Infectious disease

Effect Measure

Category archives for Infectious disease

Swine flu: (unfinished) story of the year

It’s the end of the calendar year and the traditional time the media looks back on “the biggest stories of the year.” There are websites about almost any subject (even one on a particular model of running shoe, I am told), but those of us who write specialized blogs (as opposed to ones about politics…

So far the pandemic of 2009 has been bad enough but not anywhere near as bad as one could imagine. Let’s hope it stays that way. While winning new knowledge from actual disease and sickness is not anyone’s favorite strategy, it is likely we will learn a great deal about influenza in the years to…

Prolonged shedding of swine flu virus

Red wine has been touted for its health benefits but these don’t seem to extend to warding off swine flu. The virology laboratory in Bordeaux in the southwest of France tested via RT-PCR over 1200 nasopharyngeal swabs between May 1 and the first week in October and found 186 positive for the new pandemic strain.…

Public health: flunking the test

We complain when there isn’t enough swine flu vaccine and we complain when our health departments don’t count all the cases. It’s probably good so many people are out of work and can’t eat in restaurants, because they aren’t getting inspected because all available staff are trying to deal with the flu pandemic:

It seems swine flu is full of surprises that turn out not to be surprises. Or so it’s claimed. Or not. Here is CDC’s Dr. Anne Schuchat, the agency’s chief health officer and spokesperson on swine flu, responding to NPR’s Melissa Block’s question about what has been her biggest surprise:

A virus walks into a bar . . .

All geeks love science jokes (one of my favorites: what’s purple and drives to work? Answer: an Abelian grape [explanation, the elements of an Abelian group commute, i.e., a + b = b + a]). Science jokes are good. You can learn some science from them. In particular, the first three or four of this…

The Director of Loyola University Medical Center’s clinical microbiology laboratory is reported as saying that rapid flu tests are a public health risk. Here’s some of what he said and then my explanation as to why it is misleading or just plain wrong: Rapid influenza diagnostic tests used in doctors’ offices, hospitals and medical laboratories…

The common cold and influenza

We’ve talked aplenty about how much we still need to understand about influenza. Not just its basic biology but its dynamics. How does it spread over space and time and how existing infection rates affect future infection rates and how each are related to the number of susceptibles in the population. It’s even more than…

Nursing homes (Long Term Care Facilities, LTCFs) are a favorite hunting ground for respiratory viruses, including flu. They are open to the general community, where visitors and employees mingle freely with the residents. The residents are usually of an advanced age, have other sicknesses that make them vulnerable and often have less active immune defenses.…

We only just got to the surgical/N95 mask article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). We’ve been traveling and haven’t been able to keep up with what others were saying, but we’re sure it’s been well covered by the usual suspects. So we’ll just add our take here, for what it’s worth.