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Flu vaccine reduces a child’s risk of flu-related intensive care hospitalization

on Fri, 04/04/2014 - 07:56

A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published on the Journal of Infectious Diseases, showed that flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of intensive care unit flu admission by 74 percent. The authors of the study analyzed the medical records of children, aged between 6 months and 17 years, hospitalized during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 flu seasons with acute severe respiratory illness.


Ebola outbreak in Guinea

on Thu, 04/03/2014 - 10:21

Guinea is suffering from an outbreak of the Ebola virus, which started in the southeastern region of the country and now reached the capitol Conakry. The Guinea Ministry of Health reported a total of 127 probable and suspect cases, 35 out of which were confirmed by laboratory analysis. Reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) say that 83 of these suspect cases died and that the disease also spread in the neighboring Liberia, with 8 suspect cases, 5 out of which were lethal and 2 laboratory-confirmed.

Google Flu Trends: wrong prediction or wrong expectations?

on Tue, 04/01/2014 - 15:25

Google Flu Trends (GFT) is a web service launched by Google in 2008, with the aim of estimating influenza activity by aggregating search terms to draw a real-time picture of both the spread of the flu and its seriousness. Google even claimed that their predictions were 97% accurate comparing with those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which are based on surveillance reports from laboratories across the United States.

Unfortunately, it turns out that such a promising tool to predict influenza outbreak could have been not very accurate, especially between 2011 and 2013.

Possible negative outcomes for the use of antipyretic drugs

on Fri, 01/31/2014 - 09:31

Fever is perceived as an unpleasant consequence of an infectious disease but is one of the first weapons through which an organism fight an infection. Use of antipyretic drugs to attenuate fever is quite diffuse but it could also have negative consequences, as it is shown by an article on The Proceedings of Royal Society B. The authors, a group of researchers from Canada, collected published data available and found that reducing fever may increase transmission of associated infections.

Estimated benefit of influenza vaccination during the last season

on Tue, 01/28/2014 - 10:59

A report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCs) claimed that flu vaccination allowed preventing about 6.6 million influenza-associated illnesses during the 2012-2013 season. CDC experts use data from previous seasons to estimate the impact of the next flu wave. Usually, these numbers speak of about 200,000 expected hospitalizations. However, last year 79,000 hospitalizations were prevented thanks to the flu vaccine. Specifically, children from 6 months to 4 years old and adults aged at least 65 years accounted for an estimated 69% of the prevented hospitalizations.


General public and healthcare workers: different views on health scares

on Tue, 01/21/2014 - 08:17

There are discrepancies between general public and healthcare professionals concerns about some major health threats. This is what emerged from a new Research Now (a company that provides services for different kind of studies and researches) survey, based on 2,000 members of the public and 600 English and American General Practitioners (GPs).

The health scares included in the study are: swine flu, BPA (the chemical found in plastic products like bottles), lead paint found on toys, bird flu, trans-fats, SARS, hormone replacement therapy, anthrax, brain tumors caused by mobile phones, the

An ECDC report to support the Council Recommendation on seasonal influenza vaccination

on Thu, 01/16/2014 - 10:36

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recently released a technical report in support of the Council Recommendation on seasonal influenza vaccination that the European Union (EU) Council adopted in December 2009. Aim of this Recommendation was to ask for concerted action to be taken, at a European level, to mitigate the impact of seasonal influenza by encouraging vaccination among risk groups and healthcare workers.

The ECDC provided technical assistance to Member States on monitoring the current situation with seasonal influenza and influenza immunization, and this

Positive effect of influenza vaccination on birth outcomes

on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 09:20

Seasonal influenza vaccination during pregnancy may grant benefit not only to the mother, but also for the fetus. This is the conclusion of a Canadian study, published on the Canadian Medical Association Journal, conducted on all women who gave birth in Nova Scotia during two seasons following the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.

The researchers used data from the Nova Scotia Atlee Perinatal Database to examine maternal vaccination rates and neonatal outcomes and found that infants of vaccinated women were less likely to face preterm birth or to have child with low birth weight.

How many B antigens should a good influenza vaccine have?

on Sat, 12/21/2013 - 19:25

The vaccine against seasonal influenza is called trivalent, because it contains viruses representing three influenza strains: one A/H1N1, one A/H3N2, and one B. the single B-lineage antigen included is the one that is predicted to circulate in the related season. However, this means that some mismatch between the B antigen in the vaccine and the B antigen actually circulating may occur, this being a problem since cross-protection by immunization against the other lineage is expected to be low.

In order to minimize such mismatch, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers

A European platform for the assessment of the benefits and risks of vaccines

on Fri, 12/13/2013 - 15:04

The collaboration between the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave light to an international project aimed to develop a European framework for the assessment of benefits and risks of vaccines. The project, named ADVANCE (Accelerated development of vaccine benefit-risk collaboration in Europe), will review, develop and test methods and guidelines that should help regulators and public health authorities to take fast and informed decisions regarding vaccination strategies.

It will also identify and profile data sources that could