Posts Tagged ‘swine flu’

 The Los Angeles Times (11/13, Hennigan) reports Google “has launched a flu shot finder, www.google.com/flushot, that provides users with the locations of clinics that provide seasonal and H1N1 vaccines.”  H1N1Google “collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Department of Health and Human Services.”  The locater “eventually will be linked on www.flu.gov and the American Lung Assn. website.”

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H1N1The Wall Street Journal (9/16, Dooren, Favole) and many other news sources report that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Tuesday that the FDA has approved H1N1 vaccines made by Novartis AG, a unit of Sanofi-Aventis SA, CSL Ltd., and MedImmune, an AstraZeneca PLC unit.  ABC World News (9/15, story 8, 0:20, Gibson) reported that “the government is aiming for a rollout by early next month, and says there should eventually be enough vaccine available for everyone.”  In its lead story, CBS Evening News (9/15, lead story, 2:50, Couric) called it “the biggest immunization campaign in US history.   Sebelius announced the approvals at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, saying that “some vaccine might arrive by the first week in October, with ‘ample supplies’ by mid-October,” the Miami Herald (9/15, Tasker) reported. She said, “It appears that the vaccine we’re producing is working quite well.”   CDC director Thomas Frieden, MD, also noted the timeline, saying, “We think the first doses of some of the vaccine forms should be available in about three weeks,” CNN (9/16) reports. “Previously, the CDC had been predicting the vaccine would not be available before middle or late October.”   The Los Angeles Times (9/16, Maugh) points out that the US “has ordered enough vaccine for 195 million doses, meaning that ‘we will have enough vaccine available for everyone,’ Sebelius said.” The vaccines “will be shipped to national distribution centers,” USA Today (9/16, Sternberg) explains. The shots will then become available at outlets such as “public health clinics, doctors’ offices, schools, pharmacies, and grocery stores” depending on the state.  NBC Nightly News (9/15, lead story, 2:40, Williams) noted, however, that due to “problems with a 1976 vaccination campaign against a different swine flu threat…Sebelius heard questions” yesterday “about the safety of the new vaccine.” She told Congress, “We are assured by the scientist that lots of steps have been taken along the way to make sure that this will be a safe procedure.”  According to the AP (9/16, Neergaard), Sebelius also said that physicians should not “hand out prescriptions for anti-flu medicines to be used to prevent flu…because ‘it could make them sicker in the long run.'” She “stressed” that “Tamiflu [oseltamivir] and Relenza [zanamivir] should be used for treatment only.”  The FDA said that the four licensed vaccines “induce a robust immune response in most healthy adults eight to 10 days after a single dose,” AFP (9/16) reports. Apart from the four vaccines approved Tuesday, Sebelius “fully anticipate[s]” a fifth form of the vaccine to be licensed, Bloomberg News (9/16, Larkin) notes. Bloomberg adds that GlaxoSmithKline PLC is likely the manufacturer of that vaccine.   The Financial Times (9/16, Jack), Canada’s CBC News (9/16), New York’s Newsday (9/16, Ricks), and the Dow Jones Newswire (9/16, Horobin) also cover the story.

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sfpThe New York Times (7/24, A11, Arnquist) reports, “The nation’s top public health officials are alerting doctors that swine flu may cause seizures, after four children were hospitalized in Texas for neurological complications.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that “all four children fully recovered without complications after being treated.” Public health experts said, however, that “flu-related brain complications are more common in children than adults, and swine flu seems to infect children more often than adults.” As a result, they “expect to see more cases of children who develop swine-flu-related neurological complications as the pandemic continues.”  An editorial accompanying the CDC’s report in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report noted that “seasonal flu can also cause neurological complications, such as personality changes, loss of concentration, involuntary eye movements, and impairment of cognitive function,” Bloomberg News (7/24, Lopatto) reports. The researchers noted that these “warnings may prevent doctors from giving patients the wrong medications for the neurological symptoms.  Reuters (7/23, Steenhuysen) reported that health officials are urging physicians to test respiratory specimens and begin treatment with antiviral medications for children hospitalized for neurological complications and influenza-like symptoms.

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The safety of students, faculty, staff and patients remains our top priority. We continue to work with local health agencies to receive the most current information, and contingency plans will be implemented quickly if the situation worsens. In the meantime, this list of frequently asked questions has been developed to better inform you. These questions will be posted on the emergency web site http://www.emergency.osu.edu/ and will be updated as needed.
Bob Armstrong
Director, Emergency Management & Fire Prevention

What is swine flu?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses. Outbreaks of swine flu happen regularly in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. The current influenza epidemic in humans is caused by the H1N1 influenza virus and is really a genetic re-assortment of swine, bird and human flu virus. It has not yet been identified in pigs, but is causing human infections.

Is this H1N1 flu contagious? How do you catch it?
The Centers for Disease Control has determined that this influenza virus is contagious but it not known how easily the virus spreads between people.

Spread of this flu can occur in two ways:
Through contact with infected pigs or environments contaminated with swine flu viruses. OR
Through contact with a person with swine flu. Human-to-human spread of this virus is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What are the signs and symptoms of H1N1 flu in people?
The symptoms in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include:
fever greater than 100 degrees
sore throat
body aches
chills and fatigue
respiratory congestion
Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with this virus. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with this flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, the H1N1 flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

Are there medicines to treat the H1N1 flu?
Yes. The CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir (commonly known as Tamilfu and Relenza) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you 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).
Ohio State’s Medical Center and Wilce Student Health Center have a ready supply of these antiviral drugs needed to treat this influenza.

How long can an infected person spread the H1N1 flu to others?
People with the H1N1 influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possibly for up to 7 days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.
Because of this 7-day incubation period, it is unlikely that anyone who traveled to Mexico for spring break between March 21 – 29 would now be presenting with H1N1 influenza symptoms.

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against H1N1 flu. However, there are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
Wash your hands with soap and water OR Use alcohol hand rubs which are easy and effective to prevent spread of infection, especially after coughing/sneezing.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough/ sneeze; throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Cough/sneeze into your elbow, if you do not have a tissue.
Avoid close contact with sick people.
If you do get sick with influenza, CDC recommends you stay home from work/school and limit contact with others to avoid infecting them.
If employees are sick, they should go to their primary care physician or the University Health Connection in Parks Hall.
If students are sick they should go to the Wilce Student Health Center.

What should I do if I get sick?
If you become ill with influenza-like symptoms – including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea – and you have recently traveled to Mexico or been exposed to someone who has, then you should contact your primary health care provider. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.
If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.
If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
Sudden dizziness
Severe or persistent vomiting

Can I get swine influenza from preparing or eating pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe. Ohio State University Extension offers detailed information on the proper handling and cooking of pork at

If I received a flu shot this season, am I protected against the H1N1 virus?
No, the current flu shot did not contain strains of the H1N1 influenza virus currently infecting people, so you have not been vaccinated against this virus.

Is it safe to travel to Mexico?
At this time, the CDC recommends that U.S. travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico. Changes to this recommendation will be posted at

http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/. Ohio State community members with travel plans are strongly encouraged to check this site for the latest travel information and guidance.  http://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~news/story.php?id=5153.

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The Ohio State University Medical Center is releasing the following statement this evening (4/29). We want to make sure you received this before it is released to the local news. The Ohio State University Medical Center provided treatment to a patient who was diagnosed with probable swine influenza A (H1N1) virus, which is pending confirmation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The patient is an employee of the Medical Center who contracted the virus outside the workplace. The patient responded well to treatment and is being discharged this evening. OSU Medical Center staff followed all recommended precautions to prevent the spread of the illness to others. Individuals who had contact with the patient prior to admission are being notified. The Medical Center is providing prophylactic/preventive medication to those individuals, in accordance with standard CDC recommendations. The Medical Center’s normal patient visitation schedule remains unchanged. The hospital continues to urge all visitors and staff to follow infection control steps including covering your mouth and nose if you have a cough or sneeze, and not visit patients if you are ill. Frequent use of waterless hand sanitizers is also recommended. OSU Medical Center is working in collaboration with the CDC, Ohio Department of Health, and Columbus Public Health and following all appropriate guidelines. For more information on swine influenza, go to http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu. We will provide updates in the following days through e-mail and the university emergency web site http://www.emergency.osu.edu.

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