"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 11th Dec 2017

Seqirus mentions
Rite Aid advises consumers get their flu shot in first Facebook live event
Rite Aid hosted its first-ever flu-focused Facebook live event featuring health expert Jennifer Caudle and Rite Aid certified immunizing pharmacist Chris Altman that as of the next day had been viewed more than 3,000 times. The Facebook live event stressed to consumers the importance of getting their flu shots this holiday season. Rite Aid is offering three types of flu vaccines: a quadrivalent flu vaccine which offers protection against four strains of the flu; the standard trivalent vaccine; and FLUAD, a trivalent vaccine with adjuvant, an ingredient that helps create a stronger immune response to vaccination, which is approved for people 65 years old and older
Seqirus readies for $9-million expansion project in Holly Springs
CSL's Seqirus unit is planning a $9-million expansion of its manufacturing facility in North Carolina, Triangle Business Journal reported. Seqirus vice president of operations John Anderson said the new 15 000-square-foot warehouse will support the drugmaker's growth in manufacturing activity. Anderson stated that the company is "seeing significant growth in demand" for its Flucelvax quadrivalent vaccine, adding that the increase in manufacturing "will create more jobs over time at the site."
New $230m advanced manufacturing plant to create 200 jobs
CSL has opened a new $230 million advanced manufacturing facility at its CSL Behring site in Victoria. The facility is an important addition to the Australian pharmaceutical manufacturing landscape, and is expected to produce therapies with an estimated annual market value of $850 million as well as generate up to 200 new jobs by 2026. “CSL’s investment in Broadmeadows embeds the site into our global plasma manufacturing supply chain, which now supplies lifesaving therapies to patients in more than 60 countries,” said CSL’s CEO, Paul Perreault
Pandemic Influenza News
Netherlands issue a Poultry Housing Order after confirmed outbreak of bird flu
The Netherlands have issued a Poultry Housing Order after a confirmed outbreak of the H5 strain of avian influenza on a duck farm. The N type and the strain are not yet known. APHA have announced that they will issue a new UK assessment on Monday (11 December)
Bird flu outbreak in Kampong Cham
In Cambodia, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has reported that in early December the bird flu H5N1 virus appeared in Kampong Cham province. The ministry informed Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday, of the outbreak.
News Scan for Dec 08, 2017 - CIDRAP
The first study to track long-term outcome of patients after hospitalization with H7N9 avian flu infection in China found that lung problems and psychological issues persisted as long as 2 years after discharge. The study, which involved 56 patients from a single hospital in Zhejiang province who were sick during the country's first wave of H7N9 activity, was published in Scientific Reports.
Bird flu controlled, but vigilance needed
South Africa seems to have turned the corner in fighting the deadly H5N8 strain of bird flu in commercial flocks, with outbreaks under control and the disease on the wane across the country. While the poultry industry, health authorities and consumers sigh with relief, Ziyanda Majokweni, director of the South African Poultry Association’s poultry-disease management agency, warns against complacency, as the disease has not yet been eradicated, particularly in wild birds and ostrich enterprises. Surveillance in this area is continuing, although the disease seems to be waning in wild birds
Industry News
Walgreens puts out season's first weekly flu index
According to the first of Walgreens’ weekly “Flu Index” snapshots for the 2017-2018 U.S. flu season, the “designated market areas” of Brownsville, Harlingen, McAllen and Weslaco have more residents sick with the flu than anywhere else in the country. The ranking is based on weekly prescription data for antiviral medications — Tamiflu, for instance — from nearly 8,000 Walgreens locations around the United States and Puerto Rico
Effectiveness of Flu Shot Is 60%—in a Good Year
How many people get the flu in any given year depends in part on the effectiveness of the vaccine. In a good year, people who get vaccinated are 60% less likely to get sick, but in most recent years, the protection has been worse. The way flu vaccines are manufactured may contribute to their effectiveness. New technologies produce viruses that are a closer match, but manufacturers are geared almost entirely to egg production: the U.S. government considers vaccine production so important that it contracts with Sanofi Pasteur to guarantee a year-round supply of eggs to ensure the U.S. could respond to a pandemic
It's flu season: 4 easy steps to not becoming a statistic
Health experts recommend taking antiviral medicines to keep yourself from getting sick: two of the more popular products are oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza). Many doctors will prescribe these if there are a number of flu cases in a small community, such as a nursing home or school. Antivirals may help reduce many of the symptoms you experience with the flu, making it a milder and shorter bout of illness
Gordon blames Aquino administration for giving vaccination "a bad name"
In the Philippines, Sen. Richard Gordon said on Sunday the controversy over the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine had given vaccination “a bad name,” and it was because the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III had failed to do its job. Immunizing people against diseases was not bad, he said. But he noted that Dengvaxia, which its manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, said could worsen symptoms in vaccinated people who had no previous exposure to the dengue virus had not been tested when the Aquino administration approved its use for children and adults in 2016
Academic studies
Effectiveness of live attenuated influenza vaccine in preventing amoxicillin prescribing in preschool children: a self-controlled case series study
A study showed that influenza vaccination of young children may contribute to a reduction in the prescribing of amoxicillin, one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics in primary care. Further studies are required to confirm the size of the effect
The Next Flu Pandemic Will Appear When You Least Expect It
If a new flu pandemic emerges, it may be easy to spot. The epidemic is most likely to appear in spring or summer, researchers have found — not in the midwinter depths of the flu season. A half-dozen flu pandemics — including those of 1889, 1918 (the Spanish Flu) and 2009 (the swine flu) — were all first detected between late March and late July, according to a study published in PLOS Computational Biology.
Pediatric influenza news
Anti-vaxxer mother gives out baby death pamphlets
An anti-vaxxer mother is sending out a pamphlet titled 'Vaccination killed my baby' as part of a nationwide scare campaign. Brisbane anti-vaccination activist Stephanie Messenger is behind the sinister leaflet, which claims 'deaths from vaccines are being hidden from the public'. The pamphlet claims doctors 'are restricted in what they can say [as] their careers are also at risk', and that vaccine deaths in Australian are often not acknowledged. Those claims are false, however, and there is no Australia-wide cover-up, The Daily Telegraph reported
Over 65’s influenza news

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General Influenza News
Swine flu increases risk of heart attacks, strokes: Medicos
Amid nearly a dozen H1N1 deaths in Kashmir, a doctors’ body warned that swine flu patients are at an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. DAK president Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan said flu vaccine is the single best tool to reduce risk of heart attack or stroke. “Studies have shown people who receive flu shots are 55% less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke,” he said
Coahuila, fourth case of influenza
Coahuila is one of the states with the highest number of confirmed cases of influenza to date during the 2017-2018 season. In a week, Coahuila went from 8 to 13 patients affected by this disease, placing itself in fourth place in the country, next to Guerrero. They are preceded by San Luis Potosi, Colima and Nuevo León, which collectively account for 39.5 percent of the total number of positive cases (200). Until the end of the first week of Fecember, the General Epidemiology Directorate of the federal Ministry of Health had only reported 2 deaths due to influenza (1 from A (H3N2) and 1 from B) in Yucatan and Hidalgo.
Brain drain: our default responses to flu
Dr Daniel Glaser, director of Science Gallery at King’s College London, writes: "Evidence suggests the walking patterns, sweat and facial expression of flu sufferers can reflect their infection before even they are aware of it. This may help others to steer clear. Internet activity is a promising avenue, too. The ‘Google flu trends’ project is currently suspended, in public at least, pending improvements. But within the rich mine of subconscious information we reveal through our searches, we perhaps find the earliest traces of infection"
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman urges everyone to get a flu shot
So far, more than one million Albertans have received flu shots this season, putting the province ahead of last year’s pace. As of Dec. 4, 55.5 per cent of Alberta Health Services employees were immunized, up from 41 per cent a month earlier. Health Minister Sarah Hoffman told reporters that 5.6 per cent more AHS workers in the Edmonton zone have been immunized than at this time last year. Hoffman speculated the higher uptake may have something to do with ease of access. Flu shots are available free at pharmacies, public health clinics and doctors’ offices. Mobile vaccination carts in hospital units make it easier for health care workers to get flu shots.
All SHS students in Ashanti Region to be vaccinated against swine flu
In Ghana, students in all the second cycle institutions will be vaccinated against H1N1, Ashanti Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service has revealed. “Every student will be vaccinated to prevent it”, Dr. Emmanuel Tankorang said. According to him, now that the cause of the deaths of eleven students of Kumasi Academy (KUMACA) is known, the Service plans to vaccinate students in the region to prevent it
Looks like a rough flu season ahead. Here are answers to ALL your flu questions
The 2017-2018 flu season is off to an early start, potentially hitting highs during the end-of-year holidays. The predominant virus currently circulating tends to cause more cases of severe disease and death than other seasonal varieties. And the batch of vaccines for this year have some notable weaknesses
Health authorities on alert over any possible mutation of the H3N2 virus
The Ministry of Health in Michoacan (SSM) is in a state of alert in case there is confirmation of a severe mutation of the serotype of influenza A H3N2, a researcher said said. In an interview with MiMorelia.com, the head of the department of epidemiology, Maricela García Arreola, explained that every year the influenza viruses serotypes A H1N1, A H3N2 and B mutate , so the vaccine has to be renewed every year. "In the winter season, the population is more exposed to influenza A and B viruses, as they spread easier and due to the very nature of these mutant agents, at the moment we do not have any official notification about a more aggressive change in H3N2. But we are ready if this occurs."
Is the flu jab a waste of time? No, insists Dr Max Pemberton as experts answers vital questions about the vaccination
Dr Max Pemberton writes about his personal experience of the flu and why he is a passionate advocate of the flu vaccine, even if the flu vaccine does not offer total protection against the virus: "For me there’s no debate: the flu vaccine saves lives and it’s all our duty to get it"
Health officials want to set record straight about flu shot effectiveness
Right now, more Iowans are hospitalized with the flu than at this time last year. They say even though we are a few months in we need to protect ourselves. Dr. Ann Garvey, deputy state epidemiologist, says that “it’s not a great comparison to look at what happened in Australia for vaccine effectiveness.” Right now there are fears of a "flu-pocalpyse" circulating after the New England Journal of Medicine reported a particular flu strain in Australia had a 10 percent success rate.“ Because one study says there’s 10 percent effectiveness in Australia, that does not necessarily translate to what we see here,” Garvey said
GPs directing patients away from your flu service? Here’s what to say
Lawyer Andrea James sets out some of the strategies pharmacists can use in a flu service dispute in the UK. Some GP practices have made "statements about the community pharmacy flu vaccination service that are – at best – misleading". She advises seeking an amicable resolution first
It's flu shot week and there"s "no shortage" of vaccines in Kalamazoo
Doctors know that what the U.S. experiences during its flu season will mirror how the Southern Hemisphere is impacted by the virus, Dr. Richard Van Enk, director of infection prevention and epidemiology at Bronson Methodist Hospital, said. Because Australia saw a large impact by the virus, the U.S. is expected to see a similar season Fortunately, there is "no shortage" of the flu vaccine this year, Van Enk said about the production and manufacturing of the vaccine
And Now To Finish 2017: The Flu Season Is Likely To Be Bad
As reported by the CDC, the flu strain that most affected Australia, A(H3N2), has been the main one making the rounds in the U.S. in October and November. It also appears to be the strain that recently killed Alani Murrieta, a previously healthy 20-year old Arizona mother of two. The speed at which she passed away, just one day after being diagnosed, was a stark reminder that even though young children and older adults are much more likely to have severe complications, the flu can be a very serious disease for anyone. Of note, Murreita did not get the flu vaccine
Take extra special care over H3N2 virus this winter
According to the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER) influenza type H3N2 is much more contagious and harmful. Modification of this strain has occurred due to genetic changes of the virus and this year in Australia was one of the largest flu outbreaks in history, leaving two million people infected and more than a thousand deaths
Tough Flu Season Ahead: Vaccine May Only Be 10% Effective
The most common type of flu being seen in the United States is influenza A H3N2, the same severe strain that dominated last flu season. And in Australia, where the winter flu season has just wrapped up, this season's vaccine was only about 10 percent effective against the H3N2 strain. Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist in the influenza division of the U.S. CDC, urges everyone aged 6 months and older to get a flu shot, despite the low effectiveness. If you do catch the flu, Brammer suggests taking antivirals such as Tamiflu to reduce the number of days you are sick
Nurses urged to get flu jab to save patients
Nurses are being urged by infection experts to have the flu jab to prevent serious risk to their patients and colleagues. Figures from the Infection Prevention Society (IPS) show that over half of frontline healthcare workers in England haven’t been vaccinated against flu so far this year. Whilst flu vaccination uptake amongst frontline health workers in England has increased to 46% in October 2017 compared with 40% in the same period the previous year, over half (54%) were left unvaccinated.
Flu vaccinations in Alberta surpass one million
More than one million Albertans have received the flu shot so far this season, which appears to put the province ahead of last year’s immunization pace. The province as a whole appears to have hit the one-million mark about a week or two earlier than last season. The uptake pattern may reflect that influenza seems to have been more active earlier in the season this year, and has hit Calgary the hardest so far.
Burden of disease
Ohio seeing higher number of flu cases early in season
The snowy, cold weather is helping usher in the flu season, which doctors say is getting an early start. This year, hospitals across Ohio are admitting more patients than this time a year ago. According to the Ohio Department of Health, 257 people across the state have been admitted to the hospital for flu-related illnesses. This time last year, the number was 83
Ghana Health Service issues health alert on swine flu
The Ghana Health Service is warning of an outbreak of H1N1 in the country. It follows ongoing outbreak of confirmed Swine Flu (H1N1) at the Kumasi Academy Senior High School (KUMACA) in the Ashanti Region which has claimed about 13 lives within the past 7 months with more than forty students affected
State reports first flu death of the season
Connecticut has had its first flu-related death of the season, according to the state Department of Public Health. As of Dec. 2, the state reports, there has been one flu-associated death in a person older than 65. No other details were given. The state also reports that 197 people had tested positive for the flu — an increase of more than 50 cases from the previous week, when 142 people had tested positive for the contagious respiratory illness
Flu now widespread throughout Virginia
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has now listed Virginia as one of seven states with widespread flu activity. This is a significant increase from last week when only localized cases of flu were reported in the Commonwealth.
Bawumia to visit KUMACA, urges calm over swine flu fears
Ghana Vice President Mahamadu Bawumia is expected to visit the Kumasi Academy following the health crisis in the school that has claimed four lives in the last week. In a statement on his Facebook page, the Vice President expressed the government’s “heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the families, teachers, students and friends of Kumasi Academy Senior High School who have been affected by the H1N1 virus.”
Flu cases soaring in Arizona
A huge spike in the number of flu cases could portend a particularly bad year for the flu in Arizona. New figures from the Arizona Department of Health Services shows there already have been 1,143 cases so far this season. That compared with 157 at the same time last year. And that 2016 figure was not an aberration. The average to this date for the five seasons before this one is just 142. What makes this number so potentially alarming is the timing: the number of new cases reported each week does not normally peak until February
Two people have been killed by flu across the country
Two people have died in Mexico because of influenza. The first death was due to type A (H3N2) in Hidalgo and the second due to influenza type B in Yucatan. The Ministry of Health was informed through the General Directorate of Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health (DGE), that there have been 200 positive cases of influenza confirmed, which correspond to 147 A (H3N2), 47 of B and 6 of influenza A
Akufo-Addo exposed to Influenza H1N1 – Health Minister reveals
In Ghana, Health Minister Dr. Kwaku Agyemang Manu has revealed that President Akufo-Addo was exposed to the Influenza H1N1 which has killed some 11 students at the Kumasi Academy when he visited the school last weekend during their 60th anniversary celebrations. Vaccines will be sent to the school to fight the outbreak and ensure that the situation is contained
Flu deaths double to 6 in Calgary as new cases of main strain soar by more than 200
The number of people who had lab-confirmed cases of the flu and died has doubled in Calgary in a week, while more than 200 new cases of the predominant strain have popped up in the area. Last week at this time, Alberta Health Services said there had been three fatalities in the Calgary area connected with influenza. On Friday, the province release new figures that showed the number has climbed to six.
US flu continues to rise and expand its reach
With the U.S. experiencing an early start to its flu season, indicators edged higher again last week, with six states now reporting widespread activity, the CDC said in its weekly update. Of 151 million to 166 million flu vaccine doses that pharmaceutical companies expect to make for the US market, 148.2 million have been sent out by distributors. So far vaccine uptake patterns are similar to this time last season. Surveys through early November suggest that 38.6% of the US population that is recommended to receive the vaccine has been immunized against flu
Indiana's first flu death of the season is reported
Indiana’s first flu death of the season has been reported and it is a person under the age of 18. The Indiana State Department of Health announced the death Friday afternoon. The victim was at least 5 years old. The department said there are some flu outbreaks at longterm care centers around Indiana