London, United Kingdom (PressExposure) July 14, 2011 -- In 2009 so far there have been 4 cases of Avian I n f l u e n z a (H5N1) in Egypt. There have been 7 cases in China with 4 deaths according to the WHO. There have been 2 cases in Vietnam with 1 death. There is no evidence that the H5N1 virus is mutating into a more dangerous form and all patients were around chickens, so there is little concern that people are passing the virus to one another. The cases however, and the widespread nature of them, continue to point out how persistent this virus is. The WHO believe that the threat of pandemic influenza remains as high as ever.
U.S. Researchers however, say that Streptoccocal infections and not the flu virus may have killed most people during the 1918 influenza pandemic, which suggests some of the most dire predictions about a new pandemic may be exaggerated. Currently research is being carried out in the USA, towards the development of a vaccine which would be effective against a broad array of flu strains including H5N1 (avian flu) and H1N1 (Spanish flu). Obviously creating the vaccine and proving it is safe will take time, but it is a step in the right direction. It might also mean the end of the annual flu campaign as well (depending on how long the antibody response lasts). A large-scale study has found that Vitamin D may help arm the immune system against colds and flu. US researchers found that people with the lowest vitamin D levels reported having significantly more recent colds or cases of the flu. The finding casts new light on the tendency of people in northern climates to develop colds and flu during the winter - as vitamin D generation in the body depends on sun-light.
Researchers studied Vitamin D blood levels from almost 19,000 adult and adolescent participants for the research, reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine. They found that those with the lowest levels (less than 10 ng per millilitre of blood) were about 40 per cent more likely to report a cold. The researchers commented: "Circumstantial evidence has implicated the wintertime deficiency of vitamin D, which the body produces in response to sunlight, in the seasonal increase in colds and flu." But the authors stressed that the study results needed to be confirmed in clinical trials before the vitamin could be recommended to prevent colds and flu.
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