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Avian Influenza Blog

Related terms: Bird flu, H5N1

Bird Flu Spreads Across China, Posing Threat to People: Report

Posted 20 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 11, 2015 – Avian flu, commonly called "bird flu," is gaining strength in China and has the potential to emerge as a life-threatening virus for humans across the globe, a new report suggests. In the year since avian flu first surfaced in China, it has expanded throughout that country and become a persistent infection in chickens there, the new report states. The virus also has begun to mutate in chickens, raising concerns that it could gain the ability to more easily infect humans and spread beyond China, the study authors warned. "Therefore, H7N9 viruses should be considered as a major candidate to emerge as a pandemic strain in humans," Yi Guan, from the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues concluded in the March 11 issue of the journal Nature. Avian flu, also known as H7N9 influenza, first appeared in eastern China in March 2013 when the virus spread to humans ... Read more

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Seasonal Flu Vaccine May Protect Against Deadly Bird Flu

Posted 17 Feb 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 17, 2015 – Seasonal flu vaccines trigger immune system protection against the deadly H7N9 bird flu virus, a new study reveals. This strain of bird flu, which emerged in China in 2013, kills nearly one-third of people infected with it, the researchers noted. "We have clear evidence that a normal immune response to flu vaccination offers protection against dangerous and highly unique strains of influenza such as H7N9," study co-senior author Patrick Wilson, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, said in a university news release. "We now need to develop ways of amplifying this response," he added. The researchers tested 83 immune system antibodies from 28 people who received a seasonal flu vaccine. Of those antibodies, 7 percent reacted against rare H7 virus strains, even though those strains were not specifically targeted by the seasonal flu ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Avian Influenza, Vaccination and Prophlaxis

Vaccine Opponents Often Cluster in Communities

Posted 19 Jan 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Jan. 19, 2015 – Parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated appear to be clustered in certain areas, a new study suggests. Among more than 150,000 children in 13 counties in Northern California, the researchers found five clusters where kids had missed one or more vaccinations by the time they were 3 years old. "It's known from other studies that areas where there are clusters of vaccine refusal are at higher risk of epidemics, such as whooping cough epidemics," said lead investigator Dr. Tracy Lieu, a pediatrician and director of the division of research at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, in Oakland. "Clusters may deserve special outreach efforts to make sure parents have all the information they need to make informed decisions about vaccination," she said. Specifically, the researchers found the rate of missed vaccinations within these clusters ranged from 18 ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Tetanus, Swine Influenza, Measles, Pertussis, Rubella, Influenza A, Avian Influenza, Diphtheria, Hepatitis B Prevention, Pneumococcal Disease Prophylaxis, Poliomyelitis Prophylaxis, Influenza Prophylaxis, Hepatitis B Prophylaxis, Hepatitis A Prophylaxis, Influenza with Pneumonia, Pertussis Prophylaxis, Rubella Prophylaxis, Measles Prophylaxis, Diphtheria Prophylaxis

Scientists Aim to Improve Vaccines Against 'Bird Flu'

Posted 7 Oct 2014 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Oct. 7, 2014 – Two groups of researchers report they are refining the vaccine strategies that will be needed if the world ever has to face a "bird flu" pandemic. Scientists suspect that avian influenza could change and easily spread to people with no immunity to it, potentially causing a global pandemic. By experimenting with ways to improve vaccines and boost the human immune response, these researchers hope to mute that threat. In one study, researchers found that a vaccine for the H7N9 strain of avian flu worked much better when mixed with an adjuvant – a substance that boosts the body's response to inoculation. The other study reports that people vaccinated for an older strain of bird flu became "primed" for vaccines aimed at newer strains, with their immune systems displaying a heightened response to the new vaccine. Both studies appear in the Oct. 8 issue of the Journal ... Read more

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Avian Flu In Harbor Seals Could Infect People

Posted 19 Sep 2014 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Sept. 19, 2014 – The avian flu that killed 160 harbor seals in New England in 2011 could be spread through respiratory drops and therefore poses a potential threat to humans, according to a new study. Although no human illnesses have been linked to the harbor seal virus, researchers at St. Jude Children's Research hospital have discovered natural mutations to the avian H3N8 seal virus that might allow it to travel through the air in droplets. Current seasonal flu vaccines wouldn't help in such a scenario, the study's authors added. What's more, the researchers found that humans don't have an evidence of protection against this virus. "The transmissibility of the seal H3N8 virus coupled with the apparent lack of immunity makes this strain a concern," the researchers wrote in the study, which was published in a recent issue of Nature Communications. Deadly cases of avian H5N1 and ... Read more

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Current Bird Flu Has Pandemic Potential

Posted 11 Jun 2014 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 11, 2014 – Flu viruses currently circulating in birds closely resemble the one that caused the 1918 pandemic that killed about 50 million people worldwide, researchers say. Only a few differences separate proteins in current flu viruses found in birds and proteins in the virus that caused the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, the investigators found. This suggests that a similar deadly virus could emerge in the near future, according to the authors of the study published June 11 in the journal Cell Host & Microbe. "Because avian [bird] influenza viruses in nature require only a few changes to adapt to humans and cause a pandemic, it is important to understand the mechanisms involved in adaptation and identify the key mutations so we can be better prepared," senior author Yoshihiro Kawaoka, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a journal news release. "Research ... Read more

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Vaccine Against Bird Flu Readied, Just in Case

Posted 30 Apr 2014 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, April 30, 2014 – A vaccine to protect people against a potential outbreak of H7N9 bird flu has shown promising results, according to a new report. This flu, first seen in humans in China last year, is common among birds and chickens, but so far isn't known to spread from person-to-person. However, people who have come into contact with infected birds have been sickened. "An effective H7N9 vaccine is achievable," said researcher Dr. Niranjan Kanesa-thasan, from Novartis Vaccines in Cambridge, Mass. If H7N9 flu were to become a pandemic, this preliminary work would make it simple to ramp up vaccine production and do larger trials, he said. This flu most commonly infects older people. As of late April, the World Health Organization said 139 cases of H7N9 flu were reported in China. More than 20 percent of those patients have died. Robin Robinson, deputy assistant secretary for ... Read more

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China's New Bird Flu Might Put People at Risk, Report Says

Posted 5 Feb 2014 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 5, 2014 – Chinese scientists reporting on the first confirmed human death from a new bird flu virus say the strain has gene mutations that could increase its ability to infect people. An elderly woman living in Nanchang City, China, recently died from infection with a new strain of H10N8 bird flu virus. Testing revealed the virus contained genes from H9N2 viruses circulating in poultry in China, according to the report published Feb. 4 in the journal The Lancet. "A genetic analysis of the H10N8 virus shows a virus that is distinct from previously reported H10N8 viruses having evolved some genetic characteristics that may allow it to replicate efficiently in humans," study author Dr. Yuelong Shu, from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a journal news release. "Notably, H9N2 virus provided the internal genes not only for the H10N8 virus, but ... Read more

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Bird Flu Virus Doesn't Spread Easily to Humans, Scientists Say

Posted 5 Dec 2013 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2013 – The H7N9 bird flu virus does not yet have the ability to easily infect people, a new study indicates. The findings contradict some previous research suggesting that H7N9 poses an imminent threat of causing a global pandemic. The H7N9 virus killed several dozen people in China earlier this year. Analyses of virus samples from that outbreak suggest that H7N9 is still mainly adapted for infecting birds, not people, according to scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. The study is published in the Dec. 6 issue of the journal Science. "Luckily, H7N9 viruses just don't yet seem well adapted for binding to human receptors," Ian Wilson, a professor of structural biology and chair of the department of integrative structural and computational biology, said in a Scripps news release. "Because publications to date have implied that H7N9 has adapted ... Read more

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H5N1 Bird Flu Vaccine Approved

Posted 25 Nov 2013 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 25, 2013 – A new vaccine has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prevent the so-called "bird flu" virus in adults at greater-than-average risk of exposure, the FDA said. While most strains of bird flu don't infect people, the H5N1 virus has caused "serious illness and death in people outside of the U.S., mostly among people who have been in close contact with infected and ill poultry," the agency said in a news release announcing the approval. The shot, called the Influenza A (H5N1) Virus Monovalent Vaccine, has been developed "in the event that the H5N1 avian influenza virus develops the capability to spread efficiently from human to human, resulting in the rapid spread of the disease across the globe," the FDA added. The vaccine, produced by a Canadian subsidiary of GlaxoSmithKline, is not intended for commercial distribution, the FDA said. It's ... Read more

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FDA Approves First Adjuvanted Vaccine for Prevention of H5N1 Avian Influenza

Posted 22 Nov 2013 by Drugs.com

November 22, 2013 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved the first adjuvanted vaccine for the prevention of H5N1 influenza, commonly known as avian or bird flu. The vaccine, Influenza A (H5N1) Virus Monovalent Vaccine, Adjuvanted, is for use in people 18 years of age and older who are at increased risk of exposure to the H5N1 influenza virus. Avian influenza is an infectious disease of birds caused by certain influenza A viruses. Most avian influenza A viruses do not infect people. However some viruses, such as H5N1, have caused serious illness and death in people outside of the U.S., mostly among people who have been in close contact with infected and ill poultry. When people do become infected with H5N1, about 60 percent die, according to the World Health Organization. H5N1 is an influenza virus with pandemic potential because it continues to infect wild birds ... Read more

Related support groups: Avian Influenza, Bird flu, H5N1 Influenza Vaccine

Simple Mutations Could Make Flu Viruses More Deadly: Studies

Posted 6 Jun 2013 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, June 6 – Genetic mutations in two emerging "bird" flu viruses could turn them into potential sources of pandemics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers report. One expert who was not involved with the new studies, however, said virus changes that may take place in the lab don't necessarily translate to a real-world threat. These two emerging flu strains, H5N1 and H7N9, originated in birds but as yet don't spread easily to humans and aren't transmitted from one person to another. However, that eventually might happen if the strains were to mutate in certain ways, the researchers said. The two reports were published June 6 in the online edition of the journal Cell. The studies looked at specific proteins found on the viruses. "It is important to understand how the 'bird flu' H5N1 virus surface protein known as hemagglutinin (HA) is able to latch on to human ... Read more

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New China Bird Flu May Be Resistant to Tamiflu

Posted 28 May 2013 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, May 28 – Chinese scientists say they've identified the first cases of resistance to the flu drug Tamiflu in a person infected with the emerging H7N9 avian flu virus. According to BBC News, there have been 131 confirmed cases in China of the new "bird" flu in humans so far, including 36 deaths. No new cases have been identified in over two weeks. According to the new report, published online May 28 in The Lancet, viral samples from three of 14 patients treated for H7N9 in a Shanghai hospital tested positive for resistance to Tamiflu (oseltamivir). These three patients were also the most severely ill – two died, and the third was still on mechanical ventilation at the time the Lancet paper was published. "The apparent ease with which antiviral resistance emerges in A/H7N9 [flu] viruses is concerning; it needs to be closely monitored and considered in future pandemic response ... Read more

Related support groups: Tamiflu, Oseltamivir, Avian Influenza

No Evidence That New Bird Flu Passes Between People: Study

Posted 25 Apr 2013 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, April 25 – A new study is the first to confirm that the H7N9 bird flu virus is passed from birds to people. But the study did not find evidence of person-to-person transmission. In the study, Chinese scientists provide details about four cases of human H7N9 infection in the eastern Zhejiang province. All four patients had been exposed to poultry, either through their jobs or by visiting poultry markets. The study authors tested samples taken from 20 chickens, four quails, five pigeons and 57 ducks at six poultry markets where the patients were likely to have been. Two of the five pigeons and four of the 20 chickens tested positive for H7N9, but the virus was not found in any of the ducks or quails tested. Then researchers analyzed the genetic makeup of H7N9 viruses from one of the patients and one of the chickens and found similarities between the viruses, confirming that the ... Read more

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New Bird Flu No Immediate Threat: U.S. Experts

Posted 9 Apr 2013 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, April 9 – At this point, there's no reason to believe that the emerging H7N9 strain of bird flu that has sickened at least 24 people and killed seven in China is cause for alarm, health officials in the United States say. For one thing, no cases of human-to-human transmission of the virus have yet been reported – a necessary precursor to a full-blown pandemic. "This is very early in the course of identification of human cases," said Dr. John Midturi, assistant professor of internal medicine at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, in Temple. "We do see something similar every few years with avian [bird] flu," added Richard Webby, a member of the department of infectious diseases at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. But this year's strain does seem a little different. "What's making everyone a little bit more uneasy is that, looking at the ... Read more

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