"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 22nd Nov 2017

Seqirus mentions

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Pandemic Influenza News
HK suspends poultry meat imports from parts of S. Korea
Hong Kong's Center for Food Safety suspended importing poultry meat and products with immediate effect from Jeollabuk-do Province, Gyeongsangnam-do Province and Daegu Metropolitan City in South Korea. The action was in view of the notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the South Korean authorities about outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N6 and H5N8 avian influenza in the noted areas
South Korea: MAFRA Testing Environmental H7N7 For Pathogenicity
Nearly two months ago, we saw South Korean H7N7 Indentified As LPAI from samples retrieved from Yeongcheon. Now we learn that MAFRA is testing new samples taken from Pohang, roughly 25 miles further east. While likely to be LPAI, given the rapid reassortment potential for avian influenza viruses, no one in South Korea can afford to take the results for granted
UK poultry owners urged to take precautions after bird flu found in Italy, Germany and Bulgaria
UK poultry keepers are being urged to review their biosecurity, sign up for disease alerts and register their birds with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), as well as reporting any unexplained deaths or sickness to their vet. The H5N8 strain of bird flu is currently circulating in Europe, with recent cases in poultry and wild birds in Italy, wild birds in Germany and poultry in Bulgaria
Avian Flu Found in Wild Bird Droppings
In South Korea, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed that a highly pathogenic strain of avian flu has been found in wild bird droppings in the southern part of the country. The discovery comes just a day after the first bird flu case of the winter was detected at a poultry farm in Gochang, North Jeolla Province. It was identified as the highly pathogenic strain H5N6
Avian influenza (bird flu) in winter 2017 to 2018
Public Health England advise the risk to public health from H5N8 avian influenza is very low. The H5N8 strain of bird flu is currently circulating in Europe, with recent cases in poultry and wild birds in Italy, wild birds in Germany and poultry in Bulgaria
China: Human H5N6 avian influenza case reported in Guangxi
Officials with China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission are reporting an additional human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in a Guangxi man. The 33-year-old man developed symptoms on November 7 and was hospitalized on November 12. He is now in a critical condition. He had contact with live poultry and exposure to live poultry markets before the onset of symptoms
DA to review Philippine policies on bird flu
In the Philippines, the Department of Agriculture said it will review its policies on avian influenza more than 3 months after the country recorded its first outbreak in Pampanga. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the review will include reconciling the Philippines' protocols with those of countries which have "more extensive experience" in handling bird flu outbreaks
According to new reports, bird flu is back. Here's what you need to know
Global health officials are warning that there is a concerning bird flu circulating throughout Asia. Known as the H7N9 virus, this form of bird flu is in its “fifth wave,” per the CDC. Nearly 1,600 people have tested positive for the infection and almost 40 percent of them have died. Most of these people have been in close contact with live poultry, but small clusters of the disease imply that it might now be passed from person to person
Industry News
Flu vaccine cost NHS £4,300 per dose
In the UK, the Department of Health and Social Care says the most expensive drug it bought last year was a flu vaccine - costing more than £4,300 a dose. A freedom of information request asked for the health system's dearest drugs, and the department listed 24 pharmaceutical products that cost more than £1,000 each. Topping the list was five doses of Imuvac, which immunises against H1N1 swine flu, at a total cost of £21,624.60
Academic studies
Columbia University Researchers Develop State-Level Influenza Nowcasting Model
A new study leveraging online search trends to gain a picture of current, local influenza outbreaks is showing some signs of promise, though researchers say they remain hamstrung by a lack of access to complete live data. Researchers from Columbia University recently developed their own `nowcasting` model, which used flu-like illness data at the state level, along with web-based search activity from Google Extended Trends. Their findings, published earlier this month, were mixed
Cholesterol Helps Flu Virus Escape Through Host Cell's Membrane
After a flu virus infects a host cell and hijacks its inner workings to create copies of itself, these copies gather into viral buds that break free from the host cell to infect again. A new study from MIT now provides the clearest picture yet of how the buds are pinched off from the host cell membrane. Using solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, the MIT team found that two cholesterol molecules bind to a flu protein called M2 to sever the viral buds from their host
Study explores whole-body immunity
Over the next few months, millions of people will receive vaccinations in the hope of staving off the flu. But how can one injection trigger an immune response that protects someone from head to toe? Part of the answer, says Nicolas Chevrier, assistant professor in molecular engineering at the University of Chicago, appears to lie in the way antiviral signals spread through the body within hours of a vaccination, seeding immune cells in various tissues
Antipyretic Effect on Immune Response to Flu Vaccination in Young Children
The administration of antipyretics for the treatment of local discomfort and fever in young children following receipt of inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) is not associated with any significant blunting of the immune response, according to the results of 2 consecutive randomized controlled trials
Annual Flu Shot Won't Weaken Your Immune System
There's no evidence to support the notion that people who get the flu vaccine every year somehow "weaken" their immune system over time, researchers say. In fact, annual vaccination seemed tied to stronger immune cell activity, according to the Norwegian research team. That's even true for years where the flu shot is a poor match for flu viruses actually circulating, as happened in the 2016-2017 season, the findings suggest
Pediatric influenza news
The flu shot works for young children, Ontario health study finds
New research from Public Health Ontario proves that when it comes to protecting young children from the influenza virus, the annual flu shot makes kids 60 per cent less likely to get sick. Researchers looked at almost 10,000 hospital records spanning four flu seasons for children between the ages of six months and five years old. On average, children who were fully vaccinated had a 60 per cent lower risk of contracting the disease and those who received partial vaccination had a 39 per cent less risk of contraction
Shocking number of kids unprotected against flu in Sussex
Families across West Sussex, UK, are being urged to make sure their children are vaccinated against flu before the winter flu season begins. Last year more than half of 2 to 4 year olds in the county were left unprotected from the serious effects of the winter illness
Infant under 3 flu vaccination stocks in Estonia run out by year end
In Estonia, only two of the influenza vaccines available this season are suitable for children under the age of three, and although they are now still available in some pharmacies and polyclinics, by the end of the year they won't be and additional supplies will not be produced. This year, so many people have been vaccinated against influenza that the entire season supply was sold out in October. About 77,500 influenza vaccine doses were brought to Estonia this season, although the initial vaccine manufacturers' plan predicted that 63,000 doses would be enough for the entire season. However, stocks were gone by the end of October
Over 65’s influenza news
Influenza: booster vaccine extends protection in very elderly patients
An additional booster vaccination in elderly individuals during the same epidemic may confer a long-lasting antibody response to maintain innate, age-related declines in seroprotection rates (PRs). In addition to familiarity with the updated CDC guidance for the 2017-2018 season, clinicians may consider offering additional boosters during same epidemic to elderly patients.
General Influenza News
Essentia fires about 50 over flu shot rule
Essentia Health has fired roughly 50 employees because they refused to get flu vaccinations. Many workers ended up getting shots in recent days after receiving initial notices that they would otherwise lose their jobs due to the company’s new immunization requirement, said Dr. Rajesh Prabhu, an infectious disease specialist and Essentia’s chief patient safety officer. But others refused and did not meet Essentia’s criteria for exemptions based on medical or religious reasons. The Minnesota Nurses Association said that it would file grievances on behalf of any nurse who lost a job over the flu shot policy
Number of flu cases spike leading to overcrowding in Bergamo
The Lombardy regional authorities have set aside 4m Euros to help health authorities open more hospital beds in order to manage the overcrowding of hospital emergency services due to the expected winter influx of influenza cases.
Influenza vaccinations - who needs to do it and why it should be done
In Italy, flu vaccination is not mandatory but it is recommended for some categories of people who are likely to have complications after catching the flu (pneumonia, otitis, sinusitis, dehydration, worsening of pre-existing diseases). The National Health System provides free vaccination for these groups in order to reduce the risk of disease, hospitalization and death, and reduce the social costs associated with such morbidity and mortality
582,000 flu vaccine doses given in Oaxaca, Mexico
In Oaxaca, Mexico, 582,000 doses of flu vaccine are given out to the population, and at-risk groups such as the under 5s, over 60s. pregnant women, and chronic illnesses patients receive the vaccine for free
Police Scotland offers free flu jabs in ‘investment in employee wellbeing’
All officers and staff in Police Scotland will receive access to flu jabs as part of a new wellbeing initiative. Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone announced last week that Police Scotland’s workforce will now be able to claim vouchers they can redeem for flu vaccinations. Several of Scotland’s legacy forces offered flu vaccinations but the new policy marks the first time they have been offered nationally
Flu campaigns - even the Mayors in the south east Tuscany ASL regions are stepping up to be vaccinated
In Siena, at a regional Mayor's conference, some prominent citizens presented themselves to be vaccinated against the flu in order to set an example for others. Among them was the President of the Conference, the Mayor of Monterotundo Marittimo, Giacomo Termine
75,000 vaccinated against the flu in Reynosa
In Tamaulipas, health authorities aim to give 75,000 flu vaccine doses to the population, with priority given to older people, young children, pregnant women and people suffering from chronic illnesses
Burden of disease
CDC influenza update: Overall activity is low but increasing
Seasonal influenza activity remains low overall in the United States, but is increasing, according to CDC's latest FluView report. The report found for the week ending November 4, the proportion of people seeing their health care provider for influenza-like illness was 1.8% and is below the national baseline of 2.2%
Southern Nevada Reports 1st Flu-Related Death This Season
Southern Nevada health officials say a young child has died from the flu. The department said it's the first reported death from the flu in the county this season but among 78 cases that have been reported. The county reported 13 flu-related deaths last flu season
Influenza season begins with the first recorded case in Palermo
The 2017/18 flu season is off with the first case found in Palermo being A H3N2. This is accounted for in the flu vaccines which health authorities are promoting. The Palermo case could still be sporadic, so there is no certainty yet in the forecast