Measles in America: Why vaccination matters

And matters, and matters, and MATTERS!

Mens et Manus

This article was originally written for HealthMap and can be found here.

The 2015 Disneyland measles outbreak in the United States, which started in late December and spread to more than 100 people in just 6 weeks, has recently become the subject of substantial media scrutiny. Measles is extremely infectious, exhibiting a basic reproductive number between 12 and 18 – one of the highest recorded in history. This means that for every 1 case who gets sick in a totally susceptible population, 12 to 18 other folks get sick, too. Thankfully, when uptake of the measles vaccine is high enough in a given community, it’s almost impossible for the disease to spread – thus halting a potential outbreak in its tracks.

But what happens when vaccine rates aren’t high enough? Given the growing anti-vaccination movement in the United States, our team at HealthMap took on the task of…

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Superbug linked to 2 deaths at UCLA hospital; 100 potentially exposed – LA Times

Weak as water excuse – “it’s not our fault because we depended on other people.”

UCLA said it immediately notified public health authorities after discovering the bacteria in one patient and tracing the problem to two endoscopes. The university said it had been cleaning the scopes “according to standards stipulated by the manufacturer” and it changed how it disinfects the instruments after the infections surfaced.

UCLA said it immediately notified public health authorities after discovering the bacteria in one patient and tracing the problem to two endoscopes. The university said it had been cleaning the scopes “according to standards stipulated by the manufacturer” and it changed how it disinfects the instruments after the infections surfaced.

Dale Tate, a university spokeswoman, said “the two scopes involved with the infection were immediately removed and UCLA is now utilizing a decontamination process that goes above and beyond the manufacturer and national standards.”

via Superbug linked to 2 deaths at UCLA hospital; 100 potentially exposed – LA Times.

Reversing Course, U.S. To Aid Nigeria In Boko Haram Fight | Inter Press Service

So, I don’t get it… Nigeria is, or was, doing well and has a significant army that has done little over the years to halt Boko Haram. Years of doing nothing, over growing radicalism and religious based politics in northern Nigeria. Now everyone has to help them. Soooo, how is the leadership in Nigeria going to change?

A multinational force to fight Boko Haram is expected to be formally launched in coming weeks. Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin initially pledged to help Nigeria. This week, Burundi and Central African Republic also agreed to contribute troops to fight the militant group.

Also this week, leaders in Central Africa said that 10 member states had agreed to contribute most of the $100 million needed to combat Boko Haram. They did not state how much had been raised nor how much is remaining despite calling for the creation of an emergency fund to bridge the difference, according to reporters with the Associated Press.

via Reversing Course, U.S. To Aid Nigeria In Boko Haram Fight | Inter Press Service.

Measles makes its mark all over again: One of humanity’s oldest foes is back on the increase – Features – Health & Families – The Independent

Since al-Razi first carefully documented it (about 900 AD), this little strand of RNA tucked in a protein envelope has enjoyed a rare kind of notoriety, even in the shock-and-awe world of infectious diseases. In 1529, the Spanish introduced it to Cuba, killing two out of three natives. Over the next decade or so, the virus ravaged Central America, decimating many populations and killing up to half of all Hondurans. And, in 1693, in colonial America, Virginia governor Edmund Andros issued a proclamation for a “day of humiliation and prayer” in the hope of waylaying the virus.

It’s not like that today, but the disease is no slouch either. In 2013, according to the World Health Organisation, there were 16 deaths from the virus each hour, around the world, for the entire year. It is one of the leading causes of death among young children, despite our ability to safely vaccinate against it. It is estimated that between the years of 2000 and 2013, vaccination has prevented 15.6 million deaths. Do you recognise it yet?

via Measles makes its mark all over again: One of humanity’s oldest foes is back on the increase – Features – Health & Families – The Independent.