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Swine Influenza Blog

Related terms: Swine Flu, Novel H1N1 Flu, H1N1 Influenza, H1N1

Vaccine Opponents Often Cluster in Communities

Posted 19 Jan 2015 by

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

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People Under 65 Hard Hit by Flu This Year

Posted 5 Jun 2014 by

THURSDAY, June 5, 2014 – H1N1 flu was the most common influenza strain in the United States this year, according to the latest report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As in previous years, H1N1 disproportionately affected younger people – nearly 60 percent of the 9,635 confirmed flu-related hospitalizations occurred in people between the ages of 18 and 64 years. And, people between the ages of 50 and 64 years had the highest rates of flu-related hospitalizations this year compared to the past four flu seasons, the CDC said. These latest figures are from the June 6 issue of the CDC's journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Things could've been much worse, though. The predominant virus didn't cause a pandemic this year because of prior widespread exposure to H1N1, and also because of its inclusion in this year's flu vaccine, the CDC said. The agency is ... Read more

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Swine Flu From 2009 Pandemic Also Struck Sea Otters: Study

Posted 11 Apr 2014 by

FRIDAY, April 11, 2014 – Sea otters off the Western coast of the United States were infected by the H1N1 swine flu virus that caused a human pandemic in 2009, new research shows. During a 2011 project to monitor the health of northern sea otters off the coast of Washington state, researchers found evidence that many had been infected with the virus. Seventy percent of the otters studied had antibodies for the 2009 H1N1 virus in their blood, which means they were previously exposed to the virus. None of the otters were sick when they were tested. The precise date and source of exposure to the virus could not be pinpointed, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists said. They added that the findings indicate that human flu viruses can infect sea otters. "Our study shows that sea otters may be a newly identified animal host of ... Read more

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Tamiflu Saved Lives During Swine Flu Pandemic, Study Confirms

Posted 18 Mar 2014 by

TUESDAY, March 18, 2014 – The antiviral drug Tamiflu reduced the risk of death by 25 percent among adults hospitalized during the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic, according to a new review. Also, antiviral treatment within 48 hours of developing flu symptoms halved the risk of death compared with starting treatment later or receiving no treatment, according to the study, which was published March 18 in the journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. The risk of death rose by about 20 percent for every 24 hours that treatment was delayed after 48 hours since the start of symptoms, the researchers also found. "As expected, early treatment seems to be optimal, and treatment shouldn't be delayed by even one day to wait for diagnostic test results," Alicia Fry, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in an accompanying journal editorial. "However, if the patient presents for ... Read more

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Swine Flu's Death Toll May Be Much Higher Than Thought

Posted 26 Nov 2013 by

TUESDAY, Nov. 26, 2013 – The worldwide death toll from the 2009 swine flu pandemic was about 11 times higher than previously estimated, according to a new study. More than 60 researchers in 26 countries concluded that the outbreak of the H1N1 virus caused up to 203,000 deaths worldwide. The findings were published online Nov. 26 in the journal PLoS Medicine. The World Health Organization had said there were about 18,500 laboratory-confirmed deaths. That was widely regarded as a low number, however, because it was based only on people with confirmed cases of H1N1. "This study confirms that the H1N1 virus killed many more people globally than originally believed," study lead author Lone Simonsen, a research professor in the department of global health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, said in a university news release. "We also found that ... Read more

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Study Confirms Slight Rise in Paralysis Risk After Swine Flu Shot

Posted 13 Mar 2013 by

WEDNESDAY, March 13 – People who were vaccinated against the 2009 H1N1 swine flu virus had a slightly increased risk of a paralysis disorder, according to a new study, but the benefits of vaccination greatly outweighed the risks. Researchers analyzed data from 23 million people in the United States who received the vaccine during the 2009 outbreak – the largest mass vaccination in recent U.S. history – and found that they had a small excess risk of developing Guillain-Barre syndrome. The disorder of the nervous system results in temporary or longer-term paralysis, and sometimes causes death. The researchers found that 77 people developed Guillain-Barre syndrome up to 91 days after receiving the H1N1 vaccine. They concluded that there were 1.6 excess cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome in every 1 million people vaccinated, according to the study, which was published online March 12 in ... Read more

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H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccine Tied to Sleep Disorder in British Children

Posted 26 Feb 2013 by

TUESDAY, Feb. 26 – A British study finds that children and teens who were vaccinated during the 2009 swine flu outbreak are at increased risk for narcolepsy, a disorder that causes people to fall asleep during the day. The particular flu vaccine involved has never been licensed for use in the United States, according a statement on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Researchers looked at data from children and teens aged 4 to 18 who were treated at sleep centers and neurology centers in England, and concluded that receiving the Pandemrix vaccine was associated with a 14- to 16-fold increased risk of developing narcolepsy. They also determined that one in 52,000 to 57,500 doses of the vaccine are associated with narcolepsy, according to the study published online Feb. 26 in the journal BMJ. The findings are consistent with previous studies in other countries, ... Read more

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Fetal Deaths Up Among Unvaccinated Moms in H1N1 Pandemic: Study

Posted 16 Jan 2013 by

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16 – Pregnant women were urged to get a flu shot during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, and new evidence supports that advice. Norwegian researchers have found that vaccination in pregnancy was safe for mother and child, and that fetal deaths were more common among unvaccinated moms-to-be. Influenza is a serious threat to a pregnant woman and her unborn child, said Dr. Camilla Stoltenberg, director general of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo, lead researcher of the new study. "Our study indicates that influenza during pregnancy was a risk factor for stillbirth during the pandemic in 2009," she said. "We find no indication that pandemic vaccination in the second or third trimester increased the risk of stillbirth." With this year's flu pummeling many people across the United States, experts say the best way a pregnant woman can protect her unborn baby from flu ... Read more

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FDA Expands Tamiflu's Use to Treat Children Younger Than One Year

Posted 21 Dec 2012 by

December 21, 2012 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today expanded the approved use of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) to treat children as young as 2 weeks old who have shown symptoms of flu for no longer than two days. The drug is not approved to prevent flu infection in this population. In addition, the safety and efficacy of Tamiflu to treat flu infection has not been established in children younger than 2 weeks old. Tamiflu was approved in 1999 to treat adults infected with flu who have shown symptoms for no longer than two days. It has since been approved to treat flu in children ages 1 year and older who have shown symptoms of flu for no longer than two days, and to prevent flu in adults and children ages 1 year and older. Although there is a fixed dosing regimen for patients 1 year and older according to weight categories, the dosing for children younger than 1 year must be ... Read more

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Flu Season's Approaching So Roll Up Your Sleeve

Posted 27 Sep 2012 by

THURSDAY, Sept. 27 – The only thing predictable about the flu is its unpredictability, U.S. health officials said Thursday, as they urged virtually all Americans to get vaccinated for the coming season. Even though last year's flu season was one of the mildest on record, that's no sign of what this season will bring. It was only two years ago, officials noted, that the H1N1 pandemic flu swept around the world, sickening millions. "The last several years have demonstrated that influenza is predictably unpredictable," Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said during a morning news conference. "Even mild seasons can lead to suffering and death," Koh added. "Sadly, last year there were some 34 influenza-associated pediatric deaths." Every year an estimated 5 percent to 20 percent of Americans come down with the flu, leading to ... Read more

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Sharp Spike Seen in Swine Flu Cases: CDC

Posted 9 Aug 2012 by

THURSDAY, Aug. 9 – U.S. health authorities on Thursday reported a large jump in the number of H3N2 "swine" flu cases in humans. Last week, only 29 cases had been reported since July of 2011, when the virus first emerged. Sixteen of the cases appeared in the past month. But this week, the tally soared to 146 cases, one each in Hawaii, Utah and Illinois, 113 in Indiana and 30 reported from Ohio. This represents "clearly a significant increase," Dr. Joseph Bresee, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Influenza Division, said during an afternoon news conference. Authorities have seen no human-to-human transmissions yet this year – all people infected had had some contact with swine, usually at agricultural fairs – but they are nevertheless concerned about the virus because it contains an element seen in the pandemic 2009 swine flu strain, H1N1, which may make it more ... Read more

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CDC Preparing Vaccine for New Swine Flu

Posted 7 Aug 2012 by

FRIDAY, Aug. 3 – Only 29 human cases of a new strain of "swine" flu have been identified in two years, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is making sure it's prepared should the H3N2 strain become more widespread. "This virus is still principally a swine virus, but it doesn't seem to have onward spread. It's still not a human virus," Dr. Joseph Bresee, from the CDC's influenza division, stressed during a noon press conference Friday. "Even so, a H3N2 candidate vaccine has been prepared and clinical trials are being planned for this year," he said. The reason the CDC is concerned about this particular virus is that it contains an element seen in the pandemic 2009 swine flu strain, H1N1, which may make it more likely for the virus to spread from person-to-person. All 29 cases were infected with strains of H3N2 "that contained the matrix (m) gene from the influenza A ... Read more

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Airports in N.Y., L.A., Hawaii Deemed Worst for Pandemic Spread

Posted 25 Jul 2012 by

WEDNESDAY, July 25 – Among airports in the United States, JFK in New York City, LAX in Los Angeles and Honolulu International Airport in Hawaii are most likely to play a major role in the spread of a pandemic, according to a new study. Recent global public health crises – such as the 2009 H1N1 "swine" flu pandemic that killed about 300,000 worldwide and the 2003 SARS outbreak that affected 37 countries and caused about 1,000 deaths – have increased awareness about how air travel can help quickly spread dangerous bacteria and viruses around the world. In this study, researchers in the department of civil and environmental engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) used a new mathematical model to determine how the 40 largest U.S. airports would influence the spread of a contagious disease that originated in the cities where the airports are located. John F. Kennedy ... Read more

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H1N1 Flu Vaccine Safe for Expectant Moms, Offspring: Study

Posted 10 Jul 2012 by

TUESDAY, July 10 – Although hastily created in response to the pandemic threat posed by the H1N1 flu virus, the vaccine for H1N1 is safe, even for expectant mothers and their babies, new studies show. A Danish study that included more than 53,000 pregnant women, 13 percent of whom received the H1N1 vaccine, found no increased risk of major birth defects or pregnancy problems. "We compared the vaccinated with the unvaccinated pregnancies with respect to a number of adverse events – major birth defects, premature birth and fetal growth problems. None of these adverse events were more common among H1N1-vaccinated pregnancies. We conclude that H1N1-vaccinated pregnancies are not at increased risk of these adverse events," said Dr. Anders Hviid, a senior investigator at Statens Serum Institut, in Copenhagen. Results of the study are published in the July 11 issue of the Journal of the ... Read more

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Pandemic H1N1 Flu Killed Far More Than Reported: Study

Posted 25 Jun 2012 by

MONDAY, June 25 – The pandemic H1N1 flu in 2009 may have killed more than 500,000 people around the world, 15 times more than reported, a new study suggests. During the pandemic, 18,500 laboratory-confirmed deaths were reported to the World Health Organization from April 2009 through August 2010, but as many as 575,400 may have actually died, an international group of scientists now says. "This is a better approximation of the number of deaths that occurred," said researcher Dr. Marc-Alain Widdowson from the influenza division at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This study also confirms that the majority of deaths were in the under-65s, which is very different than seasonal influenza, where the vast majority of deaths are in the over 65s," he added. In addition, the researchers estimate that regions in southeast Asia and Africa were more affected than the official ... Read more

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