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Influenza A News

Could Your Cat Give You 'Bird Flu?'

Posted 15 Nov 2017 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

Will This Year's Flu Shot Be as Weak as Last Season's?

Posted 8 Nov 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 8, 2017 – Lots of people came down with influenza last year despite getting a flu shot – and researchers can't promise this season's vaccine will be any more effective. Last year's shot was only 20 percent to 30 percent effective because it was grown in eggs, according to the authors of a new report. The egg process is not unusual. But a mutation in the predominant flu virus, called influenza A H3N2, limited the vaccine's potency, said study co-author Dr. John Treanor. When H3N2 comes in contact with eggs, it changes, making it different from the virus that's circulating, he and his colleagues explained. So last year, when H3N2 was the most common flu virus around, the shot was pretty lousy. And what about the 2017-2018 flu season? "It's too early to say which strain of flu will be predominant this year," said Dr. Daniel Jernigan, director of the influenza division at ... Read more

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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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Could Swine Flu Be Linked to Type 1 Diabetes?

Posted 14 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 13, 2017 – Young people who've been infected with the H1N1 swine flu virus may be at increased risk for type 1 diabetes, a new study suggests. Researchers examined data from all the 2.28 million people aged 30 and younger in Norway between June 2009 (when pandemic H1N1 flu struck the country) and June 2014. People who reported flu symptoms during the pandemic were 18 percent more likely to later be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes than those who did not get the flu, the investigators found. This association was even stronger in children aged 15 or younger. Among that age group, those who were infected with H1N1 flu virus had a 25 percent increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes, according to the study. However, the association seen in the study doesn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship. The study findings were scheduled to be presented Wednesday at the annual ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Diabetes, Type 1, Swine Influenza, Influenza A, Diagnosis and Investigation, Influenza with Pneumonia

Nasal Flu Vaccine's Demise May Mean Fewer Immunized Kids

Posted 1 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Sept. 1, 2017 – Seasonal flu immunization rates among children appear to have dropped slightly after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended against the nasal spray version of the vaccine, researchers report. But it's not just shot-avoidance that prevents people from getting the recommended vaccine. Researchers found that up to half of all Americans are fickle about the flu shot and change their minds about getting vaccinated from one year to the next. "It seems that people may not be either vehemently pro flu vaccine or anti flu vaccine," said the study's co-author, Ben Fogel. "Rather, if it's convenient, they'll get the vaccine, and if it's not convenient, they won't go out of their way to get it," said Fogel, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine. Convenience was a main selling point for the nasal spray form of the flu ... Read more

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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, Fomivirsen, Foscavir, Vitravene, Enfuvirtide

Bats Harbor Viruses That Could Cause Outbreaks in Humans

Posted 12 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 12, 2017 – Bats carry a large diversity of viruses that could potentially cause pandemic outbreaks of serious respiratory diseases in humans, researchers say. Their five-year study covered 20 countries on three continents. The researchers found that bats carry a large number of coronaviruses. This family of viruses causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS). The researchers tested more than 19,000 bats, rodents, primates and people in areas where the risk of animal-to-human coronavirus transmission is greatest. These areas include places where deforestation has occurred, as well as animal sanctuaries and regions popular for ecotourism. The research team identified 100 different coronaviruses. It found that more than 98 percent of the animals harboring these viruses were bats from 282 bat species. High ... Read more

Related support groups: Viral Infection, Influenza A

Is Your Child's Day Care Center Ready for Pandemic Flu?

Posted 16 May 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, May 15, 2017 – The vast majority of U.S. child care centers are not fully prepared to handle the risks posed by a possible influenza pandemic, a new investigation warns. The finding is based on the results of two flu-preparedness telephone surveys conducted in 2008 and 2016, both before and after the 2009 H1N1 "swine flu" pandemic. During both surveys, only 7 percent of child care center directors said that they had taken sufficient steps to prepare, even though about two-thirds said they were concerned about the threat. The main issues were "a lack of knowledge of what to do to prepare, where to find information, not having the time, and lacking resources," said study author Dr. Timothy Shope. Shope is an associate professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the H1N1 pandemic originated in ... Read more

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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

Related support groups: Influenza, Swine Influenza, Influenza A, Avian Influenza, FluLaval, FluMist, Fluzone, Afluria, Influenza Prophylaxis, Flublok, Flublok Quadrivalent, Influenza Virus Vaccine, Inactivated, Vaccination and Prophlaxis, Flucelvax 2015-2016, Flublok 2016-2017, Fluzone SV, Influenza Virus Vaccine, Live, Trivalent, Fluvirin 2015-2016, FluMist Quadrivalent, Agriflu

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

Related support groups: Influenza, Swine Influenza, Influenza A, Avian Influenza, FluLaval, FluMist, Fluzone, Afluria, Influenza Prophylaxis, Flublok, Flublok Quadrivalent, Influenza Virus Vaccine, Inactivated, Vaccination and Prophlaxis, Flucelvax 2015-2016, Fluzone SV, Influenza Virus Vaccine, Live, Trivalent, Fluvirin 2015-2016, FluMist Quadrivalent, Agriflu, Flucelvax Quadrivalent

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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There's Still Time for Your Flu Shot

Posted 23 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 23, 2016 – Flu needn't spoil the start of the new year, say U.S. health officials who urge children and adults to get vaccinated. "Most of the flu season is still ahead of us, so it's not too late to get vaccinated," said Dr. Joseph Bresee of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But, get the shot soon because it can take several weeks to produce enough antibodies to give you maximum protection, the agency notes. "We often see spikes in flu during and right after the holidays as people congregate and travel in planes that bring people close together," said Bresee, who is chief of epidemiology and prevention in the CDC's influenza division. Flu activity will increase in most parts of the country over the next several weeks, before peaking in the next few months, he said. The hardest-hit areas so far are New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the Southeast and the ... Read more

Related support groups: Influenza, Influenza A, FluLaval, FluMist, Fluzone, Afluria, Influenza Prophylaxis, Flublok, Flublok Quadrivalent, Vaccination and Prophlaxis, Influenza Virus Vaccine, Inactivated, FluMist Quadrivalent, Fluzone SV, Agriflu, Flucelvax Quadrivalent, Fluzone High-Dose, Flushield, Influenza with Pneumonia, Fluzone Quadrivalent, Flublok 2015-2016

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

Related support groups: Influenza, Delivery, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation, Influenza A, Avian Influenza, FluLaval, FluMist, Fluzone, Afluria, Influenza Virus Vaccine, Inactivated, Vaccination and Prophlaxis, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation, Flublok, Flublok Quadrivalent, Flublok 2015-2016, Fluzone SV, Fluzone 2015-2016, FluLaval Quadrivalent, Afluria 2015-2016, Flushield

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

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