Posts Tagged ‘vaccination’
The 2009 H1N1 “swine flu” epidemic killed up to 203,000 people across the globe — a death toll 10 times greater than initially estimated by the World Health Organization…
In a study published Tuesday in the journal Plos Medicine, epidemiologists used data on respiratory deaths in 20 nations to calculate a global mortality rate for the pandemic…
“This study confirms that the H1N1 virus killed many more people globally than originally believed,” read a statement from Lone Simonsen, a research professor in the Department of Global Health at George Washington University.
“We also found that the mortality burden of this pandemic fell most heavily on younger people and those living in certain parts of the Americas,” Simonsen said…
The relatively modest number of deaths estimated by the WHO prompted some to question whether the overall response to the 2009 outbreak was excessive. However, Simonsen and her colleagues argued that lab-confirmed influenza deaths would underestimate the broad reach of the illness.
“Many influenza-related deaths result from secondary bacterial infections or from exacerbation of preexisting chronic conditions, and are not recorded as related to influenza infection,” authors wrote…
The sampled nations represented 35% of the world’s population, and researchers then used statistical methods to calculate mortality rates for all nations.
The authors noted that their conclusions were limited by a lack of data from poor nations, and other factors.
“The true total mortality burden is likely to be even higher because deaths that occurred late in the winter of 2009-2010 and in later pandemic waves were missed in this analysis, and only pandemic influenza deaths that were recorded as respiratory deaths were included,” authors wrote.
Researchers said that if deaths due to cardiovascular disease and other causes were included, the death toll might be as high as 400,000.
There’s a shamefully large number of bureaucrats who would like to keep infection and death statistics from pandemics as low as possible. Their reasoning stretches from keeping public health budgets as low as possible to fears of discouraging tourism.
At the other end of the spectrum is the collective folly of libertarians who resent any suggestion of “public” health concerns and their cousins in the God-will-save-my-butt crowd. Same result.
Same myths stateside as in Oz – same silly anti-science culture
Recently released government figures show levels of childhood vaccination have fallen to dangerously low levels in some areas of Australia, resulting in some corners of the media claiming re-ignition of “the vaccine debate”…
Well, scientifically, there’s no debate. In combination with clean water and sanitation, vaccines are one of the most effective public health measures ever introduced, saving millions of lives every year.
1. Vaccines cause autism
Thiomersal or ethyl-mercury was removed from all scheduled childhood vaccines in 2000, so if it were contributing to rising cases of autism, you would expect a dramatic drop following its removal. Instead, like the MMR in Japan, the opposite happened, and autism continues to rise.
Further evidence comes from a recently published exhaustive review examining 12,000 research articles covering eight different vaccines which also concluded there was no link between vaccines and autism.
Yet the myth persists and probably for several reasons, one being that the time of diagnosis for autism coincides with kids receiving several vaccinations and also, we currently don’t know what causes autism. But we do know what doesn’t, and that’s vaccines.
2. Smallpox and polio have disappeared so there’s no need to vaccinate anymore
It’s precisely because of vaccines that diseases such as smallpox have disappeared…
The impact of vaccine complacency can be observed in the current measles epidemic in Wales where there are now over 800 cases and one death, and many people presenting are of the age who missed out on MMR vaccination following the Wakefield scare.
In many ways, vaccines are a victim of their own success, leading us to forget just how debilitating preventable diseases can be – not seeing kids in calipers or hospital wards full of iron lungs means we forget just how serious these diseases can be.
3. More vaccinated people get the disease than the unvaccinated
Although this sounds counter-intuitive, it’s actually true, but it doesn’t mean that vaccines don’t work as anti-vaxers will conflate. Remember that no vaccine is 100% effective and vaccines are not a force field. So while it’s still possible to get the disease you’ve been vaccinated against, disease severity and duration will be reduced…
So since the majority of the population is vaccinated, it follows that most people who get a particular disease will be vaccinated, but critically, they will suffer fewer complications and long-term effects than those who are completely unprotected.
Give extra credit to Michelle Bachmann
Despite the successes of childhood immunizations, wrote Penn Nursing researcher Alison M. Buttenheim…controversy over their safety has resulted in an increasing number of parents refusing to have their children vaccinated and obtaining legally binding personal belief exemptions against vaccinations for their children.
People who cannot get immunizations because of allergies or compromised immune systems rely on “herd immunity,” the protection they get from a disease when the rest of the population is immunized or immune, explained Dr. Buttenheim. If a high number of children go intentionally unvaccinated because of personal belief exemptions, herd immunity is compromised, she said, giving a disease the chance to spread rapidly…
“Vaccines are one of the great public health achievements of the last couple of centuries,” Dr. Buttenheim said. “They protect us from diseases that used to routinely kill hundreds of thousands of children in the United States and still kill hundreds of thousands globally. It’s not just important for a child to be vaccinated, it’s important at a population level to have high rates of coverage.”
In 2008, a measles outbreak spread in California. It was traced to a child whose parents had decided not to vaccinate him. He brought the disease back from Europe, infecting other children at his doctor’s office and his classmates. The boy’s parents had signed a personal belief exemption affidavit stating that some or all of the immunizations were against their beliefs, thereby allowing their son to go unvaccinated before entering kindergarten. California is one of 20 states that allow such exemptions.
Dr. Buttenheim plans to test several interventions at the school level, including new incentive structures for schools to increase adherence rates. She believes the school nurse can play a key role in encouraging parents to get children immunized. “We know everyone is heavily influenced by social norms and pressure,” she explained, and school nurses can set the expectation that children get fully vaccinated. “I think the school nurse can really act as a gatekeeper here, and reset the norm in favor of immunization.”
One of the reason we have government – as opposed to libertarian anarchy – is to protect the overwhelming majority of the population from the ignorance and foolishness of a small number of citizens. We have traffic lights and rules for 4-way stops at intersections. We don’t leave the decision-making up to who has the biggest SUV on the street.
If Dr. Buttenheim’s well-intentioned plan is as ineffectusl as I think it will be – we need to have the Feds step in and provide oversight to the sillyass states that let parents decide it’s OK to place the children of others in danger. There is no shortage of stupid regulations like this around the nation. This is one of the dumbest.
American scientists studying remote communities in the Peruvian Amazon ravaged by vampire bats have found the first evidence of humans immune to rabies.
The team from the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that six of 63 people tested had rabies anti-bodies in their blood, without ever having been vaccinated for the disease…
It remains unclear whether the six were born with the anti-bodies or developed them after being infected with rabies and surviving despite the lack of medical facilities in villages rarely visited by doctors.
Either way, the discovery, revealed in this month’s American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, turns on its head the traditional notion that without immediate treatment, exposure to rabies means a certain hideous death.
Amy Gilbert, the lead researcher, said that death was still the nearly inevitable fate for anyone developing rabies symptoms, even with the best medical care. However, the new research indicates that some people exposed to the disease may never develop those symptoms…
The CDC discovery is now expected to pave the way for pioneering research to develop both new kinds of vaccinations and treatment for rabies. That could even involve genome sequencing.
Astounding. Though I’m never surprised at what genetic changes may resolve themselves in isolated communities. The likelihood of useful mutations, adaptations, evolved changes is pretty small given the possible short timespan involved.
US health authorities on Friday urged all boys age 11-12 to get a routine vaccination against the most common sexually transmitted disease, human papillomavirus, or HPV.
Other changes as part of an annual update to US immunization schedules included a recommended hepatitis B vaccine to the protect the livers of adults up to age 60 who have diabetes and a vaccine against whooping cough for pregnant women…
The HPV vaccine has been approved for girls since 2006 but the CDC had not expressly urged it for boys, though boys were included among those who could receive it to prevent certain cancers and genital warts. Health experts have expressed hope that if pre-teen boys and girls are both encouraged to get the vaccine, the rate of infection will decrease in the general population.
About half of all sexually active adults will get HPV in their lifetime. There are more than 100 types of HPV, and most clear the body on their own, but some strains can linger and lead to cervical, anal or oral cancer…
The vaccine, currently recommended for girls age 11-26, has faced resistance from some parents over fears that immunizing young girls would encourage them to be promiscuous…
Which is about the dumbest piece of reasoning this side of legislation that says the Earth is flat.
I have another post in the hopper about the spooky drivel America’s latest clot of right-wing populists believe as biblical rote – along with tales about babies, storks and cabbages.
I haven’t scoured it for details, yet – but, I imagine crap beliefs like this one is there in all its glory.
Health officials are hailing a polio breakthrough in India, once recognised as the global epicentre of the crippling disease, as the country marked one year since the last recorded case.
India, once home to half of all global cases of polio, on Friday completed one year since an 18-month-old girl in West Bengal was diagnosed with the disease.
AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout
The breakthrough could see India removed from a list of nations where polio is still endemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the next month.
With Niger and Egypt taken off that list in recent years, India’s removal would see the list of nations with indigenous polio reduced to just three: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan…
In a statement, Ghulam Nabi Azad, India’s health minister, said: “We are excited and hopeful, at the same time, vigilant and alert”…
Part of…new tactics and innovations was an effort to reach poor children in railways and on the streets. “Remotes areas were huge havens of disease, but we persisted,” Sona Bari, a spokesperson for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, told Al Jazeera. “Wherever there were no facilities, we just had people camping on the floor.”
According to WHO estimates, the Indian government dedicated two billion dollars to polio eradication over the last decade and a half. “It was almost completely self-funded,” Bari said. “India has shown that it can be done, despite extremely difficult circumstances…”
The advance in a nation where polio had been thought endemic, has raised hopes that polio will join smallpox as the second disease to have been successfully eradicated globally.
RTFA. India will be deemed to have eradicated the disease if it stays polio-free for another two years.
I grew up in the era of diseases afflicting children especially – which have since been stopped by vaccination programs. Back in the day, the religious among us hailed the advances of science as a gift from their God. Nowadays, for whatever reason, it seems the spookiest individuals are the ones blathering about vaccination being a conspiracy of science.
I wish they had my life’s experience, greeting each New Year with questions to my classmates about “who died in your neighborhood, this year” – from polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, measles, scarlet fever. Every neighborhood had one or two “survivors” of polio who made do with crutches to get to school.
Now – religion is an acceptable excuse to keep from having your kids vaccinated. What fools these parents be.
No, that ain’t Swedish. It’s ignoranush?
Sweden’s first case of congenital rubella in more 30 years has been discovered after a woman who was infected with the viral disease whilst on holiday gave birth to a child in Sweden with severe birth defects.
Since vaccination began in the 1970s rubella has all but disappeared in Sweden.
But a 22-year-old woman who lives in Halland, in southern Sweden, but was born in a country where vaccination against the disease is rare, caught the disease while visiting her home country during the early stages of her pregnancy, according to the local Hallands-Posten newspaper.
It is well known that rubella can cause birth defects. Unless you’re an ignorant religious nutball. The viral infectious disease often has mild symptoms, with a spreading rash and sometimes a fever.
However, the major issue with the disease is that those infected whilst pregnant have a high risk of suffering a miscarriage, or giving birth to a child with birth defects.
The woman’s child was born prematurely and with a number of defects, including problems with its eyes, ears, and heart.
“This case shows that we need to improve our screening of the people who come here from other countries, where the vaccination programmes aren’t as built out as ours,” said Maria Löfgren, assistant epidemiologist in Halland, to the newspaper.
Like potential immigrants from the United States – where religious beliefs are sufficient for someone to ignore vaccination. Cripes.
Pakistani police guarding the bin Laden compound
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
The doctor who is suspected of helping the CIA target Osama bin Laden will be charged with treason…
“A case of conspiracy against the state of Pakistan and high treason is made” against Dr. Shakeel Afridi, the information ministry said, summarizing a commission’s investigation into the death of the al Qaeda leader.
Afridi is accused of helping the CIA use a vaccination campaign to try to collect DNA samples from people who lived in bin Laden’s compound.
The United States “has repeatedly asked” for the release of the Pakistani doctor, a U.S. official said Thursday. The official declined to comment further on the treason charges…
“This was one very small piece of a very large intelligence effort to determine that bin Laden was located at the compound,” a senior U.S. official told CNN over the summer.”People need to put this into some perspective,” the official added. “The vaccination campaign was part of the hunt for the world’s top terrorist, and nothing else. If the United States hadn’t shown this kind of creativity, people would be scratching their heads asking why it hadn’t used all the tools at its disposal to find bin Laden.”
Pakistan demonstrates once again what passes for priorities and standards in that nation.
While the Obama administration trots out the usual diplomatic smoke-and-mirrors to maintain some sort of relationship with a corrupt government the fact remains that they can be trusted as far as I can throw the Aiwan-e-Sadr uphill into a heavy wind left-handed.
Vaccinating children aged two to four years against seasonal influenza resulted in a 34% decline in flu-like illnesses, found a study in Canadian Medical Association Journal. Preschool-aged children have influenza infection rates of 25%-43%, higher than other age groups. Vaccinating healthy children can help prevent spread of infection in the home and the community.
In 2006 through 2007, the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices expanded its recommendations to give the seasonal flu vaccine to children beyond the current target group of 6 months to 23 months of age. However, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization did not, allowing a comparison of vaccination practices between the two countries.
Researchers from the Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, and McGill University and the Montreal Public Health Department in Montréal, Quebec evaluated the impact of the expanded US policy on influenza-related visits to the emergency department at the Children’s Hospital Boston compared with Montreal Children’s Hospital. They looked at visits to the emergency department in 2000/2001 through 2008/2009 at the two hospitals…
…The researchers analyzed the visits associated with flu-like illnesses and found that “both hospitals had strong seasonal fluctuations in visits related to influenza-like illness in younger age groups, with more subtle seasonal patterns in older pediatric age groups and similar seasonal epidemic increases, declines and peak timing of the epidemic curve,” write Drs. John Brownstein and Anne Hoen, Children’s Hospital Boston, with coauthors.
“Following the policy change in the United States, we observed a decline in the rate of emergency department visits for influenza-like illness at Children’s Hospital Boston relative to the Montreal Children’s Hospital in the target age group, children two to four years old,” they state.
They also saw declines of 11%-18% in other nontarget age groups (ages 0-1 year, 2-4 years, 5-9 years and 10-18 years), which may be related to an overall reduction of influenza in transmission at home and in the community because of vaccination of two to four year olds…
“…Our findings provide evidence that, in our US study community (i.e., Boston), the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to routinely vaccinate preschool-aged children against seasonal influenza is improving pediatric influenza-related outcomes,” conclude the authors.
Not only seems reasonable; but, overdue. I have no idea why it’s taken either nation so long to get round to this level of vaccnation – but, I’m glad they finally did.
After all, half my North American kinfolk live in the GWN.
Examination of lung tissue and other autopsy material from 68 American soldiers who died of respiratory infections in 1918 has revealed that the influenza virus that eventually killed 50 million people worldwide was circulating in the United States at least four months before the 1918 influenza reached pandemic levels that fall.
The study, using tissues preserved since 1918, was led by Jeffery K. Taubenberger, M.D., Ph.D…The researchers found proteins and genetic material from the 1918 influenza virus in specimens from 37 of the soldiers, including four who died between May and August 1918, months before the pandemic peaked. These four cases are the earliest 1918 pandemic influenza cases they know to be documented anywhere in the world, the scientists say.
The clinical disease and tissue damage seen in the pre-pandemic cases were indistinguishable from those evident in cases that occurred during the height of the pandemic. This suggests, says Dr. Taubenberger, that over the course of the pandemic, the virus did not undergo a dramatic change that could explain the unusually high mortality it ultimately caused.
In the current study, the autopsy materials showed that the virus replicated not only in the upper respiratory tract but also the lower respiratory tract, in a pattern very similar to that of the 2009 pandemic influenza virus. The team also found evidence that two virus variants were circulating in 1918…
Bacterial co-infections were found in all 68 cases studied, the researchers noted. The role played by bacterial co-infections, such as bacterial pneumonia, in contributing to deaths in the 1918 pandemic was previously described by Dr. Taubenberger and his colleagues in a 2008 study. According to the study authors, the new data underscore the crucial role that bacterial infections can play in conjunction with any influenza virus, whether historic or future, and the need for public health officials to prepare to prevent, detect and treat bacterial co-infections during future influenza outbreaks.
Unless, of course, you believe such a pandemic can never happen again, it’s all a plot by pharmaceutical companies and it’s too much trouble to get a flu shot, anyway.
Yes, I got mine a few weeks ago.