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November 16, 2009

Watching the H1N1 flu pandemic

Health officials around the world are stepping up vaccination efforts and are closely tracking the progress of the H1N1/09 virus (often referred to as "swine flu" in the media). World Health Organization officials recently noted that the virus has spread to virtually every country in the world, reaching as far as remote tribes in Venezuela and aboriginal populations in Australia. Although the number of deaths attributed to H1N1 this year (over 7,000 to date) remains low compared to a normal seasonal flu outbreak of several hundred thousand deaths in a year, health officials remain concerned because of the instability of H1N1/09 combined with its tendency to affect younger healthier people. Collected here are photos of people around the world preparing for and dealing with the current H1N1 pandemic. (37 photos total)

A medic prepares to give students of a university an injection of the H1N1 flu vaccine in Russia's far eastern city of Vladivostok on November 9, 2009. Russia launched a vaccination campaign against the H1N1 flu disease on Monday, local media reported. (REUTERS/Yuri Maltsev)

An Afghan boy tries to sell protective masks on a market in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Nov. 9, 2009. H1N1 has left 11 people dead in Afghanistan, where hundreds of Afghan and international troops are battling the disease and facing a rising militant insurgency. The Afghan Ministry of Public Health reported Monday that 710 of the 779 cases of the flu in the nation have been among military personnel. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #

An Israeli medical worker holds an ampule containing H1N1 flu vaccine at a clinic in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009. Israel has already ordered enough vaccine for 30 percent of its population even though it is still in development, according to the Health Ministry. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) #

Pilgrims pass by thermal sensors installed to detect their temperature upon their arrival at Jeddah airport, in Saudi Arabia on November 10, 2009. Expecting approximately three million pilgrims from over 160 countries to congregate around Mecca's holy sites for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, Saudi authorities have tightened health measures at the airports and sea ports as well as created the 300-bed capacity King Saud Hospital especially for H1N1 flu cases. (REUTERS/Susan Baaghil) #

Lisa Foley (center) looks on as R.N. Lana Peta administers an H1N1 flu nasal mist to daughter, Maddie, 5, at Wellesley Hills Congregational Church in Wellesley, Massachusetts on Saturday, November 7, 2009. The Wellesley Health Department, which sponsored the clinic, had about 200 doses available for children, ages 2-19 years old. (Globe Staff Photo/Wendy Maeda) #

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, left, wears a face mask as she visits a regional hospital in Lutsk, about 400 km (247 miles) west of Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Nov. 9, 2009. Ukraine's presidential election in January could be postponed because of H1N1 flu, a newspaper quoted a government official as saying Friday. (AP Photo/Aleksandr Prokopenko) #

A worshipper takes holy water from an automatic dispenser at a church in Fornaci Di Briosco, around 40 km (25 miles) north of Milan, Italy on November 10, 2009. Parishes in northern Italy have begun installing automatic holy water dispensers in churches to allow the faithful to make the sign of the cross without the fear of catching H1N1 flu when using communal water fonts. (REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini) #

A vendor displays garlic at Belgrade green market, Serbia, Friday, Nov. 13, 2009. Belgrade's open-air markets were a welter of busy customers on Friday with one thing on their mind: garlic. In Serbia, garlic is a remedy for all, including H1N1 flu, whose recent surge has triggered mild panic among the population. The prices of garlic have spiked on Belgrade's markets because of the increase in demand, and public places are smelling of the little white bulbs as people munch them as if eating apples. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) #

A young girl receives an H1N1 vaccination as she sits in her mother's car during a drive thru H1N1 vaccination clinic at Doctor's Medical Center November 5, 2009 in San Pablo, California. California public health officials say that shortages of the H1N1 vaccinations may make it impossible to vaccinate people at risk of contracting the H1N1 flu. County health agencies across California have received less than 45% of the vaccines ordered. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) #

A worker of the Beyoglu municipality uses disinfectant in a primary school classroom, part of precautions taken against the H1N1 virus in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, Oct. 30, 2009. Two H1N1 patients died on Thursday, bringing the death toll from the flu in Turkey to three, the Health Ministry said. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Usta) #

A student receives an H1N1 vaccine injection at a hospital in Suining, Sichuan province, China on November 11, 2009. H1N1 flu is on the rise in China and Japan after triggering an unusually early start to the winter influenza season in Europe, Central Asia and North America, the World Health Organisation said. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

A Muslim pilgrim, wearing a mask for protection against H1N1 flu, walks in the courtyard of the Prophet Mohammed Mosque in the Saudi holy city of Medina on November 11, 2009. (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images) #

A young man wears a gas-mask as he rides a bus in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on November 4, 2009. The World Health Organisation said today that it was valid to assume that most of the cases of influenza reportedly sweeping through Ukraine were caused by the H1N1 virus. (YURIY DYACHYSHYN/AFP/Getty Images) #

Sheila Garcia, 3, has her temperature taken on her forehead before visiting a patient at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford in Palo Alto, California, Monday, Oct. 19, 2009. Hospitals around the country are turning away child visitors at the door, restrictions that aim to limit spread of H1N1 flu to patients sick from other causes. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) #

Technicians perform a dry run in the influenza manufacturing facility at Sanofi Pasteur in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania. As nervous Americans clamor for the H1N1 flu vaccine, production is running several weeks behind schedule, and health officials blame the pressure on pharmaceutical companies to crank out the ordinary flu vaccine at the same time, and an antiquated manufacturing process that relies on millions of chicken eggs. (AP Photo/Sanofi Pasteur, David W. Coulter) #

A worker dumps boiled eggs that have been used to produce H1N1 vaccine onto a truck at Sinovac Biotech Company in Beijing, China on Nov. 3, 2009. (AP Photo) #

A boy wears a mask while waiting for an H1N1 vaccination at a hospital in Taipei, Taiwan on November 9, 2009. The Taiwan government started vaccinations against the H1N1 virus on Monday for infants from six months to one year old. (REUTERS/Nicky Loh) #

An Israeli medical worker injects a man with H1N1 flu vaccine at a clinic in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) #

Media film as a nurse vaccinates a clinic employee with Pandemrix, a vaccine against H1N1 influenza, at the UKE clinic in Hamburg October 26, 2009. (REUTERS/Christian Charisius) #

A robot designed to help doctors diagnose H1N1 flu quivers as a man with a full protective outfit puts a tube into its throat during a demonstration at the Security & Safety Trade Expo in Tokyo, Japan, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009. The life-sized humanoid was developed by Medical Education Technologies, Inc. (METI), the world's leading supplier of human patient simulators, based in Sarasota, Florida, to help medical workers recognize symptoms of the illness and learn to treat patients. It sweats, moans, cries and convulses just like a human would when infected with the H1N1 virus and if the robot is not treated properly the symptoms gradually get worse and it stops breathing. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara) #

An announcement by the sanitary authorities is posted on the door of a school closed due to a H1N1 virus infection among students in Bucharest, Romania on November 2, 2009. Authorities have closed several schools recently due to the rapid spread of the H1N1 flu virus and boosted vaccine stockpile to face a potential pandemic more resolutely. (REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel) #

A South Korean student, suffering from a high fever, is placed in a separate exam room as a precaution against the H1N1 virus, as she waits to take her college entrance exam, in Deajeon, south of Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Yang Yong-suk) #

A child peers in the window as she waits in line to receive the H1N1 vaccine in Haltom City, Texas October 30, 2009. Tarrant County is distributing 1,600 injectable doses of the H1N1 vaccine to children ages 6 months to 18 years and pregnant women today. (REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi) #

A teacher checks a student's body temperature as a precaution against H1N1 flu at a primary school in Wuhan, in central China's Hubei province, Monday, Nov. 2, 2009. (AP Photo) #

Figures in a Nativity scene, depicting the birth of Jesus Christ, wear face masks in a shop in the H1N1-hit city of Naples, Italy on November 5, 2009. Italy has reported 26 victims of the H1N1 influenza virus have died, and 41,000 people have been vaccinated in the country by the start of November. (REUTERS/Stefano Renna/Agnfoto) #

Belarussians suspected of carrying the H1N1 flu take their turn in the examination room at a hospital in Minsk on November 2, 2009. Belarus has yet to confirm a death from the virus, but doctors keep watch amid a growing panic in nearby Ukraine. (VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images) #

A teacher sprays alcohol to sterilize students' hands as a precaution against th spread of the H1N1 flu at a primary school in Wuhan, in central China's Hubei province, Monday, Nov. 2, 2009. (AP Photo) #

Reserve soldiers wearing face masks to guard against the H1N1 flu virus take part in a reserve forces training at a military training field in Seoul November 4, 2009. South Korea on Tuesday raised its flu alert status to the highest "red" level to prepare for a possible national emergency caused by the rapid spread of Influenza A, Yonhap News Agency reported. (REUTERS/Yonhap) #

A dog wears a protective mask against the H1N1 flu on its face on a street in Enshi, Hubei province, China on November 5, 2009. (REUTERS/China Daily) #

Kevin Solis, left and his mother Abdi Santoyo wear protective face masks as a precaution against H1N1 flu contagion at a beach in Cancun, Mexico. (AP Photo/Israel Leal ) #

Pupils rub their arms and rest in a classroom after receiving H1N1 influenza vaccine injections at a school in Shanghai, China on November 10, 2009. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

Saudi Arabian nurses attend the launch of amn H1N1 vaccine campaign in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009. Saudi Arabia's health minister said Saturday the kingdom will not ban anyone considered high risk for H1N1 flu from performing the Hajj pilgrimage this year. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) #

Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou receives an H1N1 vaccination inside an elementary school in Taipei County November 16, 2009. Ma took the vaccination as a symbolic show of support for the vaccine. (REUTERS/Nicky Loh) #

Two Afghan zookeepers watch as Afghanistan's only known pig, Khanzir, eats at the Kabul Zoo November 2, 2009. The pig, a curiosity in Muslim Afghanistan where pork and pig products are illegal because they are considered irreligious, was quarantined in July 2009 because visitors to the zoo were worried it could spread the H1N1 flu strain. The pig was released from quarantine later that month. (REUTERS/Oleg Popov) #

Police riot officers confront Paris-Saint-Germain soccer supporters on the Old Port, in Marseille, southern France, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009, after the cancellation of the League One soccer match between Marseille and Paris-saint-Germain - the game postponed after a third PSG player was diagnosed with the H1N1 flu on Sunday, forcing the quarantine of the players and staff. (AP Photo) #

A newlywed couple wearing masks kiss as they leave the city hall after their wedding in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on October 31, 2009. (YURIY DYACHYSHYN/AFP/Getty Images) #

A girl watches while her mother gets an H1N1 influenza vaccine shot in Vancouver, British Columbia October 26, 2009. (REUTERS/Andy Clark) #