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China’s H7N9 bird flu virus death toll hits 35

bird-flu-h7n9China’s state media have confirmed that three more people have died in from the new strain of H7N9 bird flu virus. These new death have raised the death toll to 35 with the number of infections rising to 130.

Chinese scientists have claimed that the virus has only been transmitted to humans from chickens, however the World Health Organization (WHO) says 40 percent of people infected with H7N9 had no contact with poultry.

The first confirmed cases of the H7N9 bird flu virus where records in March of this year. News of the virus has had an alarming effect on both demand and prices for China’s poultry.

Chinese authorities have already killed thousands of chickens, ducks and geese in an attempt to stop the virus spreading.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention has said the current strain of bird flu cannot start a pandemic but notes there is no guarantee it will not mutate and cause a serious pandemic.

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Posted in Bird Flu

Have flu outbreaks changed your perception of life insurance?

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Fears of another global flu pandemic are rife amongst the world’s leading health experts. Many have believe that it’s only a matter of time until a strain of the influenza virus that is immune to the current crop of vaccines appears. If such a strain did emerge and was deadly enough, it could have a huge impact on both developing and developed nations alike.

For many the best protection against the virus has been good hygiene but should we take extra precautions to protect ourself and out loved ones financially if the worst should happen?

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Posted in Flu News

Third person dies from new strain of H7N9 (Bird Flu) virus in China

bird-flu-n7n9-chinaA third man has died from a new strain of Bird flu in China that has previously not been known to infect humans. This latest casualty to the H7N9 virus follows the deaths of two other Chinese citizens in March 2013.

According to the Xinhua news agency in China, a total of nine confirmed cases of the new strain have been recorded in the country. A middle aged woman is also seriously ill in hospital after catching the virus.

China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission have reported that the two men who died in Shanghai became ill with coughs and fevers before developing pneumonia.

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Posted in Flu News, Flu Strains

105 Children in the US died of Flu last season, 90% of those were not vaccinated

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The Flu season is starting to wind down in the Northern Hemisphere with the US reporting that 105 children have died as a direct result of the flu virus.

These recent figures are about average for the US, even though the flu season started a month earlier than has been expected.

However further information released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has given a little more food for thought.  It’s been revealed that of the 105 who died as a direct result of the flu, 90 percent of them has not been vaccinated against the virus.

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Posted in Flu Vaccines

HPA voices concerns over drug-resistant super swine flu virus (H1N1pdm09)

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The UK’s HPA (Health Protection Agency) has voiced concerns over a new drug resistant strain of swine flu.

The H1N1 or swine flu virus is usually treated with Tamiflu (oseltamivir) however this new strain of the virus renders the drug “powerless”.

This new strain of the swine flu virus H1N1pdm09 has been rarely seen outside of hospitals, however an increasing number of cases have been identified in what the HPA describes as the “community setting”. Officially the HPA have recorded eight confirmed cases however reports have shown that an increasing number of cases has been seen across the globe.

Dr Richard Pebody, Head of flu surveillance at the HPA  said: “While the frequency of oseltamivir resistance in community settings has increased slightly since the 2009-10 pandemic from 1-2% in the 2012/13 flu season, rates of detection remain low.”

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Posted in Flu Strains

Swine flu vacine Pandemrix raises risk of narcolepsy in children

Pandemrix swine flu vacine

New research suggests that the swine flu jab given to hundreds of thousands of children in the UK can increase the risk of developing the sleep disorder narcolepsy.

Health officials have expressed concern over the figures that show for every 55,000 doses of the swine flu jab Pandemrix administered, one child developed the condition that causes excessive daytime sleepiness (narcolepsy).

Researchers from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and Papworth and Addenbrooke’s hospitals investigation found that of 75 children studied with narcolepsy, 11 children received the vaccine before their symptoms started. Their findings have shown that the jab increased the risk of developing  narcolepsy by a factor of 14. This equates to one in 52,000 to 57,500 doses directly accounting for a child developing the condition.

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Posted in Flu Vaccines

It’s Flu Monday, be on your guard against colds and flu

Experts has labeled today as  “Flu Monday” as its the day of the year that we are most likely to catch a cold or the flu.

This increased risk is caused by our immune system taking a turn for the worst after ending our post-Christmas detox. The  shock of going back to our unhealthy lives can leave us wide open to catching all manner of bugs.

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Posted in Flu News

Pregnant women urged to get flu vaccination over the usual flu remedies

Experts are urging pregnant women to rethink their usual habits when treating the dreaded flu virus. Most people wouldn’t think twice before heading to the pharmacy for the latest “flu remedy” but expectant mothers have been urged to speak to their obstetrician before considering any over the counter treatments.

Many flu relief drugs contain ibuprofen or other ingredients which may not be recommended for pregnant women.

They are more likely to suffer from complications and illnesses cause by the flu due to changes in their immune system.

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Posted in Flu News, Flu Vaccines

Study Shows Flu virus “knows when to attack”

A study in the Cell Reports journal has shown that the flu has an in-built clock which tells the virus exactly when to strike to have the maximum impact on the host.

Researchers have discovered that the virus slowly accumulates one particular protein called NEP. This protein needs to exit the cell and spread to other cells. The research has shown that if the virus will be weak if it attacks too early, but left too late then the hosts immune system has time to fight back.

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Posted in Flu News, Flu Vaccines

New York State declares influenza emergency in wake of epidemic

Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York State has declared a public health emergency as the influenza epidemic continues to grip the country. The state has seen record cases of the flu with almost 20,000 cases reported this season. A figure more than four times the number of cases last winter flu season.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that flu cases throughout the US have reached “epidemic proportions” with  7.3 percent of deaths last week caused by pneumonia and the flu. The prominent strain of the virus is H3N2, which can be severe.

Influenza H3N2 is a sub type of the flu virus that can infect birds and mammals. The H3N2 strain is increasingly abundant in seasonal influenza, which kills an estimated 36,000 people in the US each year.

In a statement from Governor Cuomo, he said “We are experiencing the worst flu season since at least 2009, and influenza activity in New York State is widespread, with cases reported in all 57 counties and all five boroughs of New York City.”

US Authorities are continuing to urge the public to get vaccinated especially those in high risk groups such as children, senior citizens or those with underlying health conditions.

The only US states that have managed to escape the widespread epidemic were California, Mississippi and Hawaii.

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Posted in Flu Epidemic