30 Oct 2009

A network of health care centers

Today Ferruccio Fazio, Health Deputy Minister, has announced that it has been created a network to tackle the severe cases of the flu. The government and the Regional governments have located 14 centers to give treatment to these patients because not all the Regions have the specialized units (Agi press agency).
According to Ansa press agency Professor Fazio also explained that the case-fatality rate for A/H1N1 influenza has been 0,03‰, less than seasonal influenza rate (2‰).

A diverse vaccine campaign

In Italy there're many differences in vaccine distribution at local level. Regional governments organize the health care services, so they are free to choose their organization. Adnkronos press agency has collected information about the vaccine campaign, about who will give the vaccine shot to people. Mb stands for “medico di base”, the family doctor. Asl is the local health center. Some Regions have decided that the vaccine will be available in Asl, some have asked doctors, some both, and some haven't still decided.

A new web site

Today the Italian Ministry of Labour and Health has launched a web site, www.fermailvirus.it. The service is aimed at the general public, mainly at parents. There's a special section for pregnant women and other paregraphs for small children. Instead, there's no mention of another group at risk, people with chronic lung disease (I wonder why). And no information for doctors and nurses (they have other sources). The campaing is quite new for Italy: on the web site there's a lot of stuff about recognizing symptoms, things to do, suggestions etc. It's good, but I prefer the CDC web site, because there are more information and it doesn't speak to me as I were a child.

Week 43

According to the Iss data, the incidence in the 43th week of the year is 3,88 ‰ among all the people who got visited by doctors, and 13,02‰ among the 5-14 years old. The Iss released on October 28th also the local data, updated. In Campania (Naples and other cities) there is the highest incidence, but also in Lombardia (Milan) and Tuscany there are a lot of cases. Yesterday the Deputy Minister of Health Ferruccio Fazio said that in Europe only Spain has such an hign number of cases.
Piemonte 6,61 ‰
Val d'Aosta -
Pr. Aut. Bolzano 1,67
pPr. Aut. Trento 0,92
Veneto 0,88
Emilia-Romagna 3,06
Marche 4,86
Lazio 4,32
Molise -
Campania 12,37
Basilicata 1,33
Sardegna 0,55
Abruzzo 0,00
Calabria 1,08
Friuli vV.G: 0,93
Liguria 4,42
Lombardia 5,85
Puglia 1,75
Sicilia 2,13
Toscana 5,90
Umbria 2,64

29 Oct 2009

More cases all over Italy

The H1N1 virus is spreading in Italy and it's more difficult to keep track of what is going on. Three fatal cases in North Italy: an old woman afflicted by pneumonia in Milan, a young man afflicted by TB in Ferrara, another woman in Rimini. A woman died in Rome and three men in Naples, a 64 years old doctor, a 50 years old afflicted by obesity, a 73 years old doctor already afflicted by pulmonary disease. All the news from Corriere della Sera newspaper. So, now the deaths caused by the virus are 12. On Monday the Lombardia health system will start the second part of the vaccine campaign, for pregnant women and young (under 17 years) people with chronic disease. In other parts of Italy the campaign is still focused on health care workers. This evening the flu news were on tv, on channel Rai 1 (link, in Italian). Health authorities continue to repeat that this flu is a mild one, and that it affects only ill people.
It seems to me that there's a lot of pressure to stop people panicking, and not such an effort to protect people with illness. Maybe I just find irritating, when someone infected by the virus dies, the comment: “the patient was already ill.”

28 Oct 2009

Flu death in Naples

More details about the patient who died yesterday in Naples after being infected by H1N1 flu virus. He was a doctor, affected by anaemia, obesity and cardiac disease. On Monday he was admitted at Cotugno Hospital because of pneumonia. According the local newspaper Il Mattino, he didn't got vaccination because the regional health units have run out of the doses, primarily used for health care workers. The Italian Deputy Minister of Health Ferruccio Fazio said in an interview that the pandemic has started off and that in some part of Italy,, especially in South Italy, the vaccination campaign is late.
Personally, I don't understand who is late, the vaccine manufacturer, the national health structure or the local one.

27 Oct 2009

WHO: Confusion on flu vaccines

Today at the Spallanzani Hospital in Rome there was a meeting, the WHO Global Forum on Mass Gatherings. According to Adnkronos press agency, Hande Harmanci, of the WHO Global Influenza Programme, has said that there's a lot of confusion about the flu vaccine. "There is a lot of confusion in the world on the pandemic vaccines" said Dr. Harmanci "for this reason one should remember that they aren't new: the seasonal influenza vaccines have been on the market for 60 years, and what is new in this case is only the subtype in the vaccine, only one, instead of the usual three in the seasonal vaccines." According to Dr Harmanci licensed pandemic vaccines are safe and a single dose is sufficient to confer protective immunity. The Italian Deputy Minister of Health, Ferruccio Fazio, has said at the same meeting that in Italy there's been only one case of side effects, a woman who developed a local reactions at the injection site. In Italy the safety of the swine flu vaccine hasn't been disputed, but there's a lot of confusion about H1N1 influenza. Today the Cotugno Hospital of Naples said that a 56 years old, suffering of chronic diseases, infected with the virus, died (report of Corriere della Sera). It's the fifth death in Italy because of the swine flu. I think that it seems a lot because nobody remember all the seasonal flu victims (and cases of side effects of vaccines).