HEALTH

CDC: School closures should only occur if faculty, student absenteeism is high

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA Based on the fact that the H1N1 influenza virus appears to be not as severe as once feared, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday lifted its recommendation that schools close for two weeks following confirmation that a student or teacher became ill with the H1N1 virus.

“As of May 4, 2009, more than 1,000 confirmed or probable cases of novel influenza A (H1N1) have been reported from 44 states, with numerous disease clusters, indicating spread within communities that makes individual school closure less effective as a control measure,” the CDC sated. “Most U.S. cases have not been severe and are comparable in severity to seasonal influenza.”

As a result, CDC is now advising schools to only close if the “magnitude of faculty or student absenteeism … interferes with the school’s ability to function,” which is similar to the agency’s recommendation on school closures during the seasonal flu season.

Schools that were closed based on previous interim CDC guidance related to this outbreak may reopen.

For individuals who become sick with the flu, CDC is advising them to stay home from work or school for one week so as not to infect others.

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FDA targets marketer that claims its products treat swine flu

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Monday targeted ReBuilder Medical Technologies as a renegade marketer pitching its $199 “SilverCure Swine Flu Protection Pack,” that includes shampoo, lotion, conditioner and soap that supposedly deposit traces of silver according to published reports, as a product indicated for the prevention or treatment of the new H1N1 influenza virus known as the “swine flu.”

“Once included, all websites and products will remain listed,” the FDA stated. “After FDA has verified that the products or the objectionable claims related to the 2009 H1N1 Flu Virus have been removed from the web site, this information will be added to the list.”

ReBuilder Medical is attempting to capitalize on its increased web traffic with a message for browsers: “Note: Sorry, ReBuilder Medical does not sell flu products. Reporter’s mistake. Not one of the “20 sites”, but as long as you are here, please read.” In its place, ReBuilder is pitching its ReBuilder Electronic Neuromuscular Stimulator, a device that delivers small electrical shocks for pain relief.

However, a Google search for “SilverCure swine flu,” generates the URL http://www.rebuildermedical.com/outbreak/, which at one time contained the following copy: “One oz. jar of SilverCure to swab into your nose with a fresh Q-tip to coat … Because the Swine flu virus is airborne, it may settle on your hair and then ….”

That site now features the message: “This market test has voluntarily ended.”

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Study: GanedenBC30 boosts the immune system

BY Michael Johnsen

CLEVELAND, Ohio A new study in the current issue of Postgraduate Medicine suggests that a specific strain of probiotics, Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, PTA-6086, increases the body’s immune response to the flu virus, Ganeden Biotech announced Tuesday.

“These results demonstrate the ability of GanedenBC30 to boost the immune system of healthy adults against viruses that cause some of the most common human illnesses,” stated Mira Baron, author of the study. “The study … adds to the emerging body of evidence that probiotics can benefit healthy people as well as those with specific health issues.”

Study data showed significant increases in T-cell production of TNF-alpha, a key immune marker, versus control upon exposure to influenza A in healthy adults who consumed a daily capsule of Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, PTA-6086 for 30 days.

The study did not evaluate the immune response to the H1N1 influenza virus, otherwise known as the swine flu, Ganeden noted.

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