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#infectious diseases
dstroym · a year ago
You have to read this one - it keeps getting funnier and funnier as you continue through the story.
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anatomy-lesson · 25 days ago
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“As the result of the news of unmarked graves being located at former residential schools across Canada, many people are finally reckoning with the history of the Indian Residential School (IRS) system. While school survivors and Indigenous communities are not surprised by the recent revelations, some Canadians have been shocked to learn of the high rates of death and disease at the schools. They shouldn’t be, though. The horrors of the system were always hiding in plain sight.
As was recently reported in the Globe and Mail by Crystal Fraser, Tricia Logan, and Neil Orford, the Department of Indian Affairs’ own medical officer, Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce, blew the whistle on the IRS system in the early 1900s. In a 1907 report on the inadequate care that Indigenous children were receiving in some schools, Bryce outlined the ills of the system – including death and disease – that many Canadians are only learning of now. The Department of Indian Affairs, however, chose to ignore Bryce’s findings, burying his report and thwarting his subsequent calls for reform.
Yet, it is too easy for Canadians to say that the public was not made aware of Bryce’s report and apply blame solely to church and state officials who downplayed and ignored his warnings. The report was leaked to the public, and an examination of newspaper articles from the early 1900s reveals that readers across the country were presented with the findings.
On 15 and 16 November 1907, Ottawa’s The Evening Citizen and Toronto’s Globe respectively, published articles describing the “Absolute Inattention to Bare Necessities of Health” and the “Large Percentage of Deaths” occurring in residential schools. Both articles highlighted various findings from Bryce’s report and included the following statistics for readers: “Of a total of 1,537 pupils reported from fifteen schools… 7 per cent are sick or in poor health, and 24 per cent are reported dead.” Citing tuberculosis and poor ventilation as the main causes of disease and death, these articles demonstrate the consequences that poor living conditions had on Indigenous children.
Bryce’s report was also covered in Victoria’s Daily Colonist and Toronto’s Saturday Night on 16 and 23 November 1907, respectively. The Daily Colonist explained how significant it was that Bryce’s report was released at a time when the churches running the schools were also pressuring the government to take more control over “Indian education.” The coverage makes clear, however, that both church and state were responsible for the poor conditions in many residential schools. Stating that the release of Bryce’s report “contains information that should startle the country and at last compel the attention of Parliament,” Saturday Night provides evidence that some Canadians read about Bryce’s report and were informed about the inadequate conditions within residential schools. But the article also anticipated Canadian apathy: “[Bryce’s] report is printed, many people will scan the title on the cover, and some will open it, a few will read it, and so the thing will drift along for another year. And so with the next year, and the year after.”
Indigenous peoples also waded into the public debate and demanded action. In an article published by the Globe on 8 February 1908, Mohawk political organizer F. O. Loft acknowledged Bryce’s report and used its findings to critique the IRS system and call for changes. Loft noted, “I read a brief report of the discussion in the House of Commons bearing upon the report that has been issued by Dr. P. H. Bryce on the condition of Indian schools and the children in them.” He goes on to say how “[Bryce] speaks of the remarkable mortality of the children from tuberculosis and the unsanitary condition of the schools.” Continuing to speak about the misconceptions of the capabilities of Indigenous peoples and how the government must invest more into their children’s education, Loft not only provided evidence of public awareness about the IRS system, but also argued that Indigenous peoples should have more control over their own education.
If Canadians are committed to putting truth before reconciliation, it is important to acknowledge that many Canadians were presented with evidence of the horrors of the residential school system in the early 1900s yet chose a course of inaction. Canadians read about Bryce’s findings in their newspapers but did not effectively lobby their church leaders and government officials for change. As a result, many Indigenous peoples – children and youth – continued to suffer and even die in residential schools across the country for another 90 years. The cycle of Canadian indifference and inaction in the face of ongoing injustice for Indigenous peoples continues today. The only way to break the cycle is for Canadians to acknowledge the truth about the history and ongoing legacies of the IRS system and commit to decolonization and meaningful reconciliation.”
- Kathleen McKenzie & Sean Carleton, “Hiding in Plain Sight: Newspaper Coverage of Dr. Peter Bryce’s 1907 Report on Residential Schools.” Active History. September 29, 2021.
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morepopcornplease · 2 months ago
is anybody else worried about medical worker burnout from working covid hospitals, such that they leave?
i mean tbh there’s so much time and MONEY put into a nurse’s or doctor’s medical liscence and practice, such that I’m not sure I believe we’ll see many people actually get up and leave the workforce...
But I actually wonder if we’ll see fewer nurses or doctors enter the field, or perhaps choose to specialize in a medical field that will be less taxing than infectious diseases...
or even fewer people entering medical school.
i KNOW that i have lots of nurse mutuals, any thoughts yall?
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hclib · a month ago
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Classrooms are full. Covid is still rampant. Take a cue from these Minneapolis Hay Elementary School kids in the 1920s. "Clean, splash, bathe, scrub, wash, soap. It pays."
At the time this photo was taken, the 1918 Flu pandemic was still within recent memory. Measles, smallpox, scarlet fever, meningitis, tuberculosis, and polio, among others, were common infectious diseases circulating among children. Sanitation has played an important role in controlling contagious diseases, but eradication of these often deadly diseases was only made possible through widespread, systematic, and ongoing vaccination programs, like this.
Photo from the Minneapolis Public Schools Collection in the Hennepin County Library Digital Collections.
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instructor144 · a month ago
First heard about this new “Mu” variant on the meeting I’m sitting in on right now. It’s onshore here in the States now.
“According to the WHO’s weekly bulletin on the pandemic, the Mu variant “has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape.”“
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route22ny · 2 months ago
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With Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations spiking around the country, dreams of a summer like those many us had in mind just a short time ago have faded.
The fully vaccinated have been told to resume wearing masks indoors. Companies and institutions are leveling vaccine mandates. And some municipalities are requiring people to show proof of vaccination to get into restaurants, bars, and gyms.
Confusion abounds about what is safe to do. (For the unvaccinated, there’s no confusion about what’s most important to do: Get immunized.)
To try to cut through the fog, STAT contacted three dozen epidemiologists, immunologists, and other infectious disease experts around the country to see how they are navigating the risk of Covid in these uncertain times. Twenty-eight responded.
STAT didn’t ask these experts to explain how they would advise others. Rather, we asked them to answer 10 questions — saying yes, no or only if masked — about their own willingness to engage in various activities, assuming they were vaccinated.
Their answers suggest that, with the highly transmissible Delta variant spreading, caution prevails. Those who know viruses best aren’t buying many movie tickets, and most aren’t eating indoors in restaurants.
But in other ways, responses diverged. And at least one expert suggested that geography really does matter when it comes to his own comfort level. Naor Bar-Zeev, a statistical epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, declined to respond to all but one of the questions, saying answers are highly dependent on the circumstances of a place.
“In a place where most people are unvaccinated, or otherwise at high risk, and where there is active transmission, I should act more conservatively and with greater caution, even though I am protected from disease,” he said. “In a place where most people are vaccinated, and there is low transmission, one can be more permissive.”
Let’s unpack their answers.
Of the questions, only one earned a unanimous response: “Would you send your unvaccinated child to school without a mask?”
“Lord, no,” Paul Offit, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, replied. “NO!!! As a parent and a pediatrician, that is a terrible idea,” wrote Andrew Pavia, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Utah.
None of 27 people who answered this question expressed a willingness to send an unvaccinated child to school without a mask. Carlos del Rio, a professor of epidemiology and global health at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, said he’d withdraw an unvaccinated child from a school if it didn’t have a mask mandate.
Children under the age of 12 cannot yet be vaccinated as none of the vaccines has been authorized for use in this age group.
The other school-related question — “Would you send your vaccinated teen to school without a mask?” — drew almost as fervent a response, with 24 of 26 saying no.
Ellen Foxman, an immunologist at Yale University, was one of the exceptions. “Yes, if the high school had a high vaccination rate/low Covid transmission rate and my family had no high-risk personal contacts,” she wrote. “If the school required all students and staff to be vaccinated, I would have no problem whatsoever with no masks.”
Pavia gave a nuanced answer for his support for masks for vaccinated teens. “If the vaccinated kids don’t mask, the unvaccinated are unlikely to mask and there is a risk of bullying. Masks for all is much more likely to work,” he wrote.
Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, said he not only wouldn’t allow a vaccinated teen to go to school without a mask, he’d demand the teen wear an N-95 respirator. Cloth face coverings aren’t enough to combat Delta, he insisted.
Shane Crotty, an immunologist at La Jolla Institute of Immunology, said he’d send teenagers to school with masks, but would be okay with them taking them off around friends outside of school or during an outdoor lunch break.
When the experts were asked whether they would eat indoors at a restaurant, responses were slightly more mixed. More than half of respondents said no, but six said they would, or would in off-peak hours, and three more said they would do it but would wear a mask when they weren’t eating.
Saad Omer, director of Yale’s Institute for Global Health, said he would eat indoors in a restaurant that required customers to show proof of vaccination. “I generally feel safe indoors in a restaurant as long as underlying community transmission is low and I’m eating with other vaccinated people,” wrote John Brownstein, an epidemiologist and chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital. “However, I always prioritize eating outside where possible.”
That approach no longer seems viable to Syra Madad, senior director for the special pathogens program in the NYC Health + Hospitals network. “More than 95% of Americans live in areas of high or substantial community transmission so it’s no longer a matter of ‘Yes, I’ll eat indoors if I’m in an area of low community transmission,’” she wrote.
It seems like we’re over DIY hair — or so the answers to the question of whether the experts would go to a hairdresser or a barber shop would suggest.
All but four respondents said they would go to a hair salon or barber at this point even if they didn’t know the vaccination status of other clients. And even one of the four more cautious respondents allowed that she might consider it. “No, but if we are all far apart and there are few people I might with a mask,” said Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious disease physician at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Most people who said yes did so with the caveat that they’d wear a mask. Jesse Goodman, a professor of medicine at Georgetown University, said he would go only if he and everyone else in the place was masked. Akiko Iwasaki, a Yale University immunologist, said she would try to reduce the frequency of visits. But Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, was in favor of professional hair care in general.
“I know how careful my hairdresser has been,” Marrazzo wrote. “She also needs financial support; my hair also needs it.”
Would the experts go to the theater to see a film? Seventeen said no.
“Non-essential,” said Shweta Bansal, whose Georgetown University laboratory studies how social behavior affects infectious disease transmission.
Florian Krammer, an immunologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in Manhattan, believes most people who are fully vaccinated are well protected at this point. He would go to see a movie wearing a mask.
Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease physician and a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, has a different view on Covid risks than some of the other people STAT polled. He (and others) believe Covid is going to become endemic — we’re going to have to learn to live with it. For fully vaccinated people, Adalja said, the risks even from contracting Covid are pretty low.
“That fact makes me comfortable as a fully vaccinated individual without underlying health problems to resume my pre-pandemic life because I am risk-tolerant and I know that if I am to get a breakthrough infection it is likely to be mild,” he said. Adalja said yes to all but two of STAT’s questions; he would not send an unvaccinated child to school without a mask and would not currently give a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
William Hanage, an epidemiologist in Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said he’d happily skip going to the movies, but his wife enjoys going. So he would go, wearing a mask.
There was almost an even split among the experts to the question of whether they would attend a large outdoor concert or sporting event, with a slight edge going to the “yes” side. Most of the 15 people said they’d do it if masked.
Robert Wachter, the chair of the University of California, San Francisco’s department of medicine, said he’d don a mask “if shouting people [were] at very close range.” Jason Salemi, an epidemiologist at the University of South Florida, said he “would not attend a large outdoor concert right now,” stressing the amount of Covid transmission in his state at the moment.
Move a mass gathering indoors and the answers shift. In response to the question of whether they would go to an indoor wedding or other religious service — one where they did not know the vaccination status of the other attendees — more of the experts said no.
Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease specialist and assistant professor in George Mason University’s biodefense program, for instance, would go to an outdoor concert or sporting event, masked. Even with a mask, she would not attend an indoor wedding or religious ceremony.
Emergency physician Uché Blackstock, founder and CEO of the consulting firm Advancing Health Equity, said she’d forgo indoor and outdoor large gatherings at this point.
We asked two questions about travel: “Would you travel to a part of the United States experiencing a surge in Covid cases?” and “Would you go on a non-essential international trip?” Surprisingly, there was slightly more willingness in the group to travel internationally than to domestic Covid hot spots.
In response to the former, Peter Hotez was succinct. “I’m living it,” said the Hotez, co-director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development, based in Houston-swamped Covid-19.
Del Rio, who lives in Atlanta, goes frequently to Miami to visit his son and his son’s family. “I am very careful when I travel,” he said. Since the pandemic began he has twice visited his mother in Mexico, “but at this point I am not going. May go later in the year,” he wrote.
Carl Bergstrom, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington, said he wouldn’t travel abroad now. Not because of Covid directly, but because he might get stuck somewhere if travel restrictions were instituted. Hanage and his family vacationed on Cape Cod this year instead of taking a planned trip to Iceland, for the same reason.
Nahid Bhadelia, director of Boston University’s Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy & Research, said she would not travel to an American Covid hot zone if she could avoid it, but would travel internationally, if her destination had a high vaccination rate and a low transmission rate.
Angela Rasmussen, a coronavirus virologist at the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, said she would travel to a location in the U.S. having an upswing in Covid transmission, but would do it using precautions. As for international travel, “depends where, but masked,” she said.
Our final question was for the physicians in the group was this: “Would you recommend that patients who received the one-dose J&J vaccine get another dose of vaccine?”
Crotty, the immunologist at La Jolla Institute of Immunology, said yes; he tweeted recently about his support for giving J&J recipients an extra dose of vaccine to cope with the Delta variant. “I have had physicians emailing me thanks about my [Twitter] threads on this,” he said.
Megan Ranney, an emergency physician at Lifespan Health System in Providence, R.I., said she’s waiting for guidance from the Food and Drug Administration. “But in the meantime, I certainly wouldn’t judge anyone who does get another dose.”
And Helen Keipp Talbot, a vaccine researcher at Vanderbilt University, pleaded the Fifth. Talbot is a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the CDC on vaccination policy. “No comment,” was her reply.
About the Author: Helen Branswell
Senior Writer, Infectious Disease
Helen covers issues broadly related to infectious diseases, including outbreaks, preparedness, research, and vaccine development.
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physiologicdeadspace · 3 months ago
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Illustration of a girl with Noma by @claire_carswell
Noma, also known as cancrum oris, is a rapidly progressive gangrenous infection of the mouth and nose. It is a neglected tropical disease and mostly affects malnourished children in sub-saharan Africa. It has a mortality rate as high as 90%.
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news-queue · 15 days ago
People who catch flu and Covid at the same time this winter are twice as likely to die than those who only have coronavirus, according to the UK Health Security Agency chief executive, Dr Jenny Harries.
The former deputy chief medical officer for England warned that the UK faces an “uncertain” winter – with both flu and Covid-19 circulating for the first time – and urged people to take up both the coronavirus and flu jabs if eligible.
Asked how worried the public should be about flu this winter, she told Sky’s Trevor Phillips On Sunday: “We should be worried about flu each winter. I think people still don’t realise it can be a fatal disease.
“But I think the important thing about this winter is, we are likely to see flu, for the first time in any real numbers, co-circulating with Covid. So the risks of catching both together still remain. And if you do that, then early evidence suggests that you are twice as likely to die from having two together than just having Covid alone.
“So I think it’s an uncertain winter ahead – that’s not a prediction, it’s an uncertain feature – but we do know that flu cases have been lower in the previous year so immunity and the strain types are a little more uncertain,” she said.
Harries also warned that the UK could have a multi-strain flu this year, with lowered immunity, as last year’s Covid restrictions meant that levels of the virus were extremely low.
She said that on average, about 11,000 people will die from flu each year. “The difference here is because we have, if you like, skipped a year almost with flu, it’s possible we might see multi-strain flu – we usually get one strain predominating,” she added.
Harries said there are four strains of virus in this year’s flu vaccine, after taking advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and looking to countries in the southern hemisphere, where winter and therefore flu season arrives earlier.
“So we’ve got a pretty good array in our toolbox to try and hit whichever one becomes dominant but it could be more than one this year, and people’s immunity will be lower. So I think the real trick here is to get vaccinated in both Covid and flu, but obviously to continue to do those good hygiene behaviours that we’ve been practising all through Covid”, Harries added.
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rjzimmerman · 26 days ago
Excerpt from this story from The Atlantic:
More Americans have been killed by the new coronavirus than the influenza pandemic of 1918, despite a century of intervening medical advancement. The U.S. was ranked first among nations in pandemic preparedness but has among the highest death rates in the industrialized world. It invests more in medical care than any comparable country, but its hospitals have been overwhelmed. It helped develop COVID-19 vaccines at near-miraculous and record-breaking speed, but its vaccination rates plateaued so quickly that it is now 38th in the world. COVID-19 revealed that the U.S., despite many superficial strengths, is alarmingly vulnerable to new diseases—and such diseases are inevitable. As the global population grows, as the climate changes, and as humans push into spaces occupied by wild animals, future pandemics become more likely. We are not guaranteed the luxury of facing just one a century, or even one at a time.
It might seem ridiculous to think about future pandemics now, as the U.S. is consumed by debates over booster shots, reopened schools, and vaccine mandates. Prepare for the next one? Let’s get through this one first! But America must do both together, precisely because of the cycle that Fee and Brown bemoaned. Today’s actions are already writing the opening chapters of the next pandemic’s history.
Internationally, Joe Biden has made several important commitments. At the United Nations General Assembly last week, he called for a new council of national leaders and a new international fund, both focused on infectious threats—forward-looking measures that experts had recommended well before COVID-19.
But domestically, many public-health experts, historians, and legal scholars worry that the U.S. is lapsing into neglect, that the temporary wave of investments isn’t being channeled into the right areas, and that COVID-19 might actually leave the U.S. weaker against whatever emerges next. Donald Trump’s egregious mismanagement made it easy to believe that events would have played out differently with a halfway-competent commander who executed preexisting pandemic plans. But that ignores the many vulnerabilities that would have made the U.S. brittle under any administration. Even without Trump, “we’d still have been in a whole lot of trouble,” Gregg Gonsalves, a global-health activist and an epidemiologist at Yale, told me. “The weaknesses were in the rootstock, not high up in the trees.”
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newyorkthegoldenage · 9 months ago
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A long line winds toward the entrance to Morrisania Hospital in the Bronx, where doctors were giving smallpox vaccines, April 14, 1947. New York City vaccinated more than 6 million people in less than a month.
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cogitoergofun · 8 months ago
Mo’ money, mo’ problems? More like mo’ money, mo’ vaccines. In news anyone could have predicted, it seems well-off and well-connected people around the world are finding nefarious ways to skip to the front of the coronavirus vaccine line.
Exhibit one: Stacey Griffith, a celebrity SoulCycle instructor who has trained Madonna. In New York, you’re now eligible for a vaccine if you’re an “educator”. Who falls under that definition, exactly? Griffith, who yells motivational quotes at her clients from an exercise bike, decided she did. So off she went to Staten Island to get a shot, documenting the adventure on social media like the modern wellness guru that she is. Bless her healthy heart, she appeared to be genuinely surprised at the backlash she received. “It saddens me that people go so dark and mean,” Griffith told the Daily Beast. “I’m really just trying to do the right thing and be safe.” So were a lot of schoolteachers – however, as Griffith was getting inoculated, the United Federation of Teachers estimated thousands of its members had vaccine appointments cancelled because of supply shortages.
Then there is the Canadian casino executive Rod Baker and his wife. The millionaire couple recently broke quarantine and flew to a remote Indigenous community where they posed as local motel employees to get their jabs. I would ask how people like this sleep at night, but I already know: they sleep in fancy neighbourhoods in fancy houses in fancy sheets. They sleep just fine.
The mark of someone who has really made it, of course, isn’t having the means to charter a plane to cheat the system – it’s being invited to cheat by the system. A number of hospitals in the US are under fire for offering early vaccine access to trustees, donors and board members. Meanwhile, moneyed Brazilians are trying to formalise a system where you can pay to skip the line. Private health clinics are negotiating directly with an Indian pharmaceutical company to secure vaccines for their wealthy clients and President Jair Bolsonaro has said he won’t interfere with these plans. You can always trust Bolsonaro not to do the right thing.
Remember how, at the beginning of the pandemic, everyone used to chirp “we’re all in this together!”? You don’t hear much of that any more because it’s embarrassingly obvious we’re not. Watching wealthy people, who have the means to shield from the virus, being vaccinated before many essential workers is infuriating. Even worse is the fact that there’s not much we can do about it. Making it harder to get a vaccine helps no one: better a few undeserving people slip through the net than a single precious vaccine goes to waste.
As for shaming the vaccine queue-hoppers, numerous studies show the “upper class” are more likely to lack empathy and engage in unethical behaviour. In one example, researchers put a jar of sweets in front of people and attached a note stating the candy was to be taken to a child-research laboratory. Participants who thought of themselves as wealthy took twice as many sweets as those who thought of themselves as poor.
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cranquis · 6 months ago
Oh no, is that contagious?
30-something patient with a positive Covid test and a blissful ignorance of the past 12 months.
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