influenza

In 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 others.
A new high-dose vaccine against the flu shows evidence of significantly enhanced efficacy for older people. If the CDC vaccine committee agrees, it will become part of the routine program for seniors, and many lives may be saved.
Several societies concerned with countering the spread of infectious diseases issued a call for mandatory immunization of all healthcare workers. They outlined their reasons, but those are quite obvious and this mandate is long overdue, as we here at ACSH have been saying for years.
Flu vaccine still under-utilized, safe, and somewhat effective. CDC estimates millions of serious illnesses have been averted by the shot (and thousands of deaths). Pregnant women remain fearful, but they and their newborns pay the price if their physicians are negligent in not urging them to get vaccinated.
New York City s Board of Health has voted to make flu shots mandatory for preschoolers and daycare admittance. This is set to affect about 150,000 kids. Exemptions, however, look like they ll be readily available. So, if the point is protecting kids and their families, will it really make a difference?
There are exactly two drugs that act as specific antiviral agents against influenza. Both of them (Relenza and Tamiflu) act by the same mechanism by inhibiting the enzyme neuraminidase, which is responsible for cutting free the newly formed virus particles from the host cell. In the absence of neuraminidase, the new viruses will stick to the surface of the infected cell and thus not be available to propagate the infection.
It was a bad idea last month; why publish it again? Mandating flu vaccine for healthcare workers is a no-brainer, the arguments against it are specious. So why did JAMA re-publish the article endorsing masks instead? They protect no one except fearful workers from imaginary dangers, while exposing patients to contagion.
As the federal government shuts down, some CDC and FDA functions will be compromised, and some threat to public health may arise. A JAMA op-ed piece approves of vaccination OR masks for healthcare workers. We disapprove.