Swine flu has reached Europe
Spain's Health Ministry confirmed Europe's first case of swine flu on Monday. In the next 24 hours dozens of suspected cases cropped up all over Europe. On Tuesday, suspected cases were reported in Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, Greece, Ireland, Denmark and Sweden.
The EU has called for an extraordinary meeting of health ministers and issued a travel advisory against non-essential trips to areas where the virus has surfaced. There's no European action plan against a pandemic. Each is taking measures on a national level, which are overseen by ECDC.
The virus is a novel human H1N1 influenza variant with genomic elements of human, avian and porcine flu viruses, which apparently is able to be transmitted from human to human but up to now has not been identified in pigs, acording to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta.
So far the only "swine flu" deaths recorded have been in Mexico, where 7 people were confirmed to have died from the disease. The United States has recorded the second highest rate of infection, but no deaths.
Acting CDC director Richard Besser rejected a warning from EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou that appeared to call on Europeans to avoid travel to the United States and Mexico, calling it "quite premature." US virologists recommended not to panic but to analyse the virus’ target group and the number of confirmed cases.
Reports from the CDC indicate that the virus is susceptible to the usual neuraminidase blockers Oseltamivir (Tamiflu, Roche) and Zanamivir (Relenza, GlaxoSmithKline).
On Wednesday morning Swiss Roche AG confirmed that it is working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and governments around the world to make the oral antiviral medication Tamiflu available to patients in need following the increased reports of outbreaks of swine flu. Revenues with the flu therapy , which is active against this new swine flu virus A(H1N1), dropped significantly last year as there were few cases of avian flu.