IS IT ENOUGH: A file picture of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu. A cluster of patients has already developed resistance to the drug in the US
Four North Carolina patients at a single hospital tested positive for a type of swine flu that is resistant to the medication Tamiflu, said health officials on Friday.
The cases reported at the Duke University Medical Center over six weeks make up the biggest cluster seen so far in the U.S.
Tamiflu – made by Switzerland’s Roche Group – is one of two flu medicines that help against swine flu, and health officials have been closely watching for signs that the virus is mutating, making the drugs ineffective.
More than 50 resistant cases have been reported in the world since April, including 21 in the U.S.
Almost all in the United States were isolated, said officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Thousands of people line up to get the H1N1 vaccine at Metro Hall in Toronto on Friday Oct. 30, 2009.
Canada has 50 million doses of the vaccine ordered for the population of 33 million More than 700 people have died of swine flu this week, raising the number of fatalities from the viral disease to 5,712 worldwide, Xinhua reported citing the UN health agency on Friday. Of all the deaths, 4,175 occurred in the Americas, 605 occurred in South-East Asia and 465 occurred in the West Pacific.
Europe, East Mediterranean and Africa reported 281, 111 and 75 deaths respectively, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a latest update on Friday.
The WHO, which declared the swine flu as a pandemic in June, said the total number of lab confirmed cases worldwide is now over 441,661, but this case count is significantly lower than the actual number of cases that have occurred, because many countries have stopped testing and reporting individual cases. In the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, influenza transmission continues to intensify marking an unusually early start to winter influenza season in some countries, the UN agency said.