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Deadly influenza could strike aboriginal groups hardest
Native Alaskans and Australians tend to lack potent flu-fighting immune cells
Aboriginal Australians and Alaska Natives may be particularly vulnerable to a bird flu that emerged last year in China.
…In addition, Alaska Natives and Aborigines were much more vulnerable to the 1918 Spanish flu and a 2009 pandemic flu than other groups. If the H7N9 virus, which shares some characteristics with those viruses, spreads and becomes a pandemic, these groups should be at the front of the line to get vaccines, the researchers suggest.
Aborigines 'most vulnerable' to bird flu strain
EUROPEANS may have better immune defences than other ethnic groups when facing the latest potential pandemic bird flu from China.
A study published today in the journal PNAS suggests Aborigines and other indigenous groups with a history of isolation may be most at risk if the bird flu H7N9 begins to spread widely among humans.
PNAS. Preexisting CD8+ T-cell immunity to the H7N9 influenza A virus varies across ethnicities
The absence of preexisting neutralizing antibodies specific for the novel A (H7N9) influenza virus indicates a lack of prior human exposure. …By this criterion, some groups, especially the Alaskan and Australian Indigenous peoples, would be particularly vulnerable to H7N9 infection.
Indigenous groups more vulnerable in the fight against flu
Researchers at the University of Melbourne have discovered that some Indigenous groups will be more susceptible to the effects of the new strain of influenza (H7N9) currently found in China.
Research indicated that some Indigenous people such as in Alaska and Australia displayed limited immunity response to the effects of influenza. Published in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, senior author, Associate Professor Katherine Kedzierska from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology said that some groups have a specific genetic make-up that prevents them from fighting off influenza.
“The findings suggested that there may be ethnic differences in the ability to mount an immune response to the H7N9 virus,” said Associate Professor Kedzierska
“Due to genetic differences in a protein complex involved in cell-mediated immune responses, people may vary in their ability to mount this kind of immune response against the H7N9 influenza virus that emerged unexpectedly in February 2013.”
The new influenza virus called H7N9 which originated in birds and caused an outbreak in China in March 2013, infected more than 140 people. The flu strain resulted in a very high mortality rate of 30 per cent due to severe pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
2014. Routledge said Manitoba's flu shot protects against three strains of flu but not H5N1, since the local risk is so low.
Those at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from the flu include seniors, care home residents, children aged six months to five years, the chronically ill, pregnant women, health-care workers, those of aboriginal ancestry and those who are overweight.
2009. Severe flu cases surge in Manitoba aboriginal community
The Manitoba government is reporting a surge in the number of people requiring intensive care for influenza-like illnesses, particularly among a relatively young aboriginal population.
I believe the government has been aware of increased vulnerability in these communities but is unable/unwilling to take steps to protect these people.