Serious Compllications Can Arise From No Vaccinations

Being sick can be a real drag, so imagine how our children feel when they come down with something like measles. They feel just as awful as we do when they are sick. With a viral infection such as measles, there can be terrible complications such as encephalitis, which is swelling of the brain. Other effects of measles are ear infections, diarrhea and pneumonia. Having a vaccine can help to lower the risk of these serious complications complications and help you to get better more quicker then without a vaccination.

There are a few different types of flu vaccine and other children vaccinations, including the one for measles called MMR (measles, mumps and rubella). This vaccination helps to increase the number of antibodies in your bloodstream, which in turn can lower the risk of infection. It is important to know that vaccinations will not stop you from getting these viral infections; they can however save a life by lowering the risks involved. As with any type of vaccinations, there can be side effects however these are usually outweighed by the actual vaccination benefits. If you have allergies, it is always best to discuss this with the practitioner who is administering the vaccine. In some rare cases, hospitalization is required to lower the risk.

The symptoms of measles include fever, tiredness, coughs, runny nose, sore red eyes and feeling unwell. A few days after these symptoms a rash appears starting from the face and then spreading down the body. This rash usually usually takes between four and seven days. Measles can be brought from breathing in air that someone who has the virus has taken or sneezed into. Once you have been exposed, the illness can kick in around ten days later.

Aside from vaccinations, there are a lot of things you can do to stay healthy including eating healthy. There are natural medicines such as olive leaf extract and echinacea, vitamin c and multi-vitamins which can help your body and immune system to ward of these diseases. Plenty of fresh air and exercise is also a good way to keep your body healthy.

For ward off the flu, having an influenza vaccine every year is a good help. You may still end up with the flu, but the symptoms will be a lot less debilitating. Vaccines are a fantastic help for ward off viral infections and other diseases along with living a healthy lifestyle and eating healthy. All these things in the right combination will help you to live a long and healthy life.

Drug That Claims to Kill Flu as Soon as 1 Day Okayed in Japan

Japan’s health ministry has approved baloxavir marboxil tablets (Xofluza, Shionogi & Co Ltd), a drug that reportedly can kill influenza types A and B in as little as 1 day among some patients.

Baloxavir marboxil, a novel cap-dependent endonuclease inhibitor, can kill influenza viruses in 24 hours, although some symptoms could last longer, the company said, according to the Wall Street Journal. It suppresses viral replication by a mechanism different from that of existing anti-influenza drugs.

Unlike neuraminidase inhibitors, such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu, Genentech), which inhibit the action of neuraminidase (an enzyme that frees viruses from the infected cells’ surface), baloxavir marboxil prevents replication by inhibiting cap-dependent endonuclease activity of the viral polymerase.

Also unlike oseltamivir, which necessitates twice-daily doses over 5 days to treat the flu, baloxavir marboxil is taken in a single dose regardless of age, making it convenient and possibly improving adherence, the company said. 

Baloxavir marboxil was tested in the randomized, double-blind, multicenter, parallel-group, placebo- and active-controlled study known as CAPSTONE-1. A total of 1436 otherwise healthy patients diagnosed with influenza participated. 

Results of the trial, reported at Infectious Disease Week 2017, showed significant improvement in median time to alleviation of symptoms with baloxavir compared with placebo (53.7 hours vs 80.2 hours; P < .0001).

There was also significantly faster resolution of fever with baloxavir than placebo (24.5 hours vs 42 hours; P < .0001). 

The study also found significant improvement compared with placebo or oseltamivir for key virologic endpoints. The percentage of patients determined to be positive for influenza virus titer was significantly lower in the baloxavir group than the oseltamivir group at 1, 2, and 4 days from the start of treatment, the company reported. In addition, the time to cessation of viral shedding was significantly decreased with baloxavir compared with oseltamivir.

Shionogi said it will launch Xofluza immediately in Japan after the National Health Insurance price listing, but the drug would not be up for approval in the United States before 2019, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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WHO prioritizes ‘Disease X’ in R&D blueprint

WHO recently released its annual list of priority diseases with an “urgent need” for accelerated research and development because of their potential to cause a public health emergency. Among them is an unknown disease that the agency termed “Disease X.”

“Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease, and so the R&D Blueprint explicitly seeks to enable cross-cutting R&D preparedness that is also relevant for an unknown ‘Disease X’ as far as possible,” WHO said in a statement.

Experts decided which diseases should be prioritized for R&D during a review earlier this month. They particularly focused on diseases that could impact special populations such as refugees, internally displaced people and disaster victims.

“WHO has been working to standardize the process and to engage experts from across the globe. Diseases are considered for inclusion if they have the potential to cause a public health emergency and if no medical countermeasures exist for that disease,” Inger Damon, MD, PhD, director of CDC’s Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology who participated in the WHO process as a CDC representative,” told Infectious Disease News. “At the end of the WHO meeting, there was consensus about the classification of diseases among the categories.”

In addition to “Disease X,” WHO’s list of priority diseases, which the agency said is not ranked in order of importance, includes:

Diseases the experts considered but did not include on the list were arenaviral hemorrhagic fevers other than Lassa fever; chikungunya; “highly pathogenic” coronaviral diseases other than MERS and SARS; nonpolio enteroviruses such as EV71 and D68; and severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome.

“These diseases pose major public health risks, and further research and development is needed, including surveillance and diagnostics,” WHO said. “They should be watched carefully and considered again at the next annual review.”

The agency also identified diseases that continue to pose a public health threat but are currently considered “outside of the current scope of the blueprint.” These included dengue, yellow fever, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, influenza-related illness, smallpox, cholera, leishmaniasis, West Nile virus and plague. Although all these diseases require R&D through existing interventions, there is a particular need for diagnostics and vaccines for pneumonic plague, as well as more effective therapeutics for leishmaniasis, according to WHO.

Disclosure: Damon reports no relevant financial disclosures.

Influenza season likely peaked in US; illness remains widespread

Influenza illness declined for a second straight week in the United States, a good sign that the country has passed the peak of a record-setting influenza season.

According to the latest CDC data, the percentage of outpatient visits attributed to influenza-like illness (ILI) — a key surveillance marker — dropped from 7.5% to 6.4% in the week ending Feb. 17. It peaked at 7.7% earlier this month, matching the highest level of the 2009 pandemic and setting a record for a nonpandemic season.

“It looks like we have peaked, but ILI is still high [and] higher than the peak of many seasons,” Erin Burns, a spokeswoman in the CDC’s Influenza Division, told Infectious Disease News.

Influenza activity remained widespread in 48 states, according to the CDC data, with only Hawaii and Oregon continuing to see a break. ILI activity was still at the highest level in more than half of U.S. states.

CDC statistics on influenza activity

The percentage of outpatient visits attributed to influenza-like illness declined for a second consecutive week.

Source: CDC

H3N2, an elusive influenza A virus that has been the main culprit in this season’s reduced vaccine effectiveness, remained the predominant strain, but the CDC noted a continued upswing in influenza B viruses, which in not unusual for late-season activity.

Overall, 75.5% of specimens tested in clinical labs were influenza A viruses. H3N2 accounted for 86.9% of influenza A viruses tested in public labs. The percentage of specimens tested in clinical labs that were influenza B viruses rose from 36.4% to 41.8%.

Two indicators of the severity of the season remained elevated: the cumulative rate of laboratory-confirmed hospitalizations due to influenza, which rose from 67.9 to 74.5 per 100,000 people, and the proportion of all U.S. deaths attributed to influenza or pneumonia, which ticked down from 9.8% to 9.5% but remained high.

The CDC reported 13 more influenza-associated pediatric deaths, bringing the total to 97 this season. – by Gerard Gallagher


CDC. FluView. Accessed February 23, 2018.

Disclosure: Burns works for the CDC.

Targeted vaccination to halt epidemics — ScienceDaily

Amidst growing concerns over the low uptake of flu shots in Europe, scientists from the Italian National Research Council and the JRC confirm that vaccinations remain the best way forward when it comes to stopping the spread of infectious diseases.

It’s an option that is nearly always more effective than either doing nothing or attempting to contain an outbreak through quarantine.

Under normal circumstances, the most effective way to prevent illness is to vaccinate according to national immunisation schedules. Widespread immunisation programmes in Europe have made previously deadly diseases such as smallpox and polio a thing of the past.

This study looked specifically at epidemic outbreaks. They found that in such cases targeting carefully selected individuals with vaccination can be successful in containing the outbreak, even with only a relatively small number of individuals getting the relevant shot.

The scientists ran physics-based simulations on networks which sought to replicate the way individuals interact with one another in the real world, such as through the global air transportation network. The simulations are simplified versions of computational frameworks commonly used to investigate the global spread of real-world epidemics, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Nevertheless, they help understanding basic features of the more complicated and realistic models.

In the simulations, individuals correspond to ‘nodes’ that can transmit an infection through the links between them. The scientists found that quarantining nodes after the outbreak of an epidemic very quickly becomes ineffective. Quite early on in a simulated outbreak, even the ‘do nothing’ (non-intervention) strategy becomes preferable to quarantine.

Targeted vaccination was found to be the best option in nearly all epidemic cases. The scientists used a vaccination strategy based on ‘optimal percolation’, which consists of finding the least set of nodes that, when removed from a network, can fragment it into small clusters. The idea behind this approach is that fragmenting the network ensures infections are contained within small groups, hence preventing the occurrence of large outbreaks.

This might all seem like common sense, but preventive vaccination is not common practice for all illnesses and for some, vaccines do not yet exist. The norovirus outbreak at this year’s Winter Olympic Games is an example where quarantine has been used as the option available to health officials. Medical professionals have attempted to initially contain the outbreak by imposing quarantine on the hundreds of staff who were unlucky enough to catch the virus. Despite these measures, the illness is continuing to spread and has started to affect some of the athletes.

In recent years, physicists have made significant advances in the field of network immunisation, developing increasingly efficient techniques to immunise a network by the ‘removal’ (vaccination) of a few nodes. This knowledge can help to support health policy as policymakers look to ensure increased global security against epidemics.

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Materials provided by European Commission Joint Research Centre. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.