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The use of good judgement during the discussion of controversial issues would be greatly appreciated.

News Reports for January 19, 2013

by: NewsDiary

Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 14:06:09 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!

Indonesia
• Central Java: Bird Flu Virus Mutation Caution (translated) (Link)

Palestine
• First fatality in Gaza as swine flu toll rises to 21 (Link)

United States
• Flu season taking high toll on elderly (Link)
• More Flu Medications Made Available as Epidemic Continues (Link)
• Sundance, Inauguration Organizers Brace for Flu (Link)
• Flu Epidemic Moving West (Link)
• CA: 'Immunize, immunize!': Doctors counter doubts about flu vaccines (Link)
• CA: Two Riverside County deaths may be connected to flu (Link)
• CA: Third O.C. flu death reported (Link)
• MA: Flu cases dip for 2d week in Massachusetts (Link)
• NY: While flu numbers appear to have lessened, not necessarily the case (Link)
• OK: Flu shuts down two Oklahoma school districts (Link)
• TX: Houston Hospital Workers Take Mandatory Flu Shots in Stride (Link)

Research
• D222G H1N1 mutation linked to severe disease, post-infection origin (Link)
• Flu virus 'knows when to attack' (Link)
• Insight: U.S. government investment gives flu vaccines a shot in the arm (Link)
• A Worm's Ovary Cells Become A Flu Vaccine Machine (Link)

General
• How to avoid the flu (Link)
• Fight the flu: Tips for students (Link)
• Running Doc: Get the flu shot, especially if you exercise, and get it quick! (Link)
• Flu season leads to drug overdoses (Link)

Commentary
• Recombinomics: US Flu Hospitalization Rates Raise Concerns (Link)


• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for January 19, 2013

News for January 18, 2013 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 December 17, 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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Flu season taking high toll on elderly
http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

Mario Tama/GETTY IMAGES

By Lena H. Sun, Friday, January 18, 2:49 PM

This flu season is worse than average and hitting the elderly particularly hard, with sharp increases in hospitalizations in recent weeks, federal officials said Friday.

[snip]

The numbers and rates of hospitalizations and deaths are expected to rise further in the next week or so as the season continues, he said. Twenty-nine children or teens have died this season, compared with 34 pediatric deaths reported during all of the last flu season.

Those at high risk include people with asthma, diabetes, heart disease, pregnant women and children with neurological disorders. If they have flu symptoms, they should get treated early, even if a rapid flu test comes back negative, he said.

[snip]

primary strain is the H3N2, an influenza A virus that has been associated in the past with more severe flu seasons.

Even though this season's vaccine is well-matched to the primary strain, bad flu seasons take the greatest toll on the elderly, who account for about 90 percent of all flu-related deaths. Each year, thousands of people die from the flu.

In the 2003-2004 flu season, the CDC has estimated there were more than 48,000 influenza-associated respiratory and circulatory deaths. For the two weeks ended Jan. 12, lab-confirmed influenza hospitalizations for those 65 and older climbed sharply. The hospitalization rate for that age group is 82 per 100,000 people, compared with 18 per 100,000 people for all age groups this season. The high rate for the elderly is comparable to that of 2003-04, another bad season when H3N2 was the predominant strain. But officials pointed out that this season is not over.

[snip]

To address spot shortages of some versions of Tamiflu for children, the Food and Drug Administration has given the maker of Tamiflu approval to release about 2 million doses of a reserve stock of capsules. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the medicine is the same as Tamiflu in circulation, but package inserts lack some information pharmacists need for mixing a pediatric version. The agency has alerted pharmacists and other providers to provide them with current information before dispensing.

[snip]

A new flu vaccine approved Wednesday by the FDA may also help bridge any gaps. It's the first influenza vaccine made using a technology that does not require the virus to be grown in chicken eggs, a long and complicated process that is how most flu vaccine is made.

[snip]

In a clinical trial, the vaccine was about 44.6 percent effective against all influenza strains, not just the three contained in this year's vaccine, the FDA said.

[continued]

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]


'Immunize, immunize!': Doctors counter doubts about flu vaccines
http://www.latimes.com/health/...

By Eryn Brown
January 18, 2013, 1:14 p.m.
As waiting rooms in other parts of the U.S. have been clogged with sniffling, feverish hordes, California has seemed to avoid the worst of this year's flu - so far.

But that may change, as officials in California said this week that flu activity in the state had reached "a widespread level," and that the number of visits to doctors and hospitals for the treatment of flu-like illness was higher than usual for mid-January.

There is still plenty people can do to prevent themselves and others from getting sick this winter, including washing hands often and staying home when they're ill.

[continued]

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]


Flu shuts down two Oklahoma school districts
http://www.nydailynews.com/new...

The Westville and Porum school districts in Eastern Oklahoma were closed on Thursday and Friday after a significant number of students came down with the flu.

BY CAROL KURUVILLA / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Twenty percent of students in the Westville, Ohio (sic?) school district came down with the flu. The school nurse became sick, even after getting vaccinated.

The flu bug shut down two entire school districts in Oklahoma as authorities sent students and teachers home in an effort to stop the virus from spreading.

The Westville and Porum school districts in eastern Oklahoma are just one hour away from each other. Both schools were closed on Thursday and Friday. Students will stay home on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr Day. Classes will resume on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

"It hit hard," Westville district superintendent Terry Heustis told News 9. "It hit really hard."

Twenty percent of Westville's 1,145 students have the bug, according to News 9. Most of those affected are elementary school students. On Wednesday, 110 elementary school students and 12 teachers were absent from class. Twenty more children and four more teachers were sent home over the course of the day. In the middle and high school, a total of 70 students contracted the flu.
[more at link]

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new...

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]


US: More Flu Medications Made Available as Epidemic Continues
Flu hospitalizations among the elderly rose sharply last week, prompting federal officials to take unusual steps to make more flu medicines available and to urge wider use of them as soon as symptoms appear.

The U.S. is about halfway through the flu season, which is shaping up to be worse than average and a bad one for the elderly, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New figures from the CDC show the flu epidemic is continuing, with widespread activity in all states but Tennessee and Hawaii.

Nine more children or teens have died of the flu, bringing the nation's total this flu season to 29, health officials reported Friday. That's close to the 34 pediatric deaths reported during all of the last flu season, although that one was unusually light. In a typical season, about 100 children die of the flu and officials said there is no way to know whether deaths this season will be higher or lower than usual.

So far, half of confirmed flu cases are in people 65 and older. Lab-confirmed flu hospitalizations totaled 19 for every 100,000 in the population, but 82 per 100,000 among those 65 and older, "which is really quite a high rate," Frieden said. "We expect to see both the number and the rates of both hospitalizations and deaths rise further in the next week or so as the flu epidemic progresses," so prompt treatment with antivirals is key to preventing deaths."

Two drugs - Tamiflu and Relenza - can cut the severity and risk of death from the flu but must be started within 48 hours of first symptoms to do much good. To increase supplies of Tamiflu, said Dr. Margaret Hamburg, head of the Food and Drug Administration, said the agency had allowed Genentech to distribute additional doses that have old packaging information. Continued: http://healthland.time.com/201...  

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

     


US Flu Hospitalization Rates Raise Concerns
Recombinomics Commentary

The graph (see graph here: http://www.recombinomics.com/N... ) from the CDC week 2 FluView, coupled with the large spike in the Pneumonia and Influenza Death Rate (8.3% compared to 7.3% in week 1) were the chief drivers of today's hastily called CDC flu telebriefing.  The briefing noted that the current flu season was becoming increasingly severe as the large number of cases has now produced a spike in hospitalizations and deaths.  The main target population was those over 65, which produced the alarming curve above.

The slope and amplitude are both very high, and the spike is very early in the flu season (Snip) raising concerns that the levels displayed above will continue to rise.

The large number of hospitalizations represented in the (Snip) graph was clearly seen in recent reports for Pennsylvania and Minnesota.  Pennsylvania reported 18 flu deaths for week 1 as well as week 2 raising the season total to 40.  Minnesota reported 23 deaths in week1 and 33 deaths in week 2 for a season total of 60.  Both states reported high levels of hospitalization for each week, where were represented in part in the above curve, since both states noted that the hospitalizations and deaths were primarily due to H3N2 targeting of an elderly population.

The telebriefing gave updates on vaccine supplies as well as antiviral supplies.  Manufacturers are expected to produce 145 million doses (and 129 million has been distributed at this time) (Snip), and the FDA has given approval for the distribution of Tamiflu with outdate package inserts (Snip) - the drug in the capsules is not out of date, but without the waiver the drugs would have had to be repackaged with updated instructions in the package inserts.  

The telebriefing also noted absence of earlier antiviral treatment in many of the hospitalized patients and encouraged physicians to use antivirals earlier and more frequently (including use for cases that were symptomatic but had not been tested for influenza or had a negative rapid test). 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

     


Sundance, Inauguration Organizers Brace for Flu
This weekend will be big for movie buffs, football fans and Barack Obama. But as Americans flock to the Sundance Film Festival, the NFL playoffs and the Presidential Inauguration, the weekend could also be big for the flu.

(Snip)

"Our biggest concern is people coming in asymptomatic but carrying the virus," said Rob Allen, chief executive officer of Park City Hospital in Park City, Utah, the home of Sundance.

Utah is one of 33 states reporting high levels of influenza activity. And Park City, home to roughly 40,000 people, will more than double its population this weekend as actors, director, producers and fans fill its hotels, restaurants and theaters.

"We have 50,000 people coming in, potentially bringing with them flu from their areas," said Allen, who partnered with local businesses to distribute hand sanitizer as visitors arrive. "If they practice good hand hygiene, hopefully they won't spread it so we can keep it isolated." Continued: 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

     


US: Two Riverside County deaths may be connected to flu (California)
In what could be the first Riverside County casualties of the flu season, a man and child who recently died have tested positive for influenza, county health officials said Friday.

A 22-year-old Hemet man who died earlier this month after a brief stay in a hospital tested positive for influenza A (Snip). And a 4-year-old Perris girl who died this month after being taken to a local emergency room was found to have influenza B (Snip).

Officials say they are investigating the role influenza may have played in the two deaths, and do not know how long that will take.

(Snip)

(Snip) flu cases have been on the rise in recent weeks, but remain within the normal range for this time of the year. So far, Riverside County has eluded the massive outbreak that has swept much of the country, particularly the East Coast.

Officials say plenty of vaccine is still available at pharmacies, doctors' offices and the county's family care centers. (Snip). http://www.utsandiego.com/news...

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

     


US: Third O.C. flu death reported (California)
A third Orange County adult has died of influenza, even as demand for vaccination has soared, county public health officials said Friday.

Statewide, Dr. Gil Chavez, epidemiologist for the Department of Public Health, said it's too soon to tell if the flu will peak early or if this season will be severe. We know the flu is very unpredictable," Chavez said. "We will have to closely watch the data as the season progresses."

California has received 18 million doses of vaccine and supplies are still plentiful, Chavez said. Walk-ins have been brisk for the past week at the Health Care Agency's vaccination clinic in Santa Ana. On Thursday, 200 people were vaccinated. Continued: http://www.ocregister.com/arti...

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

     


CIDRAP: D222G H1N1 mutation linked to severe disease, post-infection origin
Norwegian researchers have identified further evidence of a link between the D222G mutation in the 2009 H1N1 virus and severe and fatal disease, as well as evidence that the mutation appears only after the patient is infected (Snip). (Snip) the mutation, which occurs in the hemagglutinin portion of the virus, in 5 (9.6%) of 52 fatal pH1N1 cases and in 8 (30.8%) of 26 severe but nonfatal pH1N1 cases. No D222G mutations were identified in 381 mild pH1N1 cases.

"This difference could not be attributed to sampling differences (Snip). In addition, in four of five patients for whom they had serial samples, only 222D wild-type viruses were detected originally, before the D222G mutation occurred, indicating that the mutation developed after infection. (Snip) in all eight patients for whom the team had paired samples from both the upper and lower respiratory tract, D222G was confirmed in both locations. http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidr...

Jan 17 Eurosurveillance study http://www.eurosurveillance.or...  

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

     


Flu virus 'knows when to attack'
The flu virus has an in-built clock which tells it exactly when to strike to have the maximum impact, a study in the Cell Reports journal shows.

The internal molecular clock tells the flu bug how much time it has to multiply, infect other cells, and spread to another human being. If it attacks too early it will be too weak, but leave it too late and the immune system has time to fight back.

Researchers say finding ways to reset the clock could lead to new treatments.

Study leader Prof Benjamin tenOever, from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said once inside a human cell, the virus needed to steal resources in order to multiply and gain a foothold. This can alert the immune system to the virus' presence, so how does the flu virus know how much time it has got left, he added.

Accumulates protein

The researchers discovered that the virus slowly accumulates one particular protein called NEP that it needs to exit the cell and spread to other cells - and eventually other humans. To stop itself making too much NEP the virus has linked its production with that of another protein NS1. Continued: http://upge.wn.com/?template=c...  

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

     


Houston Hospital Workers Take Mandatory Flu Shots in Stride
http://www.chron.com/news/hous...
January 19, 2013
Houston, Texas:  If you've escaped the flu this year, you might thank tens of thousands of Houston hospital workers who got vaccinated for the public's sake.  At The Methodist Hospital, which was among the nation's first hospitals to require flu shots for employees in 2009, the syringe action starts each August and is hard to miss, said spokeswoman Stephanie Asin.  A vaccination team sets up shop for a month at a table in the main lobby near the Starbucks booth to catch day-shift workers, and nurses can be found even in the middle of the night going through the hospital to search for unvaccinated employees on the night shift.
"We take flu shots to meetings also," Asin said by email. "They are everywhere - that's how serious we are about it."

This season, about 280, or 2 percent, of Methodist's 14,000 employees were granted medical or religious exemptions from the vaccination, she said.  Typically, those who get the exemption are "per diem" employees who work as needed, she said.  Anyone who did not get the vaccination must wear a surgical mask when working around patients, Asin said.  Memorial Hermann Hospital started requiring employees to get flu shots last year, said Dr. Michael Shabot, chief medical officer.
(snip)

Shabot said the required flu shot has been well received this year, with less than 1 percent of the hospital system's approximately 20,000 employees refusing it for medical, religious or conscience reasons, Shabot said.   As at Methodist, Hermann workers who have not had the shot must wear a mask in patient-care areas during flu season.
(more)


"I am opposed to any form of tyranny over the mind of man."  Thomas Jefferson


Houston Hospital Workers Take Mandatory Flu Shots in Stride
http://www.chron.com/news/hous...
January 19, 2013
Houston, Texas:  If you've escaped the flu this year, you might thank tens of thousands of Houston hospital workers who got vaccinated for the public's sake.  At The Methodist Hospital, which was among the nation's first hospitals to require flu shots for employees in 2009, the syringe action starts each August and is hard to miss, said spokeswoman Stephanie Asin.  A vaccination team sets up shop for a month at a table in the main lobby near the Starbucks booth to catch day-shift workers, and nurses can be found even in the middle of the night going through the hospital to search for unvaccinated employees on the night shift.
"We take flu shots to meetings also," Asin said by email. "They are everywhere - that's how serious we are about it."

This season, about 280, or 2 percent, of Methodist's 14,000 employees were granted medical or religious exemptions from the vaccination, she said.  Typically, those who get the exemption are "per diem" employees who work as needed, she said.  Anyone who did not get the vaccination must wear a surgical mask when working around patients, Asin said.  Memorial Hermann Hospital started requiring employees to get flu shots last year, said Dr. Michael Shabot, chief medical officer.
(snip)

Shabot said the required flu shot has been well received this year, with less than 1 percent of the hospital system's approximately 20,000 employees refusing it for medical, religious or conscience reasons, Shabot said.   As at Methodist, Hermann workers who have not had the shot must wear a mask in patient-care areas during flu season.
(more)


"I am opposed to any form of tyranny over the mind of man."  Thomas Jefferson


Sigh. Sorry for the double post. Dang it.


"I am opposed to any form of tyranny over the mind of man."  Thomas Jefferson

[ Parent ]
Hi History Lover
It has come to my attention that you have doubled posted this article. I'm sorry but I'm going to have to make you run a 26 mile race while holding two 10 lb. bags of potatotes and singing the Star Spangle Banner at the same time, as punishment for this screw-up! ROTFLMAO

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

     


[ Parent ]
No problem. I do that every morning anyway.


"I am opposed to any form of tyranny over the mind of man."  Thomas Jefferson

[ Parent ]
LOL


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

     


[ Parent ]
N.Y.: While flu numbers appear to have lessened, not necessarily the case
Jan 18, 2013

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - While it may appear that flu numbers have leveled out in Oneida County, but public health experts warn that's not necessarily accurate.

On the surface it may look encouraging as the number of new cases diagnosed daily in Oneida County seems to have dropped from around 70 a day to only a handful.

However, Public Health Educator Ken Fanelli says that doesn't actually mean the county is more flu-free.

"I'm sure that is due, in part, to the fact that they're not testing as much as they were initially," Fanelli said. "I think they might be limiting the testing to those persons who are admitted to the hospital."

Fanelli says if you haven't already, get a flu shot and keep up the diligent hand-washing.

Flu season goes through April.

http://www.wktv.com/news/local...

United we stand: Divided we fall
www.flunewsnetwork.com


Flu cases dip for 2d week in Massachusetts
http://bostonglobe.com/lifesty...

By Kay Lazar |  GLOBE STAFF     JANUARY 18, 2013
The flu appears to have peaked in Massachusetts, but federal health officials warn that people over age 65 remain particularly vulnerable to the virus. The latest data released Friday show a sharp decline for the second week in a row in the number of Massachusetts patients showing up in doctors offices and community health centers with coughs, sore throats, and fever, according to the state Department of Public Health. The portion of visits for flu-like illnesses fell to 2.4 percent last week, barely half the percentage two weeks earlier.

However plenty of people are still sick. The numbers show 1,991 patients tested positive for flu just last week - and that is likely a fraction of those suffering because most people do not bother to get a test to confirm their misery. Nationally, the legions of flu-infected patients have also declined, but some areas are still seeing increases, particularly in the western part of the country, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It's shaping up to be a worse than average season and particularly bad for the elderly," Frieden said Friday at a briefing for reporters. National numbers show a rapid rise last week in people over 65 hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed flu cases, Frieden said. The hospitalization rate for those older than 65 is four times higher than the overall rate for people of all ages.

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]


How to avoid the flu
http://www.marketplace.org/top...

Is this one of the nastiest flu seasons ever?

"Unfortunately the type of virus that's causing the flu this year is called the H3N2 virus. It's notoriously a very, very harsh virus and it causes a very rapid spread of a really difficult and really hazardous disease. Way, way different from the common cold and it really knocks people for a loop," says Greenfield.

What's the difference between the flu and the cold?

"Anybody who has had the flu knows the difference. The cold is a hassle. You can get sniffles, running eyes, cough, you can have congestion. But it's the kind of thing that you can live with and usually get by. But the flu comes on fast. You've got fever, body aches, headaches, you feel horrible," says Greenfield.

[snip]

For people who believe in holistic medicine, is the flu shot needed?

"My field is in integrated medicine, so I am all about prevention -- using diet and lifestyle to try and keep yourself healthy -- and that's awesome. But you don't do those things fully to the exclusion of good, conventional medical care as well. You do both of them. Eat well. Manage your stress. Get enough sleep. AND get the vaccine," says Greenfield.

When it comes to treating symptoms of the flu, do you go holistic or over the counter?

"In terms of what you can take, for aches and pains and a little bit of fever, you can try things like Tylenol. For youngsters, we strongly recommend against using Aspirin
, however. For kids who have the flu -- who have a bad viral infection -- don't use Aspirin because you run the risk of causing something called Reye's syndrome, which can be very dangerous," says Greenfield. "But the best way to go about this -- bed rest, listen to what mom said, push fluids, get plenty of sleep and rest."

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]


Flu Epidemic Moving West
http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-...

By Robert Lowes
Medscape Medical News

Jan. 18, 2013 -- This flu season is shaping up to be worse than average, and particularly so for seniors, who represent roughly half of the hospitalizations and 90% of the deaths so far, the CDC said today.According to the CDC, the flu turned more brutal during the second week of 2013, which ended on Jan. 12.

The percentage of deaths from flu and pneumonia in 122 cities stood at 8.3%, which was above the epidemic threshold. The death rate for the first week of 2013 was 7.3%. And nine more children died from the flu in week two, bringing the childhood death toll this season to 29.

In addition, the number of hospitalizations associated with the flu rose from 13.3 per 100,000 population in the first week of 2013 to 18.8. The rate for seniors increased to 82 per 100,000, "which is really quite a high rate," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, at a press briefing today. The flu always takes the heaviest toll among the elderly, he said, but even more so when the predominant virus strain is flu A (H3N2), which is the case this season.

The number and rate of flu-related hospitalizations and deaths will rise in the coming weeks even as overall flu activity across the country is going down, said Frieden. This pattern reflects a lag time between the time when the flu is first diagnosed and when patients develop complications, go to the hospital, and sometimes die.
"We see those coming in waves," he said.

[snip]

"Folks out West, you still have most of the flu season still to come," Frieden said. The virus typically spreads from east to west across the country.

Take Tamiflu

The sharp rise in both hospitalizations and deaths underlines the need for taking the antiviral drugs Tamiflu or Relenza  within 48 hours of flu symptoms, Frieden said. This immediate treatment is especially important for high-risk people such as the elderly, young children, and those with serious underlying conditions such as asthma and heart disease.

[continued]

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]


Fight the flu: Tips for students
http://stories.illinoisstate.e...

Written by: Erin Lynn Link // January 19, 2013 // No comments

Note: This article has the usual advice about how to fight the flu. The best part of the article is the excellent chart at the end that helps you differentiate the flu from a cold.

 

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]


Running Doc: Get the flu shot, especially if you exercise, and get it quick!
http://www.nydailynews.com/spo...

Running Doc: Runners should get the flu shot

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013, 5:50 PM

BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Dear Running Doc: I am a healthy 34-year-old runner. I run 30 miles per week, four marathons per year and am never sick and take no medications. As a runner, since I am healthier than most, given the flu epidemic, do I really need to get a flu shot? Gerome M., Bronx, NY.

Thank you, Gerome, for the very timely question. Most runners and exercisers have what I call "Superman Syndrome" - they think because they have a healthier profile from exercising, nothing can happen to them! Given the last week, during which yours truly was laid up in bed with a horrible case of the flu - nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fevers, chills, body aches, productive cough - I can guarantee you that this is something you do NOT want to get.

[snip]

Sooooo..... YES. Gget the flu shot. It is effective against more than 60% of the strains out there.

If the symptoms are below the neck, call your doctor, because if you catch it within the first 48 hours of symptom development, there is a prescription anti-viral medication that can shorten the duration: The vaccine actually may make your case less serious and prevent a hospitalization.

[snip]

You as a regular exerciser have the added benefit of the flu vaccine being more effective than your sedentary friends. It has been shown, and is now recommended, that if you exercise for 90 minutes the same day after you get the shot, the flu vaccine becomes more effective. The thought is that the added blood flow circulates the vaccination and aids in the immunity response.

[snip

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]


Palenstine: First fatality in Gaza as swine flu toll rises to 21
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian has died of swine flu in the Gaza Strip, among four Palestinian fatalities from the virus in the last 48 hours, the health ministry said Saturday. The Palestinian death toll from the latest outbreak of swine flu (H1N1) has risen to 21 (Snip).

The announcement marked the first fatality in Gaza from the virus. Ramlawi said two others had died in Ramallah and another person in south Hebron in the last two days. All the victims were children or elderly (Snip).

Since December, hundreds of Palestinians have contracted the virus (Snip). http://www.maannews.net/eng/Vi...

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

     


Bird Flu Virus Mutation Caution
http://www.suaramerdeka.com/v1...
January 19, 2013
Wonogiri, Indonesia:  The Winton Health Office (PHO) began circulating a letter to be aware of the impact of the bird flu virus (H5N1) on human health.  The circular was a follow up letter from the Central Java Provincial Health Office regarding vigilance against the new H5N1 virus,  because the virus is expected to mutate to form new, more powerful variants.  Chief Medical Officer (PHO) Wonogiri, Dr. Widodo MKes through the Head of Disease Prevention and Environmental Control (P2PL), Supriyo Heryanto said the new mutation was indicated by the number of ducks infected with the bird flu virus.  So far, the bird flu has only attacked chickens.  According to him, the bird flu virus mutation occurs because of the influence of climate.  

"Ducks are very resistant, this disease could be bird flu.   There is the possibility of a mutation into a new clade 2.3.2 H5N1," he said.

He urged citizens to immediately check if you have a fever over 38 degrees Celsius.  "If within a week you previously had contact with sick or dead birds, then you have a high fever, you should be checked," he said.

If you encounter such a situation, a doctor or health worker is asked not to guess again.  The patient should be immediately given the drug Tamiflu to prevent the outbreak of bird flu.  

"Giving Tamiflu should not be late. If it is two days late, Tamiflu is not effective anymore. If it's too late, the mortality rate is high," he said.

He explained that the drug works in order that the virus not attacks the lungs.  The bird flu virus could fill your lungs in just a a few hours.  "The morning looks good. During the day, the virus has been piling up," he continued.

If birds that died suddenly are found, people are also asked to report.  Health workers will observe the location of health centers around the past two weeks.  Local residents and people who had contact with poultry at the site will continue to be monitored for two weeks.


"I am opposed to any form of tyranny over the mind of man."  Thomas Jefferson


Insight: U.S. government investment gives flu vaccines a shot in the arm
http://www.reuters.com/article...

By Julie Steenhuysen
CHICAGO | Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:05am EST
(Reuters) - Fighting the flu may soon get easier.

As early as next year, more modern and more effective vaccines will hit the market, thanks to investments by the U.S. government and pharmaceutical companies. And even bigger scientific advances are expected in the next decade, including a "universal" flu vaccine given every five to 10 years that would fight many strains of a virus, making annual shots all but obsolete. Experts say it could take eight to 10 more years of testing before a universal flu vaccine would be ready. Meanwhile, they expect advances that could still incrementally improve the level of protection vaccines offer and shorten manufacturing times.

In the last 12 months, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two new seasonal flu vaccines that protect against four predominant strains of flu instead of three. One is a shot made by GlaxoSmithKline and the other is a nasal spray made by AstraZeneca.

[snip describing new vaccines]

Interest in vaccines spiked after a particularly deadly strain of bird flu known as H5N1 re-emerged in 2003, raising the threat of a global pandemic that could kill millions. At the time, there were just two vaccine manufacturers located on U.S. soil. A year later, U.S. flu vaccine supplies were devastated by contamination at a plant in Liverpool, England. That helped underscore the need for America to have its own manufacturing capabilities, said Robin Robinson, director of the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Part of the fear was that in a pandemic, countries might be tempted to commandeer all flu vaccines made within their borders, leaving the U.S. exposed. "We needed to develop new vaccines using modern technologies that would make not only more vaccine available sooner, but also make it more effective," Robinson said.

[snip...This is a very interesting and clearly written article, and there is much more to it. I recommend reading the entire article.]

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]


Universal Flu Vaccine
Included in the rest of the article is more information about the universal flu vaccine than I have seen before. It sounds very hopeful.

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]


[ Parent ]
A Worm's Ovary Cells Become A Flu Vaccine Machine
http://www.npr.org/blogs/healt...

by RICHARD KNOX
January 18, 2013 3:51 PM

[BIG snip... The first portion of this article describes the manufacturing techniques used for the new vaccines Flucelax and Flublox, and contrasts them with the old method of using eggs to produce vaccine. It's another excellent and informative article.]

The FDA says in studies involving 2,300 people, Flublok was 44.6 percent effective against "all circulating influenza strains" in that season, not just the particular strains against which the vaccine was matched. Cox says no data are available yet on how well Flublok does against flu strains against which it is specifically targeted. The new vaccine costs around $30 a dose, somewhat above conventional vaccines.

But flu guru Michael Osterholm says the vaunted "matchiness" yardstick might not matter. He's director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. Osterholm notes federal health officials' claim that the current seasonal flu vaccine is an especially good match with the circulating viruses - yet its effectiveness is not significantly better than usual. "A match doesn't tell us how well a vaccine is going to work," Osterholm tells Shots. "It's almost meaningless."

He says what's needed is a "game-changing vaccine" that protects against the flu 80 or 90 percent of the time. That's scientifically feasible, he maintains, but it will take a billion dollars or more to develop and bring to market.

Meanwhile, it's "probably safe to say" that the new cell-culture vaccines are "no more effective than the current vaccines." Flulok's fast turnaround time is "absolutely a good thing," Osterholm says. "It's better to have more of this vaccine faster when we really need it. But is it a sea-change? Absolutely not. It's incremental at best."

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]


Flu season leads to drug overdoses

http://www.wishtv.com/dpp/news...

Updated: Saturday, 19 Jan 2013, 1:29 PM EST
Published : Saturday, 19 Jan 2013, 10:21 AM EST

Staff Reports
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - It's a solution that if unintentionally abused, can lead to death.

Many people think the more medicine the better; however, doctors say, there's risk involved.  It seems like a common practice.  You feel a bug coming on and you reach for cold or flu medicine. You need to sleep and you take some of sleeping aids, but health administrators want you to be aware of just how much you're putting in your body. "What people don't realize is that a dose of Vick's Nyquil may have a full one time dose of acetaminophen, and then if they're also taking Tylenol on top of that then they're double dosing themselves," said Dr. John Bolinger from Union Hospital. That double dosing can be very serious, causing liver failure. It's something thousands of people are hospitalized for each year. It's part of the reason why the FDA lowered the maximum daily allowance for acetaminophen from 4,000 milligrams per day to 3,000 in 2011, our sister station WTHI reports.

Another thing people don't think about is that combining acetaminophen with other substances can also cause problems. "If someone drinks more than three alcoholic beverages in a 24-hour period, and they're also using high doses of Tylenol, then their risk of liver damage goes up a little higher."

[snip]

"The main thing for consumers to remember is to read the fine print, and realize that 3000 milligrams per 24-hours is the maximum allowable dose," said Dr. Jim Bailey, a pharmacist at JR Pharmacy.
[snip]

That 3,000 milligrams per day is for children 12 and older. The dosage for children under 12 is based on weight. To find out the daily maximum for your child, contact your doctor.

In memory of pogge: Peace, order and good government, eh?
[If we want it, we'll have to work at it.]


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