border to some international travellers.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre issued a bulletin warning consumers of “COVID-19 related frauds that have already may begin to occur in Canada.”

Fraudsters are aiming to “profit from consumers’ fears, uncertainties and misinformation” around the outbreak, the bulletin said. People should be on the lookout for scams ranging from private companies offering fake “fast” coronavirus tests or products claiming to treat or prevent the disease to “malicious email campaigns,” it said. 

Schools closing in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, New Brunswick

On Friday, Quebec, Manitoba and New Brunswick closed schools for an extended period in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19. Ontario made that decision on Thursday. 

In Quebec, all schools, universities, daycares and CEGEPs in the province will be closed for two weeks starting Monday, Premier François Legault announced.

Legault, who spoke about everything from school closures to how the health system is preparing, also called on Trudeau to limit the entry of foreign visitors into Canada.

Manitoba schools will also close for three weeks, starting March 23, Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen said at a news conference on Friday. The move will end classes a week early for spring break and keep kids out until April 13 to get ahead of COVID-19, he said.

New Brunswick public schools will close for at least two weeks, starting on Monday. The closure will not affect daycares, Premier Blaine Higgs said. 

Ontario announced Thursday that publicly funded schools would be closing from March 14 through to April 5. The Ontario school closure — which tacks two weeks onto the upcoming March Break — was made at the recommendation of the province’s chief medical officer, the provincial government said.

Wednesday August 7, 2013

Wash your hands. OK, this isn’t a housecleaning technique. But it’s worth mentioning, because it’s the single most important way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

We all should know the importance of washing after using the toilet, yet less than 50 percent of people actually do it — and almost no one does it properly. Wash for 30 to 45 seconds, scrubbing between fingers and under nails. It’s even a good idea to lather, rinse and repeat.

Don’t multitask. People often use the same sponge or cloth to clean everything in the kitchen — the counter, the dishes, the cutting board, etc. “I’ve seen people use it on their kids to wipe their faces,” said one microbiologist.

To prevent cross-contamination. Use a different implement for each cleaning task in the kitchen and bathroom. Disinfect cutting boards after each use.

Replace the sponge frequently. Sponges and scrubbers provide the warm, moist conditions and trapped food particles on which bacteria thrive. The bacteria can multiply, increasing from a few to millions in a matter of hours.

You should keep a sponge (for use in the kitchen) no longer than a week. Between uses, clean it with an antibacterial cleaning product and let it dry. Look for thinner sponges, which dry faster.

Empty the vacuum. Dangerous organisms such as salmonella could be multiplying in your vacuum cleaner bag, waiting to be released into the air every time you vacuum. Empty the collection bag at least monthly, or switch to a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which reduces airborne pollution.

Disinfect the garbage can (dustbin/wastebin). Germs that grow in your garbage can don’t always stay there. It’s common for a plastic liner to leak, allowing waste to collect in the bottom of the can (bin). Then when someone empties the container, the person typically sets the bag on a surface such as the floor, a counter or a chair, spreading the bacteria to that surface as well as his or her hands.

To stem bacteria growth, clean and disinfect the garbage can (dustbin) weekly, and use antibacterial garbage bags (bin bags). If there’s no visible gunk in the container, a spray of Lysol should suffice.

Clean the can opener. That little bit of juice or food left on the blade after you open a can invites bacteria growth. Washing or even just rinsing the opener after you use it will prevent problems.

Change the towels. The average person sloughs off 1 million skin cells an hour. Bath towels harbor (harbour) those cells and their bacteria, and can serve as a terry-clothpetrie dish if they’re folded and left in a damp bathroom. Hang towels unfolded to let them air dry, and replacing them with clean towels after three uses.

Protect your toothbrush. Every time a toilet is flushed, fecal matter and bacteria spray 20 feet in the air. Keep your toothbrush out of the line of fire by storing it in a drawer, cabinet or other enclosed place.

You should also sanitize your toothbrush daily by rinsing it with peroxide or mouthwash. Yes, the germs on your toothbrush are your own, but they can multiply to enormous numbers between uses.

An estimated 1.2 million Salmonella-related illnesses occur each year in the United States.

Approximately 400 people die.

While Salmonella is most often associated with poultry products, outbreaks are linked to a wide variety of sources including contaminated ground beef, fruits and vegetables, dog food, turtles and hedge hogs.

Scientists first identified Salmonella as a human pathogen in the late 19th century. While monitoring and tracking methods have improved, the bacteria continues to cause significant issues and foodborne disease outbreaks.

There are more than 2,000 strains of Salmonella. The different strains of Salmonella are categorized based on the specific antigen set of each. Antigens are substances that stimulate the body to fight pathogens. These antigen-based subsets are call serotypes.

Here is a list of the five most common serotypes in order of prevalence in relation to foodborne illnesses.

Salmonella enteritidis

Enteritidis is the most common strain of Salmonella in our food supply. The increased prevalence in poultry products made Salmonella enteritidis a food safety issue in the 1970s.

Salmonella E. infects the gastrointestinal tract of poultry. Salmonella is passed from bird to bird in several ways. Most common is through fecal matter. Poultry have the tendency to scratch through dirt and manure. When they do this they can become infected if the manure has live Salmonella bacteria in it.

When poultry are slaughtered, Salmonella is spread from the intestinal tract onto the meat.

Salmonella is also found in the ovaries of laying hens, and thus passed on through shell eggs.

Enteritidis is the serotype most often associated with poultry. There are several testing programs in place to detect and reduce the threat of this strain in the poultry meat and shell egg supply.

Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevent data, enteritidis outbreaks since 2010 were linked to shell eggs, alfalfa sprouts, pine nuts and ground beef.

Salmonella typhimurium

Typhimurium is the second most common serotype associated with foodborne illness and the third most frequently identified with chicken. The serotype is also linked to ground beef, pork and other poultry products. Beef researchers state that Salmonella typhimurium in ground beef could be the biggest food safety issue facing the beef industry today.

Typhimurium has proven to be antibiotic resistant. This makes eliminating the pathogen from food products very challenging. Beef researchers are looking into interventions such as vaccinations and probiotics to reduce typhimurium in cattle. Unlike other serotypes that populated the intestinal tract of animals, typhimurium might be in the lymph system of cattle.

Research is ongoing.

The CDC list of outbreaks associated with typhimurium since 2006 list the following as sources: ground beef, hedge hogs, cantaloupes, peanut butter, tomatoes, and African dwarf and water frogs.

Salmonella Newport

Newport is currently the third most common Salmonella serotype associated with foodborne illness. This strain is most often associated with turkey products. It, like typhimurium has been determined to be antibiotic resistant.

Last fall, Salmonella Newport and typhimurium were found in cantaloupe. The
outbreak led to three deaths and more than 250 illnesses in 24 states. 

Besides cantaloupe, live poultry and alfalfa sprouts were linked to Newport outbreaks since 2010.

Salmonella Javiana

Javiana is the fourth most common serotype associated with foodborne illness. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the food safety arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, report on Salmonella serotypes indicated this strain is not often associated with products regulated by the agency.

This serotype is associated with exposure to amphibians in the Southeast United States. It has also been linked to contaminated mozzarella cheese, watermelon, bass, poultry, lettuce and tomatoes.

The CDC does not indicate a multistate outbreak associated with Javiana since 2006. But in January 2011, there was a death at a retirement home in Maine that was attributed to Javiana in a food product.

Salmonella Heidelberg

Heidelberg is the fifth most common Salmonella serotype associated with foodborne illness and the second most frequently associated with human health issues and poultry, stated a recent report from FSIS.

Salmonella Heidelberg has caused recent poultry recalls and foodborne illness outbreaks. In March, 128 illnesses in 13 states were linked to Heidelberg in chicken meat. It is also found in shell eggs.

However, current Food and Drug Administration guidelines are designed to limit Salmonella enteritidis and do not specifically address Heidelberg.

“Heidelberg [in eggs] is a new threat for the CDC and FDA to deal with,” said Paul Patterson, professor of poultry science at Pennsylvania State University. “Testing isn’t specifically designed for this strain, but if a farm is testing and has knowledge it is present they are obligated to act.”

John Sheehan, director for the Division of Plant and Dairy Food Safety with FDA, said that Heidelberg is not a new issue for the agency. He noted it was mentioned in 2004 as a major challenge. While the new egg safety rule that went into effect in 2010 primarily addresses enteritidis, he said that inspectors are trained to look for Heidelberg as well.

“The egg safety rule is all about Salmonella enteritidis and our goal is to eliminate Salmonella enteritidis as a source of foodborne illness,” said Sheehan. “But if we learn that Heidelberg is present we cannot ignore it. There is transference potential and it can’t be ignored in an egg  production environment.”

Sheehan noted that the FDA sent a warning letter to an egg producer whose facilities tested positive for Heidelberg in the fall of 2012. The letter went to Centrum Valley Farms in Iowa.

Centrum just happens to be the new owner of Wright Country Egg and Hillandale Farms, the sources of more than 500 million enteritidis-contaminated eggs involved in the largest egg recall in U.S. history.

FDA officials noted that two of Centrum Valley’s hen houses tested positive for Heidelberg during an inspection. Eggs were tested and came back negative for Heidelberg. No eggs were distrusted until the negative results were received and the farm received the go-ahead from FDA.

The above is based on data from the Food Safety and Inspection Service and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

August, 2013

QUITO, July 30 (Xinhua) — The H1N1 Influenza A virus has killed 11 and infected 137 people this year in Ecuador, spreading to 14 provinces out of its 24 provinces, the Ministry of Public Health said Tuesday.

The latest report said 4 deaths were registered in the Andean province, while the province of Pichincha had most infections of 56 cases.

“These figures fall within the range expected by the Pan American Health Organization,” said Norma Armas, national undersecretary of Public Health Monitoring.

She added the Ministry of Public Health has been monitoring the spread of the disease on a daily basis since March.

Last week, the ministry banned the over-the-counter sale of cold remedies, anti-inflammatories and pain-relief remedies that can only be acquired by prescription, warning that self-medication can hide the symptoms of the virus and make the situation worse.

The H1N1 virus first appeared in Ecuador during a worldwide pandemic in 2009, killing at least 14 people and infecting as many as 2,251.

Last year, the health ministry vaccinated 3.5 million people. It plans to vaccinate another 4 million in October and November this year.

August, 2013

Six teenagers have shown up in two San Fernando Valley emergency rooms in the last few months with alcohol poisoning after drinking hand sanitizer, worrying public health officials who say the cases could signal a dangerous trend.

Some of the teenagers used salt to separate the alcohol from the sanitizer, making a potent drink that is similar to a shot of hard liquor.

Update, Feb. 20, 2013: A mix of hand sanitizer, olive oil and static electricity was apparently to blame for a hospital fire that burned an 11-year-old Oregon girl earlier this month. Oregon State Fire Marshal investigators said Wednesday that olive oil used to remove medical testing residue likely combined with hand sanitizer and sparks from static electricity created by bedding and clothing to start the blaze that left Ireland Lane with serious injuries, according to Rich Hoover, a spokesman for the agency.

Feb. 19, 2013: Hand sanitizer ignited by static electricity is being investigated as the potential source of a hospital fire that severely burned an 11-year-old Oregon cancer patient, officials said Tuesday.

No cause has been determined yet for the blaze that sent Ireland Lane screaming into a hallway, her T-shirt ablaze, at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland on Feb. 2.

But Rich Hoover, a spokesman for the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office, said that flammable sanitizer and a spark of static electricity could be to blame for the rare incident.

“Those are definitely part of the investigation,” said Hoover, who expected the probe to be complete by Wednesday.

Ireland was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2007, her father, Stephen Lane, told the Organization newspaper But she was being treated for a head injury after a fall at school. She was transferred to Legacy Oregon Burn Center after the fire, which burned 12 percent of her body, according to her father.

Lane, of Klamath Falls, Ore.,  told NBC News affiliate KGW that he was dozing in his daughter’s hospital room when he was awakened by her screams. She ran out of the room and into the hallway, where her father covered her with his body to snuff the flames. A hospital unit coordinator and a nurse manager also rushed to smother the fire, hospital officials said.

“I remember being scared at first, but my hard memories are of putting her out,” Lane told NBC News. “It’s hard to see your child hurt at all, but to be on fire and screaming …”

Doernbecher officials worked quickly to get the girl to intensive care, according to spokeswoman Tamara Hargens-Bradley. Ireland has had one skin graft, her father said.

Ireland apparently was working on a craft project in her hospital bed just before the fire, Hargens-Bradley said. She was using hand sanitizer and may have gotten some of the substance on her shirt, her father said. It is possible to create static electricity with sheets and plastic bedcovers or room furnishings, but reports of such sparks starting fires are very rare.

“We’ve never heard of it in Oregon,” Hoover said.

Doernbecher, a hospital in the Oregon Health Sciences University system, uses hand sanitizer that is 60 percent alcohol, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends, Hargens-Bradley said in a statement.

Sanitizer has been rarely implicated in hospital fires. In 2006, a nurse with wet sanitizer on her hands caught fire from a spark from an oxygen flow meter in an oxygen-rich environment, said Mark Bruley, vice president of accident and forensic investigation for the ECRI Institute, a health care safety organization. 

Bruley said it would be “extraordinarily rare” for static electricity to spark a fire from hand sanitizer, but it is possible, he told NBC News.

“A spark could ignite the vapors,” he explained. 

Ireland, who was set to leave the hospital the day the fire occurred, must have more skin grafts this week, her father said.

“Our hearts go out to the child and her family. Nothing like this has ever happened at Doernbecher,” Dr. Stacy Nicholson, the hospital’s physician-in-chief, said in a statement. “We anxiously await their findings and will certainly make adjustments if the cause was preventable.”

June, 2009

Human swine influenza has been reported in Canada, Mexico and the United States, and several other countries. Governments around the world and the World Health Organization are engaged to investigate and address this situation.

Swine influenza (sometimes called swine flu) is a strain of the influenza virus that usually affects pigs, but which may also make people sick. Human swine influenza is a respiratory illness that causes symptoms similar to those of the regular human seasonal flu.  The symptoms include fever, fatigue, lack of appetite, coughing and sore throat.  Some people with human swine influenza have also reported vomiting and diarrhea.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), there are simple measures to minimize the risk of being infected. These steps include simply washing your hands, controlling coughs and sneezes, staying home when sick, and talking to a health professional if you experience flu-like symptoms.

The PHAC is working collaboratively with Mexican and American officials to further investigate this situation and will share information with Canadians as it becomes available.

June, 2009

As part of an ongoing effort to stem the spread of H1N1 Swine Flu, the Federal Government of Mexico announced today that they will purchase SOAPOPULAR for use in Public School Systems and Regional Health Centre’s via IMSS, the state run Health Care department. Talks continue for supply to the District federal of Mexico City.

*Soapopular is not a source for world news and should not be treated as such. Articles mentioned above reflect news stories available to the public through multiple media outlets*