Vodice rewards its long-term guests through a loyalty program

first_imgVodice achieves phenomenal tourist results from month to month, and in April alone there were 76% more arrivals and even 106% more overnight stays.In the first four months in the area of ​​the town of Vodice there were 15.202 tourists who realized a total of 37.150 overnight stays, which is 72% more arrivals and 73% more overnight stays than last year. Most overnight stays were made by guests from Croatia, followed by Austria, Germany, Korea, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. In April, a record increase in overnight stays and arrivals was also achieved in Vodice. Thus, 7.618 arrivals and 17.328 overnight stays were realized, which is, compared to 2016, an increase of 76% in arrivals and 106% in overnight stays.Trainings for hosts in family accommodation: LIKE HOME workshopThe quality labeling project in family accommodation is a project initiated in 2016 by the Šibenik-Knin County Tourist Board in cooperation with the system of local tourist boards. It is a group of standards and criteria that aims to create a new basis for connecting the holders of family accommodation, and is a kind of supplement to the existing categorization system with the aim of increasing competitiveness and quality of apartments, rooms and houses in family accommodation.The Tourist Board of Vodice invites all hosts in family accommodation to an educational workshop within the project “Like HOME” which will be held on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 16:00 in the hotel Punta in Vodice. See the LIKE HOME workshop program here, and more about the whole project of quality labeling in the Šibenik-Knin County LIKE HOME see here .Also, the Tourist Board of the City of Vodice announces the continuation of the cycle of trainings for hosts in family accommodation in cooperation with the Counseling Center for owners of family accommodation “Interligo”. The next workshop will be held on May 26 and 27.Loyalty program Every year, the Tourist Board of the City of Vodice thanks and symbolically rewards its long-term guests in a special way. This year, as part of the loyalty program, it is organizing a special reception, where long-term guests who visit Vodice for 20, 30, 35 or 40 years and more will be awarded certificates of appreciation and special occasions. They also invite accommodation service providers, who will be visited by long-term guests during the 2017 tourist season, to contact the Tourist Board of the City of Vodice to inform them about their long-term guests in order to include them in the mentioned program.It is convenient and commendable for the Tourist Board to publicly and officially thank its long-term guests, as well as symbolic gifts. This is not a gift as such, but a sign of attention, and that is the most valuable thing. As much as this sign of attention (loyalty program) is less important and unimportant to some, it certainly means a lot to guests. Don’t forget that the tourist mosaic consists of a thousand cubes, and each one is important, no matter how small, because it is what makes the mosaic complete.Related news: VODICE GETS A DIFFERENT AND INNOVATIVE BEACH – SEA LAGOONlast_img read more

California suicide prevention program demonstrates promise, studies find

first_imgA mass media campaign intended to help prevent suicides in California is reaching a majority of the state’s adults and appears to be increasing their confidence about how to intervene with those at risk of suicide, according to new RAND Corporation research.In addition, an assessment of a companion suicide prevention program finds that for each year the program is operated, the long-term impact could be the prevention of at least 140 deaths and 3,600 suicide attempts over the next three decades.The analysis also estimates that for every $1 the state invests in the suicide prevention program, the people of California will receive an estimated $1,100 in economic benefits such as reduced spending on emergency care and increased earnings. Economic benefits to the state government alone are estimated to be $50 for every $1 invested in the effort. Email LinkedIn Share on Facebook Pinterestcenter_img “California’s pioneering suicide prevention effort is showing early signs of making progress,” said Rajeev Ramchand, co-author of two new studies about the suicide prevention programs and a behavioral scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research group. “We found evidence that the mass media campaign is making California adults more confident in their ability to intervene with someone who is at risk for suicide.”The RAND reports assess two suicide prevention strategies being pursued by the California Mental Health Services Administration (CalMHSA) as a part of statewide mental illness prevention and early intervention activities undertaken as a result of Proposition 63. The initiative, approved in 2004, imposed a tax on high-income California residents to expand mental health services.“CalMHSA is meeting the voter mandate to save lives and dollars through Proposition. 63, according to this rigorous analysis from RAND,” said Wayne Clark, executive director of CalMHSA. “CalMHSA is proud to work on behalf of counties to deliver these truly transformational services.”The statewide mass media campaign uses advertising on television, online and elsewhere to encourage the public to “Know the Signs” about suicide and directs individuals to visit an educational website to learn more.Analyzing a survey of a representative sample of 2,568 California adults, researchers estimate that more than half of California adults have been exposed to the Know the Signs campaign.Using the survey results, researchers estimate that those people who have been newly exposed to the mass media campaign report being more confident about knowing how to intervene with someone who is at risk for suicide.The second RAND study estimates the benefits of a series of trainings sponsored by CalMHSA for community leaders from 2011 to 2013.The intensive Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Trainings (ASIST) provided clergy, first responders, teachers and other gatekeepers with information about how to recognize suicide risk factors, how to intervene to improve immediate safety and how to link at-risk individuals to appropriate resources.RAND researchers used earlier research about the benefits of ASIST and similar programs to estimate the impact of the California training on suicides and related costs.“We demonstrate how investments in preventing suicide can actually benefit the state’s economy,” said, J. Scott Ashwood, lead author of the ASIST evaluation.The public education and early intervention efforts supported by CalMHSA are intended to reduce stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness, prevent suicides, and improve the mental health of students in K-12 schools and colleges across the state. These statewide interventions are being evaluated by RAND. Share Share on Twitterlast_img read more

Study finds violent video games provide quick stress relief — but at a price

first_imgShare For the experiment, half of the subjects were asked to play a frustrating video game called, appropriately, “Maximum Frustration.” The game is designed to be nearly impossible to complete, although the subjects were led to believe they should be able to go through all the levels in 10 minutes. The other subjects skipped the frustrating game and went directly to the next phase of the study.The frustrated and non-frustrated subjects were then given a PlayStation 3 game — either a nonviolent one titled “LittleBigPlanet 2” or a violent game called “Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage.” They played for 18 minutes and then filled out a questionnaire about their emotions and feelings about the game.The researchers found that frustrated players were motivated to progress farther in the games, which decreased their frustration and boosted feelings of competency. This process of emotional restoration increased players’ enjoyment of both games. However, those players who highly enjoyed the violent game showed a tendency to perceive the world in a more hostile way than those who played the nonviolent game.The findings suggest that video games can be used to manage negative emotions, but doing so with violent games might be problematic. If video games are going to be sought for emotional release, the authors recommend players seek out nonviolent games. Pinterest LinkedIn A study authored by two University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate students indicates that while playing video games can improve mood, violent games may increase aggressive outcomes.The study, authored by James Alex Bonus and Alanna Peebles, graduate students in Communication Arts, and Karyn Riddle, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, was published in June in the journal Computers in Human Behavior. The researchers looked at how video games may be used to manage emotions — specifically, whether playing the games can improve mood.The participants included 82 undergraduate communication students. Most had little experience with violent video games.center_img Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Emaillast_img read more

Selective imitation shows children are flexible social learners, study finds

first_imgShare on Twitter Psychologists at The University of Texas at Austin found that children flexibly choose when to imitate and when to innovate the behavior of others, demonstrating that children are precocious social learners.“There’s nothing children are more interested in than other people,” said UT Austin psychologist Cristine Legare. “Acquiring the skills and practices of their social groups is the fundamental task of childhood.”In order to function within their social groups, children have to learn both technical skills with instrumental goals, such as using a fork and knife to cut food, and social conventions with goals based on social conformity, such as forms of greeting (for example: handshakes, kissing and bowing). LinkedIn Share Pinterestcenter_img Email Share on Facebook This research, published in Cognition, demonstrates that children are sensitive to the distinction between instrumental and conventional goals and flexibly adapt their behavior accordingly.“The more carefully you imitate a social convention, the better, more reliable group member you are. Tasks with instrumental goals allow for more innovation,” Legare said. “Young children adjust how carefully they imitate and when they innovate, depending on the perceived goal of the behavior or reason for action.”Legare and her colleagues examined imitative and innovative behavior in children between the ages of 4 and 6 after watching one of two videos that illustrated conventional and instrumental uses of various geometric objects and a box.Both videos showed an experimenter performing a pattern of arbitrary but intentional tasks with the objects. In the conventional video, the start- and end-state of the objects was identical. But in the instrumental video, the experimenter used the final object in the pattern to open the box and place the object inside. After the video, children were given the same group of objects.The children imitated the conventional behavior with higher fidelity. Those who observed an instrumental behavior engaged in more innovative behavior.In a second study, children were also more accurate in detecting variation in conventional than instrumental behavior, suggesting that conventional behavior is driven by expectations for social conformity.“We are socially oriented in ways that other species are not, and we are very well equipped to acquire and adapt to the culture and skills of previous generations,” Legare said.“The core insight here is that children adapt their imitative and innovative behavior to different goals, even at very young ages, demonstrating that humans as a species are flexible, social learners,” Legare said. “Our research demonstrates that the early-developing distinction between instrumental and conventional behavior is fundamental to cultural learning in our species.”last_img read more

Newly discovered windows of brain plasticity may help stress-related disorders

first_imgShare on Twitter Email Share Chronic stress can lead to changes in neural circuitry that leave the brain trapped in states of anxiety and depression. But even under repeated stress, brief opportunities for recovery can open up, according to new research at The Rockefeller University.“Even after a long period of chronic stress, the brain retains the ability to change and adapt. In experiments with mice, we discovered the mechanism that alters expression of key glutamate-controlling genes to make windows of stress-related neuroplasticity–and potential recovery–possible,” says senior author Bruce McEwen, Alfred E. Mirsky Professor, and head of the Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology. Glutamate is a chemical signal implicated in stress-related disorders, including depression.“This sensitive window could provide an opportunity for treatment, when the brain is most responsive to efforts to restore neural circuitry in the affected areas,” he adds. The team, including McEwen and first author Carla Nasca, wanted to know how a history of stress could alter the brain’s response to further stress. To find out, they accustomed mice to a daily experience they dislike, confinement in a small space for a short period. On the 22nd day, they introduced some of those mice to a new stressor; others received the now-familiar confinement.Then, the researchers tested both groups for anxiety- or depression-like behaviors. A telling split emerged: Mice tested shortly after the receiving the familiar stressor showed fewer of those behaviors; meanwhile those given the unfamiliar stressor, displayed more. The difference was transitory, however; by 24 hours after the final stressor, the behavioral improvements seen in half of the mice had disappeared.Molecular analyses revealed a parallel fluctuation in a part of the hippocampus, a brain region involved in the stress response. A key molecule, mGlu2, which tamps down the release of the neurotransmitter glutamate, increased temporarily in mice subjected to the familiar confinement stress. Meanwhile, a molecular glutamate booster, NMDA, increased in other mice that experienced the unfamiliar stressor. In stress-related disorders, excessive glutamate causes harmful structural changes in the brain.The researchers also identified the molecule regulating the regulator, an enzyme called P300. By adding chemical groups to proteins known as histones, which give support and structure to DNA, P300 increases expression of mGlu2, they found.In other experiments, they looked at mice genetically engineered to carry a genetic variant associated with development of depression and other stress-related disorders in humans, and present in 33 percent of the population.“Here again, in experiments relevant to humans, we saw the same window of plasticity, with the same up-then-down fluctuations in mGlu2 and P300 in the hippocampus,” Nasca says. “This result suggests we can take advantage of these windows of plasticity through treatments, including the next generation of drugs, such as acetyl carnitine, that target mGlu2–not to ‘roll back the clock’ but rather to change the trajectory of such brain plasticity toward more positive directions.”center_img Share on Facebook Pinterest LinkedInlast_img read more

A particular type of smartphone use is linked to everyday inattention

first_imgShare Pinterest New research indicates that the absent-minded use of smartphones — rather than the general use of a smartphone per se — is linked to mind-wandering and a lack of attention. The study has been published in the journal Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice.“I’m generally interested in people’s everyday experience of attention, and in particular, their inattentiveness,” said study author Jeremy Marty-Dugas of the University of Waterloo. “Given the potential for smartphones to impact our behaviour (they’re in our pockets almost all the time!), I was interested in seeing how everyday inattention would relate to smartphone use. While reviewing the literature and doing some thinking, it seemed apparent to us that absent-minded smartphone use was something unique and worth investigating.” Email Previous research has found that smartphone use is associated with inattention. Frequent phone interruptions have also been shown to made people less attentive and more hyperactive.But the new research — a study of 185 undergraduates and a replication with 250 participants recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk — suggests that how a person engages with their smartphones is an important factor in the relationship between smartphone use and inattention.People who frequently checked their phone without realizing why they did it were also more likely to report rushing through other activities without being attentive to them. Absent-minded smartphone use was also associated with attention-related errors and mind-wandering.“The key thing for people to note is that absent-minded smartphone use — behaviours such as repeated checking, or aimless scrolling, or using your phone without a specific purpose — is what’s linked to more inattention in your daily life in general,” Marty-Dugas told PsyPost.“Based on our results it seems like absent-minded smartphone use in particular is what drives the relationship between smartphone use and inattention more broadly. It’s possible people would benefit from reducing this behaviour and trying to use their phones in a more deliberate, goal-driven way.”The study — like all research — includes some caveats.“The study is correlational in nature, so it doesn’t allow us to draw causal inferences. It could be that using your smartphone absentmindedly makes you more inattentive in other areas of your life, but it’s also possible that people who are already highly inattentive wind up using their smartphone inattentively as well,” Marty-Dugas explained.“We’ll need to run other studies to conclusively say whether absent-minded smartphone use causes more inattention elsewhere. One way to test this would be to try and reduce absent-minded use via some kind of intervention, and see whether this leads to improvements in sustained attention ability.”“The reason I think this is important work is because we’ve drawn attention to, and actually started to measure, the experience of absent-minded smartphone use,” Marty-Dugas added. “This wasn’t something people were previously asking about, and our hope is that reading about our research will make other researchers, as well as members of the public, think about the impacts of smartphones in a more nuanced way.”“It could be interesting to consider other ways to measure absent-minded smartphone use, as well as how things like phone design could promote or reduce this sort of behaviour.The study, “The relation between smartphone use and everyday inattention“, was authored by Jeremy Marty-Dugas, Brandon C. W. Ralph, Jonathan M. Oakman, and Daniel Smilek.center_img Share on Twitter Share on Facebook LinkedInlast_img read more

Study finds versatile flu antibodies in human serum

first_imgApr 11, 2011 (CIDRAP News) – A team of US researchers recently added to the evidence that humans can and do produce antibodies that target a wide range of influenza strains, though how the findings can be exploited in the quest for a “universal” flu vaccine remains to be seen. “These data—to our knowledge, for the first time—quantitatively show the presence, albeit at low levels, of two populations of heterosubtypic BnAbs [broadly neutralizing antibodies] against influenza A in human serum,” says the report in the Apr 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases (CID). The research team included members from several institutions in Boston; La Jolla, Calif.; and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Maryland. Previous studies have yielded some evidence that humans produce broadly targeted flu antibodies in certain circumstances, but the new study suggests, according to the CDC experts, that such antibodies are part of the normal immune response to flu. In the CID editorial, Ruben O. Donis and Nancy J. Cox of the CDC say the finding that H5N1 vaccine induced F10-like antibodies—which competed with F10 in biding to its target on the H5 HA stem—suggests that the volunteers developed broadly neutralizing antibodies to group 1 viruses as a result of H5N 1vaccination. They also hailed the researchers “remarkable” technique for finding F1-like antibodies in the IVIG. The authors say their findings don’t answer whether the levels of either group 1 or group 2 antibodies they found would actually prevent illness, but the quantitative data suggest that the levels are borderline or below “titers that would traditionally be considered protective.” “We show that prevaccination serum samples have baseline heterosubtypic HA Ab [antibody] binding activity to both group 1 and 2 HA subtypes including H5 and H7, to which these subjects are most likely unexposed because of their US geographic location,” the report says. The researchers found evidence that about 0.01% of the IVIG consisted of H5 antibodies and that about 0.001% consisted of F10-like antibodies. Further, they found that these H5 antibodies reacted with H1, H3, and, to a lesser extent, H7 viruses. The F10-like antibodies bound to H1 and H5 (group 1) viruses, but not to H3 and H7 (group 2). They also say the origins of the cross-reactive antibodies are a mystery. But the H5N1 vaccine study participants and the IVIG donors probably had been exposed to Group 1 (H1N1) and Group 2 (H3N2) viruses through vaccination or infection, and this may have given rise to H5- and H7-binding antibodies, the authors speculate. In an accompanying CID editorial, two leading flu experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called the findings “auspicious” for the development of a universal flu vaccine. In the other part of the study, the investigators looked for antibodies in commercially prepared intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) derived from thousands of plasma donors. The team’s technique involved the use of magnetic beads to immobilize HA from a 2004 H5N1 virus collected in Vietnam to purify F10-like and anti-H5 antibodies from the IVIG. Few or none of the plasma donors would’ve been expected to have any immunity to H5 viruses, since H5N1 vaccines have been used only in clinical trials, and H5N1 infections have not been reported in the United States. The researchers tested serum samples from participants in an H5N1 flu vaccine study and also looked in a commercial preparation of intravenous immunoglobulin (an antibody preparation made from blood plasma and used to treat certain diseases). In both cases they found low levels of broadly neutralizing influenza A antibodies, including antibodies covering both of the major influenza A groups. “”The observation that neutralizing antibodies to epitopes presenting in multiple HA subtypes . . . are part of the normal human immune repertoire is auspicious for universal influenza vaccine development, because it implies that broad protection may be elicited by enhancing the immunodominance of epitopes [sites] on the stem of engineered HA antigens,” Donis and Cox write. They add that this approach is currently being “intensively investigated” in academic, government, and industry labs. The investigators aimed to identify antibodies to a wide range of influenza A viruses, including both phylogenetic groups. Influenza A viruses come with 16 different subtypes of HA. Group 1 includes H1, H2, H5, H6, H8, H9, H11, H12, H13, and H16, while group 2 includes H3, H4, H7, H10, H14, and H15. Common seasonal flu viruses include 2009 H1N1, from group 1, and H3N2, from group 2 (in addition to influenza B). “The current study shows that people can make such antibodies, which is also important,” he said. “How such findings will be translated into a vaccine isn’t known, but trial and error with different antigens and methods of presentation, including the use of adjuvants, will likely be productive.” Sui J, Sheehan J, Hwang WC, et al. Wide prevalence of heterosubtypic broadly neutralizing human anti-influenza A antibodies. Clin Infect Dis 2011 Apr 15;52(8):1003-9 [Abstract] Both the pre- and post-vaccination samples were found to contain antibodies to H3, H5, and H7 HAs, the report says. The post-vaccination samples showed an increase in H5 and H7 antibodies but not in H3 antibodies. In addition, the team found evidence of F10-like antibodies in both sets of samples, with the titer increasing 1.5-fold after vaccination in a majority of the volunteers. The investigators analyzed pre- and post-vaccination serum samples from 77 participants in a trial of an H5N1 flu vaccine, looking specifically for antibodies to H1, H3, H5, and H7 viruses, and they also searched for antibodies similar to a known broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibody, called F10, which targets a stable region on the stem of the HA protein rather than its head. The study also drew praise from virologist Vincent Racaniello, PhD, Higgins professor in the Department of Microbiology & immunology at Colombia University. Racaniello, author of Virology Blog, commented that the existence of human monoclonal antibodies that target the HA stem and neutralize a broad range of flu viruses was already known. He described the researchers’ method of purifying antibodies from the IVIG as very clever. “These antibodies can neutralize both H5 and H1 viral strains in vitro,” he told CIDRAP News by e-mail. “This observation is exciting because it shows that people can make broadly neutralizing antibodies. However, the authors have not shown that such antibodies can protect against infection in animals. More importantly, the antibodies are very rare—0.001% of total immunoglobulin. Why people don’t make more of these antibodies isn’t clear, and understanding that will be important if we are going to try to induce such antibodies by immunization.” Jan 14 CIDRAP News story “Antibodies from H1N1 patients raise hope for more versatile flu vaccines” See also: Flu vaccines now in use target the head of the flu virus’s hemagglutinin (HA) protein, which evolves rapidly to evade the immune system, producing an ever-shifting spectrum of viral strains. Consequently the vaccine is reformulated each year in an effort to match the circulating viruses. Donis RO, Cox NJ. Prospecting the influenza hemagglutinin to develop universal vaccines. (Editorial) Clin Infect Dis 2011 Apr 15;52(8):1010-12 [Extract] Racaniello added that several previous studies have shown that broadly neutralizing antibodies can be generated in animals by immunizing them with an HA-stem vaccine or by prime-boost vaccination. Those findings raised the “exciting” prospect of a broadly protective flu vaccine within the next decade. The prime goal of flu vaccine researchers is to develop a vaccine that targets a more stable region of the virus, so that one dose could provide protection against many strains and last many years.last_img read more

Bioethics panel sets bar high for medical countermeasure studies in kids

first_imgMar 19, 2013 (CIDRAP News) – A presidential bioethics commission asked to study whether anthrax vaccine trials should be conducted in children before an event occurs released its assessment today, spelling out several steps that would need to be taken before research could proceed.The report from the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues also addresses the broader issue of the safety of other medical countermeasures (MCMs) in pediatric populations. It reviewed the issue after a 2012 request from Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.Her request grew out of a federal bioterrorism exercise in 2011 called Dark Zephyr. Based on a large-scale release of anthrax spores in a large city such as San Francisco, it estimated that nearly a quarter of the 8 million casualties would be children but determined that widespread vaccination with anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA) would play a key role in protecting people against the long-term threat from Bacillus anthracis spores, which cause anthrax.The exercise, however, highlighted that there was no information on the vaccine’s safety in children.In April 2011 Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Nicole Lurie, MD, MPH, asked the National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB), a group that advises the federal government on biodefense countermeasure issues, to study the issue. In October of that year the NBSB approved a recommendation from its working group that the HHS develop a plan to study in advance of an attack the use of anthrax vaccine in children, contingent on a bioethics review.Amy Gutmann, PhD, chair of the president’s bioethics commission, said during a media telebriefing yesterday that the review posed difficult questions about balancing the need to protect children in an emergency setting with minimizing the risk to children when researching the safety and efficacy of AVA and other countermeasures.”The safety of our children is paramount, and we have to get this precisely right,” she said.In its report the group made six recommendations detailing conditions that would need to be met before pre-event studies of anthrax vaccine and other MCMs could be conducted, Gutmann said.The overarching principle is that children don’t benefit directly from participating in the study in advance of an attack, so risk must be kept small—such as limiting the risk to those routinely faced in daily life or at a medical visit, she said. In contrast, post-event studies would benefit participants and provide an opportunity to learn about the condition in a real attack setting.Pre-event trials shouldn’t go forward without more modeling studies, animal studies, and testing in the youngest adults, the report said. The commission recommended an age de-escalation approach that would use data from an older age-group to guide the design of the next research study and risk assessment for the next youngest group.She said that it’s possible to move forward with some studies, such as one that would explore AVA in young adults, such as military recruits, who have already had the vaccine.Gutmann, in a New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) commentary today on the report, wrote that additional data from adult studies are needed, such as dose-sparing strategies, before pediatric testing can ethically be considered.When a pre-event medical countermeasure trial would pose more than a minimal risk, it must go though a “national-level review” of experts. Gutmann said examples of minor risks would include, for example, a skin biopsy or a chest x-ray.Christine Grady, RN, PhD, a commission member, told reporters that the panel would be convened by the HHS and would likely include experts in pediatrics and pediatrics research, as well as members of the general public.For the post-event scenario, the commission strongly recommended that federal officials proceed with designing research protocols for untested or minimally tested MCMs that would be triggered by an attack or emergency.The group also recommended that a plan be put in place to compensate victims from any harm that would come from the studies.Biosecurity expert Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, said the question of whether to proceed with pre-event testing is a difficult one, with no perfect answer.In the event of an attack and vaccines and antibiotics are deployed across a range of age-groups, he said the public might ask why medical authorities didn’t have more information on countermeasure use in children. And if there’s not an attack and the vaccine causes harm during studies, officials will face similarly tough questions.Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of CIDRAP News, said that what makes kids different is they can’t give informed consent and that AVA—unlike other vaccines that are studied for known threats—have no immediate benefit.One middle ground that most experts agree on is the need for protocols for research studies that would kick in as soon as an attack occurs and the countermeasures are deployed, Osterholm said.The HHS’s ASPR office said in an e-mail to CIDRAP News yesterday that the safety and security of the nations’ children is a top priority. “We thank the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues for their thoughtful recommendations. We look forward to fully reviewing the report.”See also:Mar 19 Presidential bioethics commission press releaseMar 19 Presidential bioethics commission reportMar 19 NEJM commentaryOct 28, 2011, CIDRAP News story “NBSB urges pre-attack studies of anthrax vaccine in kids”last_img read more

Flu Scan for Apr 07, 2014

first_imgChina reports 2 more H7N9 casesChina has reported two more cases of H7N9 avian flu, according to a provincial health report posted by the infectious diseases news board FluTrackers.Both patients are from Jiangsu province, and their cases were confirmed on Apr 5. The first is a 73-year-old man from Taizhou City who is hospitalized in critical condition.The second is a 28-year-old woman who is hospitalized in critical condition in a Suzhou hospital. She had bought live chickens from a market and slaughtered and cooked them at home, the report said.The cases push the outbreak’s overall total to 413, according to FluTrackers. The unofficial number of deaths remains at 124. So far 277 cases have been reported in the outbreak’s second wave, which started in October, compared with 136 in the first wave last spring.Apr 5 FluTrackers postFluTrackers human H7N9 case list Elderly Egyptian woman contracts H5N1An 86-year-old Egyptian woman is in intensive care with H5N1 avian flu, The Global Dispatch reported yesterday.The woman, who has diabetes, is from Beheira governorate’s capital city of Damanhur and is hospitalized in “poor condition.” She is receiving oseltamivir (Tamiflu). The country’s previous two cases, reported on Mar 22, were also from Beheira governorate. The story said one of those earlier patients was also from Damanhur.Egypt has had 173 confirmed H5N1 cases since 2006, not including this year’s cases, and 63 deaths, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data. The country is second in the world in both cumulative cases and deaths.But the country’s WHO-confirmed cases have dropped substantially in recent years. Egypt had 39, 29, and 39 cases in 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively. In 2012 the nation had 11 cases, 5 of which were fatal, and in 2013 it reported just 4 cases and 3 deaths.Apr 6 Global Dispatch article Mar 24 CIDRAP News scan on previous two cases WHO cumulative case count, as of Jan 24 WHO says flu approaching interseasonal levelsThe Northern Hemisphere appears to be approaching interseasonal influenza levels in most countries, the WHO reported today, with influenza B surging in many areas, which is a common late-season occurrence.The agency reported low flu circulation in North America, Asia, North Africa, the Caribbean, and the Southern Hemisphere. It said that Mongolia and Thailand were exceptions, experiencing elevated levels.From Mar 9 through Mar 22, national flu centers had tested 65,498 respiratory specimens, of which 10,986 were positive for influenza; two thirds were influenza A and one third were influenza B. Among flu A viruses, 57% were 2009 H1N1 and 43% were H3N2.Apr 7 WHO updatelast_img read more

Korean MERS total surges to 25 cases, 2 deaths

first_imgThirteen more people have been infected with MERS-CoV in South Korea, all them with hospital links to the country’s first case, lifting the number of cases in the cluster to 25, according to official and media reports. Two of the patients have died, including one previously reported.The cluster is the largest so far outside of Saudi Arabia, where infection control lapses and unrecognized infections have played a role in fueling MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) outbreaks in hospital settings.Case count soarsThe World Health Organization (WHO), in three separate statements, posted details on 14 of the first cases, 11 of which were previously reported. They include a business traveler whose illness was detected last week after his arrival in China. In addition to the three new cases reported by the WHO, three new cases were reported by South Korea’s government and media sources.South Korea’s index case involves a 44-year-old man who was hospitalized after returning from travel to several countries in the Middle East. The other cases all have links to healthcare settings where the man was treated. They include other patients hospitalized on the same ward, family members who visited sick family members on the ward, and healthcare workers.Those six newly reported cases continue that pattern and include:A 35-year-old man who was hospitalized with a possible tuberculosis (TB) infection on the ward as the index patient, according to a WHO statement yesterdayA 35-year-old son of a woman who was on the same ward as the index case, according to a WHO statement yesterdayA 49-year-old man helped take care of his wife, an earlier lab-confirmed MERS-CoV patient, when she was hospitalized on the same ward as the index patient, according to a WHO statement todayA 40-year-old man who was hospitalized on the same ward as the index patient, according to a translated government report and media sourcesA 45-year-old man who is the son of a patient who was hospitalized on the same ward as the index patient, according to a translated government report and media sourcesA 77-year-old woman who was on the same hospital ward as the index caseIn addition, in a late-breaking development today that was picked up and translated by infectious disease news blog Avian Flu Diary, South Korea’s government posted an announcement about seven more cases, which push the total to 25. All involve adults ages 39 to 78 who have nosocomial MERS-CoV infections.One of the patients, a 57-year-old woman, died of her infection. The other death was reported in a previously reported case involving a 71-year-old man who got sick after sharing a hospital room with the index patient.The government’s announcement today of the most recent cases was also picked up by Yonhap News, which noted that the new cases include the first two tertiary (third-generation) illnesses.According to WHO statements from May 30, May 31, and today, many of the patients have been transferred to South Korea’s nationally designated medical center. Of the 14 patients covered in the three WHO statements, current status is noted for 7, who are all listed in stable condition. A media report today, though, said 5 of the patients are either on ventilators or are experiencing organ failure.The illness onset for the index patient was May 11, and onsets noted for 12 of 13 others in the WHO reports range from May 18 to May 26. The WHO reports flesh out exposures for all of the cases that South Korea had reported as of May 30.The WHO report today describes MERS-CoV in a 35-year-old man who was being treated for a possible TB infection and suggests possible exposures involving at least two other hospitals.The agency said that, on May 20 after he was discharged from the hospital where he shared a ward with the index patient, he visited two different hospitals for a fever and was placed on antibiotics. After his symptoms persisted despite treatment he was admitted to a hospital on May 27, where his MERS-CoV infection was detected 2 days later.Response and repercussionsThe outbreak has triggered a massive contact tracing effort, along with sharp criticism within South Korea about how the country has handled the outbreak, according to media reports.South Korean health officials are monitoring 682 possible contacts, up sharply from 64 on the list just a few days ago, the Korea Herald reported today. People on contact lists have been barred from leaving the country, an action officials took in the wake of the business traveler who left on a trip for China May 26 against medical recommendations. The man—a contact of one of the first cases—became China’s first imported case a few days later.The hospital where most of the patients were infected has been temporarily shuttered, and government officials and political leaders are in emergency talks on how to slow the spread of the disease, according to the Herald.Yesterday, South Korea’s health minister, Moon Hyung-Pyo, PhD, apologized at a media briefing for failing to curb the outbreak, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported today. He added that this week would be a critical period for containing the disease.After the first flurry of illnesses occurred after the index case was identified, officials admitted that some patients weren’t on contact lists, and authorities have faced criticism for not having stronger measures in place to prevent people on contact lists from flying. The business traveler was considered a high-risk contact.Moon said the hospital where the index case was detected and subsequent infections were found is closed and all patients are being treated in isolation, according to the report. He refused to name the facility, due to fear of spreading panic.China developmentsSo far no other additional illnesses have been reported in Hong Kong, where the man stopped during his travel, or in mainland China. The WHO said in a May 30 statement that the man is the son of South Korea’s third MERS-CoV case-patient and the younger brother of its fourth patient. The agency added that, after the man arrived at his final destination in Guangdong province, local health officials located him on May 27 and transferred him to a designated isolation facility.Chinese health officials have 77 people in Guangdong province listed as close contacts of the South Korean man, whose illness was detected in Huizhou, China Daily reported today. So far 64 of them have been quarantined, but 13 others, including 11 passengers who rode a bus to Huizhou with the man, have not been found.Meanwhile, Hong Kong authorities have quarantined 18 people at a resort in a remote part of the city for 2 weeks. They were seated on a plane within two rows of the man, the Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday. The story said another 17 people are being monitored.ECDC updates risk assessmentIn a May 30 epidemiologic update that covered South Korea’s first 11 MERS cases, China’s imported case, and the latest developments in the Middle East, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said MERS-CoV importation to another nation isn’t unexpected. The agency said that, when it occurred in France and the United Kingdom, it resulted in secondary transmission among patients and healthcare workers, as well as close relatives.The ECDC acknowledged, however, that clusters of the size that South Korea is experiencing haven’t been seen so far outside of the Arabian Peninsula. It added that the WHO has said there are currently no signs that the virus is behaving differently and that so far there is no sustained person-to-person transmission. “It is the first time that an imported case results in a secondary transmission affecting another country,” the ECDC said.Though it said the threat to Europe remains low, the risk of more imported cases is still a concern, making international surveillance for MERS-CoV crucial. The ECDC said secondary transmission to unprotected close contacts, including healthcare settings, as is occurring in South Korea, is still possible.See also:May 30 WHO statement on South Korea’s first 11 casesMay 31 WHO statement on additional South Korean caseJun 1 WHO statement on two South Korean casesJun 1 Avian Flu Diary postFluTrackers South Korea MERS-CoV case listJun 2 Yonhap story on 6 most recent South Korean cases and tertiary infectionsJun 1 Korea Herald storyMay 30 WHO statement on China’s first MERS-CoV caseJun 1 AFP storyJun 1 China Daily storyMay 31 AP storyMay 30 ECDC epidemiologic updateMay 29 CIDRAP News story “China has first MERS case as Korean cluster grows”last_img read more