Tag Archive | "health officials"

CDC Encourages Repeat Flu Shot for Everyone

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages everyone to get repeat flu shots for the coming flu seasons. However, vaccine makers suggest that some people may not necessarily need another flu vaccine this year.

Makers of flu vaccine say the shots this year will be the same as last year’s since identical strains of the virus are still going around the environment. Some experts say young and healthy people may still have adequate protection from the flu shot obtained last fall. Thus, they may skip getting it once more for this season.

However, health officials from the government say the protection offered by flu vaccines can significantly fade after some months, particularly in weak and elderly people. In fact, they are persuading everyone to get their repeat shots this year.

Vaccine makers announced that there will be plenty of flu shots coming in 2011. They said there will be enough for more than 50 percent of the population. Five manufacturers announced a couple of weeks ago that they are planning to make 166 to 173 million flu doses this year.

In the United States, the demand for flu shots has been increasing as well. Over 40 percent of the U.S. population received flu vaccines in the past 10 months, leading to a successive year when vaccinations were at a very high level.

While it is not clear whether repeat shot is needed or not, other experts believe that the position of CDC is the best possible course. Dr. Arnold Monto, a flu expert from University of Michigan, said that getting another flu vaccine is definitely not going to harm everybody.

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Transplant Patient Gets AIDS from Donor’s Kidney

A transplant patient was infected with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS after he had received a new kidney from a living donor. This is the first case documented in the United States ever since HIV screenings were employed in the mid-1980s.

It was identified that the donor had an unprotected sex within the 11 weeks span from when he tested negative to the time the surgery was performed in 2009.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that organ donors should repeat screening tests for HIV one week prior to surgery, based on the report on the New York case on Thursday.

Dr. Colin Shepard of the New York City Health Department said that the HIV test must be performed as close as possible to the scheduled date of transplant.

The CDC also reminded future organ donors to refrain any behavior that could raise their risks of infection.

Health officials only released a few details about the recipient and the donor because of laws pertaining to patient confidentiality. The relationship of the recipient and the donor, as well as the hospital where the surgery was performed was also kept confidential. The only detail they released is that the case happened in New York City.

According to the report from CDC, the donor and the recipient did not know they had HIV until almost a year after the surgery. But, the recipient’s HIV developed into AIDS most likely because the patient was taking drugs that are used to suppress the immune system in order to avoid organ rejection, the health officials said.

Today, both the donor and recipient are receiving treatments for HIV. However, their conditions were not revealed in the report.

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Measles Exposure Tracked at Four Major U.S. Airports

Health officials announced on Monday that they are launching a cross-country alert for travellers who may have been exposed to measles after a contagious passenger passed through four major airports in the United States.

A confirmed case involves a 27-year-old woman, who did not receive immunization against the contagious disease, from New Mexico. Officials said she came from Europe, but was at airports in Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico and Virginia from Feb. 20 to Feb. 22.

Other measles cases have not yet emerged. However, health officials from all four states said it is still early since the incubation period of measles takes 10 to 14 days after exposure to the extremely contagious virus.

Measles is an airborne virus. It can spread from one person to another. It can also remain in the air up to two hours from the time an infected person coughed or sneezed.

Initially, the viral disease resembles a cough, but rashes will soon develop on the face and spread all over the person’s body. People infected with measles are highly infectious for days before and after the rashes appear.

State authorities are trying to get in touch with the passengers who were potentially exposed to the measles case with the help of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jeff Dimon, CDC spokesman said they are calling to ask if the passengers have already been immunized.

Dimon said they are trying to contact hundreds of passengers, which includes passengers seated in the first five rows nearest the confirmed case in one particular flight, and nearly every single traveler on the Southwest flights since they do not allocate seating.

Measles have been the leading cause of child mortality in emerging countries. However, it is rarely seen in United States where vaccination is compulsory for all children attending school.

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Suspected Cholera Outbreak in Haiti Kills Nearly 140 People

An outbreak of suspected cholera had killed nearly 140 people in central Haiti according to the Haitian health officials on Thursday. Since the January 12 earthquake, this is the country’s biggest medical crisis.

The Haitian health authorities had already informed the World Health Organization regarding their 138 deaths and about 1,526 cases so far in the outbreak that is centered on Lower Artibonite region, north of the Port-au-Prince capital. Some cases were also listed in the area of Central Plateau.

Local hospitals in Haiti were overwhelmed with the tremendous  number of patients admitted, most of which are suffering from acute diarrhea. The Haitian officials informed that the victims are rapidly dying from dehydration in just a matter of hours.

Medical teams that have been giving assistance to Haiti since the disaster that occurred on January 12 have set out to the outbreak area.

However, the World Health Organization, as well as the United Nations could not confirm yet if the cause of the outbreak is cholera. They are still waiting for the final results of the laboratory tests that were taken from the samples of the dead and sick victim.

But, Dr. Gabriel Thimote, the Haitian Health Department Director General and Alex Larsen, the Health Minister said that the initial testing suggested cholera even though Haiti does not have any history of recent cholera outbreaks.

Cholera is a disease transmitted through contaminated water and food. This causes watery diarrhea and severe dehydration, which can kill in few hours when not immediately treated.

Yet, experts say that there are about 80 percent of cholera cases that can be successfully treated through oral rehydration salts. However, safe water and good sanitation are still important to help reduce the cases of cholera and other waterborne diseases.

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