The government of Puerto Rico has reported no cases of people with the Zika virus since early 2017, which might lead pregnant women to believe the Zika threat has faded, but investigative reporter Beth Murphy found a very different story in 2018. The Zika virus is still carried by mosquitoes on the island, and pregnant women remain at serious risk.
The rising temperature of the earth – climate change – is already causing serious challenges to people’s health, from worsening heart disease and asthma to increasing risks of emerging infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance, two public health experts told AHCJ members.
However, many journalists have yet to make the connection between the warming climate and public health. Continue reading
The news media, for the most part, played a helpful role in communicating the known health risks of the Zika virus to the public during the 2015-16 outbreak, in comparison to the Ebola outbreak two years earlier, according to a set of studies that were published in a special December 2018 issue of the journal “Risk Analysis.”
The group of studies, titled “Communicating Zika,” looked at how the understanding of Zika developed, how Zika risks were translated to the media and how the media’s coverage shaped public perceptions of the virus. Continue reading
Deadly infectious disease outbreaks are occurring more often around the world.
Influenza virus circulated in the southern hemisphere and then spread to the U.S., killing about 80,000 people during this past flu season – the most in decades. Monkeypox, a rare disease outside of Africa, was found in three people in the United Kingdom for the first time. Ebola has broken out once again in Africa.
HuffPost’s Lauren Weber says this trend is the reason why infectious diseases is a mainstay of her beat as a public health reporter and why she has been able to cover the Ebola outbreak from Washington, D.C. Continue reading
More than five million children around the world die before the age of five from infectious diseases like pneumonia, malaria and measles, and scientist John Aitchison wants to talk to journalists about his work to reverse that trend.
“We can help journalists with the significance or size of an issue and provide understanding of why a disease is hard to cure or treat,” says Aitchison, whose organization, the Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR) announced plans in July 2018 to merge with the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Continue reading
One year it was MERS. Last year it was Ebola. This year it’s Zika. Every winter it’s influenza.
Covering current and emerging infectious diseases is a mainstay of the health news beat because it touches every part of health care reporting, from policy to emergency preparedness to research to environmental health to hospitals to poverty and other social determinants and disparities. Continue reading