Author Archives: Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Experts to discuss covering climate change and public health; your input invited

There is no question that the changing climate is already having an impact on Americans’ health. Heat waves, wild fires and air pollution are growing worse; the range of vector-borne infectious diseases is expanding; intense storms are causing more disruptions to water and food supplies, as well as to the health care delivery system.

So how should journalists go about covering this unfolding environmental health story? Continue reading

Tip sheet helps journalists cover vaccine hesitancy responsibly

Tara Haelle, AHCJ core topic leader on medical studies, contributed to this post.

Journalists have a tricky role when covering a public health issue like vaccine hesitancy and opposition. We have a responsibility to report medical facts, but we also want to tell stories of these facts playing out in real life – and we must avoid appearing as advocates or taking a “stance” on whether parents should vaccinate their children or not.

The medical evidence is clear – vaccines are safe and effective – but a small minority of people refuse, or remain unable, to accept medical evidence. Since that small minority can have a substantial impact on public health more broadly, journalists have to capture the micro and the macro while balancing storytelling with facts. Continue reading

Tips for covering climate change, infectious diseases and health

Photo: Joe Germuska via Flickr

Diseases caused by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas tripled and nine new pathogens carried by these insects have been discovered in the U.S. since 2004, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Water-borne bacteria that thrive in warm conditions have shown up in Alaska marine life and the number of bacteria resistant to most antibiotics is rising.

A common thread involved in all of these public health threats is climate change. Continue reading

Ebola research continues in U.S. as violence inhibits treatment efforts in Africa

CDC/ John Saindon

Recent violent attacks on Medicines San Frontieres (MSF) Ebola treatment centers in the Democratic Republic of Congo raise the prospect that the outbreak could grow even larger and more dangerous.

On Feb. 24, MSF’s Ebola treatment center in Katwa was attacked and unknown assailants set another on fire in Butemo on Feb. 26. Both centers were located in the hotspots of the ongoing outbreak, which began mid-2018. Continue reading

Reporter uses FDA, USDA documents to find year’s biggest food recall

Photo: Victor Wong via Flickr

In 2018, salmonella, e. coli and listeria bacteria were the cause of a number of big food recalls – from romaine lettuce to Duncan Hines cake mix to ground beef.

These recalls got a lot of media attention, but the biggest recall of all in 2018 got little, according to Sam Bloch, a reporter for The New Food Economy, who wrote “The biggest food recall of 2018 is one you still haven’t heard about.” Continue reading

Zika still a threat in Puerto Rico, but government stopped tracking it

Photo: Ben Pender-Cudlip / The GroundTruth Project

The government of Puerto Rico has reported no cases of people with the Zika virus since early 2017, which might lead pregnant women to believe the Zika threat has faded, but investigative reporter Beth Murphy found a very different story in 2018. The Zika virus is still carried by mosquitoes on the island, and pregnant women remain at serious risk.

Continue reading