Archive for August, 2013

Measles outbreak traced to Church in Texas

Saturday, August 31st, 2013 (last updated)

A North Texas church that is part of a large international ministry told its congregation that health officials had confirmed one case of measles there and suspected several more.

Eagle Mountain International Church, part of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, said on its website that it was informed about the cases last week, a day before Tarrant County Public Health made the measles cases public.

The number of measles cases in the county grew to 11 last week, with the health department saying all cases are connected to one person who traveled to a country where measles is common. Kenneth Copeland Ministries has offices in Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.

In a service Wednesday, Pastor Terri Pearsons told the congregation the case was confirmed on property and she suspected a couple families were affected. Pearsons said the church was scheduling free vaccination clinics.

In the service, which was posted on the church website, Pearsons said they had closed down the nursery for children and a company was coming in to clean the entire campus.

Measles outbreak traced to Church in Texas


Walgreens partners with Chicago Public Schools & Chicago Department of Public Health to increase pertussis vaccinations

Friday, August 30th, 2013 (last updated)

Walgreens, a U.S. drug store chain

Walgreens, a U.S. drug store chain, announced a partnership on Tuesday with Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Department of Public Health to help parents meet a new pertussis vaccination requirement.

The team will assist parents of students between grades six and 12 to meet a new Illinois state requirement for Tdap vaccination, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Pertussis is more commonly known as whooping cough.

The new Illinois mandate follows a significant increase in the number of whooping cough cases over the last two years in the state. Students must show proof of having received a single dose of the Tdap vaccine or have an approved religious or medical exemption on file by October 15.

“In Chicago, more cases of whooping cough were reported last year than in the prior three years combined,” Julie Morita, the medical director for the CDPH Immunization Program, said. “Making sure that children receive the Tdap vaccine is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children. When our students are healthier our classrooms, schools and communities will be healthier.”

Walgreens, CDPH and CPS are building on a collaborative health initiative formed to battle flu last year. The organizations will increase awareness about the Tdap vaccine through several events before the start of the school year on Monday. The events include Walgreens and CDPH hosting immunization clinics throughout the city, Walgreens pharmacists visiting select CPS locations to administer vaccines to students in need and the CDPH Care Van touring parks, schools and businesses to offer free mobile immunization clinics.

“Walgreens is playing an important role in helping to prevent this serious illness providing greater access to vaccine in the Chicago area and throughout Illinois,” Harry Leider, the chief medical officer Walgreens, said. “We have more than 600 points of care statewide including our pharmacies and healthcare clinics that routinely offer the Tdap vaccine and other immunizations year-round. Access to this and other vaccines as well as out-of-pocket costs are barriers for many families and through this collaboration with CDPH and CPS we’re focused on making the back-to-school season easier while helping more students and their families get stay and live well.”

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there were 2,026 cases of whooping cough reported in Illinois in 2012, the highest number of cases since 1950.

Immunizations available

Vaccine News Daily

Should anti-vaccine parents be held liable if their child spreads an illness? (Poll)

Thursday, August 29th, 2013 (last updated)

Say an unvaccinated child has the measles and passes the disease onto a baby who’s too young to be vaccinated. If that baby gets ill (or worse), should its parents be able to sue the infected child’s parents for negligence?

That’s the question that’s recently been raised by one bioethicist in the Journal of Law Medicine and Ethics.

Should anti-vaccine parents be held liable if their child spreads an illness? Click here

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children under the age of six be vaccinated for 14 infectious diseases including hepatitis, measles and mumps—all diseases that are spread from person to person. Some hold that vaccinations are the most effective form of health intervention of the 21st century, preventing the spread of deadly diseases.

While some opt out for religious or philosophical reasons, or because of a prior reaction to vaccinations, others choose to forgo vaccinations due to personal beliefs—that’s a choice that proponents of vaccinations argue is a threat to public health and safety.

Some states that have been affected, including New York, blame the rise in preventable diseases like measles on the fact that fewer people are getting vaccinated.

poll Click here

Southern California Public Radio

Best way to protect infants from influenza is to vaccinate rest of the family

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 (last updated)

Best way to protect infants from influenza is to vaccinate rest of the family

A University of Sydney study has found the best way to protect children under six months of age from influenza, the most vulnerable of the population to the condition, is to vaccinate the rest of the family.

Data from the research is being presented at the International Congress of Pediatrics. The study, by the University’s Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance (PAEDS) unit, included infants under six months old admitted with laboratory-confirmed influenza to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW) during 2009.

Of 32 infants aged under six months admitted to the hospital with influenza, 28 per cent developed serious complications, 22 per cent developed pneumonia and 16 per cent were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. Of the infants, 57 per cent had ongoing respiratory illness after being released from hospital, while 21 per cent re-presented to the Emergency Department within six months of their admission with flu.

The study identified a further worrying trend – just 14 per cent of their mothers had been vaccinated against seasonal influenza.

Paper senior author, Professor Elizabeth Elliott, said the three main risk factors documented in the study were exposure to cigarette smoking, household crowding and low rates of household vaccination against influenza.

“The biggest risk factor we documented was close contact with other (unvaccinated) young children in the household, contributing to 46 per cent of cases,” she said.

“The other significant risk factor was that many children were living with at least one smoker in the household, contributing to 36 percent of cases.”

The study authors noted the number of persons per household in the afflicted children was double the state average, so overcrowding was also evident in children contracting the disease.

Professor Elliott

“Our study has identified new and significant data relating to influenza in infants under six months of age and suggests that disease and complications in this most vulnerable of groups could be reduced by optimising vaccination rates in the household and minimising exposure to other infected individuals, cigarette smoke and overcrowding,” Professor Elliott said.

“Infants under six months old are particularly susceptible to severe influenza illness, they have no immunity to the disease and they are ineligible for vaccination.

Our message to parents is please vaccinate all of your household against seasonal influenza in order to protect the youngest and most vulnerable in your family. Don’t forget that the influenza vaccine is recommended for pregnant women too.”


Are you a Vaccine Ambassador?

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 (last updated)

Each year over 1.7 million children under the age of five die from diseases that can be easily prevented with common vaccines. Over 90% of these children live in areas of the world where there is no routine health care or supportive medical services when a child becomes ill. Other factors such as malnutrition and unclean water place these children at even higher risk for contracting diseases.  While in a weakened state it becomes more difficult for their bodies to fight infections, and the result can be death.

Immunizations are one of the most cost-effective, life-saving healthcare services available, and are considered a basic healthcare measure for all children. The CDC estimates that immunizations have prevented 20 million deaths in the last two decades. Despite significant advances, vaccines that are routinely offered in the United States are not readily available to all children in many parts of world.

The Solution

Join us and become a Vaccine Ambassador so that all children can have access to the same life-saving healthcare measures. Vaccine Ambassadors is an affordable program that takes place in the convenience of your own pediatrician’s office. As a Vaccine Ambassador, every time your child visits their doctor an automatic $2, or chosen amount, is collected during their visit. Your donation will be used to purchase needed vaccines and immunization services. As a result, when your child receives health care at your pediatrician’s office another child in the world will benefit as well. 100% of donations received, minus standard credit card processing fees, will go to the purchase of needed vaccines and immunization services to be used by established global immunization programs.

You don’t need to be a parent- everyone can be a part of the solution. Join us by donating at your clinic, online, or starting your own fundraiser: Unite with others around the globe so that every child has the chance to grow, play, learn, laugh, and have a healthy start at life.


Vaccine Ambassadors

Teddy bears cause autism

Monday, August 26th, 2013 (last updated)

The news that the diagnosis of autism may be brought forward is primarily of importance because it may help identify children who will require specialised support. However, it is also interesting because it breaks the co-incidental temporal association that has been part of the reason the MMR vaccine-autism hypothesis gained traction. Since the behavioural cues for autism can’t be picked up well until after one year of age, parental concern about their child being different and autism diagnoses rose after administration of the MMR vaccine. This had unfortunate consequences for the perception of MMR vaccine’s safety.

The causation in the MMR vaccine debacle was neatly illustrated in an article from Prescriber written by Paula McDonald (a former Consultant in Communicable Disease Control).

Aristotle’s concept of syllogisms, says if certain prepositions are met, something distinct will arise from necessity. However, he also noted false syllogisms (In the UK we have an entire publication devoted to generating them, called the Daily Mail). McDonald’s figure illustrates the usual example of the horse being classified as a cat, along with the example of teddy bears and MMR vaccine causing autism.


Leftbrainrightbrain (lbrb)

The legacy of anti-vaccination misinformation

Sunday, August 25th, 2013 (last updated)

Picture from the 1930 booklet “Health in Pictures”.



Do vaccines cause autism? Correlation versus causation

Saturday, August 24th, 2013 (last updated)

When we make risky decisions about our health, it’s always good to be in possession of all the facts, to let our brains, and not our hearts, make the decision. Your child is thousands of times more likely to die from a preventable disease you didn’t vaccinate them against than to develop autism from a vaccine you did give them. The case for autism and vaccines is solely based on weak correlations and emotional responses.


Vaccination appears to have halted a meningitis outbreak in New York City

Friday, August 23rd, 2013 (last updated)


A bacterial meningitis outbreak among gay and bisexual men in New York City that had raised fears of a new AIDS-type epidemic has subsided after an aggressive vaccination campaign, leaving city health officials cautiously optimistic that it has been contained.

The outbreak cast a pall over gay nightlife in the city, and raised fears among gay men traveling to and from New York that they might catch the casually transmissible and highly lethal disease. Twenty-two men have been infected and about a third of them — seven — have died since 2010, with the numbers accelerating last fall and early this year.

But the last case was in mid-February, the longest interval without a new case since January 2012. City health officials feared that the infection, which attacks the lining of the brain and spinal cord and can be transmitted through kissing and even sharing a glass, might flare during crowded gay pride events in late June. But that did not come to pass.

“We think that because we’ve had no cases in six months, we have to conclude that enough of the population has been vaccinated to provide protection at least for now,” Dr. Jay K. Varma, the city’s deputy commissioner of disease control, said this week. “Whether or not this provides protection for several years is something that we’ll have to see.”

At least 16,000 people have been vaccinated; an estimated 30,000 to 100,000 were believed to be at risk. Dr. Varma said the number of vaccinations was probably higher, but doctors are not required to report having given the vaccine, and the data come mainly from large medical practices and organizations like the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

The infection spread among men who met at parties, bars, clubs and through Web sites and hookup apps like Grindr.

To combat the disease, the city conducted vaccination and public health campaigns in gay bars. But one of the most successful vaccinations campaigns was carried out by Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, a gay activist and now medical director of H.I.V. services at Mount Sinai Hospital, who gave free shots at bathhouses, after-hours sex clubs and private parties.

Dr. Daskalakis said on Tuesday that he hoped doctors would continue providing the vaccine to men at risk, a recommendation echoed by the health department in an update distributed to doctors this week. It is available at city-run clinics that provide immunizations and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. Under a new state law the vaccine will also be available to adults through pharmacies beginning Oct. 29.

One challenge, health officials have said, is that some men who are at risk of getting the disease may not identify themselves as gay or bisexual. As a result, it is difficult to reach out to them through gay organizations and to get them to come forward for vaccinations.

The outbreak was caused by a unique strain of bacterial meningitis that attacked gay and bisexual men for reasons that remain mysterious but that Dr. Varma said the health department would continue to study through interviews, data and DNA sequencing of the bacteria.

“Unfortunately, we don’t really know the answer why some people get sick with this strain and others do not,” Dr. Varma said, adding that it can be carried in the mouth and nose of healthy people, whether gay or straight.

The New York Times

Ade Adepitan, a Paralympic medalist and TV presenter, inspires many people around the world.

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 (last updated)


Ade Adepitan – paralympic medallist in basketball, tennis player, actor, TV show host, motivational speaker, Olympic ambassador, has branched out into documentary filmmaking, tackling polio in his latest film, “Ade Adepitan: Journey of My Lifetime”.

The film, which Ade shot earlier this year, when he traveled to Nigeria (where he’s from), takes a look at polio in his native Nigeria.

As he states: “Up until January this year my knowledge of Polio was extremely limited, which a lot of people will find surprising considering I contracted polio in Nigeria when I was just 15 months old. I think because I’ve always tried not to make my disability an issue it has meant I’ve avoided tackling the subject. It was about 6 years ago that I found out how the disease affected the spinal cord. Yeah I knew how it affected me physically, but I didn’t know about its status in the world, and that the human race has come very close on many occasions to wiping Polio off the planet completely. The people that I met, the stories they tell, the things I saw when I was in Nigeria made me laugh, cry and sometimes want to pull my dreads out in frustration. Most of all it’s made me more determined to help end polio worldwide.”

Check out Ade’s impressive resume via his website HERE:

Indie Wire