Blog

 

Flu News

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 // Uncategorized

It’s shaping up to be a bad flu season.  First is the report from the CDC followed by a report on Tamiflu and the British Medical Journal

 

 

Situation Update: Summary of Weekly FluView

Key Flu Indicators

According to this week’s FluView, flu activity in the United States has increased substantially throughout the nation, most notably in the south central and southeast regions of the country.  People who have not already received a flu vaccine should do so now. This FluView update reports on influenza activity for November 18-24, 2012 of the 2012-2013 influenza season.

Below is a summary of these key indicators:

  • The proportion of visits to doctors for influenza-like illness (ILI) was at the national baseline. This is the earliest in the regular season that influenza activity has reached the national baseline level since the 2003-2004 season. This week, 5 U.S. regions reported ILI activity above region-specific baseline levels and 5 states (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas), experienced high ILI activity.  
  • Four states reported widespread influenza activity (Alaska, Mississippi, New York, and South Carolina). Regional influenza activity was reported by 7 states (Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Ohio). Nineteen states reported local influenza activity. This is an increase from the 8 states that reported local influenza activity last week.
  • Data regarding influenza-associated hospitalizations for the 2012-2013 influenza season will be reported starting with the December 7, 2012 FluView.
  • The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) based on the 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System was below the epidemic threshold.
  • No influenza-related pediatric deaths were reported for November 18-24, 2012. Two influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported during the 2012-13 season. Nationally, the percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza viruses in the United States during the week of November 18-24 was 15.2%. This is an increase from last week and remains relatively elevated for this time of year. The regional percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza viruses ranged from 3.8% to 20.6%.
  • Both influenza A (H3N2 and 2009 H1N1) and influenza B viruses have been identified this season. During the week of November 18-24, 571 of the 812 influenza positive tests reported to CDC were influenza A and 241 were influenza B viruses. Among the 571 influenza A viruses identified that week, approximately 35% were H3 viruses and less than 1% were 2009 H1N1 viruses; 65% were not subtyped.
  • Since October 1, 2012, CDC has antigenically characterized 140 influenza viruses, including two 2009 influenza A (H1N1) viruses, 90 influenza A (H3N2) viruses and 48 influenza B viruses.
  • The 2009 influenza A (H1N1) viruses were characterized as A/California/7/2009-like. This is the influenza A (H1N1) component of the Northern Hemisphere vaccine for the 2012-2013 season.
  • All 90 of the influenza A (H3N2) viruses were characterized as A/Victoria/361/2011-like. This is the influenza A (H3N2) component of the Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccine for the 2012-2013 season.
  • Approximately 71% of the 48 influenza B viruses belonged to the B/Yamagata lineage of viruses, and were characterized as B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like, the influenza B component for the 2012-2013 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccine.
  • The remaining 29% of the tested influenza B viruses belonged to the B/Victoria lineage of viruses.
  • Since October 1, 2012, CDC has tested two 2009 influenza A (H1N1), 122 influenza A (H3N2), and 81 influenza B virus isolates for resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors this season. Each of the viruses showed susceptibility to the antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir. High levels of resistance to the adamantanes (amantadine and rimantadine) persist among 2009 influenza A (H1N1) and A (H3N2) viruses. (Adamantanes are not effective against influenza B viruses.)

FluView is available – and past issues are archived – on the CDC website.

 

Discover Yahoo! With Your Friends

Explore news, videos, and much more based on what your friends are reading and watching. Publish your own activity and retain full control.

To get started, firstLogin with Facebook

YOUR FRIENDS’ ACTIVITY

 
 

British medical journal slams Roche on Tamiflu

By MARIA CHENG | Associated Press – Mon, Nov 12, 2012

 
  • FILE - In this April 28, 2009 file photo packages of the medicine Tamiflu by Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche are seen in Stuttgart, southern Germany. A leading British medical journal is asking the drug maker Roche to release all its data on Tamiflu, claiming there is no evidence the drug can actually stop the flu. The drug has been stockpiled by dozens of governments worldwide in case of a global flu outbreak and was widely used during the 2009 swine flu pandemic. On Monday Nov. 12, 2012, one of the researchers linked to the BMJ called for European governments to sue Roche. (AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle, File)

    Enlarge PhotoAssociated Press/Thomas Kienzle, File – FILE – In this April 28, 2009 file photo packages of the medicine Tamiflu by Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche are seen in Stuttgart, southern Germany. A leading British …more  medical journal is asking the drug maker Roche to release all its data on Tamiflu, claiming there is no evidence the drug can actually stop the flu. The drug has been stockpiled by dozens of governments worldwide in case of a global flu outbreak and was widely used during the 2009 swine flu pandemic. On Monday Nov. 12, 2012, one of the researchers linked to the BMJ called for European governments to sue Roche. (AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle, File)  less 

Related Content

LONDON (AP) — A leading British medical journal is asking the drug maker Roche to release all its data on Tamiflu, claiming there is no evidence the drug can actually stop the flu.

The drug has been stockpiled by dozens of governments worldwide in case of a global flu outbreak and was widely used during the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

On Monday, one of the researchers linked to the BMJ journal called for European governments to sue Roche.

“I suggest we boycott Roche’s products until they publish missing Tamiflu data,” wrote Peter Gotzsche, leader of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen. He said governments should take legal action against Roche to get the money back that was “needlessly” spent on stockpiling Tamiflu.

Last year, Tamiflu was included in a list of “essential medicines” by the World Health Organization, a list that often prompts governments or donor agencies to buy the drug.

Tamiflu is used to treat both seasonal flu and new flu viruses like bird flu or swine flu. WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said the agency had enough proof to warrant its use for unusual influenza viruses, like bird flu.

“We do have substantive evidence it can stop or hinder progression to severe disease like pneumonia,” he said.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Tamiflu as one of two medications for treating regular flu. The other is GlaxoSmithKline’s Relenza. The CDC says such antivirals can shorten the duration of symptoms and reduce the risk of complications and hospitalization.

In 2009, the BMJ and researchers at the Nordic Cochrane Centre asked Roche to make all its Tamiflu data available. At the time, Cochrane Centre scientists were commissioned by Britain to evaluate flu drugs. They found no proof that Tamiflu reduced the number of complications in people with influenza.

“Despite a public promise to release (internal company reports) for each (Tamiflu) trial…Roche has stonewalled,” BMJ editor Fiona Godlee wrote in an editorial last month.

In a statement, Roche said it had complied with all legal requirements on publishing data and provided Gotzsche and his colleagues with 3,200 pages of information to answer their questions.

“Roche has made full clinical study data … available to national health authorities according to their various requirements, so they can conduct their own analyses,” the company said.

Roche says it doesn’t usually release patient-level data available due to legal or confidentiality constraints. It said it did not provide the requested data to the scientists because they refused to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Roche is also being investigated by the European Medicines Agency for not properly reporting side effects, including possible deaths, for 19 drugs including Tamiflu that were used in about 80,000 patients in the U.S.

____

Online:

www.bmj.com.tamiflu/

0 Comments
 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *