Thursday, February 27, 2014

KISS 2/27/14 Good and bad measles news

1. PSA: If you work in a cancer center, get your MMRs

A research student at the Hillman Cancer Center infected with measles has exposed 300 co-workers and cancer patients to this highly contagious disease. 15 unvaccinated colleagues have been asked to stay at home until next week, over 100 non immune patients were seen and some have had to be treated with anti-measles immunoglobulins to prevent infection. This is a total nightmare scenario, easily prevented by getting your MMRs. So if you are about to start work in a cancer research center (or hospital, or nursery, or school), or you are planning to travel abroad, check that you have had 2x MMRs. Do not be that index case!

2. Carribean has not seen measles transmission since 2002

Not that I would encourage anyone to travel unvaccinated, but you would be unlikely to bring back measles from the Carribean, as PAHO reports today. Before the establishment of PAHO/WHO’s Expanded Immunization Program in 1977, more than 250,000 measles cases and 12,000 deaths were recorded yearly in the Americas, so this is an amazing, life saving success of measles containing vaccines/MMR.

Monday, February 24, 2014

KISS 2/24/14 Media storm about "polio like illness"

I was just about to write about this, since less than 24 hours after the embargo was lifted on a meeting presentation on a handful of children presenting, over the course of a year, with irreversible paralysis of the limbs, and of whom 2 were found to harbour an enterovirus, the first conspiracy theories have already popped up (this is just polio by another name, yada yada).

However, the Skeptical Raptor has done a perfect job - so please read this

Sunday, February 23, 2014

KISS 2/23 More measles in California

Crowne Hill Elementary reports two more cases of measles amongst the 10 unvaccinated students excluded from the school last week. I wonder whether we'll ever learn how many were patients of Bob Sears, whose practise lies a mere 58 miles from the school?

In any case, let's hope none of the patients have a little sibling in River Springs Charter Kindergarten, 7 miles away, where a whopping 22% of pupils, 117, have a personal belief exemption from vaccination:

Saturday, February 22, 2014

KISS 2/22 : Mostly measles with a side of flu

Since both ScienceMom and I are strapped for time at the moment, I thought we'd try to do a series of short posts on current vaccine related themes - keeping it short and simple KISS.

1. Max is dead

Parents of children with SSPE, the always fatal measles complication, are getting more vocal in their support for vaccines, and therefore, we get to know the names of their children. Max caught measles in late 1994, when he was just half a year old, probably from older kids in his brother's daycare. He recovered seemingly well, but in 2004, 10 years later, he suddenly had memory lapses and was diagnosed with SSPE soon after. In 2006, Max fell into a wake coma - the family took care of him at home as long as possible, but in early January, Max was in such bad, intractable pain that his family placed him in hospice care. They write:

Maxi's condition has constantly worsened over the past weeks. He is barely reacting to his environment and if even he does, he would often start crying and screaming at things that definitely could not cause any pain such as music, wind or when you just caress him.

We are at the end. We cannot get the pain under control, we dare hardly just to touch him. For us parents it means a torture and for Maxi an absolutely intolerable situation. We have therefore decided to give Maxi in the care of a small hospice not far from here. It is a beautiful house, almost like a living community, located in a residential area. We very much hope that they will find the right pain management and that he no longer has to suffer. Today is the day.

Almost nine years of caring for Maxi within his family are coming to an end. We are very sad and it breaks our hearts, but we just can go on no more.

On the 12th of February 2014, Max passed away. Finally. He never had a chance.

2. Increase in measles cases in California

Really, this should not happen at all, however, unvaccinated adults and children are exposing Californians to measles. I wonder whether we'll ever learn whether the Temecula measles case was Dr. Bob's patient, like the patient who started the 2008 San Diego outbreak. As a reminder - check your immunity for measles. If you are not immune, get the MMR.

3. 2013/14 Flu vaccine effectiveness released

The CDC has released the preliminary vaccine effectiveness for this year's flu season (approximately 61%). Tara Haelle at Red Wine and Apple Sauce has summarized the situation in a thorough blog: Flu is really bad this year - and the vaccine's pretty good.