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
Photos accompanying news stories about vaccines are notoriously awful, both in effect and in verisimilitude. They often feature large needles that have little resemblance to the actual needles used to administer immunizations.
Or they are real images but feature an utterly terrified child screaming as though Satan himself were injecting demon blood into their veins. (Note: Most vaccines are administered into the muscle, not the bloodstream.) Continue reading
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
With about 14 million new infections a year, human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most prevalent sexually-transmitted virus in the United States.
HPV has long been linked to cervical cancer. Certain strains of the virus cause an estimated 12,000 cases of cervical cancer annually among women in the U.S. Now, rising rates of HPV-linked mouth and throat cancers – known as oropharyngeal cancers – are receiving increased attention, as are efforts to get Americans up to age 45 vaccinated to reduce the spread of HPV-related diseases. Continue reading
Photo: M M via FlickrLive poultry market in Xining, China.
Ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China are having an impact on the global economy and potentially U.S. biosecurity.
Late in the summer of 2018, New York Times reporter Emily Baumgaertner authored a story breaking the news that China had stopped providing samples of a flu virus – named H7N9 – with U.S. health authorities. The H7N9 bird flu [the influenza virus is named with H’s and N’s based on their protein makeup] has been circulating in China since 2013 and has spread through poultry farms. Continue reading
This year’s severe flu season has increased the spotlight on the development of a “universal” influenza vaccine – a vaccine that would be effective against most strains of the flu.
But that vaccine has been elusive.
In 2011, Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told USA Today that he was “guardedly optimistic” a universal flu vaccine would be within reach in five years after scientists identified pieces of the virus that consistently appeared in seasonal and pandemic flu viruses. Continue reading