News & Perspective

Dec 30, 2008

Dec 30, 2008

Hong Kong reports baby has H9N2 virus

Dec 30. 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Health officials in Hong Kong today said a 2-month-old girl who lives in mainland China has been hospitalized at a Hong Kong hospital for an H9N2 avian influenza infection, which typically causes mild illness but is considered one of the viruses that could evolve into a pandemic strain.

Dec 16, 2008

Dec 16, 2008

China reports new H5N1 outbreaks

(CIDRAP News) – China's agriculture ministry today said it has detected H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks at two poultry farms in Jiangsu province in the eastern part of the country.

In a statement posted on its Web site, the ministry said both sites where the H5N1 virus was found are in Haian county, in the eastern part of the province, according to a report today from Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Dec 11, 2008

Dec 11, 2008

Tests confirm H5N1 in Hong Kong outbreak

(CIDRAP News) – Agriculture officials in Hong Kong today confirmed that the avian influenza virus that recently hit a large commercial chicken farm was the lethal H5N1 strain, as authorities vowed to explore potential protection gaps in the poultry vaccine and the possibility that smuggled eggs might be a source of the virus.

Dec 09, 2008

Dec 09, 2008

Avian flu strikes Hong Kong poultry farm

(CIDRAP News) – Health officials in Hong Kong today said they have detected an H5 avian influenza outbreak at a poultry farm in Yuen Long, marking the country's first farm-based outbreak since 2003.

York Chow, Hong Kong's secretary for food and health, said in a press release today that the H5 avian flu virus struck 60 chickens, which died yesterday. He did not say if the virus at the farm was the highly pathogenic H5N1 subtype.

Oct 31, 2008

Oct 31, 2008

Encouraging results reported for injectable flu drug

(CIDRAP News) – BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. reported encouraging results this week in two phase 2 trials of its injectable antiviral drug, peramivir, a potential new treatment for influenza.

Peramivir is a neuraminidase inhibitor, like the licensed antivirals oseltamivir (Tamiflu), which is taken orally, and zanamivir (Relenza), inhaled as a powder.

Oct 30, 2008

Oct 30, 2008

Benefits of flu vaccination hotly debated

– WASHINGTON (CIDRAP News) – The benefits conferred by influenza vaccination—to recipients and to their close contacts—were hotly disputed at an international medical meeting this week.

Oct 17, 2008

Oct 17, 2008

World Bank says flu pandemic could cost $3 trillion

(CIDRAP News) – An internal report prepared by the World Bank estimates that a severe influenza pandemic could kill 71 million people and cause a recession costing more than $3 trillion, Bloomberg News reported today.

The report says that in a severe pandemic, sagging tourism, transportation, retail sales, and productivity, coupled with worker absenteeism, could reduce global gross domestic product (GDP) by 4.8%, according to Bloomberg.

Oct 07, 2008

Oct 07, 2008

Bacterial coinfections boosting child flu deaths

(CIDRAP News) – The number of children who have died from a combination of influenza infection and bacterial pneumonia—in many cases due to the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)—has risen sharply over the past few years, federal epidemiologists say in a new report that urges flu shots as a preventative.

Sep 23, 2008

Sep 23, 2008

WHO keeps same strains for 2009 southern hemisphere flu vaccine

Editor's note: The second paragraph of this story was revised on Sep 24 to correct an error. On the basis of information from ProMED-mail (published by the International Society for Infectious Diseases), the original version said it was unusual for the southern hemisphere vaccine composition to be the same as the preceding northern hemisphere vaccine. A later ProMED-mail posting made clear that this is not unusual.

Sep 12, 2008

Sep 12, 2008

Study: Hong Kong gained little from flu-related school closure

(CIDRAP News) – Public health officials in Hong Kong made headlines in March when they closed schools for 2 weeks to put a damper on an influenza epidemic, but a new report says the measure appears to have had little effect.

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