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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

WHO: Swine flu virus may face deadly mutation

Tue, 12 May 2009

The conformation of new swine flu cases in different countries has caused WHO officials to announce the virus has the potential to cause a global pandemic.

In a Monday news briefing, acting WHO assistant director-general Keiji Fukuda said that it was too early to say whether the swine flu virus would cause a pandemic, adding that there is no sign of sustained person-to-person spread outside North America.

In a Tuesday statement, however, the WHO stressed that the new virus 'appears to be more contagious than seasonal influenza' and that nearly everyone in the world lacks immunity against the new disease.

The report added that the new H1N1 flu virus has the potential to unpredictably mutate into a more virulent form, resulting in a pandemic that may circle the globe in at least two or even three waves.

The Imperial College London had earlier reported that swine flu has a 'full pandemic potential' as it may infect one-third of the world's population in within the next six to nine months, adding that the new virus can infect one out of every three individuals who come into contact with an H1N1 patient.

British scientists also claimed that about 6,000 to 32,000 Mexicans are infected with the deadly virus; Mexican health officials, however, have only reported 2,059 cases of swine flu infection including 56 deaths in 29 of the country's 32 districts.

In the US, the second country attacked by the new strain of the H1N1 flu, the virus is spreading so fast that CDC officials have decided to stop counting individual cases as they are only 'confirming the tip of the iceberg'.

Statistics show that more than 2,600 confirmed swine flu cases, three deaths and 700 suspected cases have been reported in 43 US states.

Health officials have also stressed that the virus, which is 'circulating throughout the United States and is likely to be in every state', is relatively mild and may be troublesome only in those with an underlying disease.

WHO officials concluded that the impact of any pandemic varies in different countries, as it is mild in countries with strong health systems but becomes devastating in those with weak health systems which lack drugs and well-equipped hospitals.-PressTV

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

WHO: swine flu infects 29 countries

Sun, 10 May 2009

Image of newly-identified H1N1 influenza virus obtained at the CDC Influenza Laboratory.

The World Health Organization announced Saturday that the H1N1 (swine) flu virus has spread to 29 countries and confirmed 3440 cases of infection.

The WHO said the latest infections are reported in Argentina, Panama, Australia and Japan.

Mexico has reported 1364 laboratory-confirmed human cases of infection, including 45 deaths. The United States has reported 1639 laboratory-confirmed human cases, including two deaths. Canada has reported 242 laboratory-confirmed human cases, including one death.

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths - Argentina (1), Australia (1), Austria (1), Brazil (6), China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (1), Colombia (1), Costa Rica (1), Denmark (1), El Salvador (2), France (12), Germany (11), Guatemala (1), Ireland (1), Israel (7), Italy (6), Japan (3), Netherlands (3), New Zealand (5), Panama (2), Poland (1), Portugal (1), Republic of Korea (3), Spain (88), Sweden (1), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (34).

Early signs of influenza H1N1 are flu-like, including fever, cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and runny nose, and sometimes vomiting or diarrhea. No vaccine has been developed to fight the fatal virus named H1N1, which has traveled to four continents.

The symptoms have been treated with antivirals. It is feared, however, that H1N1 might be resistant to antiviral medications.

The World Health Organization prepares for the production of a vaccine against the H1N1 virus, as the number of confirmed swine flu cases passes the 2,000 mark.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Yoghurt keeps postpartum obesity away

While many women find weight loss after labor challenging, a new study says probiotic supplements can easily help them retain their figure.

Previous studies had linked taking probiotics, live bacteria or yeast dietary supplements, to improved digestion and intestinal health.

According to the study presented at the 17th European Congress on Obesity in Amsterdam, taking these supplements in the first trimester of pregnancy can lower the risk of post-partum central obesity.

Women who took probiotics during pregnancy were reported to have the lowest levels of central obesity and body fat percentage in the year after delivery.

These supplements not only modify the bacteria in the intestines but also influence adipose formation in the body through breaking down sugars and carbohydrates.

A probiotics-supplemented diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding is therefore considered as an economic, practical, and potentially safe method for reducing the risk of obesity after labor.

University of Turku researchers concluded that just one yoghurt cup a day is enough to help pregnant women control their weight.

Courtesy : PressTV - Sun, 10 May 2009

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