Infectious Diseases

Category archives for Infectious Diseases

As summer approaches, mosquito bites will become common, and the Zika virus could start spreading in parts of the continental US. Although public health officials are working hard to address this threat, the response from many lawmakers has been disappointing and, in some cases, erected barriers to successful research.

A recent study finds vaccine refusals have, indeed, accelerated the resurgence of whooping cough and measles here in the U.S. The findings are making headlines around the country — and comment sections are filling up with vitriol from anti-vaxxers — but it would feel amiss not to highlight the study on a blog dedicated to public health. But first, let’s remind ourselves of the pain and suffering that preceded vaccines.

In another example of the value of investing in public health, a recent study finds that PulseNet, a national foodborne illness outbreak network, prevents about 276,000 illnesses every year, which translates into savings of $507 million in medical costs and lost productivity. That’s a pretty big return on investment for a system that costs just $7.3 million annually to operate.

It seems obvious that workers with paid sick leave are more likely to stay home and seek out medical care when they or a family member is ill. But it’s always good to confirm a hunch with some solid data.

Over the past few weeks, new published research has provided more evidence linking Zika virus to poor health outcomes

Achoo!!  No paid sick leave for 91% of Arkansas poultry workers

On the day that Arkansas-based Tyson Foods announced $461 million in quarterly profits, a survey of Arkansas poultry workers found 91% did not have paid sick leave.

The spread and toll of Zika

Zika virus has been linked to thousands of cases of microcephaly (infants born with abnormally small brains and heads) and is spreading throughout the Americas.

It’s been nearly two decades since the last publication of a nationwide survey on the distribution of blacklegged ticks — the primary transmitters of Lyme disease. That survey, released in 1998, reported the tick in 30 percent of U.S. counties. Today, a new study using similar surveillance methods has found the tick in more than 45 percent of counties.

The omnibus spending bill includes a measure that allows the use of federal funds for state and local needle-exchange program — and it was championed by Kentucky Republicans.

Re-run from May 27, 2015: For more than a decade, biologist Mariam Barlow has been working on the theory that administering antibiotics on a rotating basis could be a solution to antibiotic resistance. After years of research, Barlow had lots of data, but she needed a more precise way to make sense of it all — something that was so specific it could easily be used to treat patients. So, she joined forces with a team of mathematicians. And the amazing results could help solve an enormous, worldwide problem.