Navigation Links
Predicting hotspots for future flu outbreaks
Date:3/14/2013

This year's unusually long and rocky flu season would be nothing compared to the pandemic that could occur if bird flu became highly contagious among humans, which is why UCLA researchers and their colleagues are creating new ways to predict where an outbreak could emerge.

"Using surveillance of influenza cases in humans and birds, we've come up with a technique to predict sites where these viruses could mix and generate a future pandemic," said lead author Trevon Fuller, a UCLA postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability's Center for Tropical Research.

The researchers' models revealed that coastal and central China and Egypt's Nile Delta are danger zones where bird flu could combine with human flu to create a virulent kind of super-flu. Governments can prioritize these zones and use the researchers' models to identify other hotspots for increased monitoring of flu in humans, livestock, poultry and wild birds. That could help detect a novel flu virus before it spreads worldwide, the researchers said.

The research paper, "Predicting Hotspots for Influenza Virus Reassortment," was published March 13 in the peer-reviewed public health journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Previous pandemics, such as the 1957 and 1968 influenzas that each killed more than a million people or the 2009 H1N1 swine flu outbreak that killed 280,000 worldwide, developed when viruses from humans and animals exchanged genes to create a new virus in a process called reassortment. Recent research using mice confirms that genes from bird flu and human flu can combine to create dangerous new flu strains. Swine, which are susceptible to both bird and human flu, could serve as a mixing vessel for reassortment between the two viruses.

"The mixing of genetic material between the seasonal human flu virus and bird flu can create novel virus strains that are more lethal than either of the original viruses," said senior author Thomas Smith, director of the Center for Tropical Research and a professor at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the UCLA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

"These findings predicting potential outbreak sites can help decision-makers prioritize the most important areas where people, poultry and livestock should be vaccinated and animals should be monitored for novel viruses, which could help predict and prevent the next pandemic," he said.

The researchers looked for locations where bird flu outbreaks, human flu outbreaks and swine populations overlapped to predict hotspots where reassortment is more likely, using a $1.3 million grant from the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health.

The research focused on two flu strains that studies in mice have shown can combine with lethal results: the seasonal H3N2 human flu, and the H5N1 strain of bird flu that has occasionally crossed over into humans. Currently, H5N1 has a 60 percent mortality rate in humans but is not known to spread between humans frequently.

While the World Health Organization has identified six countries as hosts to ongoing, widespread bird flu infections in poultry in 2011 China, Egypt, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh the UCLA researchers and their colleagues had limited data to work with. Not all flu outbreaks, whether bird or human, are tracked. The scientists had to identify indicators of flu outbreaks, such as dense poultry populations, or rain and temperatures that encourage flu transmission.

"For each type of flu, we identified variables that were predictive of the various virus strains," Fuller said. "We wanted a map of predictions continuously across the whole country, including locations where we didn't have data on flu outbreaks."

Although the researchers had bird flu data for parts of both China and Egypt, other countries, such as Indonesia, don't have full reporting systems in place. Even in China and Egypt, accurate reporting is hampered by farmers who may conceal flu outbreaks in order to sell their livestock.

"If we provide incentives for better reporting, we could more precisely predict future outbreaks," Fuller said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Alison Hewitt
ahewitt@support.ucla.edu
310-206-5461
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Predicting risk of arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death: Theres a computer model for that
2. Combining diagnostic tests more accurate at predicting Alzheimers
3. Valuable tool for predicting pain genes in people
4. Predicting, preventing, and controlling pandemics: Making the case for a strategic action plan
5. Researchers develop non-invasive technique for predicting patients response to chemotherapy
6. Study uncovers simple way of predicting severe pain following breast cancer surgery
7. A new model for predicting recovery after spinal cord injury
8. Predicting post-traumatic stress disorder before it happens
9. Study examines BI-RADS and MRI in predicting breast cancer
10. Why are kids in asthma hotspots in NYC more likely to visit the ER? Exercise may be a factor
11. Diseases of aging map to a few hotspots on the human genome
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... , ... June 26, 2016 , ... On June 10-11, ... of the 2016 Cereal Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, ... the city’s history as home to some of the world’s leading providers of cereal ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... health policy issues and applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, ... work on several important health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe ... from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine ... his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from ... avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this ... coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Dr. Amanda Cheng, an ... Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all areas of orthodontics, including robotic Suresmile ... orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct to orthodontic treatment. It can ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. , June 24, 2016 ... GBT ), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics ... significant unmet needs, today announced the closing of ... shares of common stock, at the public offering ... shares in the offering were offered by GBT. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Dublin - ... " Global Markets for Spectroscopy Equipment" report ... This report focuses on the global market of ... applications in various applications. The report deals with spectroscopy ... industries: pharmaceutical and biotechnology, food and beverage, and environmental ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 The Academy of Managed Care ... that would allow biopharmaceutical companies to more easily ... make formulary and coverage decisions, a move that addresses ... medicines. The recommendations address restrictions in the ... the drug label, a prohibition that hinders decision makers ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: