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"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 24th Nov 2017

Seqirus mentions
Government advisors back the adoption of new type of flu vaccine for older patients
Giving a new influenza vaccine to people aged 65 and over would be “more effective”, according to a committee of experts, which has called on health bodies in England to consider a change in policy. The JCVI has asked bodies in charge of immunisation policy to consider switching to the new jab, starting with the over 75s. So far, just one aTIV – called Fluad – has been approved for use in the UK and, therefore, currently available to GPs and other healthcare professionals to order for the 2018-19 flu season
Pandemic Influenza News
Germany reports outbreak of mild bird flu on farm: OIE
Germany has reported an outbreak of low pathogenic H5N2 bird flu on a farm in the Lower Saxony region in the north of the country, the OIE said on Thursday. The disease was detected on a farm in Rotenburg where 43 ducks and geese showed mild clinical signs, the OIE said
Changes to avian influenza housing rules come into force in EU
Last year when highly pathogenic H5N8 struck across Europe, national governments issued a series of housing orders to try to prevent the spread of the virus. But existing EU rules allowed free range birds to be housed for just 12 weeks before they lost their free range status. This rule has now been changed to 16 weeks and is coming into effect force on November 25
Influenza A(H9N2) Virus, Burkina Faso
A study has identified influenza A(H9N2) virus G1 lineage in poultry in Burkina Faso. Urgent actions are needed to raise awareness about the risk associated with spread of this zoonotic virus subtype in the area and to construct a strategy for effective prevention and control of influenza caused by this virus
Bird flu response protocol to be revised
In the Philippines, the protocol for responding to incidences of bird flu will be revised to lessen the negative impact on business, the Department of Agriculture has announced. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the multi-agency Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries would convene to review the policies on the control of avian influenza to minimize the disruption to businesses
Bird flu prevention still necessary though no new human infection case reported
In Thailand, the Department of Disease Control advised people not to touch dead domestic poultry and wild birds but instead report to the nearest livestock and health officials immediately, even though the country has no new human infection cases of avian influenza or H5N1 since 2006. The advice came from the director-general of the department after the WHO issued its latest update of the avian influenza situation in the world from January 2003- 27 September 2017; the period saw 860 human infection cases of avian influenza in 16 countries, including Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Vietnam
Avian influenza in humans 2017: Hong Kong officials break it down
There was less H5N1 avian influenza (AI) reported in 2017 as compared to recent years; however, the “5th wave” of H7N9 AI was nearly as large as the first four waves combined, according to information published by the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection. In 2017 (as of November 20), human infections with H5N1, H5N6, H7N9 and H9N2 viruses have been reported so far
Northern flock owners urged to be vigilant as avian influenza spreads
In Ireland, poultry farmers are urged to be vigilant as outbreaks of bird flu continue to be reported in continental Europe. It follows a briefing with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the poultry sector on the current disease situation. So far outbreaks of avian influenza have mainly been spotted in Italy, Bulgaria and Germany
Industry News
Japan's government to urge preventive action by local authorities on accidents linked to flu drugs and fevers
The central government in Japan is urging local governments to take measures to reduce the risk of flu-linked accidents, after at least 54 events involving people with flu — mostly children — were reported last season across the nation. According to the ministry’s report about adverse effects, a total of 54 cases of abnormal behavior — including jumping or falling — were observed among patients who took flu medicines. Of those cases 38 were associated with Tamiflu, while another 11 and five cases were associated with Relenza and Inavir respectively
Vietnam will produce its own avian flu vaccine
Vietnam will produce its own vaccine against avian influenza A / H5N1 starting in 2018 to replace imported ones, according to the veterinary medicine company Navetco. The inactivated oil-emulsion vaccine was developed by the Navetco deputy general manager, Dr. Tran Xuan Hanh, and able to protect poultry against different avian flu viruses, including H5N1 and H5N6. The product was tested at the National Veterinary Medicines Control Center and meets safety standards. Navetco has also developed a set of standards for the manufacture, testing, preservation and use of the vaccine
Academic studies
Measuring Influenza Neutralizing Antibody Responses to A(H3N2) Viruses in Human Sera by Microneutralization Assays Using MDCK-SIAT1 Cells
Influenza neutralizing antibodies correlate with protection of influenza infections. Microneutralization assays measure neutralizing antibodies in human sera and are often used for influenza human serology. A study described a microneutralization assay using MDCK-SIAT1 cells to measure neutralizing antibody titers to contemporary 3C.2a and 3C.3a A(H3N2) viruses following influenza vaccination or infection
Supplementary material from "The persistence of multiple strains of avian influenza in live bird markets"
Multiple subtypes of avian influenza and novel reassortants are frequently isolated from live bird markets. However, our understanding of the drivers of persistence of multiple AI subtypes is limited. A study proposes a stochastic model of transmission within an LBM that incorporates market size, turnover rate and the balance of direct versus environmental transmissibility. The researchers investigate the relationship between these factors and the critical community size for the persistence of single and multiple AI strains within an LBM
Can defective interfering RNAs affect the live attenuated influenza vaccine?
In a new study, researchers raise several important questions relating to the apparent loss of efficacy of the live attenuated influenza virus (LAIV) vaccine. One factor not considered by the authors is the presence, in batches of the Fluenz Tetra vaccine (MedImmune, AstraZeneca) of substantial amounts of small RNAs derived from the genomes of both the influenza A and influenza B components of the vaccine itself.2 If the vaccine was composed only of infectious virus, one would expect to see only the eight full-length influenza segments of the viral A and B genomes
The Effectiveness of Trivalent Inactivated Influenza Vaccine in Children with Acute Leukemia
The objective of a new study was to determine the effectiveness of trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) for the prevention of laboratory-confirmed influenza and influenza-like illnesses among children and adolescents receiving therapy for acute leukemia. TIV did not protect children and adolescents with acute leukemia against laboratory-confirmed influenza or ILI. Future prospective studies should assess TIV effectiveness in high-risk subpopulations and alternative strategies to prevent influenza should be considered in this population
A mutation in the main flu virus led to last year's flu vaccine being less effective than it should have been
The effectiveness of the influenza vaccine was sharply limited in 2016, protecting only between 20 to 30% of all the vaccinated people, according to researchers who argue for a different technique of vaccine production that does not use eggs. This reduced protection is due to a mutation of the dominant H3N2 strain in 2016, say virologists, whose study was published in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences
Pediatric influenza news
Pregnant and breastfeeding women travelers underprotected from disease
Pregnant and breastfeeding women who travel to places with high risk of diseases like malaria and yellow fever are less likely than other women travelers to be protected by vaccines and drugs, recent U.S. research suggests. The research team analyzed patient information from Global TravEpiNet, a consortium of U.S. travel clinics. Most pregnant and breastfeeding women seen during northern hemisphere flu season had been vaccinated against the flu or received a shot during their clinic visit
Over 65’s influenza news
Winter deaths rise 40% as flu jab fails elderly
Deaths jumped 40 per cent last winter in the UK after the flu vaccine failed to protect the elderly, official figures show. Some 34,300 more people died between December and March, mainly the elderly — one of the highest figures in recent years. Last year’s flu vaccine was 66 per cent effective in children and 41 per cent effective in adults under 65. However, it had no effect on older people
Ask a Geriatrician: Which flu shot should I get?
This season, the federal U.S. CDC recommends only injectable flu shots (no nasal sprays). This year there are two types of flu shots for people older than 65. The high-dose flu shot has more antigens to help older adults develop a stronger immune response and better protect against the flu. The adjuvant flu shot also has been shown to have a stronger immune response compared with a regular flu shot. Both the high-dose and adjuvant flu shots are approved for people older than 65
General Influenza News
SOS Influenza - the vaccination campaign is well underway locally
Vaccination is the most effective and safe means of preventing influenza and reducing complications, especially for older people or chronic illnesses. And it is worth noting that protection really kicks in two weeks after the vaccine has been administered. The goal is to prevent complications and reduce influenza-related mortality by 70-80 percent.
Take flu vaccine: DoH
The Department of Health in the UAE is urging all citizens and residents to take the seasonal flu vaccine. The department is directing all UAE nationals and residents to all healthcare clinics under the Ambulatory Health Servi, to be vaccinated for free
Because of the new laws on widening vaccination reach there is a growing strain on regions to perform and create the right vaccination delivery structures
Giovanni Rezza, director of the Infectious Diseases Department of the Higher Health Institute , spoke with Adn Kronos at the margins of the 50th National Congress of the Italian Hygiene, which is underway in Turin. He said that with the new laws on vaccines everyone has the same rights to vaccines and health protection and the regional administration need to take account of this and create structures that can deliver the vaccination programmes in the most effective and cost efficient fashion
Puy-de-Dome: Health Minister Agnes Buzyn visits the region to see how the flu vaccination campaign is going
Since the launch of the vaccination campaign last october the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region has seen around 60,000 people get vaccinated against the flu in local pharmacies
Health: Influenza costs $200 million a year to the economy and $100 million in medical bills
Winter is coming and with it, the traditional flu epidemic. It leads to 1500 deaths per year on average and costs the Swiss economy roughly 300 million dollars per year. Several companies are involved in financing the flu vaccine for their employees. According to the figures provided by health groups, it is estimated that between 1000 and 5000 people end up being hospitalized each year because of the virus. On average, it kills 1500 people a year, mostly the elderly. For a comparison, Blick reminds readers that the road deaths killed 216 people in 2016
It’s not too late: get your flu jab
Last winter, about 40 per cent of frontline healthcare workers in the UK did not get a flu vaccine, said NHS Employers. The figure was an improvement on the previous year, when about 50 per cent of staff were unvaccinated. This October NHS England wrote to all 1.4 million NHS staff, reminding them of their professional duty to protect patients by being vaccinated. There is positive news from the north of England: at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, 70 per cent of staff have been vaccinated so far
Avera and Sanford's immunization policies require employees get vaccinated for flu
Mandatory flu vaccinations for health care workers have been endorsed by such organizations at the CDC and the American Hospital Association. Since 2013, Avera Health has had a mandatory flu shot policy for all of its employees. Their goal – to protect patients and employees. Sanford Health said their immunization policy has been in place since 2013, as well. Nearly 99% of their staff receive the vaccine
Burden of disease
Respiratory diseases kill more than 22,000 people in one year in Portugal
In Portugal, diseases of the respiratory system continue to be the third cause of death and there are more and more cases: in 2015, 22,767 people died, representing an increase of 4,392 deaths compared to 2006. The number of hospitalizations for pneumonia, respiratory failure, COPD, neoplasms, asthma, pleura, tuberculosis, bronchiectasis and influenza also increased by 35% between 2006 and 2015.
The number of respiratory infections caused by influenza B virus grows in Brazil
In Brazil in 2017, out of 2,685 deaths, 109 were due to the consequences of the Influenza B virus. In the same period last year there were just 38 deaths registered which means it is a threefold increase on the same period in 2016
Flu cases have tripled in San Diego so far this year
Cases of flu tripled this season compared to last year, with 400 more this year. According to a report from the San Diego County Health and Human Resources Agency (HHSA) , 574 cases of flu have been confirmed so far during this year's flu season, compared with 174 cases in the same period last season.
Excess winter deaths in the West Midlands have soared
Excess winter deaths in the West Midlands have soared by more two-fifths in a year. Between December 2016 and March 2017, there were an estimated 3,600 excess winter deaths in the region, meaning deaths in winter were 20.9% higher than the rest of the year. The peak in mortality can be partly explained by moderate levels of a dominant strain of influenza A(H3N2) activity peaking in the first week of 2017
Cold weather and flu blamed for 3,200 extra deaths in Devon region last winter
Between December 2016 and March 2017, there were an estimated 3,200 excess winter deaths in Devon, UK, meaning deaths in winter were 17.8% higher than the rest of the year. The peak in mortality can be partly explained by moderate levels of a dominant strain of influenza A(H3N2) activity peaking in the first week of 2017
Flu deaths, reported cases outpacing last year
The number of flu-related deaths in the San Diego region reached four after a 92-year-old man died of influenza A on November 11, county health officials reported. At the same point last year, one person had died. The rate of infection was also up — 133 laboratory-confirmed cases reported last week compared to 58 the week before. The total number of cases was up to 574, compared to 174 at this time last year, according to the HHSA.
Flu Costs Our Health-Care System More Than You Might Think
For a few decades, numerous countries have made attempts to identify the overall cost of influenza on the health-care system. One of the most telling statistics is the cost of hospitalizations. In the United States, the number has been calculated to be $6 billion for just over 334,000 hospitalizations. This amounts to just under $18,000 per case. Hygiene precautions and getting vaccinated against the flu are therefore important precautions to take