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Posts Tagged ‘vaccination

Fundamentalist measles threat from Canada

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TrueBeliever

Health officials in Canada’s westernmost province are battling a large measles outbreak that is now threatening to spill over the border into Washington state.

As many as 330 cases of the highly contagious disease have been reported since early March in British Columbia’s lower Fraser Valley, near Vancouver, according to Paul Van Buynder, MD, chief medical officer of Fraser Health.

All but two of those cases have occurred among members of an orthodox Protestant sect that doesn’t believe in vaccination…

Four ill members of the congregation live across the U.S. border in Washington and have been isolated, but Van Buynder said Whatcom County officials now think a fifth person — not part of the church — has been infected…

The report comes as New York City health officials are reporting additional cases in an outbreak there, bringing the total to 25, including 12 children and 13 adults. Most of the children were too young to have had their measles shots and only four of the adults had a verified vaccination.

All told, the CDC said, there have been 104 cases of measles reported so far this year in the U.S., although that total did not include the Washington cases and only 23 cases in New York City. Most states had no cases but California is reporting 50.

Measles is officially eliminated in both the U.S. and Canada, but imported cases [and stupid cases] continue to cause disease.

Van Buynder said the Fraser Valley outbreak is epidemiologically linked to a large continuing epidemic among orthodox Protestants in the Netherlands that has been raging since May 2013 and had caused more than 2,600 cases by the end of February 2014.

An earlier outbreak in Canada — 42 cases in Alberta in the fall of 2013 and winter of 2014 — was also linked to the Netherlands epidemic.

The religion defense against vaccination is such crap when you consider the numbers of unvaccinated children – still too young to vaccinate – put at risk by True Believers.

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Written by Ed Campbell

April 3, 2014 at 8:00 am

Vaccine-preventable outbreaks

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vaccine preventable
Click for interactive map

In what medical century does your nation reside?

Thanks, Mike

Written by Ed Campbell

March 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm

No-needle vaccination

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I don’t really mind needles; but, know lots of folks who panic. Just for them…

Thanks, Honeyman

Written by Ed Campbell

January 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm

The more folks who get flu shots the more everyone is protected

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Although the flu vaccine’s effectiveness is less than 100 percent, U.S. health officials say there would be less sickness if more adults were vaccinated.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said although the flu vaccine’s efficacy isn’t as high as they would like — and it is less effective for seniors — boosting coverage with the current vaccine could raise the number of prevented illnesses, clinic visits and hospitalizations.

“We wish that influenza vaccines worked better than they do but we know that influenza vaccines are the best way to protect yourself from influenza. And influenza is really common. If we had higher coverage — vaccination rate — against influenza, if we had 70 percent of the country vaccinated instead of about 45 percent of the country vaccinated we could have prevented 30,000 more hospitalizations,” Dr. Ann Schuchat, CDC’s director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters.

“One day we’ll probably have a really, really super duper influenza vaccine with higher effectiveness in the most vulnerable. But today we don’t. The vaccines we have right now can save lives and can prevent hospitalizations. One group we’re particularly interested in is younger adults.”

The elderly consistently get an influenza vaccination every year, but if more of adults age 65 and younger would be vaccinated they would protect not only themselves from the flu, but the most vulnerable as well — the very very young, the very old and the very sick, Schuchat said…

…Influenza vaccine protects one’s self…and reduce the chances you’ll spread the flu to those around you, particularly babies under six months who are too young to be vaccinated and the frail elderly whose immune system doesn’t respond as well to the vaccine.”

Please don’t tire of hearing me repeat myself about the need to vaccinated. Not just for influenza – but, make certain your kids and grandkids get all the necessary shots.

Yes, you can find a couple of scientists fixated on some tiny fraction of data that inflates to silliness and fear in their minds. They blather about dangers that exist essentially in their own minds. That’s as true of vaccinations, flu shots, cripes – even sanitary conditions among field hands – as it is about the nearness of asteroids passing by Earth.

The overwhelming body of information, research and history of pandemics confirms the value of vaccination to the whole population and specific portions of our species affected in unique fashion by particular diseases. If you can’t keep up with learning that never comes to a halt – at least decide to jettison the superstitions and foolishness that keep your life’s progress a century or two behind what society is capable of.

Written by Ed Campbell

December 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Egg allergies, fear of needles not legit excuses to avoid flu shot

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Egg allergies and fear of needles are no longer arguments to avoid getting the flu vaccine, thanks to improvements available this year, a U.S. expert says.

Dr. Jorge Parada, the medical director of the Infection Prevention and Control Program at Loyola University Health System near Chicago, said new this year, those who have egg allergies have access to a completely egg-free vaccine…

In addition, those who have a fear of needles can now benefit from the intradermal flu vaccine which uses a very fine needle that is 90 percent smaller than the needles used for regular flu shots, Parada said.

“The intradermal flu vaccine is injected into the superficial skin instead of the deeper muscle and is preferred by some patients,” Parada said.

A needle-less vaccine administered via a nasal flu mist is also available on a limited basis to those ages 2 through 49 who are healthy, Parada added.

All you have left for an excuse is religion or an irrational belief in some superstition. Oh.

“…Of course, everyone should get a flu vaccine — early in the season is preferred — to protect themselves, their family and friends, and to prevent the spread of the flu virus overall,” said Parada…

Herd immunity is a medical term that refers to the prevention of infectious disease due to mass public vaccination and herd immunity has helped to eradicate smallpox and control measles, whooping cough, polio and many other deadly illnesses, including the flu.”

Yup. Got my flu shot 6 or 8 weeks ago. Freebie under Medicare Advantage.

Well, freebie means no copay in Medicare-speak.

Written by Ed Campbell

December 9, 2013 at 8:00 am

2009 pandemic of H1N1 flu killed 10 times more than estimated

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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.

Written by Ed Campbell

November 29, 2013 at 2:00 am

Six myths about vaccination – and why they’re wrong

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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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ed Campbell

October 8, 2013 at 8:00 am

Deliberately unvaccinated students put other children at risk

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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.

Written by Ed Campbell

August 24, 2012 at 6:00 am

Researchers find first evidence of acquired immunity to rabies

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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.

Written by Ed Campbell

August 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm

CDC now recommends routine HPV vaccination for boys

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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.

Written by Ed Campbell

February 4, 2012 at 6:00 pm

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