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

Posted 4 days ago 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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Eczema May Leave Some Flu Shots Less Effective, Study Finds

Posted 7 days ago by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 13, 2017 – It's still flu season, and not too late to get your flu shot. But a new study suggests that people with eczema should request the vaccine be given into the muscle, rather than just under the skin. That's because the effectiveness of flu shots in people with eczema appears to vary, depending on how it's given, researchers report. The problem seems to lie with the fact that the cracked, dry skin of eczema patients is often colonized by Staphylococcus bacteria. And that seems to dampen the immune response from the flu vaccine – if the shot is given into the skin, the researchers said. "Staphylococcus infections are a widespread problem among [eczema] patients, with up to 90 percent of patients with severe disease colonized by the bacteria," lead researcher Dr. Donald Leung, of National Jewish Health in Denver, said in a hospital news release. He's head of ... Read more

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Flu Cases Spiking Across the United States: CDC

Posted 10 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Feb. 10, 2017 – Flu activity spiked sharply across the United States this week, federal health officials reported Friday. Deaths from flu-related conditions continued at high levels, and hospitalizations among people over 65 and under the age of 4 are up. So far, 20 children have died from flu, said Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "More children have died this year than at the same time last year," said Brammer. "This may end up being a bad year for kids, but we just don't know yet. Deaths look high for this year because last year was light. A lot of this is timing." Overall last year, 128 children died from flu-related complications, according to the CDC. Hospitalizations among people in their 50s and 60s are also increasing, and may actually be outpacing those for children, the CDC reported. Health officials noted ... Read more

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8 Ways to Help Kids Dodge Germs

Posted 12 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 8, 2017 – There are a number of ways parents can help give a boost to their child's immune system, a family doctor suggests. "The immune system helps us fight infections," said Dr. Palak Shroff, a family medicine specialist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. "Immunity develops over time, so the more someone gets exposed, the more the immune system develops," Shroff explained in a center news release. "Kids' whole environment is new, but over time, their immunity will develop and get better," she added. Shroff suggested eight keys to helping children minimize their risk of catching every cold and virus that comes their way: Breast-feeding is the first step. It is an important way to help your child develop a strong immune system. "During breast-feeding, the mother's immunity transfers to the child," Shroff said. Vaccination is another crucial factor. ... Read more

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Screening, HPV Vaccine Can Prevent Cervical Cancer: FDA

Posted 12 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 7, 2017 – Women can reduce their risk of cervical cancer through vaccination and screening, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says. In 2016, nearly 13,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 4,100 will die from the disease, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. The FDA wants to make women aware of how to protect themselves from cervical cancer, which is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). An FDA-approved vaccine called Gardasil 9 protects against 9 HPV types and can prevent about 90 percent of cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancer cancers, and also protects against genital warts. The vaccine is approved for use in females and males aged 9 to 26. Gardasil 9 is not a treatment for HPV disease or cervical cancer, noted Marion Gruber, director of the FDA's Office of Vaccines Research and Review. "Women, ... Read more

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U.S. Vaccine Guidelines for Flu, HPV Updated

Posted 13 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 7, 2017 – Roll up your sleeves, America. A national advisory panel of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its 2017 advisory for recommended shots affecting adults. This year's advisory revises guidance on seasonal flu shots by eliminating nasal flu vaccines and modifying flu-shot advice for people with egg allergy. It also tweaks recommendations for vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B and meningococcal disease. Doctors use the annually updated vaccine schedule to ensure that patients receive the right vaccines for their age, medical condition and other risk factors. The entire list includes 13 vaccinations. "All adults need immunizations to help them prevent getting and spreading serious disease that could result in poor health, missed work, medical bills, and not being able to care for family," said the report's lead ... Read more

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New Flu Vaccines for Dogs Unleashed in Lab

Posted 14 days ago by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 6, 2017 – Researchers who created two new flu vaccines for dogs say their work could help keep people safe, too. The vaccines were developed to protect dogs against the H3N8 canine flu virus, which is circulating among dogs in the United States. These are "live-attenuated" vaccines. That means they're made from live flu virus that is weakened so that it does not cause the flu. These types of vaccines trigger stronger immune responses and longer periods of protection than inactivated (killed flu virus) vaccines currently used by veterinarians, according to the University of Rochester researchers. The new vaccines proved safe and effective against H3N8 canine influenza in mice and dog tracheal cells, according to Luis Martinez-Sobrido, an associate professor in the department of microbiology and immunology, and colleagues. The investigators plan to test the vaccines in ... Read more

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U.S. Teens Lag on Recommended Vaccinations

Posted 14 days ago by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 6, 2017 – Teens are less likely than younger children to get all their recommended vaccinations, perhaps putting their long-term health at risk, according to a leading group of U.S. pediatricians. Teens' rates of vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) and the flu are well below the target of 80 percent or higher, according to two reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). "We often find that teenagers don't visit their doctors as regularly as they did when they were younger, and they may be late or even miss important immunizations recommended to keep them healthy," Dr. Joseph Bocchini Jr. said in an academy news release. Bocchini is co-author of the reports and former chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. The immunization rates vary considerably by vaccine and by state, the pediatricians' group found. In 2014, only 40 percent of girls and ... Read more

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New Zika Vaccine Candidate Provides Powerful Protection

Posted 18 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 2, 2017 – A single dose of an experimental Zika vaccine protected mice and monkeys from the virus, researchers report. Following Zika virus outbreaks in Latin America and some parts of the southern United States, scientists have been trying to develop a vaccine against the virus. Several vaccines have been tested in animals, but this is the first one to show strong and long-lasting protection without the use of a live virus, the researchers said. However, animal research does not always pan out in humans. Traditional vaccines contain a weakened or killed version of the target virus or isolated viral proteins. This vaccine uses tiny strands of RNA that contain the genetic codes for making viral proteins, according to the study authors. One injection of the vaccine triggered a rapid immune response in mice and protected them from intravenous exposure to Zika two weeks ... Read more

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Flu Shot May Curb Respiratory Infections in People With Heart Failure

Posted 18 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 2, 2017 – Flu and pneumonia vaccines may reduce heart failure patients' risk of dangerous respiratory infections, a new review suggests. More than 5 million Americans have heart failure, when the heart is too weak to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Respiratory infections are the leading cause of hospitalization for people with heart failure. These infections are associated with high death rates in a hospital, the review authors said. The researchers reviewed studies published from January 1990 to July 2016. These studies suggested that flu and pneumonia vaccines seem to help protect people with heart failure from life-threatening respiratory infections. People older than 65 with heart failure may benefit more from high-dose vaccination, the researchers said. "Vaccination represents a low-cost intervention that may be able to prevent the significant disease, ... Read more

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Most U.S. Adults Support Routine Child Vaccine

Posted 18 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 2, 2017 – More than eight out of 10 Americans support mandatory measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination for children attending public schools, a new survey finds. Despite some well-publicized opposition, this look at vaccination attitudes by the Pew Research Center finds that, overall, 88 percent of Americans believe that the benefits of the MMR vaccine outweigh any risks. Nearly three-quarters of the more than 1,500 adults surveyed said they believe there are health benefits from the MMR vaccine. Two-thirds are also confident there's a low risk of side effects from the vaccine. But the findings, released Thursday, reveal some differences related to age, race and education, said study lead author Cary Funk. "In addition to parents of young children, this analysis finds that adults under age 30, blacks and people with lower knowledge about science topics see a higher ... 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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HPV Vaccine Doesn't Eliminate Need for Pap Test

Posted 24 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 24, 2017 – The HPV vaccine helps prevent cervical cancer but that doesn't mean women should forgo Pap test screening, cancer experts say. Women of all ages need to continue to undergo this screening test for precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix even if they've received the vaccine, advised gynecologic oncologist Dr. Jayanthi Lea, from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "The vaccine reduces the risk of cancer, but has not yet been shown to eliminate the need for screening," Lea said. Lea and her colleagues said that once women have been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) – a virus that can cause cervical cancer – they don't need to get screened every year as in the past. "Routine cervical screening for women under age 21 and over 65 is no longer recommended. Research has found that testing every three years is sufficient, unless the patient ... Read more

Related support groups: Cervical Cancer, Gardasil, Human Papillomavirus Vaccine, Cervarix, Human Papillomavirus Prophylaxis, Vaccination and Prophlaxis, Gardasil 9

Best Ways to Steer Clear of the Flu

Posted 22 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

SATURDAY, Jan. 21, 2017 – The best way for people to protect themselves from the flu is to get vaccinated – and it's not too late to get a shot, an infectious diseases expert says. The flu vaccine also protects those who aren't able to get it, including infants younger than 6 months and people with certain allergies and medical conditions, said Dr. Jeffrey Kahn. He is chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Those who think it's too late to get vaccinated should reconsider since flu season lasts until spring, Kahn said in a medical center news release. UT Southwestern outlines other ways people can reduce their risk of getting the flu: Keep your hands clean. Be sure to wash your hands well and often. If soap and water aren't readily available, opt for an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It's also important to be aware of what you touch, ... 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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