Tag Archives: pathogens

Tips for covering the latest news about antimicrobial resistance

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.

Drug resistant pseudomonas aeruginosa

Photo: CDCDrug resistant pseudomonas aeruginosa

The danger of antibiotic resistance became clearer in November with the release of new figures showing that antibiotic resistance is among the top ten causes of mortality in the U.S.

This information is a news hook for all kinds of follow-up stories, from examining the effectiveness of local hospital antibiotic stewardship programs, to parenting articles on the potential dangers of antibiotics to children as we enter the winter season. Continue reading

Deregulation of pork production highlights need to cover food safety

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: Anne Akers via Flkr

In late September 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture finalized rules to deregulate the safety inspection process in pork production and to increase the slaughter of animals, despite the opposition of consumer advocates and several former agency officials.

The new rules allow company employees, rather than USDA inspectors, to determine which parts of meat with defects can be removed from the slaughter process. Companies, instead of USDA inspectors, also will be allowed to determine slaughter speeds, based on their ability to prevent fecal contamination. Continue reading

CDC: Update of national antibiotic resistance figures due next month

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: 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

Tips for covering climate change, infectious diseases and health

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: 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

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

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: 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

NIH lifts ban on dangerous pathogen research

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.

The National Institutes of Health recently announced it would renew funding research enabling scientists to alter pathogens to make them more dangerous, raising questions about whether the Trump administration had opened the door to a potential pandemic.

The decision follows a three-year ban on such funding after several accidents at federal laboratories in 2014. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab accidentally exposed workers to anthrax and shipped a deadly flu virus to another lab that had asked for a benign strain. The NIH found vials of smallpox in a freezer that had been forgotten about and thus weren’t secure. Continue reading