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.

CDC: Update of national antibiotic resistance figures due next month

Photo: Francisco Bengoa via Flickr

Since 2013, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been saying that, in their conservative estimate, at least 2 million people in the U.S. are infected with an antimicrobial resistant pathogen and at least 23,000 die from it.

But those numbers likely are much higher. By mid-November, the public will know more when the agency is expected to release its second antibiotic resistance threat report. The new numbers are likely to show that antimicrobial resistance is worsening and more people are dying from resistant pathogens than previously believed. Continue reading

Examining the ongoing destructive history of the mosquito

Photo: Gustavo Fernando Durán via Flickr

While the threat of mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. has mostly faded since the Zika outbreak in 2016, Timothy Winegard warns that another one is probably around the corner, if history is any guide.

Winegard, a history professor at Colorado Mesa University, published an extensive history of the mosquito’s enduring and broad impact on the shape of geopolitics around the world, which demonstrates that the animal remains a threat to humanity. Continue reading

Fresh sources for a potentially severe flu season

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases launched their annual influenza vaccine campaign on Sept. 26 as reports are emerging that Americans may be facing a severe season this winter.

Flu season in the U.S. officially begins Oct. 1 and emergency room doctors have anecdotally reported that they are starting to see more people arriving in hospitals with the flu and two people in California, including a 4-year-old child have already died from the flu. Continue reading

Be skeptical of products and treatments for microbiome, experts say

Journalists and health providers should be skeptical about products and treatments related to the microbiome because researchers are still in the early days of understanding how it works and its connection to health.

Three scientists – Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, director the Washington University Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Dr. Lita Proctor, the National Institutes of Health’s former Human Microbiome Project coordinator, and Dr. Anna Seekatz, Clemson University assistant professor of biological sciences – all emphasized to reporters that researchers are far from unlocking the key to the body’s community of microbes. Continue reading

Public health podcasts explore infectious disease concerns

If you are covering infectious diseases and looking for ways to prioritize your story planning, consider scrolling through the list of podcasts hosted by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).

NACCHO represents public health officials throughout the country and its bi-monthly podcasts, hosted by Ian Goldstein, the organization’s government affairs specialist, touch on some of the most pressing infectious disease problems that keep top public health officials up at night. The concerns range from stemming the increase in sexually transmitted diseases to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance to a rise in Hepatitis A outbreaks. Continue reading

Are state bans on vaccine exemptions the right approach?

PHOTO: SELF MAGAZINE VIA FLICKR

Is eliminating the religious or philosophical exemption from vaccinations the right public policy tool to stop and prevent measles outbreaks? This is a public policy debate that hasn’t been widely covered, but is an important conflict within the public health world and worth the attention of journalists.

Earlier this year, Daniel Salmon, Ph.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Vaccine Safety, raised concerns that state efforts to pass laws banning the religious exemption could backfire by increasing mistrust of public health officials and harden parents’ objections to vaccinating their children. Continue reading