Category Archives: Current Health-Related Updates

Summer 2017 — Zika

Dr. Timothy Brei, left, examines Aryanna Guadalupe Sanchez-Rios during her check up on on May 5, 2017. (Photo: Heidi de Marco, Kasier Health News)

We aren’t hearing about the Zika virus as much as we did last summer, but it’s still around and still pretty scary, especially for expectant mothers.

In the summer of 2016 you may have heard zika mentioned on the news at least several times, if not more. Health officials were urging everyone, especially pregnant women, to wear bug spray with DEET when venturing outside. Being infected with the mosquito-borne virus while pregnant lead to babies born with birth defects and other health problems. Last year the US had over 5,000 reported cases (many other cases without symptoms unreported) in thousands of American cities.

The summer of 2017? As far is mid June there have already been 650 reported cases of zika in the US. However, most people don’t have symptoms and don’t even know they have the virus. Most cases go unreported.

The CDC has reported that the types of mosquito that carry Zika, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, are appearing in more counties in the southern U.S. where they haven’t been before.

It’s not going away. But officials expect reported cases to lower over time.

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Measles kills. Vaccines save lives!

Measles is 6 times more contagious than influenza. Around 400 people die from measles EVERY DAY worldwide. Measles is one of the leading killers of children on this planet. (As reported by the Measles & Rubella Initiative.)

As of the beginning of the year to mid April the CDC has confirmed 61 people from ten different states (California, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington) have tested positive for measles.

Let’s travel back in time…

2016: 70 cases across 16 states

2015: 188 cases across 24 states

2014: 667 cases (record number) from 27 states

2008: Measles cases rise due to the increase of unvaccinated people.

Elimination (not eradication) of measles was documented in the United States in 2000. Only between 37 and 220 people were reported to have the measles each year.

Measles vaccines became routine in 1963.

Before 1963 measles infected millions of people each year and was responsible for hundreds of deaths. The CDC reports that 3-4 million people were infected every year. 

Back to today…

There is a good chance that someone will be diagnosed with measles TODAY in the United States.  It is a fact that hundreds of people on this planet will die from measles by nightfall. Many of these people will be babies and children–babies and children whose parents WISH they had access to vaccines that would have saved their lives.

Why not save your child? If you haven’t vaccinated your children what’s holding you back?

Please visit the Measles an Rubella Initiative to learn how you can help.

Children are dying from Streptococcus pneumonia especially in developing countries

The WHO estimates that globally Streptococcus pneumonia kills close to 500,000 children under 5 years annually. That’s a HUGE number. And that’s just children UNDER FIVE.

S. pneumonia can cause diseases such as pneumonia. meningitis, and bacteremia. (Refer to graphic below.) These are diseases that put babies and children in the hospital.
I’ve been hospitalized twice for pneumonia and I can’t imagine having to watch my child or any child go through such pain and suffering.

We do have a vaccine to help protect from this disease. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV)–there are two versions–have had clear public health benefits. Not only does it reduce the invasive disease in vaccinated children, but also in elderly adults who benefit from herd immunity.

Coverage is increasing globally, but it’s nowhere near optimal vaccination rates.

Most of these child deaths occur in developing countries where they do not yet have access to vaccines.

Why? Continue reading

Adults need vaccine boosters, too.

Did you know YOU probably aren’t up to date on your vaccines?
Have you had your boosters?? Do you even KNOW if you’ve had your boosters?
 
Many vaccine-preventable deaths occur in adults, mainly due to low vaccination rates. Adults tend to skip the necessary vaccine boosters due to inconvenience/cost/ignorance and studies show that nearly 30% of adults refuse vaccinations when presented with the opportunity to get them.
 
Around 35% of physicians do not even offer boosters to adults just because they believe insurance companies won’t cover them. Some insurance companies won’t cover them.
 
Vaccinated adults, as well as vaccinated children, play a huge part in stopping the spread of disease. We vaccinate our children. Why don’t we make sure we vaccinate ourselves?
(Facts as reported by Medical Economics.)
For more on adult vaccines: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/adult.html

National Infant Immunization Week 2017!

It’s national infant immunization week!
As many of you know it’s so important for newborns to be protected from pertussis (whooping cough) and YOU are able to get vaccinated during pregnancy to protect your newborn from pertussis in the first few months of life. Babies with whooping cough can be in the ICU within just hours after showing signs of an upper respiratory infection. 
I live in a very touristy area and about six months ago, along with a large flock of tourists came the spread of whooping cough through our area. There were at least 60 deaths of children under four months in our state in just a very short period of time.

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