Pneumococcal vaccine reduces antibiotic-resistant infections by 62%

October 22nd, 2014 (last updated)

Previous studies have concluded that overall vaccination reduces the risk of non-targeted infections among vaccinated individuals. Now new research presented at IDWeek 2014 suggest that the pneumococcal vaccine dramatically reduces severe antibiotic-resistant infections by as much as 62 percent among children.

IDWeek 2014

Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection that causes sepsis, pneumonia, and meningitis as well as hearing loss, vision loss, and death. The infection is also the most common vaccine-preventable bacterial cause of death. The pneumococcal vaccine (PCV) should be administered at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and between 12 and 15 months as well as to children and teenagers in high-risk groups between 2 and 18 years old.

Explained lead researcher Sara Tomczyk, PHN, MSc, epidemic intelligence service (EIS) officer for the Respiratory Diseases Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta: “Pneumococcal infections can cause several clinical syndromes, including ear infection, pneumonia, and more serious infections such as meningitis and blood infections. Last year antibiotic resistance due to pneumococcal infections was deemed a serious threat in a large CDC report. It was estimated that it leads to more than 19,000 excess hospitalizations, 7,000 excess deaths, and $96 million in excess medical costs per year.”

The current pneumococcal vaccine, the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13, Prevnar 13), induces immune protection against thirteen subtypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bacterium that causes pneumonia, meningitis, blood infections, ear infections, and other health problems. PCV13 replaced the previous 7-valent version, which protected against fewer subtypes, in 2010.

Use of the 13-valent pneumococcal vaccine subsequently reduced the rate of antibiotic-resistant invasive pneumococcal disease by 62 percent between 2009 to 2013 among children under the age of 5, a decrease of nearly two-thirds.

Source:
Business 2 Community

32 myths about the flu vaccine you don’t need to fear

October 21st, 2014 (last updated)

flu vaccine

Myth #1: You should fear Ebola more than the flu.

Fact: Flu kills more people in a year in the U.S. than Ebola has killed in the history of the world.

Myth #2: You don’t need the flu vaccine this year if you got it last year.

Fact: You need a new flu shot each year because the circulating strains change and immunity from the vaccine fades.

Myth #3: The flu shot is a “one size fits all” approach that doesn’t make sense for everyone.

Fact: You have many flu vaccine options, such as the shot, including egg-free versions, and a nasal spray.

Myth #4: The flu shot makes some people able to only walk backward.

Fact: The condition of a young woman who could apparently only walk backward after getting a flu shot was found to be psychological, not neurological.

Myth #5: Deaths from the flu are exaggerated.

Fact: Thousands of people die from flu in the U.S. in a typical year, including more than 20,000 in the 2006-2007 season.

Myth #6: The flu vaccine can give you the flu.

Fact: The flu shot can’t give you the flu because the virus it contains has been inactivated or severely weakened.

Myth #7: Flu vaccines contain dangerous ingredients, such as mercury, formaldehyde and antifreeze.

Fact: Flu shot ingredients are safe, but people with allergies to ingredients in some vaccines, such as gelatin, should avoid vaccines with those ingredients.

Myth #8: Pregnant women shouldn’t get the flu vaccine.

Fact: Because influenza can cause miscarriages, pregnant women should get vaccinated against flu to lower the miscarriage risk.

Myth #9: Flu vaccines can cause Alzheimer’s disease.

Fact: There is no link between flu vaccination and Alzheimer’s; flu vaccines protect older adults who are at increased risk for flu-related health consequences.

Myth #10: Pharmaceutical companies make a massive profit off flu vaccines.

Fact: They’re a tiny source of profit and are made by only a handful of companies.

Myth #11: Flu vaccines don’t work.

Fact: Flu vaccines reduce the risk of flu, though their effectiveness in any particular year varies.

Myth #12: Flu vaccines don’t work for children.

Fact: Flu vaccines effectively reduce the risk of flu for children ages 6 months and up.

Myth #13: Flu vaccines make it easier for people to catch pneumonia or other infectious diseases.

Fact: Flu vaccines reduce the risk of pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses or complications from the flu.

Myth #14: Flu vaccines cause heart problems and strokes.

Fact: Flu shots reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events.

Myth #15: Flu vaccines can damage a protective barrier between the blood and the brain in young children, hindering their development.

Fact: Flu vaccines have been found safe for children 6 months and older.

Myth #16: Flu vaccines cause narcolepsy.

Fact: A European vaccine against the swine flu in 2009 was linked to narcolepsy, but the U.S. seasonal flu vaccine does not cause narcolepsy.

Myth #17: The flu vaccine weakens your body’s immune response.

Fact: The flu vaccine prepares your immune system to fight influenza by stimulating antibody production.

Myth #18: The flu vaccine causes nerve disorders such as Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Fact: Only the 1976 swine flu vaccine was linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, and influenza is more likely to cause the nerve disorder than the flu vaccine; the CDC says those with the Guillain-Barré should consult a doctor before getting the flu shot.

Myth #19: The flu vaccine can cause neurological disorders.

Fact: Neurological side effects linked to flu vaccination are extremely rare (see Myth #18); children with neurological disorders are actually at the highest risk for flu complications.

Myth #20: Influenza isn’t that bad. Or, people recover quickly from it.

Fact: Influenza can cause fever, muscle aches, cough, headaches and a sore throat for one to two weeks.

Myth #21: People don’t die from the flu unless they have another underlying condition already.

Fact: Otherwise healthy people do die from the flu. The elderly and young children are most vulnerable.

Myth #22: People with egg allergies can’t get vaccinated against flu.

Fact: People with egg allergies can get a flu shot but should consult their doctor or allergist on options if their allergy is severe.

Myth #23: If I get the flu, antibiotics will help me get better.

Fact: Antibiotics can’t treat a viral infection.

Myth #24: The flu shot doesn’t work for me, personally, because last time I got it, I got the flu anyway.

Fact: The flu shot cannot offer 100 percent protection against the flu, but it reduces your risk of getting it. Many people mistake symptoms from colds and other illnesses for the flu.

Myth #25: I never get the flu, so I don’t need the shot.

Fact: You can’t predict whether you’ll get the flu.

Myth #26: I can protect myself from the flu by eating right and washing my hands regularly.

Fact: A good diet and good hygiene are healthful habits that reduce the risk of illness but cannot prevent the flu on their own.

Myth #27: It’s OK if I get the flu because it will make my immune system stronger.

Fact: Even if the flu in a future season resembles a strain you’ve had before, the protection is likely to be incomplete and fades over time. Flu weakens your immune system while your body is fighting it and puts others at risk.

Myth #28: If I do get the flu, I’ll just stay home so I’m not infecting others.

Fact: You can transmit the flu without showing symptoms.

Myth #29: Making a new vaccine each year only makes influenza strains stronger.

Fact: There’s no evidence flu vaccines have a major effect on virus mutations.

Myth #30: The side effects of the flu shot are worse than the flu.

Fact: The most common side effects of the flu shot are mild, such as headache, fatigue, cough, low fever and arm soreness lasting a couple of days. Fewer than one in a million people experience severe allergic reactions.

Myth #31: The “stomach flu” is the flu.

Fact: The stomach flu refers to a variety of gastrointestinal illnesses unrelated to influenza.

Myth #32: If you haven’t gotten a flu shot by November, there’s no point in getting one.

Fact: Getting the flu shot any time during flu season will reduce your risk of getting the flu.

Source:
npr.org

Immunity to Zombie virus

October 20th, 2014 (last updated)

zombie virus

Source:
Funkyjunk.com

Science Cop: how anti-vaxxers put everyone at risk

October 19th, 2014 (last updated)

TIME’s Science Cop Jeffrey Kluger takes on the misinformation coming from opponents of childhood vaccinations.

Source:
TIME

Fight pneumonia. Save a child.

October 18th, 2014 (last updated)

People from around the world will mark World Pneumonia Day on 12 November.

More than 1.5 million children die every year from pneumonia, more than from any other disease. But a million children’s lives a year could be saved by simple interventions such as vaccination against the most common causes of pneumonia and treatment with antibiotics.

For the first time in history, thanks to the GAVI Alliance partners, vaccines against the leading cause of pneumonia are reaching children in developing countries at nearly the same time they reach children in high income countries. This is unprecedented. The introduction of these vaccines is a cornerstone of GAVI’s ambitious plan to ensure that all children have equal access to life-saving vaccines.

The GAVI Alliance is a founder member of the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia, formed in 2009 to raise awareness and to encourage governments to support the implementation of a range of proven measures to prevent and treat pneumonia.

child pneumonia

Source:
GAVI

A message from a flu survivor

October 17th, 2014 (last updated)

Lesley Bunning does not mince words. The 62-year-old Sacramento-area woman nearly died of the flu earlier this year and has come forward with an important message. She says she was “a fool” not to get the flu vaccine in the past, and now she’s hoping to save lives by urging the public to get vaccinated this year and every year.

Source:
Kaiser Permanente

A closer look at vaccines. Are they really safe?

October 16th, 2014 (last updated)

What you need to know about immunization

Source:
Doctors Nova Scotia

Merck seeks approval of new HPV vaccine

October 15th, 2014 (last updated)

Merck is seeing approval for a new HPV vaccine, that is 90% effective compared to 70% for the current vaccine. Merck is seeing approval for a new HPV vaccine, that is 90% effective compared to 70% for the current vaccine. Merck is seeing approval for a new HPV vaccine, that is 90% effective compared to 70% for the current vaccine.

Source:
Health Smart

Baby laughing while getting shots

October 14th, 2014 (last updated)

Wonderful to see a doctor loving his work and making a positive difference.

Source:
Mama Ethiopia

The new HPV vaccine could be 90% effective

October 13th, 2014 (last updated)

An even more effective vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer, may be on the horizon, according to new research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Merck announced that it’s investigating a 9-valent HPV vaccine that protects against nine total types of HPV—five more than the current one on the market.

The current vaccine, Gardasil, also manufactured by Merck, is effective against 70% of cervical and other HPV-related cancers and protects against two of the main types that cause cancer—type 16 and 18—as well as two more that cause most cases of genital warts, types 6 and 11. The potential new vaccine, which isn’t named yet, will protect against approximately 90% of cervical cancers, says study author Elmar Joura, an associate professor of gynecology at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria (who received grant support, lecture fees and advisory board fees from Merck). It protects against the HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58.

Coverage against those extra strains could be good news for women worldwide, as some races are prone to different types of HPV. In East Asia, HPV 52 and 58 are more common than in the U.S. or Europe, Joura writes in an email to TIME. “The good thing is that the nine valent vaccine will equalize these differences,” Joura writes. “The grade of protection will be the same worldwide.”

In the study, Joura and his team analyzed data from 12,514 women and found that of those ages 15-26 who had precancers, 32% had more than one type of HPV—that number was 19% for women between the ages of 24 to 45.

The FDA is currently reviewing the vaccine, and Joura expects them to reach a decision by the end of 2014. “The vaccine will hopefully be available soon after,” he wrote.

HPV vaccine

Source:
TIME