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H3N2 Flu ... Pandemic Potential

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:19 pm
by ReadyMom
So, it looks like this years flu is gearing up to be a bad one. "H3N2" (type A). It almost got by me, because I've been busy at other 'home' things. :|

There's going to be a CDC Media Adisory Telebriefing, tomorrow:

CDC Update on Widespread Flu Activity

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release: Thursday, January 11, 2018
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286


CDC will provide an update on current U.S. flu activity.


CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D.
Dan Jernigan, M.D., M.P.H., Captain, U.S. Public Health Service, Director, Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases


Friday, January 12, at 11:00 a.m. ET


Media: 888-795-0855
Non-Media: 800-369-1605
International: 1-630-395-0331

Important Instructions
If you would like to ask a question during the call, press *1 on your touchtone phone. Press *2 to withdraw your question. You may queue up at any time. You will hear a tone to indicate your question is pending.

A transcript of this media availability will be available following the briefing at CDC’s web site:

Re: H3N2 Flu ... Pandemic Potential

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:30 pm
by Illini Warrior
Alabama just declared a statewide emergency over the flu spread - probably going to take steps to start breaking up the hot zones and gathering events ....

Re: H3N2 Flu ... Pandemic Potential

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:49 pm
by daaswampman
Just one town, but it is going to be everywhere. FYI - Shreveport is ahead of most small cities as we have a Medical School and University Hospital.

Flu outbreak swamps Shreveport hospitals


All hospitals in Shreveport are on diversion due to the high number of flu cases in the area, according to Bill Sharp, the head of communications at University Health.

When hospitals are on diversion, it means that its administration has informed its emergency medical services that the hospital is full. To clarify, that does not mean patients who need to go to the emergency rooms will be turned away, just that if another hospital has the resources to care for that person, they will be sent there instead.

"I've been here for about 3 hours.," said Emergency Room patient Phyllis Sparks. "They took me here and left me off right there and told me to have a seat. And I've been here waiting ever since."

According to a report released Friday, Dec. 28 from the Centers for Disease Control, Louisiana is among 46 states now reporting widespread flu cases.

"This flu season has been particularly bad. The good news is that we're having a lot of patients coming in with the flu but not a lot of the super sick patients that have to be admitted… the downside is that the patients that we are seeing we are admitting a higher percentage of them," said Dr. Angela Cornelius, an assistant professor of emergency health at University Health.

"So, therefore, we're having to divide up the ambulances that are coming in. They just kind of make a circle and they go to each hospital in turn," Cornelius said.

Shreveport's EMS officer Clarence Reese says the best thing residents can do is avoid.. avoid… avoid.. if possible. ... -hospitals

Re: H3N2 Flu ... Pandemic Potential

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:30 pm
by ForwardPreppers
Had to run into CVS yesterday to get hubs regular meds and the place was packed. I got in and out ASAP.

Heard of an entire family down with the flu near St George SC. They brought it home from a NYE celebration in Charlotte NC. It spread from the adults to all the children including 5 month old twins (my grand daughters).

I'm staying home. I go into town on Wednesday and to church on Sunday that's it. But anyone could bring it home too.

Avoid and wash your hands!!!

Mrs FP

Oh, almost forgot, made elderberry syrup yesterday. Taking it every day .

Re: H3N2 Flu ... Pandemic Potential

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:27 pm
by ReadyMom
I've 'stickied' important pandemic & flu prep threads, if anyone needs them.

Stickied = they will stay at the top of the list for the "Pandemic' forum, for quick access. -k

Re: H3N2 Flu ... Pandemic Potential

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:03 am
by angie_nrs
I don't know anyone here who's gotten it yet.....

However, there's lots of local news stories about IV bag shortages and blood shortages. The weather here caused a lot of blood collection day cancellations and the supply is extremely low. I should go and donate, but there's really nowhere close to me that is having a drive. If they do one at the local school or church, I'll go.

Apparently they have a manager at the local hospital that is assessing every patient daily on whether they MUST have IV fluids. If they can eat and drink, they are having them ingest gatorade instead. I'm sure they are calling the physician urging them to discontinue IV therapy ASAP. Hope it works out OK.

In the meantime, I have several cases of poweraide that I bought on sale in my garage. Just never know how valuable that stuff will be. Pedialyte could also be another good item to stock. I really hope I don't need it. I'm such a wussie sick person! :crazy:

Re: H3N2 Flu ... Pandemic Potential

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:48 am
by ReadyMom
This Year’s Flu Is Especially Miserable. Here’s Why. ... -heres-why

It’s a chicken-egg problem—but not what you think.

If you haven’t gotten it, thank your lucky stars and brace for it. This year’s influenza is a violent storm of body aches, hacking, fevers, and feeling pummeled. Emergency rooms in California are reporting crowds and pharmacies unable to keep up with demand. And death rates are worrisome.

The culprit? A tiny monster named H3N2 (sometimes called the Aussie flu, where it was first reported this summer) that’s gotten more voracious over time, mutating its form unpredictably.

“It’s been a bad flu year,” Scott Hensley, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania, told The Daily Beast. In October, Hensley co-authored a paper in PNAS about why the flu vaccine this year didn’t protect us as well as we’d hoped.

Blame chicken eggs.

The flu shot can be thought of as a weather vane for the upcoming influenza season, containing a cocktail of influenza strains that scientists believe will be attacking the country. That usually contains forms of H1N1, influenza B, and this year’s H3N2.

But that H3N2 strain in this year’s flu shot hasn’t been able to combat the flu circling your office. That’s because it’s not the same strain at all.

“The problem with flu viruses is that they’re constantly changing,” Hensley explained. “We need to update our flu vaccines annually, but the viruses are constantly changing as they are circulating among humans. It’s a constant [game of] cat and mouse.”

That cat-and-mouse game means that while viruses are evolving faster and faster, scientists developing the flu shot are struggling to keep up. This year’s vaccine was a “mismatch,” according to Hensley, of what the H3N2 was expected to look like and how it actually turned out. “There are different H3N2 viruses, and if you’re looking at the sequences, there is diversity in what is circulating,” he said.

That brings us back to the chicken egg problem. Flu vaccine development involves choosing the predicted human virus strains, which are then propagated. The viral bits have proteins that are isolated from the viruses and injected into a fertilized chicken egg; the virus then replicates again in the chicken egg. After the virus has had a couple days to “amplify,” it’s isolated, with viral proteins from the chicken egg being activated to create what will then become the flu shot being jabbed into your arm at the local clinic, in hopes of helping you fight the flu.

The problem here is that chicken eggs are the mainstay in this process, and perhaps not the most practical way to create a flu shot, especially for the H3N2 strain, which Hensley said does not grow well in chicken eggs. “When the H3N2 strain is used, it actually changes to adapt to the environment of the chicken cell and changes its antigenic structure”—or the abrupt change in the virus that means humans aren’t prepared for, leading to a fast spread.

In plain English: The replication process in a chicken egg’s cell becomes one more chicken-like than human-like, and that change inhibits our ability to fight the flu, fundamentally altering the location of the antibodies used to target the virus.

There are other reasons why the flu is so terrible this year, some of which can be traced to other factors. For one, there’s climate change. A 2013 study in PLOS: Epidemiology showed that warmer than average winters in one year are followed by earlier, more severe flu seasons the next. That pattern certainly holds true here: The 2016-17 winter season was mild, while this year’s has been brutal across the country, marking those who weren’t sick last year as susceptible to this year’s flu.

The solution to this chicken egg conundrum might seem simple: Why don’t we just inject the human strains into some other cells, like insect or canine cells?

It’s not that easy, Hensley said. “They [chicken eggs] are the majority [of vaccine development] in the U.S.,” he said. “Most vaccine manufacturers rely on chicken eggs. It’s difficult to just switch, it’s a different production process.”

Despite this, Hensley strongly encourages Americans to get the flu shot despite its shortcomings. “The vaccine might not work well because of the egg adaptation, but people should get vaccinated,” he emphasized. “It’s not ideal but it will prevent some infections and almost certainly severe disease.”

That said, Hensley said the H3N2 fiasco is not new—he said it happened last year as well—and that it’s a strong case for the universal flu vaccine. “That would not have to be updated every year, and we wouldn’t have to be at the mercy of egg adaptations and antigenic drift events,” he said, referring to the idea that once we’re exposed to a strain, we’re able to fight it, but that the immune system fails when it comes to recognizing related antigens—what is happening with the H3N2 strain. “We need to fund the basic science to move it [research] along and come up with a different approach.”

Until then, though, get yourself a flu shot—and wash your hands.

Re: H3N2 Flu ... Pandemic Potential

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:59 am
by ReadyMom
:caution: NOTE: The article, below mentions the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. The mention of vaccines is a HOT topic and usually draws TONS of debate. DO NOT debate the flu vaccine in this thread! There is no easy answer and it just takes up space from THIS thread.

CDC official on why the flu is near-epidemic, peaking early this year ... d=52257559

A dangerous flu has been spreading rapidly across the U.S., escalating flu season earlier than usual, and to near-epidemic levels, according to the CDC.

Earlier today, Dr. Daniel B. Jernigan from the CDC, joined "GMA" to address the concerns and misconceptions about this year's flu cycle.

Here are three things to know:

1. The dramatic spike in flu cases

"What we're seeing this year the influenza season started earlier and seems to be peaking right about now," Jernigan, director of the Influenza Division in the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) at CDC, told "GMA."

"That's about a month earlier than it normally would be peaking," he said, "so lots of cases [are] happening, in lots of states, all at the same time."

Weather conditions, as well as holiday travel, could have increased the spread of this year's flu, which is showing higher numbers at an earlier time.

"The virus was able to start circulating in time so that, when folks went home for Thanksgiving or they went home for Christmas, they were able to transmit it to the folks that they're with," Jernigan said. "Because of that, it's able to circulate quickly. But we know this particular virus does cause more cases and it can be more severe."

2. This year's flu is different

Jernigan said this year's flu cycle has included more cases of the H3N2 strain of the virus, influenza A, which is usually more severe and difficult to contain.

"Whenever [H3N2] shows up, it causes lots of disease, lots of hospitalizations, lots of cases and lots of deaths," he said.

Over the past couple of years, H3N2 had not been as prevalent.

3. The effectiveness of the flu vaccine

"We know that the influenza vaccine is the best way to prevent, but in this season it is not as effective as it is for the other viruses that circulate," Jernigan said.

Though a recent study raised the idea that the vaccine could be only 10 percent effective against this year's flu, he said that number does not necessarily apply to the U.S. or to other strains of the flu that are circulating, besides H3N2.

"The 10 percent is a very low estimate that came out of Australia over their season last summer," Jernigan said. "The same kind of virus that we had last year was around 30 percent to 33 percent effective for the H3 component. It’s actually more effective for the other parts of the vaccine that are trying to prevent the other flus circulating."

Re: H3N2 Flu ... Pandemic Potential

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:03 am
by ReadyMom
Flu season: Manufacturers say they have ‘sufficient’ Tamiflu, Relenza ... nza-85026/

January 10, 2018

It appears that the 2017-2018 influenza season will be a rough one based on early reports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in their most recent Weekly Influenza Report that influenza activity increased sharply in the United States. In fact, widespread influenza activity was reported by 46 states.

With this season’s flu vaccine showing reduced effectiveness, the demand for flu antivirals may be increased.

The CDC published the following yesterday concerning the antiviral drug supply:

Manufacturers have stated they have sufficient product on hand to meet projected demand for the 2017-2018 flu season.
As influenza antiviral drugs are mainly used seasonally, patients may want to consider calling a pharmacy in advance to see if they have drug on their shelf. If the pharmacy does not have product, they may be able to identify another pharmacy in the area that has antiviral drugs in stock.

CDC will update this page as needed with respect to influenza antiviral supply this season.

The following manufacturers have provided their contact information for inquiries related to product availability:


Alvogen Inc.
1 (844) 842-8672 Opt. 2
Genentech Customer Service Center
1 (800) 551-2231


GlaxoSmithKline Customer Service Center
1 (800) 877-1158

Re: H3N2 Flu ... Pandemic Potential

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:07 am
by ReadyMom
Viruses change. The flu virus is well known for changing ALL the time. Unfortunately, it makes it hard to be properly protected each year.

H3N2 mutation in last year’s flu vaccine responsible for lowered efficacy: Penn researchers ... ers-56118/

November 9, 2017

The low efficacy of last year’s influenza vaccine can be attributed to a mutation in the H3N2 strain of the virus, a new study reports. Due to the mutation, most people receiving the egg-grown vaccine did not have immunity against H3N2 viruses that circulated last year, leaving the vaccine with only about 30 percent effectiveness. Scott Hensley, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology, in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, describes his team’s findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.

“Our experiments suggest that influenza virus antigens grown in systems other than eggs are more likely to elicit protective antibody responses against H3N2 viruses that are currently circulating,” Hensley said. “The 2017 vaccine that people are getting now has the same H3N2 strain as the 2016 vaccine, so this could be another difficult year if this season is dominated by H3N2 viruses again.”

Flu vaccines work by priming the immune system with purified proteins from the outer layer of killed flu viruses. This induces immune cells to make antibodies that stop foreign invaders from infecting cells, readying them to attack flu viruses when the body sees them again. Most flu vaccine proteins are purified from a virus grown in chicken eggs, although a small fraction of flu vaccine proteins are produced in systems that do not involve eggs.

During the 2014-2015 flu season, a strain of the H3N2 virus with a different outer layer protein emerged and this version of H3N2 remains prevalent today. The 2016-2017 seasonal flu vaccine was updated to include the new version of this protein; however, Hensley’s lab found that the egg-grown version of this protein acquired a new mutation. “Current H3N2 viruses do not grow well in chicken eggs, and it is impossible to grow these viruses in eggs without adaptive mutations,” Hensley said.

The team showed that antibodies elicited in ferrets and humans exposed to the egg-produced 2016-2017 strain did a poor job of neutralizing H3N2 viruses that circulated last year. However, antibodies elicited in ferrets infected with the current circulating H3N2 viral strain (that contains the new protein) and humans vaccinated with a H3N2 vaccine produced in a non-egg system were able to effectively recognize and neutralize the new H3N2 virus.

“Our data suggest that we should invest in new technologies that allow us to ramp up production of influenza vaccines that are not reliant on eggs,” Hensley said. “In the meantime, everyone should continue to get their annual flu vaccine. Some protection against H3N2 viruses is better than nothing and other components of the vaccine, like H1N1 and influenza B, will likely provide excellent protection this year.”

Re: H3N2 Flu ... Pandemic Potential

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:13 am
by ReadyMom
Related to my last post about effectiveness of this year's flu vaccine (IF you choose to get it). :caution: As noted earlier ... DO NOT debate flu vaccines in THIS thread!) DO. NOT.

Why It’s Still Worth Getting a Flu Shot ... .html?_r=0

Jan. 11, 2018

This year’s flu season is shaping up to be a bad one. Much of the country endured a bitterly cold stretch, causing more people to be crowded together inside. The strain that has been most pervasive, H3N2, is nastier than most. And, we’re being told, the vaccine this year is particularly ineffective.

That last fact has had many people wondering if they should still get a flu shot. If you read no further in this column, know this: The answer is yes, you should still get a flu shot. The flu season typically peaks December through February but can last until May, and it usually takes about two weeks for the shot’s immunity to kick in.

It’s worth exploring what we mean by effectiveness when we’re discussing the flu vaccine.

The flu virus is unstable, and it changes a lot each season. This means that the immunity you gained from a shot a year ago doesn’t work so well this time around. Each summer, scientists gather and try to make a best guess on which variants are going to be more common in the coming year. They look at data from countries like Australia (whose flu season comes before ours), then they make the shot to match.

This season, the flu vaccine is most protective against an H1NI, an H3N2 and a B/Victoria lineage strain. Some vaccines also protect against a B/Yamagata lineage strain.

The scientists’ guess wasn’t bad, as it included H3N2, the strain making most of the news right now. Vaccines don’t work as well against it in general because it tends to mutate more than other strains. It’s also harder to produce a targeted vaccine for H3N2 than for other variants, because of the way we produce the vaccine using eggs. That, along with other factors, makes for more infections and more severe illnesses.

In any year, even when you’re vaccinated, you can get the flu. The shot is about reducing your risk, not eliminating it. Still, even when the flu vaccine is “less effective,” it’s a good bet.

Re: H3N2 Flu ... Pandemic Potential

PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:17 am
by IceFire
It's definitely here in AZ. My husband had it, as did several co-workers. The local Drs and hospital have been seeing a lot of cases. Fortunately, I did NOT get it. Since I am allergic to the vaccine, I increased my daily dosage of elderberry syrup to boost my immune system. So far, it's working for me.

Re: H3N2 Flu ... Pandemic Potential

PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:09 pm
by angie_nrs
As a precautionary measure local hospitals shut down visitation to only direct family members above 12 years old.

I still don't know of anyone who's gotten the flu, but I'm dealing with a miserable cold.....does that count? :'(

Think nose tampons........... :cursing: :drool: :help:

Re: H3N2 Flu ... Pandemic Potential

PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:06 pm
by ForwardPreppers
Most hospitals here have taken the same precautions - no one that even remotely looks sick is allowed in to visit. Also, they are asking that you speak with your primary care doctor BEFORE going to the ER. They're just too overwhelmed.

Angie, girl, nose tampons?!? :eek:

Mrs FP

Re: H3N2 Flu ... Pandemic Potential

PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:07 pm
by angie_nrs
ForwardPreppers wrote:Angie, girl, nose tampons?!? :eek:

Mrs FP

LOL! Yeah, I saw a youtube video last year where someone made them for the mini tampons. Every time I move, and sometimes even when I don't, my nose just drips. :nervous: I HATE this part of the cold! I'm now starting to dry up and the head/sinus pressure is starting to set in. Oh well, at least that's progress. Hopefully I can keep the headache at bay. I have an appt. with my new tax guy at the end of the week so this thing better hurry up and run it's coarse! Off to make some green tea......

I'm just fortunate it's not the flu.