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Deadly Measles Complication May Be More Common Than Believed

Posted 28 Oct 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Oct. 28, 2016 – A deadly complication of measles infection may be more common than thought, researchers report. While a case of the measles typically runs its course in two weeks, the virus can sometimes spread to the brain. Once there, it can lay dormant for years before reappearing as a progressive, debilitating brain disorder known as subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), the researchers explained. It was once thought that SSPE affects one in 100,000 people, but the new evidence suggests it strikes those who catch the measles at a young age particularly hard. One in about 1,400 children who get measles before the age of 5 may eventually develop SSPE, as will one in 600 babies who contract measles before they are 12 months old, the researchers suggested. "SSPE is a late complication of measles. People get measles, they get better and then many years later – on average, ... Read more

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Tips for Avoiding Back-to-School Germs, Illnesses

Posted 23 Sep 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Sept. 23, 2016 – Kids and germs seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. But, there are ways that parents can help protect their kids from the usual barrage of back-to-school illnesses, a health expert says. Make sure children get plenty of sleep and eat a well balanced diet, advises Jacqueline Stout-Aguilar. She's a registered nurse and an assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Nursing. Most kids need at least nine hours of sleep each night, Stout-Aguilar said. It's also a good idea to make sure children get enough vitamin C to boost their immune system, she added. Parents should also teach their children how to contain germs and keep their hands clean. Show kids how to cover their coughs and sneezes with the inside of their elbow or a tissue, Stout-Aguilar said. She said kids must also be taught how to wash their hands properly. "It is important to wash your ... Read more

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Put Vaccines on Kids' Back-to-School List

Posted 21 Aug 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Aug. 19, 2016 – As parents start preparing to send their young ones back to the classroom, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it's a good time to remember that vaccines play an important role in keeping children healthy. So, make sure your child is up-to-date on immunizations and fully protected from diseases such as measles, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough), the agency advises. "Parents should know that vaccines protect children from many serious illnesses from infectious diseases. The risk of being harmed by vaccines is much smaller than the risk of serious illness from infectious diseases," Marion Gruber, director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review at the FDA, said in an agency news release. Most side effects of vaccines are minor and temporary. For example, there may be soreness at the injection site or a child may develop a mild fever. ... Read more

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Vaccine Refusal a Driving Force Behind Measles Outbreaks, Study Finds

Posted 15 Mar 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, March 15, 2016 – A look at recent measles outbreaks in the United States finds more than half of the cases involved unvaccinated children. Vaccine refusal was also often the culprit in whooping cough (pertussis) outbreaks as well, according to the new study. "When vaccine refusal rates are high, the rates of measles and pertussis are higher," said researcher Dr. Varun Phadke, a fellow in infectious diseases at Emory University in Atlanta. In 2000, the United States was declared measles-free. But infected travelers returning to the country have caused outbreaks, and unvaccinated children are most at risk, research has shown. This study found that among more than 1,400 cases since 2000, more than half of patients had no history of vaccination. Most had nonmedical exemptions – based on religious or philosophical beliefs – not medical exemptions, researchers said. The report was ... Read more

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Measles Outbreak May Have Swayed Some Parents on Vaccines

Posted 8 Feb 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 8, 2016 – The measles outbreak that first began in California's Disneyland last year may have changed some parents' minds about childhood vaccinations, a new study suggests. Researchers found that parents with "high awareness" of the outbreak were more likely to voice confidence in vaccines, compared to parents who were surveyed about their vaccination views shortly before the outbreak. They also gave more support to state laws mandating childhood vaccinations, according to findings published Feb. 8 in the journal Health Affairs. Those shifts came only among parents who felt well-informed about the measles outbreak – which eventually spread from California to other U.S. states, Canada and Mexico, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But only one-quarter of parents in the survey were that well-informed. In fact, only around half were aware that ... Read more

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Ah-Choo! Sneeze 'Cloud' Quickly Covers a Room, Study Finds

Posted 23 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 23, 2015 – Just in time for cold and flu season, a new study finds the average human sneeze expels a high-velocity cloud that can contaminate a room in minutes. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) came to that conclusion by analyzing videos of two healthy people sneezing about 50 times over several days. It's well known that sneezes can spread infectious diseases such as measles or the flu, because viruses suspended in sneeze droplets can be inhaled by others or deposited on surfaces and later picked up as people touch them. But it wasn't clear how far sneeze droplets can spread, or why some people are more likely to spread illness through sneezes than others. In a prior study, the team led by MIT's Lydia Bourouiba found that within a few minutes, sneeze droplets can cover an area the size of a room and reach ventilation ducts at ceiling height. ... Read more

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Many Americans Traveling Abroad Lack Key Vaccinations: Study

Posted 9 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Oct. 9, 2015 – Many Americans traveling overseas are not immunized against highly contagious diseases, new research shows. Outbreaks of certain infections – such as measles and hepatitis A – could be prevented if more U.S. travelers got the recommended vaccinations, the study authors said. "Americans planning international travel should see their health care providers or visit a travel clinic four to six weeks before the trip, to learn what vaccines are recommended before heading to their destinations," said study author Dr. Emily Hyle. She is an instructor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "Many travelers don't realize their risk of exposure to infections, and that many can be avoided with vaccination," Hyle explained in a news release from Infectious Diseases Week, the annual meeting of specialists in infectious illness. The study ... Read more

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1 in 8 U.S. Kids Not Protected Against Measles: Report

Posted 8 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Oct. 8, 2015 – In a finding that underscores the dangers of not vaccinating all children for measles, researchers estimate that one in eight American children are vulnerable to this highly infectious disease. The statistics are even more troubling for younger children: Almost a quarter of those under the age of 3 are susceptible to catching measles. "We simply cannot take our eye off of this disease," said Dr. David Kimberlin, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who was not involved in the study. "These new data show that we have not done as well with this as we should." Lead author Robert Bednarczyk is an assistant professor of global health and epidemiology from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta. He and his colleagues analyzed the results of a national survey of immunizations among U.S. ... Read more

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More Parents See Benefits of Vaccines, Poll Finds

Posted 6 Jul 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, July 6, 2015 – American parents' views about childhood vaccines became more favorable over the past year, a new poll finds. During that time, a number of measles and whooping cough outbreaks made headlines across the country, the researchers noted. "Over the last year, there have been high-profile news stories about outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough. These news reports may be influencing how parents perceive childhood vaccines across the country," Dr. Matthew Davis, director of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll, said in a news release. Davis is also a professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. "Outbreaks of disease can safely be prevented through childhood vaccination, but there are deeply held convictions about parents' autonomy and remaining concerns ... Read more

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Anti-Vaccine Parents Cluster in Rich, White Areas

Posted 3 Jun 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 3, 2015 – Parents who cite "personal beliefs" to get their children exempted from routine vaccinations are typically white and well-to-do – at least in California, a new study finds. The results, published June 1 in Pediatrics, confirm what other studies have suggested: Anti-vaccine sentiment in the United States appears strongest among wealthier white families. But the study also found another pattern that surprised experts: California schools with high rates of personal-belief exemptions often had high rates of exemptions for medical reasons, too. "There's no clear explanation for why that would be," said Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, who was not involved in the study. But the concern, he added, is that some children exempted for medical reasons could be put at risk if their classmates are not vaccinated against ... Read more

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Infectious-Disease Expert Debunks Common Vaccine Myths

Posted 12 May 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, May 12, 2015 – A small minority of people still distrust the safety of routine childhood vaccinations, but one expert says the myths that swirl around vaccines are easily dismissed. "Both parents and doctors have the same goal, to keep a child healthy, and the best way to keep a child safe is through vaccination," said Dr. Nadia Qureshi, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Loyola University Health System in Chicago. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccines have saved more than 732,000 lives in the United States over the past two decades. But misconceptions about these simple but crucial health care interventions persist. One major myth is that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism, said Qureshi, who is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at Loyola University. "This myth began in 1998 when an English surgeon ... Read more

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Measles May Weaken Immune System for Up to 3 Years, Study Contends

Posted 7 May 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, May 7, 2015 – New research suggests that children who survive a measles infection remain vulnerable to other potentially deadly infections for as long as two or three years after the measles infection. The finding is yet another reason for children to get vaccinated against measles, the researchers said. A measles infection appears to wipe out the memory cells of a person's immune system, which the body uses to recall how to fight off all the bad bugs encountered day-to-day, said study lead author Michael Mina, a postdoctoral infectious disease researcher at Princeton University. Without that immune memory, children post-measles are at greater risk of contracting pneumonia, encephalitis and other infectious diseases. The measles even seems to wipe out immunity children gain from vaccines against other infectious diseases, Mina said. However, due to the design of the study, ... Read more

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Microneedle Patch Might Boost Global Measles Vaccination Rates

Posted 28 Apr 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, April 28, 2015 – A microneedle patch may be an easier, safer and more convenient way to vaccinate more people worldwide against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases, new research suggests. Being developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Institute of Technology, the small patch is lined on one side with 100 tiny needles made of polymer, sugar, and vaccine. These microneedles are less than a millimeter long and are pressed into the skin with a thumb, the CDC researchers said. A study conducted by the CDC and Georgia Tech showed the patch produces a strong immune response in rhesus macaque monkeys without adverse effects. That finding cleared the way for trials involving people by 2017, the researchers said. "Each day, 400 children are killed by measles complications worldwide. With no needles, syringes, sterile water or sharps ... Read more

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California Declares Measles Outbreak Over

Posted 17 Apr 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, April 17, 2015 – The California measles outbreak that began last December at two Disney parks was officially declared over Friday by state health officials. A total of 131 people in California were diagnosed with measles during the outbreak, according to the state's Department of Public Health. However, additional cases were reported outside of California, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that the latest total in the outbreak was 159 cases. "We are pleased this outbreak is over, but caution that measles can be reintroduced in California at any time when an infected person brings it to the state," Dr. Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health, said in a news release. "The best defense for protection against the highly infectious measles is vaccination." The outbreak reignited a debate over the anti-vaccine movement, ... Read more

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Calif. Measles Outbreak May Be Coming to a Close

Posted 16 Apr 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, April 16, 2015 – A measles outbreak that began last December at two Disney parks in California will officially be over if no new cases are reported by Friday, state health officials said. According to the California Department of Public Health, a total of 134 people in California have been diagnosed with measles since the outbreak started. However, additional cases were reported outside of California, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday that the latest total in the outbreak was 159 cases. Since the outbreak began, a debate over the anti-vaccine movement has been reignited, because a significant number of people infected had not been vaccinated against the highly contagious disease or had only received one dose of the vaccine that protects against measles. Two doses of the vaccine are recommended. According to the CDC, over 80 percent ... Read more

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