Archive for May, 2013

It has been one year since we nearly lost our son, Tyce, to pertussis

Friday, May 31st, 2013 (last updated)

It has been one year since we nearly lost our son, Tyce, to pertussis (whooping cough). He was only 2 weeks old and had a little cough. We were told by his Doctor that he looked okay and to just keep an eye out for a fever. We kept a close eye on him but he never got a fever. His cough got progressively worse and he started to have moments when he would gasp for air. My husband was determined to find out what was wrong and immediately started researching online. He came across pertussis (whooping cough). As I watched the videos, I did not want to believe that my son was sick with pertussis. He had not made the Whooping sound. Later that day, he had a coughing spell and while i was holding him his lips turned blue and he stopped breathing. It was a horrible and helpless feeling. We rushed him to the ER with our own video of Tyce in hand.

We had an amazing team of Doctors and Nurses that were assigned to Tyce. And our little warrior, Tyce, had an inner strength and will to fight. We were BLESSED that he recovered and a year later is doing well. My hope is this video helps another family in the way that other families videos helped ours.



Shingles vaccine update

Thursday, May 30th, 2013 (last updated)

If you know anyone who’s ever had shingles, you know it’s no fun. Shingles is an outbreak of a rash or blisters that is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. It’s typically found in one area of the body, often near the waistline. There is a vaccine against shingles, and this past March the FDA extended its vaccination recommendation to include those age 50 and older. Previously the recommendation was age 60 and older.

Get Healthy’s Jackie Hays talks with James Jennings, M.D., with Norton Medical Associates — Brownsboro about shingles and the vaccine.

Norton Healthcare

To delay, is not the way

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013 (last updated)

Since the days of Edward Jenner, the father of smallpox vaccine, there have been parents who have been vaccine hesitant, and at times vaccine refusers. After Benjamin Franklin’s son died of smallpox, he lamented the fact that he had prohibited his son from getting the smallpox vaccine due to his concerns over safety.

Vaccines are no different than any other medical therapy. It is essential that patients or their parents make an informed decision whether to immunize. Fortunately, evidence supports the efficacy and safety of the vaccines currently recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Immunizations have been noted to be 1 of the 10 great public health achievements in the 20th century. But still there are doubts.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has been very good at reviewing evidence and providing reports that have markedly enhanced our understanding of how to provide more effective and safer health care. The IOM is an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside the government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision makers and the public. In the past, the IOM has reviewed the safety of individual vaccines. The 2012 IOM report has clearly delineated adverse events that are causally associated with vaccines. More importantly, IOM has reviewed scientific evidence to identify those adverse events that are not casually related to vaccines, eg, autism and the measles vaccine.

However, as the safety of individual vaccines became more evident, vaccine detractors started to target the vaccine schedule. As the number of vaccines increased over the past 2 decades, concern was raised that the number of vaccines given to children was unsafe, possibly overwhelming the ability of the child’s immune system to manage such an antigen exposure. Despite a lack of biologic plausibility and ample preapproval studies refuting these concerns, vaccine-hesitant families were persuaded that “alternate vaccine schedules” that spaced the vaccines further apart would be better for their children.

IOM took on the task of reviewing the evidence concerning the currently approved vaccine schedule. Its report supporting the safety of the current vaccine schedule was recently released. More importantly, IOM believes that it would not be appropriate to conduct studies of alternate schedules to the approved schedule if the alternate schedule delayed any of the vaccines and that any delay in vaccines would increase the period of risk for vaccine-preventable diseases. This increased risk for vaccine-preventable diseases would make these alternate schedules less safe (not safer) than the approved schedule.

Parents who protect

Parents who Protect & Contemporary Pediatrics

New flu vaccine made from tobacco plant in the works

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 (last updated)

One company is using tobacco to help prevent a common illness that infects millions and kills thousands every year.

Greenhouse manager Charles Bryant is helping turn tobacco plants into flu vaccines for the bio-pharmaceutical company Medicago.

“The vaccine is actually produced inside the leaves itself,” Bryant said.

The company’s Mike Wanner says the plants are submerged in a natural bacteria that’s genetically engineered. Then, the tobacco is put in a vacuum environment.

“It draws in the agrobacterium, and then the agrobacterium expands in the plant and that becomes the virus-like particle that is the vaccine,” said Wanner.

Traditional flu vaccines are made from chicken eggs. Each egg can produce about four doses. Wanner says each one of the tobacco plants can make between 30 and 100 doses.

The plant-based vaccine is being tested on various flu strains right now.

“It induces a very strong immune response in humans,” said Wanner.

If trials go as planned, the tobacco flu vaccine could be on the market sometime in 2016. Officials say the plants could also be used to make a variety of other vaccines, including one for rabies.


50% of Australians who oppose vaccination get their information from the Internet

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 (last updated)

The first ever national survey* on Australian attitudes to vaccination reveals surprising statistics including half of Australians opposing immunisation get their information from the net. According to the survey those in favour of vaccination consult their GP.

Up until now such surveys had been conducted state by state. This survey reveals a combined snapshot of Australia’s opinions to vaccination where although support for immunisation is high, questions and concerns can co-exist.

According to the survey 92% of Australian parents allow their children to be fully vaccinated, whilst 53% express a range of concerns. Younger people appear to be less confident than their parents and grandparents in making their vaccination decisions. Younger people are often relying more heavily on internet research, which is proving to be a powerful tool in the immunisation landscape.
The survey also states that, across the sample, 11% reported that they or someone they knew claim to have experienced a vaccine reaction. Nevertheless overall support of vaccination is high with Australia having one of the highest rates in the world.

Commenting on the survey findings Professor Mark Kendall Group Leader, Delivery of Drugs and Genes Group (D2G2), Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) said “This national survey of Australian public attitudes to vaccination yields fresh insights into the attitude of public – the parents, the children, the young and the elderly towards vaccines. It drives home an important point: the decisions we make on vaccines, for example whether to get vaccinated or not, hinges upon the information we gather on vaccines and the source of this information.

It is clear that we the researchers and developers of vaccines need to step up here. We need to work harder in getting the complete information picture of vaccines on the basis of scientific rigour to the public. With the young now sourcing so much information from the internet, we need to package this information based upon science in ways online that are more accessible to them.”

50% of Australians who oppose vaccination get their information from the Internet Click here

Science in Public

Race against time: meningitis & septicaemia can kill in hours – Know the symptoms

Monday, May 27th, 2013 (last updated)

Race against time: meningitis & septicaemia can kill in hours – Know the symptoms Click here

Meningitis Research Foundation

Universal flu vaccines ‘edges closer’

Sunday, May 26th, 2013 (last updated)

A way of creating more effective vaccines which could protect against a broad range of flu viruses has been reported by US researchers.

A different seasonal flu jab is produced every year as the virus is a constantly shifting target.

This animal study, published in the journal Nature, showed a single jab could protect against multiple strains. Flu scientists said it was an important advance, but a vaccine which could defeat all flu was a long way off.

While there are different strains of flu circulating each year, there are bits of the flu virus which do not change. Many groups of researchers believe that targeting these weak spots could lead to a single, universal flu vaccine.

Synthetic biology

The normal seasonal flu jab is made by growing the virus in chicken eggs. It is then inactivated and injected into people to train the immune system to fight off that virus.

A group at the pharmaceutical company Sanofi used a different approach to design a new protein which was half virus. Spikes which stick out from the surface of the virus, which hardly vary between strains, were fused with a ‘transporter protein’ which is naturally found in blood.

Groups of these hybrid proteins then spontaneously formed tiny spheres, which were tested in ferrets. Flu researchers use ferrets as they are can be infected with human viruses, which results in similar symptoms. The vaccine gave the animals immunity against multiple batches of flu ranging from viruses circulating in 1934 through to 2007.

Dr Gary Nabel, the chief scientific officer at Sanofi, told the BBC: “We think this is a step down the path towards a universal vaccine. It’s not a universal vaccine yet. “There’s lots of research in the early phases and this looks as good as anything out there.”

Not everything

The spike used in the vaccine was haemagglutinin, but there are many different types of haemagglutinin. It is how viruses are classified – swine flu in 2009 was H1N1, with the H standing for haemagglutinin.

This vaccine was designed to protect against H1 flu viruses. It would not protect against others such as the current bird flu in China, H7N9.

Prof Sarah Gilbert, who works on universal vaccines at Oxford University, told BBC News: “It is an improvement on the current vaccine. It’s not a ‘universal vaccine’ but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”

She said it might be able to get over the problems of “mis-match” when there are differences between the seasonal vaccine and the flu being targeted.

However, the vaccine has not yet been tested in people. Clinical grade vaccine has not yet been developed so even safety trials are thought to be a year away.

There is a risk that the flu virus could find ways to evade the vaccine.

Prof Wendy Barclay, from Imperial College London, said: “I think the important question to explore in the field now is…will the virus be able to escape by ‘drift’ like it does each year to our natural antibody response, or can it be ‘pinned in’ by the immune response induced by this new era of vaccines?”

Dr Nabel agreed that viruses could be difficult to pin down: “It is like squeezing a balloon. You squish one place and another pops out. The viruses are very clever and under pressure they find a new way to escape.”

BBC News Health

Gardening season has begun: protect yourself against tetanus

Saturday, May 25th, 2013 (last updated)

Spring is here!  This means the gardening and home renovation season has begun.  Before starting work in your garden or on your home, it’s important to make sure that your tetanus vaccination is up-to-date.

Protect yourself against tetanus

Tetanus is an acute infection caused by bacteria. It is often fatal; about 2 in 10 people who get tetanus will die. Tetanus bacteria typically enter the body through breaks in the skin (such as wounds, cuts or scrapes).  When the bacteria enter the body, they produce a toxin (poison) that affects the nervous system and can cause painful tightening of muscles all over the body.  It is very serious if the breathing muscles are affected.

Tetanus bacteria are present in our everyday environment. They are usually found in dirt, dust, soil and manure. Gardening and working on home renovations puts you at increased risk for tetanus because cuts and scrapes are common with these activities.  Although tetanus can grow in minor and clean wounds, the dirtier and deeper the wound, the higher the risk of tetanus. This is because the bacteria grow best when they are not around oxygen.

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself against tetanus.  And it’s free!

The tetanus vaccine is recommended for people of all ages, with booster doses every 10 years.  If you have a serious cut or deep wound, the vaccine may be recommended if it’s been 5 or more years since you received your last tetanus vaccine.  Adults who have never been vaccinated against tetanus should receive a series of 3 doses over a period of about 1 year.

Stay safe while gardening and working on your home – make sure your tetanus vaccination is up-to-date!  If it’s been 10 years or more since your last tetanus shot, visit your doctor, pharmacist or local public health unit to get your booster.


Measles: what you need to know

Friday, May 24th, 2013 (last updated)

Measles: what you need to know Click here

NHS Wales

India develops new vaccine against diarrhoea

Friday, May 24th, 2013 (last updated)

Everyone’s heard of diarrhoea. Almost 100,000 children in India die every year of painful viral diarrhoea caused by the Rotavirus. Seemingly innocuous, these viruses that mainly affect children are a nightmare for every parent.

The Phase-III clinical trial of low cost Indian-made rotavirus vaccine Rotavac has demonstrated strong efficacy and excellent safety profile and if approved by the Drugs Controller General of India, it would be available at 1 USD per dose