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Why did healthy children fall critically ill in the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic? PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 November 2011 05:14

Largest study to date finds co-infection with MRSA increased death risk 8-fold; Flu vaccination urged

Boston, Mass. -- During the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, many previously healthy children became critically ill, developing severe pneumonia and respiratory failure, sometimes fatal. The largest nationwide investigation to date of influenza in critically ill children, led by Children's Hospital Boston, found one key risk factor: Simultaneous infection with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) increased the risk for flu-related mortality 8-fold among previously healthy children.

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Scientists Find H1N1 Flu Virus Prevalent in Animals in Africa PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 20:38
UCLA life scientists and their colleagues have discovered the first evidence of the H1N1 virus in animals in Africa. In one village in northern Cameroon, a staggering 89 percent of the pigs studied had been exposed to the H1N1 virus, commonly known as the swine flu.
 

"I was amazed that virtually every pig in this village was exposed," said Thomas B. Smith, director of UCLA's Center for Tropical Research and the senior author of the research. "Africa is ground zero for a new pandemic. Many people are in poor health there, and disease can spread very rapidly without authorities knowing about it."

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Pregnant Women At High Risk Of Death If They Have Severe Pandemic Flu PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 12 September 2011 21:02

Out of 347 pregnant women in 2009 with severe pandemic flu, 75 died, and 272 were admitted to an ICU and survived the illness, according to a MMWR report by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The authors stressed that pregnant mothers with influenza have a higher risk of being hospitalized and dying.

For the last seven years ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) has recommended that all pregnant women receive the inactivated influenza vaccine, no matter what trimester they are in.

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H1N1 Swine Flu Death Reported In Lake County, Florida PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 03 September 2011 06:58

Health officials from Lake County Health Department, Florida, have confirmed that an 80-year old woman who lived locally and had visited California died of H1N1 Swine Flu. Since the start of the influenza H1N1 pandemic in 2009, the virus strain that was circulating then has become part of the normal group of strains that typically circulate during the influenza season.

Signs and symptoms of flu include a body temperature above 100o F (37.8o C), sore throat, headache, cough, aches throughout the body, chills, malaise and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea.

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Narcolepsy and Influenza: Onset of Narcolepsy Appears to Follow Seasonal Patterns of H1N1, China Study Finds PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 August 2011 02:27
The onset of narcolepsy appears to follow seasonal patterns of H1N1 and other upper airway infections, according to a new study of patients in China that was led by Stanford University School of Medicine narcolepsy expert Emmanuel Mignot, MD.

The findings, which will be published online Aug. 22 in Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society, show that a peak in narcolepsy cases occurred five to seven months after a peak in flu/cold or H1N1 infections in the country.

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Can The Spanish Flu Devastate Us Again? Researchers Work To Determine How H1N1 Becomes Pandemic PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 19 August 2011 23:44

The last century has seen two major pandemics caused by the H1N1 virus - the Spanish Flu in 1918 and 2009's Swine Flu scare, which had thousands travelling with surgical masks and clamoring for vaccination. But scientists did not know what distinguished the Swine Flu from ordinary influenza in pigs or seasonal outbreaks in humans, giving it the power to travel extensively and infect large populations.

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Could the Spanish Flu Devastate Us Again? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 August 2011 20:54
The last century has seen two major pandemics caused by the H1N1 virus -- the Spanish Flu in 1918 and 2009's Swine Flu scare, which had thousands travelling with surgical masks and clamoring for vaccination. But scientists did not know what distinguished the Swine Flu from ordinary influenza in pigs or seasonal outbreaks in humans, giving it the power to travel extensively and infect large populations.
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'Swine Flu' Breath Test Could Reduce Future Vaccination Shortages, Research Suggests PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 19:48
A novel breath test, measuring the immune response to the H1N1 flu virus, could help to ease future vaccine shortages by identifying the people who have already been infected with the flu virus.

In a study published in IOP Publishing's Journal of Breath Research, researchers have investigated an easy, non-invasive breath test to measure biomolecules that accumulate in response to the H1N1 strain.

Research published last month claimed that over half of the people in Glasgow vaccinated during the 2009 swine flu pandemic were already infected with the flu virus, meaning they were vaccinated unnecessarily. It is thought that similar patterns would have been found throughout the UK.

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Study Points To New Approach To Influenza's Antiviral Resistance PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 15 July 2011 18:28

Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, with assistance from the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego, have found a new approach to the creation of customized therapies for virulent flu strains that resist current antiviral drugs.

The findings, published online this week in Nature Communications, could aid development of new drugs that exploit so-called flu protein 'pockets.'

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Quick Test Can Predict Immune Responses to Flu Shots PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 17:58
Researchers at the Emory Vaccine Center have developed a method for predicting whether someone will produce high levels of antibodies against a flu shot a few days after vaccination.

After scanning the extent to which carefully selected genes are turned on in white blood cells, the researchers can predict on day three, with up to 90 percent accuracy, who will make high levels of antibodies against a standard flu shot four weeks later.

The results were published online July 10 in the journal Nature Immunology.

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Connection Between Asthma And Less Severe Outcomes From Pandemic Influenza H1N1 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 20:41

According to an investigation presented at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Amsterdam, individuals with asthma who are hospitalized with pandemic influenza H1N1 (swine flu) are half as likely to die or require intensive care compared to individuals without asthma. They discovered that although asthma is one of the most common illnesses observed in individuals admitted to hospital with H1N1, those with asthma didn't have as severe outcomes in comparison to those without the condition.

Generally, individuals with asthma who have a virus, such as H1N1, are at risk of developing breathing difficulties. When the lungs of an individual with the condition is infected with a virus, mucus and cells move into narrow airways, blocking the free movement of air.

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People Hospitalized With Asthma 'Less Likely to Die from Swine Flu', Study Finds PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 26 September 2011 18:23
People with asthma who are admitted to hospital with pandemic influenza H1N1 (swine flu) are half as likely to die or require intensive care than those without asthma, according to new research.
 

The study, which is being presented at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Amsterdam, found that, despite asthma being among the commonest illnesses seen in patients admitted to hospital with H1N1, people with the condition had less severe outcomes.

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FAO Warnings Follow Rise In Replikins Count For Both H5N1 And Swine Flu (H1N1); Replikins Synthetic TransFlu™ Vaccine Tested PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 September 2011 03:25

The possible combination of influenza strains H1N1 (high infectivity) and H5N1 (high lethality) is a matter of global concern (1, 2). Bioradar UK Ltd announced (3) first, that the Replikin Counts of the two virus strains have risen simultaneously, not seen previously. Additionally, the rise is to their highest levels in 50 years (H1N1, 16.7; H5N1, 23.3), and that clinical outbreaks of each strain are now occurring. These simultaneous conditions may increase the risk that the two virus strains might come into contact with each other more frequently, facilitating transfer of genomic material to form a hybrid.

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Pandemic Could Quickly Overwhelm Children's Hospitals PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 27 August 2011 04:40

A new study of children's hospitals nationwide has found them underequipped to handle a major surge of patients in the event of a pandemic, and urges health care institutions and government agencies to immediately review emergency preparedness plans as flu season approaches.

"Every year we get lucky," said the study's lead author, Marion Sills, MD, MPH, and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "But it wouldn't take much of an epidemic to put us over capacity. If that happens where do the children go?"

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Children's Hospitals Not Equipped to Handle Pandemics, Study Shows; Outbreak Could Quickly Exhaust Capacity PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 August 2011 02:25
A new study of children's hospitals nationwide has found them underequipped to handle a major surge of patients in the event of a pandemic, and urges health care institutions and government agencies to immediately review emergency preparedness plans as flu season approaches.

"Every year we get lucky," said the study's lead author, Marion Sills, MD, MPH, and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "But it wouldn't take much of an epidemic to put us over capacity. If that happens where do the children go?"

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News From The Annals Of Internal Medicine: Aug. 16, 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 August 2011 20:57

1. Chinese Herb Works as Well as Oseltamivir for Shortening Flu Duration

The antiviral, oseltamivir has been used to reduce severity of and mortality from H1N1 influenza. In rural China, where there is limited access to medications such as oseltamivir, traditional Chinese medicine has been used to treat seasonal flu. To compare the efficacy and safety of oseltamivir and maxingshigan-yinqiaosan (a Chinese herbal remedy) for treating uncomplicated H1N1 influenza, researchers assigned 410 young adult patients in 11 Chinese hospitals to receive either oseltamivir alone, oseltamivir plus maxinghigan-yingiaosan, maxinghigan-yingiaosan alone, or no treatment for five days.

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Oral Interferon May Prevent and Control Avian Influenza Virus Infection PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 30 July 2011 07:03
Avian influenza virus is a threat to the commercial chicken industry and, with its recent rapid spread across China, has also shown the ability for transmission from chickens to humans and other mammals. In an article in Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Chinese researchers report that oral chicken interferon-alpha may significantly reduce influenza virus levels when given either preventively or therapeutically.
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How Flu Virus Spreads to College Community: Major Implications for Control PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 19:45
Many different strains of the H1N1 influenza virus were represented among 57 students at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) who were infected during the epidemic in the fall of 2009, according to a paper in the July Journal of Virology. The findings have major implications in the controversy over how best to reduce the virus' spread.

The investigators had planned the study in the spring of 2009, after a new strain of H1N1 was identified in San Diego, and spread rapidly around the world, says coauthor Robert T. Schooley of UCSD. "We reasoned that the epidemic would resume in the fall and that the college-age population would be particularly at risk since people under age 50 had lower levels of immunity to the new strain."

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New Means of Overcoming Antiviral Resistance in Influenza PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 18:01
UC Irvine researchers have found a new approach to the creation of customized therapies for virulent flu strains that resist current antiviral drugs.
Using powerful computer simulations, UCI's Rommie Amaro and Robin Bush created a method to predict how pocket structures on the surface of influenza proteins promoting viral replication can be identified as these proteins evolve, allowing for possible pharmaceutical exploitation.
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Large Study Reaffirms H1N1, Seasonal Flu Vaccine Safety PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 20:27

Back in spring 2009, the H1N1 influenza virus crossed the U.S. border and raised concerns that it might cause a full-scale epidemic in the fall. The Food and Drug Administration worked with other Health and Human Services agencies and vaccine manufacturers to quickly develop, license and distribute a vaccine to protect the public from this particularly virulent strain of the flu.
However, alongside the public's concern about H1N1 were also fears that the rapid vaccine development would lead to unanticipated problems similar to the increased risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome that occurred with the 1976 swine flu vaccine.

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