"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 27th Nov 2017

Seqirus mentions
Four deaths in Alberta to influenza so far
In Alberta, Canada, only one type of influenza vaccine is being offered free of charge: Fluzone as an injection. FLUAD, designed to boost the immune response in seniors, will not be available except to seniors living in long-term care or supportive living. Some pharmacists may choose to offer FluMist and/or FLUAD to Albertans for a fee paid by the patient
NHS dishing out super-charged flu vaccine "could save hundreds of lives every year"
A super-charged flu vaccine must be brought in to save hundreds of lives, the NHS has been told. The jab is cost-effective and there are no concerns about its safety, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation said. This is particularly relevant for older people who typically have weaker immune systems and do not respond as well to conventional vaccines
Pandemic Influenza News
Fight AI: China can now use recombinant interferon
Chinese scientists have been given another weapon in their armoury in the fight against bird flu. They can now use recombinant chicken alpha interferon, a naturally occurring immune stimulant, in the prevention and treatment of avian influenza.
Suspected highly pathogenic avian flu A(H5) outbreak reported in poultry in Russia
In Russia, the press department for the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance has reported an outbreak of avian flu in poultry. A sample taken from illegally discarded dead poultry revealed the presence of A(H5) avian flu. Further tests are been carried out but the suspicion is that it is highly pathogenic A(H5N8)
Union warns farmers over bird flu risk
The Ulster Farmers' Union is urging poultry farmers to be vigilant in light of continued outbreaks of bird flu on continental Europe, mainly in Italy, Bulgaria and Germany. UFU poultry vice chairman Ronnie Wells said: "We strongly recommend that all poultry keepers, including backyard keepers, review their biosecurity measures and business continuity plans now, as the risk level may well increase in the coming weeks"
UK poultry farmers urged to be vigilant as bird flu grips Europe
UK poultry farmers have been urged to be vigilant in light of continued outbreaks of avian influenza on continental Europe, mainly in Italy, Bulgaria and Germany. Germany has reported an outbreak of low pathogenic H5N2 bird flu on a farm in the Lower Saxony region; Italy has announced three virus cases and bird flu also struck a 42,000-bird commercial layer flock in the Zeeland region of the Netherlands
Farmers urged to cull poultry in bid to prevent Pyeongchang 2018 bird flu outbreak
Farmers in areas close to venues due to be used at next year's Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang are being urged by local officials to cull all poultry in an attempt to prevent the spread of bird flu. An outbreak of the disease was confirmed at a duck farm in North Jeolla province, located 214 kilometres from Pyeongchang, and has forced authorities to act to ensure it does not reach cities which are set to host Winter Olympic and Paralympic events.
Industry News

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Academic studies
Toronto researchers say zebrafish may be key to new flu vaccine
Two Toronto researchers say they might have found a way to identify the right compound to combat the flu and prevent deaths: they teamed up to pitch the idea of conducting tests with zebrafish and won funding to do so. The doctors said they’ll continue screening thousands of compounds to identify three to five promising ones that will make the fish stronger. They’ll then study their characteristics, confirm they are effective and start clinical trials on people
Eurosurveillance: Detection Of Amantadine Sensitive H3N2 During 2017 Flu Season
While Amantadine resistance has appeared permanently `fixed' in both seasonal and most novel flu viruses tested over the past decade, there may be a glimmer of hope in a report published in the Eurosurveillance Journal that finds an unexpected jump in amantadine sensitive H3N2 viruses in Australia during their recent flu season. While none of this is enough to make Amantadine useful for treating influenza again, it is a remarkable turn of events
Pediatric influenza news
NHS urges parents to vaccinate flu 'super-spreader' children
NHS England is urging parents to vaccinate “super-spreader” children against flu so grandparents and other vulnerable relatives will be less at risk over the Christmas period. Only 18% of school-age children have had the nasal spray immunisation, according to the latest figures
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
Older people urged to get flu vaccine
Dr Gregor Smith, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, said: “Over the last five years, some 500 deaths have occurred each winter which can be attributable or related to flu. The vaccine provides the best defence and getting it early is vital. I’d encourage those eligible to make their flu vaccination a priority and book an appointment with their GP practice today."
General Influenza News
Russian cyber units "spreading false information about flu and measles jabs in the UK"
Russian cyber units are spreading false information about flu and measles jabs in the UK, experts warn. The state-sponsored units are spreading the lies on social media to destabilise Britain, it is claimed. Health chiefs have had emerg­ency meetings over the spread “fake news” over vaccination campaigns
Some MRT stations giving flu shots
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je encouraged infants, pregnant women, elderly people and people in high-risk groups to be especially cautious about catching the flu. Many people have received flu vaccinations this season, with nearly 90 percent of the vaccines having been administered from Oct. 1 to Nov. 23, an increase of about 20 percent from the same period last year
Flu jab "won"t stop" killer virus heading to Britain this winter, doctors fear
Britain is braced for a particularly bad flu season after experts admitted the virus is capable of outsmarting current vaccines. Both Australia and New Zealand reported a dramatic increase in the number of reported cases of flu this year. Virus expert Dr Derek Gatherer said: "I understand that the laboratory studies that have been done don’t confirm the idea that this is due to the vaccine being ineffective so we are rather in the dark about what the problem was this winter in Australia and New Zealand"
30.24% of the most at risk groups have been vaccinated against flu
In Mexico, in the three weeks since the start of this seasonal flu vaccination campaign, health authorities have got 30.24% of the most at risks groups vaccinated.
Up to 85% of all flu cases don't need to be treated with antibiotics
Health experts in Vera Cruz, Mexico recommend that anyone in respiratory difficulty due to flu go to any of the 85 medical units across the state and present their symptoms of respiratory infection to health experts so that risk can be properly evaluated and they can receive appropriate treatment, particularly as 85% of influenza diseases are caused by viruses and do not require antibiotics
Abu Dhabi residents urged to get seasonal flu vaccine
The Department of Health in Abu Dhabi is urging citizens and residents to immediately take the seasonal influenza vaccine. The department said that the flu vaccination is available for all, with priority given to groups at high risk including the elderly, those with chronic diseases, pregnant women and children under five, as well as healthcare professionals. The seasonal influenza vaccines became part the national immunisation programme in 2016
NC health department introduce "shot dodgers" TV spot to encourage flu vaccination
There are some people who get a flu shot every year to try to stay healthy, but a new TV spot for the North Carolina health department calls out those who pass on the vaccine. The Department of Health and Human Service's ad calls the un-vaccinated group "shot dodgers." They offer the same old arguments for not getting a shot, the ad says
CPAM Correze is strongly urging at risk residents across La Correze to get vaccinated
In the Correze area of France, last year only 47.5% of the most at risk groups were vaccinated against flu, a figure fractionally above the national average but still unsatisfactory. This number is declining and has been since 2012, this is not unique to France and is happening despite public awareness campaigns. It may also be due to waning confidence in vaccines
Auvergne Rhone-Alpes: First positive progress report for vaccinations against influenza in pharmacy
One and half months in, the Rhone-Alpes region of France has reported that 116,000 people got vaccinated against the flu in pharmacies: this is the first positive progress report for vaccinations against influenza in pharmacies, and a sign that the experiment of letting pharmacies carry out the vaccinations is having some benefit
ASL Romane has already been given around 931,000 flu vaccination doses
In Italy, ASL Romane region has around 1m flu vaccination doses to help it cope with the coming influenza vaccine campaign for the 2017/18 season. The goal is to steadily increase the number of people in at risk groups who were protected against the flu from the 51% vaccinated last time. To do so, ASL Romane is distributing more than a million doses of vaccine free of charge through its partnership with 5000 doctors, general practitioners and pediatricians
The flu will hit Switzerland in about five weeks
NZZ am Sonntag talked to health expert Samuel Cordey about the prospect of the next wave of seasonal flu hitting Switzerland in the coming weeks. He said it is impossible to be certain how the season will pan out, but whenever the H3N2 flu variety predominates, it does tend to be stronger and more virulent and it certainly looks to be the case for this coming season
GP flu jab uptake soars as primary care prepares for tough winter
The proportion of GPs and other primary care healthcare workers receiving the flu vaccine has climbed 18% this year as the NHS gears up for a tough winter. Over 438,000 healthcare workers in primary care received the vaccine this September and October, a fifth more than the 372,000 who received the jab in the same period in 2016, according to provisional data released by Public Health England (PHE). The rise means some 46% of total healthcare workers received the vaccine, six percentage points up from 40% the year before.
"Don"t tell me what to put in my body": More than 50 hospital employees fired for refusing to get flu shots
A Midwestern hospital chain fired more than 50 of its nearly 14,000 employees for refusing to get a flu shot. Essentia Health introduced a mandate requiring all of its employees to get vaccinated against the flu. At least two groups plan to take action against the healthcare network. Essentia argues that it is acting in its patients' best interests
Burden of disease
This is Cornwall's record on winter deaths and what you can do to avoid going to hospital unnecessarily
In the UK, NHS Kernow is encouraging people to get vaccinated against the flu virus to minimise the risks to their health this winter. While across the South West there were an estimated 3,200 excess winter deaths between December 2016 and March 2017, meaning deaths in winter were 17.8 per cent higher than the rest of the year, Cornwall only had an estimated 243 excess winter deaths during the same period - or 12.4 per cent higher than the rest of the year. NHS bosses in Cornwall said a successful flu jab campaign had helped keep these numbers down in the county and work on prevention would continue apace through the winter months again this year
San Luis Potosí ranks fourth in list for cases of influenza across the country
The Mexican Ministry of Health reported that there have been seven confirmed cases of H3 influenza in the state of San Luis Potosi. The head of the Ministry of Health, Monica Liliana Rangel Martinez, said that so far no deaths have been recorded for this type of pathology. Neither has any case of A H1N1 been confirmed, a highly dangerous variant
Cases and deaths due to severe pneumonia caused by influenza B viruses are growing in Brazil
According to data from the Brazilian Ministry of Health, from 2016 to 2017, the percentage of cases of SARS due to influenza B virus increased 14%, from 464 cases to 532 by Week 40. Another alarming number is deaths reported from severe acute respiratory syndrome. In 2017, among the 2,685 deaths, 109 were a consequence of the influenza B virus. In the same period last year, there were 38 deaths registered, a roughly threefold increase in the number of fatal cases per strain B when comparing 2016 and 2017
The first confirmed case of flu has been reported in Torreon
As of November 24 the Epidemiological Information Directorate of the Mexican Federal Ministry of Health reports that there are seven cases of influenza in the Coahuila region, one of which is registered in the municipality of Torreon. So far there are no deaths. All of the patients affected are in stable conditions and they are adults between 30 and 60 years of age
Respiratory infections have been responsible for a growing number of deaths and hospitalizations
In Portugal, the number of deaths associated with respiratory diseases increased by 24% between 2006 and 2015, a year in which 22,767 people died. Also increasing are hospitalizations for respiratory disease. Pulmonologist Jaime Pina says that access to medical care is needed better, especially in the interior regions. The cost of flu vaccination more than outweighs the cost of treating the medical care that could be involved in treating a severe infection - so experts are urging those at risk to get vaccinated