Infectious Diseases

Category archives for Infectious Diseases

Just before the end of its September session, Congress finally did what public health officials had been begging it to do for more than seven months and approved substantial funding for Zika response efforts. That delay has entailed serious costs for public health.

Last summer, Nigeria celebrated having gone a year without a case of polio. But then last month, two children in Nigeria were diagnosed with polio paralysis, in Borno state (in northeastern Nigeria) in areas liberated from Boko Haram militants.

Since Congress left for recess seven weeks ago without approving funding to address the Zika virus, the Obama administration has declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico and the Florida Health Department has identified two areas in Miami-Dade County with local transmission of Zika.

Recent pieces address Congress’s failure to address Zika (by a pregnant Miami reporter), political parties’ different approaches to public health, pregnancy-related deaths in Texas, and more.

A gene that makes bacteria resistant to last-resort antibiotic colistin, mcr-1, has been found in 32 countries, and has been in the US since at least May 2015. Researchers in Belgium and Italy have additional alarming discoveries on related genes.

This morning, the Florida Department of Health reported a “high likelihood” of the first localized transmission of Zika virus from mosquito to person in the United States.

In 2005, the World Health Assembly adopted a revised version of its International Health Regulations, a legally binding treaty among 196 nations to boost global health security and strengthen the world’s capacity to confront serious disease threats such as Ebola and SARS. A decade later, just one-third of countries have the ability to respond to a public health emergency. That’s why Rebecca Katz thinks it’s time to get creative.

Researchers report encouraging initial results from a program designed to reduce cathether-associated urinary tract infections at hospitals nationwide.

MCR-1, the easily transferable gene that makes bacteria resistant to last-resort antibiotic colistin, has been found in bacteria from a Pennsylvania woman and in a sample from a pig intestine.

“In my darker hours when I’m sleeping at night, that’s where I go.” Those are words from Eric Blank, senior director for public health systems at the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), talking about the enormous difficulties that public health labs faced in confronting the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic. Now he fears that without emergency federal funds and in the face of new funding cuts, Zika virus will force the nation’s critical public health lab network into that same scenario — or into something even worse.