Recent News

A Young Boy Spent 47 Days in an ICU and Racked Up $800,000 in Medical Costs Because He Wasn't Vaccinated Against Tetanus

Mar 08 2019

​A young boy in Oregon spent 47 days in an intensive care unit (ICU), resulting in more than $800,000 in medical costs, because he was not vaccinated against tetanus, according to a case study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Case study co-author Dr. Carl Eriksson, an associate professor of pediatric critical care at Oregon Health & Science University, who was involved in the boy’s treatment, wrote in an email to TIME that severe tetanus cases are very rare in the U.S., where vaccination effectively prevents such conditions. The boy’s illness was Oregon’s first pediatric tetanus case in more than 30 years, according to the case study. “Because of the effectiveness of vaccines, many people have never seen a severe case of a vaccine-preventable illness,” Eriksson says. While Eriksson’s patient lived, “This case illustrates that tetanus is a terrible disease, and reminds us that missing vaccines can have deadly consequences.” In 2017, the boy — who was then 6 years old and had not received any vaccinations — cut his forehead while playing outdoors on a farm, the case study says. Nearly a week later, he was experiencing symptoms consistent with tetanus, including jaw clenching, muscle spasms, “generalized spasticity” and arching of the back and neck. When the boy began to have trouble breathing, his parents called emergency medical support, who air-lifted him to a pediatric medical center where he was eventually diagnosed with tetanus.


There’s a Proven Public Health Strategy We Could Use to Encourage Vaccination

Mar 08 2019

In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched “Tips From Former Smokers,” its first-ever paid national anti-tobacco campaign. “Tips” featured real people suffering real medical conditions resulting from their exposure to tobacco smoke. The campaign gave them a direct platform to share their experiences, which the CDC thought would encourage current smokers to quit and dissuade future smokers from ever starting. What distinguished this public health campaign was its visceral intimacy. In one poster, a former smoker named Shawn is posed with a lathered face, facing the camera as if it were a mirror while shaving his neck with a safety razor. The gaping orifice of his stoma—the breathing hole in his trachea surgically created after his larynx was removed—gapes at the viewer, the rim ragged with radiation scarring, a glistening red plane of muscle clearly visible under the skin. “BE CAREFUL NOT TO CUT YOUR STOMA,” the bold print reads. In another, a double amputee sits up on the edge of his bed, the stumps below his knees stippled with reddened pressure sores as he prepares to put on his prosthetics. “ALLOW EXTRA TIME TO PUT ON YOUR LEGS,” this tip advises, with a note that the man suffered from Buerger’s disease, a circulatory problem resulting from tobacco use.

Source: Slate Slate

7 Countries Where Anti-Vaxxer Myths are Fueling Outbreaks

Mar 08 2019

Anti-vaxxers in America continue to question the validity of vaccines, sometimes with devastating results: In the first two months of 2019, 159 cases of measles were diagnosed—more than were reported in all of 2017. But the U.S. is not alone in facing anti-vaxxers: Despite the widespread availability of a vaccine, measles caused 110,000 deaths worldwide in 2017, mostly in children under 5. Around the globe, populist right-wing parties promote anti-vaxxer propaganda, with religious groups and inadequate health care systems compounding the problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) has named vaccine hesitancy one of the biggest global health threats in 2019. Below are seven countries battling anti-vaxxer myths and misinformation—and facing outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Source: Newsweek Newsweek

Flu Shots Could Reduce Heart Attacks by 10% When Hospitalized

Mar 08 2019

​There’s now another reason to get your yearly flu shot. A new study reported that in-patient influenza vaccination was associated with fewer subsequent heart attacks. The new study being presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 68th Annual Scientific Session on March 16, 2019, of nearly 30 million hospital records shows that people who got a flu shot while hospitalized had a 10 percent lower risk of having a heart attack during that year. This study is the largest to date to investigate the relationship between influenza vaccination and heart attacks. This new finding is consistent with previous research suggesting getting a flu vaccine can reduce a person’s risk of major cardiovascular problems. “You don’t need to be a medical professional to see this data and understand the importance of getting the flu vaccine,” said Mariam Khandaker, MD, internal medicine resident at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai West and the study’s lead author.

Source: Precision Vaccinations Precision Vaccinations

Measles outbreak has kept 800 Washington kids out of school

Mar 06 2019

​In the Washington county that is home to one of the nation’s largest measles outbreaks, the effects go far beyond the 70 confirmed cases there. More than 800 students considered exposed to the highly contagious disease in Clark County have been ordered to stay away from classrooms for up to three weeks. Since early January, field trips, after-school activities such as family nights, even an assembly honoring Martin Luther King Jr. have been canceled or postponed. Some students are doing homework off prepared handouts; others are using their school-issued laptops to keep up. If just one child in a school is diagnosed, all are considered exposed — and any student whose parents cannot prove their child was vaccinated is kept away. “School exclusions are a critical tool and public health strategy to control outbreaks of disease in school settings,” state health department epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist said in a statement. “… We have to be aggressive in identifying cases, isolating them and reducing public exposure to slow the spread and protect Washington residents.”

Source: Seattle Times Seattle Times

Opinion: Why We Should Fear the Disease, Not the Vaccine

Mar 06 2019

Vaccinations save lives, protect our children and are one of our greatest public health achievements. As public health officials, our role is to advance the health of the American people. This must include championing vaccinations. Diseases like polio, measles, diphtheria and rubella were once common in the United States, afflicting hundreds of thousands of infants, children and adults, and killing thousands each year. Some older Americans may remember the fear associated with polio outbreaks and the era of iron lungs and leg braces — a time when swimming pools and movie theaters closed over concerns about the spread of the crippling disease. Others may recall the heartbreaking wave of rubella in the 1960s that resulted in thousands of newborn deaths, with thousands more born blind, deaf or with other lifelong disabilities. We cannot let America be faced with these fears again. For those of us who have treated critically ill children with vaccine-preventable diseases, we know firsthand the devastation to the child — and to the family and community — of a death, limb amputation or severe brain damage that could have been avoided by a simple vaccination.

Source: New York Times New York Times

Polio Remains a Worldwide Threat in 2019

Mar 06 2019

​A World Health Organization (WHO) Committee unanimously agreed on March 1, 2019, that the risk of international spread of poliovirus remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The Emergency Committee reviewed the data on wild poliovirus (WPV1) and the circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV). This WHO committee voted to extend the Temporary Recommendations for an additional 3 months. Noting the spread of polioviruses in several countries close to international borders, this WHO committee strongly urges that surveillance, population immunity assessments, and outbreak preparedness activities intensify in all neighboring countries. ‘Many countries remain vulnerable to WPV importation,’ said the WHO. The WHO Committee said in a statement that it ‘was very concerned by the increase in WPV1 cases in 2018. And, this trend appears to be continuing in 2019, with 6 cases already confirmed.’

Source: Precision Vaccinations Precision Vaccinations

Even with measles outbreaks across the US, at least 20 states have proposed anti-vaccination bills

Mar 06 2019

Across the country, counties are reporting measles cases: at least 206 in 11 states, per the latest count. On social media, platforms such as Facebook and YouTube are facing pressure to crack down on conspiracy theories and misinformation about vaccines. And on Capitol Hill, lawmakers are discussing what they're calling "a growing public health threat." But in state after state, legislators are introducing bills that make it easier for people to opt out of vaccinations. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, at least 20 states have introduced bills this year that would -broaden the reasons why parents can exempt kids from getting vaccines even if there isn't a medical need -require doctors to provide more information on the risks of vaccines "The volume of legislative activity is greater than in past years," the organization said. "But averse bills outnumbering supportive ones conforms with trends from prior years."

Source: CNN CNN

Measles Outbreak: What Nurses need to know about the MMR Vaccine

Mar 06 2019

A little over a month into 2019, the Centers for Disease Control has confirmed 101 individual cases of measles- in 10 states- in the U.S. These states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. Measles is an upper respiratory infection usually characterized by a fever and the 3 C’s - cough, coryza (runny nose), and conjunctivitis (red, watery eyes). Two or three days after symptoms begin, Koplik spots (tiny, white spots) may appear inside the mouth. Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. Measles is extremely contagious and can have serious complications (such as hearing loss, pneumonia, encephalitis, and even death), especially for those who are high risk. As nurses, we have a responsibility to educate patients about vaccinations and the implications when vaccine-preventable diseases reemerge. The ability of nurses to quickly assess patients for infectious diseases saves lives by reducing the potential spread of this highly communicable disease,” reports Barbara Pate, Ph.D., MPH, RN. The majority of the confirmed cases, in the U.S., are people who were not vaccinated. As frontline professionals, nurses can stay informed about the current outbreak and recommendations for vaccinations.


18-Year-Old Testifies About Getting Vaccinated Despite Mother's Anti-Vaccine Beliefs

Mar 06 2019

​Eighteen-year-old Ethan Lindenberger appeared before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Tuesday to talk about how he decided to get vaccinated against the wishes of his mother, who is anti-vaccine. Lindenberger is a senior at Norwalk High School in Norwalk, Ohio. He gained attention in November by asking about how to get vaccinated despite the opposition of his "kind of stupid parents" in a discussion on Reddit. Anti-vaccine proponents espouse a widely discredited view that vaccines can cause autism or brain damage. Lindenberger grew up without common vaccinations such as those for measles and chicken pox before finally getting immunizations starting in December. He described being pulled out of class each year and told he needed to get his shots, only to be opted out each time by his mother. Most states allow parents to claim a religious exemption to vaccination requirements for their children to attend school. Seventeen states currently allow parents to opt out of vaccinations for personal or philosophical reasons. But leaving children unvaccinated runs the risk of them contracting and spreading diseases such as measles, which can lead to death in extreme cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 206 cases of measles in 11 states in January and February of this year.

Source: NPR NPR