Since mid-2011, a substantial rise in pertussis [Whooping Cough] cases has been reported in the state of Washington. In response to this increase, the Washington State Secretary of Health declared a pertussis epidemic on April 3, 2012. By June 16, the reported number of cases in Washington in 2012 had reached 2,520 (37.5 cases per 100,000 residents), a 1,300% increase compared with the same period in 2011 and the highest number of cases reported in any year since 1942 [Make sure you don't miss Figure 1]. Commentators are already drawing corellations
with the fact that Washington State leads the nation in vaccine non-compliance
, Washington State's recent cutbacks in public health funding
, and increases in the number of uninsured (PDF)
. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Sep 27, 2012 -
Chagas' disease can cast a silent, lifelong shadow.
'Chagas is a potentially fatal parasitic disease most often found in Latin American immigrants. There had been little awareness of it in the U.S., but' it is slowly making its way into the United States. 'Chagas affects an estimated 300,000 people in this country and about 13 million worldwide, chiefly in Latin America, where it is a leading cause of heart failure.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword
on Jul 8, 2012 -
Some critics have noted that there is no indication that those who had what Dr. Bouchard is calling an adverse response to exercise actually had more heart attacks or other bad health outcomes. But Dr. Bouchard said if people wanted to use changes in risk factors to infer that those who exercise are healthier, they could not then turn around and say there is no evidence of harm when the risk factor changes go in the wrong direction. "You can’t have it both ways," Dr. Bouchard said. (SLNYT
posted by Nomyte
on Jun 3, 2012 -
, Children in Crisis
. HBO’s multi-part research documentary The Weight of the Nation examines obesity in America in four parts, marshaling leading doctors, epidemiologists, economists, researchers, and community leaders to understand and explain the individual costs and public solutions to a multi-faceted social and individual problem. The documentary both explores large picture statistics, while giving voice “to those that often too seek to be invisible: members of the nearly 70 percent of Americans currently diagnosed as overweight or obese. (AV Club Review
)” [more inside]
posted by stratastar
on May 16, 2012 -
In March 2010, a pair of health inspectors responding to multiple tips paid a three-day visit to the factory headquarters of the Poly Implant Prothese
(PIP) company, a leading international maker of breast implants. On their second day, the inspectors found something odd: six discarded plastic containers of Silopren, a liquid silicone designed for industrial, not medical use, lined up along the outside wall of the production site. The lead inspector estimated they had contained nearly 9 tons of liquid silicone. It now appears as if between 300,000 and 400,000 women throughout the world may have received potentially toxic, faulty breast implants containing ingredients never clinically tested on humans, manufactured and distributed by a company that knowingly deceived regulators, suppliers, distributors, medical professionals and ultimately, patients.
Reuters photographer's Blog: Operating on an implant scandal. (Last link NSFW, graphic images that contain nudity.) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Feb 18, 2012 -
How did hookworm infections
slow the economy of the postbellum South? Do body mites
play a role in diseases such as rosacea? Did fermenting
seal flippers in Tupperware instead of traditional containers increase Native Alaskan botulism rates?
is the blog of microbiologist Rebecca Kreston, who aims to explore the intersection of infectious diseases, the human body, public health and anthropology.
posted by emjaybee
on Sep 24, 2011 -
The Global Commission on Drug Policy
is the latest group to advocate an end to the drug war - but also an unusually high-profile one, including
former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Switzerland, Prime Minister of Greece, Kofi Annan, Richard Branson, George Shultz and Paul Volcker. Tomorrow, June 2, sees the launch of their report, which advocates treating recreational drug use (and abuse) as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice one. [more inside]
posted by anigbrowl
on Jun 1, 2011 -
Current TV previously & previously
, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Apr 30, 2011 -
About a hundred years ago, public health took a visual turn. In an era of devastating epidemic and endemic infectious disease, health professionals began to organize coordinated campaigns that sought to mobilize public action through eye-catching wall posters, illustrated pamphlets, motion pictures, and glass slide projections. An Iconography of Contagion
posted by Fuzzy Monster
on Feb 28, 2010 -
Mercenary Epidemiology: Data Reanalysis and Reinterpretation for Sponsors With Financial Interest in the Outcome.
(.pdf link) When should scientists be required to release their raw data for (potentially hostile) re-analysis? A letter to the editors of Annals of Epidemiology from David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, public health blogger
, author of the book Doubt Is Their Product
, and, as of December 2009, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA,
unanimously confirmed by the Senate despite the dismay of some
. Michaels interviewed at Science Progress
about Doubt Is Their Product
(podcast, with transcript.)
posted by escabeche
on Feb 11, 2010 -
There is a killer
lurking in your local auto wrecking yard. Sodium Azide
, the chemical used in automobile air bags, is available to anyone who asks for it. Conceivably anyone could obtain several pounds of this poison, yet it takes only a few grams to kill
. A late model SUV will have enough in it's air bags to kill a couple of hundred people
It explodes. It kills
on contact with the skin. It kills via air, food, or water. It is odorless and colorless
. There is no antidote. Even minor exposure will result in permanent damage to brain cells.
University of Arizona atmospheric scientist Eric Betterton
was one of the first to expose the hazards of this unregulated material in 2000. The author J. A. Jance used it as the poison of choice in her book 'Partners in Crime
The perfect terrorist weapon
? It would seem so, but the Federal government doesn't regulate it's post-manufacture distribution. Got a grudge? Go pick up a few hundred pounds
posted by altman
on Dec 1, 2006 -
FDA approves HPV vaccine.
It prevents infection from 70% of the cancer-causing strains of human papillomavirus, an STD that will affect nearly 80% of the population at some point in their lives. The vaccine has been approved for use in women ages 9 to 26. Controversy surrounding the vaccine (discussed earlier
) has thankfully not stopped its progress. That just leaves a few questions: How long will it last? Who's paying for it? What are the side-effects? Oh, screw all that, where do I get in line?
posted by schroedinger
on Jun 8, 2006 -
For the first time since the 1980s, the CDC estimates that there are more than 1 million people living with HIV in the United States.
[MSNBC link, but the article is actually good.] This is good news and bad, it means more people are living with the disease with the help of Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART)
, of which there are just over 20 drugs in 4 different classes. The CDC has recently launched a new prevention initiative
targeted at people with the disease, rather than at convincing HIV- people to avoid contracting it. Central to the new effort are increased HIV surveillance methods, which basically boil down to increased testing (in the case of pregnant mothers, testing they would have to opt out of) and reporting of HIV positive testees. This despite the fact that there is plenty of evidence that HIV discrimination is alive
The other discouraging news is that despite the success of HAART for controlling HIV, the adverse effects are significant, including much higher rates of heart attack and cardiac disease
, increased incidence of diabetes and insulin resistance
and very noticeable changes to how people look, lactic acidosis
, as well as the more standard (and less toxic) problems of nausea and diarrhea. Up to 50% of people on HAART will experience these problems.
posted by OmieWise
on Jun 13, 2005 -
1.7 million deaths in the U.S. and 180-360 million dead globally.
That's the estimate of the impact of the next influenza pandemic
from Michael Osterholm, published
in today's New England Journal of Medicine
. He warns that almost every public health response to the inevitable emergence of pandemic influenza A strain is unplanned or inadequate: A vaccine would take minimum six months (and millions of fertilized chicken eggs); there are no plans to setup and staff the temporary isolation wards or replace dead health-care workers; nor are there detailed plans for handling the number of dead bodies. Given the deeply interconnected nature of the global economy a pandemic would be impossible to stop and wreak havoc in every nation. "Frankly the crisis could for all we know have started last night in some village in Southeast Asia," said
Dr. Paul Gully, Canada's deputy chief public health officer. "We don't have any time to waste and even if we did have some time, the kinds of things we need to do will take years. Right now, the best we can do is try to survive it. We need a Manhattan Project yesterday."
posted by docgonzo
on May 5, 2005 -
Twelve STIs of Christmas
I can't decide if the lyrics are better than the animated men or not, but the twelve STIs of christmas is possibly the best public health propoganda I've ever seen. [Flash][SFW. Probably][And technically double post, but it's a great one. And it's christmas.]
posted by twine42
on Dec 20, 2004 -
Yesterday the World Health Organization launched a report on diet and nutrition
, saying that sugar should be restricted to 10% of caloric intake. Predictably, the sugar industry (press releases
) threw fits
and called on their cronies in Congress to cut off WHO funding. Apparently they're fighting and clawing
even more than the tobacco industry in similar circusmtances, and WHO fears that lobbyists have more power with the Bush administration. The SA believes that inactivity, not our increased sugar consumption, is the primary cause of the obesity epidemic. Are we in for another few years of declarations of junk science and endless gov't investigations into what seems obvious, a la
most environmental and health concerns?
posted by fotzepolitic
on Apr 24, 2003 -
The South African president Thabo Mbeki
is failing to deal with his nation's unbelievable AIDS epidemic. Here
are the opinions of his chief advisor on the disease. For balance, here
is the opinion of the UK government.
Do you agree with me that Mbeki is a dangerous man, and is a terrible choice to follow his predecessor
posted by Pretty_Generic
on Dec 1, 2002 -
Model health law empowers states.
"Patients could be forced to take medicines or receive vaccines for contagious diseases that pose a public health threat, such as smallpox, under the model law." (originally published in Boston Globe, but that link is now gone)
posted by kat
on Dec 22, 2001 -
"I wanted to be a mother who bakes.
But then I found out it's illegal." While I can understand being afraid of a Hepatitis or E. Coli outbreak, I can't help but think this is simply another example of a school district of applying really stupid rules to a situation.
posted by ookamaka
on Jan 1, 2001 -
Higher beer taxes = lower STD rates?
Apparently our government thinks so. I thought the first thing they taught you in statistics class was that correlation does not always equal causation. And if cheap beer equals high STD rates, then this college town I'm in must be in big need of antibiotics.
posted by UWliberal
on Apr 27, 2000 -