Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Flu in the subtropics

07.03.2006


A new study shows that tropical and subtropical countries suffer far more illness and death during flu outbreaks than previously imagined, with both hospital admissions and deaths rising considerably during a flu outbreak.



Most strains of influenza are successfully fought off by the vast majority of people, who are back to normal within a week or two. Nevertheless, flu can cause serious illness, and sometimes death, in the elderly and other vulnerable people. A flu outbreak also puts a considerable strain on hospitals, as the number of people admitted always increases during an outbreak, not just for respiratory problems but for a variety of other medical conditions.

In cooler (’temperate’) countries, all this has been known–backed up by a number of statistical studies–for many years. However, it has been assumed that flu is only a minor problem for people in the warmer parts of the world – the tropics and subtropics. Most countries in these regions are developing nations, and collecting and analysing data on flu and its complications is not easy. Flu outbreaks also happen at unpredictable and irregular intervals, in contrast to the seasonal pattern seen in temperate countries, and this creates problems for the statisticians.


Researchers in Hong Kong (which is in the subtropics) realised that they were well placed to study the impact of flu in such a location. Hong Kong has a sophisticated health care system, which includes advanced computerised record keeping. Ninety-five per cent of people admitted to hospital are treated in public hospitals and their records were available to the researchers. They developed new statistical methods to allow for the irregular nature of Hong Kong’s flu outbreaks.

The researchers found that, during outbreaks, hospital admissions increased, not just for respiratory diseases such as pneumonia but also for heart conditions, stroke and diabetes. The increases were most noticeable for older people. Overall, influenza was responsible for 11.6% of admissions for respiratory disease, 1.5% of admissions for stroke, 1.8% of admissions for heart attacks, and 3.5% of admissions for diabetes. These figures are comparable with what has been found in temperate countries, for example the USA. It has also been noted, however, that more children are admitted to Hong Kong’s hospitals during flu outbreaks than happens in the US.

Hong Kong is a wealthy subtropical city and it is different in many respects from low-income countries in the tropics, which face massive problems with other diseases and lack the modern health care that is available in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, the results of this study suggest that influenza deserves to be given a higher priority than it has at present in the tropics and subtropics. The authors urge the introduction of vaccination programs for people at high risk, particularly the elderly.

Andrew Hyde | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.plosmedicine.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>