THE OUTBREAK

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With Americans on edge about the potential spread of Ebola, it is easy to overlook another virus to which we have long been accustomed — influenza. According to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu takes anywhere from 3,000 to 48,000 lives a year in this country, depending on the severity of the disease in a given flu season. But as lethal as the flu can be,… Read More

  With more new cases of measles being confirmed, Alberta health officials have declared an outbreak in Calgary, Edmonton and in central areas between the province’s two major cities. Alberta Health Services issued a warning Tuesday that the highly contagious disease had taken a foothold and that people showing signs of measles – runny nose, fever, cough, a red rash – should stay indoors. On Monday, the AHS announced another case of… Read More

Measles vaccination gaps have stalled efforts to further reduce the burden of the disease, but early results from animal tests suggest that health departments may someday have an oral drug to help knock down outbreaks. The encouraging findings come at a time when health officials in many countries scramble to extinguish outbreaks, most recently in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, California, New York City, and even a cruise ship in Europe…. Read More

ANN ARBOR—Nearly 4 million children under 5 die from vaccine-preventable diseases worldwide each year, and two University of Michigan doctoral ecology students are working to change that. By taking into account seasonal fluctuations in birth rates, massive vaccination campaigns in the developing world could inoculate more unprotected infants and significantly reduce the number of deaths from diseases like measles, according to Micaela Martinez-Bakker and Kevin Bakker of the U-M Department of Ecology… Read More

In a separate report in Pediatrics yesterday, CDC investigators noted just why promoting childhood vaccines is so important, calculating that vaccinating all babies born in a single year would yield $13.5 billion in direct savings and $68.8 billion in total societal savings over the course of their lifetimes. The researchers used data on vaccination coverage, published vaccine efficacies, historical data on disease incidence before vaccination, and disease incidence reported from 2005 to… Read More