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News Reports for November 28, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 15:12:59 PM EST


Reminder: Please do not post whole articles, just snippets and links, and do not post articles from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Thanks!

India
• Tamil Nadu: 55-year-old man dies of swine flu in Coimbatore (Link)

Japan
• Health Ministry says vaccines against new type of flu to fall short in 2013 (Link)

United States
• CDC study suggests agricultural fairs are a potential source for future epidemics (Link)

Research
• Influenza forecast: Cloudy with a chance of flu? (Link)
• Man's best friend: Common canine virus may lead to new vaccines for deadly human disease (Link)
• Investing in a better flu shot (Link)

Commentary
• Recombinomics: ECDC In Denial of Novel Beta Coronavirus Human Transmission (Link)


• H(Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for November 28, 2012

News for November 27, 2012 is here.


Thanks to all of the newshounds!
Special thanks to the newshound volunteers who translate international stories - thanks for keeping us all informed!

Other useful links:
WHO A(H1N1) Site
WHO H5N1 human case totals, last updated August 10, 2012
Charts and Graphs on H5N1 from WHO
Google Flu Trends
CDC Weekly Influenza Summary
Map of seasonal influenza in the U.S.
CIDPC (Canada) Weekly FluWatch
UK RCGP Weekly Data on Communicable and Respiratory Diseases
Flu Wiki

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Japan: Health Ministry says vaccines against new type of flu to fall short in 2013
Japan's Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry stated this week that it expects the supply of vaccines needed should a new strain of influenza appear to fall short of what is needed for 25 million people in the 2013 year. This is a result of one of the country's four manufacturers discontinuing their work due to a lack of government funding. The vaccines were intended to be given to people as common shots in the event of a new, easily spread flu virus.

The government's original plan to have the 25 million stockpile ready by the end of 2013, however it now appears it will take at least an additional year. The health ministry says it will begin looking for a new manufacturer in order to fill the hole in production. In order to combat the outbreak of a new flu strain, the ministry wants to start work on developing new technologies that would be able to supply vaccines to as many as 130 million people. The four manufacturers involved in production were also tasked with improving facilities. Continued: http://japandailypress.com/hea...

(Note: I believe this refers to a H5N1 vaccine. There were articles about a year or so ago saying Japan was working on a H5N1 vaccine and plans were to vaccinate millions of people when it became available. I think the plan was to vaccinate medical personnel first, then first responders and then work it's way out to include a large segment of the general population.)

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


Influenza forecast: Cloudy with a chance of flu?
New research suggests it may be possible to forecast flu outbreaks in much the same way meteorologists predict weather, according to one of the authors. The finding could be a potential boon for public health officials and consumers.

Using real-time US data gathered by Google, along with a computer model showing how flu spreads, the researchers offered a system that could generate local forecasts of the severity and length of a particular flu outbreak. This kind of forecasting could improve preparation and management of annual flu outbreaks in the United States, says Irene Eckstrand of the National Institutes of Health.

(Snip)

If the forecasts are reasonably accurate, they could help public health officials target vaccines and anti-viral drugs to areas of greatest need, says study co-author Jeffrey Shaman of Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

"If you have a six-week forecast with good confidence that you're going to have an outbreak in New York City and nothing's going on in LA, you'd send the vaccines there (to New York) because there's enough time to distribute them ... before there's an actual outbreak," says Shaman.

He suggests that flu forecasts might be distributed through TV weather programming. Individuals then could decide whether to get the flu vaccine, keep their distance from people who sneeze or cough and closely monitor symptoms. Continued: http://www.abc.net.au/science/...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


Local medical experts react to a new method for forecastng flu outbreaks
(Snip)

Scientists have just developed a computer model for predicting flu outbreaks weeks in advance. Researchers at Columbia University and the National Center for Research focused their study on winters in New York between 2003 and 2009. Their formula used data from the Google flu trends project, which estimates flu outbreaks based on the number of flu related searches in any given region.

(Snip) "What they amazingly found is that it was just as accurate as the CDC's model using doctors  and hospitals and laboratories to report cases of flu.  Then this group took it one step further and decided to combine it with weather data and winds aloft data to see if they could predict the spread of flu across our country and across the world.  It appears to work."

It could give health departments a five to seven day lead on an outbreak. (Snip) "On a statewide basis, if we can anticipate different parts of the state being impacted at a greater amount we an shift resources like supplies of Tamiflu, and other medications to treat it."

A flu forecast could also signal hospitals to ramp up staff but, Dr. Orlowki warns, "It's really not going to convince anyone to go out and get a flu shot and it probably wouldn't have enough time to take effect if it did, so the practicality of it, I'm not sure."

Dr. Orlowski says flu has arrived in Tampa Bay. It's sporadic, but at least one hospital is reporting cases of Influenza B, (Snip). http://www.abcactionnews.com/d...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


[ Parent ]
India: 55-year-old man dies of swine flu in Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu)
Coimbatore: A 55-year-old man from Tirupur died of swine flu at a government hospital in Coimbatore on Tuesday, (Snip).

The man (Snip) was suffering from fever and throat pain and was undergoing treatment in a hospital at Perundurai in Erode district, for the last 15 days, (Snip).

As his situation was not improving, he was shifted to the government hospital where he was tested positive for swine flu (H1N1) (Snip). http://www.ndtv.com/article/so...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


Man's best friend: Common canine virus may lead to new vaccines for deadly human diseases
Although harmless in humans, parainfluenza virus 5, or PIV5, is thought to contribute to upper respiratory infections in dogs, and it is a common target for canine vaccines designed to prevent kennel cough. In a paper published recently in PLOS ONE, researchers describe how this virus could be used in humans to protect against diseases that have eluded vaccine efforts for decades.

"We can use this virus as a vector for all kinds of pathogens that are difficult to vaccinate against," said Biao He, the study's principal investigator and professor of infectious diseases in UGA's College of Veterinary Medicine. "We have developed a very strong H5N1 flu vaccine with this technique, but we are also working on vaccines for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria."

PIV5 does not cause disease in humans, as our immune system is able to recognize and destroy it. By placing antigens from other viruses or parasites inside PIV5, it effectively becomes a delivery vehicle that exposes the human immune system to important pathogens and allows it to create the antibodies that will protect against future infection.

This approach not only ensures full exposure to the vaccine but also is much safer because it does not require the use of attenuated, or weakened, pathogens. For example, an HIV vaccine delivered by PIV5 would contain only those parts of the HIV virus necessary to create immunity, making it impossible to contract the disease from the vaccine.

(Snip)

Using viruses as a delivery mechanism for vaccines is not a new technique, but previous efforts have been fraught with difficulty. (Snip)

"Pre-existing immunity to viruses is the main reason most of these vaccines fail," He said.

But in this latest study, He and his colleagues demonstrate that immunity to PIV5 does not limit its effectiveness as a vaccine delivery mechanism, even though many animals-including humans- already carry antibodies against it. Continued: http://medicalxpress.com/news/...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


Investing in a better flu shot
Americans may just now be gearing up for flu season, but scientists in laboratories across the world have been prepping for it all year, aiming to answer that perennial question: What flu shot recipe will best prepare people for the flu viruses coming around next?

But despite all their research, flu shots have only a coin-toss's chance of working on whatever the year's dominant B-lineage flu strain (one common type of flu, along with influenza A) turns out to be. While doctors and health professionals encourage everyone over 6 months of age to get an annual flu shot, they acknowledge that the vaccine can be hit-or-miss. "This is a virus that's a constant moving target," says Carolyn Bridges, a doctor and the associate director for adult immunizations at the Centers for Disease Control. The flu is more dynamic than many other diseases, morphing so often that researchers have to formulate a new vaccine almost every year, Bridges says. Even so, matching the vaccine to the flu strain that ends up dominating that season is a puzzle, and doesn't always work; in the 1997-98 season, the flu shot had "no benefit whatsoever," Bridges says. Complicating the problem further, for the past decade, two very different B-strains of the flu have circulated, but vaccines have only targeted one. Indeed, in the 12 flu seasons since 2000, the vaccine has only matched the dominant B-strain half of the time.

Now, pharmaceutical companies are finally coming up with new vaccine formulations designed to better prevent whichever type of flu ends up going around. The new products, known as quadrivalent influenza vaccines, contain four flu strains instead of three and are expected to become available to consumers starting in the 2013-14 flu season. That could be good news for patients and investors alike: A CDC analysis of 10 flu seasons found that a four-strain vaccine could have prevented nearly 3 million flu cases and 1,400 flu-related deaths. Continued: http://www.marketwatch.com/sto...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


ECDC In Denial of Novel Beta Coronavirus Human Transmission
Recombinomics Commentary

ECDC updated risk assessment concludes that in the absence of evidence of sustained person-to-person transmission outside of household settings, the current facts still point towards a hypothesis of a zoonotic or environmental source with occasional transmission to exposed humans.

The above comments from the abstract of the European Center for Disease Control risk assessment for the novel betacornavirus November 26 report is yet another example of a focus on an animal origin of a disease transmitting in humans.  It contains that all too familial of "no evidence of" for a disease that is new, novel, and has had extremely limited testing.

WHO has recommended more frequent and widespread testing due in part to a familial cluster that included two confirmed and two probable cases.  Two of the family members died after renal failure and the two surviving members had similar symptoms seen in other confirmed cases.  The ECDC did imply that some additional testing may be warranted, but noted that the number of undiagnosed pneumonia cases in the European Union was large, and widespread testing would be burdensome.

(Snip) The probable case who tested negative was not mentioned, which was also true of the renal failure in the father (70M) and the multi-organ failure in his son.  Renal failure was also reported for the first two confirmed cases from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  Both of the earlier confirmed cases had traveled to Mecca prior to disease onset.

The ECDC report implied that the recent cases were due to November infections, while media reports indicated all were in October or earlier.  The ECDC report made no mention of the role of the Hajj in the spread of the virus (the first two confirmed cases travelled to Mecca prior to symptoms in Jeddah and Doha), and instead maintained its hypothesis of a zoonotic infection, which has no scientific basis.  Full sequences from the first two cases are public, and the novel betacornavirus has not been reported in any animal host (Snip).

(Snip) http://www.recombinomics.com/N...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


What's the old saying?
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" (or, not evidence of absence.) It's more prudent to be logical and cautious, even if all the facts aren't in yet, IMO.

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."  Flannery O'Connor

[ Parent ]
CDC study suggests agricultural fairs are a potential source for future epidemics
A new study conducted by scientists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that a 2011 H3N2 influenza A outbreak in Pennsylvania was caused by a reassortment of a swine flu virus with H1N1 influenza A.

In August 2011, a child who attended an agricultural fair in Pennsylvania was diagnosed with an H3N2 influenza A variant. The CDC study found that such fairs have the potential to be venues for the transmission of viruses between animals and humans and a possible point of origin for new epidemic.

The researchers suggest that public health officials investigate the outbreak of respiratory illnesses possibly linked to agricultural events.

After the first illness was identified, CDC investigators interviewed an agricultural club that attended the fair and then conducted a retrospective cohort study of its members, identifying 82 suspected, four probable and three confirmed cases of the strain.

(Snip)

"Human and swine influenza viruses may circulate at these events, creating opportunities for virus reassortment and the emergence of novel strains." http://vaccinenewsdaily.com/cd...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


US: Flu Kills Quickly, Taking Lives of 100 Healthy Children Annually
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/C...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


Philippines: Govt lifts ban on poultry imports from Taiwan
http://www.manilatimes.net/ind...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


Please post new news stories to...

News Reports for November 29, 2012

Thank you!

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


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