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Lymphopenia may hint a higher risk of future illness, death – News-Medical.net

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Lymphopenia, which indicates lower levels of lymphocytes in the blood, has been tied to a higher risk of future illness and death, a new study found.

In the new study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), a team of researchers aimed to identify the connection between lymphopenia and all-cause and cause-specific mortality in the general population. They found that low levels of lymphocyte blood cells could signal an increased risk of developing a future illness, and a 60-percent increase in death from any cause.

3d rendered illustration of the human blood cells and lymphocytes. Image Credit: Sebastian Kaulitzki / Shutterstock

Role of lymphocytes in the body

Lymphocytes are part of the white blood cells, which are responsible for warding off pathogens and other foreign bodies that can cause harm or illness. Specifically, lymphocytes fight off infections by recognizing antigens, producing antibodies, and destroying harmful cells that could cause damage to the body.

High lymphocyte levels may indicate an ongoing infection, while low levels have been typically linked to infectious diseases, like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis, AIDS, typhoid fever, and viral hepatitis. In some cases, blood cancer like Hodgkin’s disease, aplastic anemia, autoimmune disease, and cancer treatment can cause decreased lymphocyte levels.

Low lymphocyte count is often detected during routine blood tests. When the doctor sees the low reading, he or she refers the patient for further investigation since lymphopenia is a known predictor of future health problems.

Study findings

To land to their findings, the researchers enrolled more than 100,000 people of Danish descent between the ages of 20 and 100, who were part of the Copenhagen General Population Study from 2003 to 2015. After the analysis of the data, they found that an incidental finding o a low lymphocyte count was tied to about a 1.6-fold increase in the risk of death from any cause, and a 1.5 to 2.8-fold increase in the risk of dying from cancer, respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, infections, and other causes.

“We found that lymphopenia was associated with an increased risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality,” the researchers concluded in the study.

In the duration of the study, 10,372 people died. The researchers also noted that increasing age was linked to decreasing lymphocyte count.

“Our study showed that participants with lymphopenia were at high risk of dying from any cause, regardless of any other risk factor for all-cause mortality including age,” Dr. Stig Bojesen and coauthors wrote on the paper.

The researchers believe that the connection between low lymphocytes and death may be due to the reduced ability of the immune system to fight off potentially life-threatening diseases and there’s reduced immune surveillance, reducing the capacity of the body to survive an illness.

In some cases, patients with low lymphocytes are frail, which predisposes them to illness and death.

The team hopes that the findings of the study may help doctors detect people who are at risk. With surveillance and preventive measures like lifestyle changes, they may improve the quality of life of these patients.

Further, the researchers said further research is needed among other races since the study involved participants who were white and of Danish descent.

What are the signs and symptoms of lymphopenia?

Lymphopenia or low lymphocyte count indicates many health conditions, such as chronic infections, cancers, and autoimmune diseases.

First off, it’s important to know the types of lymphocytes to determine which pathogen is responsible for the infection. B cells are the type of lymphocytes that make antibodies and signal proteins to initiate an attack against invading viruses, bacteria, and toxins. T cells are the ones that look for and kill the cells that are infected or are cancerous. Lastly, natural killer (NK) cells contain compounds that can destroy or kill cancer tumor cells or those which were invaded by a virus.

There are usually no signs and symptoms of lymphopenia, and the condition is usually discovered when a person gets tested for conditions like HIV, AIDS, or lupus, or through routine blood count. However, it’s important to take note if you get infections every now and then, or experience repeat infections, the doctor may suspect lymphopenia.

For some people, the most common symptom is fever and flu-like illness.

Journal reference:

Incidental lymphopenia and mortality: a prospective cohort study Marie Warny, Jens Helby, Børge Grønne Nordestgaard, Henrik Birgens and Stig Egil Bojesen CMAJ January 13, 2020 192 (2) E25-E33; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.191024

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BC health officials report 715 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, October 21st – Victoria Buzz

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Dr. Bonnie Henry (Colin Smith Takes Pics)

The BC Ministry of Health reported 715 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, October 21st. 

There have been 200,249 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

New cases were reported in these health regions:

  • Vancouver Coastal Health: 60
  • Fraser Health: 285
  • Island Health: 61
  • Interior Health: 137
  • Northern Health: 172
  • Resident outside Canada: 0

There are currently 4,965 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.

192,819 people who tested positive have recovered.

There are now a total of 377 people in hospital due to COVID-19, 136 of whom are in critical care — ICU or acute care units.

4 new people have died from COVID-related causes, making the provincial death toll 2,096.

Data by Vaccination Status: 

From Oct. 13-19, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 66.4% of cases and from Oct. 6-19, they accounted for 76.2% of hospitalizations.

Past week cases (Oct. 13-19):

  • Total: 4,351
  • Not vaccinated: 2,561 (58.9%)
  • Partially vaccinated: 325 (7.5%)
  • Fully vaccinated: 1,465 (33.7%)

Past two weeks cases hospitalized (Oct. 6-19):

  • Total: 445
  • Not vaccinated: 314 (70.6%)
  • Partially vaccinated: 25 (5.6%)
  • Fully vaccinated: 106 (23.8%)

Past week, cases per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Oct. 13-19):

  • Not vaccinated: 308.7
  • Partially vaccinated: 95.6
  • Fully vaccinated: 34.5

Past two weeks, cases hospitalized per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Oct. 6-19):

  • Not vaccinated: 53.9
  • Partially vaccinated: 11.0
  • Fully vaccinated: 2.4

Outbreaks

There have been two new health-care facility outbreaks at Deni House (Interior Health) and Bulkley Valley District Hospital (Northern Health).

There are a total of 26 active outbreaks, including:

Long-Term Care: Willingdon Care Centre, Westminster House, Magnolia Gardens, Manoah Manor, Cherington Place, West Shore Laylum, Queens Park Care Centre, Heritage Village (Fraser Health), Amica Lions Gate (Vancouver Coastal Health), Cottonwoods Care Centre, Overlander, Village by the Station, Haven Hill Retirement Centre, Deni House (Interior Health) and Wrinch Memorial Hospital (Northern Health).

Acute Care: Mission Memorial Hospital (Fraser Health), University Hospital of Northern BC, GR Baker Memorial Hospital, Bulkley Valley District Hospital (Northern Health) and Tofino General Hospital (Island Health).

Assisted or Independent Living: Sunset Manor, Evergreen Manor, Menno Terrace West, The Emerald at Elim Village, Swedish Assisted Living Residence (Fraser Health) and Cooper Place (Vancouver Coastal Health).

Island Health:

Island Health reported 61 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region and 431 active cases.

Breakdown of cases on Vancouver Island:

  • South Vancouver Island  Active cases: 178 │Total Cases: 4274
  • Central Vancouver Island Active cases: 217 │ Total Cases: 4525
  • North Vancouver Island  Active cases: 36 │Total Cases: 1232

52 people remain in hospital with 24 in ICU. 

There were no new deaths reported in the Island Health region today, and a total of 84 deaths on Vancouver Island.

Vaccinations

As of Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, 89.4% of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 83.8% received their second dose.

In addition, 89.8% of all eligible adults in B.C. have received their first dose and 84.4% received their second dose.

To date, 8,103,896 (+15,582) doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in BC; 3,883,585 (+7,006) of which are second doses.

Some links include:

At the time of this publication, 243,159,888 cases of COVID-19 had been recorded worldwide. 4,942,780 have died, and 220,368,547 have recovered.

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Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot '95 per cent effective' – The National

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Trial results have found that having a third or “booster” dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is more than 95 per cent effective at preventing disease.

The clinical trial findings, released by the two companies that developed the shot, are described as the first efficacy results from a “randomised, controlled Covid-19 vaccine booster trial”.

There were more than 10,000 participants in the trial, all of whom had completed an initial two-dose programme with the vaccine.

Half the participants then received a third dose of the vaccine, and half were given a placebo, with the third dose given an average of 11 months after the second.

For the next few years, it does look like especially the older population will need top-up immunisation. Whether that will be twice-yearly or yearly we don’t know

Prof David Taylor, University College London

Researchers recorded whether participants subsequently developed symptomatic Covid-19 at least seven days after the booster was given, with individuals followed up for an average of 2.5 months.

In the boosted group there were just five Covid-19 cases, while in the non-boosted group 109 cases were recorded, which gives an efficacy – or effectiveness at preventing disease – of 95.6 per cent.

Prof David Taylor, professor emeritus of pharmaceutical and public health policy at University College London, said the results indicated “having a booster is an extremely sensible idea” for people in at-risk groups.

“The message to everybody, including if you’re 50 or 60 or over, is having a booster dose after six months or longer is extremely sensible,” he said.

In a statement, Ugur Sahin, the chief executive and co-founder of BioNTech, said the results added to the “body of evidence” that the vaccine protected “a broad population of people from this virus and its variants”.

“Based on these findings we believe that, in addition to broad global access to vaccines for everyone, booster vaccinations could play an important role in sustaining pandemic containment and a return to normalcy,” he said.

Pfizer and BioNTech said detailed analysis of the results indicated that efficacy of a booster did not vary with age, sex, race, ethnicity, or any other serious medical conditions a person has.

The companies plan to share the results with regulators, including the Food and Drug Administration in the US and the European Medicines Agency.

A booster programme using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that began in Israel in July has been credited with helping the country overcome its fourth wave of Covid-19 infections.

Infection rates fell faster in over-80s, who were given boosters first, than in other age groups, indicating that the third doses were improving immunity, which may have waned over time after the second dose.

Other countries are also launching booster programmes, including the UK, which began a programme last month focused on over-50s and other vulnerable groups.

In August, Abu Dhabi mandated a third dose of the Sinopharm vaccine for people who had previously received the Chinese-developed shot.

More recently, at the beginning of this month, the UAE authorised booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Russian-developed Sputnik vaccines for over 60s and members of other vulnerable groups, with the third dose to be given at least six months after the second.

Prof Taylor said it was unclear at the moment whether people would need to have Covid-19 vaccination boosters indefinitely.

“For the next few years, it does look like especially the older population will need top-up immunisation. Whether that will be twice-yearly or yearly we don’t know,” he said.

Updated: October 22nd 2021, 3:20 AM

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Toronto police officers who ignore COVID-19 vaccinate mandate policy will be put on unpaid leave – CBC.ca

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Toronto police officers who aren’t fully vaccinated or haven’t disclosed their COVID-19 vaccination status by Nov. 30 will be put on indefinite unpaid leave, the service says.

Any such member, uniformed or not, will not be allowed to enter buildings until they comply with the mandatory vaccine and disclosure policy.

Those members will also not be eligible for promotions to supervisory or management positions, the service said in a news release Thursday.

“Vaccination against COVID-19 protects the health and safety of each of our members, our workplaces and the public we serve,” said Chief James Ramer.

So far, 90 per cent of the service’s members have disclosed their status, with 97 per cent of those having received one dose and 94 per cent fully vaccinated. 

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