Showing posts with label Seasonal Flu Vaccine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seasonal Flu Vaccine. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Blog Updates: Pill testing as harm reduction, Vitamin B12 and Your Liver & International Liver Congress

International Liver Congress 2018 
The meeting will begin tomorrow! On Wednesday the "EASL Recommendations on Treatment of Hepatitis C 2018" will be released.

Just Updated April 11 - EASL Recommendations on Treatment of Hepatitis C 2018
Read the latest EASL clinical guideline publications in Journal of Hepatology, start by viewing EASL Recommendations on Treatment of Hepatitis C 2018 shared by @HenryEChang via Twitter, review all guideline links, here.....

Of Interest
Download The App - EASL HCV Advisor
The HCV Advisor is available in two editions. The EASL HCV Advisor will give recommendations based on EASL Recommendations for Treatment of Hepatitis C. The Swiss HCV Advisor will give recommendations specifically for Switzerland. Learn more here.....

Updated Today
Check out news from the conference with a list of websites (still in the process of being updated) offering coverage, meeting highlights, learning activities, with interviews and a summary of the meeting. This page will stay current as information is made available, watch the sidebar for updates.

New Online
MedPage Today
April 10, 2018
Clinical practice guidelines to include HCV tx recommendations, alcoholic liver disease

Hepatitis C: What Stands in the Way of Elimination?
The World Health Organization set a goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030. What are the barriers to achieving this for hepatitis C? Four experts weigh in.

Yun Lu, Xiuze Jin, Cheng-a-xin Duan, Feng Chang
DCV+ASV is not only an effective and well-tolerated regimen to treat chronic HCV genotype 1b infection treatment-naïve patients, but also is more cost-effective than PR regimen. DCV+ASV can benefit both the public health and reimbursement system in China.

On Twitter From @HenryEChang 
What are the research gaps when evaluating progress towards viral hepatitis elimination?
In this @jiasociety commentary, Drs. Anders Boyd, Léa Duchesne & @karlacombe highlight some recent advances & offer important perspectives.

In The Media
Hepatitis C: A novel point-of-care assay
April 10, 2018
One of the major challenges identified by the WHO in efforts to eradicate the hepatitis C virus is the diagnosis of chronic cases that are generally asymptomatic. Major progress is required for new diagnostic techniques that can be 'decentralized,' in other words accessed by populations and countries with limited resources. Scientists have now developed and validated a rapid, reliable, point-of-care HCV assay.

In Your 60s: Blood Pressure, Hepatitis C, Cancer Risk
April 10, 2018
In your 60s you are likely to have a long, healthy life ahead of you. Men turning 65 this year can expect to live, on average, to age 84.3; women, until age 86.6.

End-of-Treatment HBsAg Levels May Predict HBV Relapse in Chronic Hepatitis B
April 10, 2018
End-of-treatment HBsAg levels may be a clinically useful biomarker to predict HBV relapse in patients with chronic hepatitis B regardless of HBeAg status.

BMC Blog Network
Pill testing as harm reduction – a return to pragmatism in Australian drug policy
April 10, 2018
Pill testing involves party and festival-goers having a sample of their drugs tested on-site by scientists, who can then provide information to the user about what they are taking so they can make a more informed decision.

Pacific Hepatitis C Network (PHCN)
Hep C Resources in BC Project - Read the report "here."
The team at PHCN is happy to report that our Hep C in BC Resources project has recently drawn to a close. This project ran from last fall to the end of March. We are excited to share the full report of this project (as well as a summary version) "here."

Treatment Update
CATIE’s flagship digest on cutting-edge developments in HIV and hepatitis C research and treatment.

Read today's news or a nice summary of notable headlines published in the latest issue of The Weekly Bull.

Treatment Action Group
TAGline Spring 2018


World Hepatitis Alliance

Blog Updates
HEP Blogs
April 9, 2018
The high cost of hepatitis C treatment and lack of access to affordable health care are major obstacles to large scale and evenly distributed treatment. A recent study found that almost half of Medicaid patients were refused hepatitis C treatment. Moreover, there is a major inadequacy when it comes to screening people for viral hepatitis.

April 4, 2018
When you’ve been diagnosed with Hepatitis C or another liver condition it’s hard not to worry. Our thoughts naturally drift to thousands of questions and what ifs. Can you relate?

April 5, 2018
I wish someone really knew the truth about how vitamins affected our liver. Do you ever just want an honest truthful answer? I’ve researched a lot, and can say, that for myself..

April 9, 2018
Many with hepatitis C, including many who have been cured, live with chronic pain and seek out ways to manage it. While doctors may prescribe pain medications, not everyone wants to take

How Did You Contract It?
April 9, 2018
Answering the most asked question given to those diagnosed with hep C: “How did you contract it?” The uncomfortable qustion This has got to be the most uncomfortable question anyone fighting hepatitis..

Going Through Rough Relationships After Diagnosis
March 30, 2018
Many with hepatitis C experience rough relationships after diagnosis. For myself, I went through a horrible divorce that really left me feeling alone, afraid, unattractive, and frankly sick. (All while in the middle of fighting for my life.) It was not that I blame hep C for this relationship ending but it contributed greatly to the dismay.

I Help C
April 4, 2018
I could look you straight in the eye, and yet not be aware of what I was doing. The world inside my head that didn’t always follow reality. Getting drunk produces the same results, but I wasn’t drunk. So does mental illness, but I wasn’t mentally ill. I had hepatic encephalopathy, or HE. Let’s talk about hepatic encephalopathy causes treatments symptoms.

Creating a World Free of Hepatitis C
Donate Life: Organ Donation and Transplantation
on April 5, 2018
It’s National Donate Life Month, and a time to increase awareness about organ and tissue donation. I am using this opportunity to implore readers to be organ donors.

Approximately 5-10% of people do not develop protective antibodies following the completion of the hepatitis B vaccine series. This is confirmed with a blood test called an anti-HBs titer test which is given 4 weeks following the completion of the series. If the test shows the titer is less then 10 mIU/mL the general recommendation is to complete the series again using a different brand of vaccine (e.g. if you received Engerix B, the first time, switch to Recombivax the 2nd time or vice-versa). A person is considered to be a “non-responder” if they have completed 2 full vaccination series’ without producing adequate protective antibodies.

On Twitter
It's time to get ready for Viral Hepatitis Awareness Month in May! Check out all the resources that @cdchep has to celebrate!

CDC Hepatitis - Save The Date: Mon, Apr 16, 2018 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM EDT
Preparing for Hepatitis Awareness Month? Join us 4/16 at 2pm for a webinar with @NASTAD and @HepBUnited to learn about available resources and get event ideas!
Register here:

Harm Reduction Coalition

Amplifying Hope
Interviewing the Unsung Champions of Harm Reduction
Over the next few months we will be interviewing a number of influential harm reduction and drug policy reform advocates from across the country. These are the people who are working against incredible odds, are largely unrecognized and serve as inspiration to the wider harm reduction community. Our aim is to amplify hope by telling their stories, uplift the people and programs delivering harm reduction services, and raise awareness about the strength and resilience of the harm reduction community across the U.S.

HIV and ID Observations
Latest DHHS Guidelines for Initial HIV Therapy Now Include 5 Choices — But Really 2 Are Best
April 8, 2018
On March 28, the Department of Health and Human Services Guidelines issued an update to the HIV treatment guidelines, with a focus on the recent approval of bictegravir/TAF/FTC...

Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation
Lifestyle Mindfulness for Your Liver
April 3, 2018
Healthy lifestyle remains the best defense against non-alcoholic liver disease
Do you know that you or a loved one may suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)? You may not have heard of such disease — but NAFLD has become the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the United States, slowly making its way as the next global epidemic.

Harvard Health Blog
A study comparing a low-fat diet and a low-carb diet found that weight loss for both groups were quite similar, and both led to significant health improvements for the participants. Diet for weight loss was part of a broader strategy of lifestyle change for both groups as well.

In Case You Missed It 

Health News Review
April 10, 2018

Physician payments linked to scripts for cancer drugs from Novartis, Pfizer and more: study
April 10, 2018
Many lawmakers worry that when pharma companies pay physicians—for speaking engagements, say, or hotel rooms at conferences—those on the receiving end are more likely to prescribe products from drugmakers that dole out the money. That concern even sparked a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires drug and device companies to disclose any physician payment greater than $10.

A checkup for the flu vaccine
April 10, 2018
Influenza causes almost 650,000 deaths worldwide each year, yet a long-lasting, protective vaccine remains elusive. Global investment—both scientific and financial—in a universal flu vaccine is overdue. In this month's editorial, we call for a sustained commitment and global investments towards a universal flu vaccine.

Single Quadrivalent Flu Shot in IBD Patients
Reuters Health Information April 9, 2018

Informational Links
Hepatitis C (HCV) Medications Blog
HCV Advocate’s Hepatitis C (HCV) Medications blog.
The intent of this blog is to keep our website audience up-to-date on information about hepatitis meds. People are encouraged to submit questions and post comments.

Until next time,

Sunday, February 25, 2018

All About The Flu & A Closer Look At Tamiflu

Thanks for stopping by, listen to Dr. William Schaffner answer your questions about the flu over at NPR's morning show, followed with news and research about this year's severe flu season.

February 25, 2018
The Call-In: All About The Flu
NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro poses listener questions about the flu to Dr. William Schaffner, infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, and takes a closer look at Tamiflu.

News, Research & You 

Living Healthy with Hepatitis C
Over-the-Counter Remedies and Hepatitis C
Excessive acetaminophen (Tylenol) is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S. Because of this, many people avoid taking acetaminophen, sometimes following their doctor’s recommendations. The big problem with acetaminophen is that it is added to many medications, including remedies for colds, headaches, pain, sleep, sinus problems, cough and menstrual discomfort. People may not know that they are taking acetaminophen, let alone too much of it.

For the second week in a row, there was a drop in doctor visits for flu-like illness in the United States. And the latest drop was more pronounced than the one before, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.

Latest FluView report: flu activity has declined, but remains high and will likely continue for several more weeks. All U.S. states but Hawaii and Oregon continue to report widespread flu activity.

Studies have shown that early treatment with a flu antiviral drug can shorten the duration of fever and illness symptoms, and can reduce the risk of serious flu complications.

February 20, 2018
Madeline K. Sofia, Meredith Rizzo

Japan's New Drug: One Pill May Stop The Flu in Just One Day
Bruce Y. Lee
One day, you may be able to stop flu viruses in your body in just one day with just one pill. Based on an announcement yesterday, that day may be someday very soon in May in Japan.

Press Release
Flu vaccines: ACIP brings back FluMist for the 2018-2019 flu season
February 22, 2018
AstraZeneca announced yesterday that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has voted in favor of a renewed recommendation for the use of FLUMIST® QUADRIVALENT (Influenza Vaccine Live, Intranasal) in the US for the 2018-2019 season.

Science Daily 
Immune history influences vaccine effectiveness, interacting with other potential problems arising from the manufacturing process
Date: February 20, 2018
Source: University of Chicago Medical Center Summary: Researchers show that poor immune responses, not egg adaptions, may explain the low effectiveness of the vaccine that year.

Date: February 15, 2018
Source: Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago Summary: With this year’s severe flu season, one statistic is especially chilling. Each year, around 50 percent of all children under 5 years old who die from the flu were previously healthy. Adults who die from the flu, on the other hand, typically had a medical condition that increased their risk of mortality. A new study offers new insights as to why healthy children are much more vulnerable. It also opens new opportunities for treatment.

CDC Reports That Flu Vaccine Has Been 36% Effective This Season
While a new report has found that the flu vaccine has been just 36% effective this year, a recent study suggests that history of exposure to flu may, in part, be to blame.

FEB 14, 2018 | EINAV KEET
Influenza A (H3N2) has caused most of the illnesses in this severe flu season, but influenza B is becoming increasingly responsible for more infections as the flu season continues to hit the United States.

The Atlantic
Sarah Zhang
Jan 13, 2018
A strong virus, a less-than-effective vaccine, and an IV bag shortage that goes back to Hurricane Maria.

In The Journals
Published in the January 2018 issue of Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses
Estimates of influenza disease burden are broadly useful for public health, helping national and local authorities monitor epidemiologic trends, plan and allocate resources, and promote influenza vaccination. Historically, estimates of the burden of seasonal influenza in the United States, focused mainly on influenza-related mortality and hospitalization, were generated every few years.

Stay Healthy!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Shingles Vaccine Video, New Name for C. diff, Flu B Rising, and More — A Pre-Valentines Day ID Link-o-Rama

HIV and ID Observations

An ongoing dialogue on HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases, all matters medical, and some not so medical.

Paul E. Sax, MD

The ACIP issued its official recommendations for herpes zoster (shingles) immunization.
Preferred: the new recombinant zoster vaccine, abbreviated RZV, for people 50 and older. They do not recommend it (yet) for immunocompromised individuals — stay tuned. Does the recommendation include our stable, on-therapy HIV patients, who in increasing numbers are over 50? I say yes.

In this terrible flu season, should we be choosing one type of flu vaccine over another?
In the absence of head-to-head trials, it’s difficult to make an official endorsement. But as this interesting piece notes, there are differences between the available vaccines, differences that may lead to different rates of protection. Credit to Helen Branswell, a local journalist who has done superb reporting on the flu this year.

FDA approves bictegravir/FTC/TAF for initial and switch HIV therapy.
Now come two inevitable questions: 1) When will my patient’s insurance/ADAP/etc. cover it? 2) Who came up with that brand name? Biktarvy, jeepers.

Elsulfavirine, an investigational NNRTI, is also approved for HIV therapy.
OK, ok, so it’s approved in Russia, not here. Here’s a clinical trial comparing it to efavirenz from last year’s CROI.

Friday, February 2, 2018

February 2018 Hepatitis Updates: Opioid Addiction, Newsletters & Can HCV Reactivate with Treatment of Non-hepatic Cancer

February 2018 Hepatitis Updates
Greetings, here is a recap of today's news, along with this months index of wonderful newsletters, publications, and blog updates; offering us invaluable information on the topic of viral hepatitis.

News Updates
MD Magazine
HCV Can Reactivate with Treatment of Non-hepatic Cancer
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) reactivation to occur in approximately 1 out of 5 patients treated for non-hepatic cancer, posing renewed risk for hepatic injury and possibly complicating the cancer treatment....

Here is the study, published last month in Hepatology “Hepatitis C virus reactivation in patients receiving cancer treatment: A prospective observational study

FEBRUARY 02, 2018
Kenneth Bender, PharmD, MA
A growing number of children are being hospitalized with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, coinciding with the increase in substance abuse in the US and the disproportionately greater rates in the northeast and southern regions.

Reuters Health
Hep B reactivation common during direct-acting antiviral therapy for hep C
Last Updated: 2018-02-02
By Will Boggs MD
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation is common in patients with chronic HBV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection receiving direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis.

"It is important to identify patients at risk of HBV reactivation," said Dr. Johannes Vermehren from University Hospital Frankfurt, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

"HBsAg-positive patients who also have detectable HBV DNA should be closely monitored when treated for hepatitis C with direct antivirals. Alternatively, (nucleoside/nucleotide) prophylaxis may be justified in these patients," he told Reuters Health by email.

Read today's news or a nice summary of notable headlines published in the latest issue of The Weekly Bull.

William F. Balistreri
February 01, 2018
Although several studies have examined the frequency of various causes of abnormal liver test results in the general population and the role of liver biopsy in diagnosis, to date no controlled trials have been performed to determine the optimal approach to evaluating patients.

8 recent reports on prevention, prediction of cirrhosis
February 2, 2018
Chronic liver damage known as cirrhosis has a variety of causes. What remains constant is its potential progression to liver failure. Researchers continue to seek…
View all headlines @ Healio

Healio - In the Journals
SVR for HCV with no advanced liver disease greatly reduces mortality risk
Backus LI, et al. Hepatol. 2017;doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2017.07.032.
January 30, 2018
Patients with hepatitis C without advanced liver disease who achieved sustained virologic response with direct-acting antiviral therapy had significantly reduced all-cause mortality rates compared with both treated patients who did not achieve SVR and untreated patients, according to a recently published data.

World Hepatitis Alliance
Over the past two decades, deaths caused by liver cancer have increased by 80% , making it one of the fastest-growing causes of cancer deaths worldwide. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, the most comprehensive worldwide observational epidemiological study to date, 830,000 people died as a result of the disease in 2016 compared to 464,000 people in 1990. This makes liver cancer the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, after lung cancer.

How to Find a Cancer Doctor
Feb 4, 2018
Cancer changes your life and the lives of those around you. Finding the right cancer doctor (called an oncologist) and treatment facility is an important step to getting the treatment and support you need.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization
World Cancer Day is 4 February.
Cancer kills 8.8 million people every year, and it's on the rise. Learn more about the European Code Against Cancer and 12 ways to reduce your cancer risk.

GI & Hepatology News
Baby boomers are the hepatitis C generation
Richard Franki Frontline Medical News
Publish date: February 2, 2018
Adults born before and after the boomers have much lower rates of hepatitis C–related hospitalizations.

infohep news
Harm reduction scale-up needed to eliminate HCV in people who inject drugs, European model predicts
Keith Alcorn / 01 February 2018
Elimination of hepatitis C among people who inject drugs in Europe will require simultaneous scale-up of direct-acting antiviral treatment, needle and syringe programmes (NSP) and opioid substitution treatment (OST)

Understanding The Struggle Against Opioid Addiction
NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Medicaid's former Chief Medical Officer Andrey Ostrovsky about his uncle's fatal drug overdose and his efforts to destigmatize opioid addiction.

NAM Publications
A new edition of our booklet HIV stigma & discrimination' is now available online. The booklet explains what stigma and discrimination are, makes some suggestions for how to deal with these problems and gives information about your legal rights. 
The purpose of this Training Manual is to provide information for you and your community. This information can be used to advocate for access to prevention and diagnosis of, and care and treatment for, hepatitis C virus (HCV).

The manual is written by and for people who are not medical specialists. We're treatment activists who learned about HCV because it was a problem for people in our communities.

The primary goals of the Training Manual are to increase advocates’ knowledge about available HCV tests and treatments, particularly in the era of all-oral, highly effective direct-acting antiviral medications that treat all genotypes, and to jumpstart discussions on advocacy strategies that can be used to open up affordable access for more people with HCV.

We designed it to help you understand basic information about HCV and coinfection with HIV: how it's transmitted, how to prevent HCV, how people can find out if they have HCV, what happens to both HIV-negative and HIV-positive people who have HCV, testing and treatment options, drug-drug interactions, and other information used for making treatment decisions.

This Training Manual is organized into short sections, and each section can be presented and shared by a trainer or peer educator with a small group of people in one to two hours. There are discussion points and action steps at the end of each section. The discussion points are intended to start conversations about the key issues raised in each section. The action steps are intended to start conversations about how to translate the key issues into advocacy in the community and to allow participants to find solutions together.

In Case You Missed It - Journal Updates
Original Article: Glecaprevir–Pibrentasvir for 8 or 12 Weeks in HCV Genotype 1 or 3 Infection
Full Text Article: Shared and downloaded via Twitter by Henry E. Chang 
View all Journal updates on this blog, here.....

HCV Advocate
February Newsletter
Hepatitis A (HAV) Overview
HealthWise – Love, Sex, and Hepatitis C

Recommended reading at HCV Advocate
A Guide to Understanding and Managing Fatigue – learn about how fatigue can affect the body and mind and how to manage it.
A Guide for Employers and Coworkers – Living with hepatitis C is not easy. This fact sheet is designed to help you to educate employers and co-workers, but it’s a tricky business at the very least. But disclosure could prove to be helpful for the person living with HCV.
Meditation – most of us live stressful lives. Living with HCV can be even very stressful. This fact sheet offers helpful tips on various meditation techniques.
Sleep – Everyone needs it and it is an important component of living well with hepatitis C.

National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable
NVHR Newsletter

Save The Date - February 6, 2018
National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable NVHR
Engaging Active Drug Users About Hep C: From Testing Through Cure and Beyond
Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 12 pm Pacific/3 pm Eastern
Click here to register

Are drug users informing your agency’s programs and policies?
Do you know how to engage drug users?
What can be done to address concerns about adherence to hepatitis C treatment by people who use drugs?

We’ll discuss these questions and more during a webinar on February 6, 2018. The webinar will be hosted by the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, the Urban Survivor’s Union, the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance, and the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition. These groups are working collaboratively on the “More than Tested, Cured” project which addresses barriers to hepatitis C care faced by individuals who use drugs. The webinar will also include findings from interviews with participants and healthcare providers and suggested messaging to improve access to hepatitis C care. After the presentation, there will be time for questions and discussion.

The New York City Hepatitis C Task Force
Hep Free NYC Newsletters

British Liver Trust

Blog Updates
By Editorial Team - February 1, 2018
How do you tell your friends and family or romantic partners you’ve been diagnosed with hepatitis C? Just the stigma of hepatitis C alone can make relationships challenging enough. Add in symptoms...

By Kimberly Morgan Bossley - February 1, 2018
Ever go to your appointment and feel like your doctor is speaking a different language? Many times, going in to see my liver doctor I would be sitting there waiting with a list...

By Daryl Luster - January 30, 2018
Lost to care is a phrase that is not commonly mentioned in the community or really anywhere else very much. What does it mean? In the context of hep C, it relates...

HEP Blog
January 31, 2018
By Connie M. Welch
The preparation phase for treatment is very important. Knowledge is powerful. When patients prepare they are more likely to be proactive and handle treatment much easier.

By Lucinda K. Porter, RN
If your hepatitis was cured, but a new doctor tells you that you have hep C, should you panic? A look at what may be going on.

By Lucinda K. Porter, RN
Hepatitis C reactivation may occur in people receiving cancer treatment. However, hep C reactivation may not mean what you think it does.

By Karen Hoyt
A glimpse at an easily overlooked tool for healing.

The Hepatitis B Foundation
Herbal Remedies and Supplements
Herbal remedies are not regulated or tested for efficacy, safety or purity. At best they are supportive, but sometimes they cause more harm than good.

Harvard Health Blog
Posted February 02, 2018, 6:30 am
Are we headed toward a historically bad flu season? It’s too early to tell. This year, it could just be that flu season, which is usually at its worst in February, is peaking early. Hospitals across the United States have been flooded with flu patients. Matters have been made worse by national shortages of IV fluids in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

FDA Statement - Impact of saline shortages during this flu season
February 02, 2018
Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, on ongoing efforts to mitigate impact of saline shortages during this flu season
This year’s flu season has been particularly challenging, with a notable number of cases leading to hospitalization. The season started earlier than usual and seemed to spread across many states quickly. H3N2, the predominant strain of the influenza A virus this season, has led to health complications that are more severe than those seen during an H1N1-predominant season. We recognize that managing the thousands of flu-related hospitalizations has increased the demand for certain saline products – which are commonly used to both hydrate and deliver medications via intravenous routes. As we’ve shared over the past several months, across the country, there remains a shortage of IV saline bags, which have long faced supply issues. These supply issues were worsened by the impact of Hurricane Maria on the medical products manufacturing sector in Puerto Rico, which impacted small volume IV bags. Although the saline shortage is improving, this year’s worse-than-normal flu season and workarounds deployed by health care providers in the wake of this shortage have increased demand for saline and other products.

This flu season's hospitalizations are highest in nearly a decade
by Lena H. Sun February 2 at 2:17 PM
This year's flu season has now sent more people to the hospital with the illness than in nearly a decade, federal health officials said Friday. Nationwide during the past week, 16 more children died from the virus.

So far this season, influenza has caused the deaths of at least 53 children, rivaling that of the especially severe 2014-2015 flu season. Eighty percent of them had not had a flu shot....

Enjoy the upcoming weekend!

Photo Credit: Bygone Boys

Sunday, January 28, 2018

HCV Updates & A Look At The Most Intense Flu Season In Years

Welcome, sit back and catch up on notable research articles and blog updates on the topic of viral hepatitis. However, we begin with updates on this year's flu season, with experts reporting it's the worst in nearly a decade

A Look At The Most Intense Flu Season In Years

Keep up with the latest flu news as it is posted on the CDC's website.

Transcript for CDC Update on Widespread Flu Activity
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
We called this briefing to get you the latest FluView numbers and to provide advice on preventing the flu and information about what people can do to reduce the risk of flu or serious illness.
Listen here

The American Council on Science and Health
This Year's Flu Is Different - It Kills In Two Ways
Jan 29, 2018
It is the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Spanish flu (1,2) pandemic, and the date is not the only similarity between the two. While it is impossible that the morbidity and mortality that is being caused by this year's H3N2 strain (3) will even approach that of the monster that infected 5% of the world, killing 2% of it, there is one troubling feature that this year's strain shares with its centennial cousin. Flu typically kills because of secondary infections, usually pneumonia. While both "18s" do this, they also kill people directly. This is the scary part. The latter is mercifully rare but it dominates the news. Children seem to be more susceptible rapid deaths. Cases have been recently reported in Florida, California, and Connecticut. And it may be growing, especially as new strains emerge (4). The cause of fast deaths is very different from that normally seen in flu death. It is more insidious, harder to prevent and can nothing can be done about it. One hundred years ago there were reports of people dying within hours of becoming ill.

Journal: New England Journal Of Medicine
January 25, 2018
J.C. Kwong and Others
Patients who had a positive laboratory test for influenza were six times as likely to be hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction during the 7 days after specimen collection (the “risk interval”) as during the year before and the year after the risk interval.

Rob Stein
The flu is hitting the 65-and-over age group hardest, but the next-hardest hit is the 50-to-64 age group. Usually, children are the second-hardest hit. The reason is unclear. Jernigan says it may be because the strains of the flu to which baby boomers were exposed when they were young are different from the strains circulating this year, so they have less immunity.

CDC: Flu hospitalizations, deaths high; vaccination still urged
January 26, 2018
Influenza-related deaths this season have remained elevated for weeks, and hospitalization rates are comparable to the severe 2014-2015 influenza…

American Thinker
January 28, 2018
By Rick Moran
“We often see different parts of the country light up at different times, but for the past three weeks the entire country has been experiencing lots of flu, all at the same time,” he said, adding: “We have several weeks to go.”

NBC News
Virus looks like flu, acts like flu, but it's not influenza
by Maggie Fox
There’s another virus out there that could be adding to the seasonal misery, but it’s not being identified. The virus is called adenovirus, and it can cause very severe flu-like symptoms. It’s so risky that the U.S. military vaccinates recruits against two major strains.

In The News
England could become first country to eradicate Hepatitis C in 2025
Jan 29, 2018
NHS leaders today called on the pharmaceutical industry to work with them to provide best value for money for treatments so that in its 70th year, the NHS can commit to eliminating Hepatitis C in England at least five years earlier than the World Health Organisation goal of 2030.

Read today's news or check out the latest issue of Weekly Bull.

CDEC Recommends MAVIRET™ and VOSEVI™ for Reimbursement for Chronic HCV
January 27, 2018
On January 25, 2018 the federal CADTH Canadian Drug Expert Committee (CDEC) released its extensive reviews of two new "pan-genotypic" hepatitis C treatments: Maviret™ (AbbVie) and Vosevi™ (Gilead). In both cases, the drugs were recommended for reimbursement by provincial PharmaCares for "adult patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 infection with or without compensated cirrhosis." And, for both, reimburseme...

New Online
Medscape: CME Video
Treating Genotype 1-6
HCV Treatment: Incorporating Glecaprevir/Pibrentasvir and sofosbuvir/Velpatasvir/Voxilaprevir Into Clinical Practice
This 15-minute activity features a brief video introduction by faculty expert Dr. Muir in which he discusses how the new combination therapies glecaprevir/pibrentasvir and sofosbuvir/velpatasvir/voxilaprevir have changed the treatment landscape. The activity then continues with a text-based review of the recent advances in direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) and the clinical trials that led to the approval of these new agents.
Free registration is required 

Journal Updates
Journal: Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Hepatitis C virus re-treatment in the era of direct-acting antivirals: projections in the USA
The introduction of oral direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) has dramatically changed the landscape of HCV treatment. However, a small percentage of patients fail to achieve sustained virologic response (SVR). Understanding the number of people who fail on DAAs and require re-treatment is important for budget impact and disease burden projections.

Journal: World Journal of Gastroenterology                   
This review addresses general aspects of vitamin D deficiency and, in particular, the significance of vitamin D hypovitaminosis in the outcome of HBV- and HCV-related chronic liver diseases. Furthermore, current literature was reviewed in order to understand the effects of vitamin D supplementation in combination with IFN-based therapy on the virological response in HBV and HCV infected patients.

Journal: World Journal of Hepatology
Efficacy of direct-acting antiviral treatment for chronic hepatitis C: A single hospital experience
Direct-acting antivirals have been approved for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 and 2 infections in Japan since 2011. In the new era of DAA therapy, predictors who fail to respond to DAA might be compromised by resistance-associated substitutions. There have been few reports of daclatasvir/asunaprevir failure because daclatasvir/asunaprevir is limited in Japan. Therefore, it might be important to report these cases for future research and treatment of HCV.

The following articles downloaded and shared by @HenryEChang via Twitter

Journal: Liver International
NVHR and the Center for Health Law Policy and Innovation at Harvard Law co-hosted this webinar on highlights from the "Hepatitis C: State of Medicaid Access" report, including methodology and key findings.

Contagion Live
Hepatitis C-Related Hospitalizations Rise By Almost 50%
The new report found that the number of inpatient hospital stays for patients seeking treatment solely for hepatitis C rose by nearly 49% from 2005 to 2014. In addition, hospital stays for hepatitis C patients also seeking treatment for hepatitis B, HIV, or alcoholic liver disease rose by about 11%. Overall, adults ages 52 to 72 years saw a more than 67% increase in hepatitis C-related hospitalizations –the most of any age group –while those ages 18 to 51 years saw a nearly 15% decrease in hospitalizations. Hospital stays involving hepatitis C were also longer, more expensive, and more likely to result in death than stays that did not involve hepatitis C.

By Kimberly Morgan Bossley - January 26, 2018
After curing hep C in 2014 many things changed in my life. I sold off half of my company and took the other with me and put in my home. After bringing the...

Getting Dumped with Hepatitis C 
By Karen Hoyt - January 25, 2018
After years of living with hepatitis C, I was very sick. My husband gave up on my low-energy self. He was about done with having a brain foggy wife. Within months of...

By Daryl Luster - January 24, 2018
It has become evident to me that there are people who are treating their hep C with drugs that they purchase from countries where generic drugs are produced. These drugs are produced... 

HEP Blog
The Fire and Fury of Hep C 
January 26, 2018 
Growing up with Hep C colors the world very differently. Because I knew early, I avoided alcohol from the get-go. I’d like to think it allowed my liver to keep going to thirty. My biggest fear wasn’t dying, but accidentally infecting someone else. Over time I found my paranoia getting the better of me. I abhorred physical contact, because it added to the layered stress of social interaction. Having notified the school of my condition I was kept out of PE. I wasn’t shy about the topic, and the stigma merely fueled my rebellious teenage self. I clung to that rage, it felt justified, but often when we’re young we misidentify the real emotions at play.

By Karen Hoyt
A glimpse at an easily overlooked tool for healing.

Hepatitis C Reactivation: What It Is and What It Isn’t 
By Lucinda K. Porter, RN
Hepatitis C reactivation may occur in people receiving cancer treatment. However, hep C reactivation may not mean what you think it does.

By Greg Jefferys
In Ireland, the rate of Hepatitis C infection is one of the highest in the EU at about twice the international average.
Jennifer Variste, MD
January 27, 2018 
So you heard the flu shot is 10 percent effective. With so many sources of information available, the primary care provider’s role increasingly becomes that of educator. It is important to me that the parents of my patients make informed decisions, so when I have a parent decline the influenza vaccine, I make an effort to ask why. The number one response I hear has been “What’s the point? The flu ...

Hepatitis B Foundation
Timothy Block, PhD
Welcome to Journey to the Cure. This is a web series that chronicles the progress at the Hepatitis B Foundation and Baruch S. Blumberg Institute towards finding the cure for hepatitis B.

Healthy You
Why herbal supplements taken with prescription drugs may be risky

Recommended Reading
Herbal Supplements May Be Dangerous When You Take Certain Prescription Drugs
By Amanda MacMillan
January 24, 2018 
A number of common herbal supplements, including green tea and Ginkgo biloba, can interact with prescription medications, according to a new research review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. These interactions can make drugs less effective—and may even be dangerous or deadly. 
The new review analyzed 49 case reports of adverse drug reactions, along with two observational studies. Most people in the analysis were being treated for heart disease, cancer or kidney transplants, and were taking warfarin, statins, chemotherapy drugs or immunosuppressants. Some also had depression, anxiety or neurological disorders, and were being treated with antidepressant, antipsychotic or anticonvulsant medications.
Continue reading:

Medical News Today
What to eat if you have hepatitis C
Last reviewed Thu 25 January 2018
By Tom Seymour
Reviewed by Natalie Olsen, RD, LD, ACSM EP-C
Hepatitis C can damage the liver and lead to cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver. Damage to the liver may mean that a person needs to modify their diet.

May we all remain healthy this flu season.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Flu Hitting Baby Boomers Unusually Hard

Flu Season Rages On, Hitting Baby Boomers Unusually Hard
Rob Stein
The flu is hitting the 65-and-over age group hardest, but the next-hardest hit is the 50-to-64 age group. Usually, children are the second-hardest hit.

The reason is unclear. Jernigan says it may be because the strains of the flu to which baby boomers were exposed when they were young are different from the strains circulating this year, so they have less immunity.

Children are being affected, though. Seven more pediatric deaths from the flu were reported this week, bringing that total to 37.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Cold or flu? Here's how to tell, plus your flu vaccine questions answered

Cold or flu? Here's how to tell, plus your flu vaccine questions answered
Posted 9:03 AM
By Julie Washington, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- You're coughing, sniffling and sneezing and feeling lousy, but is it a cold, or the flu?

It's important to know the difference, because the flu is much more serious than a cold, and lasts longer, explained Dr. Amy Edwards, associate medical director of Pediatric Infection Control at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.

Three flu-related deaths were reported in Cuyahoga County during the week of Jan. 7-13, bringing to five the total number of flu-related deaths this season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week reported widespread flu activity across the country, with 10 pediatric flu-related deaths during this flu season so far.

Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting a serious case of the flu.

Here is Edwards' explanation of the difference between a cold and the flu.

Q: What is a cold?

A: A cold is a catch-all term for an upper respiratory infection caused by many different viruses, Edwards said. A cold's runny nose, cough, fever and sore throat lasts up to five or six days.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Flu may be spread just by breathing

It is easier to spread the influenza virus (flu) than previously thought, according to a new University of Maryland-led study released today. People commonly believe that they can catch the flu by exposure to droplets from an infected person's coughs or sneezes or by touching contaminated surfaces. But, new information about flu transmission reveals that we may pass the flu to others just by breathing.

The study "Infectious virus in exhaled breath of symptomatic seasonal influenza cases from a college community," published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides new evidence for the potential importance of airborne transmission because of the large quantities of infectious virus researchers found in the exhaled breath from people suffering from flu.

"We found that flu cases contaminated the air around them with infectious virus just by breathing, without coughing or sneezing," explained Dr. Milton, M.D., MPH, professor of environmental health in the University of Maryland School of Public Health and lead researcher of this study. "People with flu generate infectious aerosols (tiny droplets that stay suspended in the air for a long time) even when they are not coughing, and especially during the first days of illness. So when someone is coming down with influenza, they should go home and not remain in the workplace and infect others."

Researchers from the University of Maryland, San Jose State University, Missouri Western State University and University of California, Berkeley contributed to this study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Milton and his research team captured and characterized influenza virus in exhaled breath from 142 confirmed cases of people with influenza during natural breathing, prompted speech, spontaneous coughing, and sneezing, and assessed the infectivity of naturally occurring influenza aerosols. The participants provided 218 nasopharyngeal swabs and 218 30-minute samples of exhaled breath, spontaneous coughing, and sneezing on the first, second, and third days after the onset of symptoms.

The analysis of the infectious virus recovered from these samples showed that a significant number of flu patients routinely shed infectious virus, not merely detectable RNA, into aerosol particles small enough to present a risk for airborne transmission.

Surprisingly, 11 (48%) of the 23 fine aerosol samples acquired in the absence of coughing had detectable viral RNA and 8 of these 11 contained infectious virus, suggesting that coughing was not necessary for infectious aerosol generation in the fine aerosol droplets. In addition, the few sneezes observed were not associated with greater viral RNA copy numbers in either coarse or fine aerosols, suggesting that sneezing does not make an important contribution to influenza virus shedding in aerosols.

"The study findings suggest that keeping surfaces clean, washing our hands all the time, and avoiding people who are coughing does not provide complete protection from getting the flu," said Sheryl Ehrman, Don Beall Dean of the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering at San José State University. "Staying home and out of public spaces could make a difference in the spread of the influenza virus."

According to the authors, the findings could be used to improve mathematical models of the risk of airborne influenza transmission from people with symptomatic illness and to develop more effective public health interventions and to control and reduce the impact of influenza epidemics and pandemics. Improvements could be made to ventilation systems to reduce transmission risk in offices, school classrooms and subway cars, for example. Meanwhile, we can all heed the advice to stay home, if possible, when we are beginning to get sick to prevent even greater numbers of flu cases. And, get vaccinated -- it is not perfect but does prevent a significant amount of severe illness.