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Related terms: Bird flu, H5N1

Could Your Cat Give You 'Bird Flu?'

Posted 4 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 15, 2017 – U.S. scientists are reporting a case of a veterinarian who apparently caught "bird flu" from an infected cat at a New York City animal shelter. The case occurred in December 2016. The unnamed veterinarian got through the battle with the H7N2 strain of influenza, but the cat died, according to researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the past, people – often poultry workers – have contracted avian influenza H7N2 from close proximity to birds. However, "we know of no other reported instances of direct transmission from a cat to a human," according to a CDC team led by microbiologist and influenza researcher Dr. Atanaska Marinova-Petkova. Extensive lab testing at CDC facilities showed that the genetic makeup of the H7N2 strains the cat and veterinarian had were 99.9 percent similar and "related to H7N2 viruses isolated from ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Influenza A, Avian Influenza

With Severe Flu Season Lurking, Shots a Must

Posted 27 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Oct. 27, 2017 – Early signs suggest that the United States will see a severe flu season, so it's especially important for Americans to get their shots, health experts say. Australia had its worst flu season on record, and what happens in the southern hemisphere typically predicts what happens in the northern hemisphere, said Kevin Harrod. He is a professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham's department of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine. "These data tell us that we should see a worse-than-average flu season," Harrod said. This year's vaccines are combating the H3N2 strain and B strains of influenza, according to Harrod. H3N2 viruses cause more severe disease in the elderly and young children, and they are associated with a high hospitalization rate, he noted. The best protection against the flu is vaccination, Harrod said in a university news release. "While ... Read more

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Is a Dangerous Bird Flu on the Horizon?

Posted 19 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Oct. 19, 2017 – Scientists have found new evidence that the H7N9 bird flu, currently confined to China, has the potential for a widespread outbreak. Public health experts have long been tracking the bird flu strain, which emerged in humans in 2013. Since then, nearly 1,600 cases have been confirmed in China – with a death rate of about 40 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There's no evidence that H7N9 can be readily passed from person to person. There have been only isolated cases of human transmission, the CDC says, with most people falling ill because of contaminated poultry. However, public health officials have been worried about H7N9's potential to eventually trigger a pandemic, or global outbreak. The new study could add to those concerns. Researchers found that samples of H7N9 were easily transmitted among ferrets – an animal ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Tamiflu, Viral Infection, Avian Influenza, Oseltamivir

Experimental Drug Shows Promise Against Dangerous Viruses

Posted 29 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, June 29, 2017 – An experimental antiviral drug is effective against a number of coronaviruses, including some that can cause deadly epidemics, researchers say. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that infect birds and mammals, including humans. These viruses include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which has a 10 percent death rate, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which has a 40 percent death rate. Currently, there are no effective antiviral drugs for coronaviruses, the study authors pointed out. In this study, laboratory tests showed that the experimental drug called GS-5734 was effective against SARS, MERS and other coronaviruses. GS-5734 is currently in clinical development for treatment of Ebola virus, the researchers said. The investigators also found that the drug was effective against SARS in mice, according to the study in the June 28 ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Sovaldi, Swine Influenza, Viral Infection, Sofosbuvir, Influenza A, Avian Influenza, Foscarnet, Fuzeon, Enfuvirtide, Fomivirsen, Foscavir, Vitravene

Health Highlights: March 7, 2017

Posted 7 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay: Republicans Introduce Obamacare Replacement An initial Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act was formally introduced in the House of Representatives on Monday. The proposed package scraps the mandate for health insurance and instead offers tax incentives designed to encourage Americans to get health insurance coverage, The New York Times reported. The bill does propose preserving two of the most popular elements of the health care reform law known as Obamacare. There would still be safeguards for people with pre-existing medical conditions, and young adults would still be able to stay on their parent's health insurance plans until the age of 26. But the highly unpopular fines on people who choose not to buy health insurance would be eliminated. Preliminary voting on the ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Avian Influenza

Flu Vaccine a Pretty Good Match for Viruses This Year: CDC

Posted 17 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 16, 2017 – It's not perfect, but this year's flu vaccine is a fairly good match for the circulating viruses, U.S. health officials reported Thursday. Overall, the vaccine is 48 percent effective. For the predominant circulating influenza A type H3N2 flu strain, its effectiveness comes in at 43 percent. But it's 73 percent effective against influenza B viruses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The effectiveness is a little bit lower than we would like to see, but it's similar to what we have seen for H3 viruses when the vaccine is a good match for what's circulating," said Brendan Flannery, a CDC epidemiologist. Indications are that infections are still rising in certain regions of the country, like the Midwest, but declining in others, like the Northwest. This is shaping up as a moderately severe flu season, he added. In similar seasons, ... Read more

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Flu Hospitalizations, Deaths Increasing: CDC

Posted 27 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 27, 2017 – Although this year's flu season appears to be an average one so far, more hospitalizations are being reported and deaths are increasing, federal health officials reported Friday. And it will be several weeks before the season peaks, said Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We are starting to see cases of severe disease and we are seeing excess deaths, most likely due to influenza," she said. Even though deaths and hospitalizations are increasing, Brammer didn't describe this year's flu season as particularly severe. "It's looking like an average influenza season," she said. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's still not too late to get a flu shot. That's particularly important for the most vulnerable – the very young, the elderly, the chronically ill and pregnant women, ... Read more

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Flu Cases Starting to Spread: CDC

Posted 20 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 20, 2017 – Flu activity continues to rise across the United States and there's been a slight uptick in the number of deaths in the last week, federal health officials reported Friday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's still not too late to get a flu shot. That's particularly important for the most vulnerable – the very young, the elderly, the chronically ill and pregnant women, officials said. "It would have been better to get vaccinated early, but there is still potential benefit from the vaccine," Lynnette Brammer, a CDC epidemiologist, said Friday. She said flu activity is "still going up – fairly slowly – but it's still increasing." "We are starting to see an increase in flu-related deaths," she added, "although deaths aren't at a level considered epidemic." The CDC doesn't track the number of adults who die from flu, but it does keep ... Read more

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Bird Flu Strain May Have Jumped From Cat to Human

Posted 23 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 23, 2016 – A veterinarian appears to have been infected with a strain of avian flu known as H7N2 that spread among more than 100 cats housed at New York City animal shelters. If confirmed, this would be the first known transmission of this bird flu strain from cat to human, officials said. New York City health officials said the vet has recovered from a mild illness, and there's no sign that the flu has spread to shelter workers or those who've adopted cats. Still, the city's top health official is calling for caution. "Our investigation confirms that the risk to human health from H7N2 is low, but we are urging New Yorkers who have adopted cats from a shelter or rescue group within the past three weeks to be alert for symptoms in their pets," city Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a health department news release. "We are contacting people who may have been ... Read more

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Just 40 Percent of Americans Vaccinated for Flu This Season

Posted 12 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Dec. 12, 2016 – Only about two out of five Americans had gotten this season's flu shot as of early November, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. About 37 percent of children between 6 months and 17 years old have gotten the flu vaccine this year. And approximately 41 percent of adults aged 18 and older have received the shot. The overall rate is similar to the vaccination rate at the same time last year, the CDC noted. "We are glad to see that people are making the decision to protect themselves and their families from flu, but coverage is still low and we urge people to get vaccinated if they haven't yet," said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "We have a tool that is proven to prevent flu illness and hospitalization, but millions of people are not taking advantage of it. Too many ... Read more

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More Pregnant Women Getting Flu Shot, But Improvement Needed

Posted 8 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 8, 2016 – Getting a flu shot during pregnancy can protect both a mom-to-be and her baby. And while the percentage of pregnant American women who got the vaccine has doubled in recent years, too many still go without the shot, researchers say. "Although the trend is encouraging, coverage still falls far short of the 2016 [U.S.] recommendation that all pregnant women who are or might become pregnant during flu season be vaccinated," according to a team led by Stephen Kerr, an epidemiologist at Boston University. Kerr's team has tracked data on vaccinations received during pregnancy for more than 5,300 U.S. women since 2005. The investigators found that in the flu seasons before the 2009-2010 H1N1 flu pandemic, only one in every five pregnant women in the study got an influenza vaccine. However, that number jumped to 33 percent of the women during the 2009-2010 flu ... Read more

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Are You Ready for Flu Season?

Posted 19 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Nov. 18, 2016 – With flu season right around the corner, U.S. health officials are urging everyone to get their flu shot now so they'll be protected from the potentially serious complications of influenza. "The fact that flu activity hasn't picked up dramatically yet means there is plenty of time for people to get vaccinated if they haven't already," said Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This year's flu season is starting out much like last year, Brammer said. Currently, influenza H3N2 is the predominant strain, she said, although H1N1 is also circulating. Last year, the H3N2 virus started out as the dominant strain, only to be displaced by H1N1 as flu season hit full swing. "It ended up being an H1N1 season," she said. "It's similar to a lot of years right now," Brammer added. "Things should start to pick up in the ... Read more

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Your Birth Year Might Help Shield You From Bird Flu Strains

Posted 10 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Nov. 10, 2016 – The year you were born could help predict your risk of becoming seriously ill or dying after exposure to a flu virus that jumped from animals to humans, researchers suggest. It was believed that previous exposure to a flu virus offered people little to no protection against new animal-origin flu viruses, according to investigators from the University of Arizona in Tucson and the University of California, Los Angeles. But an analysis of all-known cases of severe illness or death caused by the H5N1 and H7N9 bird flu viruses showed that the first infection with flu virus as child helps determine which new bird flu viruses people would be protected against in the future. Depending on when people were born, they were infected with different types of flu viruses for the first time as children, the researchers explained. This causes their bodies to produce different ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Influenza A, Avian Influenza, Influenza with Pneumonia

Migration Helps Spread Bird Flu Worldwide

Posted 14 Oct 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Oct. 13, 2016 – Migrating birds can spread bird flu worldwide and monitoring migration routes could provide early warning of outbreaks, researchers say. Their new study looked at how H5N8 bird flu spread globally after outbreaks in birds began in South Korea in early 2014. The virus eventually spread to Japan, Europe and North America, causing outbreaks in birds in those regions between autumn 2014 and spring 2015. Bird flu strains can be highly lethal to birds and infect poultry farms worldwide. The viruses rarely cause illness in people, but when they does, the illness can be life-threatening, the researchers noted. The study results showed that H5N8 was most likely carried by infected migrating birds from Asia to Europe and North America via their breeding grounds in the Arctic. The findings suggest that increased surveillance of wild birds at their breeding areas could ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Avian Influenza

How to Protect Yourself From the Seasonal Flu

Posted 23 Sep 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Sept. 23, 2016 – Don't let this year's flu season catch you by surprise. Experts say an annual flu shot is the best way to avoid the aches, fever, congestion and fatigue that flu brings – and to protect those who are at high risk for flu-related complications. "Every year, people die from influenza," said Cindy Weston, an assistant professor of nursing at Texas A&M University. "After sizable outbreaks, people will respond with large amounts of vaccinations, but they should be getting vaccinated every year to protect those most vulnerable, mainly children and the elderly." Now that it's fall, it's time for your shot. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu shot for everyone older than 6 months of age. This includes pregnant women. Babies less than 8 months old may need to get the vaccine in two doses. And people over age 65 should get the ... Read more

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