07/11/2009, 00.00
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Swine Flu and Ebola, health emergency grips Asia

by Mathias Hariyadi
The cases of infection for the H1N1 climb to 98 thousand, 440 dead. On July 13, a speech by the WHO on the outcome of the research for the production of a vaccine. In the Philippines cases of Ebola discovered among pigs, which could transmitt the virus to humans.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Influenza and Ebola fever, Asia is faced with a health emergency. Monday, July 13 experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) should announce the guidelines for the deployment of a vaccine against the H1N1 virus. But from the Philippines comes a warning that is even more serious: among the pigs on the islands a variant of the Ebola virus has bee found that, in the event of mutation, would be very dangerous to humans.

Fatela Chaib, a spokeswoman of the WHO, says, research for the production of a vaccine “is being developed” and the results should be published next Monday during a press conference in Geneva.  On 11 June this year, experts raised the highest level of alert, declaring pandemic. The discovery in Denmark, Japan and Hong Kong of strains resistant to drugs have made it necessary to take even more drastic prevention measures.

In Indonesia, the authorities reported 30 cases of infection, two of the infected returned in recent days from a holiday in Bali and Lombok. The doctors of the hospital in Bandung, West Java, however, stress that the conditions of patients are improving and they will return home "even if it is necessary to continue the treatment."  

Since the end of March last year, the H1N1 virus has infected more than 98 thousand people in 120 countries worldwide. WHO estimates about 440 people have died from the virus. Among the Asian nations most affected are Thailand with 2700 cases, China (circa 2300), Japan (over 2000), Philippines (1700) and Singapore (around 1200).  


Moreover a new threat has emerged from the Philippines: scientists have discovered cases of Ebola among pigs, a virus detected so far only in humans and primates. The American researchers claim that, at present, the strain of the virus found in the pigs is not a source of risk to humans, but its mutation would increase the potential pathogen. Health authorities have examined about 150 people, six of which have an antibody to Ebola-Reston virus. Previously they had come into contact with the pigs.


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See also
Swine Flu: Hong Kong closes all primary schools and nurseries
Mass swine flu vaccination in China as peak time approaches
WHO: H1N1, virus "no half measures." Race for vaccines continues
Swine flu: WHO braced to declare global “pandemic”
Swine flu, alert level raised. Deaths and human to human infections.