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Mere
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« on: September 27, 2010, 04:02:05 PM »

Flu Home > News, PSAs & Outreach
2010 Flu Season: A Look Ahead
September 24, 2010

By Anne Schuchat, M.D., Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

For many people, fall is a time to tune into sports, tackle new projects, and even plan for the holidays. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—CDC—wants to remind you it also means flu season is on its way. Last year’s 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic hit many hard, and should act as a reminder of just how unpredictable flu can be. It can attack even healthy people, and it can send children and adults to the hospital.  The first and most important step in protecting against the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season, and CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older be vaccinated.


Read entire article here.......
http://www.flu.gov/news/blogs/blog20100924.html
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2010, 04:03:13 PM »

Vaccination Helps Protect Pregnant Women from Flu
September 15, 2010

Pregnant women everywhere know the importance of taking steps to maintain good health. However, one step that is too often overlooked is the need for pregnant and postpartum women to get vaccinated against the flu.

Read entire article here...
http://www.flu.gov/news/blogs/blog20100915.html
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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2010, 04:08:34 PM »

I moved this information today from a previous news post in order to keep the information together....
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The following information, while noted for healthcare workers, also provides much information for the general public.

FLU VACCINATION INFORMATION FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS

Did You Know?

•CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommend that all health care workers get an annual flu vaccine.
•Fewer than half of health care workers report getting an annual flu vaccine.
•As a health care worker, by getting vaccinated, you can help protect your family at home as well as your patients at work from getting sick.
•Influenza outbreaks in hospitals and long-term care facilities have been attributed to low vaccination rates among health care professionals.
•Studies have shown that higher vaccination rates among health care workers can reduce influenza-like illness, and even deaths, in settings like nursing homes.
•Health care workers play an important role in protecting public health, and your co-workers need you to be healthy and able to cover your shift.
•Getting a yearly flu vaccine can help ensure your time off is spent doing what you want to do, not staying at home sick

Influenza (Flu) Facts

•The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to hospitalizations and death.

•The main way that influenza viruses are thought to spread is from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. Influenza viruses may also be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else's mouth or nose) before washing their hands.

•Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than seven days.

•Some people, such as older adults, pregnant women, and very young children as well as people with certain long-term medical conditions are at high risk of serious complications from the flu. These medical conditions include chronic lung diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, heart disease, neurologic conditions and pregnancy. 

•Since health care workers may care for or live with people at high risk for influenza-related complications, it is especially important for them to get vaccinated annually.

Health Care Workers and Influenza Vaccination

•Health care workers have a special role in the fight against influenza.

1.By getting vaccinated themselves, health care workers can protect their health, their families health and the health of their patients.
2.Encouraging vaccination of vulnerable patients can protect them from the flu.
3.High rates of vaccination among nurses and health care workers have been linked to improved patient outcomes and reduced absenteeism and influenza infection among staff.
•Annual vaccination is important because influenza is unpredictable andflu viruses are constantly changing. Even if you've been vaccinated before, the flu vaccine from a previous season may not protect against current flu viruses.

•Health care workers who should be vaccinated include physicians, nurses, other workers in hospital and outpatient-care settings, and medical emergency-response workers (e.g., paramedics and emergency medical technicians). It is also important for employees of nursing homes and long-term-care facilities who have contact with patients or residents, and students of these professions who will have contact with patients to all be vaccinated.


Flu Vaccine Facts

•The 2010-11 flu vaccine provides protection against the three main viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness this season. The 2010-11 flu vaccine will protect against an influenza A (H3N2) virus, an influenza B virus, and the 2009 H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season.

•Flu vaccines CANNOT cause the flu. The viruses in flu vaccines are either killed (the flu shot) or weakened (the nasal-spray vaccine). The flu vaccines work by priming your body's defenses in case you are exposed to an actual flu virus.

•Flu vaccines are safe. Serious problems from the flu vaccine are very rare. The most common side effect that a person is likely to experience is soreness where the injection was given. This is generally mild and usually goes away after a day or two.

Which Vaccine Should You Get?

There are two types of flu vaccine: (1) the "flu shot" [PDF - 89 KB] - a vaccine with killed virus given by needle injection and (2) the nasal-spray vaccine [PDF - 477 KB] (Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine or LAIV) - a vaccine with weakened live viruses.

•The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.

•The nasal-spray vaccine (LAIV) is approved for use in healthy people 2 to 49 years of age. Nearly all healthy, non-pregnant health care workers, may receive LAIV if eligible, including those who come in contact with newborn infants (e.g., persons working in the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU), pregnant women, persons with a solid organ transplant, persons receiving chemotherapy, and persons with HIV/AIDS.

However, health care providers should not get LAIV if they are providing medical care for patients who require special environments in the hospital because they are profoundly immunocompromised, for example if they work in bone marrow transplant units. This is intended as an extra precaution and is not based on reports of vaccine virus transmission in those settings.  The flu shot is preferred for vaccinating health care workers who are in close contact with severely immunocompromised patients who are being cared for in a protective environment. These health care workers may still get LAIV, but they must avoid contact with such patients for 7 days after getting vaccinated.

No special precautions (e.g., masks or gloves) are necessary for health care personnel who have been vaccinated with LAIV and who do not work with patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation.

The role that you and other health care workers play in helping prevent influenza-related illness and death-especially in high-risk patients-is invaluable. By setting a good example and spreading flu facts (instead of the flu itself) among your colleagues and patients, you have the opportunity to save even more lives.

Protect yourself, your family, and your patients by getting a flu vaccine.

For more information about flu information, updates, and access to free materials to assist with educating staff and patients about the impact of influenza and the benefits of vaccination, visit www.cdc.gov/flu and www.flu.gov, or call the National Immunization Hotline at (800) 232-2522 (English), (800) 232-0233 (español), or (800) 243-7889 (TTY).

Entire article with links are available below:

http://www.flu.gov/professional/hospital/hcworkers_vaccine.html
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2010, 08:22:17 PM »

Questions & Answers
Vaccine Selection for the 2010–2011 Influenza Season


How are the viruses selected to make flu vaccine?
The influenza (flu) viruses selected for inclusion in the seasonal flu vaccines are updated each year based information about which influenza virus strains are identified, how they are spreading, and how well current vaccine strains protect against newly identified strains. Currently, 130 national influenza centers in 101 countries conduct year-round surveillance for influenza and study influenza disease trends. These laboratories then send influenza viruses to the four World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centers for Reference and Research on Influenza located in Atlanta, Georgia, USA (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC); London, United Kingdom (National Institute for Medical Research); Melbourne, Australia (Victoria Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory); Tokyo, Japan (National Institute for Infectious Diseases) for additional analyses. The seasonal flu vaccine is a trivalent vaccine (a three component vaccine) with each component selected to protect against one of the three main groups of influenza viruses circulating in humans. (Last year’s 2009 H1N1 vaccine was made in response to the pandemic first recognized in April 2009. Unlike seasonal flu vaccines, the pandemic vaccine protected against only one flu virus strain, the 2009 H1N1 virus.)

The three vaccine viruses are chosen to maximize the likelihood that the main circulating viruses during the upcoming flu season will be well covered by the vaccine. WHO recommends specific vaccine viruses for vaccine production, but then each individual country makes their own decision for licensing of vaccines in their country. In the United States, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determines what viruses will be used in U.S.–licensed vaccines.

(Large article...continue below)
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/1011_vac_selection.htm
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2010, 07:54:41 PM »

The following articles with links have come in via email over the last couple of weeks.
You may want to read those that apply to you or your family.

 

1.  Seasonal Flu Information for Businesses & Employees

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get a yearly flu vaccine, but good health habits and antiviral medications are other measures that can help protect against the flu.

Entire article available at this link:
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/business/



2.  Final Estimates for 2009–10 Seasonal Influenza and Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccination Coverage – United States, August 2009 through May, 2010.

Entire article available at this link:
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/coverage_0910estimates.htm



3. Influenza Activity --- United States and Worldwide, June 13--September 25, 2010
Weekly
October 8, 2010 / 59(39);1270-1273

Entire article available at this link:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5939a3.htm?s_cid=mm5939a3_w
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2010, 08:01:12 PM »

4.  Influenza Vaccination Coverage among Children Aged 6–23 Months — United States, 2008–09 Influenza Season

Entire article at link below:
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/coverage_6-23months.htm



5.   Be Like Elmo: Protect Yourself & Your Family from the Flu
 (with video)

Article with video at this link:
http://www.flu.gov/news/blogs/blog20101015.html
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2010, 04:14:29 PM »


Questions and Answers
2010-2011 Seasonal Influenza (Flu) Vaccine Safety


What’s in the 2010-2011 seasonal flu vaccine and why?
Are the 2010-2011 seasonal flu vaccines safe?
How will the safety of this seasonal flu vaccine be monitored?
Are there any side effects to the seasonal flu vaccine?
Are there symptoms that should cause concern after getting a flu vaccination?
Are there some people who should not receive this vaccine?
What is the best source of information for seasonal flu vaccine safety?

Entire article with answers and with links.....
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/general.htm
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2010, 04:51:38 PM »

I stopped into Rite Aide last month and they had a "flu shots today" sign in front of their store.  I figured why not?  Worked out perfect because nobody was in line waiting.  No side affects.  I do get a flu shot every year. 
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« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2010, 09:02:06 PM »

Vaccine Safety Monitoring Ensures Continued Safety, Part 3 of 3October 28, 2010

By Claudia Vellozzi, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Director, Immunization Safety Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS

 In my previous post, I discussed how CDC and FDA work with federal agencies, academic institutions, and health care organizations to study potential risks of adverse events after influenza vaccine. CDC and FDA are committed to communicating significant findings to the public as quickly as possible. During the 2009-10 influenza season, the safety of the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine was monitored through several systems, including Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), and preliminary data were shared publicly throughout the influenza season.
 

The results of a VAERS study were published in October 2010 in a medical journal, Vaccine. That study showed that more than 90% of the reports after 2009 H1N1 flu vaccination were non-serious (e.g. events that did not involve health consequences or hospitalization, such as a low-grade fever or muscle aches) and the serious reports were similar to reporting patterns for influenza vaccinations during previous influenza seasons.

Now that the 2010-11 influenza season has started, we are closely monitoring the safety of this season’s influenza vaccines. We expect the safety of this year’s flu vaccines to be similar to that of previous seasons’ flu vaccines, which have a strong safety record. If we detect any unexpected problems with the influenza vaccines we will communicate these findings and take action to protect the public.

Influenza vaccination is the best way to protect against influenza and its complications, and CDC and FDA are committed to ensuring the continued safety of these vaccines.

For more information, see http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/vaccinesafety.htm

http://www.flu.gov/news/blogs/blog20101028.html
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« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2010, 09:03:57 PM »

I stopped into Rite Aide last month and they had a "flu shots today" sign in front of their store.  I figured why not?  Worked out perfect because nobody was in line waiting.  No side affects.  I do get a flu shot every year. 

Hi Klaas....also have had flu and pneumonia vaccines....recommended by Internist.
Thanks for keeping this thread for another season....
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« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2010, 11:33:01 AM »

H1N1 vaccine safe and induces robust immune response in people with asthma 2009 Results of NIH-supported study now available

 

Long article at link below....
http://www.nih.gov/news/health/dec2010/niaid-13.htm
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« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2010, 06:36:20 PM »

New Flu Fighting Effort Unveiled         
December 17, 2010

By Dr. Bruce Gellin, MD, Deputy, Assistant Secretary for Health, Director, National Vaccine Program Office and Dr. Garth Graham, M.D., M.P.H. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health

Today the Department of Health and Human Services announced a new effort in conjunction with local public health departments, Walgreens, the National Medical Association (NMA) and the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) to address the continued challenge of health disparities with flu vaccination. 

Recent data from the CDC suggests that despite tremendous efforts on the part of public health, we still need to do more to make sure all Americans are protected against flu.    This season it’s even more important since all Americans over six months of age are recommended to get a flu shot.   That’s why we started a cross-HHS project in 8 initial cities to see if we can help address some of the barriers that prevent underserved populations from getting vaccinated.   

This new project will go a long way to supporting the efforts of local public health officials and community partners to encourage more underserved populations to get the flu vaccine.

The following eight cities will serve as a first phase for this HHS effort:

•Atlanta, GA
•Bronx, NY
•Chicago, IL
•Houston, TX
 •Kansas City, MO
•Newark, NJ
•Oakland, CA
•Philadelphia, PA
 
A second phase that only includes the voucher program will be available in: •Fort Lauderdale, FL
•Miami, FL
•Palm Beach, FL
•Seattle, WA
 •Waco, TX
•Washington, DC
•Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, and Harlem, NY
•Northern New Hampshire
 

This is truly a public-private partnership.   Walgreens has agreed to provide $10 million worth of free vaccine in these areas so that cost is no longer a barrier to anyone who is uninsured or underinsured.   Our partners in the NMA and NHMA will be working with us to increase awareness among their providers about the importance of flu vaccination and to test several provider-based practice approaches, such as standing orders and reminder recall systems.   Faith-based leadership in these cities will be helping to get the message out to their congregations and communities. Together we are striving to reach people where they work, eat, play, and live to let them know that they can protect themselves, their families, and their communities by getting a flu vaccine.  Local public health officials and their community partners have worked tirelessly to reduce flu vaccination disparities in underserved groups; this new HHS demonstration project gives extra help, attention and resources to address this long standing challenge.

What we learn from this effort will help inform efforts to address health disparities in future flu seasons and may have broader implications for public health.



http://www.flu.gov/news/blogs/bloghealthdisparities.html
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« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2010, 01:52:57 PM »

 

(The following article is out of the UK where there seems to be an increase in H1N1 cases and in hospitalizations.....Mere)

Swine flu surge leaves 15 dead and 100 in intensive care
By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Fifteen patients have died and more than 100 patients are in intensive care with suspected swine flu as doctors warned that the disease is turning out to be more severe than last year.


Intensive care specialists said that the NHS was under greater pressure than 12 months ago. There has been a surge of cases admitted to hospital in the last 10 days and in the North-west the numbers are above those at the peak of last year's pandemic.

Five deaths were reported in the North-west yesterday, including that of Kay Burdett, a 32-year-old mother-of-two from Liverpool, who had received hospital treatment for asthma.

In the North-east, the situation is "as bad as or worse than" at the peak last year, according to public health specialists. Most of those affected are aged 18-35, including pregnant women, the obese and those with chronic health problems.

Ten of the worst affected patients whose lungs have given out, including three pregnant women, are being treated on Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machines. A further six critically ill patients are waiting for spaces on the machines to become available. Extra beds have been opened in four hospitals at Papworth in Huntingdonshire, the Royal Brompton in London, Newcastle Upon Tyne NHS trust and University Hospitals of South Manchester, in addition to the existing unit at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.

Last year only Papworth and the Royal Brompton were opened.

The numbers of severely ill patients have taken specialists by surprise because monitoring suggests low levels of swine flu in the community.

There have been an unconfirmed reports of 17 flu deaths in the UK not including Scotland – 15 of which are associated with H1N1 swine flu.

Bob Winter, president of the Intensive Care Society and a consultant in Nottingham, said: "Something different is happening this year. The last 10 days have seen a sudden surge of activity. The numbers in intensive care are increasing across the UK. In the north west they are more than at the peak of the pandemic.

"We have told the Department of Health that this is emerging as a serious issue. We suggested the groups convened last year for swine flu critical care planning should be reconvened. The disease seems disproportionately severe."

Richard Firmin, director of the the UK's main ECMO centre at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, with five beds, said: "It is very busy, even busier than last year. The way we are headed we are not sure we will have enough capacity. We have 15 beds open altogether – we didn't need more than 12 last year. We have pretty much activated all those who can do it.

"No one was expecting it to be worse this year than last year."

ECMO is a highly-skilled technique requiring twice the number of nurses of an intensive care bed. Nurses must be specially trained and that "cannot be done in a week", Dr Firmin said.

"We have already had to escalate [provision of ECMO beds] two steps beyond what we had last year. Things are at least as bad as they were last year in intensive care generally, as well as ECMO. What we don't know is whether this is the peak or there is worse to come. Our feeling is it is probably going to get worse. If it gets a lot worse we could be in a lot of difficulty."

Last year the NHS had narrowly avoided having to restrict hospitals to emergency-only surgery in order to keep enough intensive care beds open for swine flu patients, but that may be unavoidable this year, Mr Firmin said. "The signs are that we are heading that way – keeping emergency ITU beds available when needed [for swine flu patients]. No one has declared so far but it is having an impact."

NHS Chief Executive Sir David Nicholson said: "There is always more pressure at this time of year. But the NHS is well-prepared."

A spokesperson for the Health Protection Agency said it was updating the number of deaths on a weekly basis and was monitoring the situation carefully.


http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/swine-flu-surge-leaves-15-dead-and-100-in-intensive-care-2161629.html
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« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2010, 03:52:11 PM »

This year was the first time I've ever gotten a flu shot.  I'm glad I did.  Thanks Mere for all the info.
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« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2010, 10:56:15 PM »

I am from a medium size town in Georgia.  There is a flu type that is going around here that even people with both strands of the vaccine that have got it.  There have  been deaths and hospitalizations. The doctor I went to diagnosed 75 people today alone. I now have pleurisy from this.
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« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2010, 05:08:35 PM »

I am from a medium size town in Georgia.  There is a flu type that is going around here that even people with both strands of the vaccine that have got it.  There have  been deaths and hospitalizations. The doctor I went to diagnosed 75 people today alone. I now have pleurisy from this.

Shell...thank you so much for contributing your experience. 

I was told that I really should take the seasonal/H1N1 vaccine and also the pneumonia
shot this year as I am caring for a family member who is immuno-suppressed.  This was
some weeks ago and I took both shots.  I am also sick and have been for almost two weeks.  It is respiratory....and it seems to really hang on.

I think maybe it would be worse without the shots...but I just don't know. 

I hope that you feel better soon.   
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« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2011, 08:41:04 PM »

       Flu activity increasing around the country

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity is increasing in the United States. For the week ending December 25, 2010, five states (Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, New York and Virginia) reported widespread geographic influenza activity and 13 states (Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas) reported regional geographic influenza activity.

There are simple steps you can take to prevent the spread of flu:

•Get Vaccinated – CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated against the flu each year.  The flu vaccine is safe, and is the best protection against flu viruses.  Find out where to get the vaccine in your neighborhood.
•Wash your hands often with soap and water.
•Sneeze into the bend of your arm or a tissue, not into your hands.
•If you’re sick, stay home as much as possible except to get medical care.
•Take antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

http://www.flu.gov/news/blogs/blog20110103.html
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« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2011, 11:15:54 PM »

2010-2011 Influenza Season Week 3 ending January 22, 2011

Entire article here....
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/
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« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2011, 08:04:09 PM »


New Plan Guides Future Vaccine Efforts
By Dr. Bruce Gellin, MD, Deputy, Assistant Secretary for Health,
Director, National Vaccine Program Office


Entire article here...
http://www.flu.gov/news/blogs/blog20110216.html
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« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2011, 08:06:49 PM »


What You Should Know about Flu Antiviral Drugs
By Alicia Fry, MD, MPH, Medical Officer, NCIRD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Many people believe there is no treatment for a virus and you have to let it run its course. But when it comes to influenza (often called “the flu”), antiviral drugs can be used for prevention and treatment. While CDC recommends flu vaccination as the first and most important step in preventing flu, antiviral drugs are a second line of defense against the flu.

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Entire article available here.....
http://www.flu.gov/news/blogs/blog20110211.html
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