Pandemic flu on the rise in several nations

Pandemic flu activity is picking up in parts of India and Colombia, and New Zealand is seeing a rise in flu-like illnesses in young children, CIDRAP News has reported.

The report sites information from the Indo-Asian News Service, which states that India health officials have reported nine deaths in June related to the H1N1 flu pandemic. The deaths were reported following a rise in pandemic cases connected to monsoon activity in the Indian states of Karnataka and Maharashtra towards the end of May.

Health officials in India have said, however, that the nation is now more prepared for flu outbreaks as a result of a domestically produced pandemic flu vaccine. Three more domestic pandemic flu vaccines are also expected to be released soon.

In Colombia, according to the report, Bogota health officials say pandemic cases recently increased from an average of two per week to 14.

The two countries are bucking global trends that are showing pandemic flu activity very low in most parts of the world, according to the World Health Organization.

In New Zealand, CIDRAP News is reporting that flu-like illnesses have increased in children over the past two weeks, with the country's health ministry saying that the increase is likely tied to H1N1 flu strain.

Travelers to each country are advised to be vaccinated.