Is leptospirosis, an infection from a bacterium that's transmitted through contact with urine, on the rise among dogs in Utah and Colorado, as headlines declare? Possibly. Maybe an optional leptospirosis shot for the pooch isn't a bad idea.
Vaxart, a biopharmaceutical company, is working on a vaccine for the dreaded norovirus. The company just released its Phase Ib results. Did it work? Our lips are sealed. But here are some thoughts on its chances for success.
Usually, when we have something to say about California, it's bad. After all, this is the state that gave us Proposition 65, a smorgasbord of insane public health policies, as well as 38 seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. But now, the state has done something good. In fact, very good.
Yes, it's a good idea to go to the doctor every once in a while -- annually, of course, is best. As he or she is prodding about, your doctor might find something rather unexpected. In my case, he found that I'm no longer immune to this disease.
"Things have not gotten as stupid as they are going to get." That was a 2015 tweet from John Tabin, co-host of a podcast called "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Friends." It's fair to say, judging solely by infectious disease stories, that since then his prophecy has been fulfilled several times over.
Unless he has a miraculous change of mind and heart, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will be remembered as a scourge on public health. He'll also be the Kennedy whose words and actions encouraged the spread of not only measles, mumps, and rubella but influenza and cervical cancer as well. What a legacy.
The nine-valent HPV vaccine -- which targets nine different HPV strains -- could prevent about 3 in 4 HPV-associated cancers. However, only about half of all adolescents have completed the vaccine series. If everyone was fully vaccinated we could prevent some 32,100 cancers each year.
Scientific facts and pleas for personal responsibility to protect the most vulnerable among us. Those are the immunocompromised and children too young to be vaccinated. They apparently don't matter to the selfish fools who continue to reject vaccines. These selfish people have blood on their hands, and society has not chosen to hold them accountable.
What explains disparate public health threats such as senseless gun violence and anti-vaxxerism? The answer may come from Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who said that the West had become too focused on personal rights at the expense of duty to one's neighbor.
Since our founding in 1978, ACSH has stood for evidence-based science and health in combination with free markets and individual liberty. We feel that an educated public should be free to make its own decisions without a "nanny state" micromanaging our behavior. Occasionally, however, our guiding principles encounter intractable problems. Today, two of the biggest such problems involve public health.
Scientists from two universities and the National Institutes of Health are developing a vaccine to defeat norovirus' defense mechanism: mutation. By targeting a "conserved region" -- the part of the viral capsid that does not mutate -- they have discovered an antibody that may cover most strains that circulate now, as well as those that might circulate in the future.
Good public health is our passion at ACSH. We want to promote it while simultaneously preserving individual liberty. That's been the goal since our founding in 1978. On rare occasions, however, a heavy-handed approach may be necessary. We believe that's the case for vaccines -- which should be mandatory -- because the right of anti-vaxxers to be sick ends where the public's right to health begins.