The 2012-13 flu season getting deadlier

Flu-Shot-logoThe CDC is reporting that influenza activity continues to increase in the United States and most of the country is now observing high levels of influenza-like-illness (ILI). ILI reports are approaching levels that usually seen during moderately severe flu seasons. Of course, the CDC continues to recommend vaccinations for the flu, and antiviral treatment if appropriate.

According to Dr. Joe Bresee, Chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch in CDC’s Influenza Division, “While we can’t say for certain how severe this season will be, we can say that a lot of people are getting sick with influenza and we are getting reports of severe illness and hospitalizations. Anyone who has not already been vaccinated should do so now. And it’s important to remember that people who have severe influenza illness, or who are at high risk of serious influenza-related complications, should get treated with influenza antiviral medications if they get flu symptoms regardless of whether or not they got vaccinated. Also, you don’t need to wait for a positive laboratory test to start taking antivirals.” Continue reading “The 2012-13 flu season getting deadlier”

A child dies from the flu in Maine

Seasonal_Flu_Logo-LGYesterday, I wrote about the CDC reports regarding pediatric deaths from the flu. Those were just numbers, but there are real kids and real parents of those kids who constitute those numbers.

The Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN) reported about the death of an elementary school child from the flu. The child was healthy, so it wasn’t that the flu increased some risk factor because of an underlying disease. 

According to Maine’s CDC Director, Dr. Sheila Pinette, pediatric flu deaths are not common in the state. She stated that flu can be fatal in people who are elderly or have a compromised health status, but this elementary school child was believed to be healthy. Dr. Pinette wants everyone to get vaccinated against the flu, unless the vaccine is medically contraindicated (which is very very rare). According to the MPBN article, “that’s an expansion from previous CDC recommendations that focused on the young, the elderly, and health care workers.” Continue reading “A child dies from the flu in Maine”

Pediatric flu vaccination–it saves children’s lives

If you have any reluctance about having your children receive their annual flu vaccination, look at the chart below:

Flu deaths

 

Children die from the flu virus–282 innocent children died from the flu in 2009-10, 122 in 2010-11, 34 in 2011-12. So far this flu season, 6 children have died. The number varies from highs during pandemic years, such as in 2009-10, and lower in non-pandemic years. 

The CDC predicts that 2012-13 could be serious, and the current flu vaccine protects against 3 subtypes of the seasonal flu in North America: 

  1. A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like
  2. A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like
  3. B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like

There are no valid excuses for avoiding a flu vaccination. Just in case you believe the myths about the flu vaccine, they’re not true. The vaccine does not itself cause the flu. The vaccine is safe for pregnant women. And most of the other myths have been solidly debunked

Get a flu vaccination for your kids. Because Vaccines Save Lives.

Key citations

Visit the Science-based Vaccine Search Engine.

Meryl Dorey is ordered to quit misleading the public about vaccines

StopAVNMeryl Dorey, Australia’s infamous vaccine denialist and anti-science promoter, and her Australian anti-Vaccine Network (AVN) has been ordered to change its misleading name or be shut down. The New South Wales (an Australian state) Office of Fair Trading left an order at the home of AVN  president Meryl Dorey yesterday with a letter of action, “labeling the network’s name misleading and a detriment to the community.”  Continue reading “Meryl Dorey is ordered to quit misleading the public about vaccines”

Whooping cough update: outbreak in Montana continues

The Montana Department of Health has reported (pdf) that as of  November 15, 2012, a whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis) outbreak has reached over 500 cases since the beginning of the year, compared to only 129 cases during the same time period in 2011. As of November 15, 33 cases of pertussis were found in infants of less than one year of age. Of these, four have been hospitalized. Because Montana is has a small population (about 1 million people), the overall incidence rate year to date is 50.5 pertussis cases per 100,000 Montana residents. 

This past spring, there was a pertussis outbreak in several Montana counties, but it seemed to abate during the summer. The Department of Health is reporting that Flathead county, a northern county that borders Canada, is currently struggling to contain an outbreak in five school districts. “Since the beginning of October, we have 35 cases,” said Community Health Services Director for Flathead County Jody White. “Usually we won’t even see 35 in a year, so it is definitely unusual to have this many.”

Continue reading “Whooping cough update: outbreak in Montana continues”

West Virginia tough on vaccine exemptions

The state of West Virginia (WV) has one of the toughest child vaccination regulations in the United States, not allowing any religious exemptions to vaccinations required before attending school. Only Mississippi has regulations this strict for allowable exemptions. Of course, as I have written, religious exemptions have been abused by vaccine deniers by creating “fake” religions so that parents’ antivaccination beliefs will be recognized by the state. In fact, only medical exemptions are accepted by the state (pdf), and their standards on who can meet the medical exemption are quite tough.

Continue reading “West Virginia tough on vaccine exemptions”

Flu during pregnancy linked with increased risk of autism

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) appear to be an increasing medical issue in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ASD is diagnosed in approximately 1 in 88 children, and are reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. ASD refers to a broad range of symptoms, from mild social awkwardness to mental retardation, repetitive behaviors and an inability to communicate. The CDC states that diagnosing ASD can be difficult, because there are no medical tests, such as a genetic or blood test, that can provide a definitive diagnosis. Physicians make a diagnosis through observation of a child’s behavior and development.

Medical science agrees that the increase in diagnosis is not only a result of better diagnostic standards, but also because there appears to be more children who are actually developing autism. Unfortunately, science has not uncovered the cause. Genetics are a critical factor, for example, since it has been shown that if one twin has autism there is a high likelihood that the other twin will also develop ASD. But are there other factors?

Continue reading “Flu during pregnancy linked with increased risk of autism”

Science-based vaccine search engine

I have updated this website with a new science-based vaccine search engine powered by Google™. It basically searches about 200 websites that are science oriented (usually providing peer-reviewed articles, or links to those articles) and focused on vaccines. You can find it by clicking on the menu bar, and going to Vaccine FAQ’s.

Science-based vaccine search engine.

By the way. Vaccines Save Lives.

 

Vaccine Scheduler app for iPad and iPhone

 Vaccine Scheduler is a new app available in the iTunes store that helps you organize and plan vaccinations for your children. Of course with more and more recommendations for adults to be vaccinated, it might be wise to add adults to it. It’s really a cool app if you’re trying to manage your children’s immunization schedules, and want to have them close at hand. 

It has a few really nice features:

  • It uses country-specific recommendations for vaccinations. It appears to use the Location feature of your iPhone to make certain that you are following the schedule for your own home country. It includes 94 countries in its database.
  • You can email the vaccination history for your child (or yourself) directly to your healthcare provider. Makes it easy to get the right information to your doctor.
  • Very easy to use.
  • It’s only US$0.99!
 

It is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. It requires iOS 6.0 or later, and this app is optimized for iPhone 5.

The app was developed by an Australian who focuses on apps for children’s healthcare. 

Another way that Vaccines Save Lives.

Science-based vaccine search engine.

Repeated contact with mumps may overwhelm immunization

A recent study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, concluded that after an intense face-to-face educational technique, used among Orthodox Jews, apparently led to an outbreak of mumps in 2009 and 2010, despite high vaccination rates in the group. In a one-year period, from June 28, 2009, through June 27, 2010, 3,502 cases of mumps were reported in New Jersey, New York City and New York’s Orange and Rockland counties. The study examined 1,648 of those cases, 97% were Orthodox Jews, and found 89% had received two doses of the vaccine and 8% received one dose, a relatively high rate of vaccination.

Many of the individuals attended a religious school where they practiced an intense training technique called chavruta, which involves close contact with a partner across a narrow table. Partners change frequently, and he discussion is often loud and may involve shouting since a larger group may be close to each other, all trying to make an argument or point. This prolonged contact overwhelmed the immunity, from the mumps vaccination (part of the MMR vaccine), for individuals. The study did find high rates of two-dose coverage reduced the severity of the disease and the transmission to people in settings of less exposure. Also, the study found that mumps did not spread outside of the Orthodox Jewish community in the area, further supporting the overall effectiveness of the mumps vaccine in the broader community. Continue reading “Repeated contact with mumps may overwhelm immunization”