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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:14 pm 
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I must admit that as the swine flu pandemic has unfolded, I have been concerned about the potential impact on cancer patients. Those on chemotherapy would I assume have increased risk. The article below presents the government response in Australia, but does not specifically mention cancer. Operations like the one Stacy is waiting on are being delayed. I was looking to go back onto chemo next month, I am now expecting this to be delayed:

High-risk to get free flu shots

FREE flu shots will be offered to pregnant women, Aborigines and the chronically ill as the federal government sweats on the production of 21million doses of vaccine for the swine flu sweeping the nation.

The government will spend $44million over four years to cover an extra 2.2 million people with vaccinations for seasonal flu -- usually reserved for the elderly -- from January 1 next year.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon said yesterday the swine flu outbreak -- which has infected 12,000 Australians, killed 31 and put 81 in intensive care -- showed how severely influenza could affect vulnerable people.

Scientists were "working madly" to see if a swine flu vaccine could be incorporated with the seasonal flu shot next year, Ms Roxon said.

The government might not wait for the completion of clinical trials to roll out a swine flu vaccine before October, she said.

Pharmaceutical company CSL will start clinical trials with 240 adults in Adelaide next week.

"If the intensity of the disease changes, if we get early results that make it very clear this vaccine is safe, I certainly would take advice to bring it online more quickly if that was appropriate," Ms Roxon told the Nine Network.

The World Health Organisation criticised Britain last week over its plans to bring in a vaccine without clinical trials.

A CSL spokeswoman said Britain would probably rely on the results of the clinical tests under way in Australia. Ms Roxon said doctors should not over-prescribe the antiviral drug Tamiflu, after reports that three cases of swine flu had grown resistant to the drug overseas.

"We're urging people, the vast majority of whom have mild symptoms, not to take Tamiflu unless they are in a vulnerable category and unless their doctor recommends it's necessary," she said.

"We always have to be aware there is a risk of resistance developing."

Ms Roxon urged pregnant women to stay away from anyone who is sick. Swine flu has triggered the premature birth of several babies and put expectant mothers in intensive care wards.

"If you're late in your pregnancy when there's already significant pressure on a mother's lungs, this is a disease that can have complications," she said.

From January next year, all pregnant women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 15 to 50 will be able to access the seasonal flu vaccine free from their GPs.

Those aged six months to 64 who are medically at risk, including the chronically ill, will also qualify for free flu shots. Currently, the vaccine is only available free to seniors aged 65 and over.

Pregnant women and the chronically ill have been excluded from the clinical trials of the CSL vaccine.

Half the volunteers will be given two shots of vaccine equal to the standard dose of seasonal flu vaccine, three weeks apart.

The rest will be given two double doses.

Ms Roxon said the spread of swine flu appeared to have reached its peak, but no one should pretend the situation would not be difficult for months to come.

"I think it does put our health services under extreme pressure," she said.

"There is the potential that some elective surgery might have to be delayed."

Queensland will open a flu clinic today in the Aboriginal community of Cherbourg, 280km northwest of Brisbane, after the flu spread there. Indigenous people often suffer chronic diseases that make them more susceptible to flu complications.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25806651-23289,00.html


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:03 pm 
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Fight the flab to fend off swine flu
15 July 2009
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327175.000-fight-the-flab-to-fend-off-swine-flu.html

AS IF people struggling with obesity did not have enough to worry about, they now face a new health hazard. According to statistics from the US, overweight people appear more likely to die of swine flu.

Most of the people who have died from H1N1 swine flu have had an underlying health problem that weakened their ability to fight off the virus. Among the conditions recognised as increasing the risk from flu are hypertension, diabetes, chronic lung obstruction and coronary disease. Now it may be time to add obesity to the list.

Unpublished figures reported at a recent meeting of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, show that of 99 people who died in the early stages of the pandemic in the US, 45 per cent were obese. As only 26 per cent of US adults are obese, this suggests that obesity doubles the risk of getting seriously ill with swine flu (see chart).

The figures surprised most flu researchers. "In 40 years of studying flu, I have never heard anything about obesity," says virologist John Oxford of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of London. Obesity specialists, however, say it fits with what they have learned in recent years.

The only study looking directly at flu and obesity was done in 2007 by Melinda Beck and colleagues at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. It was already known that abdominal fat releases a continuous stream of chemicals that trigger inflammation, an immune response normally aimed at killing invading pathogens and infected cells. So Beck's team wondered what effect this had on flu. They were especially interested, she says, because runaway inflammation, known as a "cytokine storm", is what kills most flu victims.

Beck and her team found that overfed, obese mice are nearly seven times as likely to die of ordinary flu as genetically identical lean mice (The Journal of Nutrition, vol 137, p 1236).

The researchers also measured immune chemicals in the mice's blood. Prior to infection, the obese mice had much higher levels of a hormone called leptin than the normal mice. During the initial stages of infection, they had fewer virus-killing cells and chemicals.

Leptin is released by fat cells and, among other things, triggers immune reactions. Beck thinks that obese mice become desensitised to leptin, making their immune system slow to react. "Our experiments suggest the problem is the fat itself."

As their flu worsened, the obese mice did mount an immune response, but it was "too little too late", says Beck. It failed to get rid of the virus and eventually triggered a runaway immune response that escalated until it killed the mice - much as the cytokine storm does in people.

We don't know if the same series of events happen in obese people with swine flu, Beck warns. But it is possible that, as in mice, obesity dampens our ability to fight flu by disrupting the immune response, says Jesse Roth, a diabetes specialist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. "The resting level of inflammation goes up in obesity," he says. He suspects that this disrupts the body's immune response to viruses, making a lethal runaway reaction more likely.

During a flu pandemic, it is more important than ever to tackle obesity, Roth says. "It's amazing how much obesity-related inflammation you can reverse with just a little diet and exercise." He says a daily half-hour walk and losing about 5 per cent of body weight if you are overweight is enough to reduce inflammation.

David Fedson, a former flu researcher at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, has long proposed using drugs that damp down inflammation, such as statins, fibrates and glitazones, as an additional way of cutting deaths from flu. These drugs are normally prescribed for obesity-related disorders such as high cholesterol and insulin insensitivity.

Drugs that damp down inflammation could offer an additional way of cutting deaths from flu
The new figures on obesity and swine flu strengthen the case for stockpiling the drugs, given that shortages of vaccine and antiviral drugs are likely, Fedson says. "These drugs are safe and cheap, but they are being ignored by pandemic planners."


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:58 am 
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Hi Kenobewan,
Very informative post on swine flu and cancer treatment and great link sharing. Like to add if some one have flu symptoms s/he must visit doctor at earliest. Wash hands regularly with water and soap and cover their nose and mouth with a tissue whenever they cough or sneeze. Avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth as the swine flu virus might enter their body that way.
Chiropractor Libertyville


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