ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indigo Ointment Benefits Psoriasis Patients
Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Living Near Major Road May Boost Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
CANCER
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Vitamin E, Selenium and Soy Won't Prevent Prostate Cancer
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
CAREGIVING
What Moms Learned May Be Passed to Offspring
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
Atkins Diet Tougher on Heart After Weight Loss
Eat Up, But Eat Healthy This Holiday Season
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Vitamin D Deficit May Trigger MS Risk Gene
Air Pollution Exposure May Slow Fetal Growth
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Why Am I So Tired? Could It Be Low Thyroid?
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Quick Orthopedic Repair Can Save Young Shoulders
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
MENTAL HEALTH
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Optimism May Boost Immune System
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
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Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- Some older people may have partial immunity to the new H1N1 swine flu virus because of possible exposure to another H1N1 flu strain circulating prior to 1957, a U.S. infectious-disease expert said Wednesday.

"The further back you go in time, the more likely you are to have been exposed to H1N1 virus back before 1957, and there is a possibility that having exposure to that virus many years ago may allow you to have some [antibody] reaction to the new H1N1 that's now circulating," Dr. Daniel Jernigan, deputy director of CDC's Influenza Division, said during a teleconference.

That may explain why the new swine flu outbreak is striking a disproportionately large number of children and young adults. The regular seasonal flu typically takes the biggest toll among the very young and the elderly.

The current H1N1 virus is a distant genetic cousin of the more virulent H1N1 "Spanish flu" virus of 1918 that killed 20 million to 50 million people worldwide, and up to 500,000 in the United states. Seasonal versions of this virus circulated throughout the United States until it was replaced in 1957 by the H2N2 "Asian flu" pandemic virus, which caused 70,000 deaths in the United States.

In 1977, the H1N1 "Russian flu" virus emerged, but people exposed to H1N1 before 1957 were largely immune to this strain, according to the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Jernigan said studies have found evidence of H1N1 antibody activity in blood from older people. "We can infer from that, to some degree, that there is some level of protection," he said.

But he added a note of caution, saying that many years have passed and the new virus, although the same subtype, is different from the H1N1 seasonal flu virus circulating before 1957.

Jernigan also disagreed with an assessment Tuesday by the World Health Organization's director-general, Dr. Margaret Chan, who said production of an H1N1 swine flu vaccine could not begin until mid-July at the earliest, weeks later than previous estimates.

Chan's reasoning: swine flu virus isn't growing very fast in laboratories, making it hard for scientists to get the key ingredient they need for a vaccine -- the "seed stock" from the virus. And she said it would then take months before a vaccine would be available, the Associated Press reported.

However, Jernigan said that in the United States, the steps needed to produce a swine flu vaccine are moving ahead on schedule, and a vaccine should be ready by the fall. "We are moving along and have not had significant delays here in the U.S. with the development of the vaccine candidates," he said.

Jernigan noted that creating a vaccine for the new H1N1 flu is a complicated process. He also suggested making the regular, seasonal flu vaccine available earlier to Americans than its usual late September or early October introduction.

"At this point when to vaccinate [with the new H1N1 vaccine] is going to be driven largely by when it's available," Jernigan said. "If possible we want to have an earlier roll-out of the seasonal influenza vaccine, to make it easier for an additional vaccine if that's the ultimate policy," he said.

"For that reason we will be working closely with manufacturers and with multiple advisory committees through the federal government and with other partners to make sure that what is recommended in terms of timing is feasible and can be initiated, to offer the most protection to the most folks," Jernigan said.

In the United States, most cases of swine flu continue to be no worse than seasonal flu, health officials said. Testing has also found that the swine flu virus remains susceptible to two common antiviral drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza, according to the CDC.

The new swine flu is a highly unusual mix of swine, bird and human flu viruses. Experts worry that, if the new flu virus mutates, people would have limited immunity to fight the infection.

The CDC is concerned with what will happen as the H1N1 virus moves into the Southern Hemisphere, where the flu season is about to start. The agency is also preparing for the virus' likely return in the fall to the Northern Hemisphere.

On Tuesday, U.S. health officials said that people hospitalized with the swine flu who have underlying health problems fare worse than otherwise healthy people who also have been hospitalized. This buttresses the belief that the swine flu is no more dangerous than regular flu, the officials said.

On Wednesday, the CDC was reporting 5,710 U.S. cases of swine flu in 48 states, including eight deaths. The two latest deaths include a 44-year-old man in Missouri -- the state's first such fatality -- and a 57-year-old woman in Arizona, that state's second confirmed swine flu death.

The World Health Organization on Wednesday was reporting 10,243 diagnosed cases in 41 countries, including at least 80 deaths, mostly in Mexico, believed to be the source of the outbreak.

More information

For more on swine flu, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: May 20, 2009 teleconference with Daniel Jernigan, M.D., Ph.D., medical epidemiology, Influenza Division, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; May 19, 2009, teleconference with Anne Schuchat, M.D., Interim Deputy Director for Science and Public Health Program, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Associated Press

Last Updated: May 20, 2009

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