Tag Archives: CDC

Toxic Shock Syndrome

Definition:-
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a very rare but potentially fatal illness caused by a bacterial toxin. Different bacterial toxins may cause toxic shock syndrome, depending on the situation. The causative bacteria include Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. Streptococcal TSS is sometimes referred to as toxic shock-like syndrome (TSLS) or Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome (STSS).

TSS, is a serious condition which mainly affects menstruating women using tampons. The patient develops a high fever, diarrhea, vomiting and muscle ache. This is followed by hypotension (low blood pressure), which may eventually lead to shock and death. In some cases there may be a sunburn-like rash with skin peeling.

Experts are not sure why such a significant proportion of toxic shock syndrome patients are women who are menstruating and using a tampon – especially “super absorbent” tampons.

Toxic shock syndrome may also occur as a result of an injury, burn or as a complication of localized infections, such as a boil, as well as with the use of contraceptive sponges.

According to the National Health Service (NHS), UK, approximately 20 patients develop toxic shock syndrome each year in the United Kingdom, of which about 3 die. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA, toxic shock syndrome affects approximately 1 to 2 in every 100,000 women aged 15-44 years in the USA every year.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

You may click to see the pictures of Toxic Shock Syndrome

Main Routes of infection:-
TSS can occur via the skin (e.g., cuts, surgery, burns), vagina (prolonged tampon exposure), or pharynx. However, most of the large number of individuals who are exposed to or colonized with toxin-producing strains of S. aureus or S. pyogenes do not develop toxic shock syndrome. One reason is that a large percentage of the population have protective antibodies against the toxins that cause TSS. It is not clear why the antibodies are present in people who have never had the disease, but likely that given these bacteria’s pervasiveness and presence in normal flora, minor cuts and such allow natural immunization on a large scale.

It is believed that approximately half the cases of staphylococcal TSS reported today are associated with tampon use during menstruation. However, TSS can also occur in children, men, and non-menstruating women.

Although scientists have recognized an association between TSS and tampon use, no firm causal link has been established. Research conducted by the CDC suggested that use of some high-absorbency tampons increased the risk of TSS in menstruating women. A few specific tampon designs and high-absorbency tampon materials were found to have some association with increased risk of TSS. These products and materials are no longer used in tampons sold in the U.S. (The materials include polyester, carboxymethylcellulose and polyacrylate). Tampons made with rayon do not appear to have a higher risk of TSS than cotton tampons of similar absorbency.

Toxin production by S. aureus requires a protein-rich environment, which is provided by the flow of menstrual blood, a neutral vaginal pH, which occurs during menstruation, and elevated oxygen levels, which are provided by the tampon that is inserted into the normally anaerobic vaginal environment. Although ulcerations have been reported in women using super-absorbent tampons, the link to menstrual TSS, if any, is unclear. The toxin implicated in menstrual TSS is capable of entering the bloodstream by crossing the vaginal wall in the absence of ulcerations. Women can avoid the risk of contracting TSS by choosing a tampon with the minimum absorbency needed to manage their menstrual flow and using tampons only during active menstruation. Alternately, a woman may choose to use a different kind of menstrual product that may eliminate or reduce the risk of TSS, such as a menstrual cup or sanitary napkin.

History:-
Initial description of toxic shock syndrome
The term toxic shock syndrome was first used in 1978 by a Denver pediatrician, Dr. James K. Todd, to describe the staphylococcal illness in three boys and four girls aged 8–17 years. Even though S. aureus was isolated from mucosal sites in the patients, bacteria could not be isolated from the blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or urine, raising suspicion that a toxin was involved. The authors of the study noted that reports of similar staphylococcal illnesses had appeared occasionally as far back as 1927. But the authors at the time failed to consider the possibility of a connection between toxic shock syndrome and tampon use, as three of the girls who were menstruating when the illness developed were using tampons. Many cases of TSS occurred after tampons were left in the woman using them.

Rely tampons:-
Following a controversial period of test marketing in Rochester, New York and Fort Wayne, Indiana, in August 1978 Procter and Gamble introduced superabsorbent Rely tampons to the United States market in response to women’s demands for tampons that could contain an entire menstrual flow without leaking or replacement. Rely used carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) and compressed beads of polyester for absorption. This tampon design could absorb nearly 20 times its own weight in fluid. Further, the tampon would “blossom” into a cup shape in the vagina in order to hold menstrual fluids without leakage.

Package of Rely Tampons

In January 1980, epidemiologists in Wisconsin and Minnesota reported the appearance of TSS, mostly in menstruating women, to the CDC. S. aureus was successfully cultured from most of the women. A CDC task force investigated the epidemic as the number of reported cases rose throughout the summer of 1980, accompanied by widespread publicity. In September 1980, the CDC reported that users of Rely were at increased risk for developing TSS.

On September 22, 1980, Procter and Gamble recalled Rely following release of the CDC report. As part of the voluntary recall, Procter and Gamble entered into a consent agreement with the FDA “providing for a program for notification to consumers and retrieval of the product from the market.” However, it was clear to other investigators that Rely was not the only culprit. Other regions of the United States saw increases in menstrual TSS before Rely was introduced. It was shown later that higher absorbency of tampons was associated with an increased risk for TSS, regardless of the chemical composition or the brand of the tampon. The sole exception was Rely, for which the risk for TSS was still higher when corrected for its absorbency. The ability of carboxymethylcellulose to filter the S. aureus toxin that causes TSS may account for the increased risk associated with Rely.

By the end of 1980, the number of TSS cases reported to the CDC began to decline. The reduced incidence was attributed not only to the removal of Rely from the market, but also to reduced use of all tampon brands. According to the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, 942 women were diagnosed with tampon-related TSS in the USA from March 1980 to March 1981, 40 of whom died.

Symptoms:-
Symptoms of toxic shock syndrome vary depending on the underlying cause. TSS resulting from infection with the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus typically manifests in otherwise healthy individuals with high fever, accompanied by low blood pressure, malaise and confusion, which can rapidly progress to stupor, coma, and multi-organ failure. The characteristic rash, often seen early in the course of illness, resembles a sunburn, and can involve any region of the body, including the lips, mouth, eyes, palms and soles. In patients who survive the initial onslaught of the infection, the rash desquamates, or peels off, after 10–14 days.

Signs and symptoms of TSS (toxic shock syndrome) develop suddenly:
Sudden high fever (first symptom) The following signs and symptoms normally appear within a few hours:

*Vomiting
*Diarrhea
*Sunburn-like skin rash, particularly in the palms and soles
*Redness of eyes, mouth and throat
*Fainting
*Feeling faint
*Muscle aches
*Dizziness
*Confusion
*Hypotension (low blood pressure)
*Seizures
*Headaches

Causes of toxic shock syndrome :-
Scientists have been investigating the causes of TSS for over two decades and are still baffled. 20% to 30% of all humans carry the TSS causing bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus on their skin and nose; usually without any complications. Most of us have antibodies which protect us. Scientists believe that some of us do not develop the necessary antibodies.

Some experts suggest that the super-absorbent tampons – the ones that stay inside the body the longest – become breeding grounds for bacteria, while others believe the tampon fibers may scratch the vagina, making it possible for bacteria to get through and into the bloodstream. However, both are just theories without any compelling evidence to back them up.

We do know that the bacteria get into the body via wounds, localized infections, the vagina, the throat or burns. When the toxins (produced by the bacteria) enter the bloodstream they mess up the blood pressure regulating process, resulting in a hypotension (low blood pressure). Hypotension can cause dizziness and confusion (shock). The toxins also attack tissues, including organs and muscles. Kidney failure is a common TSS complication.

TSS does not only develop in young menstruating women. Older women, men and children may also be affected. Women who have been using a diaphragm or a contraceptive sponge have a slightly higher risk of developing TSS. In fact, anyone with a staph or strep infection has the potential to develop TSS (even though it is extremely rare).

Diagnosis:-
In contrast, TSS caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes, or TSLS, typically presents in people with pre-existing skin infections with the bacteria. These individuals often experience severe pain at the site of the skin infection, followed by rapid progression of symptoms as described above for TSS. In contrast to TSS caused by Staphylococcus, Streptococcal TSS less often involves a sunburn rash.

In either case, diagnosis is based strictly upon CDC criteria modified in 1981 after the initial surge in tampon-associated infections.:

1.Body temperature > 38.9 °C (102.02 °F)
2.Systolic blood pressure < 90 mmHg
3.Diffuse rash, intense erythroderma, blanching (“boiled lobster”) with subsequent desquamation, especially of the palms and soles
4.Involvement of three or more organ systems:

*Gastrointestinal (vomiting, diarrhea)
*Mucous membrane hyperemia (vaginal, oral, conjunctival)
*Renal failure (serum creatinine > 2x normal)
*Hepatic inflammation (AST, ALT > 2x normal)
*Thrombocytopenia (platelet count < 100,000 / mm³)
*CNS involvement (confusion without any focal neurological findings)

To date, there is no specific TSS test. The doctor needs to identify the most common symptoms, as well as checking for signs of organ failure.

*Blood and urine tests – these help determine organ function (or organ failure).

According to the National Health Service (NHS), UK, a confident TSS diagnosis can generally be made when:

*The patient’s temperature is above 38.9C (102.02F)
*The patient’s systolic blood pressure is below 90 mmHG
*The patient has a skin rash
*There is evidence that at least three organs have been affected by the infection

Pathogenesis:-
In both TSS (caused by Staph. aureus) and TSLS (caused by Strep. pyogenes), disease progression stems from a superantigen toxin that allows the non-specific binding of MHC II with T cell receptors, resulting in polyclonal T cell activation. In typical T cell recognition, an antigen is taken up by an antigen-presenting cell, processed, expressed on the cell surface in complex with class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) in a groove formed by the alpha and beta chains of class II MHC, and recognized by an antigen-specific T cell receptor. By contrast, superantigens do not require processing by antigen-presenting cells but instead interact directly with the invariant region of the class II MHC molecule. In patients with TSS, up to 20% of the body’s T cells can be activated at one time. This polyclonal T-cell population causes a cytokine storm, followed by a multisystem disease. The toxin in S. aureus infections is Toxic Shock Syndrome Toxin-1, or TSST-1.

Treatment:-
The medical team’s aim is to fight the infection as well as supporting any body functions that the infection may have affected. The patient will be hospitalized and may be placed in an intensive care unit.

*Oxygen – the patient will usually be given oxygen to support breathing.

*Fluids – fluids will be administered to prevent dehydration and to bring blood pressure back up to normal.

*Kidneys – a dialysis machine will be used if there is kidney failure. The machine filters toxins and waste out of the bloodstream.

*Other damage – damage to skin, fingers or toes will need to be treated. This often involves draining and cleaning. In severe cases a body extremity or parts of skin may need to be surgically removed.

*Antibiotics – a combination of antibiotics is administered intravenously (directly into the bloodstream).

*Immunoglobulin – these are samples of donated human blood with high levels of antibodies which can fight the toxin. In some cases the medical team may administer immunoglobulin as well as antibiotics.
In the majority of cases the patient responds to treatment within a couple of days. However, he/she may have to stay in hospital for several weeks.

Click to see :->Streptococcal Toxic-Shock Syndrome: Spectrum of Disease, Pathogenesis, and New Concepts in Treatment

Prognosis :-
With proper treatment, patients usually recover in two to three weeks. The condition can, however, be fatal within hours.

Prevention:
Before going through about possible preventive measures, it is important to remember that the risk of developing TSS is very low. A significant number of experts point to a probably link between tampon absorbency and TSS risk, and advise women to:

*Thoroughly wash their hands before inserting a tampon
*Use the lowest absorbency tampons for their period flow
*Switch from tampons to sanitary towels (or panty liners) during their period
*Change tampons at least as regularly as directed on the pack
*Insert only one tampon at a time (never more than one)
*Insert a fresh tampon when going to bed and replace it immediately in the morning
*Remove the tampon as soon as the period has ended

The Mayo Clinic, USA, advises women to avoid using tampons completely when their flow is very light (use minipads instead).

The National Health Service (NHS), UK, advises that people who have had TSS should avoid using tampons.

Women who use a diaphragm, cap or contraceptive sponge should follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully (regarding how long to leave the device inside the vagina). The NHS advises women who have had TSS to use an alternative method of contraception.

You may click & see also->

*Necrotizing fasciitis  :
*Septic shock    :
*Toxic headache :

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxic_shock_syndrome
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/175736.php

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Stretch of Imagination

Experts now say that stretching before exercise may actually harm you. ……Lenny Bernstein reports

It’s been a long, hard day at the office, and you need a good workout to blow off all that stress. But before you hit the free weights, the stationary bike or the elliptical machine, you spend 10 minutes carefully stretching all those stiff muscles, just as every coach, trainer and physical therapist has advised for as long as you can remember.

click & see
Now the question is why ?

There’s no evidence that you’ll prevent injury. In fact, some people believe you’re more likely to cause one.

“There is not sufficient evidence to endorse or discontinue routine stretching before or after exercise to prevent injury among competitive or recreational athletes,” concluded the National Center for Injury Prevention Control, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a 2004 study that may be the most thorough look at the research on stretching.

Research and anecdotal information attribute many benefits to stretching: reduced muscle tension, improved circulation, pain reduction and management. Perhaps most important, stretching helps us maintain range of motion as we age, allowing older people to continue with the activities of daily living.

The question is whether “static stretching” — the most common type, which involves holding a muscle in one position for a defined period of time — has been misinterpreted, or oversold, as a preventive for what ails you.

“People believe all kinds of amazing things, and it changes every 10-15 years,” said William Meller, a physician and associate professor of evolutionary medicine at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The merits of stretching are “not based on any science. It’s spread by coaches, trainers and all kinds of people.”

According to Julie Gilchrist, a medical epidemiologist who helped conduct the CDC study, “it’s probably important that we maintain some norm of flexibility throughout our life spans, but I don’t think anyone has really defined what that (norm) is.

“Our belief is there are probably people who would benefit from stretching. But then the question is who should stretch, when to stretch,” how much to stretch and, most important, what benefits can be expected.

Even for the elderly, “we don’t have the kinds of controlled intervention studies that we need to make a definitive statement about the benefits of doing flexibility exercises,” said Chhanda Dutta, chief of the clinical gerontology branch at the National Institute on Aging.

Similarly, coaches wouldn’t dream of putting athletes on a field, even for practice, without a battery of stretches that help them take the pounding and awkward landings of contact sports.

“As a coach, if I didn’t do that and somebody got hurt, I would probably have a tough time sleeping at night,” said Paul Foringer, a football coach at a high school in Gaithersburg, Maryland. “It’s kind of common sense. If you take something that’s taut and tough and you yank it, you’re going to tear it.”

But that’s not what studies show. “Stretching was not significantly associated with a reduction in total injuries,” said the CDC study, “and similar findings were seen in the subgroup analyses.”

In static stretching, “you’re taking the muscle to the point where it naturally wants to go, and then you’re taking it a little bit farther,” said Meller. That produces microscopic tears of muscle fibres and does nothing to prevent injury, he said. It also may weaken the muscle slightly, increase the possibility of injury and inhibit performance, according to him and the CDC study.

For those who want to stretch, it should be done after a warm-up or at the end of an exercise routine because warm muscles are more pliable.

Research indicates that warming up before exercise is more valuable than stretching. Specifically, Meller said, you should spend three to five minutes gently putting your body through the actions you’re about to perform, slowly increasing the intensity. If you’re going to play tennis, he said, swing forehands, backhands and serves, and run forward, backward and laterally before you hit the first ball.

Source: The Washington Post

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Swine Flu

Other Names: Pig influenza, hog flu and pig flu.

Description:
Swine flu (also swine influenza) refers to influenza caused by any strain of the influenza virus endemic in pigs (swine). Strains endemic in swine are called swine influenza virus (SIV).

You may Click & see

Swine flu is common in swine and rare in humans. People who work with swine, especially people with intense exposures, are at risk of catching swine influenza if the swine carry a strain able to infect humans. However, these strains rarely are able to pass from human to human. Rarely, SIV mutates into a form able to pass easily from human to human. The strain responsible for the 2009 swine flu outbreak is believed to have undergone such a mutation. This virus is named swine flu because one of its surface proteins is similar to viruses that usually infects pigs, but this strain is spreading in people and it is unknown if it infects pigs.

click & see

It is an infection caused by any one of several types of swine influenza viruses. Swine influenza virus (SIV) or swine-origin influenza virus (S-OIV) is any strain of the influenza family of viruses that is endemic in pigs.As of 2009, the known SIV strains include influenza C and the subtypes of influenza A known as H1N1, H1N2, H2N1, H3N1, H3N2, and H2N3.

In humans, the symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of influenza and of influenza-like illness in general, namely chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness and general discomfort. The strain responsible for the 2009 swine flu outbreak in most cases causes only mild symptoms and the infected person makes a full recovery without  requiring medical attention and without the use of antiviral medicines.

Of the three genera of human flu, two are endemic also in swine: Influenzavirus A (common) and Influenzavirus C (rare). Influenzavirus B has not been reported in swine. Within Influenzavirus A and Influenzavirus C, the strains endemic to swine and humans are largely distinct.

History:
The swine flu is likely a descendant of the infamous “Spanish flu” that caused a devastating pandemic in humans in 1918–1919. In less than a year, that pandemic killed more an estimated 50 million people worldwide. Descendants of this virus have persisted in pigs; they probably circulated in humans until the appearance of the Asian flu in 1957, and reemerged in 1977. Direct transmission from pigs to humans is rare, with 12 cases in the U.S. since 2005.

The flu virus is perhaps the trickiest known to medical science; it constantly changes form to elude the protective antibodies that the body has developed in response to previous exposures to influenza or to influenza vaccines. Every two or three years the virus undergoes minor changes. Then, at intervals of roughly a decade, after the bulk of the world’s population has developed some level of resistance to these minor changes, it undergoes a major shift that enables it to tear off on yet another pandemic sweep around the world, infecting hundreds of millions of people who suddenly find their antibody defenses outflanked. Even during the Spanish flu pandemic, the initial wave of the disease was relatively mild and the second wave was highly lethal.In 1957, an Asian flu pandemic infected some 45 million Americans and killed 70,000. Eleven years later, lasting from 1968 to

1969, the Hong Kong flu pandemic afflicted 50 million Americans and caused 33,000 deaths, costing approximately $3.9 billion.

In 1976, about 500 soldiers became infected with swine flu over a period of a few weeks. However, by the end of the month investigators found that the virus had “mysteriously disappeared” and there were no more signs of swine flu anywhere on the post.  There were isolated cases around the U.S. but those cases were supposedly to individuals who caught the virus from pigs.

Medical researchers worldwide, recognizing that the swine flu virus might again mutate into something as deadly as the Spanish flu, were carefully watching the latest 2009 outbreak of swine flu and making contingency plans for a possible global pandemic.

Swine influenza virus is common throughout pig populations worldwide. Transmission of the virus from pigs to humans is not common and does not always lead to human flu, often resulting only in the production of antibodies in the blood. If transmission does cause human flu, it is called zoonotic swine flu. People with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk of swine flu infection.

Around the mid-20th century, identification of influenza subtypes became possible, allowing accurate diagnosis of transmission to humans. Since then, only 50 such transmissions have been confirmed. These strains of swine flu rarely pass from human to human. Symptoms of zoonotic swine flu in humans are similar to those of influenza and of influenza-like illness in general, namely chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness and general discomfort.

In August 2010, the World Health Organization declared the swine flu pandemic officially over.

Cases of swine flu have been reported in India, with over 31,156 positive test cases and 1,841 deaths till March 2015.

Signs and symptoms:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in humans the symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of influenza and of influenza-like illness in general. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. The 2009 outbreak has shown an increased percentage of patients reporting diarrhea and vomiting.

CLICK & SEE

Because these symptoms are not specific to swine flu, a differential diagnosis of probable swine flu requires not only symptoms but also a high likelihood of swine flu due to the person’s recent history. For example, during the 2009 swine flu outbreak in the United States, CDC advised physicians to “consider swine influenza infection in the differential diagnosis of patients with acute febrile respiratory illness who have either been in contact with persons with confirmed swine flu, or who were in one of the five U.S. states that have reported swine flu cases or in Mexico during the 7 days preceding their illness onset.” A diagnosis of confirmed swine flu requires laboratory testing of a respiratory sample (a simple nose and throat swab)……click & see

Pathophysiology
Influenza viruses bind through hemagglutinin onto sialic acid sugars on the surfaces of epithelial cells; typically in the nose, throat and lungs of mammals and intestines of birds (Stage 1 in infection figure).

Swine flu in humans:
People who work with poultry and swine, especially people with intense exposures, are at increased risk of zoonotic infection with influenza virus endemic in these animals, and constitute a population of human hosts in which zoonosis and reassortment can co-occur. Transmission of influenza from swine to humans who work with swine was documented in a small surveillance study performed in 2004 at the University of Iowa. This study among others forms the basis of a recommendation that people whose jobs involve handling poultry and swine be the focus of increased public health surveillance. The 2009 swine flu outbreak is an apparent reassortment of several strains of influenza A virus subtype H1N1, including a strain endemic in humans and two strains endemic in pigs, as well as an avian influenza.

The CDC reports that the symptoms and transmission of the swine flu from human to human is much like that of seasonal flu. Common symptoms include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing, while runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. It is believed to be spread between humans through coughing or sneezing of infected people and touching something with the virus on it and then touching their own nose or mouth. Swine flu cannot be spread by pork products, since the virus is not transmitted through food. The swine flu in humans is most contagious during the first five days of the illness although some people, most commonly children, can remain contagious for up to ten days. Diagnosis can be made by sending a specimen, collected during the first five days, to the CDC for analysis.

The swine flu is susceptible to four drugs licensed in the United States, amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir; however, for the 2009 outbreak it is recommended it be treated under medical advice only with oseltamivir and zanamivir to avoid drug resistance. The vaccine for the human seasonal H1N1 flu does not protect against the swine H1N1 flu, as they are antigenically very different.

Causes:
The cause of the 2009 swine flu was an influenza A virus type designated as H1N1. In 2011, a new swine flu virus was detected. The new strain was named influenza A (H3N2)v. Only a few people (mainly children) were first infected, but officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported increased numbers of people infected in the 2012-2013 flu season. Currently, there are not large numbers of people infected with H3N2v. Unfortunately, another virus termed H3N2 (note no “v” in its name) has been detected and caused flu, but this strain is different from H3N2v. In general, all of the influenza A viruses have a structure similar to the H1N1 virus; each type has a somewhat different H and/or N structure.

Complications Of Swine Flu And Higher Risk Individuals:-

Those at higher risk include those with the following:
*Age of 65 years or older
*Chronic health problems (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease)
*Pregnant women
*Young children

Complications (for all patients but especially for those at higher risk) can include:
*Pneumonia
*Bronchitis
*Sinus infections
*Ear infections
*Death

Diagnosis :-
1. A respiratory sample collected within the first five days of illness will be collected.

2. The sample is sent to the CDC for laboratory analysis and confirmation.

At this time the CDC is recommending the use of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) for treatment and/or prevention of Swine flu.

Why is swine flu now infecting humans?

Many researchers now consider that two main series of events can lead to swine flu (and also avian or bird flu) becoming a major cause for influenza illness in humans.

First, the influenza viruses (types A, B, C) are enveloped RNA viruses with a segmented genome; this means the viral RNA genetic code is not a single strand of RNA but exists as eight different RNA segments in the influenza viruses. A human (or bird) influenza virus can infect a pig respiratory cell at the same time as a swine influenza virus; some of the replicating RNA strands from the human virus can get mistakenly enclosed inside the enveloped swine influenza virus. For example, one cell could contain eight swine flu and eight human flu RNA segments. The total number of RNA types in one cell would be 16; four swine and four human flu RNA segments could be incorporated into one particle, making a viable eight RNA-segmented flu virus from the 16 available segment types. Various combinations of RNA segments can result in a new subtype of virus (this process is known as antigenic shift) that may have the ability to preferentially infect humans but still show characteristics unique to the swine influenza virus . It is even possible to include RNA strands from birds, swine, and human influenza viruses into one virus if a single cell becomes infected with all three types of influenza (for example, two bird flu, three swine flu, and three human flu RNA segments to produce a viable eight-segment new type of flu viral genome). Formation of a new viral type is considered to be antigenic shift; small changes within an individual RNA segment in flu viruses are termed antigenic drift   and result in minor changes in the virus. However, these small genetic changes can accumulate over time to produce enough minor changes that cumulatively alter the virus’ makeup over time (usually years).

Second, pigs can play a unique role as an intermediary host to new flu types because pig respiratory cells can be infected directly with bird, human, and other mammalian flu viruses. Consequently, pig respiratory cells are able to be infected with many types of flu and can function as a “mixing pot” for flu RNA segments . Bird flu viruses, which usually infect the gastrointestinal cells of many bird species, are shed in bird feces. Pigs can pick these viruses up from the environment, and this seems to be the major way that bird flu virus RNA segments enter the mammalian flu virus population.

Present vaccination strategies for SIV control and prevention in swine farms, typically include the use of one of several bivalent SIV vaccines commercially available in the United States. Of the 97 recent H3N2 isolates examined, only 41 isolates had strong serologic cross-reactions with antiserum to three commercial SIV vaccines. Since the protective ability of influenza vaccines depends primarily on the closeness of the match between the vaccine virus and the epidemic virus, the presence of nonreactive H3N2 SIV variants suggests that current commercial vaccines might not effectively protect pigs from infection with a majority of H3N2 viruses.

swine_flu_h1_n1

Treatment
In response to requests from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on April 27, 2009 the FDA issued Emergency Use Authorizations to make available diagnostic and therapeutic tools to identify and respond to the swine influenza virus under certain circumstances. The agency issued these EUAs for the use of certain Relenza and Tamiflu antiviral drugs, and for the rRT-PCR Swine Flu Panel diagnostic test.

The CDC recommends the use of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) or Relenza (zanamivir) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses, however, the majority of people infected with the virus make a full recovery without requiring medical attention or antiviral drugs The virus isolates that have been tested from the US and Mexico are however resistant to amantadine and rimantadine. If a person gets sick, antiviral drugs can make the illness milder and make the patient feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).

Antiviral Stockpiles:
Some countries have issued orders to stockpile antivirals . These typically have an expiry date of five years after manufacturing.

Preparedness
To maintain a secure household during a pandemic flu, the Water Quality & Health Council recommends keeping as supplies food and bottled water, portable power sources and chlorine bleach as an emergency water purifier and surface sanitizer.

Click to see :->

Homeopathy Remedies for Swine Flu

Fight against swine flu by Chinese medicine

Herbal soup  to fight against swine flu

Stay safe from H1N1 Maxican Swine Flu through herbal medication

Fight Swine Flu With Alternative Remedies

Prevention.

click & see
Prevention of swine influenza has three components:-(1) prevention in swine, (2) prevention of transmission to humans, and (3)  prevention of its spread among humans.

(1)Prevention in swine
Swine influenza has become a greater problem in recent decades as the evolution of the virus has resulted in inconsistent responses to traditional vaccines. Standard commercial swine flu vaccines are effective in controlling the infection when the virus strains match enough to have significant cross-protection, and custom (autogenous) vaccines made from the specific viruses isolated are created and used in the more difficult cases.

(2) Prevention of transmission to humans
There are antiviral medicines you can take to prevent or treat swine flu. There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. You can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza by

*Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
*Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. You can also use alcohol-based hand cleaners.
*Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
*Trying to avoid close contact with sick people.
*Staying home from work or school if you are sick.

(3) Prevention of spread in humans
Recommendations to prevent spread of the virus among humans include using standard infection control against influenza. This includes frequent washing of hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after being out in public. Vaccines against the H1N1 strain in the 2009 human outbreak are being developed and could be ready as early as June 2009.

Experts agree that hand-washing can help prevent viral infections, a surprisingly effective way to prevent all sorts of diseases, including ordinary influenza and the new swine flu virus. Influenza can spread in coughs or sneezes, but an increasing body of evidence shows little particles of virus can linger on tabletops, telephones and other surfaces and be transferred via the fingers to the mouth, nose or eyes. Alcohol-based gel or foam hand sanitizers work well to destroy viruses and bacteria. Anyone with flu-like symptoms such as a sudden fever, cough or muscle aches should stay away from work or public transportation and should see a doctor to be tested.

Social distancing is another tactic. It means staying away from other people who might be infected and can include avoiding large gatherings, spreading out a little at work, or perhaps staying home and lying low if an infection is spreading in a community.

You may click to see the latest information & instruction from WHO about the spread of swine flu

Click to see:-:>Critical Alert: The Swine Flu Pandemic – Fact or Fiction?

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swine_influenza

http://diseases-viruses.suite101.com/article.cfm/swine_flu_symptoms_treatment_and_prevention

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/swineflu.html

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Months After Smoking Ban, Heart Attacks Down by 40%

A smoking ban caused heart attacks to drop by more than 40% in one US city and the decrease lasted three years, federal health experts reported.

Pueblo, Colorado, passed a municipal law making workplaces and public places smoke-free in 2003 and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials tracked hospitalizations for heart attacks afterward.

They found there were 399 hospital admissions for heart attacks in Pueblo in the 18 months before the ban and 237 heart attack hospitalizations in the next year and a half – a decline of 41%.

The effect lasted three years, the team reported in a CDC report. “We know that exposure to second-hand smoke has immediate harmful effects on people’s cardiovascular systems, and that prolonged exposure to it can cause heart disease in nonsmoking adults,” said Janet Collins, director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

“This study adds to existing evidence that smoke-free policies can dramatically reduce illness and death from heart disease.”

Long-term exposure to secondhand smoke can raise heart disease rates in adult nonsmokers by 25% to 30%, the CDC says.

Sources: The Times Of India

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Avoid Flu Shots With the One Vitamin that Will Stop Flu in Its Tracks

None - This image is in the public domain and ...

Image via Wikipedia

Another influenza season is beginning, and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will strongly urge Americans to get a flu shot. In fact, the CDC mounts a well-orchestrated campaign each season to generate interest and demand for flu shots.

But a recent study published in the October issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that vaccinating young children against the flu appeared to have no impact on flu-related hospitalizations or doctor visits during two recent flu seasons.

At first glance, the data did suggest that children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years derived some protection from vaccination in these years. But after adjusting for potentially relevant variables, the researchers concluded that “significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting” examined.

Additionally, a Group Health study found that flu shots do not protect elderly people against developing pneumonia — the primary cause of death resulting as a complication of the flu. Others have questioned whether there is any mortality benefit with influenza vaccination. Vaccination coverage among the elderly increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now, but there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza or pneumonia.

There is some evidence that flu shots cause Alzheimer’s disease, most likely as a result of combining mercury with aluminum and formaldehyde. Mercury in vaccines has also been implicated as a cause of autism.

Three other serious adverse reactions to the flu vaccine are joint inflammation and arthritis, anaphylactic shock (and other life-threatening allergic reactions), and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralytic autoimmune disease.

One credible hypothesis that explains the seasonal nature of flu is that influenza is a vitamin D deficiency disease.

Vitamin D levels in your blood fall to their lowest point during flu seasons. Unable to be protected by the body’s own antibiotics (antimicrobial peptides) that are released by vitamin D, a person with a low vitamin D blood level is more vulnerable to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections.

Studies show that children with rickets, a vitamin D-deficient skeletal disorder, suffer from frequent respiratory infections, and children exposed to sunlight are less likely to get a cold. The increased number of deaths that occur in winter, largely from pneumonia and cardiovascular diseases, are most likely due to vitamin D deficiency.

Unfortunately, now, for the first time, flu vaccination is also being pushed for virtually all children — not just those under 5.

This is a huge change. Previously, flu vaccine was recommended only for youngsters under 5, who can become dangerously ill from influenza. This year, the government is recommending that children from age 6 months to 18 years be vaccinated, expanding inoculations to 30 million more school-age children.

The government argues that while older children seldom get as sick as the younger ones, it’s a bigger population that catches flu at higher rates, so the change should cut missed school, and parents’ missed work when they catch the illness from their children.

Of course, this policy ignores the fact that a systematic review of 51 studies involving 260,000 children age 6 to 23 months found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]