Friday, October 29, 2010 // Uncategorized

5/3/2009 11:23:02 PM

Week one of the Panic Pandemic is over and I have yet to see a case.  Although, my son didn’t feel well today and was convinced that he had it.  He didn’t.  I’ve answered many calls and e mails.  Most people wanted to have Tamiflu on hand.  Most health experts think that’s a bad idea.  The drug is  often taken for the wrong reason and promotes the emergence of resistance to one of the few drugs we have. Tamiflu may shorten the illness by a day and is reasonable to take if one has the flu.

The following is the latest update from ProMed Digest.

a. Influenza A(H1N1) – update 11 — 3 May 2009

As of 0600 GMT, 3 May 2009, 17 countries have officially reported 787
cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection.

Mexico has reported 506 confirmed human cases of infection, including
19 deaths. The higher number of cases from Mexico in the past 48
hours reflects ongoing testing of previously collected specimens. The
United States Government has reported 160 laboratory confirmed human
cases, including one death.

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with
no deaths – Austria (1), Canada (70), China, Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region (1), Costa Rica (1), Denmark (1), France (2),
Germany (6), Ireland (1), Israel (3), Netherlands (1), New Zealand
(4), Republic of Korea (1), Spain (13), Switzerland (1) and the
United Kingdom (15).

Further information on the situation will be available on the WHO
website on a regular basis.

WHO advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders.
It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay
international travel and for people developing symptoms following
international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance
from national authorities.

Canada on [2 May 2009] reported the identification of the A(H1N1)
virus in a swine herd in Alberta. It is highly probable that the pigs
were exposed to the virus from a Canadian farm worker recently
returned from Mexico, who had exhibited flu-like symptoms and had
contact with the pigs. There is no indication of virus adaptation
through transfer from human to pigs at this time.

There is no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of
well-cooked pork and pork products.

Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water
on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop
any symptoms of influenza-like illness.

Ever wonder what the H and N refer to?  This is a brief excerpt explaining it from UpToDate.

Influenza occurs in distinct outbreaks of varying extent nearly every year. This epidemiologic pattern reflects the changing nature of the antigenic properties of influenza viruses, and their subsequent spread depends upon the susceptibility of the population. Influenza A viruses, in particular, have a remarkable ability to undergo periodic changes in the antigenic characteristics of their envelope glycoproteins, the hemagglutinin and the neuraminidase.

Influenza hemagglutinin is a surface glycoprotein that binds to sialic acid residues on respiratory epithelial cell surface glycoproteins. This interaction is necessary for the initiation of infection. After viral replication, progeny virions are also bound to the host cell. Neuraminidase cleaves these links and liberates the new virions; it also counteracts hemagglutinin-mediated self-aggregation entrapment in respiratory secretions [1].

Major changes in these glycoproteins are referred to as antigenic shifts and minor changes are called antigenic drifts. Antigenic shifts are associated with epidemics and pandemics of influenza A, while antigenic drifts are associated with more localized outbreaks of varying extent.

Among influenza A viruses that infect humans, three major subtypes of hemagglutinins (H1, H2, and H3) and two subtypes of neuraminidases (N1 and N2) have been described. Influenza B viruses have a lesser propensity for antigenic changes, and only antigenic drifts in the hemagglutinin have been described.

Wash your hands!


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