News

26/Aug/2017

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Huffington Post
By Sarah Elizabeth Richards
August 24, 2017

On March 31, 2013, the Chinese health ministry quietly notified the World Heath Organization of three mysterious deaths. After developing coughing and sneezing symptoms, the victims’  lungs had filled with fluid, and they died gasping for air. The only thing they had in common was being around live chickens. One victim worked at a poultry market, and the other two recently had shopped at one.

Tests revealed what global health officials had feared for decades: There was a new form of avian influenza. “This strain usually caused mild symptoms like redness of the eyes or low-grade respiratory problems in humans,” said Daniel Jernigan, head of the influenza division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “ We knew it was different and much more severe when it killed three people.”

More than four years later, the virus has spread across southern China and sickened nearly  1,560 people, nearly 40 percent of whom have died. In May, the CDC ranked the influenza strain H7N9 the highest possible threat for viruses at risk of causing a worldwide pandemic ― just a year shy of the 100th anniversary of the Spanish flu outbreak that claimed nearly 50 million lives in 1918.

Although reports of new infections stopped in March, health officials are worried about the virus changing into a form that’s easily transmitted between humans. A new paper published this summer forecast the virus being three mutations away from such a reality.

Read full article >>


14/Aug/2017

FUNGAL AWARENESS WEEK Facebook

August 14–18, 2017, is the first Fungal Disease Awareness Week. CDC and partners have organized this week to highlight the importance of recognizing serious fungal diseases early enough in the course of a patient’s illness to provide life-saving treatment.

Some fungal diseases go undiagnosed and cause serious infections in people in the United States and around the world, leading to illness and death. Increased awareness about fungal diseases is one of the most important ways we can improve early recognition and reduce delays in diagnosis and treatment. A key clue to when a sick person may have a fungal infection is that he or she is being treated with medications for other types of infection but does not get better.

We encourage healthcare providers and their patients to “Think Fungus” when symptoms of infection do not get better with treatment.

Join us in sharing information to increase awareness in your community about fungal diseases. The quicker doctors can diagnose the right illness, the quicker a patient can be treated the right way.

Types of fungal diseases >>


07/Aug/2017

Drought is a natural phenomenon in which rainfall is lower than average for an extended period of time. Periods of drought can result in inadequate water supply and can lead to public health problems. Take action and learn how drought can impact your health and the health of your family.

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Overview

Cycles of drought have affected North America for the last 10,000 years. Droughts can last from a single season to many decades and can affect from a few hundred to millions of square miles.

Drought can affect areas or communities differently depending on several additional variables. These variables include:

  • the structure and capacity of existing water systems,
  • local governance of water use,
  • economic development,
  • the at-risk populations living within the affected area, and
  • other societal factors, such as the presence of local social networks.

Severe drought conditions can negatively affect air quality. During drought, there is an increased risk for wildfires and dust storms. Particulate matter suspended in the air from these events can irritate the bronchial passages and lungs. This can make chronic respiratory illnesses worse and increase the risk for respiratory infections like bronchitis and pneumonia.

Public Health Implications

The health implications of drought are numerous and far reaching. Some drought-related health effects are experienced in the short-term and can be directly observed and measured. However, the slow rise or chronic nature of drought can result in longer term, indirect health implications that are not always easy to anticipate or monitor.

The possible public health implications of drought include:

  • compromised quantity and quality of drinking water;
  • increased recreational risks;
  • effects on air quality;
  • diminished living conditions related to energy, air quality, and sanitation and hygiene;
  • compromised food and nutrition; and
  • increased incidence of illness and disease.

MORE INFORMATION ON DROUGHT AND YOUR HEALTH FROM CDC >>


02/Aug/2017

From the CDC:

Use Insect Repellent

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the active ingredients below. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

CDC-insect-repellent-ingredients-GRAPHIC

*See EPA’s search tool here.

Tips for Everyone

  • Always follow the product label instructions.
  • Reapply insect repellent as directed.
    • Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
    • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.

Tips for Babies & Children

  • Always follow instructions when applying insect repellent to children.
  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
  • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
    • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
  • Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.

Natural insect repellents (repellents not registered with EPA)

  • We do not know the effectiveness of non-EPA registered insect repellents, including some natural repellents.
  • To protect yourself against diseases spread by mosquitoes, CDC and EPA recommend using an EPA-registered insect repellent.
  • Choosing an EPA-registered repellent ensures the EPA has evaluated the product for effectiveness.
  • Visit the EPA website to learn more.

Protect your baby or child

  • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
  • Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.

More tips from the CDC >>


01/Aug/2017

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Skipping or delaying vaccinations can harm your health—and maybe your grades

If you’re a college student—or soon to be one—making sure you’re fully vaccinated is critically important, especially if you’ll be living in a dorm or other shared space. That’s because large groups of people in close proximity provide the ideal conditions for spreading diseases, including those that are vaccine-preventable.

“Vaccines can keep students from contracting serious illnesses and keep them from missing classes,” says Sarah Van Orman, M.D., the head of university health services at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Keep in mind that your school’s vaccination requirements may not be enough to protect you. Many universities—especially public institutions—follow their state’s requirements, which may not include the full list of vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Bacterial Meningitis
  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis
  • HPV
  • Flu

READ FULL ARTICLE >>


28/Jul/2017

CDC World Hepatitis Day

FROM THE CDC:

Eliminate Hepatitis. For World Hepatitis Day, learn more about the different types of viral hepatitis that impact millions worldwide and what is being done to help eliminate hepatitis.

Viral hepatitis — a group of infectious diseases known as hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E — affects millions of people worldwide, causing both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) liver disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) data show an estimated 325 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis B or chronic hepatitis C. Viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths in 2015, a number comparable to deaths caused by tuberculosis and HIV combined. While deaths from tuberculosis and HIV have been declining, deaths from hepatitis are increasing.

World Hepatitis Day is July 28 th and is an opportunity to learn the global burden of this disease, CDC’s efforts to combat viral hepatitis around the world, and actions individuals can take.

What is CDC doing to help combat hepatitis globally?

Eliminate Hepatitis

The vision of CDC is to eliminate viral hepatitis in the United States and globally. When resources permit, CDC collaborates with WHO and other partners to help countries experiencing high rates of infection prevent and control viral hepatitis. Activities include improving viral hepatitis surveillance and planning and evaluating programs that can expand access to prevention interventions, clinical care, and treatments that can potentially cure millions of infections.

To decrease the burden of hepatitis B infection, CDC provides financial and technical assistance to the WHO and countries’ immunization programs like those in the Solomon Islands, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Pacific Islands, Lao, and Haiti by:

  • Implementing innovative interventions to increase hepatitis B vaccine coverage at birth.
  • Documenting the burden of hepatitis B in children.
  • Supporting countries in verifying the achievement of hepatitis B control and elimination goals.

To decrease the burden of all viral hepatitis types, CDC assists WHO in developing policies for surveillance, testing, and treatment and helps China, Georgia, Pakistan, Vietnam, and other countries develop national programs to implement these policies.

CDC’s international work helps reduce the disease burden for travelers and people migrating to the United States, while identifying best practices that may serve as models for other countries, including the United States.

What are the different types of hepatitis viruses occurring around the world?

The five hepatitis viruses – A, B, C, D and E – are distinct; they can have different modes of transmission, affect different populations, and result in different health outcomes.

  • Hepatitis A is primarily spread when someone ingests the virus from contact with food, drinks, or objects contaminated by feces from an infected person or has close personal contact with someone who is infected. Hepatitis A does not cause chronic liver disease and is rarely fatal, but it can cause serious symptoms. Hepatitis A can be prevented through improved sanitation, food safety, and vaccination.
  • Hepatitis B is often spread during birth from an infected mother to her baby. Infection can also occur through contact with blood and other body fluids through injection drug use, unsterile medical equipment, and sexual contact. Hepatitis B is most common in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, but is also high in the Amazon region of South America, the southern parts of eastern and central Europe, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. The hepatitis B virus can cause both acute and chronic infection, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, chronic illness. If infected at birth or during early childhood, people are more likely to develop a chronic infection, which can lead to liver cirrhosis or even liver cancer. Getting the hepatitis B vaccine is the most effective way to prevent hepatitis B. WHO recommends that all infants receive the hepatitis B vaccine as soon as possible after birth, followed by 2-3 additional doses. In many parts of the world, widespread infant vaccination programs have led to dramatic declines of new hepatitis B cases.
  • Hepatitis C is spread through contact with blood of an infected person. Infection can occur through injection drug use and unsafe medical injections and other medical procedures. Mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis C is also possible. Hepatitis C can cause both acute and chronic infections, but most people who get infected develop a chronic infection. A significant number of those who are chronically infected will develop liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. With new treatments, over 90% of people with hepatitis C can be cured within 2-3 months, reducing the risk of death from liver cancer and cirrhosis. The first step for people living with hepatitis C to benefit from treatments is to get tested and linked to care. There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C but research in this area is ongoing.
  • Hepatitis D is passed through contact with infected blood. Hepatitis D only occurs in people who are already infected with the hepatitis B virus. People who are not already infected with hepatitis B can prevent hepatitis D by getting vaccinated against hepatitis B.
  • Hepatitis E is spread mainly through contaminated drinking water. Hepatitis E usually clears in 4-6 weeks so there is no specific treatment. However, pregnant women infected with hepatitis E are at considerable risk of mortality from this infection. Hepatitis E is found worldwide, but the number of infections is highest in East and South Asia. Improved sanitation and food safety can help prevent new cases of hepatitis E. A vaccine to prevent hepatitis E has been developed and is licensed in China, but is not yet available elsewhere.

Do you need to be vaccinated and/or tested for hepatitis?

CDC is continuing to lay the foundation for the elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat, both domestically and abroad. Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are the most common types of viral hepatitis in the United States. To see if you need to be tested and/or vaccinated for hepatitis A, B, or C, take CDC’s online Hepatitis Risk Assessment, which is based on CDC recommendations for the United States.

MORE FROM CDC ON HEPATITIS >


26/Jul/2017

From the CDC:

Measles remains a common disease in many parts of the world, including areas in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. Worldwide, 36 cases of measles per 1 million persons are reported each year; about 134,200 die. In the United States, most of the measles cases result from international travel. The disease is brought into the United States by unvaccinated people who get infected in other countries. They spread measles to others, which can cause outbreaks.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting infected when they travel internationally.

Before any international travel—

  • Infants 6 months through 11 months of age should receive one dose of MMR vaccine.
  • Children 12 months of age and older should receive two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days.
  • Teenagers and adults who do not have evidence of immunity* against measles should get two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days.

† Infants who get one dose of MMR vaccine before their first birthday should get two more doses (one dose at 12 through 15 months of age and another dose at least 28 days later).

* Acceptable presumptive evidence of immunity against measles includes at least one of the following: written documentation of adequate vaccination, laboratory evidence of immunity, laboratory confirmation of measles, or birth in the United States before 1957.

Get more information on the measles from the CDC >


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Shepard Medical Products has been an industry leader in the field of Infection Protection for the medical and food industries since 1986. Throughout the company’s history, Shepard has enjoyed progressive, steady growth by providing the highest quality, infection control solutions to our customers.

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