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  #381  
Old 08-28-2018, 07:25 PM
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I don't see this one here.
STD's:
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-...nding-declines
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  #382  
Old 09-03-2018, 03:56 PM
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EBOLA
CONGO

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/02/h...e=sectionfront
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  #383  
Old 09-10-2018, 11:46 AM
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SUPERBUGS

https://www.wsj.com/articles/hospita...ugs-1536422460

Quote:
Hospitals Step Up the War on Superbugs
To curb life-threatening infections, medical centers are setting hygiene standards for commonplace equipment
Spoiler:
During 32 years as a physician, Daniel Federman has used his stethoscope to listen to patients' hearts and lungs.

But a recent study at the West Haven, Conn., veterans' hospital where Dr. Federman works left him aghast. After seeing an image of the bacteria accumulated on his stethoscope, he admits, "I was appalled. . .The basic fact is that I don't recall cleaning my stethoscope" -- ever.

Nor apparently did many of his colleagues.

Health-care-acquired infections -- maladies associated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria -- kill tens of thousands of patients a year in American hospitals. On any given day, approximately one in 25 patients develops at least one infection contracted during hospital care, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "demonstrating the need for improved infection control in U.S. health-care facilities."

To curb infections, hospitals are setting more rigorous hygiene standards, focusing on commonplace equipment such as stethoscopes and blood-pressure cuffs, which can collect bacteria and potentially transmit disease. Medical centers have stepped up efforts to get doctors to clean their hands thoroughly. Some institutions are trying ultraviolet cleaning systems while others have turned to copper, which some believe reduces bacteria.

Many researchers say there isn't definitive proof that germy stethoscopes can make patients sick. But dirty stethoscopes carry as many germs as unwashed hands, some infection-control specialists say. These experts say that just as doctors have been taught to wash or clean their hands between patients, they also must learn to clean their stethoscopes. One easy method: applying sanitizing foam to the stethoscope's diaphragm -- the part that touches a patient's skin -- after using it on their own hands.

A 2014 study at a Swiss hospital published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that "the contamination level of the stethoscope is substantial after a single physical examination and comparable to the contamination of parts of the physician's dominant hand." Its lead author, Didier Pittet, says that while hand hygiene remains the priority in fighting infection, he instituted a stethoscope-cleaning requirement at his institution, the University of Geneva Hospitals.

NYU Langone Hospital -- Brooklyn recently conducted a clinical trial examining stethoscopes for bacteria. Marwa Moussa, an attending physician, decided that medical residents should learn early on to clean their stethoscopes.

"You wash your hands but you never clean your stethoscope," Dr. Moussa says. Her analysis found that some of the stethoscopes' diaphragms were rife with bacteria, including the superbug MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which can lead to fatal antibiotic-resistant infections.

Louise Dembry, a professor of infectious diseases and epidemiology at Yale, helped conduct the VA Connecticut Healthcare System's stethoscope study. Dr. Federman, the system's associate chief of medicine, was among the 50 or so attending physicians, residents and medical students who took part, turning over their stethoscopes to be examined. Dr. Dembry says while "It can be very hard to show" that using a germ-ridden stethoscope on a patient "directly poses a risk, in medicine, it isn't black and white....in infection prevention our role is to minimize risk," so it makes sense to put controls in place. "Education alone does not work," she said. "This is about human behavior and creating a new habit."

Study participants gathered before a big screen and were shown pictures of the bacteria on their stethoscopes. When the bugs appeared, "there was an audible reaction" including "yucks," Dr. Federman recalls. The images "were really disgusting. Everyone seemed shocked at the results." Dr. Federman, a professor of medicine at Yale, says seasoned doctors may be more prone to ignore the potential for contamination than younger colleagues who trained in the era of superbugs.

"We have the knowledge to prevent infections. What has been lacking is the will," says Betsy McCaughey, a patient advocate and founder of Reduce Infection Deaths, a nonprofit that flags dangers that leave hospitals vulnerable to superbugs.

Stamford Health, in Stamford, Conn., says it has made "environmental hygiene" a priority. Michael Parry, director of infectious diseases, sees many potential nooks for germs to gather: "There are telephones, there are call buttons, there are IV poles, there are stethoscopes."

One of his big worries? Computer keyboards. Now, Stamford hospital has a computer in every patient room for staff to access records. That way, Dr. Parry says, "you aren't taking the computer from room to room" and spreading germs.

Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk, Va., embraced a novel weapon to fight superbugs -- copper. Convinced that copper has germ-fighting qualities, the hospital system invested in copper surfaces for countertops and bed rails, bed tables and other furniture. Sentara also started using copper-infused linens, including patient gowns, bed sheets, towels and washcloths.

In a study comparing a new hospital building outfitted with copper and an unchanged older facility next door, there were dramatic reductions in superbugs in the new building, said Howard Kern, Sentara's president and CEO. He plans to retrofit other Sentara hospitals with copper.

Dr. Pittet, of the University of Geneva Hospitals, isn't sold on copper's germ-fighting properties. "The scientific evidence that [copper reduces] health-care-associated infections is quite weak," he says.

At UCLA Health, Mark Sklansky, a pediatric cardiologist, was so concerned about germs that could be spread by doctors, he tried to convert two neonatal intensive care units into "handshake-free zones" in 2015. The campaign, which was part of a formal study, never really caught on, even though the NICUs still have signs that depict a crossed-out handshake. "Hospitals," Dr. Sklansky laments, "aren't ready to recommend handshake-free zones."


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  #384  
Old 09-10-2018, 12:52 PM
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I'm surprised hospitals are not handshake-free zones, even though most doctors and nurses use gloves.
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Old 09-10-2018, 12:54 PM
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Heck, at my church, most of the old folks no longer shake hands. We just nod at each other
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  #386  
Old 09-28-2018, 05:34 PM
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SEASONAL FLU
UNITED STATES

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/healt...deaths-n914246
Quote:
Doctors deliver blunt message about a record 80,000 flu deaths
"Guess what? They got it from someone. Someone gave them the flu,” Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said.
Spoiler:
Flu killed 80,000 people this past season and put 900,000 into the hospital, making it the worst influenza season in decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

The numbers were shocking. Until now, CDC has said flu kills anywhere between 12,000 and 56,000 people a year, depending on how bad the flu season is, and that it puts between 250,000 and 700,000 into the hospital with serious illness. The numbers for the 2017-2018 flu season go far beyond that.




Deadly flu killed 80,000 people last year
SEP.27.201801:46
“It’s high, but it’s consistent with what we had last season,” the CDC’s flu division director, Dr. Daniel Jernigan, told NBC News.

Other doctors spoke bluntly in saying how so many people got infected and died.

“Those 80,000 people who died from flu last year? Guess what? They got it from someone. Someone gave them the flu,” Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said at a news conference.

Related

HEALTH
A record number of children died of flu this season
Those numbers included 180 children. “The majority of them were unvaccinated,” Adams said. “It’s healthy kids out there that are dying from the flu.”

Influenza activity hit a high mark early this year, and the virus was infecting many people across the country all at the same time. Usually, flu hits first in one region and then another, but this past season saw widespread flu activity all at once, for weeks on end.

“That first week in January, I said it was peaking. Then the next week I said it was peaking,” Jernigan recalled. Finally, the CDC stopped predicting a peak as the flu season continued worsening.

The CDC had already feared a severe flu season because it was the H3N2 strain that was circulating. H3N2 usually hits people over 65 the hardest. “This virus hit the population in a vulnerable spot,” Jernigan said.

“One hundred and eighty families put a child in a grave last year because of a vaccine-preventable infection."

The CDC does not count adult flu deaths directly, but estimates them based on the number of excess deaths during the flu season.

Adams and other leading doctors urged Americans to start getting the annual flu shots now and, as happens every September, rolled up their sleeves to get immunized for the cameras.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams receives a flu shot as former Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas looks on.Surgeon General Jerome Adams receives a flu shot as former Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas looks on.U.S. Surgeon General
“I’m getting vaccinated, so hang with me because I might cry,” Adams joked. But he alternated the jokes with a serious message: people who don’t get vaccinated against flu can spread it to others.

“If you’re sick, stay home,” Adams said. “Employers, tell your employees if they’re sick, stay home.”

Although the flu shot is not as effective as other vaccines, it still greatly lowers the risk of death, said Dr. William Schaffner, medical director for the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

“Even if you get flu after having received the vaccine … you are likely to benefit by having a less severe illness,” Schaffner told the news conference. “As a doctor, I love it when my patients don’t get pneumonia or have to get admitted to the hospital. No one wants to be what I call the dreaded spreader.”

Related

HEALTH
Many people who don’t get vaccinated say a big reason is their doubt about its effectiveness. Adams said that’s not a good reason to skip the shot. “That old thing, ‘I got the flu shot and I still got the flu’? Well you know what? You didn’t die,” he said.

The CDC recommends that just about everyone over the age of six months get a flu vaccine every year. Just 46.8 percent of the public got one last year, the CDC said in numbers released Thursday. Vaccination rates ranged from 36 percent in Nevada to 55 percent in Rhode Island.




When should you get your flu shot? Dr. John Torres weighs in
SEP.11.201802:45
About 58 percent of kids 17 and under were vaccinated. The number of children 4 and under who got a flu shot fell by 2 percent compared to the year before, the CDC said.

These kids are vulnerable and can infect others, too, said Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“Kids have a lot of snot. They have a lot of drool and they go to school. And when they go to school, they share all those secretions,” Swanson said.

But she got serious, too. “One hundred and eighty families put a child in a grave last year because of a vaccine-preventable infection,” she said.

Related

HEALTH
Here’s how flu kills some people so quickly
The CDC said 80 percent of the children who died of flu last season were not vaccinated.

“Imagine how the parents of those children must feel,” Schaffner said.

Influenza can kill the elderly quickly, but it kills more slowly, too. “The damage that flu causes continues long after the acute influenza illness,” he said.

“It’s why people feel wiped out for two weeks or more after they’ve stopped coughing.”




Flu on a plane! How to avoid getting sick when flying
SEP.28.201802:35
The virus causes inflammation that affects blood vessels to the heart and brain. “Flu can predispose individuals to heart attack and stroke and can also initiate a progressive slide into disability,” Schaffner said.

“When people who are already frail or on the edge get flu, they may never return to their pre-flu functional level.”

As many as 168 million flu vaccine doses will be available this year, the CDC said. There are special vaccines for the elderly and for kids; there are formulations that were not made using eggs; and the needle-free FluMist vaccine is back in the mix this year.
https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/26/healt...-bn/index.html

Quote:
Flu season deaths top 80,000 last year, CDC says
Spoiler:
(CNN)An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means it was the deadliest season in more than four decades -- since 1976, the date of the first published paper reporting total seasonal flu deaths, said CDC Spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund.

In previous seasons, flu-related deaths have ranged from a low of about 12,000 during the 2011-2012 season to a high of about 56,000 during the 2012-2013.
Total flu fatalities during the most recent season included the deaths of 180 children, which exceeds the previous record high of 171 during a non-pandemic flu season, according to the CDC.
Flu season is around the corner. Is your family prepared?
Flu season is around the corner. Is your family prepared?
"One hundred and eighty kids -- this really hit me hard as the father of three kids -- died last year from the flu. And the majority of them were unvaccinated," said US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome M. Adams. speaking at a news conference hosted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases on Thursday. "Flu vaccinations save lives."
Additionally, the nation experienced a record-breaking estimated 900,000 hospitalizations last flu season.
'Definitely bad'
Overall, the United States experienced one of the most severe flu seasons in recent decades. Severity is based on flu activity, hospitalizations, and deaths from pneumonia or influenza, explained Nordlund. She added, "across the board, last year was definitely bad."
The season began with an increase of illness in November; high activity occurred during January and February, and then illness continued through the end of March.
"The thing that was most notable about last year was how high in terms of activity things were," said Nordlund. She explained that last season, unlike previous seasons, flu did not strike one region of the country and then move across the land. "There were three consecutive weeks when the entire continental US was affected by flu at a very high level," she said.
Flu vaccine, even when just 20% effective, saves tens of thousands of lives
Flu vaccine, even when just 20% effective, saves tens of thousands of lives
The 2017-2018 season was also marked by high severity across all age groups -- the first season where the CDC found that to be the case.
Adams said that getting the flu shot by the end of October is not just about keeping yourself safe and healthy, it's also about community. It's your "social responsibility to get vaccinated," he said, since it protects others around you, including family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.
Pregnant women and children
Speaking at the same conference, Dr. Laura E. Riley, professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medicine, said that less than half of all pregnant women -- 49% -- received a flu shot last year. She explained that during pregnancy, even a healthy pregnancy, the immune system is not working full throttle.
"Pregnant women who get the flu do very poorly," said Riley. "It is critical that we help pregnant women not get the flu." When flu strikes during pregnancy, there's a greater likelihood of hospitalization for the mother-to-be, she said.
Flu during pregnancy can also harm the baby, she said. High fever for an extended period can cause birth defects and lead to premature birth.
At every trimester, the flu vaccine is safe and effective for both pregnant women and their fetuses, plus it protects babies after they are born, preventing flu in the first six months of their lives when they are too young to get their own flu shot, she said.
Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, another conference speaker and chief of digital innovation and digital health at Seattle Children's Hospital, stressed that it's very important for children to get vaccinated.
"Kids have a lot of snot, they have a lot of drool and they go to school," she said over laughter from the audience. "We love them, but they are a lot of the reason flu moves around the community."
'Australian flu': It's not from Australia
'Australian flu': It's not from Australia
She said "kids are more likely to be immunized if their parents are" adding everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot, which is the recommendation of the CDC.
Adams noted that a variety of vaccines have been officially approved this year, including nasal mist, and that they are widely available, including in doctor's offices, local pharmacies, some work places and even certain groceries stores.
Upcoming flu season
Overall, the effectiveness of the seasonal flu vaccine for last season was estimated to be 40%. This means the flu vaccine reduced a person's risk of having to seek medical care by 40%, the CDC found.
Dr. William Schaffner, medical director for the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, said that those who get flu after receiving vaccine are less likely to require hospitalization and they're less likely to die.
"The vaccine is not perfect," said Schaffner. "But give the vaccine credit for softening the blow."
Looking ahead to the coming winter months, Australia's flu season, which precedes that in the Northern Hemisphere nations, is often an indicator of what's to come in the US, Canada and across Europe. That said, Schaffner warned that flu is "unpredictable."
As of September 9, Australia is experiencing a mild flu season with person-to-person transmission of flu-like illness "increasing slowly" since July, according to that nation's most recent surveillance report. Deaths attributed to influenza and patients requiring hospitalization have both been low.
Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter
Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

Adams stressed that flu is "especially deadly for older adults, pregnant women, people with chronic conditions and children" and he recommended everyone take additional steps to avoid the flu this coming season.
Follow daily preventive actions such as washing your hands, covering your cough and staying home if sick. And, he said, get treated quickly and take antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
Flu "can be serious even for healthy adults and healthy children," said Adams adding, "I'm going to get my flu shot today."

https://www.vox.com/2018/9/27/179103...-your-flu-shot
Quote:
80,000 Americans died of the flu last winter. Get your flu shot.
That’s more than the number killed in traffic collisions, gun violence, or from opioid overdoses.
Spoiler:
Eighty thousand Americans died of the flu last season, according to preliminary new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s more than the number killed in traffic collisions, gun violence, or from opioid overdoses.

It was also the deadliest flu season in more than forty years — since 1976 — when the agency starting publishing annual influenza trends, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told the Associated Press this week.

Seasonal influenza is a killer, even in milder years. Lately, mild flu seasons tend to kill about 12,000 Americans, and more severe flu seasons kill up to 56,000.

But 80,000 deaths is an unusually large toll. Here’s what led to the massive spike in flu mortality — and why you should get your flu shot.

Why last year’s flu season got so bad
Flu is a viral respiratory disease, and it leads to nasty fevers, headaches, coughs, muscle pains, and runny noses that make many people miserable in the fall and winter.

There are four species of influenza viruses — A, B, C, and D — and seasonal flu is caused by influenza A and B. Every year, different strains of these viruses circulate. The reason last year’s flu season was more severe than usual was because it involved the dreaded H3N2, a strain of the influenza A virus that causes more health complications and is more difficult to prevent.

H3N2 hits people harder than other seasonal flu strains and can be especially deadly among vulnerable groups like the elderly and children. Researchers still aren’t sure why, but they’ve found that a flu season where the H3 virus is dominant is generally nastier — with more hospitalizations and flu-related deaths — than seasons with mostly H1N1 or influenza B viruses. And last year, the majority of flu cases involved the H3N2 strain.

H3N2 is especially difficult to prevent with the flu shot
Another reason last year’s flu season got so bad is that the H3N2 virus is hard to prevent with the flu vaccine. To understand why, you need to understand how the flu vaccine works — and why it is by no means perfect.

The vaccine is designed to protect people against three or four strains of the A and B viruses that researchers believe will be most common in a given year. So every year, public health agencies essentially make educated guesses on what strains and mutations will make the rounds. As you can imagine, this is no easy task — and in reviews of the research on flu vaccine effectiveness, researchers have found that years when H3N2 is circulating tend to be years when the vaccine is less effective.

Edward Belongia, a senior epidemiologist at the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin who has studied flu vaccine effectiveness, found that during H3N2 seasons, the combined vaccine effectiveness was 33 percent. That meant getting vaccinated reduced a person’s risk of having to go to the doctor by about a third. The flu shot’s effectiveness rose to 54 percent during influenza type B seasons, and 67 percent during H1N1 seasons.

So, as researchers anticipated, studies on how well the flu vaccine worked last season in America suggested it fared worse than in previous years.

Your friendly reminder to get a flu shot
If you haven’t got one, get one. The flu season runs until the spring, and there’s still time to protect yourself and your family.

Even if the vaccine isn’t a good match for H3N2, it offers better protection against other flu viruses going around. And the AP reported that this year, health officials expect those milder strains, which are better prevented by the vaccine, to dominate.

As I’ve reported before, flu vaccines also carry very little risk — and the potential benefit of avoiding serious illness. Belongia argued that even some protection is better than no protection. “That still prevents a lot of hospitalizations and deaths,” he said. Even if you think you can shrug off a bout of influenza, you could spread it to people who can’t.

Most people can just wait out the flu at home, getting lots of rest and taking care not to infect others. But certain people in high-risk groups — young children, pregnant women, people over age 65, people with other chronic diseases — may want to seek medical attention and antivirals like Tamiflu.

In the meantime, there are other, even simpler things you can do to mitigate your risk of getting the flu or spreading the virus to others. They include good old-fashioned hand-washing, covering your mouth when you cough, and staying home if you’re sick.
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  #387  
Old 10-06-2018, 12:59 PM
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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
TYPHUS

https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2018...phus-outbreak/

Quote:
Downtown LA Hit With Outbreak Of Flea-Borne Typhus

Spoiler:
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — An outbreak of flea-borne typhus has hit downtown Los Angeles, the county Department of Public Health said Thursday.

Health officials say they are investigating several cases of flea-borne typhus, a disease that infected fleas can spread to humans. While the fleas can come from cats, rats, and opossums, pets and animals do not get sick from typhus.

In people, however, typhus can cause high fever, chills, headache, and rash. It is not transmitted from person to person and can be treated with antibiotics.

“Although typhus normally occurs throughout L.A. County, we are observing several cases in the downtown Los Angeles area,” Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis said in a statement. “We encourage pet owners to practice safe flea control and encourage all cities in the county to ensure maintenance of their trash clean-up and rodent control activities.”

Typhus can spread in areas where there is an accumulation of trash that attracts wild animals like feral cats, rats and opossums.

To help prevent typhus, the department recommended that residents:
— Practice safe flea control.
— Use flea control products on pets.
— When outside, wear pants tucked into socks or boots when outside. Spray insect repellent with DEET on socks and pant cuffs.
— Avoid being near wild or stray animals.
— Never feed or touch wild animals, especially opossums, rats and stray or feral cats.
— Store trash in cans with secure lids to avoid attracting animals.
— Clear areas where rats and stray animals sleep, hide or find food, such as crawl spaces, attics or under decks, and wear gloves and a mask when clearing these areas.


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Old 10-08-2018, 11:25 PM
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https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2018...6181538770213/


Quote:
Study: Big cities have longer, more vicious flu seasons

Spoiler:
FRIDAY, Oct. 5, 2018 -- Big cities with a large commuting workforce tend to have longer, more grinding flu seasons, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that a city's flu season is apt to last longer as its population increases and workplaces become more focused within a few key spots, said lead researcher Benjamin Dalziel, a population biologist with Oregon State University.
"Larger cities have more organized movement patterns, and these patterns connect pockets of high population density together," Dalziel said. "We found this structure makes a difference for how the flu spreads at different times of the year."
Armed with this knowledge, public health experts could better predict how bad a flu season is going to be by looking at early infection rates in big cities, said co-researcher Cecile Viboud. She is a staff scientist with the Fogarty International Center at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
RELATED Officials push flu vaccine after most deadly season in four decades
"If we could strengthen surveillance in these cities, we would have an earlier window on the severity of epidemics, and we may use those data to help predict epidemics on a regional or national scale," Viboud explained.
Such an edge could be critical given that U.S. health officials announced just last week that influenza killed an estimated 80,000 Americans during last winter's flu season, making it the deadliest season in more than four decades.
A particularly virulent flu strain, H3N2, rampaged across the country during the 2017-2018 season, causing a record number of deaths and hospitalizations, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
RELATED 'Bad' flu vaccine could still save tens of thousands of lives, study says
Compounding the problem, flu vaccination rates also dipped last year, officials noted, leaving more people vulnerable to the virus and making flu shots even more imperative this flu season.
In general, the flu season spikes during the winter due to lower humidity, Dalziel said.
"Flu spreads from person to person by virus-bearing moisture droplets that an infected person exhales or coughs or sneezes out. This creates what you can think of as a moving cloud of risk around an infected individual," Dalziel said.
RELATED Tobacco being tested for flu vaccine production
During the winter, humidity decreases "and this causes the virus to remain viable in the air for longer, which effectively expands that cloud of risk," he explained.
But in larger cities where people are packed in tight, the dry winter weather matters less, the researchers found.
"If an infected person is sitting right beside you, it matters less what the specific humidity is," Dalziel said. "It helps the virus find a host even when climactic conditions are not at their most favorable."
Dalziel and his colleagues combined six years of data on influenza cases with census data showing where people live and work in 603 different cities across the United States.
The investigators found that in large metropolitan areas, flu cases are more spread out, including early and late in the season when weather is not the best for transmission. New York City and Miami are examples of cities that have a more prolonged flu season, the study authors said.
On the other hand, smaller cities tend to have short flu seasons tightly grouped around the usual peak in winter. Atlanta and Nashville are examples of this, where the flu hits during in a more concentrated period.
The researchers noted that the risk for getting the flu remains the same in all cities.
Viboud said, "This does not show that some cities are safer than others for flu. Rather, it shows the relative difference in the timing of cases."
The data show that public health officials need to take their metropolitan area's structure into account when planning for each flu season, the researchers suggested.
Larger cities with a longer flu season will need to prepare for cases to start appearing earlier, for example.
"In contrast," Viboud said, "in smaller cities a more intense outbreak may overload the health care system, making it particularly challenging to respond to epidemics."
The study shows how the rise of megacities could make a new flu pandemic more likely, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore. He was not involved with the new study.
"Influenza in large cities behaves differently with longer transmission chains, prolonged seasons and less vulnerability to changes in humidity versus smaller cities," Adalja said.
"This study underscores the need for pandemic preparedness efforts to be heightened in the biggest cities of the world, for they may be the major drivers of the looming influenza pandemic," he added.
The study was published Oct. 5 in the journal Science.
More information
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about influenza.

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Old 10-10-2018, 07:22 AM
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MEASLES
UNITED KINGDOM

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...-outbreak.html
Quote:
Schoolies measles alert: Teenagers urged to get vaccinated amid fears of mass outbreak during celebrations
Teens attending Schoolies have been urged to get vaccinated against measles
28 per cent of students did not get vaccinated against the disease last year
'High levels of social mixing' will increase the risk of exposure, NSW Health said
It's not just 'sex, drugs and alcohol...the threat of infection is very real,' Dr said

Spoiler:
Teenagers attending Schoolies celebrations up and down the country next month have been urged to get vaccinated as fears mount of a mass measles outbreak.

Dr Vicky Sheppeard from NSW Health said 28 per cent of students failed to take up the government's school-based vaccination program against meningococcal and measles last year.

She added that 'high levels of social mixing' – as can be expected during Schoolies events – will dramatically increase the risk of exposure to the infectious diseases.

Teenagers attending Schoolies up and down the country next month have been urged to get vaccinated as fears of a mass measles outbreak mount (stock image) +3
Teenagers attending Schoolies up and down the country next month have been urged to get vaccinated as fears of a mass measles outbreak mount (stock image)

28 per cent of students failed to take up the government’s school-based vaccination program against the infectious diseases last year (stock image) +3
28 per cent of students failed to take up the government's school-based vaccination program against the infectious diseases last year (stock image)


Meningococcal is found in the throat meaning that it could be spread not only through sexual contact, but even via 'loud talking' in a nightclub.

'There has been a lot of education centred around the risks of sex, drugs and alcohol, but the threat of infection and disease is very real,' Dr Sheppeard said.

'The threat of infection and disease is very real,' said Dr Vicky Sheppeard, NSW Health
'The threat of infection and disease is very real,' said Dr Vicky Sheppeard, NSW Health

NSW Health has advised that those attending Schoolies should book in a check-up with their GP at least two weeks before travelling to make sure they have up to date meningococcal and measles vaccinations.

Vaccines for both measles and meningococcal are free for students who have missed their routine doses.

The NSW Government has invested $17 million in the Meningococal W Response Program since 2017, and a further $22.75 million on statewide immunisation programs this year.'

'Schoolies travelling overseas should also check with their GP if they need other vaccines such as hepatitis A and B, typhoid or a tetanus booster,' Dr Sheppeard added.

NSW Health has also advised that students pack an effective insect repellent in order to protect themselves against mosquito-borne infections such as Dengue Fever and Ross River virus.

Meningococcal is found in the throat meaning that it could be spread not only through sexual contact, but even via ‘loud talking’ in a nightclub (stock image) +3

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Old 10-18-2018, 06:15 PM
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ACUTE FLACCID MYELITIS

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-...llness-in-kids

Quote:
CDC Investigates Cases Of Rare Neurological 'Mystery Illness' In Kids

Spoiler:
A rare condition causing weakness in the arms or legs — and sometimes paralysis — has been confirmed in 62 children so far this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

One child has died of the condition, called acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.

At least 65 more cases are under investigation, said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. So far, a common cause linking these illnesses has not been found.

"There is a lot we don't know about AFM," Messonnier said during a teleconference for reporters. "I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts, we haven't been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness."

The average age of the children is about 4, she said, and 90 percent of cases the CDC has been studying since 2014 have involved patients 18 or younger.

Messonnier said scientists don't fully understand the long-term consequences of the illness: "We know that some patients diagnosed with AFM have recovered quickly and some continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care."

Since the condition was first recognized by CDC in 2014, the agency has confirmed 386 cases through Oct. 16, mostly in children. AFM appears to be seasonal, occurring mostly in the late summer and fall, but appears in greater numbers every other year.

The number of cases in 2018 is on track to match a similar number of cases in 2014 and 2016. But Messonnier cautioned that it would be "premature" to be confident that this year will be the same as the earlier years.

It's possible that some milder cases haven't been reported by doctors to their state health department or the CDC, but Messonnier believes that number would be small.

"This is actually a pretty dramatic disease," she said. "These kids have a sudden onset of weakness and they are generally seeking medical care and being evaluated by neurologists, infectious disease doctors and their pediatricians and coming to public health awareness."

Possible causes being considered include viruses that affect the digestive system called enteroviruses, and possibly strains of rhinoviruses, which cause the common cold, she said. The CDC is also considering the possibility that environmental toxins could be triggering the sudden muscle weakness. And it is not ruling out possible genetic disorders.

Media reports in recent weeks have suggested that a "polio-like virus" might be triggering the condition, elevating fears that it might be polio itself.

"Right now, we know that poliovirus is not the cause of these AFM cases," Messonnier said.

She said that CDC has tested every stool specimen from AFM patients. None have tested positive for poliovirus. She also said West Nile virus hasn't been linked to any of these cases, either.

"As a parent myself I understand what it's like to be scared for your child," Messonnier said. "Parents need to know that AFM is very rare, even with the increase in cases that we are seeing now. We recommend seeking medical care right away if you or your child develop sudden weakness of the arms and legs."

Messonnier stressed the rarity of the condition, emphasizing that it happens in fewer than one in a million children in the U.S. So far this year, cases have been confirmed in 22 states, based on findings from MRI studies and the cluster of symptoms a child has.

The CDC says disease prevention steps should be followed, including staying up to date on vaccines, washing hands and using mosquito repellant.


https://nypost.com/2018/10/16/cdc-my...ren-paralyzed/

Quote:
CDC: ‘Mystery illness’ leaving dozens of children paralyzed
Spoiler:
There are now more than 125 confirmed or suspected cases of acute flaccid myelitis — the “mystery illness” that’s been affecting children across the US and leaving them paralyzed.

Federal health officials released the updated numbers on Tuesday, and said they still had no idea what was causing the spike in AFM cases or why kids were getting it in the first place.

“We understand that people, particularly parents, are concerned,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director for the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, during a teleconference call with reporters.

“There is a lot we don’t know about AFM, and I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts, we haven’t been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has received reports of at least 62 confirmed cases in 22 states, according to officials.

Another 65 cases are being investigated.

“This is a mystery so far,” Messonnier said, describing AFM as a “pretty dramatic disease,” which preys on a child’s nervous system.

About 90 percent of the cases have involved paralysis, according to the CDC.

“We know that some patients diagnosed with AFM have recovered quickly and some continue to have paralysis and require ongoing care,” Messonnier said, noting how most have a “sudden onset of weakness.”

“They are generally seeking medical care and being evaluated by neurologists, infectious disease doctors and their pediatricians.”

The affected have reportedly ranged in age from 18 to 4-years-old. Officials would not say what states they lived in, but cases have been reported in New York, Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado, and Washington.

Some possible causes being investigated by the CDC include enteroviruses, which affect the digestive system, and rhinoviruses — the infectious agents associated with the common cold.

“Right now, we know that poliovirus is not the cause,” Messonnier said, dispelling reports that AFM was possibly linked to polio.

Physicians first began noticing an increase in AFM patients in 2014, with roughly 120 confirmed cases. Numbers dropped drastically in 2015 and 2017 — to 22 and 33, respectively — but were back up again in 2016 at 149. Officials have been unable to determine why the spikes are coming in waves.

“As a parent myself I understand what it’s like to be scared for your child,” Messonnier said. “Parents need to know that AFM is very rare, even with the increase in cases that we are seeing now. We recommend seeking medical care right away if you or your child develop sudden weakness of the arms and legs.”


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