May 7, 2009The global illness count for the novel H1N1 swine influenza climbed to 2,099 confirmed cases with 44 deaths in 23 countries early today, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported. That included 1,112 cases and 42 deaths in Mexico and yesterday’s US count of 642 cases and 2 deaths. Spain reported 73 cases and the United Kingdom 28. [WHO update 19]The US swine flu case count jumped to 896 cases in 41 states this morning, an increase of 254 cases since yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported. The number of affected states was the same as yesterday (41), and the death toll remained at 2. [CDC swine flu page]If the swine flu epidemic evolves into a full-scale pandemic, the record of past pandemics suggests it would be reasonable to estimate that perhaps as many as a third of the world’s population could become infected, Dr. Keiji Fukuda of the WHO said at a press briefing today. But he said he was not making a prediction, only noting the historical pattern. “We live in a different world” today, and no one knows what will happen, he added. Fukuda said he wanted to explain the seriousness of the threat because the WHO has been getting questions about why it is paying so much attention to the virus.Health officials in Canada yesterday said recently sick people who live on a farm where pigs were infected with the swine flu virus tested negative for the virus, including the carpenter who worked near the pigs when he was sick after traveling to Mexico, the Canadian Press (CP) reported. However, David Butler-Jones, MD, Canada’s chief public health officer, told the CP that “sampling” issues might have affected the test results and antibody tests will be conducted to confirm whether the farm residents were infected with the new virus.Yesterday in testimony before a House foreign affairs subcommittee, Dennis Carroll of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) detailed US efforts to help global agencies respond to the swine flu epidemic. USAID has provided $5 million to help the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization beef up detection and control efforts in Mexico, sent 100,000 sets of personal protective equipment to surveillance workers and first responders in Mexico, and provided support for swine surveillance in Mexico and Central America. Carroll told legislators that USAID has also established its own H1N1 task force and has activated a response team to address the humanitarian needs of 1 billion people in developing countries. [May 6 USAID statement]Two infectious disease experts are warning people against intentionally getting infected with the swine flu as a hedge against getting sick with a potentially more lethal strain of the virus in the months ahead, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. William Schaffner, MD, a flu immunization expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, told the AP that an individual’s response to a particular flu virus is unpredictable and could involve life-threatening complications. He also said infected people can unintentionally spread the virus to more vulnerable populations. [May 7 AP story]Vical Inc., a San Diego vaccine company, announced yesterday that it signed an agreement with the US Navy Medical Research Center to speed the development of a DNA-based vaccine against the swine flu virus. The vaccine would contain Vaxfectin, the company’s proprietary adjuvant, which it has used in its DNA vaccine against the H5N1 avian influenza virus. The company did not disclose how much money the agreement involves. [May 6 Vical press release]
Commissioner of Jamaican Constabulary Police Force Antony Anderson, Consul General Oliver Mair, Commissioner Denise Grant, Vice Mayor Howard Berger, Lauderhill Police Chief Constance Stanley, Visiting Lauderhill Police Station on Feb. 29th LAUDERHILL, Florida – On February 28, the Consul General of Jamaica, the Honorable R. Oliver Mair, along with Host Commissioner Denise D. Grant, hosted a community forum at the Lauderhill City Hall to discuss measures that can be implemented to ensure safer communities.While residents of Lauderhill, where a significant number of Caribbean-Americans reside, have shown their concern for their safety locally, they are also concerned about the safety of residents in Jamaica. Many residents of Lauderhill still have family members residing in Jamaica, or plan to return to their home country soon. Thus, the concerns of crime and violence in Jamaica, not only affects those living in Jamaica but also members of the diaspora.At the community forum, Commissioner of Police of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Major General Antony Anderson, was invited to make a presentation which addressed the state of crime in the county.Commissioner Anderson said that among the major crime concerns that the JCF has are the persistently high levels of violent crimes, pervasive gang culture, high levels of public disorder and the evolution in the nature of crime and criminals.To combat these and other issues, the government of Jamaica has implemented several State of Emergencies (SOE) over the last three years, sparking debate across the diaspora about the effectiveness of this measure. Currently, there are four SOEs in place, covering six parishes (almost half of the island): East Kingston, St Andrew South, Clarendon and St Catherine;and St James, Westmoreland and Hanover.“What an SOE is is a violence-reduction methodology”, said Commissioner Anderson to the audience made of largely Jamaican-Americans.“It rapidly reduces the level of crime in a particular space over a period of time. When we implement an SOE, it allows for the JCF to be better at the other types of policing. It allows our detectives the breathing room to build better cases, it creates a zone of peace that we can do community interventions, among other things.”In addressing the most recent SOE implemented in East Kingston, the Commissioner explained, “Earlier this year, we had a problem in East Kingston. In the first 25 days of the year, we had 12 homicides in East Kingston. We implemented this [SOE] measure on January 25 and we have not had one homicide since.”In St. James, the parish that currently has the longest-running SOE in Jamaica, there has been a major concern about whether or not the SOE has been working, as crimes have seemingly been on the rise in the parish over the last three years. But Anderson has insisted that crime in St. James is on a drastic decline.“Let’s compare three years: 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2017, there was no SOE in St. James and we had 335 homicides in St. James. In 2018, we started a year-long SOE which resulted in 102 homicides – a 70% reduction. In 2019, we only had it for a part of the year and it went up to about 150.“This year, so far, we are running the lowest level of homicides in St. James in 20 years”, Anderson announced as he offered the statistics.Turning his attention locally, the Commissioner said that he would be making more of an effort to strengthen communication with the JCF and the local sheriffs’ offices. “We recently had some discussions at Broward Sheriff’s Office about what we can do to strengthen our communication”, he said.“We can’t have this large of a diaspora of Jamaicans and not have those sort of ties with the police force here. A number of diaspora members are even in our local JCF and so those linkages lend itself to better communication.”Commissioner Anderson was the presented the key to the city to by Vice Mayor of Lauderhill, Howard Berger.