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Share Price: 1,582.00Bid: 1,581.20Ask: 1,581.60Change: 0.00 (0.00%)No Movement on Glaxosmithkline
Spread: 0.40Spread as %: 0.03%Open: 1,577.60High: 1,586.80Low: 1,570.60Yesterday’s Close: 1,582.00

UPDATE 2-Flu reaches epidemic level in U.S., says CDC

Fri, 11th Jan 2013 19:47

* Scientists say vaccine is 62 percent effective

* 24 states have 'hi
gh' flu activity, down from 29 last week

* Flu may have peaked early in some regions

By Sharon Begley

Jan 11 (Reuters) - Influenza has officially reached epidemic

proportions in the United States, with 7.3 percent of deaths

last week caused by pneumonia and the flu, the U.S. Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.

That is just above the epidemic threshold of 7.2 percent.

Nine of the 10 U.S. regions had 'elevated' flu activity,

confirming that seasonal flu has spread across the country and

reached high levels several weeks before the usual time of late

January or February. The other region, the Southwest and

California, had 'normal' flu activity last week.

This year's flu vaccine is 62 percent effective, scientists

reported on Friday in the CDC's weekly publication.

That is considered 'moderate' effectiveness and means that

almost four in 10 people who receive the vaccine and are exposed

to the virus will nevertheless become infected. It is line with

the effectiveness of previous years' flu vaccines, which

typically range from 50 percent to 70 percent, Dr. Joseph

Bresee, chief of the CDC's influenza division, said in a

telephone conference call on Friday.

Tens of thousands of Americans die every year from flu, even

in non-epidemic years. The CDC in its report did not give a

total number of deaths due to flu.

Experts recommend the vaccine for everyone over 6 months of

age. Even if it does not prevent flu, immunization can reduce

the severity of the illness, preventing pneumonia and other

life-threatening results of flu.

Public health authorities were correct in their forecast of

which flu strains would emerge this season and therefore what

vaccine to make: one that contains two strains of influenza A

and one strain of influenza B. An A strain, called H3N2,

predominates this season, though the B strain has caused about

20 percent of cases.

About 10 percent of cases have been caused by a B strain

that is not in the vaccine, which for technical reasons 'has

space for only three strains,' CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden


'We have a good vaccine but not a great vaccine,' Dr. Arnold

Monto of the University of Michigan, a co-author of the

vaccine-effectiveness study, said in an interview. 'Every year

we see vaccine failures.'

The vaccine is less effective in the frail elderly, in

people receiving chemotherapy for cancer, and in people taking

oral steroids. That's because their immune systems have been

weakened and are often unable to produce an effective number of

antibodies in response to the vaccine.

'That's the opposite of what we would wish,' Frieden said.

'The people most susceptible (to flu) are less likely to get the

benefits of the vaccine.'


In its weekly flu update on Friday, the CDC reported that 24

states and New York City experienced 'high activity' in flu-like

illnesses last week. In 16 states flu activity was moderate,

while 10 states reported low or minimal flu activity.

The 24 states reporting high flu activity is down from 29

the previous week, raising hopes that flu may have peaked in

some regions, particularly the Southeast, and that a season that

began early will also end early. It typically starts in

December, peaks in January or February and peters out by late

March or early April.

The percentage of visits to healthcare providers last week

for flu-like illness, 4.3 percent, is comparable to that during

the 2007-2008 flu season, which was characterized as 'moderately

severe' but which peaked some two months later. During the 2009

H1N1 'swine' flu pandemic, 7.7 percent of visits were for

flu-like illness.

Compared to last year's mild flu season, doctors' offices

and hospitals have been overwhelmed with flu cases, with

patients waiting through the night to be seen in emergency


In Illinois, 24 hospitals struggling to cope with the flood

of flu cases had to turn away people arriving in the emergency

department, while in Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley Hospital

outside Allentown has set up a tent for people who arrive with

less-severe flu.

In Boston, flu cases are 10 times higher than they were last

year, causing Mayor Thomas Menino to declare a public health

emergency on Wednesday.

A total of 20 children have now died from this season's flu,

up two from the previous week, the CDC said. That compares to 34

during the full 2011-2012 flu season, which was unusually mild,

and 282 during the severe 2009-2010 season.

No data is available on how many children have received flu

shots this season, but in the past it has fallen far short of

public health experts' recommendation that everyone 6 months and

older be vaccinated.

From 2004 to 2009, fewer than 45 percent of children were

vaccinated against the flu, researchers led by Dr. Katherine

Poehling of Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem,

North Carolina, reported this week in the journal Pediatrics.

According to the most recent CDC data, 37 percent of

Americans - 112 million people - had received the flu vaccine as

of mid-November. Of the 135 million doses produced this year,

128 million have been distributed to doctors' offices, drug

stores, clinics and other facilities.

That has resulted in spot shortages, said CDC's Bresee. 'You

may have to call a few places' before finding one with vaccine,

'but it should be available.'

(Reporting by Sharon Begley in New York, Kate Kelland in London

and Allison Martell in Toronto; Editing by Vicki Allen and Eric


(( 646 223 4876)(Reuters


(The CDC's teleconference is available at

Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013. All rights reserved.
The copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters News Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters.

UPDATE 1-GSK brings back bonuses for some sales reps

(Adds background on bribery scandals and fines)May 23 (Reuters) - British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline said on Thursday it will reintroduce incentive pay
[23 May '19 18:07]

GSK to change incentives for sales representatives

May 23 (Reuters) - British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline said on Thursday it will change incentives for sales representatives in some countries as it look
[23 May '19 15:21]

UPDATE 1-Amgen to buy Copenhagen-based Nuevolution for $167 mln

(Adds detail, background, shares)May 22 (Reuters) - Amgen, the world's largest biotechnology company, agreed on Wednesday to buy Scandinavian biopharm
[22 May '19 09:54]

UPDATE 2-Brexit worries hit domestic stocks but sterling slide lifts FTSE 100

* FTSE 100 up 0.1%, FTSE 250 down 0.7%* Exporters top boost to main index* Brexit-sensitive stocks slip* M&S slumps after discounted offering* IG gain
[22 May '19 09:33]

Trade rhetoric weighs on European shares

(For a live blog on European stocks, type LIVE/ in an Eikon news window)May 17 (Reuters) - European shares dropped on Friday after three days of gains
[17 May '19 08:03]

Ex-divs to take 23.6 points off FTSE 100 on May 16

MILAN, May 13 (Reuters) - The following FTSE 100 companies will go ex-dividend on Thursday, after which investors will no longer qualify for the lates
[13 May '19 09:55]

UK regulator investigates China's state broadcaster for airing TV confession

LONDON, May 8 (Reuters) - Britain's broadcasting watchdog has launched a formal investigation into whether a confession made by a British man and aire
[8 May '19 15:14]

UK's Vectura wins patent infringement case against GlaxoSmithKline in U.S.

May 4 (Reuters) - British drugmaker Vectura Group Plc said on Saturday that it won a patent infringement litigation case against GlaxoSmithKline Plc i
[4 May '19 17:24]

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