infectious disease

Malaria is a notoriously tricky infectious disease. Because of a unique genetic flexibility, it is able to change surface proteins, avoiding the immune response and greatly complicating vaccine development. Furthermore, the parasite is transmitted by mosquitoes, which are difficult to control. Insecticides work, but mosquitoes can develop resistance to them.

One method widely used to control malaria is for governments or charities to provide families with insecticide-treated bed nets. Overall, this strategy is very successful, and it has been credited with preventing some 451 million cases of malaria in the past 15 years. But bed nets are not successful everywhere. In some parts of the world, mosquitoes develop "behavioral resistance"; i.e., they learn to avoid bed nets by ...

Necrotizing fasciitis, which literally translated means "inflammation of the fascia (connective tissue) causing cell death," is the proper medical term for what is colloquially known as "flesh-eating" disease. The most recent case that made national headlines involved a man who died four days after becoming infected with the ocean-dwelling microbe Vibrio vulnificus

Naturally, public health officials, microbiologists, and journalists tend to focus on how a bacterium can become so deadly. Indeed, as bacteria evolve, they can acquire various weapons (e.g.,...

When some of the public hears about vaccines today, they may think of Andrew Wakefield's fraudulent links to autism or Jenny McCarthy’s use of her Hollywood megaphone to polarize the issue as well as encourage the spread of an anti-vaccine movement.  

Truth be told, for a time public opinion did shift and philosophical exemptions boomed, primarily in states like California, Washington, and Oregon. Preventable diseases blossomed. 

As science stood largely silent, Dr. Paul Offit - Chief of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and long-time trustee and supporter of the American Council on Science and Health - took to the helm to fight the noble battle on behalf of children’s health and safety.  He...

The American Academy of Pediatrics convened a committee to guide clinicians on “Countering Vaccine Hesitancy” among parents. This policy statement, published in the journal Pediatrics, rightly champions vaccination as "one of the greatest public health achievements of the last century."  In a calculated effort not to reduce the conversation to a pro- versus anti-vaccine one, the leading pediatric advocacy body correctly opted to emphasize “vaccine hesitant” as a more precise reflection of the spectrum of parental views toward immunization.  According to a survey they conducted, 75% of pediatricians reported encountering parents who refused vaccines in 2006 compared to 87...

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Occasionally, a rare or unknown microbe rears its ugly head and causes disease in humans. Whether it is due to a previously harmless microbe mutating, a disease of animals jumping into humans, or mankind encountering new habitats (and hence, new microbes), epidemiologists lump these bugs into a broad category called "emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases."

Some of the latest inductees into this nefarious club...

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 12.34.27 PMIn today s Probably Obvious entry, a group from McMaster University in Ontario tells you something that you probably already know, but still ignore.

The group, led by David Earn, Ph.D., a professor of infectious disease and mathematics, reports that when you are sick with a fever from a cold or flu and take medications that lower the fever and make you feel better, you will go to work too soon and infect...

vaccThree major infectious-disease societies said this week that healthcare personnel (HCP) should be required to receive all six vaccines that are recommended for them by the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) something that we at ACSH have been maintaining for years.

The statement was issued jointly by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the Society...

Based on ACSH's special report The Promise of Vaccines: The Science and the Controversy, by David R. Smith, M.D., President, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas

Introduction

If you asked a group of parents to list their greatest concerns about their...