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)
Funded by The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy; Grant: 01MD19013D, Smart-MD Project, Digital Technologies
The CDC recommends real-time PCR as the method of choice for diagnosing H1N1. The oral or nasal fluid collection and RNA virus preserving filter paper card is commercially available. This method allows a specific diagnosis of novel influenza (H1N1) as opposed to seasonal influenza. Near-patient point-of-care tests are in development.
Prevention of swine influenza has three components: prevention in pigs, prevention of transmission to humans, and prevention of its spread among humans.
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.
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 presence of an upper respiratory tract infection in a dog that has been vaccinated for the other major causes of kennel cough increases suspicion of infection with canine influenza, especially in areas where the disease has been documented. A serum sample from a dog suspected of having canine influenza can be submitted to a laboratory that performs PCR tests for this virus.
Reasonably effective ways to reduce the transmission of influenza include good personal health and hygiene habits such as: not touching your eyes, nose or mouth; frequent hand washing (with soap and water, or with alcohol-based hand rubs); covering coughs and sneezes; avoiding close contact with sick people; and staying home yourself if you are sick. Avoiding spitting is also recommended. Although face masks might help prevent transmission when caring for the sick, there is mixed evidence on beneficial effects in the community. Smoking raises the risk of contracting influenza, as well as producing more severe disease symptoms.
Since influenza spreads through both aerosols and contact with contaminated surfaces, surface sanitizing may help prevent some infections. Alcohol is an effective sanitizer against influenza viruses, while quaternary ammonium compounds can be used with alcohol so that the sanitizing effect lasts for longer. In hospitals, quaternary ammonium compounds and bleach are used to sanitize rooms or equipment that have been occupied by patients with influenza symptoms. At home, this can be done effectively with a diluted chlorine bleach.
Social distancing strategies used during past pandemics, such as closing schools, churches and theaters, slowed the spread of the virus but did not have a large effect on the overall death rate. It is uncertain if reducing public gatherings, by for example closing schools and workplaces, will reduce transmission since people with influenza may just be moved from one area to another; such measures would also be difficult to enforce and might be unpopular. When small numbers of people are infected, isolating the sick might reduce the risk of transmission.
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.
The above signs, especially fever, respiratory signs, neurological signs, and thickened footpads occurring in unvaccinated dogs strongly indicate canine distemper. However, several febrile diseases match many of the signs of the disease and only recently has distinguishing between canine hepatitis, herpes virus, parainfluenza and leptospirosis been possible. Thus, finding the virus by various methods in the dog's conjunctival cells or foot pads gives a definitive diagnosis. In older dogs that develop distemper encephalomyelitis, diagnosis may be more difficult, since many of these dogs have an adequate vaccination history.
An additional test to confirm distemper is a brush border slide of the bladder transitional epithelium of the inside lining from the bladder, stained with Dif-Quick. These infected cells have inclusions which stain a carmine red color, found in the paranuclear cytoplasm readability. About 90% of the bladder cells will be positive for inclusions in the early stages of distemper.
A number of vaccines against canine distemper exist for dogs (ATCvet code: and combinations) and domestic ferrets (), which in many jurisdictions are mandatory for pets. Infected animals should be quarantined from other dogs for several months owing to the length of time the animal may shed the virus. The virus is destroyed in the environment by routine cleaning with disinfectants, detergents, or drying. It does not survive in the environment for more than a few hours at room temperature (20–25 °C), but can survive for a few weeks in shady environments at temperatures slightly above freezing. It, along with other labile viruses, can also persist longer in serum and tissue debris.
Despite extensive vaccination in many regions, it remains a major disease of dogs.
To prevent canine distemper, puppies should begin vaccination at six to eight weeks of age and then continue getting the “booster shot” every two to four weeks until they are 16 weeks of age. Without the full series of shots, the vaccination will not provide protection against the virus. Since puppies are typically sold at the age of eight to ten weeks, they typically receive the first shot while still with their breeder, but the new owner often does not finish the series. These dogs are not protected against the virus and so are susceptible to canine distemper infection, continuing the downward spiral that leads to outbreaks throughout the country.
Initial response to H5N1, a one size fits all recommendation was used for all poultry production systems, though measures for intensively raised birds were not necessarily appropriate for extensively raised birds. When looking at village poultry, it was first assumed that the household was the unit and that flocks did not make contact with other flocks, though more effective measures came into use when the epidemiological unit was the village.
Recommendations also involve restructuring commercial markets to improve biosecurity against avian influenza. Poultry production zoning is used to limit poultry farming to specific areas outside of urban environments while live poultry markets improve biosecurity by limiting the number of traders holding licenses and subjecting producers and traders to more stringent inspections. These recommendations in combination with requirements to fence and house all poultry, and limit free ranging flocks will eventually lead to fewer small commercial producers and backyard producers, costing livelihoods as they are unable to meet the conditions needed to participate.
A summary of reports to the World Organisation for Animal Health in 2005 and 2010 suggest that surveillance and under-reporting in developed and developing countries is still a challenge. Often, donor support can focus on HPAI control alone, while similar diseases such as Newcastle disease, acute fowl cholera, infectious laryngotracheitis, and infectious bursal disease still affect poultry populations. When HPAI tests come back negative, a lack of funded testing for differential diagnoses can leave farmers wondering what killed their birds.
Since traditional production systems require little investment and serve as a safety net for lower income households, prevention and treatment can be seen as less cost effective than letting a few birds die. Effective control not only requires prior agreements to be made with relevant government agencies, such as seen with Indonesia, they must also not unduly threaten food security.
If a person with ILI also has either a history of exposure or an occupational or environmental risk of exposure to "Bacillus anthracis" (anthrax), then a differential diagnosis requires distinguishing between ILI and anthrax. Other rare causes of ILI include leukemia and metal fume fever.
ILI occurs in some horses after intramuscular injection of vaccines. For these horses, light exercise speeds resolution of the ILI. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be given with the vaccine.
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.
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.
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.
Antibiotics are given to treat any bacterial infection present. Cough suppressants are used if the cough is not productive. NSAIDs are often given to reduce fever and upper respiratory inflammation. Prevention is by vaccinating for canine adenovirus, distemper, parainfluenza, and "Bordetella". In kennels, the best prevention is to keep all the cages disinfected. In some cases, such as "doggie daycares" or nontraditional playcare-type boarding environments, it is usually not a cleaning or disinfecting issue, but rather an airborne issue, as the dogs are in contact with each other's saliva and breath. Although most kennels require proof of vaccination, the vaccination is not a fail-safe preventative. Just like human influenza, even after receiving the vaccination, a dog can still contract mutated strains or less severe cases.
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.
In cases of viral pneumonia where influenza A or B are thought to be causative agents, patients who are seen within 48 hours of symptom onset may benefit from treatment with oseltamivir or zanamivir. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has no direct acting treatments, but ribavirin in indicated for severe cases. Herpes simplex virus and varicella-zoster virus infections are usually treated with aciclovir, whilst ganciclovir is used to treat cytomegalovirus. There is no known efficacious treatment for pneumonia caused by SARS coronavirus, MERS coronavirus, adenovirus, hantavirus, or parainfluenza. Care is largely supportive.
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.
Dog vaccination is most effective for controlling dog-mediated rabies. This can be seen throughout the American region where medical authorities have achieved rabies control.
In Haiti, the CDC is mainly focusing on dog-mediated rabies. Specifically in collaboration with the NGO Christian Veterinary Mission, the CDC has trained, to date, more than 20 MARNDR laboratory personnel in rabies diagnostic methods (Direct Fluorescent Antibody [DFA] and Direct Rapid Immunohistochemistry Test [dRIT]). The organizations have also improved a diagnostic laboratory in Port-au-Prince by providing it with advanced equipment. The surveillance system is a bite-reporting model where the public and medical providers report bite events to rabies control officers. In addition, more than 30 field veterinary and health agents were trained in rabies surveillance, in support of this effort.
In 2011, the CDC along with MARNDR initiated a five-year rabies infrastructure improvement program that focused on surveillance, diagnostics, and education. The MSPP also helped out by improving public education on rabies. Because Haiti has a gross national income per capita of US $1,035, it is the only country in the American region that is part of the group of low-income countries. The World Bank has classified 33 other low-income countries in Africa and Asia, where dog-mediated rabies is a major problem and results in thousands of deaths annually. The persistence of dog rabies is connected to limited resources and weak governance.
In conducting a rabies assessment, rabies control officers try to locate the offending animal. Animals that have bitten a victim are either euthanized and tested or quarantined for 14 days while remaining in their owner's residence. In addition, animals who show signs of rabies are tested, regardless of human exposure. This surveillance program is restricted to two of the ten geographical departments of the country (West and Artibonite) for security reasons. The area includes approximately 50 percent of the Haitian population. The CDC and the NGO Christian Veterinary Mission support the mission by maintaining four Haitian staff in the West Department and three in the Artibonite Department, respectively. Results of this mission showed the level of under-reporting of canine rabies. Specifically, six cases of rabid dogs in early December, 2012, were reported for the country.
During the first nine months of the surveillance mission, 42 rabid dogs were identified in just three communities in Port-au-Prince during the first nine months in 2012. That being said, no laboratory-based surveillance exists for the human population that is exposed to rabies and all diagnoses are based on clinical history. This is because of the lack of laboratory facilities, making it difficult to identify evidence for the virus in humans and shed light on the disease as a whole for them, in Haiti. There are insufficient numbers of pathologists to collect samples for human rabies, as well. There do exist other methods for viral antigen detection that may merit study.
In 2013, the CDC and its partners began an animal rabies surveillance program in several regions of Haiti and saw an 18-fold rise in detection of rabid animals. In 2015, the CDC evaluated Haiti’s canine rabies vaccination program and found that only 45 percent of dogs were vaccinated, far short of the 70 percent needed to stop the spread of rabies in the dog population. In addition, the researchers found that Haiti had nearly 1,000,000 dogs, twice as many as previously thought.
The CDC and its partners had already begun a dog vaccination trial in evaluating the best vaccination methods for dogs in Haiti. As a part of this effort, they vaccinated 3,000 dogs in just four days during the summer of 2016 and planned to vaccinate a total of 8,000 dogs as part of this campaign.
The most commonly used system for classifying the severity of croup is the Westley score. It is primarily used for research purposes rather than in clinical practice. It is the sum of points assigned for five factors: level of consciousness, cyanosis, stridor, air entry, and retractions. The points given for each factor is listed in the adjacent table, and the final score ranges from 0 to 17.
- A total score of ≤ 2 indicates "mild" croup. The characteristic barking cough and hoarseness may be present, but there is no stridor at rest.
- A total score of 3–5 is classified as "moderate" croup. It presents with easily heard stridor, but with few other signs.
- A total score of 6–11 is "severe" croup. It also presents with obvious stridor, but also features marked chest wall indrawing.
- A total score of ≥ 12 indicates impending respiratory failure. The barking cough and stridor may no longer be prominent at this stage.
85% of children presenting to the emergency department have mild disease; severe croup is rare (<1%).
On infection the microorganism can be found in blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for the first 7 to 10 days (invoking serologically identifiable reactions) and then moving to the kidneys. After 7 to 10 days the microorganism can be found in fresh urine. Hence, early diagnostic efforts include testing a serum or blood sample serologically with a panel of different strains.
Kidney function tests (blood urea nitrogen and creatinine) as well as blood tests for liver functions are performed. The latter reveal a moderate elevation of transaminases. Brief elevations of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) levels are relatively mild. These levels may be normal, even in children with jaundice.
Diagnosis of leptospirosis is confirmed with tests such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The MAT (microscopic agglutination test), a serological test, is considered the gold standard in diagnosing leptospirosis. As a large panel of different leptospira must be subcultured frequently, which is both laborious and expensive, it is underused, especially in developing countries.
Differential diagnosis list for leptospirosis is very large due to diverse symptoms. For forms with middle to high severity, the list includes dengue fever and other hemorrhagic fevers, hepatitis of various causes, viral meningitis, malaria, and typhoid fever. Light forms should be distinguished from influenza and other related viral diseases. Specific tests are a must for proper diagnosis of leptospirosis.
Under circumstances of limited access (e.g., developing countries) to specific diagnostic means, close attention must be paid to the medical history of the patient. Factors such as certain dwelling areas, seasonality, contact with stagnant contaminated water (bathing, swimming, working on flooded meadows, etc.) or rodents in the medical history support the leptospirosis hypothesis and serve as indications for specific tests (if available).
"Leptospira" can be cultured in Ellinghausen-McCullough-Johnson-Harris medium (EMJH), which is incubated at 28 to 30 °C. The median time to positivity is three weeks with a maximum of three months. This makes culture techniques useless for diagnostic purposes but is commonly used in research.
Doxycycline and minocycline are the medications of choice. For people allergic to antibiotics of the tetracycline class, rifampin is an alternative. Early clinical experience suggested that chloramphenicol may also be effective, however, in vitro susceptibility testing revealed resistance.
Vaccination helps prevent bronchopneumonia, mostly against influenza viruses, adenoviruses, measles, rubella, streptococcus pneumoniae, haemophilus influenzae, diphtheria, bacillus anthracis, chickenpox, and bordetella pertussis.