Avian flu may portend a 1918-like pandemic, says Osterholm

first_imgNov 15, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The nature of the widespread avian influenza outbreaks in Asia points to the threat of a human flu pandemic that could rival the disastrous pandemic of 1918-1920, infectious disease expert Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, warned in a public forum in Minneapolis last week.There are disquieting signs that the H5N1 virus circulating in Asian poultry flocks could do as much damage to humanity as the “Spanish flu” virus of 1918, said Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Center for infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), publisher of this Web site.The H5N1 virus has already killed 32 people in Asia, and disease experts say it could trigger a pandemic if it acquired the ability to spread easily from person to person. If that happened, said Osterholm, it’s unlikely that an effective vaccine could be made available quickly.”At minimum, assume we will not have a vaccine in the first 6 to 8 months of a pandemic,” he told healthcare professionals at a clinical infectious disease conference Nov 12 at the Radisson Hotel Metrodome.Osterholm spoke the same day the World Health Organziation (WHO) concluded a 2-day international conference on pandemic flu that drew about 50 vaccine company executives and government officials to WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. WHO officials at the meeting urged governments to invest in vaccine development to help head off a pandemic.Osterholm said the 1918 pandemic caused “at least 40 million deaths, but probably closer to 100 million, if you talk to the historians.” A disproportionate number of victims were healthy young adults, he added.Given the lack of good defenses, Osterholm estimated that a 1918-like virus arising today could cause more than 1.7 million deaths in the United States and as many as 177 million worldwide. (Editor’s note: The estimate of 264 million deaths that was originally published here was later recalculated to adjust for age.) The US death toll in 1918 was about 500,000.In 1918, he said, flu victims suffered severe lung damage that led to acute respiratory distress syndrome and often died within 48 hours, he said. Further, it was the virus itself, rather than a secondary bacterial infection, that led to death in many cases.Osterholm cited signs that the H5N1 virus could cause the same kind of severe disease as the 1918 H1N1 virus if it triggered a pandemic. He said researchers recently have largely recreated the 1918 virus by sequencing its genome from preserved tissue samples from victims of the pandemic.In lab experiments, researchers have spliced key genes from the 1918 virus into present-day flu viruses and then exposed mice to the genetically engineered viruses, Osterholm said. Viruses that normally wouldn’t harm the mice have been rendered lethal by this procedure. “It’s not only killing the animals, but the pathology is identical to what we saw in 1918” and in human cases of H5N1, he said.Further, Osterholm said studies of the H5N1 virus isolated from recent human patients point to a gene that causes a “cytokine storm”—a flood of molecular messengers triggering inflammation—similar to what was seen in the 1918 victims. In effect, the body’s immune system response to the infection, rather than the infection itself, is what makes the situation so dangerous. It also explains why healthy young adults, with their robust immune system, may be at particular risk.Multiple obstacles would make it next to impossible to produce an effective vaccine and make it rapidly and widely available if a pandemic began now, according to Osterholm.The world’s total production capacity is about 300 million doses, with manufacturers concentrated in just nine countries. With current technology, it takes 6 months or more to grow flu vaccines in chicken eggs, and the yield from a given number of eggs is no more predictable than a corn crop.”Production capacity will not increase significantly in the next several years,” Osterholm predicted. He said vaccine makers want to develop a cell-culture method of producing flu vaccine and are unlikely to spend money to increase production with the traditional egg-based technology.The National Institutes of Health is developing a vaccine for the H5N1 virus, with Aventis Pasteur under contract to make 2 million doses. But Osterholm said the immunogenicity (ability to trigger an immune response in laboratory tests) of the candidate vaccine “has been poor.””The earlier versions of this [vaccine] are not protective against the current strains,” he said.In the early stages of a pandemic, he concluded, “I don’t believe we’ll have a pandemic influenza vaccine of any substantial nature.”He added that while antiviral drugs such as oseltamivir could be helpful in fighting a pandemic virus, they would be in short supply.last_img read more

Franklin County Sheriff Releases Monthly Report

first_imgSheriff Ken Murphy released a monthly report of activity in August for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department.Deputies responded to 891 calls for service which is a 2% increase from August of 2012.191 calls for service were for traffic stops last month. The Sheriff’s Department also received 75 calls for suspicious activity, 33 for theft and 29 for residential and business alarms.9-1-1 was accidentally dialed or hung up on 55 times.Franklin County Deputies made 50 arrests in August.Police made 11 OWI arrests, six arrests for marijuana possession, and served nine warrants. Other arrests were made for a variety of reasons; ranging from minor consumption to public indecency.There was an average of 58 prisoners housed in the Security Center throughout the month of August. The maximum capacity at the jail is 75 inmates.Murphy also noted that deputies drove a total of 27,953 miles last month. A transport officer drove a total of 3,447 miles by making 13 prisoner transports to and from the Department of Corrections facilities in both Indiana and Ohio.Eight pieces of real estate were sold at the Sheriff’s auction and there were 90 civil process papers served.last_img read more

Gbinije provides offense, can’t swing momentum in key moments in loss

first_imgNEW YORK — Playing in essentially a home game for Syracuse on Thursday night, Michael Gbinije was often in position to be the one to enliven the Madison Square Garden crowd.He capitalized on a few of them, but not enough in the No. 23 Orange’s (2-1) 73-59 defeat at the hands of California (3-0) in the semifinals of the 2K Classic. The junior forward tied to lead SU with 13 points and did so on 5-of-10 shooting, but missed out on a few golden opportunities to forcefully swing momentum in Syracuse’s favor.“I think Mike has got to keep being aggressive,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “He’s got to be more of a scorer for us. I thought he made some plays tonight, but he’s going to have to make some more plays.”Eight minutes into the game, Gbinije came up with a steal on the defensive end, but his bounce pass ahead was well behind guard Ron Patterson and picked off by California’s Sam Singer. Less than two minutes later, Gbinije threw down a transition dunk that gave the Orange a 12-11 lead — the last advantage SU would have all night.Later in the half, Gbinije connected on an and-one and drew a charge, but then made a high-flying assault on the rim, but the rim spat his dunk attempt out of bounds toward the Golden Bears bench as SU fans sighed in disappointment.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBefore halftime, Gbinije also missed a step-back 3 that sent guard Trevor Cooney’s uplifted arms back down and could’ve brought SU within five points of California’s lead. Instead, the Golden Bears took a 12-point edge into halftime.But as the Orange fought back with a little more than five minutes into the second frame, Gbinije capped off a 7-0 run for SU with a pull-up 3 in transition that caused Madison Square Garden’s loudest eruption of the game.From then on, though, Gbinije misfired on a pair of 3s and a jumper, and when he converted a layup with nine seconds left on the clock, it was too late.“You can’t get non-performances out of a couple guys,” Boeheim said. “That’s not going to work.” Comments Published on November 21, 2014 at 3:13 am Contact Phil: pmdabbra@syr.edu | @PhilDAbb Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more


first_imgThe GAA senior league continued today with a number of tight-contests.St Eunans managed to pip Kilcar while Glenswilly also managed to shade it again Mallin.In the late throw-in Gaoth Dobhair overcame the footballers of Glenties. Gaoth Dobhair 2-11 Naomh Conail 1-8Kilcar 2-9 St Eunans 1-13Dungloe 0-11 Four Masters 1-11Glenswilly 1-9 Malin 0-9 Ardara 1-8  St. Michael’s 2-12Gaoth Dobhair     Naomh Conail GAA: SENIOR LEAGUE DIVISION 1 RESULTS was last modified: April 19th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more