Kliman: Croatia can raise the level of continental tourism

first_imgThe Minister of Tourism in the Technical Government, Anton Kliman, stated on Wednesday in Vodnjan that Croatia can significantly raise the level of continental tourism and develop models that will direct tourist traffic towards the continent.”This is a great challenge for Croatian tourism, and we in the relevant ministry are thinking about it, because no ministry has dealt with it so far, at least not more seriously. We have left some processes of continental tourism to happen on their own, but it is obvious that without strong state intervention, ie directing traffic towards the continental part, there will be no progress.”, Said Kliman.He believes that Croatia, instructed by the experiences of other countries in Europe such as France, Italy, Germany and Hungary, can develop models that will, as he said, “direct domestic tourist traffic to the continent and thus create infrastructure that would increase competitiveness.”When asked by journalists how much Croatia invests in bathing areas on the continent, Kliman emphasized that a tender has just been announced, within which only beaches on the Adriatic have been financed so far. “For the first time in the history of Croatia, we have announced a competition for other beaches. Thus, local governments will have the opportunity to compete for the tender for beaches on the continent or on rivers and lakes”, Said Kliman.Speaking about the development of sacral tourism, for which Vodnjan is famous, Kliman said that the city has the greatest potential in Croatia and even wider and excellent foundations for the development of this type of tourism. What Vodnjan possesses in its sacral collection in the church of St. Blaž, is a world rarity. That will certainly enrich the tourism offer of that city, he said. Reaction: Continental tourism can and must attract millions of touristslast_img read more

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Ion pump gives the body its own alleviation from severe nerve pain

first_imgPinterest Share LinkedIn Email Share on Facebookcenter_img Share on Twitter A small ion pump in organic electronics is giving new hope to people suffering from severe nerve pain. Researchers at Swedish Linköping University (LiU) and the Karolinska Institute (KI) are the first in the world with technology that can stop pain impulses in living, freely moving rats using the body’s own pain relief signals.The results of ten years of research are now being published in Science Advances.The implantable “ion pump” that delivers the body’s own pain alleviators with exact dosage precisely to the location where the pain signals reach the spinal cord for further transmission to the brain, could be in clinical use in five to ten years. Firstly, the device gives hope to the seven percent of the world’s population suffering from nerve pain for whom no other cure has been found – until now. But the pump could also be used to supply therapeutic substances to the brain and other parts of the body in addition to the spinal cord. “The ion pump can be likened to a pacemaker, except for alleviating pain,” says Professor Magnus Berggren, head of the research conducted by Assistant Professor Daniel Simon and PhD student Amanda Jonsson at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linköping University’s Campus Norrköping, in collaboration with Dr. Zhiyang Song of the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet, where Professor Bengt Linderoth leads the preclinical side of the project.While a pacemaker sends electrical impulses to the heart, the ion pump sends out the body’s own pain alleviator – charged molecules of what are known as neurotransmitters – to the exact place where the damaged nerves come into contact with the spinal cord. This means that the pain impulses never reach the brain. In this case, the device delivered the neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), whose natural task is to inhibit stimuli in our central nervous system.The technological breakthrough described in the Science Advances article is that the researchers constructed the therapeutic implant using organic electronics – a class of materials capable of easy translation between electronic and biochemical signals –and that it has been used to block pain impulses in awake, freely-moving rats.  With the help of the ion pump, positively-charged ions can be administered in four different locations, adapted according to the exact points where the nerve endings meet the spinal cord. An electric current through the ion pump is all that is needed for the GABA neurotransmitter to be spread as a thin cloud at these exact locations on the spinal cord. So far, the pain alleviation has had no negative side effects.“What’s unique is that we’re using organic electronics to send the body’s own chemical signals. The organic materials are easily accepted by the body, and they communicate just as in biology – with charged ions,” says Assistant Professor Simon, who was also the one who presented the initial results in which an ion pump based on plastic electronics could regulate cell functions in living animals, published in Nature Materials in 2009.Experiments on animals are strictly regulated. In this case they were conducted by researchers at the Karolinska Institute. The regulations for this type of medical advance mean that experiments on animals, for the present, are a must if the technology is to be tested on humans in the future.In Science Advances, a new sister publication of the respected journal Science, all articles are published with open access.last_img read more

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Ability to recognize and recall odors may identify those at risk for Alzheimer’s disease

first_imgA non-invasive protocol testing the ability to recognize, remember and distinguish between odors was able to identify older individuals who – according to genetic, imaging and more detailed memory tests – were at increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The report of a study by a team of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has been published online in Annals of Neurology.“There is increasing evidence that the neurodegeneration behind Alzheimer’s disease starts at least 10 years before the onset of memory symptoms,” says Mark Albers, MD, PhD, of the MGH Department of Neurology, the principal investigator and corresponding author of the report. “The development of a digitally-enabled, affordable, accessible and non-invasive means to identify healthy individuals who are at risk is a critical step to developing therapies that slow down or halt Alzheimer’s disease progression.”It is well known that brain circuits that process olfactory information can be affected by Alzheimer’s disease, and several studies have documented a diminished ability to identify odors in affected individuals. Other studies have associated deficits in odor identification with established Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers and with greater rates of cognitive decline, but the most commonly used test of olfactory ability – the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test – has a number of limitations and does not take into account the great variation in olfactory ability among healthy individuals. Pinterest Email Share on Facebook LinkedIncenter_img Share Share on Twitter The battery of four tests developed by the MGH team addresses both olfactory and cognitive functions:In the OPID (Odor Percept IDentification)-10 test, participants are presented with a battery of 10 odors – menthol, clove, leather, strawberry, lilac, pineapple, smoke, soap, grape or lemon. After experiencing each odor for two seconds, they are asked whether the scent is familiar and then asked to choose among four words – from the names listed above – for the one that best describes the odor.Participants then complete the Odor Awareness Scale (OAS), a previously validated questionnaire that assesses their overall attention to environmental odors and how they are affected emotionally and behaviorally by scents.The OPID-20 test includes the 10 odors previously presented and an additional 10 – banana, garlic, cherry, baby powder, grass, fruit punch, peach, chocolate, dirt and orange. Participants are first asked whether a presented odor was included in the OPID-10 test and then asked which word best describes the odor. Their ability to remember odors from the first test determines their POEM (Percepts of Odor Episodic Memory) score.In the Odor Discrimination (OD) test, participants are presented with two consecutive odors and asked whether they were different or the same, a process that is repeated 12 times with different paired scents.The study recruited 183 participants, most of whom were enrolled in ongoing studies at the MGH-based Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. At the time of the olfactory testing, 70 were cognitively normal, 74 tested normal on cognitive tests but were personally concerned about their cognitive abilities, 29 had mild cognitive impairment and 10 had been diagnosed with possible or probable Alzheimer’s disease. As part of the studies they were enrolled in, all of them had comprehensive medical and neurological examinations – including annual tests of their memory and cognitive abilities – and several had brain imaging studies of Alzheimer’s-associated factors.Results of the OPID-20 test significantly differentiated among the four groups of participants, and those results correlated with the thinning of two brain regions – the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex – previously associated with Alzheimer’s risk. Participants’ ability to remember a previously presented aroma, as reflected in the POEM score, also showed significant differences between the two cognitively normal groups and participants with Alzheimer’s disease, whose results were no better than chance.Because the ability of normal individuals to recognize and discriminate between odors can vary by as much as 40 times, the POEM scores of the two cognitively normal groups were compared with what would have been predicted based on their ability to identify and differentiate between odors, as reflected in the OAS and OD tests. That comparison determined whether each individual was a good or poor POEM performer, and poor POEM performers were more likely to have the variant of the APOE gene associated with increased Alzheimer’s risk. While results of an annual test of short-term memory improved year-to-year for the good POEM performers, no such improvement was seen among the poor performers, who also showed thinning of the entorhinal cortex.Albers and his colleagues are currently recruiting participants for a larger-scale study to validate these results. “It is well recognized that early diagnosis and intervention are likely to produce the most effective therapeutic strategy for Alzheimer’s disease – preventing the onset or the progression of symptoms,” he says. “If these results hold up, this sort of inexpensive, noninvasive screening could help us identify the best candidates for novel therapies to prevent the development of symptoms of this tragic disease.”last_img read more

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Vagus nerve stimulation therapy might have the potential to help people overcome drug addiction

first_imgShare Pinterest Share on Twitter A new preclinical study led by a University of Texas at Dallas researcher shows that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy might have the potential to help people overcome drug addiction by helping them learn new behaviors to replace those associated with seeking drugs.The new research, published in the January issue of the journal Learning and Memory, found that drug cravings in addicted rats were reduced when they were treated with VNS. It’s possible that the research could be applied to people who have been addicted to drugs, said senior author Dr. Sven Kroener, assistant professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.“We are studying extinction learning and how vagus nerve stimulation can help subjects learn a new behavior that is opposed to an existing, maladaptive behavior like drug taking,” Kroener said. “When a subject is addicted to a drug, extinction is a method to help them re-learn behaviors – so they are able to take different actions.” LinkedIncenter_img Email Share on Facebook Vagus nerve stimulation involves sending a mild electric pulse through the vagus nerve, which is in the neck. VNS already has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for certain illnesses, such as depression and epilepsy.UT Dallas is a major hub of VNS research, with studies currently being done on how the method can potentially help people recover from paralysis from stroke, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or tinnitus.For the current study, Jessica Childs, a graduate student in Kroener’s lab, applied VNS to a test group of rats used in the study in a process called “extinction learning” to determine whether the procedure could help the animals learn different behaviors and reduce their drug cravings. Like Kroener’s research on anxiety, the drug addiction study sought to extinguish memories.“Extinction of fearful memories and extinction of drug-seeking memories relies on the same substrate in the brain. In our experiments, VNS facilitates both the extinction learning and reduces the relapse response as well,” said Kroener.He said the same theory can be applied to individuals trying to overcome an addiction to drugs; they typically need to learn a new behavior that competes with their old habits.“That’s what you want in addiction treatment. You want to reinforce behaviors that inhibit the old bad habits — do something else, spend your time more productively,” he said.The rats in the study would press a lever that provided them with a drug and also triggered a tone and a light. One day, however, pressing the lever stopped providing the drug, and the light and tone also disappeared.“We’re forcing them into withdrawal, but we’re also still keeping them in the same context — in the same setting with the same lever. But now when they press the lever, the lights and tone are not coming on anymore. So we’re changing the events that occur; they must relearn the contingencies,” Kroener said.He said, however, that the animals never forget the original drug-paired cues. Instead, they learn something new that competes with the old memories — in this case, that pressing the lever produces no light, no tone and no drug. Over time, according to Kroener, the animals press the lever less often, but they rarely stop pressing entirely.“They still check a couple of times each session, thinking that maybe something will happen. They go from 60 lever presses down to something like 10 per session. They clearly haven’t forgotten what the lever used to do and still have cravings for the drug,” Kroener said.Eventually, the light and tone (but not the drug) were reinstated, causing intense cravings in the animals and a relapse to drug-seeking, which results in more lever presses. However, the animals that experienced VNS treatment during the extinction phase of the experiment pressed the lever less frequently, by nearly 40 or 50 percent which, Kroener said, means their craving was very much reduced.“That’s what you want in addiction treatment,” he said. “You want to have less craving and less responsiveness to the old cues and the old environment that previously signified drug taking.“This approach really has the potential to become a therapy during rehab where people do this kind of exposure therapy, where they look at the stimuli that used to trigger their craving, while they are abstaining in a safe situation,” he said. “The VNS treatment might reinforce that abstinence, eventually weaning them off the drug-related behavior and protecting them better from the cravings.”last_img read more

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Women may be at higher risk for sports-related concussion than men

first_imgShare Share on Twitter Pinterest Email LinkedIncenter_img Share on Facebook Women athletes are 50 percent more likely than male athletes to have a sports-related concussion, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 69th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 22 to 28, 2017.“Sports-related concussion is a significant public health problem and research has typically focused on male athletes,” said author James Noble, MD, of Columbia University in New York, N.Y., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “Studies comparing male and female college athletes have often been limited in size and had incomplete follow-ups.”This study looked at 1,203 athletes from 2000-2014 at Columbia University and included 822 men and 381 women who participated in sports like soccer, basketball and football. Participants took tests to measure thinking skills and processing speed before and after a concussion. The researchers also tracked symptoms and when participants returned to play after a concussion. A total of 228 athletes in the study suffered at least one concussion during their college career, 88 women, or 23 percent, and 140 men, or 17 percent. Women were 50 percent more likely to have a concussion than men. Athletes who had suffered a previous concussion were three times more likely to have another concussion as those who had never had a concussion. In the gender comparable sports of soccer and basketball, women were more likely to have had a concussion.“It is unclear why women appear to be at higher risk for sports-related concussions than men,” said Noble. “The findings from this study highlight the need for more research on the gender differences in concussion.”While women appear to be more susceptible to concussions, the study indicates they recover from the injury just as quickly as men. The average return-to-play time was 10 days for both men and women.Men and women had similar symptoms following a concussion, except when it came to amnesia and insomnia. The study found 44 percent of men experienced amnesia versus 31 percent of women. It also found 42 percent of women had insomnia compared with 29 percent of men.last_img read more

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H1N1 NEWS SCAN: Business response, voice against conspiracy theorists, CT findings, H1N1 strains in pigs

first_imgJun 23, 2010Most businesses took steps to protect workersMost US employees say their companies took steps to protect them from illness during the H1N1 pandemic, such as providing hand-hygiene solutions (81%), encouraging ill employees to stay home (80%), providing information on stopping flu spread (77%), and promoting vaccination (60%). About 42% said employers created backup plans to cover workload, and the same percent reported expanded leave policies. The poll by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) was conducted Apr 21 to May 13.http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/files/h1n1-employee-topline-6.22.10.docJun 22 HSPH poll resultsNature editors take pandemic conspiracy theorists to taskSaying, “The council should think twice,” the editors of Nature today advised the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly against voting this week to express alarm over the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) pandemic response. The journal said it has “heard many objections to the conclusions of the report on which the resolution is based.” The editorial lauded transparency but said it would have been unwise to exclude from the H1N1 response all experts with ties to drug firms.http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/465985aJun 24 Nature editorialCT findings may help diagnose severe H1N1Researchers found that high-resolution CT (HRCT) findings can help diagnose severe cases of pandemic flu. Of 106 H1N1 patients, 29 (27%) had multifocal asymmetric ground-glass opacities alone on plain CT, but the finding was much more common in those who required mechanical ventilation compared with those who didn’t (63% vs 20%). On HRCT, the ground-glass opacities had a distinctive distribution that could aid early diagnosis of severe infection.http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejrad.2010.05.029?rssJun 20 Eur J Radiol abstractPCR method detects pandemic-origin viruses in pigsIn a study in Clinical Chemistry, researchers found that a method using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can detect reintroductions of the pandemic H1N1 virus in pigs. Their test detected all 10 viruses of pandemic H1N1 origin among 48 swine influenza strains isolated from an ongoing surveillance program. The authors concluded, “These assays might be useful screening tools for identifying viral reassortants derived from pandemic H1N1/2009 or its precursors.”http://www.clinchem.org/cgi/content/abstract/clinchem.2010.149179v1Jun 21  Clin Chem abstractlast_img read more

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Experts disagree on Haiti cholera source as cases near 100,000

first_imgDec 8, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – A report by an epidemiologist sent by France to assist Haiti with the cholera response said United Nations (UN) peacekeeping forces from Nepal are the most likely source of the outbreak, though others deny the claims or say the findings are inconclusive.The Associated Press (AP) obtained the report yesterday by French epidemiologist Renaud Piarroux, which concluded that cholera originated in a tributary of the Artibonite River near a UN base in Mirebalais that housed the soldiers.The report does not offer any evidence that the soldiers were infected but said no other hypothesis can be found to explain the outbreak, which occurred in a village that wasn’t affected by the earthquake and is not near the coastal area or refugee camps, the AP reported.The report came amid initial election results announced yesterday evening in Haiti, which has prompted fresh rounds of protest violence in Port-au-Prince and other areas. According to press accounts of the initial results, the election is headed toward a runoff between the top two vote-getters, Mirlande Manigat, a law professor and former first lady, and Jude Celestin, a government-backed candidate supported by Haiti’s president Rene Preval. The third candidate, who appears to be eliminated, is Michel Martelly, a singer.Observers in Haiti and abroad, including at the US Embassy, have questioned the validity of the count.The Piarroux report noted the first cholera cases were reported within days of a new group of soldiers arriving from Kathmandu, which was experiencing a cholera outbreak, but doctors have said none of them reported symptoms and tests on samples from the base turned up no evidence of cholera, according to a Cable News Network (CNN) reported today.UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said no conclusive evidence suggests the base is the source of the outbreak and said the UN welcomes any scientific debate or investigation on the possibility, the London-based Daily Mail reported today.Dr Eric Mintz, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told CNN that international research is under way on the origin of Haiti’s outbreak, and that so far, tests show the strain is indistinguishable from strains seen in other South Asian countries and is not unique to Nepal.The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) said in an update yesterday that Haiti’s health ministry has received reports of 93,222 cholera cases, including 44,157 hospitalizations and 2,120 deaths. Cases are increasing in all 10 of Haiti’s departments, and officials are working to confirm that cases have been detected in schools.The agency said it expected that the release of the presidential election results and a public holiday on Dec 9 will interrupt cholera response activities. Several response efforts are targeted to providing safe water and improving hygiene at schools, OCHA said.OCHA said some of the biggest gaps are water and sanitation in the North West and Center departments and personnel and supplies for health centers in the remote and mountainous areas in Cap Haitien.Elsewhere, the Dominican Republic’s public health ministry said yesterday that it has now received reports of 22 cholera cases, with the 2 most recent ones detected in the country’s western Elias Pina province, which borders Haiti, Dominican Today reported yesterday. However, most of the cases are in Santiago and Santo Domingo.See also:Dec 8 AP storyDec 8 Daily Mail storyDec 8 CNN reportDec 7 Dominican Today storylast_img read more

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Report: Filipino nurse in Saudi Arabia died of MERS

first_imgOfficials in the Philippines announced today that a 41-year-old Filipino nurse who was working in Saudi Arabia recently died of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) illness and that a second Filipina there is infected but recovering, according to media reports.The deceased woman fell ill in mid-August and died Aug 29 at a hospital in Riyadh, according to Raul Hernandez, a spokesman for the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, as reported today by GMA News, based in Quezon City, Philippines.Hernandez said the second woman was brought to the same hospital for dialysis, was infected while there, and is recovering there. The story did not disclose the name of either patient or the age or occupation of the second woman.The 41-year-old is the first Filipino to die of MERS, the story said. The report also appears to mark the first clear confirmation of MERS-CoV in a foreign guest worker in Saudi Arabia. The country’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has referred to a number of previous case-patients as “residents” rather than “citizens,” but it has not listed their home countries.In May a World Health Organization expert, Anthony Mounts, MD, voiced concern that guest workers from countries such as India and the Philippines could contract MERS-CoV in Saudi Arabia and bring it home. He worried that that step could spread the virus to a country where disease surveillance is not very strong.The media information about the Filipino nurse appears to match up with a Sep 5 statement from the Saudi MOH, which reported the death of a “41-year-old female resident working in the health sector in Riyadh.” The statement gave no other details about her.According to the GMA story, an official at the Riyadh hospital said the nurse complained of fever and coughing in mid August, was put on a ventilator on Aug 22, and was transferred to the hospital’s intensive care unit 2 days later. The official said the woman had vacationed in the United States in mid July.The story said at least 1 million Filipino workers are living in Saudi Arabia.See also: Sep 17 GMA News storySep 5 Saudi MOH statementMay 21 CIDRAP News story quoting Mountslast_img read more

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Food Safety Scan for Apr 28, 2014

first_imgUSDA awards $24 million in food safety grantsThe US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently announced it has funded almost $24 million for 35 research projects geared toward improving food safety.NIFA awarded the funding through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s Food Safety program. “Our goal is to reduce the number of illnesses and protect the food supply through research, education, and extension efforts focused on all levels of the food chain—from farm to fork,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy, PhD.The largest awards—of about $800,000 each—went to Kansas State University and The Ohio State University for developing mitigation strategies for antimicrobial resistance.In addition, 13 research centers received about $500,000 for investigating the physical and molecular mechanisms of foodborne pathogens. Seven groups received more than $400,000 and four centers lesser amounts to study produce safety, and six programs were awarded about $300,000 to address “critical and emerging food safety issues.”Apr 24 USDA press release Group publishes updated food outbreak guidelinesThe US Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) has updated its Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response, according to CIFOR.The second edition of the guidelines covers the overall approach to foodborne disease outbreaks, including preparation, detection, investigation, control, and follow-up, as well as the roles of all key organizations, the group said on its Web site. The guidelines are targeted to local, state, and federal agencies responsible for preventing and managing foodborne outbreaks, according to CIFOR, which is a multidisciplinary working group supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.Changes introduced since the first edition in 2009 include updates to include new Food Safety Modernization Act rules, new data on model practices, and updated statistics, CIFOR said.The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists and the National Association of County and City Health Officials co-chair CIFOR.CIFOR guidelines landing pagelast_img read more

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Flu Scan for Nov 18, 2014

first_imgWHO: Pacific islands only area showing notable flu activitySeveral Pacific Islands are the only areas of the world with noteworthy influenza activity at present, as circulation in nearly all other areas remains low, typical for this time of year, according to yesterday’s World Health Organization (WHO) biweekly update .North America is seeing slight increases, but overall activity remains low. Tropical areas of the Americas are also experiencing low activity, with most influenza-like illness (ILI) there caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).Flu News Europe, a weekly bulletin from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the WHO European office, reports low-intensity flu activity for week 45 (Nov 2 through 8), with no indication that the flu season has begun. Seven of the 39 reporting countries had sporadic cases, and 2 countries showed slightly increasing trends. (WHO did not report data on Europe because of temporary unavailability owing to a change in data collection forms.)Africa, western Asia, and eastern Asia similarly are seeing low levels of activity. Tropical Asia’s levels are low, with type B flu predominating in Viet Nam.Southern Hemisphere areas generally have low activity. In the Pacific, however, flu circulation is high in American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.Data are based on FluNet reporting from 51 countries as of Nov 14. A total of 44,937 respiratory specimens were tested, of which 1,978 were positive for flu. Of those, 72.5% were influenza A and 27.5% were influenza B. Of the 873 subtyped influenza A samples, 93.1% were H3N2 and 6.9% were 2009 H1N1. Of 90 subtyped flu B samples, 96.7% were of the Yamagata lineage and 3.3% were Victoria.Nov 17 WHO update FluNews Europe update UK avian flu virus is H5N8; Dutch outbreak arrestedBritish authorities announced today that the avian influenza virus that hit a Yorkshire duck farm last week is the H5N8 subtype, as expected, while Dutch authorities said an H5N8 outbreak in the Netherlands has not spread beyond the original chicken farm.The UK’s animal health laboratory in Weybridge confirmed that the outbreak in East Yorkshire involves H5N8, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) announced today. The outbreak, which began Nov 14, killed 338 ducks and prompted the culling of the rest of the 6,000-duck flock.The British and Dutch outbreaks followed an H5N8 outbreak detected on a German turkey farm Nov 4, marking the first H5N8 incursion in Europe. The virus struck South Korea in January and forced the culling of more than 10 million poultry in the country by mid-March. Health agencies suspect that wild birds brought the virus to Europe.In the Netherlands, authorities announced today that no signs of the virus have been found on other farms within 10 kilometers of the affected one, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. As a result, they lifted a temporary nationwide ban on the transport of poultry and poultry products.No human infections with H5N8 have been reported. But AFP said the WHO is urging Europeans to avoid touching sick or dead wild birds and is advising those involved in culling to check for fever over the next 2 weeks.Elizabeth Mumford, a WHO scientist, said she expects more avian outbreaks but judged that it’s unclear whether the virus will spread to humans, according to AFP. If it did infect humans, it would be unlikely to spread from person to person, she said. She added that oseltamivir (Tamiflu) could be used to treat it, because lab tests showed the virus is susceptible to the drug.Mumford said the virus’s H (hemagglutinin) component appears similar to that found in the highly pathogenic H5N1 subtype, but the N (neuraminidase) segment is from a completely different virus with no human-adapted component, indicating it prefers to attach to birds.Nov 18 Defra update Nov 18 AFP story  Egypt reports additional H5N1 deathA 30-year-old woman in Egypt died of H5N1 avian flu today, according to a Reuters report that cites Al-Ahram, Egypt’s state newspaper. Her death is the second H5N1 fatality reported in Egypt in 3 days.The woman is from Minya governorate in north-central Egypt and died in a hospital in Asyut, farther south, the Reuters story said. She had contact with infected birds before falling ill.On Nov 17 the country’s Ministry of Health reported an H5N1 death in a 19-year-old woman in Asyut, as well as a nonfatal case in a 3-year-old girl in Minya. Reuters yesterday reported those cases in addition to the case in the 30-year-old, but the health ministry did not report the case in the older woman until today, according to a translated statement on the Avian Flu Diary blog.The new cases bring the country’s H5N1 total to eight, including three deaths.Nov 18 Reuters report Nov 18 Avian Flu Diary blog post Nov 17 CIDRAP News scan on previous cases Study: LAIV use increases in children during last flu seasonResearchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 38% of children 2 to 8 years old received live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) during the 2013-14 flu season, according to a study yesterday in Vaccine. Study coordinators looked at vaccination records from six sentinel sites located around the country. LAIV use increased from 20.1% in that age-group during the 2008-09 flu season to 38% in the 2013-14 season, the study said.During this period, overall vaccine coverage also increased from 29.2% to 39.9% among children ages 2 to 8. Coverage also increased in children ages 9 to 12, from 18.2% to 33.3%, the study said.Children ages 5 to 8 had the highest use of LAIV (42.1%), and children ages 2 to 4 had the lowest (32.8%). North Dakota and Minnesota had the highest rates of LAIV uptake among children ages 2 to 8, with 55.5% and 50% of children receiving LAIV in 2013-14, respectively.On Jun 25, 2014, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) preferentially recommended LAIV for healthy children ages 2 to 8. Although LAIV availability can be affected by cost, storage limitations, and shelf life, the study reported that its acceptance appears to be increasing in the target population. Nov 17 Vaccine studylast_img read more

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