Swine flu

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As part of pandemic preparation, in the early 2000s many countries amassed large stockpiles of the influenza neuraminidase inhibitor Tamiflu. Tony Hisgett/Flickr

Controversies in medicine: the rise and fall of the challenge to Tamiflu

One of the biggest recent controversies in medicine involves the effectiveness of the antiviral drug Tamiflu. Governments have stockpiled the drug but many have raised doubts about its usefulness.
Predicting the severity of the flu season based on one data set paints an unnecessarily scary picture. Sabbhat Sabacio Striges/Flickr

Have you noticed Australia’s flu seasons seem to be getting worse? Here’s why

Australia's in the middle of the annual flu season and once again, it's claimed to the worst on record. But why is it that every season seems to outdo previous ones and how bad is this year, really?
H1N1, one of the flu strains circulating this season, disproportionately affects people aged 24 to 64 years. fractalworld/Flickr

Explainer: the 2014 flu vaccine

Influenza affects up to 15% of adults and 30% of children each flu season and early indications suggest we could be facing a severe season. The 2014 seasonal influenza vaccination is available from today…
In the meantime, use your hanky. David Jones/PA

A universal flu vaccine is still some time off

After standing in line for the latest year’s flu jab one might wonder why all this in necessary. The answer lies in the flu virus itself and its ability to rapidly evolve and avoid the human immune system…
Only a lab test can confirm what virus you’ve been infected with. Jason Rogers

Move over flu, there’s more than one respiratory virus around

Influenza or flu is one of those dustbin words used by the media and by health professionals to cover the myriad causes of a respiratory infection. The only way to be sure is with laboratory testing of…
Current vaccines are quite good but they offer no protection against novel pandemic strains of the flu. Jason Rogers

Global efforts against flu evolving in the face of continuing threat

Influenza is never off the news agenda for long. If it’s not the flu season (and it always is in one hemisphere) and the attendant calls for vaccinations, it’s news about vaccines causing problems or new…
Authors of a new paper suggest a detergent used by CSL in making its flu vaccine could be the cause of the problem. AAP

New theory on why CSL’s flu vaccine caused febrile convulsions in children

A paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia today provides a possible reason for CSL’s 2010 flu vaccine causing febrile convulsions in children. The authors hypothesise that suboptimal use of…
Mutations of the flu virus render drugs ineffective for treating infected patients. Leonid Mamchenkov

Marvellous mutants: how nimble flu viruses outsmart drugs

The United Nations Food and Agricultute Organisation is warning authorities to be on high alert after a mutant strain of bird flu was found to be spreading across Asia. While bird flu hasn’t traditionally…
People with chronic medical conditions and others in high-risk groups should get a flu shot. mcfarlandmo/Wikimedia Commons

Flu is on the rise, Australia … and that’s not to be sniffed at

The number of people suffering from influenza in Australia this year has soared compared to recorded numbers from previous years, with nearly 8,000 cases so far compared to about 2,000 last year. We don’t…

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