A study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, reveals that believing in the actual effectiveness of the seasonal flu jab is by far more effective in persuading healthcare professional to get vaccinated, as compared with potentially protecting patients from risking infection. In several developed nations, clinicians on the frontline have not been easily convinced by healthcare systems to get the seasonal flu jab in order to prevent the virus spreading to patients. In order to determine what factors encouraged or discouraged healthcare workers to receive the vaccination, the researchers examined available published evidence on the topic and found 13 appropriate studies. These studies consisted of just under 85, 000 healthcare professionals in hospitals in Europe, Australia, and North America.
Smartphones are showing promise in disease surveillance in the developing world. The Kenya Ministry of Health, along with researchers in Kenya for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that smartphone use was cheaper than traditional paper survey methods to gather disease information, after the initial set-up cost. Survey data collected with smartphones also in this study had fewer errors and were more quickly available for analyses than data collected on paper, according to a study presented at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta. Researchers compared survey data collection methods at four influenza surveillance sites in Kenya. At each site, surveillance officers identified patients with respiratory illness and administered a brief questionnaire that included demographic and clinical information.
Recent research found that microneedle vaccine patches are more effective at delivering protection against influenza virus in mice than subcutaneous or intramuscular inoculation. A new, detailed analysis of the early immune responses by the Emory and Georgia Tech research team helps explain why the skin is such fertile ground for vaccination with these tiny, virtually painless microneedles. The research was published in the online journal mBio. The skin, in contrast to the muscles, contains a rich network of antigen-presenting cells, which are immune signaling cells that are essential to initiating an immune response. The researchers found that microneedle skin immunization with inactivated influenza virus resulted in a local increase of cytokines important for recruitment of neutrophils, monocytes and dendritic cells at the site of immunization.
Avian flu, also known as bird flu and more formally as avian influenza, refers to flu caused by viruses that infect birds and make them ill. It is an infectious disease of birds caused by type A strains of the influenza virus. HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza ) - the more virulent one - is the one health care authorities are most concerned about. Avian flu affects several types of birds, including farmed poultry, i.e. chickens, geese, turkeys and ducks. Avian flu is the illness caused by the Avian influenza virus. Bird flu can be transmitted from livestock to wild birds and also to pet birds, and vice-versa. The virus spreads through infected birds, via their saliva, nasal secretions, feces, and feed. Birds become infected when they are in contact with contaminated excrements or secretions, or tainted surfaces.
While some scientists report engineering a super virulent strain of the H5N1 influenza virus, which could potentially wipe out a significant percentage of the human population, another group of researchers from the United Kingdom now reports a discovery that may one day help mitigate the deadly effects of all flu strains. This report, appearing in the March 2012 print issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, describes findings that may help prevent deaths from severe flu outbreaks, especially from seemingly healthy young people. Specifically, the researchers found that immune cells called, "natural killer T cells, " may reduce the overwhelming numbers of another type of immune cell, called "inflammatory monocytes, " which when present in large numbers, lead to lung injury at the end stage of severe flu infection.