"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 28th Nov 2017

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Pandemic Influenza News
Reassortment of bird flu virus detected in Korea
The latest bird flu outbreak in South Korea is presumed to be a new type of avian influenza strain that is a reassortment of highly pathogenic strains that spread in Europe last year, the quarantine authority said Monday. The Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency said its interim inspection into the bird flu case in Jeolla Province may have been transmitted from migratory wild birds. The genomic analysis into the cases showed a new type of H5N6 strain, which arose from the reassortment between a high pathogenic H5N8 that spread in Europe in late 2016 and a low pathogenic H3N6 virus found in European wild birds, the APQA agency said
China's Hong Kong suspends import of poultry meat from German district
Food safety authority of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has suspended the import of poultry meat from a district in the State of Lower Saxony in Germany, because of an outbreak of low-pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza in the District of Rotenburg
Plans in place for future bird flu outbreaks
The Western Cape Economic Opportunities Department is currently exploring risk management plans to deal with possible future outbreaks of avian flu. There are currently 68 confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in the province, but no new confirmed cases, MEC Alan Winde said
South Africa: Western Cape Agriculture On Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Infections
In South Africa, Alan Winde, Minster of Economic Opportunities, said there had been no new confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza since the last update on 16 November 2017. There are currently 68 confirmed cases of HPAI in the Western Cape, and no new infections at commercial poultry farms since 18 October
Industry News
AstraZeneca steps up China push with new drug joint venture
AstraZeneca plans to turbo-charge its Chinese business through a new drug development joint venture with a state-backed private equity fund. The stand-alone business, Dizal Pharmaceutical, will be owned equally with the Chinese Future Industry Investment Fund (FIIF), which is part-owned by the China State Development & Investment Corporation, the companies said
Azerbaijan's Healthcare Ministry on antiviral drugs linked to suicide attempts in Japan
Antiviral drugs that have been linked to suicidal tendencies in patients in Japan are not sold in Azerbaijan, the Center for Analytical Expertise of the country’s Healthcare Ministry told Trend on November 27th. Earlier, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan released information on 54 recorded suicide attempts of children and teens who had used Tamiflu, Laninamivir and Relenza. These drugs cause abnormal behavior among children and teens, and Tamiflu stopped being recommended for them in Japan years ago
Protect yourself this flu season and reduce your risk of illness with preventative steps
Vaccination to prevent the flu is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza. The Fluzone High-Dose seasonal influenza vaccine is designed specifically for people 65 years and older. A higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is supposed to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu
News Scan for Nov 27, 2017: Saudi MERS cases; Peds Tamiflu review
Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) treatment for flu in children reduces the length of illness and reduces the risk of ear infection, according to a new meta-analysis that folded in results from the latest randomized placebo-controlled trials. "Our analysis is reassuring that in uncomplicated influenza oseltamivir appears to be as safe and effective in children as among adults," the team wrote, noting that the drug's role in preventing ear infection is also important. They said the findings support current policies and reinforce recommendations that treatment is most useful when started early after illness inset
Academic studies
DIY ethic behind CM use, vaccine refusal
Complementary medicine use doesn’t cause vaccine refusal – but it is correlated, researchers have found. A small new study led by a researcher from The University of Western Australia has analysed the use of complementary and alternative medicine by parents who reject some or all vaccines for their children. Dr Katie Attwell, Senior Lecturer from UWA’s School of Social Science, says the study is the first in Australia and one of the first internationally to look at the reasoning behind vaccine rejection and CM (or CAM) use
Scientists Are One Step Closer To a “Personalized” Flu Shot
Nicholas Wohlgemuth, a PhD candidate in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and colleagues have made a discovery that could be an important step toward personalized vaccines. The team’s findings suggest that reversing the M2 mutation (a mutation that weakens the virus in LAIV) increases the virulence and could induce a more robust immune response in healthy people
Omics Researchers Pursue a Better Flu Vaccine
With flu season now in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere, the Human Vaccines Project is turning to various omics methods and to artificial intelligence-driven computer simulations in an effort to create more effective influenza vaccines. Preliminary work for the inpatient study has begun, with researchers developing assays and seeking approval of Vanderbilt's institutional review board. "We are measuring a few time points with people who got this year's flu shot," James Crowe, director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center and lead investigator of the Human Immunome Program component of the Human Vaccines Project, said. The inpatient study will use the vaccine under development for the 2018-19 flu season
Pediatric influenza news
Give children flu vaccine before Christmas to protect grandparents, NHS bosses warn
UK parents are being urged to vaccinate their "super-spreader" children against flu in time for Christmas to avoid putting grandparents at risk. Free flu vaccinations have been expanded to cover children in school year four, but just 18% of school-age children have had the nasal spray immunisation, according to the latest figures
Pregnant women in Glasgow urged to get flu vaccine
In Scotland, the Royal College of Midwives have urged pregnant women across Glasgow to get the flu jab in order to protect themselves and their babies this winter. The call comes after statistics highlighted that 57 per cent of pregnant women in Greater Glasgow and Clyde didn’t receive their vaccine last winter
Over 65’s influenza news
In Italy, fewer and fewer elderly people are getting flu jabs
In Italy, between 2008 and 2016, the percentage of over 65s to be vaccinated against the flu has dropped by 18%. Now less than one in two people are seeking flu protection, even though it is free. Eurostat research confirmed that numbers stand at 46.8% in Italy. Netherlands (67%) and the United Kingdom see around (71%) of the people getting flu jabs, while, only around 2% have been vaccinated in Latvia, Bulgaria and Estonia
Influenza: older people most at risk
In Belgium, a study shows that few people over 65 get vaccinated against the flu when more than 90% of flu related deaths are among that age group. WHO recommends that 75% of the over 65s should get immunised
Vale residents urged to get their flu vaccination this winter
Doctors across Evesham and Pershore are encouraging people aged 65 and over to get their flu vaccination this winter. They should ask their GP, practice nurse or pharmacist about getting the free annual flu vaccine
When it Comes to Flu, Docs Should be "Vaccine Insisters"
William Schaffner, MD, professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, explains how Australia had a severe flu season this year, with influenza A H3N2 as the major virus. Because this strain causes more severe disease, particularly among older adults, Schaffner emphasized the importance of the high-dose flu vaccine for older patients, and advised clinicians to "be a vaccine insister" this flu season
General Influenza News
UK health officials fear Russian cyber units are "spreading false information" on flu and measles jabs
Experts are warning that Russian cyber units are spreading false information about flu and measles jabs in the UK. In an apparent attempt to erode trust in US and European governments, state-sponsored units are using social media to spread lies, the Mirror reported. The Kremlin is believed to be attempting to foster distrust over flu jabs and the MMR measles vaccines
In the Northeim region there's some confusion about vaccines
In Germany, the standard serum recommended by the Standing Vaccination Commission, which is available in most medical practices, works against two A-influenza virus strains and one of the much less common B strains. It is possible to vaccinate against four strains of the flu virus but the state health schemes do not because they are bound to the three strain solution. The four strain is available to those paying privately
Get vaccinated against the flu - health experts advise
The Oberbergischer Kreis health department is urging the elderly and chronically ill patients to get vaccinated against the flu. Life threatening complications such as pneumonia and inflammation of the heart can be caused by the flu. It is estimated that 8,000 to 10,000 people in Germany die of the flu each year. So experts strongly advise vaccination protection
Withdrawal of flu vaccine batch from Saudi market sparks fears over safety
Safety fears broke out among the public when the Saudi Health Ministry announced it had withdrawn quantities of seasonal flu vaccines. The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) released a related confirmation adding that the move was “precautionary"
Toolbox to connect journalists, researchers goes online
A health toolbox to connect African journalists to researchers, including the wider science journalism community, fast and on demand, is now available at https://healthtoolbox.wfsj.org/ A resource centre which covers basic data on infectious diseases, including 11 factsheets covering basic facts on Infectious Diseases (ID) such as Ebola, Hepatitis C, malaria and pandemic influenza is available
The Health Secretariat reports there are enough flu vaccine doses in Leon and the surrounding state area
In Mexico, the Health Secretariat reports there are enough flu vaccine doses in Leon and the surrounding state area. Over 400,000 flu vaccine doses have already been given. There is also enough oseltamivir to treat patients who might catch the infection
There is still time to get a flu shot - Dr Javier Zermeno Guerra
There is still time up to December to get vaccinated against the seasonal virus in Mexico. The people most at risk are those with pre-existing health conditions and the elderly. For them getting a flu jab is an absolute must. It is just as important for other high risk groups such as children, pregnant women, people with obesity and diabetics - all of whom could be vulnerable to secondary infection if they catch flu
Burden of disease
Nuevo Leon is the place with the second highest number of flu cases in the country
According to data from the Directorate of Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health at the federal level, Nuevo León in Mexico is among the places with the highest number of flu cases. In the period covering the epidemiological weeks 40 to 46, 131 positive cases of influenza were confirmed. Of those cases, 96 correspond to influenza AH3N2, with one death; there were 34 cases of influenza B and 1 case of influenza A. Influenza AH1NI have not yet been recorded
Swine Flu: 8 Dead, 45 Test Positive at SKIMS
In Kashmir, 8 people have died of H1N1 infection since October and 45 have tested positive, but the state government’s health Ministry says there is no cause for concern. “Though we have asked the citizens to be careful about the virus, but there was no need for panic as medicines and facilities to tackle the disease were in place,” Minister of State for Health and Medical Education Asiya Naqash said. She added that vaccines are available in SKIMS only
Flu widespread in at least 2 states, CDC says
In its weekly flu surveillance report, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists several states with localized flu activity, and at least two with it being widespread. For the week ending Nov. 18, Oklahoma and Louisiana are labeled "widespread" on the influenza map
Swine flu cases found in Al-Sabah, Mubarak Al-Kabir and Farwaniya hospitals
A number of swine flu cases have been reported in Al-Sabah, Mubarak Al-Kabir and Farwaniya hospitals in Kuwait, with a variety of age ranges affected, the youngest patient being a 6 months old baby