Tag Archives: infectious diseases

Monkeypox experts to follow on social media

The monkeypox story has been evolving quickly this year, moving from a pathogen that wasn’t on the radar for most people to a global outbreak that led the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency on July 23.

To boost your reporting on this topic, use social media and create a Twitter list to help focus your coverage. Use the platform to contact experts for comment, a lesson I learned from covering COVID-19. 

In March 2020, I created a Twitter list of COVID-19 experts to help me cut through the clutter of voices on social media and shared it with AHCJ members. At that time (and frankly, this continues to be the case), there were many people on Twitter without training in infectious diseases, virology and immunology opining on what was happening. (See Tara Haelle’s post on how important it is to seek out people who specialize in infectious diseases, not just any physician)

Over the past two and a half years, I have added and removed names from the list depending upon the person’s social media presence. Overall, I have found it a helpful lens for understanding what is going on as the pandemic has evolved.

This week, I created another Twitter list for covering monkeypox. There is a crossover of experts between the COVID-19 and monkeypox list, as the world of trusted infectious disease experts who are also helpful on social media isn’t huge. I also may have missed people that should be on the list, so please send a note (Email me at bara@healthjournalism.org) if I have missed someone. 

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Despite progress fighting HIV, most vulnerable still at risk #ahcj15

HIV-panel

Pia Christensen/AHCJSharon Hillier, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, discusses the pre-exposure prophylaxis pill, or PrEP, which can help prevent HIV infection.

HIV prevention and treatment have undergone a revolution since the disease first appeared, but there are still barriers to reaching the most at-risk populations, HIV experts said during a session at Health Journalism 2015.

While HIV patients in 1985 had a life expectancy of at most 10 years, now they are living into old age and are more likely to die from smoking, said Brad Hare, director of HIV care and prevention at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco.

Researchers are working toward a cure and people without HIV can take a prevention pill to keep them from becoming infected. Continue reading

Tulsa health officials link hepatitis C case to oral surgeon’s office

CDC/ Amanda Mills

A former patient of Tulsa oral surgeon W. Scott Harrington contracted hepatitis C at his office, genetic testing has confirmed.

The case is the first documented report of patient-to-patient transmission of the hepatitis C virus associated with a dental setting in the United States, according to Oklahoma state and local health officials.

Tulsa World reporter Shannon Muchmore, who has been following the story since last spring, filed a Sept 19 story on the latest developments.

Back in March, health officials started working to test thousands of the oral surgeon’s former patients for hepatitis and HIV after an office inspection turned up lax sanitation practices and other violations of the state’s Dental Act.

Since then, more than 4,200 people have been tested at free clinics. While a total of 89 have tested positive for hepatitis C, five for hepatitis B and four for HIV, health officials have stressed that those results would be typical for a random sampling of the population. Genetic testing has been necessary to trace any of the illnesses back to Harrington’s practice. Continue reading

Extensive coverage of AIDS 2012 available online

The XIX International AIDS Conference is under way in Washington, D.C., this week.


As in past years, Kaiser Family Foundation is providing extensive coverage and webcasts from the conference. All coverage will be archived on the organization’s website. For those of you running your own websites, they have made a plethora of widgets and feeds available for other sites and blogs to display headlines and webcasts from the conference.

Speakers expected to address the conference include former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, former U.S. First Lady Laura Bush, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, businessman and philanthropist Bill Gates, musician and humanitarian Elton John, actress Whoopi Goldberg and others.

HHS, CDC campaign to encourage flu vaccinations

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control are ramping up the campaign for flu vaccinations, judging by the subject lines in my e-mail.

At noon ET on Tuesday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; Howard Koh, M.D., M.P.H., HHS assistant secretary for health; and Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease; will convene for a webcast about the flu season.

Schuchat, in a blog post, reminds us that this year, the CDC recommends that everyone older than 6 months get vaccinated.

You might remember that H1N1 seemed to hit pregnant woman especially hard during the last flu season. So HHS joined with a number of medical organizations for a letter to pregnant women explaining that getting vaccinated is “safe during any trimester” and can protect women and their babies from the flu.

Members of AHCJ can see eight PowerPoint presentations from the CDC’s two-day influenza briefing in August, including information on how the agency tracks influenza and information about the vaccine.