Recent News

Why This Could Be the Worst Year for Measles in a Decade

Mar 12 2019

As of last week, 228 U.S. measles cases were confirmed this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So far, 12 states have reported cases: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. The latest weekly update includes measles cases reported to the CDC by state health departments through March 7. This means that this year’s total is inching closer to the entire number of 2017 measles cases: 372. But that number is for the entire year and we’re only hitting mid-March. At this speed, it’s possible the number of measles cases this year could rival or even surpass the 667 cases seen in 2014 — currently the worst year in a decade.

Source: Healthline Healthline

Colorado at high risk for measles outbreak

Mar 12 2019

It’s a scary experience for any parent: wiping tears and quieting screams from babies and toddlers who have been pricked — often with more than one needle per visit — at the pediatrician’s office, then spending a day or two with a fussy, feverish little one who is uncomfortable and out of sorts. Then, there’s the fear there could be something in the vaccine that could cause harm to the child. While there is a lot of good information out there, the descent into the Google wormhole of “vaccine side effects” can be a perilous one. Proponents point to millions of lives saved by vaccines and contend they are safe, with very rare adverse reactions. Opponents argue that children's immune systems can fight most infections naturally, and vaccines can cause a number of side effects, including death. But the recent outbreak of measles in the northwestern United States, which maps to areas with lower vaccination rates, serves as a reminder that vaccines are effective and future outbreaks are likely.

Source: Craig Daily Press Craig Daily Press

Measles Is Spiking Around The Globe. How Worried Should We Be?

Mar 12 2019

The world has two kinds of measles problems. In low-income countries like Madagascar and in strife-ridden countries like Yemen, the disease takes a toll because vaccines are not available or accessible or affordable. In Madagascar alone, there have been nearly 80,000 cases and an estimated 900 deaths since September. And now there's a rise in measles in other countries, often wealthier ones, because of what's being called "vaccine hesitancy." Parents are opting out of the routine vaccination, which has been available since 1963 and is credited in helping to nearly eliminate the disease. That hesitancy has played a role in outbreaks around the world. Japan is facing the worst measles outbreak in a decade, with at least 221 cases. Since the start of 2019, more than 70 people have been infected in southwest Washington state, and there have been 17 cases in Vancouver, British Columbia. And in Costa Rica this year, an unvaccinated French boy brought the first case of measles to the country in five years. The Philippines suffers from both problems: continued issues of access as well as vaccine hesitancy. Trust in vaccines faltered after the maker of an anti-dengue vaccine said in 2017 that vaccine may increase risks of severe infections. A recent study found that in the Philippines, those who believe "that vaccines are effective" dropped from close to 82 percent in 2015 to 22 percent in 2018. The result: More than 12,700 measles cases reported since the beginning of 2019, and at least 203 deaths. At least 55 children under age 4 have died since the start of the year at just one Manila hospital.

Source: NPR NPR

‘No Vaccine, No School': Italy Makes Children Prove They Are Vaccinated Before Allowing Them Into School

Mar 12 2019

​A law banning unvaccinated children from Italy’s schools has come into force, following months of debate over compulsory vaccination in the European nation. The BBC reported parents could be fined €500 ($560) if their children turn up at school and they cannot prove they have been vaccinated. Children under the age of six years old can be turned away from school under the new law. The Lorenzin law, named after former Italian Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin, stipulates that students must be vaccinated against a range of childhood diseases including chickenpox, polio, measles, mumps and rubella before attending classes. Under national law, children between 6 and 16 years of age cannot be banned from attending school. However, parents face fines if they failed to provide the correct certification before March 11.

Source: Newsweek Newsweek

Measles cases at ‘alarmingly’ high levels around the world, UNICEF says

Mar 12 2019

Global measles cases increased by 48.1% between 2017 and 2018, according to calculations by UNICEF of data on 194 countries from the World Health Organization. Ten countries, including Brazil, the Philippines and France, accounted for nearly three-quarters of the total increase in measles cases in 2018, according to figures released by the UN’s agency for children. This “alarming” global surge in measles cases poses a “growing” threat to children, UNICEF says. Poor health infrastructure, low awareness, civil disorder, complacency and a backlash against vaccinations in some cases were driving forces in these recent measles outbreaks, according to the agency. “These cases haven’t happened overnight,” said Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF’s executive director. “Just as the serious outbreaks we are seeing today took hold in 2018, lack of action today will have disastrous consequences for children tomorrow.”

Source: FOX 2 Now FOX 2 Now

Facing Measles Outbreak, N.Y. Lawmakers Want to Let Teenagers Get Vaccines on Their Own

Mar 11 2019

After a measles outbreak in Brooklyn and Rockland County and amid growing concerns about the anti-vaccine movement, a pair of state legislators are proposing allowing minors to receive vaccinations without permission from their parents. The bill would allow any child 14 years or older to be vaccinated and given booster shots for a range of diseases including mumps, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, influenza, hepatitis B and measles, which seemed to be the primary reason for alarm after the recent outbreaks. “We are on the verge of a public health crisis,” said one of the bill’s sponsors, Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, a Democrat from Albany, citing lower-than-recommended inoculation rates in some communities, spurred by unconfirmed suspicions about vaccines causing autism. “We’ve become complacent over the last couple of decades.”

Source: New York Times New York Times

Opinion: The Real Horror of the Anti-Vaxxers

Mar 09 2019

How many studies do you have to throw at the vaccine hysterics before they quit? How much of a scientific consensus, how many unimpeachable experts and how exquisitely rational an argument must you present? That’s a trick question, of course. There’s no magic number. There’s no number, period. And that’s because the anti-vaccine crowd (or anti-vaxxers) aren’t trafficking in anything as concrete, mundane and quaint as facts. They’re not really engaged in a debate about medicine. They’re immersed in a world of conspiracies, in the dark shadows where no data can be trusted, nothing is what it seems and those who buy the party line are pitiable sheep. And, boy, are they living at the right time, when so much information and misinformation swirl by so quickly that it’s easy to confuse the two and even easier to grab hold and convince yourself of whatever it is you prefer to believe. With Google searches, you find the ostensible proof you seek. On social media, you bask in all the affirmation you could possibly want. The parents who are worried or sure about grave risks from vaccines reflect a broader horror that has flickered or flared in everything from the birther movement to “Pizzagate,” that nonsense about children as Democratic sex slaves in the imagined basement of a Washington pizza joint. Their recklessness and the attendant re-emergence of measles aren’t just a public health crisis. They’re a public sanity one, emblematic of too many people’s willful disregard of evidence, proud suspicion of expertise and estrangement from reason.

Source:  New York Times New York Times

Teen Leaves Hospital After Life Threatening Battle With Flu, Strep

Mar 08 2019

​Six weeks ago, Schafer Reichart arrived at Children’s Hospital in Aurora from Colorado Springs by emergency helicopter. The teen’s flu and serious strep infection had him fighting for his life. “At first I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was,” Schafer said. “Even when I got flighted up here until I woke up and even then it took a couple of days to realize what happened.” Schafer was fighting Influenza A when his body was attacked by another infection; strep spread through his body, nearly claiming the young man’s life. On Friday, he was able to walk out of the hospital.

Source: CBS Denver CBS Denver

Flu season is supposed to be winding down, but 20 states report highest level of activity

Mar 08 2019

Going by the calendar, flu season should be winding down. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's still going strong, with 20 states registering the highest levels of flu activity. As many as 26.3 million people have caught the flu this season, which began in October and ends in May. Nine children died of flu-related causes last week, bringing the total for the season to 64. The CDC notes that the actual number of fatalities is likely much higher because not all flu-related deaths are detected or reported. The CDC on Friday reported 347,000 hospitalizations and 31,200 deaths so far this season. The highest possible level of flu activity was reported last week in Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alaska. The CDC says "widespread influenza activity" was reported in the past week in Puerto Rico and 48 states. Widespread flu activity is defined as outbreaks in at least half of the regions of a state.

Source: USA Today USA Today

Facebook Cracks Down on Fake Accounts, Anti-Vaccine Posts

Mar 08 2019

​Facebook is taking another stand against fake news. On Thursday, the social media giant said that it had removed more than 150 Facebook and Instagram accounts, pages and groups – 137 stemming from the United Kingdom, and an additional 31 from Romania – that pushed "coordinated inauthentic behavior" to spread hate speech and divisive comments from opposite ends of the political spectrum. "We are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people," Nathaniel Gleicher, head of Facebook's cybersecurity policy, said in a statement. "We’re taking down these Pages and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they posted. In each of these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action." About 175,000 accounts followed one or more of these pages, and around 4,500 accounts followed one or more of these Instagram accounts, the company said. The recent crackdown comes as Facebook and other social media companies like Pinterest and Youtube have been hounded by both federal lawmakers and the general public to crackdown on the spread of misinformation on their sites. Facebook also announced its plan to take a similar approach on vaccine misinformation. A company representative said it will not remove the fake content, but will reduce its reach by lowering its appearance in users' news feeds and searches, rejecting ads that spread false information about vaccinations and "exploring ways to give people more accurate information from expert organizations about vaccines" when they come across misinformation on the topic.

Source: US News & World Report US News & World Report