Deep Learning Technology: Sebastian Arnold, Betty van Aken, Paul Grundmann, Felix A. Gers and Alexander Löser. Learning Contextualized Document Representations for Healthcare Answer Retrieval. The Web Conference 2020 (WWW'20)
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Influenza's effects are much more severe and last longer than those of the common cold. Most people will recover completely in about one to two weeks, but others will develop life-threatening complications (such as pneumonia). Thus, influenza can be deadly, especially for the weak, young and old, or chronically ill. People with a weak immune system, such as people with advanced HIV infection or transplant patients (whose immune systems are medically suppressed to prevent transplant organ rejection), suffer from particularly severe disease. Pregnant women and young children are also at a high risk for complications.
The flu can worsen chronic health problems. People with emphysema, chronic bronchitis or asthma may experience shortness of breath while they have the flu, and influenza may cause worsening of coronary heart disease or congestive heart failure. Smoking is another risk factor associated with more serious disease and increased mortality from influenza.
According to the World Health Organization: "Every winter, tens of millions of people get the flu. Most are only ill and out of work for a week, yet the elderly are at a higher risk of death from the illness. We know the worldwide death toll exceeds a few hundred thousand people a year, but even in developed countries the numbers are uncertain, because medical authorities don't usually verify who actually died of influenza and who died of a flu-like illness." Even healthy people can be affected, and serious problems from influenza can happen at any age. People over 65 years old, pregnant women, very young children and people of any age with chronic medical conditions are more likely to get complications from influenza, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus, and ear infections.
In some cases, an autoimmune response to an influenza infection may contribute to the development of Guillain–Barré syndrome. However, as many other infections can increase the risk of this disease, influenza may only be an important cause during epidemics. This syndrome has been believed to also be a rare side effect of influenza vaccines. One review gives an incidence of about one case per million vaccinations. Getting infected by influenza itself increases both the risk of death (up to 1 in 10,000) and increases the risk of developing GBS to a much higher level than the highest level of suspected vaccine involvement (approx. 10 times higher by recent estimates).
The influenza vaccine is recommended by the World Health Organization and United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for high-risk groups, such as children, the elderly, health care workers, and people who have chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or are immuno-compromised among others. In healthy adults it is modestly effective in decreasing the amount of influenza-like symptoms in a population. Evidence is supportive of a decreased rate of influenza in children over the age of two. In those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease vaccination reduces exacerbations, it is not clear if it reduces asthma exacerbations. Evidence supports a lower rate of influenza-like illness in many groups who are immunocompromised such as those with: HIV/AIDS, cancer, and post organ transplant. In those at high risk immunization may reduce the risk of heart disease. Whether immunizing health care workers affects patient outcomes is controversial with some reviews finding insufficient evidence and others finding tentative evidence.
Due to the high mutation rate of the virus, a particular influenza vaccine usually confers protection for no more than a few years. Every year, the World Health Organization predicts which strains of the virus are most likely to be circulating in the next year (see Historical annual reformulations of the influenza vaccine), allowing pharmaceutical companies to develop vaccines that will provide the best immunity against these strains. The vaccine is reformulated each season for a few specific flu strains but does not include all the strains active in the world during that season. It takes about six months for the manufacturers to formulate and produce the millions of doses required to deal with the seasonal epidemics; occasionally, a new or overlooked strain becomes prominent during that time. It is also possible to get infected just before vaccination and get sick with the strain that the vaccine is supposed to prevent, as the vaccine takes about two weeks to become effective.
Vaccines can cause the immune system to react as if the body were actually being infected, and general infection symptoms (many cold and flu symptoms are just general infection symptoms) can appear, though these symptoms are usually not as severe or long-lasting as influenza. The most dangerous adverse effect is a severe allergic reaction to either the virus material itself or residues from the hen eggs used to grow the influenza; however, these reactions are extremely rare.
The cost-effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccination has been widely evaluated for different groups and in different settings. It has generally been found to be a cost-effective intervention, especially in children and the elderly, however the results of economic evaluations of influenza vaccination have often been found to be dependent on key assumptions.
The mortality rate of the virus largely depends on the immune status of the infected dogs. Puppies experience the highest mortality rate, where complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis are more common. In older dogs that develop distemper encephalomyelitis, vestibular disease may present. Around 15% of canine inflammatory central nervous system diseases are a result of CDV.
Methods of preventing the spread of influenza among swine include facility management, herd management, and vaccination (ATCvet code: ). Because much of the illness and death associated with swine flu involves secondary infection by other pathogens, control strategies that rely on vaccination may be insufficient.
Control of swine influenza by vaccination has become more difficult in recent decades, as the evolution of the virus has resulted in inconsistent responses to traditional vaccines. Standard commercial swine flu vaccines are effective in controlling the infection when the virus strains match enough to have significant cross-protection, and custom (autogenous) vaccines made from the specific viruses isolated are created and used in the more difficult cases.
Present vaccination strategies for SIV control and prevention in swine farms typically include the use of one of several bivalent SIV vaccines commercially available in the United States. Of the 97 recent H3N2 isolates examined, only 41 isolates had strong serologic cross-reactions with antiserum to three commercial SIV vaccines. Since the protective ability of influenza vaccines depends primarily on the closeness of the match between the vaccine virus and the epidemic virus, the presence of nonreactive H3N2 SIV variants suggests current commercial vaccines might not effectively protect pigs from infection with a majority of H3N2 viruses. The United States Department of Agriculture researchers say while pig vaccination keeps pigs from getting sick, it does not block infection or shedding of the virus.
Facility management includes using disinfectants and ambient temperature to control viruses in the environment. They are unlikely to survive outside living cells for more than two weeks, except in cold (but above freezing) conditions, and are readily inactivated by disinfectants. Herd management includes not adding pigs carrying influenza to herds that have not been exposed to the virus. The virus survives in healthy carrier pigs for up to three months, and can be recovered from them between outbreaks. Carrier pigs are usually responsible for the introduction of SIV into previously uninfected herds and countries, so new animals should be quarantined. After an outbreak, as immunity in exposed pigs wanes, new outbreaks of the same strain can occur.
Prevention of swine influenza has three components: prevention in pigs, prevention of transmission to humans, and prevention of its spread among humans.
Influenza A viruses are enveloped, negative sense, single-stranded RNA viruses. Genome analysis has shown that H3N8 was transferred from horses to dogs and then adapted to dogs through point mutations in the genes. The incubation period is two to five days, and viral shedding may occur for seven to ten days following the onset of symptoms. It does not induce a persistent carrier state.
In June 2009, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approved the first canine influenza vaccine. This vaccine must be given twice initially with a two-week break, then annually thereafter.
The prevalence of canine distemper in the community has decreased dramatically due to the availability of vaccinations. However, the disease continues to spread among unvaccinated populations, such as those in animal shelters and pet stores. This provides a great threat to both the rural and urban communities throughout the United States, affecting both shelter and domestic canines. Despite the effectiveness of the vaccination, outbreaks of this disease continue to occur nationally. In April 2011, the Arizona Humane Society released a valley-wide pet health alert throughout Phoenix, Arizona.
Outbreaks of canine distemper continue to occur throughout the United States and elsewhere, and are caused by many factors. These factors include the overpopulation of dogs and the irresponsibility of pet owners. The overpopulation of dogs is a national problem that organizations such as the Humane Society and ASPCA face every day. This problem is even greater within areas such as Arizona, owing to the vast amount of rural land. An unaccountable number of strays that lack vaccinations reside in these areas and are therefore more susceptible to diseases such as canine distemper. These strays act as a host for the virus, spreading it throughout the surrounding area, including urban areas. Puppies and dogs that have not received their shots can then be infected if in a place where many dogs interact, such as a dog park.
Cats can be protected from H5N1 if they are given a vaccination, as mentioned above. However, it was also found that cats can still shed some of the virus but in low numbers.
If a cat is exhibiting symptoms, they should be put into isolation and kept indoors. Then they should be taken to a vet to get tested for the presence of H5N1. If there is a possibility that the cat has Avian Influenza, then there should be extra care when handling the cat. Some of the precautions include avoiding all direct contact with the cat by wearing gloves, masks, and goggles. Whatever surfaces the cat comes in contact with should be disinfected with standard household cleaners.
They have given tigers an antiviral treatment of Oseltamivir with a dose of 75 mg/60 kg two times a day. The specific dosage was extrapolated from human data, but there hasn't been any data to suggest protection. As with many antiviral treatments, the dosage depends on the species.
Avian influenza—known informally as avian flu or bird flu is a variety of influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds. The type with the greatest risk is highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Bird flu is similar to swine flu, dog flu, horse flu and human flu as an illness caused by strains of influenza viruses that have adapted to a specific host. Out of the three types of influenza viruses (A, B, and C), influenza A virus is a zoonotic infection with a natural reservoir almost entirely in birds. Avian influenza, for most purposes, refers to the influenza A virus.
Though influenza A is adapted to birds, it can also stably adapt and sustain person-to person transmission. Recent influenza research into the genes of the Spanish flu virus shows it to have genes adapted from both human and avian strains. Pigs can also be infected with human, avian, and swine influenza viruses, allow for mixtures of genes (reassortment) to create a new virus, which can cause an antigenic shift to a new influenza A virus subtype which most people have little to no immune protection.
Avian influenza strains are divided into two types based on their pathogenicity: high pathogenicity (HP) or low pathogenicity (LP). The most well-known HPAI strain, H5N1, appeared in China in 1996, and also has low pathogenic strains found in North America. Companion birds in captivity are unlikely to contract the virus and there has been no report of a companion bird with avian influenza since 2003. Pigeons do not contract or spread the virus.
Between early 2013 to early 2017, 916 lab-confirmed human cases of H7N9 were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). On 9 January 2017, the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China reported to WHO 106 cases of H7N9 which occurred from late November through late December, including 35 deaths, 2 potential cases of human-to-human transmission, and 80 of these 106 persons stating that they have visited live poultry markets. The cases are reported from Jiangsu (52), Zhejiang (21), Anhui (14), Guangdong (14), Shanghai (2), Fujian (2) and Hunan (1). Similar sudden increases in the number of human cases of H7N9 have occurred in previous years during December and January.
The best prevention against viral pneumonia is vaccination against influenza, adenovirus, chickenpox, herpes zoster, measles, and rubella.
Dogs will typically recover from kennel cough within a few weeks. However, secondary infections could lead to complications that could do more harm than the disease itself. Several opportunistic invaders have been recovered from the respiratory tracts of dogs with kennel cough, including Streptococcus, Pasteurella, Pseudomonas, and various coliforms. These bacteria have the potential to cause pneumonia or sepsis, which drastically increase the severity of the disease. These complications are evident in thoracic radiographic examinations. Findings will be mild in animals affected only by kennel cough, while those with complications may have evidence of segmental atelectasis and other severe side effects.
A cat that is infected with a high dose of the virus can show signs of fever, lethargy, and dyspnea. There have even been recorded cases where a cat has neurological symptoms such as circling or ataxia.
In a case in February 2004, a 2-year-old male cat was panting and convulsing on top of having a fever two days prior to death. This cat also had lesions that were identified as renal congestion, pulmonary congestion, edema, and pneumonia. Upon inspection, the cat also had cerebral congestion, conjunctivitis, and hemorrhaging in the serosae of the intestines.
However, a cat that is infected with a low dose of the virus may not necessarily show symptoms. Though they may be asymptomatic, they can still transfer small amounts of the virus.
Infectious diseases causing ILI include malaria, acute HIV/AIDS infection, herpes, hepatitis C, Lyme disease, rabies, myocarditis, Q fever, dengue fever, poliomyelitis, pneumonia, measles, and many others.
Pharmaceutical drugs that may cause ILI include many biologics such as interferons and monoclonal antibodies. Chemotherapeutic agents also commonly cause flu-like symptoms. Other drugs associated with a flu-like syndrome include bisphosphonates, caspofungin, and levamisole. A flu-like syndrome can also be caused by an influenza vaccine or other vaccines, and by opioid withdrawal in addicts.
People who do not regularly come into contact with birds are not at high risk for contracting avian influenza. Those at high risk include poultry farm workers, animal control workers, wildlife biologists, and ornithologists who handle live birds. Organizations with high-risk workers should have an avian influenza response plan in place before any cases have been discovered. Biosecurity of poultry flocks is also important for prevention. Flocks should be isolated from outside birds, especially wild birds, and their waste; vehicles used around the flock should be regularly disinfected and not shared between farms; and birds from slaughter channels should not be returned to the farm.
With proper infection control and use of personal protective equipment (PPE), the chance for infection is low. Protecting the eyes, nose, mouth, and hands is important for prevention because these are the most common ways for the virus to enter the body. Appropriate personal protective equipment includes aprons or coveralls, gloves, boots or boot covers, and a head cover or hair cover. Disposable PPE is recommended. An N-95 respirator and unvented/indirectly vented safety goggles are also part of appropriate PPE. A powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) with hood or helmet and face shield is also an option.
Proper reporting of an isolated case can help to prevent spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US) recommendation is that if a worker develops symptoms within 10 days of working with infected poultry or potentially contaminated materials, they should seek care and notify their employer, who should notify public health officials.
For future avian influenza threats, the WHO suggests a 3 phase, 5 part plan.
- Phase: Pre-pandemic
- Reduce opportunities for human infection
- Strengthen the early warning system
- Phase: Emergence of a pandemic virus
- Contain or delay spread at the source
- Phase: Pandemic declared and spreading internationally
- Reduce morbidity, mortality, and social disruption
- Conduct research to guide response measures
Vaccines for poultry have been formulated against several of the avian H5N1 influenza varieties. Control measures for HPAI encourage mass vaccinations of poultry though The World Health Organization has compiled a list of known clinical trials of pandemic influenza prototype vaccines, including those against H5N1. In some countries still at high risk for HPAI spread, there is compulsory strategic vaccination though vaccine supply shortages remain a problem.
Influenza-like illness is a nonspecific respiratory illness characterized by fever, fatigue, cough, and other symptoms that stop within a few days. Most cases of ILI are caused not by influenza but by other viruses (e.g., rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, human respiratory syncytial virus, adenoviruses, and human parainfluenza viruses). Less common causes of ILI include bacteria such as "Legionella", "Chlamydia pneumoniae", "Mycoplasma pneumoniae", and "Streptococcus pneumoniae". Influenza, RSV, and certain bacterial infections are particularly important causes of ILI because these infections can lead to serious complications requiring hospitalization. Physicians who examine persons with ILI can use a combination of epidemiologic and clinical data (information about recent other patients and the individual patient) and, if necessary, laboratory and radiographic tests to determine the cause of the ILI.
During the 2009 flu pandemic, many thousands of cases of ILI were reported in the media as suspected swine flu. Most were false alarms. A differential diagnosis of "probable" swine flu requires not only symptoms but also a high likelihood of swine flu due to the person's recent history. During the 2009 flu pandemic in the United States, the CDC advised physicians to "consider swine influenza infection in the differential diagnosis of patients with acute febrile respiratory illness who have either been in contact with persons with confirmed swine flu, or who were in one of the five U.S. states that have reported swine flu cases or in Mexico during the 7 days preceding their illness onset." A diagnosis of "confirmed" swine flu required laboratory testing of a respiratory sample (a simple nose and throat swab).
Viral infections such as canine parainfluenza or canine coronavirus are only shed for roughly 1 week following recovery; however, respiratory infections involving "Bordetella bronchiseptica" can be transmissible for several weeks longer. While there was early evidence to suggest that "B. bronchiseptica" could be shed for many months post-infection, a more recent report places detectable nasal and pharyngeal levels of "B. bronchiseptica" in 45.6% of all clinically healthy dogs. This has potentially expanded the vector from currently or recently infected dogs to half the dog population as carriers. To put the relative levels of shedding bacteria into perspective, a study analyzing the shedding kinetics of "B. bronchiseptica" presents the highest levels of bacterial shedding one week post-exposure, with an order of magnitude decrease in shedding observed every week. This projection places negligible levels of shedding to be expected 6 weeks post-exposure (or ~5 weeks post-onset of symptoms). Dogs which had been administered intranasal vaccine 4 weeks prior to virulent "B. bronchiseptica" challenge displayed little to no bacterial shedding within 3 weeks of exposure to the virulent strain.
Viral pneumonia occurs in about 200 million people a year which includes about 100 million children and 100 million adults.
In Haiti, few cases of human rabies are reported to health authorities. In 2016, a report of a woman who had been exposed to rabies three months prior and was showing symptoms went to the hospital where no treatment was administered to her. Even after being reported to both the CDC and the national Department of Epidemiology and Laboratory Research (DELR), as required by Haiti's surveillance program, the woman ended up passing away. This goes to show the lack of communication and effectiveness in caring for human subjects in Haiti, and the continued focus is on eliminating dog-mediated rabies altogether.
Human diploid cell culture rabies vaccine (HDCV) and purified chick embryo cell culture rabies vaccine (PCEC) are used to treat post-exposure immunization against a human rabies infection. Recommendations for treatment are given by governmental health care organizations and in health literature. Health care providers are encouraged to administer a regimen of four 1-mL doses of HDCV or PCEC vaccines. According to the CDC, these injections should be administered intramuscularly to persons who have not yet been vaccinated for rabies.
For those who are unvaccinated, the first of four doses is administered immediately after exposure to the rabies virus. Additional doses are given three, seven, and fourteen days after the first vaccination. Exposure usually means a bite from a rabid animal.
At an individual patient level, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) consists of local treatment of the wound, vaccination, and administration of immunoglobulin, if necessary . At the program level, several components are critical, including: adequate and prompt recognition of the need for PEP by the public, if exposed, and by health officials, prompt and sufficient availability of high-quality PEP, and adequate follow-up of PEP use. Health officials' awareness of the need for PEP after a dog bite can only be achieved if the exposure is attended to immediately and communicated effectively.
Globally, 59,000 people die from rabies each year. This is the equivalent of one person dying every nine minutes, with half of the people who die from rabies being under the age of 15. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Pan American Center of foot-and-mouth disease (PANAFTOSA) led a mission to eliminate dog-mediated rabies in the American region by 2015. These organizations are cognizant of the regional control of rabies. The PAHO and PANAFTOSA visited Haiti in early December, 2013, and the objectives of the mission were to assess the status of Haiti’s rabies program as delivered by the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNDR) and the Ministry of Health (MSPP). The mission was to seek opportunities for collaboration between Haiti, Brazil, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Haiti.
Even in 2017, rabies in Haiti is still identified as a national problem, even with PEP proposed.
Many cases of croup have been prevented by immunization for influenza and diphtheria. At one time, croup referred to a diphtherial disease, but with vaccination, diphtheria is now rare in the developed world.
Croup affects about 15% of children, and usually presents between the ages of 6 months and 5–6 years. It accounts for about 5% of hospital admissions in this population. In rare cases, it may occur in children as young as 3 months and as old as 15 years. Males are affected 50% more frequently than are females, and there is an increased prevalence in autumn.
Contact with farm animals can lead to disease in farmers or others that come into contact with infected animals. Glanders primarily affects those who work closely with horses and donkeys. Close contact with cattle can lead to cutaneous anthrax infection, whereas inhalation anthrax infection is more common for workers in slaughterhouses, tanneries and wool mills. Close contact with sheep who have recently given birth can lead to clamydiosis, or enzootic abortion, in pregnant women, as well as an increased risk of Q fever, toxoplasmosis, and listeriosis in pregnant or the otherwise immunocompromised. Echinococcosis is caused by a tapeworm which can be spread from infected sheep by food or water contaminated with feces or wool. Bird flu is common in chickens. While rare in humans, the main public health worry is that a strain of bird flu will recombine with a human flu virus and cause a pandemic like the 1918 Spanish flu. In 2017, free range chickens in the UK were temporarily ordered to remain inside due to the threat of bird flu. Cattle are an important reservoir of cryptosporidiosis and mainly affects the immunocompromised.
Ehrlichiosis is a nationally notifiable disease in the United States. There have been cases reported in every month of the year, but most cases are reported during April–September. These months are also the peak months for tick activity in the United States.
From 2008-2012, the average yearly incidence of ehrlichiosis was 3.2 cases per million persons. This is more than twice the estimated incidence for the years 2000-2007. The incidence rate increases with age, with the ages of 60–69 years being the highest age-specific years. Children of less than 10 years and adults aged 70 years and older, have the highest case-fatality rates. There is a documented higher risk of death among persons who are immunosuppressed.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a journal "Emerging Infectious Diseases" that identifies the following factors contributing to disease emergence:
- Microbial adaption; e.g. genetic drift and genetic shift in Influenza A
- Changing human susceptibility; e.g. mass immunocompromisation with HIV/AIDS
- Climate and weather; e.g. diseases with zoonotic vectors such as West Nile Disease (transmitted by mosquitoes) are moving further from the tropics as the climate warms
- Change in human demographics and trade; e.g. rapid travel enabled SARS to rapidly propagate around the globe
- Economic development; e.g. use of antibiotics to increase meat yield of farmed cows leads to antibiotic resistance
- Breakdown of public health; e.g. the current situation in Zimbabwe
- Poverty and social inequality; e.g. tuberculosis is primarily a problem in low-income areas
- War and famine
- Bioterrorism; e.g. 2001 Anthrax attacks
- Dam and irrigation system construction; e.g. malaria and other mosquito borne diseases