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  • September 26, 2016 9:52 AM | Deleted user

    Mosquitoes can spread viruses like Zika, chikungunya, and dengue.This flipbook gives basic information about mosquito control activities and how to protect from mosquito bites. Mosquito control approaches that incorporate community education, and mosquito surveillance and control are often called “integrated vector control.” A vector is an insect, like a mosquito, that can spread viruses.

    Download here

  • September 26, 2016 9:44 AM | Deleted user

    THURSDAY, Sept. 22, 2016 -- An experimental DNA-based vaccine protected monkeys from infection with the birth defects-causing Zika virus, and it has proceeded to human safety trials, researchers report.

    "The vaccine universally elicited antibodies from all primates, but for the animals that got a full dose of vaccine, 17 of 18 were protected from infection," said study co-author Ted Pierson. He is chief of the Viral Pathogenesis Section at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

    Based on these findings, researchers have begun clinical safety trials in healthy human beings, Pierson said. These trials will show whether the vaccine is safe in humans, and whether it prompts an immune system response as it did in monkeys.

    "When a vaccine is effective in a lower primate species, it is a good signal that it will be effective in humans," said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior associate at the University of Pittsburgh's UPMC Center for Health Security in Baltimore. "The NIH vaccine candidates have cleared an important hurdle, and we are awaiting results from phase 1 human studies."

    However, animal research does not always pan out in humans.

    Zika is the first mosquito-borne virus known to cause terrible birth defects, most of them brain-related. The most common defect is microcephaly, in which a child is born with an abnormally small brain and skull. Thousands of babies have been born with Zika-linked microcephaly, most of them in Brazil, since an outbreak began in South America in April 2015.

    Zika infections have been occurring in south Florida, with 43 cases as of Sept. 21, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been no reports of microcephaly in the state.

    Because of the ongoing transmissions, a Zika vaccine is important to prevent future birth defects, Adalja and Pierson said.

    This potential vaccine contains a piece of DNA created synthetically in the laboratory from the Zika virus, Pierson said.

    When introduced into the body, the DNA causes small virus-like particles to be secreted from cells, Pierson explained. These particles are not full-fledged Zika, but are similar enough to the virus that the immune system might produce an antibody response that will also protect against Zika.

    "This kind of vaccine, which we call a DNA vaccine, there's precedent for this," Pierson said, noting that similar technology was used years ago to create a candidate vaccine for West Nile virus.

    To test the potential effectiveness of the Zika vaccine, researchers provided a single dose to six rhesus monkeys and two shots to 18 monkeys.

    None of the monkeys that received a single dose was protected from Zika infection, but the vaccine did appear to create an antibody response, the researchers found.

    Their blood contained less Zika virus than animals who did not receive the vaccine.

    The two-dose vaccine series protected 17 out of the 18 monkeys against exposure to Zika, and provided researchers with an idea of how much antibody response is needed to protect against infection.

    "The DNA vaccines leading the way in the Zika vaccine rush are an important innovative development, and would represent the first commercially available DNA vaccines if proven to be effective and safe," Adalja said.

    This vaccine could protect fetuses against Zika by creating an immune response in pregnant women that prevents a full-fledged viral infection, Pierson said. The vaccine is not expected to cause Zika-like birth defects itself, because it does not cause Zika infection.

    "The reason why there are Zika-associated neurodevelopmental defects is because the virus is actually infecting the fetus and attacking developing neurons in the fetus, causing direct harm," Pierson explained. "The neurodevelopmental defects are a result of what the viral infection is doing, not a result of the body's immune response."

    It's unclear when this or some other Zika vaccine will be available for use. Any vaccine candidates will have to be tested during a future Zika outbreak, to see whether it is able to protect people against active viral transmission, Pierson said.

    Adalja added that other potential Zika vaccines are in earlier stages of development, including an inactivated virus approach at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and RNA vaccines under development by two private companies.

    The findings on the DNA vaccine were published Sept. 22 in the journal Science.

    More information

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information onmosquito-borne diseases.

    This Q & A will tell you what you need to know about Zika.

    To see the CDC list of sites where Zika virus is active and may pose a threat to pregnant women, click here.

    Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

  • September 23, 2016 9:39 AM | Deleted user

    By Lena H. Sun September 21 at 4:54 PM 

    Drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae diplococcal bacteria, which causes gonorrhea, the second most common infectious disease in the United States. (James Archer/CDC)

    U.S. health officials have identified a cluster of gonorrhea infections that show sharply increased resistance to the last effective treatment available for the country's second most commonly reported infectious disease.

    The findings from a cluster of Hawaii cases, presented Wednesday at a conference on prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, represent the first cluster of cases in the United States that have shown such decreased susceptibility to the double-antibiotic combination used when other drugs have failed. If the bacteria continue to develop resistance, that end-of-the-line therapy ultimately will fail, and an estimated 800,000 Americans a year could face untreatable gonorrhea and the serious health problems it causes, health officials said.

    This latest news about antibiotic resistance came as world leaders gathered at an unusual meeting at the United Nations to address the rising threat posed by superbugs, microbes that can’t be stopped with drugs. Leaders adopted a joint declaration committing them to address the root causes of antimicrobial resistance, especially in human health, animal health and agriculture.

    Nations called for better use of existing tools to prevent infections in humans and animals, including farmed fish. Norway's prime minister spoke about how her country has been vaccinating every single "baby salmon, just like small kids," and as a result, has cut antibiotic use in one of its principal foods and exports to virtually zero.

    One form of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, causes a range of potentially deadly illnesses. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

    In the United States, drug-resistant gonorrhea already is one of the country's three most urgent superbug threats, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In each case, as with other diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, overexposure to antibiotics has allowed the particular germ to more rapidly develop resistance.

    CDC warned this summer that evidence of gonorrhea's diminished vulnerability to one of the last-resort drugs, azithromycin, was emerging nationwide. But it said the other antibiotic, ceftriaxone, was still effective.

    That's why the latest findings are so distressing for health officials. It means current treatment options are in jeopardy, said Gail Bolan, director of CDC's division of STD prevention. "What's unique about this cluster now identified in Hawaii is that these strains, we've really never seen before," she said.

    Laboratory tests of the gonorrhea samples collected from seven people in Honolulu in April and May showed resistance to azithromycin at "dramatically higher levels" than typically seen in the United States, according to researchers from Hawaii's state health department. Five of the seven samples also showed increased resistance to ceftriaxone.

    Hawaii is on the front line for antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea, health officials say, and monitors resistance patterns closely. So the state was able to catch this cluster of cases early. Although the patients were treated successfully with the recommended two drugs, and no other cases were identified, officials are worried that the resistance pattern and cluster indicate the strain was able to spread.

    Many people don't actually know they're infected with gonorrhea because they have no symptoms. As a result, the disease goes undetected and untreated, which can cause a range of problems. Women risk chronic pelvic pain, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy and even infertility. And for both women and men, infection also increases the risk of contracting and transmitting HIV.

    History has shown that gonorrhea bacteria have been able to outsmart and become resistant to a long list of antibiotics that includes penicillin, tetracycline, and fluoroquinolones. CDC has been closely monitoring early warning signs of resistance not only to azithromycin but also to cephalosporins, the class of antibiotics that includes ceftriaxone.

    But officials now say there are no back-up options that are highly reliable, widely available, affordable and well tolerated. An oral antibiotic under development might offer a possible new treatment, researchers from Louisiana State University said at the CDC-sponsored conference in Atlanta. The drug was generally safe and effective in treating gonorrhea in a phase 2 clinical trial; those results will need to be confirmed in a large-scale clinical study.

    The experimental drug works differently from any currently marketed antibiotic. It is a single-dose oral therapy and could be used as an alternative to a ceftriaxone injection. In the randomized controlled trial reported Wednesday, researchers treated 179 people with gonorrhea using the experimental drug alone (at two different dosages) or ceftriaxone alone. Virtually all the patients receiving the experimental drug were cured, they said. Every patient given ceftriaxone also was cured.

    At the UN meeting in New York, antibiotic use in animals was a major focus. Norway long depended on antibiotics to protect farmed salmon from a bacterial fish disease, and the fish industry was concerned that "you couldn't have growth if you don't use antibiotics," Prime Minister Erna Solberg said.

    But that turned out not to be the case, she said. In the late 1980s, scientists there developed an effective vaccine that has no side effects in humans. By 1994, fish farmers had made the switch from antibiotics to vaccination. For 15 years, farmers vaccinated the baby salmon by hand until better technology was developed, she said.

    "We need an international ban on using antibiotics as growth improvement," she said. "To combat illness, yes, but not as growth improvement."

    Participants welcomed what everyone agreed was long overdue attention to antimicrobial resistance. But several said declarations and "action plans" aren't enough without measurable goals and concrete targets.

    At a fundamental level, antimicrobial resistance is a public health failure, some experts said. Governments need to accept that responsibility, stressed Joanne Liu, international president of Doctors Without Borders, which is known by its French acronym, MSF. "I am running out of options," she said. Too often, MSF doctors are treating children injured by war wounds who "end up dying from a bone infection weeks later," she said.

    Martha Tellado, president and chief executive of Consumer Reports, said countries need to launch high-profile public awareness campaigns, and institutions such as hospitals need to be more transparent so consumers can be informed about drug-resistant outbreaks.

    Martin Khor, executive director of the South Centre, an intergovernmental organization of developing countries, said there have been similar declarations to fight antimicrobial resistance in the past.

    "For 40 years, governments have not stepped up enough to take a leadership role," he said. Developing countries need to be convinced of the seriousness of the issue, and their civil societies need to become engaged to exert pressure on elected officials. "If it comes from society, and society says to politicians, 'This is what we want you to do,' then it will create a political will," he said.

    Original Post: The Washington Post

  • September 23, 2016 9:28 AM | Deleted user

    CDC’s 2016-2017 seasonal influenza vaccination campaign will kick-off September 29 with a press conference hosted by the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases (or NFID) in partnership with CDC. CDC director, Dr. Tom Frieden, will join a panel of experts to discuss the upcoming flu season.

    What you should know for the 2016-2017 Flu Season

    An annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect you and your family from the flu. People should be vaccinated before flu activity begins. CDC recommends that people get vaccinated by the end of October, if possible.  A few things to note for this flu season:

    • Only injectable flu vaccines (flu shots) are recommended for use this season.
    • Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses.
    • There will be some new vaccines on the market this season, including an adjuvanted vaccine for people 65 and older.
    • The recommendations for vaccination of people with egg allergies have changed.

    Learn more about what’s new for the 2016-17 flu season by visiting,

    You can join the effort to fight the flu by getting your flu vaccine and encouraging people to protect themselves and their family by doing the same.  Join the conversation online with the hashtag #FightFlu, and show your support by joining CDC’s #FightFlu Thunderclap.

    Original Post: ASPPH

  • September 22, 2016 10:41 AM | Deleted user

    Students in the program will train alongside medical students in clinical care and coursework, as well as pursue an area of scholarly concentration.

    The Stanford University School of Medicine will for the first time offer a master of science program designed to train physician assistants as both clinicians and future leaders in health care.

    “As health-care access improves, we need to equip medical practitioners with the skills to meet growing demand,” saidLloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. “This new master of science program for physician assistants helps health-care teams navigate that complexity and provide precision health: personalized treatment when disease strikes and proactive and preventive care that keeps people from getting sick in the first place.”

    To be considered for admission to the program in the fall of 2017, applications are due Nov. 1.

    “This program will set itself apart from many other physician assistant programs by combining excellence in clinical training with scholarly projects that will help our graduates to become future leaders in their field,” said Charles Prober, MD, senior associate dean of medical education.

    Designed for a class of 25 to 30 students, the 30-month program will emphasize training alongside medical students in coursework and clinical care. It will also require students to choose an area of scholarly concentration within one of four areas: community health, health services and policy research, clinical research or medical education.

    “With the increasing emphasis on coordinated, team-based care as supported by the Affordable Care Act, it is critical that the School of Medicine be able to create an integrated, team-learning environment to educate the biomedical scientists and clinicians of the future,” said Robert Harrington, MD, professor and chair of medicine.

    Replaces associate degree program

    The master’s degree program replaces the associate degree program to train physician assistants that began in 1971 as a partnership between the School of Medicine and Foothill College, a two-year community college in Los Altos. The associate degree program will no longer be offered once its current students have graduated.

    The new program is designed to meet the expanding role of PAs in today’s changing health-care environment, said Susan Fernandes, PA, clinical professor of pediatrics and of medicine.

    “Today’s PAs practice in all areas of medicine,” Fernandes said. “They are leading community health centers, they are front stage in the health-care policy arena, leaders in the classroom and changing health-care delivery through innovation and research.”

    The role of PA, one of the fastest growing professions, has expanded in part due to a shortage of physicians nationwide and the need to meet the growing demands of an aging population, Fernandes said. She and Rhonda Larsen, PA, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics, worked as consultants to help design the new program.

    “We are trying to educate the next generation of PA leaders,” Larsen said. “No other program sets out to do this.”

    ‘New direction for Stanford’

    PAs treat patients as part of a health-care team, collaborating with physicians and other providers, Fernandes said. They often provide a broad range of health-care services that may include conducting physical exams, ordering and interpreting medical tests, diagnosing illnesses, developing treatment plans, prescribing medication and assisting in surgery.

    We are trying to educate the next generation of PA leaders.

    “This is a new direction for Stanford, which has been traditionally a very research-heavy medical school,” said Andrew Nevins, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine and medical director of the new program. “There is little training of advanced practice providers such as PAs. There is no school of nursing, no pharmacy school. This is an opportunity for Stanford to make a mark on this rapidly growing field.”

    The curriculum will emphasize training in the foundational sciences during the five quarters, followed by a year of clinical clerkships. There will be clerkships in obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, ambulatory family medicine, pediatrics, surgery, psychiatry and emergency medicine. In addition, students will have several elective rotations that allow them to specialize in their area of interest. For example, a student interested in a career as a surgical PA can complete up to 12 weeks of clerkship in that area.

    Currently there are about 150 accredited training programs nationwide for PAs, almost all master’s programs, with about 70 to 80 new programs on the horizon, Larsen said. The number of practicing PAs has grown from 14,000 in 1990 to about 100,000 today, according to the American Academy of Physician Assistants. The average salary is about $98,000 a year.

    Employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 30 percent between 2014 and 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Original Post: Stanford Medicine News Center

  • September 21, 2016 10:54 AM | Deleted user

    Depression during and after pregnancy may be linked to gestational diabetes, a new government study found.

    Women in the study who reported feeling depressed early in pregnancy were more likely to develop gestational diabetes later in pregnancy compared with those who did not report depression early in pregnancy, according to the study, from researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

    The findings suggest that "depression and gestational diabetes may occur together," Stefanie Hinkle, a population health researcher at the NICHD and the lead author of the study, said in a statement. [9 Uncommon Conditions That Pregnancy May Bring]

    In addition, the researchers found that having gestational diabetes may increase women's risk for developing depression after pregnancy: Women in the study who had gestational diabetes were more likely to develop postpartum depression compared with those who did not have gestational diabetes, according to the study.

    Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. When a person has diabetes, the body cannot properly control blood-sugar levels. During pregnancy, diabetes can put both the mother and the baby at risk; women can develop a high blood-pressure condition called preeclampsia, which can become life-threatening, and babies can grow too large within the uterus, which can make birth difficult.

    In the U.S., 9.2 percent of women develop gestational diabetes, and postpartum depression affects 10 to 15 percent of mothers within a year of giving birth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    In the study, the researchers looked at data from about 2,800 women who were enrolled in the NICHD Fetal Growth Studies-Singleton Cohort, a long-term study that tracked women's health and the health of their babies, during and after pregnancy.

    The women in the study filled out questionnaires in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy and at six weeks postpartum, indicating if they had any symptoms of depression. Based on these responses, the researchers calculated each woman's "depression score." In addition, the researchers reviewed the women's medical records to see if they had gestational diabetes.

    Results showed that women with the highest depression scores in the first and second trimesters were three times more likely to have gestational diabetes than those women with lower depression scores.

    In addition, women who had gestational diabetes were four times more likely to go on to develop postpartum depression compared with women who didn't have gestational diabetes, the researchers found.

    The researchers noted that more research is needed to firmly establish the link between depression and gestational diabetes. The findings did not prove cause and effect, Hinkle said. However, previous studies have suggested that depression may have an effect on how the body breaks down sugar, which could lead to higher blood-sugar levels.

    Until there's more information, doctors may want to keep an eye out for signs of gestational diabetes in pregnant women who have symptoms of depression, Hinkle said. "They may also want to monitor women who have had gestational diabetes for signs of postpartum depression," she added.

    The study was published today (Sept. 19) in the journal Diabetologia.

    Originally published on Live Science.

  • September 21, 2016 9:39 AM | Deleted user

    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has published draft guidelines for women's preventive services, keeping in mind women's unique needs at every stage of life. The guidelines are now open for public comment. Submit your comments until September 30.

  • September 20, 2016 11:52 AM | Deleted user

    More than 1 in 4 US adults over 50 do not engage in regular physical activity

    Inactivity puts 31 million at risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer.

    Despite the many benefits of moderate physical activity, 31 million Americans (28 percent) age 50 years and older are inactive - that is, they are not physically active beyond the basic movements needed for daily life activities. This finding comes from a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

    "Adults benefit from any amount of physical activity," said Janet E. Fulton, Ph.D., chief of CDC's Physical Activity and Health Branch and one of the authors of the report. "Helping inactive people become more physically active is an important step towards healthier and more vibrant communities."

    Inactivity across the US

    CDC researchers analyzed data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for all 50 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) to examine patterns of inactivity among adults ages 50 and older by selected characteristics. The analysis showed:

    • Inactivity was higher for women (29.4 percent) compared with men (25.5 percent).
    • The percentage of inactivity by race and ethnicity varied: Hispanics (32.7 percent), non-Hispanic blacks (33.1 percent), non-Hispanic whites (26.2 percent), and other groups (27.1 percent).
    • Inactivity significantly increased with age: 25.4 percent for adults 50-64 years, 26.9 percent for people 65-74 years, and 35.3 percent for people 75 years and older.
    • More adults with at least one chronic disease were inactive (31.9 percent) compared with adults with no chronic disease (19.2 percent).
    • By region, inactivity was highest in the South (30.1 percent) followed by the Midwest (28.4 percent) and in the Northeast (26.6 percent). Inactivity was lowest in the West (23.1 percent).
    • By states and D.C., the percentage of inactivity ranged from 17.9 percent in Colorado to 38.8 percent in Arkansas.
    • The percentage of inactivity decreased as education increased and also increased as weight status increased.

    "This report helps us better understand and address differences in inactivity among adults 50 years and older," said Kathleen B. Watson, Ph.D., an epidemiologist in CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity and lead author of the report. "More work is needed to make it safer and easier for people of all ages and abilities to be physically active in their communities."

    Helping older adults to be physically active

    Physical activity reduces the risk of premature death and can delay or prevent many chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and some cancers. As adults grow older, they are more likely to be living with a chronic disease and these diseases are major drivers of sickness and disability.

    Non-institutionalized adults ages 50 years and older account for $860 billion in health care costs each year; yet 4 in 5 of the most costly chronic conditions for this age group can be prevented or managed with physical activity. Non-institutionalized adults are people not living in institutions such as correctional facilities, long-term care hospitals, or nursing homes and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces.

    Being physically active helps older adults maintain the ability to live independently and reduces the risk of falling and fracturing bones. Active older adults also have a reduced risk of moderate or severe limitations and are less likely to suffer from falls. Being physically active can also improve mental health and delay dementia and cognitive decline.

    Everyone, including federal, state, and local governments, transportation engineers and community planning professionals, and community organizations can play a role in helping communities offer design enhancements and healthy lifestyle programs to create a culture that supports physical activity.

    CDC is working with state health departments to increase physical activity by increasing the number of communities that have pedestrian and bike-friendly master transportation plans.

    CDC is committed to helping adults of all physical ability levels become or remain physically active, including those with chronic conditions such as arthritis and diabetes. CDC recommends several proven programs that can help people with chronic conditions be active and experience the benefits of physical activity despite physical limitations.

    For more information on CDC efforts to promote physical activity: and

  • September 19, 2016 12:10 PM | Deleted user

    Written by Tim Newman

    Published: Friday 16 September 2016

    Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland recently made a surprise discovery during a mouse trial: progesterone appears to reduce the symptoms of influenza infection and help lungs heal at a faster rate.

    Progesterone is a naturally occurring steroid; it is heavily involved in the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and the growth of the fetus.

    A progesterone analog is the main constituent of the female contraceptive pill and, as such, is taken regularly by an estimated 100 million young adult women throughout the world.

    A seemingly unrelated but similarly common occurrence is influenza. In America, millions of individuals each year are affected by flu, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and tens of thousands die.

    Women of reproductive age are twice as likely as men to experience complications related to influenza infection.

    Perhaps surprisingly, despite the high numbers of women taking progesterone-based drugs, little is known about how the hormone interacts with infections, other than sexually transmitted diseases.

    Progesterone and influenza

    Sabra L. Klein, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular microbiology and immunology, set out to investigate the role of progesterone on the symptoms of an influenza virus infection. The results are published this week in PLOS Pathogens.

    The team of researchers placed progesterone implants in some female mice and left others without; they then infected all the mice with the influenza A virus.

    Both groups of mice became ill, but the mice implanted with progesterone showed better lung function, less pulmonaryinflammation, and any damage to the lungs was repaired more swiftly.

    The increased speed of repair was a surprise to the researchers. Medical News Today recently asked Klein about the results and how they matched her expectations.

    "We initially thought that progesterone may make flu worse in females because pregnancy is a known risk factor. Instead, we observed that progesterone significantly protected female mice against severe disease by mitigating inflammation and improving pulmonary function."

    Sabra L. Klein, Ph.D.

    The role of amphiregulin

    Of course, a surprise result merits further inspection, so Klein and her team set about investigating the origins of progesterone's unexpected interaction.

    It seems that progesterone enhanced lung protection by increasing the production of a growth factor - amphiregulin - in the lining of the lungs.

    Klein told MNT that the "observation got us thinking about how the lungs repair themselves after an infection, which brought us to growth factors, like amphiregulin. When we measured amphiregulin, sure enough, it was unregulated in females treated with progesterone."

    Hormones are known to affect a wide array of tissues, but, as Klein explained to MNT, this "was the first time that the hormonal influences on an epithelial growth factor have been observed outside of the reproductive tract."

    To double check the results, the team bred mice that did not produce amphiregulin. As predicted, once infected by influenza, the mice no longer benefited from the protective powers of progesterone.

    When females get sick with the influenza virus, progesterone naturally falls. Any females who are using progesterone-based contraceptives override this reduction and receive a steady stream of progesterone.

    Capturing progesterone and influenza data

    To date, there is no scientific literature providing information about the potential relationship between the severity of flu and progesterone. To this end, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance, who take questionnaire data about influenza, have started routinely asking about birth control.

    Eventually, responses to these questionnaires will plug the knowledge gap, giving scientists a better idea of how this protective effect might work in humans.

    When MNT asked about any future studies, Klein responded:

    "We are now conducting studies showing that synthetic forms of progesterone, including levonorgestrel, found in hormone contraceptives and hormone replacement therapies also protect against flu, which has farther reaching implications."

    This finding opens an entirely new avenue of research; and, because progesterone-based medication and influenza are widespread across the planet, any discoveries are likely to be far-reaching.

    Learn about current research into a birth control pill for men.

    Written by Tim Newman

    Progesterone-based therapy protects against influenza by promoting lung repair and recovery in females, Olivia J. Hall et al., PLOS Pathogens, published online 15 September 2016.

    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health news release, accessed 14 September 2016 via EurekAlert.

    Additional source: Seasonal Influenza, more Information, accessed 14 September 2016.

    Visit our Infectious Diseases / Bacteria / Viruses category page for the latest news on this subject, or sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest updates on Infectious Diseases / Bacteria / Viruses.

    Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

    Newman, T. (2016, September 16). "Female hormone found to fight flu damage." Medical News Today. Retrieved from

    Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.

  • September 19, 2016 12:01 PM | Deleted user

    Data linking Zika virus (ZIKV) infection to fetal death have been reported in only a handful of cases to date.1,2 Here, we present a case of ZIKV infection in a woman who had a miscarriage. ZIKV was detected in the fetal tissue, and ZIKV viremia lasted for at least 21 days.

    In January 2016, a 31-year-old woman who was 10 weeks pregnant visited an outpatient clinic in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, because of a 2-day history of headache, mild arthralgia in both wrists and the left knee, and a pruritic, macular rash. The symptoms had begun the day after her return from a 3.5-week trip to Suriname, which borders on northern Brazil. During her visit, she had not used malaria chemoprophylaxis or personal protective measures, such as insect repellents.

    The patient’s medical history was uneventful, as was her pregnancy. When she was a child, she had received vaccines according to the regular vaccination program in Suriname, where she had lived until her early twenties. She was vaccinated against yellow fever at the age of 5 years.

    A physical examination revealed normal vital-sign measurements and an absence of fever. A discrete macular rash was noted on the patient’s trunk and both arms. The joints were not visibly swollen or warm but mildly painful with movement. Blood and urine samples were obtained at regular intervals after the physical examination.

    The patient’s symptoms resolved spontaneously after 6 days. On day 14 after the onset of symptoms, ultrasonography performed at a routine prenatal screening visit (estimated gestational age, 11 weeks and 4 days) showed no fetal heartbeat.

    One week later, 21 days after the onset of ZIKV-associated disease, amniocentesis was performed, followed by dilation and curettage. Amniotic fluid and fetal and placental tissue were obtained for further laboratory analysis. (A detailed description of the methods is provided in theSupplementary Appendix, available with the full text of this letter at

    The amniotic fluid and fetal and placental tissue tested positive for ZIKV on semiquantitative real-time reverse-transcriptase–polymerase-chain-reaction (RT-PCR) assays and cell-culture isolation; these results were confirmed by means of whole-genome sequencing (GenBank accession number, KU937936) (Fig. S1 through S4 in the Supplementary Appendix). The viral isolate (reference number, 011V-01621) can be obtained through the European Virus Archive Goes Global catalogue (

    Serum and urine samples obtained from the patient were positive for ZIKV on semiquantitative RT-PCR at multiple time points. A serum specimen was still positive for ZIKV on semiquantitative RT-PCR 21 days after the onset of clinical symptoms, although no ZIKV was detected in urine specimens after day 12. A more than quadrupling of neutralizing antibody titers against ZIKV was observed between days 2 and 12. On day 28, ZIKV RNA was no longer detected in serum specimens (see Table S1 in the Supplementary Appendix). Possible genetic disorders and other congenital infections were not identified (see Sections 8 and 9 in the Supplementary Appendix).

    The findings on histopathological analysis of placental tissue specimens were consistent with intrauterine fetal death 1 week before curettage was performed. Histopathological and immunohistochemical investigation with the use of CD45 and CD3 antibodies to detect inflammation did not show evidence of increased inflammatory-cell infiltration. In situ hybridization with the use of ZIKV-specific probes, as compared with control probes, revealed that placental amniotic epithelium was positive for ZIKV RNA, whereas fetal chorion and trophoblasts and maternal decidua did not show evidence of ZIKV infection. In addition, positive staining of fetal mesenchymal cells with affinity for perichondrium was observed (Figure 1FIGURE 1Zika Virus (ZIKV) Infection of Amniotic Epithelial Cells and Fetal Mesenchymal Cells Detected with the Use of a Specific ZIKV RNA Probe.). Because of autolysis, no recognizable fetal brain tissue was present. Other fetal tissues, including those from the cartilage, kidneys, adrenal glands, gut, and eyes, were negative for ZIKV. These observations were confirmed on immunostaining of double-stranded RNA in fetal tissues (Fig. S5 in theSupplementary Appendix).

    We found evidence of ZIKV infection in amniotic epithelial cells and in fetal mesenchymal cells with affinity for perichondrium. Our observation indicates that ZIKV replicates in pluripotent (amniotic stem) cells involved in early-stage embryo development. The observation of prolonged viremia until day 21 in the patient is in concordance with the findings of Driggers et al.3 and provides further data for consideration in the ongoing development of testing algorithms in pregnant women. These algorithms are currently based on the assumption that ZIKV viremia can be detected only up to 7 days.

    Annemiek A. van der Eijk, M.D., Ph.D.
    Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

    Perry J. van Genderen, M.D., Ph.D.
    Harbour Hospital, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

    Rob M. Verdijk, M.D., Ph.D.
    Chantal B. Reusken, Ph.D.
    Ramona Mögling, Ph.D.
    Jeroen J.A. van Kampen, M.D., Ph.D.
    Widagdo Widagdo, M.D.
    Georgina I. Aron, B.Sc.
    Corine H. GeurtsvanKessel, M.D., Ph.D.
    Suzan D. Pas, Ph.D.
    V. Stalin Raj, Ph.D.
    Bart L. Haagmans, Ph.D.
    Marion P.G. Koopmans, D.V.M., Ph.D.
    Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

    Supported by the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program of the European Union (grant agreement no. 643476) and by the European Virus Archive Goes Global project, which received a grant (653316) from the European Union Horizon 2020 Framework Program for Research and Innovation.

    Disclosure forms provided by the authors are available with the full text of this letter at

    Drs. van der Eijk, van Genderen, and Verdijk contributed equally to this letter.

    This letter was published on July 27, 2016, at

    N Engl J Med 2016; 375:1002-1004
    September 8, 2016
    DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1605898