Category Archives: Infectious diseases

Be skeptical of products and treatments for microbiome, experts say

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.

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

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.

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?

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.

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

Resources for covering Hurricane Dorian and disaster preparedness

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.

Image: NOAA

As Hurricane Dorian reaches closer to landfall in Florida or southern Georgia this weekend, we’ve updated our list of resources to help reporters connect with public health officials and other sources.

Excessive flooding and damage to local health infrastructure means people will be dealing with the public health effects of the storm for a while.

Even if you’re not reporting on an affected location, this may be a good time to ask some questions of your local public health leaders and write about disaster preparedness issues. Here are some resources to help craft those questions: Continue reading

Why even U.S.-based reporters should learn about malaria

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.

Photo: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAn Anopheles stephensi mosquito obtains a blood meal from a human host through its pointed proboscis.

While malaria isn’t a current threat to most people living in mainland U.S., scientists highlighted their concern about the disease’s spread within urban African communities in the July 2019 issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Emerging Infectious Diseases publication.

This matters because the number of malaria cases could explode if it spreads to Africa cities, and the disease, in turn, would spread globally. Continue reading

Applications accepted for 2019 AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellowship

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

The Association of Health Care Journalists is accepting applications for the 2019 AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellowships.

AHCJ has teamed up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention once again to present this national fellowship program for journalists. Up to 10 fellows will be selected to study public health issues at CDC’s campuses.

The program – made possible with the support of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust – will take place Dec. 1-5 in Atlanta.

Continue reading