Recent News

Nearly 5,000 students get shots at Temple University amid mumps outbreak

Mar 30 2019

A mumps outbreak on the campus of Temple University in Philadelphia has reached the triple digits. The city health department said the number of confirmed and probable cases of mumps at the school reached 108 as of Thursday. Nearly 5,000 students and faculty members have taken advantage of free vaccine booster shots, with more than 2,500 people given shots Friday during the second clinic offering the MMR vaccine, according to city health officials. The first clinic at the school Wednesday saw more than 2,200 people. "It's just really scary to me so I decided to go and get it," one student said, CBS Philly reported. Officials are having a tough time containing the outbreak, which started in February. Mumps, which is transmitted through saliva, is easily spread on campus with students in close contact with one another. And because symptoms can take a long time to show up, the virus that causes flu-like symptoms and a swollen neck is being spread unknowingly.

Source: CBS News CBS News

Measles outbreak: How Rockland County became ground zero – then hit the 'third rails' with emergency declaration

Mar 30 2019

Ed Day stood at the podium in the standing-room-only media room and touched three third rails of political discourse, raising calls of anti-Semitism, howls from anti-vaccination groups and pushback from civil libertarians. The Rockland County Executive declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in Rockland's six-month-long measles outbreak, barring unvaccinated youngsters under 18 from public places for 30 days. Public places include schools, places of worship, shopping centers and restaurants. Parks and outdoor areas are not included. Those with medical exemptions are not included in the ban. The declaration, put in force at the stroke of midnight March 27, quickly became an international story, sparking a debate that blends religion, public health and government action. Day said he saw the declaration as the only tool he had to reverse the measles outbreak’s troubling trajectory, one that could ratchet up considerably with the upcoming Passover and Easter holidays.

Source: USA Today USA Today

An Outbreak Spreads Fear: Of Measles, of Ultra-Orthodox Jews, of Anti-Semitism

Mar 29 2019

Erica Wingate was working at a clothing store in town this week when a male customer, with the black hat and sidelocks typically worn by ultra-Orthodox Jews, started coughing. Another shopper standing next to him suddenly dropped the item she had been holding and clutched her child. “She was buying something, and she just threw it down,” Ms. Wingate recalled. “She said, ‘Let’s go, let’s go! Jews don’t have shots!’” A measles outbreak in this suburban New York county has sickened scores of people and alarmed public health experts who fear it may be a harbinger of the growing influence of the anti-vaccine movement. But it has also intensified long-smoldering tensions between the rapidly expanding and insular ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and secular society. The authorities here in Rockland County have traced the spread of measles to ultra-Orthodox families whose children have not been vaccinated.

Source: New York Times New York Times

CDC: Flu Activity Still ‘Elevated’ in U.S.

Mar 29 2019

​Flu season may have peaked but isn't quite over yet, with flu levels remaining "elevated" across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In total, the CDC estimates that between Oct. 1 and March 23, up to 46,800 people have died in connection with the flu. There have been up to 35.9 million flu illnesses and up to 16.8 million medical visits for the flu, the agency estimates. "While levels of outpatient flu-like illness peaked in February, overall influenza activity remains elevated," the CDC says. The agency also says another pediatric flu-related death was reported last week, bringing the total deaths reported this season to 77 as of March 23. There were 185 child flu deaths reported last flu season and 110 deaths reported in the 2016-2017 season. The highest rate of pediatric flu deaths tallied this season has been in Health and Human Services Region 8 – which includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming – with 3.2 child flu deaths per 100,000 population.

Source: U.S. News & World Report U.S. News & World Report

Polis Is Wary Of Govt. Toughening Vaccination Exemptions. This Medical Expert Isn't

Mar 29 2019

Colorado's low childhood vaccination rate worries Gov. Jared Polis. He told us this week he's "elevating" the issue. But he also said he's wary of any moves by the legislature to make vaccination exemptions harder to come by. "The minute you try to have the government forcing anybody to do something with their kids, you're going to create distrust of vaccinations, which is already a problem," he said. "We want to go the other way." The issue is important because immunizations are a price of entry into a state's public education system-- to prevent the spread of disease. In Colorado, parents can exempt their kids from vaccinations for medical, religious, and personal reasons. Some states only allow medical exemptions, others also allow religious exemptions. According to Dr. Jana Shaw, who specializes in pediatric infectious diseases at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, Colorado's online exemption request form is a "particularly easy one."

Source: Colorado Public Radio Colorado Public Radio

New York county declares measles outbreak emergency

Mar 27 2019

A county in New York state has declared a state of emergency following a severe outbreak of measles. Rockland County, on the Hudson river north of New York City, has barred unvaccinated children from public spaces after 153 cases were confirmed. Violating the order will be punishable by a fine of $500 (£378) and up to six months in prison. The announcement follows other outbreaks of the disease in Washington, California, Texas and Illinois. Vaccination rates have dropped steadily in the US with many parents objecting for philosophical or religious reasons, or because they believe discredited information that vaccines cause autism in children.

Source: BBC News BBC News

The True Dollar Cost of the Anti-Vaccine Movement

Mar 26 2019

​Two years ago, a 6-year-old boy playing on his family’s farm in Oregon cut himself. His parents cleaned the wound and stitched it, and everything seemed fine—until, six days later, he began having muscle spasms, arching his back, and clenching his jaw. The boy had tetanus, the first case in a child to occur in Oregon in more than 30 years. Tetanus is rare because a routine childhood vaccine prevents it. The boy’s parents had elected not to vaccinate him. A case report written by a physician who treated him along with staff members at the state health department and published this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relates what happened next. The boy was airlifted to a university medical center and given immunotherapy and the first dose of the vaccine regimen he had missed. His spasms were so severe he could not open his mouth or breathe, so he was admitted to an intensive care unit, placed in a medical coma, and put on a ventilator. His body couldn’t regulate itself; his heart rate sped up and his temperature soared and dipped, so he had to be pumped full of IV drugs to keep his vital signs under control.

Source: WIRED WIRED

How Orthodox Jewish Nurses Are Fighting 'Anti-Vaccination Propaganda' Targeting Their Community

Mar 26 2019

For Blima Marcus and her fellow ultra-Orthodox Jewish nurses, a 40-page booklet about vaccines that’s been circulating in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg and Borough Park neighborhoods is Public Health Enemy No. 1. Called “The Vaccine Safety Handbook: A Handbook for Parents,” the magazine comes across as an official publication, cleanly designed and sporting extensive footnotes citing scientific studies. Published by Parents Educating and Advocating for Children’s Health, the booklet is commonly known as the “PEACH magazine” and has been passed among friends and relatives in ultra-Orthodox—also known as Haredi—communities. And cover to cover, it’s full of misinformation about vaccines. “When I got my hands on a copy...I realized this was a piece of anti-vaccination propaganda,” said Marcus, a nurse practitioner at Memorial Sloan Kettering and adjunct professor of nursing at Hunter College. Amid the largest measles outbreak in nearly 30 years, and a rise in vaccine hesitancy within the ultra-Orthodox community, Blima and other members of the Orthodox Jewish Nurses Association decided to do something about it. They have been compiling a book of their own to respond to PEACH’s assertions, which is slated for publication in the next few weeks.

Source: Gothamist Gothamist

Cañon City Schools recognize health technicians

Mar 25 2019

The Cañon City School District honored its health technicians for being deemed a "low risk of out break district" by the Colorado Children's Immunization Coalition. "It's not easy, but it is important work, and it's valuable work," said Director of Special Services Tim Renn at Monday's school board meeting. Ninety-four to 96 percent of Cañon City students are fully immunized depending on the vaccine in the 2017-2018 school year, according to a report by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.

Source: Canon City Daily Record Canon City Daily Record