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.
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.
Prevention of swine influenza has three components: prevention in pigs, prevention of transmission to humans, and prevention of its spread among humans.
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.
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.
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.
Prevention and control programs must take into account local understandings of people-poultry relations. In the past, programs that have focused on singular, place-based understandings of disease transmission have been ineffective. In the case of Northern Vietnam, health workers saw poultry as commodities with an environment that was under the control of people. Poultry existed in the context of farms, markets, slaughterhouses, and roads while humans were indirectly the primary transmitters of avian flu, placing the burden of disease control on people. However, farmers saw their free ranging poultry in an environment dominated by nonhuman forces that they could not exert control over. There were a host of nonhuman actors such as wild birds and weather patterns whose relationships with the poultry fostered the disease and absolved farmers of complete responsibility for disease control.
Attempts at singular, place-based controls sought to teach farmers to identify areas where their behavior could change without looking at poultry behaviors. Behavior recommendations by Vietnam's National Steering Committee for Avian Influenza Control and Prevention (NSCAI) were drawn from the FAO Principles of Biosecurity. These included restrictions from entering areas where poultry are kept by erecting barriers to segregate poultry from non-human contact, limits on human movement of poultry and poultry-related products ideally to transporters, and recommendations for farmers to wash hands and footwear before and after contact with poultry. Farmers, pointed to wind and environmental pollution as reasons poultry would get sick. NSCAI recommendations also would disrupt longstanding livestock production practices as gates impede sales by restricting assessment of birds by appearance and offend customers by limiting outside human contact. Instead of incorporating local knowledge into recommendations, cultural barriers were used as scapegoats for failed interventions. Prevention and control methods have been more effective when also considering the social, political, and ecological agents in play.
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.
The Coggins test (agar immunodiffusion) is a sensitive diagnostic test for equine infectious anemia developed by Dr. Leroy Coggins in the 1970s.
Currently, the US does not have an eradication program due to the low rate of incidence. However, many states require a negative Coggins test for interstate travel. In addition, most horse shows and events require a negative Coggins test. Most countries require a negative test result before allowing an imported horse into the country.
Horse owners should verify that all the horses at a breeding farm and or boarding facility have a negative Coggins test before using the services of the facility. A Coggins test should be done on an annual basis. Tests every 6 months are recommended if there is increased traveling.
A vaccine is available, called "Chinese Live Attenuated EIA vaccine", developed in China and widely used there since 1983. Another attenuated live virus vaccine is in development in the United States.
Reuse of syringes and needles is a risk factor for transfer of the disease. Currently in the United States, all horses that test positive must be reported to federal authorities by the testing laboratory. EIA-positive horses are infected for life. Options for the horse include sending the horse to a recognized research facility, branding the horse and quarantining it at least 200 yards from other horses for the rest of its life, and euthanizing the horse. Very few quarantine facilities exist, which usually leads to the option of euthanizing the horse. The Florida Research Institute for Equine Nurturing, Development and Safety (a.k.a. F.R.I.E.N.D.S.) is one of the largest such quarantine facilities and is located in south Florida.
The horse industry and the veterinary industry strongly suggest that the risks posed by infected horses, even if they are not showing any clinical signs, are enough of a reason to impose such stringent rules. The precise impacts of the disease on the horse industry are unknown.
A vaccine is available in the UK and Europe, however in laboratory tests it is not possible to distinguish between antibodies produced as a result of vaccination and those produced in response to infection with the virus. Management also plays an important part in the prevention of EVA.
Possible complications include the horse becoming a chronic carrier of the disease, asphyxia due to enlarged lymph nodes compressing the larynx or windpipe, bastard strangles (spreading to other areas of the body), pneumonia, guttural pouch filled with pus, abscesses, purpura haemorrhagica, and heart disease. The average length for the course of this disease is 23 days.
The disease can be prevented in horses with the use of vaccinations. These vaccinations are usually given together with vaccinations for other diseases, most commonly WEE, VEE, and tetanus. Most vaccinations for EEE consist of the killed virus. For humans there is no vaccine for EEE so prevention involves reducing the risk of exposure. Using repellent, wearing protective clothing, and reducing the amount of standing water is the best means for prevention
Both intramuscular and intranasal vaccines are available. Isolation of new horses for 4 to 6 weeks, immediate isolation of infected horses, and disinfection of stalls, water buckets, feed troughs, and other equipment will help prevent the spread of strangles. As with any contagious disease, handwashing is a simple and effective tool.
Because of the variability of symptoms, diagnosis is by laboratory testing. Blood samples, nasal swabs and semen can be used for isolation of the virus, detection of the viral RNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and detection of antibodies by ELISA and virus neutralisation tests.
There is no cure for EEE. Treatment consists of corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, and supportive measures (treating symptoms) such as intravenous fluids, tracheal intubation, and antipyretics. About four percent of humans known to be infected develop symptoms, with a total of about six cases per year in the US. A third of these cases die, and many survivors suffer permanent brain damage.
Diagnosis of PHF is accomplished by measuring antibody titers or PCR testing to look for the bacterium in the blood and feces. However, most veterinarians opt to initiate treatment right away, as the disease can progress quite quickly. Veterinarians may also run complete blood counts and chemistry and electrolyte panels to determine the course of care. Radiographs may be taken to track the progress of laminitic horses.
Serologic tests detect antibodies directed against the Epstein–Barr virus. Immunoglobulin G (IgG), when positive, mainly reflects a past infection, whereas immunoglobulin M (IgM) mainly reflects a current infection. EBV-targeting antibodies can also be classified according to which part of the virus they bind to:
- Viral capsid antigen (VCA):
- Early antigen (EA)
- EBV nuclear antigen (EBNA)
When negative, these tests are more accurate than the heterophile antibody test in ruling out infectious mononucleosis. When positive, they feature similar specificity to the heterophile antibody test. Therefore, these tests are useful for diagnosing infectious mononucleosis in people with highly suggestive symptoms and a negative heterophile antibody test.
The heterophile antibody test works by agglutination of red blood cells from guinea pig, sheep and horse. This test is specific but not particularly sensitive (with a false-negative rate of as high as 25% in the first week, 5–10% in the second, and 5% in the third). About 90% of patients have heterophile antibodies by week 3, disappearing in under a year. The antibodies involved in the test do not interact with the Epstein–Barr virus or any of its antigens.
The monospot test is not recommended for general use by the CDC due to its poor accuracy.
Post-viral cough can be resistant to treatment. Post-viral cough usually goes away on its own; however, cough suppressants containing codeine may be prescribed. A study has claimed theobromine in dark chocolate is more effective.
Presumptive diagnosis is made by characteristic clinical signs, post mortem lesions, and presence of competent vectors. Laboratory confirmation is by viral isolation, with such techniques as quantitative PCR for detecting viral RNA, antigen capture (ELISA), and immunofluorescence of infected tissues. Serological tests are only useful for detecting recovered animals, as sick animals die before they are able to mount effective immune responses.
It is important to reduce the amount of environmental contamination to prevent the spread of insects or fomites. Owners should regularly apply insect repellent and routinely check their horses for open wounds to prevent chance of infection. A regular manure management program is recommended, including removal of soiled feed and bedding, as the bacteria can survive in hay and shavings for up to two months. Since the disease lives in the ground and is spread by flies, pest control is a good defense but not a guarantee. Horses being introduced to new environments should be quarantined and any infected horses should be isolated to prevent spread of the bacteria. There is currently no vaccination for Pigeon Fever.
Treatment depends on many factors, such as the age of horse, severity of symptoms and duration of infection. As long a horse is eating and drinking, the infection must run its course, much like a common cold virus. Over time a horse will build up enough antibodies to overtake and fight the disease. Other treatment options can be applying heat packs to abscesses to help draw it to the surface and using drawing salves such as Ichthammol. A blood test or bacterial cultures can be taken to confirm the horse is fighting Pigeon Fever. Anti-inflammatory such as phenylbutazone can be used to ease pain and help control swelling. Treating Pigeon Fever with antibiotics is not normally recommended for external abscesses since it is a strong bacterium that takes extended treatment to kill off and to ensure it does not return stronger. However, if the abscesses are internal then antibiotics may be needed. Consulting a veterinarian for treatment is recommended. Making the horse comfortable, ensuring the horse has good food supply and quality hay will help the horse keep their immune system strong to fight off the infection. Once the abscess breaks or pops, it will drain for a week or two. During this time keeping the area clean, applying hot packs or drawing salves will help remove the pus that has gathered in the abscess.