Flu vaccine tied to lower rates of flu-related pneumonia
The seasonal flu vaccine might cut the risk of contracting flu-associated pneumonia acquired in the community by more than half, a study today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found.
A team of US researchers, including some from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, analyzed data on patients ages 6 months and older from the Etiology of Pneumonia in the Community (EPIC) study, which was a prospective observational multicenter study of hospitalizations for community-acquired pneumonia conducted from January 2010 through June 2012 at four US sites.
They noted that 2,767 patients hospitalized for pneumonia were eligible for the study, of which 162 (5.9%) had lab-confirmed influenza. They found that 28 of 162 cases (17%) with flu-associated pneumonia and 766 of 2,605 controls (29%) with pneumonia but not flu had received flu vaccination.
The adjusted odds ratio of prior influenza vaccination between cases and controls was 0.43 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.28-0.68), for an estimated vaccine effectiveness against flu-related pneumonia of 56.7% (95% CI, 31.9%-72.5%).
Oct 5 JAMA study
Oct 5 JAMA press release
Avian flu in Taiwan, Vietnam affects more than 10,000 poultry
Four outbreaks of H5N2 avian flu have hit poultry in Taiwan, while Vietnam reports a new H5N6 event, the latest in a string of outbreaks related to that strain, according to separate reports posted by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) late last week.
The Taiwanese outbreaks affected four poultry holdings totaling 10,062 birds, official reported in an Oct 2 OIE report. After 515 birds became sick and 455 died, H5N2 was confirmed in the flocks and the surviving poultry were euthanized to prevent further disease spread.
The affected premises were a 20-chicken flock on a farm in Changhua County, a 1,555-goose flock in Yunlin County, and duck farms of 1,784 and 6,703 birds in Yunlin County. The chicken outbreak began Aug 28, and the other three started in early September. The ducks tested positive as a result of enhanced surveillance after the goose outbreak was confirmed.
Taiwan has battled a host of avian flu outbreaks this year caused by the H5N2 and H5N8 strains, most recently about a month ago. Yunlin has been one of the hardest-hit counties.
Oct 2 OIE report on Taiwan
In Vietnam, the fairly new H5N6 variant killed 800 of 1,800 birds in a backyard flock in Lao Cai province in the extreme north, near the country's border with China. The remaining 1,000 poultry were destroyed.
The outbreak began on Oct 1, and response measures such as disinfection and enhanced surveillance have been implemented, according to an Oct 3 OIE report. Vietnam reported in August 2014 that the H5N6 strain affecting poultry in the country is novel.
Oct 3 OIE report on Vietnam