Archive for the ‘CDC Communication’ Category
CNN – Living Well Expert Dr. Jennifer Shu Pediatrician,Children’s Medical Group -Â answers a viewers question -Â How can I keep my family healthy if one of us has H1N1?
Asked by Kim, Georgia
“My son was found to have H1N1 flu and has to stay home from school. How can we keep the rest of the family from getting sick?”
Thanks for your question. Many of the patients I see in my practice have voiced similar concerns. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 1 million Americans have been infected with H1N1 influenza since April 2009. There is a 10 to 20 percent chance of getting H1N1 from a household contact, although studies vary, and the risk may be much higher. Here are some steps I advise my patients to take to minimize their chances of getting this illness.
Keep your distance. Place your child in a separate room of house as much as possible, and consider taking his meals to him. People who are at high risk of complications from influenza (such as young children under 5, pregnant women and individuals with certain medical conditions such as asthma or heart disease) are advised to stay at least 6 feet away, so as to avoid being exposed to droplets from the sick person’s coughs or sneezes.
Hands off. Avoid holding or shaking hands with sick people in general. In fact, I try to avoid shaking hands whenever possible, especially during cold and flu season. If hand-to-hand contact occurs, wash your hands or use a sanitizer rub immediately afterwards.
Keep objects and surfaces clean. Occupy your child with books and toys that can be washed easily. Clean doorknobs, refrigerator handles and sink faucets with a household disinfectant.
Discourage sharing. Germs are one of the few things in life you won’t want your child to share so avoid sharing drinks, utensils and towels.
Cover the cough. Teach your child to cough or sneeze into a tissue (and then throw it away and wash his hands right away) or into his sleeve or elbow. You may also wish to cover his face (or yours) with a face mask that fits as snugly as comfortably possible.
Consider antiviral medicines. Medications such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) taken by household members may help prevent them from developing H1N1 infection. Ask your doctor if this type of prevention is recommended for your situation.
Cuddle carefully. If you hug your child while he’s sick, do so with your face turned away from his. Avoid kissing on the mouth.
Air out your home. Open the windows or turn on a fan in common areas such as kitchens, family rooms and bathrooms.
Bide your time. People tend to get sick from H1N1 within about seven days of being exposed to someone with the illness. The sick person is most contagious during the first few days of influenza, although infants and young children can continue shedding the virus for longer than a week. If a week has passed since your son first got sick and you don’t have any symptoms, there’s a good chance you will not become infected by him.
Here’s the most important advice you’ll get on how to protect your family during the Swine Flu Pandemic.Â Straightforward, no nonsense insight on how to keep swine flu at bay – keep your children from getting the flu AND what to do if you or your kids become infected with the swine flu.Â Did you know there are two types of swine flu?Â Read more here
Tuesday, August 25, 2009Â
The first swine flu precaution that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests for parents: As soon as a vaccine is available, try to get it for everyone in your family.
Following are other CDC recommendations for parents:
– All members of the household should wash their hands frequently, using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Antibacterial soaps are no better than ordinary soaps, since swine flu is caused by a virus, not by bacteria.
– Teach children to use tissues to cover the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing. If tissues are unavailable, the crook of an elbow or a shoulder is a good substitute — not the hands, which can spread the virus to whatever they touch.
– Anyone who becomes sick — flu symptoms include fever, sore throat, coughing, chills, fatigue and a runny nose — should stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone. If symptoms worsen, children should extend their stay at home for seven more days, no matter how soon they feel better. This means home, not just out of school: “Children shouldn’t be . . . mixing in crowds or going to malls when they are sick,” said Lance Chilton, a member of the CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices. And once any member of a household gets sick, all school-age children should remain home for five days.
– Children should receive emergency care if their breathing becomes rapid or if they have trouble breathing, develop bluish or gray skin color or severe or persistent vomiting, or if their flulike symptoms improve but come back with a fever and more severe cough. Resistance to drinking adequate amounts of water, irritability and a difficulty waking up and interacting with others are also warning signs.
Adults who experience difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting and flulike symptoms that improve but come back with a fever and more severe cough should also seek emergency care.
Besides the CDC Web site, http://www.cdc.gov, information on the H1N1 virus can be found at these sites:
The Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/swine-flu/AN02000
U.S. government: http://www.flu.gov
The most at-risk segment of the population — pregnant women, those with chronic diseases, healthcare and emergency medical workers, and children — will be the first recipients, the Centers for Disease Control indicated.
Public health experts say people might be asked to stay away from crowded areas for up to four months to keep spread of H1N1 to a minimum. Dr. Bruce Lee, a University of Pittsburgh infectious diseases expert, said such “social distancing” measures can help to lessen the epidemic.
“Pay very close attention to what the CDC and what other public health officials are saying and take it seriously,” he said.
Some federal government estimates indicate up to 40 percent of the population could get swine flu in the next two years.
JULY 29, 2009, 12:18 P.M. ETÂ Â
WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday pregnant women suspected of having the flu should be promptly treated with antiviral medications.
The CDC, in a study set to be published in the medical journal Lancet, said pregnant women are more severely impacted by the H1N1 virus. CDC said pregnant women had higher rates of hospitalization and a greater risk of death compared to the general population.
The study looked at the impact of H1N1 flu on pregnant women from mid-April, when the new virus was first discovered, to June 16. Of 45 U.S. deaths from the H1N1 flu, six were in pregnant women, which represented 13% of deaths at the time. CDC said of the 34 cases of pandemic H1N1 in pregnant women were reported to the agency from April 15 to May 18, 11 women, or 32% were admitted to the hospital.
The CDC has said more than one million Americans have likely been sickened by the H1N1 flu and more than 300 people have died as of July 24.
The lead author of the study, Denise Jamieson, said doctors who treat pregnant women shouldn’t delay in starting antiviral treatment with Tamiflu, made by Roche Holding AG, or GlaxoSmithKline PLC’s Relenza.
“Some clinicians hesitate treating pregnant women with antiviral medications because of concerns for the developing fetus, but this is the wrong approach,” she said.
All of the pregnant women who died from H1N1 complications flu were healthy prior to infection of H1N1. They subsequently developed viral pneumonia, and later died. CDC said they did not receive antivirals soon enough to benefit their treatment. It’s recommended that antiviral treatment be started within 48 hours after symptoms begin.
CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meets later Wednesday to discuss which groups should be vaccinated if government officials decide to move forward with an H1N1 influenza vaccination campaign. Pregnant women, school-age children and health-care workers are expected to be at the top of the list. The earliest an H1N1 vaccine would be available would be mid-October.
Most companies making the vaccines for the U.S. market, including Sanofi Aventis, Novartis AG, GlaxoSmithKline PLC and CSL Ltd, have said the viruses used to make the active ingredient are producing yields of just 30% of what’s typically seen with seasonal vaccines.
Write to Jennifer Corbett Dooren at email@example.com
July 18, 2009
U.S. health officials are preparing intensively to combat an anticipated wave of outbreaks of the new H1N1 flu when children return to school and the pace of cases picks up.
Anne Schuchat, chief of immunization and respiratory diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday that the agency expects an increase in cases before the normal start of the flu season in mid-autumn, because children are likely to spread it to one another once they go back to school. Infectious diseases normally spread readily among children, and this virus has hit children and young adults harder than the elderly, who normally suffer the heaviest toll from flu.
“We’ve seen it in camps and military units,” Dr. Schuchat said. “I’m expecting when school reopens and kids are all back together, in some communities at least we may see an increase.”
The number of confirmed U.S. infections is now 40,617, with 263 deaths, the CDC said Friday. But the agency believes that more than one million people have been infected and weren’t tested for the virus or didn’t visit a doctor. The disease has become so widespread that the agency will probably suspend tallying individual case counts within the next few weeks and focus instead on tracking clusters, severe cases, deaths and other unusual events — a more traditional approach to tracking diseases, Dr. Schuchat said.
The CDC would be following the WHO, which said on Thursday that it is abandoning individual case counts.
Most of those who have the new flu get only mildly ill for a few days and don’t need treatment. But officials are concerned about the virus because it is new and could easily mutate and become more virulent as it spreads through the population. Argentina declared a nationwide animal-health emergency Friday after finding the virus possibly jumped from humans to two pig herds, a development that flu experts say could potentially spur mutations. The country’s death toll from the virus stands at 137.
Global officials are also concerned because the new H1N1 virus has caused severe illness in some children and young people. Some recently published studies suggest it can cause more severe illness than seasonal flu. Deaths from flu are normally rare among children and young adults, who account for the bulk of the U.S. deaths from the pandemic strain. Nor is it clear why the virus is striking pregnant women, as well as people with asthma, diabetes and other conditions hard.
To combat the virus, federal officials are preparing to mount a massive immunization campaign, and are also urging communities, businesses and individuals to make contingency plans for possible school closures, multiple employee absences for illness, surges of patients in hospitals and other effects of potentially widespread outbreaks.
Clinical trials are expected to begin later this month to test whether a vaccine developed to combat the virus is safe and effective, and the CDC is working with state and local public-health authorities to figure out how to get as many as 600 million doses, or two for every U.S. resident, into people’s arms. Results of the trials aren’t expected until early October, but officials say they expect to have the first 100 million doses of vaccine ready by mid-October.
The WHO and some vaccine manufacturers reported this week that the vaccine was proving difficult to manufacture because the viruses used to make the shots are yielding only 25% to 50% of the active ingredient they normally get for flu vaccines.
But Dr. Schuchat said that wasn’t affecting the U.S. government’s plans. “We haven’t heard news that has changed our expectations for vaccine availability in the fall,” she said. “Based on what has been described to us so far, it’s within the range of our planning assumptions, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have more surprises.”
What is Swine Influenza?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs. Swine influenza viruses may circulate among swine throughout the year, but most outbreaks occur during the late fall and winter months similar to outbreaks in humans. The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930.
How many swine flu viruses are there?
Like all influenza viruses, swine flu viruses change constantly. Pigs can be infected by avian influenza and human influenza viruses as well as swine influenza viruses. When influenza viruses from different species infect pigs, the viruses can reassort (i.e. swap genes) and new viruses that are a mix of swine, human and/or avian influenza viruses can emerge. Over the years, different variations of swine flu viruses have emerged. At this time, there are four main influenza type A virus subtypes that have been isolated in pigs: H1N1, H1N2, H3N2, and H3N1. However, most of the recently isolated influenza viruses from pigs have been H1N1 viruses.
Swine Flu in Humans
Can humans catch swine flu?
Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred. Most commonly, these cases occur in persons with direct exposure to pigs (e.g. children near pigs at a fair or workers in the swine industry). In addition, there have been documented cases of one person spreading swine flu to others. For example, an outbreak of apparent swine flu infection in pigs in Wisconsin in 1988 resulted in multiple human infections, and, although no community outbreak resulted, there was antibody evidence of virus transmission from the patient to health care workers who had close contact with the patient.
How common is swine flu infection in humans?
In the past, CDC received reports of approximately one human swine influenza virus infection every one to two years in the U.S., but from December 2005 through February 2009, 12 cases of human infection with swine influenza have been reported. For information on the number of probable and confirmed cases of novel H1N1 flu in humans see Novel H1N1 Flu Situation Update.
Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160Â°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.
How does swine flu spread?
Influenza viruses can be directly transmitted from pigs to people and from people to pigs. Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs. Human-to-human transmission of swine flu can also occur. This is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu occurs in people, which is mainly person-to-person transmission through coughing or sneezing of people infected with the influenza virus. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
What do we know about human-to-human spread of swine flu?
In September 1988, a previously healthy 32-year-old pregnant woman was hospitalized for pneumonia and died 8 days later. A swine H1N1 flu virus was detected. Four days before getting sick, the patient visited a county fair swine exhibition where there was widespread influenza-like illness among the swine. In follow-up studies, 76% of swine exhibitors tested had antibody evidence of swine flu infection but no serious illnesses were detected among this group. Additional studies suggest that one to three health care personnel who had contact with the patient developed mild influenza-like illnesses with antibody evidence of swine flu infection.
How can human infections with swine influenza be diagnosed?
To diagnose swine influenza A infection, a respiratory specimen would generally need to be collected within the first 4 to 5 days of illness (when an infected person is most likely to be shedding virus). However, some persons, especially children, may shed virus for 7 days or longer. Identification as a swine flu influenza A virus requires sending the specimen to CDC for laboratory testing.
What medications are available to treat swine flu infections in humans?
There are four different antiviral drugs that are licensed for use in the US for the treatment of influenza: amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir. While most swine influenza viruses have been susceptible to all four drugs, the most recent H1N1 influenza viruses isolated fromÂ humans are resistant to amantadine and rimantadine.
What other examples of swine flu outbreaks are there?
Probably the most well known is an outbreak of swine flu among soldiers in Fort Dix, New Jersey in 1976. The virus caused disease with x-ray evidence of pneumonia in at least 4 soldiers and 1 death; all of these patients had previously been healthy. The virus was transmitted to close contacts in a basic training environment, with limited transmission outside the basic training group. The virus is thought to have circulated for a month and disappeared. The source of the virus, the exact time of its introduction into Fort Dix, and factors limiting its spread and duration are unknown. The Fort Dix outbreak may have been caused by introduction of an animal virus into a stressed human population in close contact in crowded facilities during the winter. The swine influenza A virus collected from a Fort Dix soldier was named A/New Jersey/76 (Hsw1N1).
Swine Flu in Pigs
How does swine flu spread among pigs?
Swine flu viruses are thought to be spread mostly through close contact among pigs and possibly from contaminated objects moving between infected and uninfected pigs. Herds with continuous swine flu infections and herds that are vaccinated against swine flu may have sporadic disease, or may show only mild or no symptoms of infection.
What are signs of swine flu in pigs?
Signs of swine flu in pigs can include sudden onset of fever, depression, coughing (barking), discharge from the nose or eyes, sneezing, breathing difficulties, eye redness or inflammation, and going off feed.
How common is swine flu among pigs?
H1N1 and H3N2 swine flu viruses are endemic among pig populations in the United States and something that the industry deals with routinely. Outbreaks among pigs normally occur in colder weather months (late fall and winter) and sometimes with the introduction of new pigs into susceptible herds. Studies have shown that the swine flu H1N1 is common throughout pig populations worldwide, with 25 percent of animals showing antibody evidence of infection. In the U.S. studies have shown that 30 percent of the pig population has antibody evidence of having had H1N1 infection. More specifically, 51 percent of pigs in the north-central U.S. have been shown to have antibody evidence of infection with swine H1N1. Human infections with swine flu H1N1 viruses are rare. There is currently no way to differentiate antibody produced in response to flu vaccination in pigs from antibody made in response to pig infections with swine H1N1 influenza.
Is there a vaccine for swine flu?
Vaccines are available to be given to pigs to prevent swine influenza. There is no vaccine to protect humans from swine flu. The seasonal influenza vaccine will likely help provide partial protection against swine H3N2, but not swine H1N1 viruses.
Novel H1N1 Flu Situation Update
July 10, 2009, 11:00 AM ET>
Map: Weekly Influenza Activity Estimates Reported by State and Territorial Epidemiologists
(Activity levels indicate geographic spread of both seasonal and novel influenza A [H1N1] viruses)
(Posted July 10, 2009, 4:30 PM ET, for Week Ending July 4, 2009)
For Weekly Influenza Updates for your State