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  #371  
Old 04-12-2018, 04:21 PM
Westley Westley is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campbell View Post
There's also a powerpoint deck here:
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/weekl.../FluView03.ppt

(The template is awful..you have to see it for yourself)
Wowzers. Just looked at this. Template... did not disappoint.
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  #372  
Old 04-12-2018, 04:45 PM
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Yes. It is exemplary of governmental powerpoint templates.



But as flu season winds down, thought I'd update the pediatric flu death count:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm#S3

It's at 142 right now, just a little lower than the 148 of 2014-2015. That said, there will probably be a few more cases, so it looks like the 2017-2018 season will be coming in higher.

The history here:
https://gis.cdc.gov/GRASP/Fluview/PedFluDeath.html

The 2009-2010 season was worse with 288 pediatric deaths - that was the H1N1 (swine flu) mutation when the incidence/mortality was pretty bad worldwide, but nowhere near spanish flu pandemic levels

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pastseasons/0910season.htm
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  #373  
Old 04-18-2018, 05:20 PM
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TYPHOID

PAKISTAN

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018...ding-globally/

Quote:
First XDR typhoid is on the verge of being untreatable, spreading globally
Health experts say outbreak is a "clarion call" for health authorities worldwide.

Spoiler:
A tenacious epidemic of extensively drug-resistant (XDR) typhoid in Pakistan is just one small genetic step away from becoming untreatable—and health experts expect it to spread worldwide.

“It’s a global concern at this point,” Dr. Eric Mintz, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told The New York Times. “Everything suggests this strain will survive well and spread easily—and acquiring resistance to azithromycin is only a matter of time.” Azithromycin is currently the only antibiotic remaining that treats the infection.

Typhoid fever, caused by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi bacteria, is endemic to Pakistan, parts of which suffer from poor infrastructure, crowded urban areas, and insufficient access to healthcare. The epidemic caused by the XDR strain—the first of its kind—has been unfolding there since November 2016. It has now affected at least 850 people in 14 districts, according to the latest figures from the National Institute of Health in Islamabad and first reported by the Times. Prior to this epidemic, there were only four known, unrelated cases of such heavily drug-resistant typhoid, occurring in Iraq, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.

The XDR strain has already begun spreading outside of Pakistan, with a travel-related case appearing in the United Kingdom.

In a recent report on the strain’s emergence in the journal mBio, infectious disease experts established that it could withstand assaults from five classes of antibiotics used to treat typhoid. They concluded that the strain’s development was a “startling demonstration” of how easily S. Typhi can pick up genetic elements that confer drug resistance, “rendering it XDR and further narrowing treatment options.”

Antibiotics are the only effective treatment for typhoid fever, a systemic infection with varying severity that can become life-threatening. The infection is generally marked by fever, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, and constipation or sometimes diarrhea. The heaviest death tolls are in children younger than age four. About 2 to 5 percent of those infected can become chronic asymptomatic carriers, shedding the bacteria in their feces. The Salmonella Typhi bacteria are typically spread through food or water contaminated with feces.

Stinky squall
Researchers estimate that there are somewhere between 10 million to 20 million cases each year worldwide, leading to between 130,000 to 210,000 deaths. And that’s the case with antibiotic treatments largely still available and working.

“Most clinicians and clinical microbiologists today do not appreciate the lethality that typhoid fever exhibited in the pre-antibiotic era,” Myron Levine and Raphael Simon say. The vaccine researchers, both from University of Maryland School of Medicine, wrote a commentary recently on the “gathering storm” of XDR typhoid in Pakistan.

In the epidemic, researchers suspect leaking sewage lines were to blame for the creation and spread of the XDR strain. According to the Times, early disease mapping showed cases clustering around sewage lines in the city of Hyderabad. Researchers speculate that, within that seeping sewage, the aggressive MDR typhoid strain H58 encountered and picked up a circular piece of DNA (a plasmid) containing genes encoding additional drug resistance, likely from an E. coli strain or other enteric bacteria. This refuse rendezvous created the XDR strain.

With the epidemic well underway, health authorities have already begun a campaign to step up sanitation and hygiene efforts, such as making sure people boil drinking water and increase hand washing. Health authorities are also trying to get children vaccinated against the harmful germs.

As Levine and Simon note in their commentary, “we know how to impede amplified transmission of typhoid in most areas of endemicity, i.e., to treat water supplies and make them widely available and to improve sanitation and personal hygiene so that human feces do not contaminate water and food.” But, they note, such efforts “are expensive and require time to deploy, even if political will and financing are available.”

The recent spread of the XDR H58 is a “clarion call,” they conclude.

“Now is the time for global action to prevent a ‘gathering storm’ from becoming a ‘perfect storm’ and an enormous public health crisis.”
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  #374  
Old 04-27-2018, 01:40 PM
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PANDEMIC

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.c921d163067e

Quote:
Bill Gates calls on U.S. to lead fight against a pandemic that could kill 33 million
Spoiler:
Bill Gates says the U.S. government needs to seize the opportunity to lead the nation and the world in preparing for the “significant probability of a large and lethal modern-day pandemic occurring in our lifetimes.”

In an interview this week, the billionaire philanthropist said he has raised the issue of pandemic preparedness with President Trump since the 2016 presidential election. In his most recent meeting last month, Gates said he laid out the increasing risk of a bioterrorism attack and stressed the importance of U.S. funding for advanced research on new therapeutics, including a universal flu vaccine, which would protect against all or most strains of influenza.

Gates, who co-founded Microsoft and now leads a foundation on global health, said he told Trump that the president has a chance to lead on the issue of global health security. Trump encouraged him to follow up with top officials at the Health and Human Services Department, the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, Gates said.

Gates said he met several times with H.R. McMaster, the president’s former national security adviser, and hopes to meet with McMaster’s replacement, John Bolton. The National Security Council, Gates said, is an appropriate office to “show leadership on this issue and decide how to coordinate the various groups” within the government.

“But, you know, I think we’ve got to push this ... with the executive branch and Congress quite a bit,” Gates said. “There hasn’t been a big effort along these lines.”

His interview with The Washington Post prefaced a speech — on the challenges associated with modern epidemics — that Gates gave Friday before the Massachusetts Medical Society.

Gates and his wife, Melinda, have repeatedly warned that a pandemic is the greatest immediate threat to humanity. Experts say the risk is high because new pathogens are constantly emerging and the world is so interconnected.

Many experts agree that the United States remains underprepared for a pandemic or a bioterrorism threat. The government’s sprawling bureaucracy, they say, is not nimble enough to deal with mutations that suddenly turn an influenza virus into a particularly virulent strain, as the 1918 influenza did in killing an estimated 50 million to 100 million people worldwide.

Even this winter’s harsh-seasonal flu was enough to overwhelm some hospitals, forcing them to pitch tents outside emergency rooms to cope with the crush of patients.

If a highly contagious and lethal airborne pathogen like the 1918 influenza were to take place today, nearly 33 million people worldwide would die in just six months, Gates noted in his prepared remarks, citing a simulation done by the Institute for Disease Modeling, a research organization in Bellevue, Wash.

In those remarks, Gates highlighted scientific and technical advances in the development of better vaccines, drugs and diagnostics that he said could revolutionize how we prepare for and treat infectious diseases moving forward. He praised last year’s formation of a new global coalition, known as CEPI, to create new vaccines for emerging infectious diseases. He also announced a $12 million Grand Challenge in partnership with the family of Google Inc. co-founder Larry Page to accelerate the development of a universal flu vaccine.

But vaccines, he noted, take time to research, deploy and generate protective immunity.

“So we need to invest in other approaches, like antiviral drugs and antibody therapies that can be stockpiled or rapidly manufactured to stop the spread of pandemic diseases or treat people who have been exposed,” he said in his speech.

Among the advances in these areas are a new influenza antiviral recently approved in Japan that Gates said “stops the virus in its tracks” by inhibiting an enzyme it needs to multiply; research on antibodies that could protect against a pandemic strain of a virus; and a diagnostic test that harnesses the powerful genetic-engineering technology known as CRISPR and has the field-use potential to check a patient’s blood, saliva or urine for evidence of multiple pathogens. That test could, for example, identify if someone is infected with Zika or dengue virus, which have similar symptoms.

But even the best tools in the world won’t be sufficient, Gates said, if the United States doesn’t have a strategy to harness and coordinate resources at home and help to lead an effective global preparedness and response system.

Trump and senior administration officials have affirmed the importance of controlling infectious disease outbreaks. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is facing a loss of emergency funding provided in the wake of the 2014 Ebola epidemic and has begun to dramatically downsize its epidemic-prevention activities in 39 out of 49 countries where disease risks are greatest.

Congress provided some additional funding in last month’s spending bill. But it also directed the administration to come up with a comprehensive plan to strengthen global health security at home and abroad.

“This could be an important first step if the White House and Congress use the opportunity to articulate and embrace a leadership role for the U.S.,” Gates said in the speech.

No other country, he noted, has the depth of scientific or technical expertise that the United States possesses, drawing on the resources of institutions such as NIH, CDC and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, as well as the Defense Department's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.


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  #375  
Old 04-27-2018, 05:35 PM
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SEASONAL FLU

https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2018/04...ifeHealthDaily

Quote:
Flu Shows Up in a Life Reinsurer's Earnings
RGA executives say this year's epidemic pushed up the number of life claims.
Spoiler:
How bad was this year’s flu season?

Bad enough to hurt a major life reinsurer’s earnings.
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Reinsurance Group of America Inc. is reporting $100 million in net income for the first quarter on $3.2 billion in revenue, compared with $146 million in net income on $3 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2017.

The RGA unit that provides traditional reinsurance in the United States and Latin America, but not in Canada, is reporting $2.9 million in income before income taxes for the quarter on $1.5 billion in revenue, compared with $30 million in income before taxes on $1.5 billion in revenue for the year-earlier quarter.

RGA said the harsh flu season in the United States and Latin America contributed to the drop in overall net income, by increasing the number of non-large death claims.

Anna Manning, president of the Chesterfield, Missouri-based company, said flu often causes fluctuations in claims during the first quarter of the year.

“Any volatility tends to even out over longer periods,” Manning said.
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  #376  
Old 05-21-2018, 05:04 PM
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https://www.washingtontimes.com/news...gins-phase-2-/

Quote:
Experimental universal flu vaccine begins second phase of testing in U.S.: Report

Spoiler:
The second phase of human trials for a universal flu vaccine has begun in the U.S., the National Institutes of Health announced Friday, as scientists continue to search for an all-encompassing solution to protecting against the unpredictable and constantly mutating virus.

The clinical trial, which will take place at four sites around the U.S., will enroll 120 healthy volunteers to either be injected with the experimental vaccine, called M-001, or a placebo.

Six previous clinical trials with a total of 698 participants in Israel and Europe established that M-001 was safe, well-tolerated and produced an immune response to a broad range of influenza strains, according to a statement by the NIH.

Participants who either receive the experimental vaccine or the placebo will also be injected with the seasonal flu vaccine.

Seasonal flu vaccine effectiveness ranges from year to year because scientists must decide which virus to develop a vaccine against before the season begins. Last year’s flu season, one of the most deadly on record, was plagued by a number of challenges, including low vaccine effectiveness and high rates of a flu strain that is inherently more aggressive.

“The 2017-2018 influenza season in the United States was among the worst of the last decade and serves as a reminder of the urgent need for a more effective and broadly protective influenza vaccine,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, said in a statement.

Each year, seasonal influenza sickens millions in the United States and results in 140,000 to 710,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“An effective universal influenza vaccine would lessen the public health burden of influenza, alleviate suffering and save lives. There are numerous paths of inquiry that the scientific community is pursuing, with each new study yielding more critical information and bringing us closer to our shared goal.”
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