This website is intended for Medical Professionals only. By using this site you confirm that you are a healthcare professional.

Brueghel, Flemish art masterpeices and ... Francesco Carelli, University of Milan, Rome The exhibition  ... (13 Jan 2018)
Impact of inactivity on muscles more severe ... According to a recent study published in The Journal of ... (04 Jan 2018)
Infection Control Available soon! (12 Jan 2018)
Surgery Available soon! (12 Jan 2018)
Cardiology   Sudden Cardiac Death in the Young - the Beat It ... (12 Jan 2018)
Sunday, 28 August 2016 00:00

Update on Avian and Seasonal Influenza

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

by Tanya Melillo Fenech MD MSc(HSM) Dip(HSM)
Public Health Physician, Disease Surveillance Unit,
Department of Public Health

Human Infections with Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Virus

During the period 20 May to 15 Sep 2007, a total of 21 human cases of avian influenza A (H5N1) infection were reported to WHO from four countries (China, Egypt, Indonesia, and Vietnam). The case fatality rate was 67 percent.



Latest results for GlaxoSmithKline's H5N1 Vaccine

The final results of  GlaxoSmithKline's  H5N1 influenza vaccine trials which were reported in The Lancet this summer, showed that the adjuvanted vaccine showed significant antigen dose-sparing, high levels of immunogenicity and  induction of cross-clade immunity against A/H5N1 viruses. Adjuvants could substantially boost the supply of pre-pandemic H5N1 vaccines by reducing the amount of antigen needed in each dose.

The main side effects were fatigue, headache and pain at the injection site and were more common in the adjuvant group.


New Statistical Tool Confirms Possible Human to Human Spread of Avian Influenza

International investigators from the WHO, with the use of a new statistical tool called TransStat, managed to confirm that avian influenza spread from human to human in a particular family in Indonesia last year.

This real time technology would enable countries to quickly discover whether human to human transmission of the virus is occurring during new avian influenza outbreaks, enabling public health authorities to move fast to contain its spread.

Placental transmission of Avian Virus

Studies done in the Infectious Disease Centre in Beijing, China have shown that the H5N1 bird influenza virus can pass through a pregnant woman's placenta to infect the fetus. Evidence showed that the virus not only affects the lungs, but also affects  the gastrointestinal tract, brain, liver and blood cells.

Their findings support the theory of a ’cytokine storm’ where the immune system overreacts to the virus in some cases, and sends out an overwhelming swarm of signalling chemicals that end up killing the patient.


Influenza activity worldwide this summer

During the period 20 May to 15 Sep 2007, influenza A (H1 and H3),  and influenza B viruses cocirculated worldwide. Influenza A (H3) viruses predominated in Asia, however, influenza A (H1) and B viruses were also reported in this continent.

Seasonal Influenza

Prevention of influenza


Vaccination is the best method for preventing influenza and its potentially severe complications. The influenza vaccine can be administered to any person aged >6 months who wants to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza or transmitting the virus to others. Annual influenza vaccination is recommended  for persons at increased risk for influenza-related complications and severe disease (eg. pregnant women after the first trimester, infants/children aged 6-59 months,   persons aged 5-49 years with certain chronic medical conditions and persons aged >50 years) and their household contacts.

In addition, all children aged 6 months to <9 years who have never received influenza vaccination should receive 2 doses of influenza vaccine 4 weeks apart.

Additional Info

  • TheSynapse Magazines: 2007
Read 1453 times

TheSynapse Videos



  • Free Clinic Rooms Available

    Pharmasal, a chain of 6 retail pharmacies has a number of free clinic rooms available within the pharmacies in Tarxien, St. Paul’s Bay, Zejtun, and Dingli. We are looking to increase our list of family doctors and specialists. Family doctors are given preference for the clinic at Zejtun.  For more information, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call on 99425939.

    Written on October 18, 2017

    Rational Pharmacy, Valley Road, B'Kara requires consultants & family doctors for early morning & afternoon sessions.

    Please contact 99891732 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

    Written on October 09, 2017


No data displayed on the module. Please check some parameters in the module settings again!


Connect with other Medical Professionals on fb in a closed facebook group


Template Settings

Theme Colors

Cyan Red Green Oranges Teal


Wide Boxed Framed Rounded
Patterns for Layour: Boxed, Framed, Rounded
We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…