"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 3rd Jan 2018
Everything every over 65 needs to know about the flu jab: Dr Martin Scurr answers readers' health questions
Studies confirm that in children and young adults, a flu jab helps prevent infection by 70 to 90 per cent, but in the elderly this falls to 40 per cent or lower. The good news is that next flu season, UK GPs are being told to use an injection that’s been available in other European countries for the past 20 years and which is particularly effective against H3N2. Called Fluad, trials have shown it triggers a 61 per cent bigger immune response to this strain in over-65s than other vaccines. It’s also more effective against the other common strain, H1N1.
CDC Alert Warns of Increasing Flu Activity, Advises Health Providers
US influenza activity has significantly increased over recent weeks, and health care providers should be vigilant about diagnosing and treating patients with the virus, according to a CDC Health Advisory issued recently. Three prescription NAI medications are approved by the FDA and recommended for use during the 2017-2018 season: Oral oseltamivir, inhaled zanamivir, and intravenous peramivir.
Avian flu scare hits city
Fears of an outbreak of avian flu gripped Bengaluru in India with at least one confirmed case of a chicken infected with the H5N1 virus reported at Dasarahalli. This comes after a gap of more than five years with bird flu last reported in the city in October 2012. Following the confirmation, all chicken stalls in Dasarahalli were immediately shut down to prevent spread of the virus, and measures are being taken to cull chicken in the area, said BBMP commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad
UAE bans eggs, meat products from Russia over H5N2 bird flu Strain
Based on a notification from the OIE of the outbreak H5N2 on a farm in Russia that led to the death of more than 660,000 birds, the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment announced that it has banned the import of all species of domestic and wild live birds, ornamental birds, chicks, hatching eggs, meats and meat products and non-heat-treated wastes from the affected region and from previously infected provinces
South Korea culls more than 654,000 birds to stem spread of bird flu
In South Korea, quarantine workers have culled birds since mid-November when the highly pathogenic H5N6 strain hit a duck farm in Gochang, about 240 kilometers southwest of Seoul. Last year, South Korea was forced to cull more than 30 million birds to contain the worst outbreak of bird flu in the country's history.
Imports Blocked Following Bird Flu Outbreak in Saudi Arabia
The United Arab Emirates has blocked all poultry imports from Saudi Arabia following an outbreak of bird flu in its capital Riyadh. UAE took action on Christmas Eve imposing the ban after an outbreak of a highly contagious H5N8 strain of the disease in the Azizia market in Riyadh.
BiondVax Universal Flu Vaccine Patent Granted in India
BiondVax, developer of M-001, the Universal Flu Vaccine candidate currently in preparation for a Phase 3 clinical trial, has announced that one of its key patents titled "A Synthetic or Recombinant Influenza Multi-Epitope Polypeptide" has been granted in India. The patent has now been granted in over 30 countries
CEO of Meriden’s Protein Sciences Corp. leaving five months after sale to Sanofi Pasteur
Manon Cox, president and CEO of Protein Sciences, is leaving the company five months after its sale to Sanofi Pasteur, the company said. In a statement, Sanofi Pasteur said: "Sanofi Pasteur confirms that Manon Cox will leave Protein Sciences to pursue other opportunities." “Protein Sciences has been successfully and fully integrated into Sanofi Pasteur and, as such, there is no role of CEO for Protein Sciences. Separation has been done in compliance with Manon Cox’s existing working contract.” Cox, who led the company through federal approval of its signature Flublok vaccine, could not be reached for comment
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Flu outbreak: Children and older people at risk from two strains of flu active in Ireland as number of hospitalisations set to rise
In Ireland, almost 200 people have been hospitalised with the flu this season amid warnings that both young and elderly people are at risks from two strains of the virus. Elderly people are most at risk from this strain of flu, especially those with pre-existing conditions. Meanwhile, influenza B predominantly affects younger people aged four to 15
How effective is the influenza vaccine?
While the effectiveness of the vaccine may vary, recent studies show that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness between 40% and 60% among the general population, during the seasons when most of the flu viruses circulate. In general, current influenza vaccines tend to work better against influenza B and influenza A (H1N1) viruses and offer less protection against influenza A (H3N2) viruses. The effectiveness of the influenza vaccine (or its ability to prevent it) can vary widely from season to season. The effectiveness of the vaccine can also vary depending on the person vaccinated.
1,600 clinic patients notified flu shots, other vaccines may be ineffective
In Indiana, the Community Health Network recently mailed letters to 1,600 patients, warning them flu shots and other vaccines they received at central Indiana clinics may not have been fully effective. Community Health Network said they found a problem with the temperature control system.
The Peak of the Flu Epidemic will be in a Month
In Bulgaria, the peak of the flu is expected to be at the end of January - early February, the director of the National Center for Contagious and Parasitic Diseases Professor Todor Kantardzhiev told Nova TV.
Flu Vaccine Effectiveness During a Season With Mixed Outbreaks of Four Influenza Viruses in Canada
The Serious Outcomes Surveillance (SOS) Network was established to monitor seasonal influenza complications among hospitalized Canadian adults and to assess the effectiveness of influenza vaccination against severe outcomes. A prospective, multicenter, test-negative case-control study evaluated the VE of trivalent influenza vaccine in the prevention of laboratory-confirmed influenza-hospitalization in adults aged ≥16 years and adults aged 16–64 years
UMass researcher helps predict the timing and the peak of the flu
To advance the science of forecasting infectious diseases, the U.S. CDC has been hosting a competition in which researchers use social media, as well as data from CDC’s routine flu surveillance systems, to predict the timing, peak, and intensity of the flu season. For this flu season’s competition, University of Massachusetts Amherst biostatistician Nicholas Reich joined forces with Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, and a group at Los Alamos National Laboratory in a group they named the FluSight Network. The group’s strategy is to submit a single model to the CDC that combines all of their models together. To create these models, the network studies climate data as well as recent digital trends from Twitter, Google, and Wikipedia
Some Bad Flu News: H3N2 is a Major Player this Year
So far this flu season, influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been predominant in the U.S. This particular strain is more concerning than others. Previous flu seasons dominated by H3N2 have been more severe, especially among young children and older adults. Between the years 2003 to 2013, the three flu seasons that were dominated by H3N2 strains of the flu had the highest mortality rates
Canada: peak of the flu epidemic expected in January
In Canada, the peak of the flu epidemic is expected to happen in January. Quebec has not been particularly badly affected so far, however, it seems that the worst is yet to come and people are advised to get vaccinated as it is not too late
Flu season could be more severe because of 2 strains vaccine doesn't cover
The flu season in the Greater Toronto Area in Canada has been fairly mild so far this year, but one expert says it could get much more severe before it's over, because of two strains of influenza that this season's vaccine doesn't cover. According to Dr. Naveed Mohammad, vice president of medical affairs at William Osler, the week of Dec. 17 to Dec. 23 saw almost twice as many confirmed flu cases in the GTA than in the previous week. "We have been preparing for the surge in influenza for a number of months," he told CBC Toronto. "Unfortunately, we feel we may have not peaked yet." That's because this year's vaccine may not effectively protect against two strains of flu, called H3N2 and the Influenza B virus
Vaccine shake-up plan after flu spike in North Queensland
Patients could be encouraged to get two flu vaccines instead of just one after North Queensland recorded a huge spike in the number of cases last year. The Townsville Hospital and Health Service confirmed 2865 cases of influenza between January 1 and December 17 last year. That’s more than 1300 cases up on 2016. Health and Ambulance Services Minister Steven Miles said Queensland Health was tackling the flu wave head-on — with free vaccinations for children under five
News Scan for Jan 02, 2018
More avian flu outbreaks continued in four countries that reported earlier outbreaks, all involving different H5 subtypes, according to reports from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and governments. Canada's 2011-12 flu season—mild with all strains circulating—offered researchers a unique opportunity to study the impact of the flu vaccine on severe illness in adults, and the findings revealed that it was highly effective against A strains and moderately effective against influenza B.
Flu shot less effective after wrong prediction
In Taipei, the virus targeted by the flu vaccines supplied for this season do not match the dominant virus that is circulating, reducing their efficacy. According to the CDC’s weekly data, 97,003 cases of flu-like illnesses were reported last week, an increase of 24 percent from the week before, indicating that the nation is experiencing the peak of this flu season. CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Liu Ting-ping said that 22 people were confirmed to have serious flu complications, 18 of whom did not receive vaccinations
Flu blamed for Queensland hospital delays
In Australia, Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles has blamed a record-breaking flu season for a statewide hospital backlog that left a majority of critically ill patients waiting longer than four hours for a bed. Of the 1088 Category 1 patients who presented in November, at least 396 had the flu, records show. They were among more than 55,723 flu patients recorded in 2017, more than three times higher than the five-year average
Aussie flu: first deaths in Ireland recorded as health experts urge vaccinations
UK health experts are urging people to go for flu vaccinations following the news that the "Aussie flu" has taken the lives of people in Ireland. The Health Service Executive’s weekly influenza surveillance report, published for the week ending December 17, illustrated an increase in influenza activity. The organisation has urged everyone, especially those who fall in the at-risk group, to go for flu jabs
First cases of Australian flu confirmed in Wales
A strain of flu which has been linked to hundreds of deaths in Australia has been confirmed in Wales this winter. A Public Health Wales spokesman has confirmed that the H3N2 strain of the virus has been detected in parts of the country and has urged "at risk" people to get vaccinated urgently.
UFC fighter Conor McGregor struck with Aussie flu as infection arrives in the UK
UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor has been struck down by a potentially fatal Australian strain of flu. The Irish MMA fighter , 29, shared the news in an Instagram post where he revealed he had cancelled his New Year’s Eve plans after contracting the illness.
Crowded under-staffed hospitals are turning flu patients away if their symptoms aren't dire - as death toll rises
As the US experiences one of the worst flu seasons in history, crowded and under-staffed hospitals have begun to turn patients away. Forty-nine states reported either regional or widespread flu activity last week, excluding Delaware. There have been 70 deaths across the US, according to the CDC
Maine hospitals seeing surge in flu cases, mostly of more severe type
In the U.S., flu season is underway, and although Maine so far is experiencing fewer cases of seasonal flu than most states, the predominant strain of influenza circulating in Maine and most of the U.S. is more severe than last year and more likely to require hospitalization. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 373 cases of flu through Dec. 23, the latest data available, with 99 hospitalizations.
Swine flu reaches epidemic proportions
In Pakistan, the seasonal influenza (H1N1) outbreak has turned into an epidemic in Multan and killed 12 citizens so far, forcing the government to declare emergency at all hospitals. Health authorities have warned that the next 20 days are critical and flu vaccines have been supplied to Nishtar hospital
Western Pennsylvania hit hard as flu is now widespread in state
Flu activity is now widespread in Pennsylvania with Allegheny and Westmoreland counties getting hit hard with the nasty virus. In total, there are 6,221 cases reported in the state and Allegheny County has the most. Two weeks ago, the state was not yet classified as widespread and there were only 95 flu cases reported in Allegheny County and 40 in Westmoreland County
Trolley crisis: Record number of patients on trolleys ahead of peak flu season
In Ireland, there are 656 patients on trolleys around the country this morning, the highest number ever recorded. This record number comes ahead of the peak flu season which is expected to put additional pressure on services. Almost 200 people have been hospitalised with the flu and a small number - less than 10- of people have died
PHE warning as high number of patients visit GP with flu
The number of patients seeking out their GP with flu-like symptoms rose markedly over the holiday period, Public Health England data has shown. Flu experts said the rapid rise was 'a major concern', especially in light of the Southern hemisphere having experienced its worst flu season for eight years during its winter season. In the week leading to 28 December, the weekly influenza-like illness GP consultation rate was 18.9 per 100,000 in England, compared to 11.4 per 100,000 in the week before.
Hospitalizations tied to flu jump 28 percent in past week statewide
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported that 10 people in Muskogee County have already been hospitalized during the young flu season. Statewide, there have already been 10 flu-related deaths reported, while a four-county area around Muskogee has seen more than 25 people hospitalized for the flu, the state reported.
Tunisia: flu kills 16 people
So far in Tunisia, H1N1 has killed 16 people this flu season. There is no epidemic at the moment and the Ministries of Health and Education are working together to educate students on how to protect themselves from the virus, but the flu vaccine is not compulsory. In the meantime, a new supply of H1N1 vaccines is expected as pharmacies are using emergency stocks at the moment
Kentucky seeing widespread flu outbreak
The Kentucky Department for Public Health reported that there is a "widespread" outbreak of flu within the state, which will likely continue over the next several months. As of Dec. 16, 14 of the 17 regions in Kentucky reported confirmed flu cases in their region and all 17 regions reported increased flu-like illnesses, according to the DPH Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report
'Aussie flu' continues its rampage as the NHS struggles to cope: Official data shows cases of the killer virus have surged by 48% in a week
The dreaded Aussie flu outbreak expected to be the worst in 50 years is continuing to wreak havoc on Britain, official figures show. Some 1,649 people were struck down with flu in England and Wales as temperatures plummeted over the week of Christmas. The Public Health England data shows cases have soared by 48 per cent in a period of seven days - and are higher than previous winters.
Sofia: 3 year old child died as a result of severe complication of Strain A (H1N1)
In Bulgaria, a child aged 3 years and eight months has died as a result of a severe complication of strain A (H1N1). This was reported by the chief state health inspector Dr. Angel Kunchev, who explained that the case was registered in Sofia on December 28. "This strain is from the swine flu group and sometimes gives very serious complications. One of them is myocarditis - irritation of the heart muscle, as was in this case," explained Dr. Kunchev.