Colds and flu

25 August 2009

SA swine flu deaths double

Reports claim the number of swine flu fatalities in South Africa has doubled since the weekend. There is also concern over why the vaccine may take up to five weeks to work.


The number of swine flu fatalities in South Africa doubled since the weekend, the Star newspaper reported.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said there had been 5118 laboratory confirmed cases, with 18 being fatal.

The institute's deputy director, Dr Lucille Bloomberg, said this was not a sudden spate of swine flu related deaths but rather delays in confirming results and collating information from various private institutions.

At least half of victims were pregnant women and most of the cases were reported in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

Vaccine takes five weeks to work
Meanwhile it appears that once the vaccine is available, it’s will still be five weeks or more before it provides protection.

Health officials believe most people will need two shots, spaced three weeks apart, and it will take a week or two after the second dose before immunity kicks in. That's five or six weeks in all.

Health officials don't really know if that's good or bad news.

Clinical trials started just this month to evaluate the new vaccine's safety and effectiveness, and the first substantial set of results is not expected until next month. – (Sapa, August 2009)

Read more:
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WHO predicts swine flu explosion


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Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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