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

Colds, Flu Up Odds for Stroke in Kids, Though Risk Is Low: Study

Posted 30 Sep 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 30, 2015 – Having a cold or the flu may sometimes trigger a stroke in children – particularly those with underlying health conditions – though the overall risk remains low, a new study indicates. Comparing two groups of more than 350 children – one set had suffered "ischemic" clot-based strokes and the other had not – researchers found that those with stroke were six times more likely to have had a minor infection the previous week than those who didn't have a stroke. Also, children who had most or all of their routine vaccinations were significantly less likely to suffer a stroke than children who received only some or no vaccinations, according to the study, published online Sept. 30 in the journal Neurology. "The findings are definitely revelatory in terms of expanding our understanding of childhood stroke compared to a decade ago," said study author Dr. Heather ... Read more

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Online Program Boosts Hand Washing, Cuts Infections

Posted 6 Aug 2015 by

THURSDAY, Aug. 6, 2015 – An online program that encourages people to wash their hands reduced the spread of cold and flu viruses within families, a new study says. The program also led to fewer gastrointestinal illnesses, doctor appointments and antibiotic prescriptions, according to the findings published online Aug. 6 in The Lancet. "A simple, cheap internet program to encourage hand washing can reduce the risk of infection by around 14 percent," study author Dr. Paul Little, a professor at the University of Southampton in the U.K., said in a journal news release. "Because most of the population catches coughs, colds, sore throats and other respiratory infections, this could have an important impact on reducing the spread of these viruses in the general population, and also help reduce the pressure on [health] services during the winter months," he added. The free, interactive ... Read more

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Scientists Test Universal Flu Vaccine in Mice

Posted 21 Jul 2015 by

TUESDAY, July 21, 2015 – Scientists report that a universal flu vaccine in mice protected the animals against eight different flu strains. If the vaccine works in humans, scientists might not have to develop new flu vaccines every year, the researchers said. The findings were reported July 21 in the journal mBio. Currently, a vaccine is created each year to protect against the handful of flu strains that are predicted to be the most common during that flu season. And the vaccine makeup is determined months in advance so that manufacturers have time to make the millions of doses needed. "The reason researchers change the vaccine every year is that they want to specifically match the vaccine to the particular viruses that are circulating, such as H1N1. If the vaccine is just a little bit different to the target virus, it is not expected to offer much protection," explained lead ... Read more

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Doctors May Play Big Role in Antibiotic Overuse: Study

Posted 20 Jul 2015 by

MONDAY, July 20, 2015 – Doctors, nurse practitioners and other health care workers who prescribe drugs may be helping to drive the overuse of antibiotics in the United States, new research suggests. Experts have long warned that using antibiotics for illnesses for which they are useless – viral infections, for example – helps foster resistance by germs to these potentially lifesaving drugs. In the new study, a team led by Dr. Barbara Jones, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Utah, looked at data on more than 1 million patient visits for acute respiratory infections at 130 VA medical centers across the United States between 2005 and 2012. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, acute respiratory infections include the common cold, bronchitis and ear infections – many of which are caused by viruses. However, Jones' team found that antibiotics ... Read more

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Antibiotics Myths Still Common Among Parents

Posted 20 Jul 2015 by

MONDAY, July 20, 2015 – Many American parents still have misconceptions about when their children should receive antibiotics and what the medications do, a new study finds. Looking at data results spanning more than a decade, researchers saw that parents with Medicaid insurance were more likely to misunderstand appropriate antibiotic use than parents with private commercial insurance. Medicaid is the government-run insurance program for lower-income Americans. "While not confirmed, it is possible that the combination of health literacy and underlying socioeconomic factors could contribute to both the misconceptions and expectations for antibiotics," said Dr. Louise Vaz. She is assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases and medical director of the Outpatient Antibiotic Therapy Program at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. "We do need to better tailor our ... Read more

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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

Related support groups: Influenza, Tamiflu, Swine Influenza, Oseltamivir, Swine Flu, Influenza Prophylaxis, Flu, Flu Prevention

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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