Contagion® Celebrates First Anniversary

Contagion® is celebrating it’s one-year anniversary today, February 7, 2017. As we hit this milestone, we wanted to look back and remember the three articles that launched Contagion® on this day in 2016.

Contagion® is celebrating it’s one-year anniversary today, February 7, 2017. As we hit this milestone, we wanted to look back and remember the three articles that launched Contagion® on this day in 2016.

Red Cross Says No Thanks to Donors Who Traveled to Zika-Infected Countries

The blood donor eligibility criteria just got a little more exclusive with the ongoing Zika virus outbreak.

“As part of our current health screening process, we only collect blood from donors who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation,” Susan Stramer, PhD, vice president of Scientific Affairs at the American Red Cross, said in a statement on February 3, 2016.

The criteria for eligible donors no longer includes those who traveled to Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central or South America within the past 28 days. The mosquito-borne illness has circulated to 24 countries and regions so far, and with officials anticipating it to make the rounds in the United States, the Red Cross is being especially careful with donations. In addition to the deferral for those who recently visited infected areas, the Red Cross asks that anyone who develops Zika symptoms within 14 days of donating notify them immediately. Such symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

Continue reading this article here.

Editor’s Note: An update from the Red Cross reads, “Currently, the Red Cross is conducting blood donor screening testing for Zika virus under an investigational study in five southeastern states in the U.S. (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina) that are believed to be at greatest risk of local mosquito transmission of Zika virus in which our collections occur. In September, we will expand this testing to five additional states (Arizona, California, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.) The Red Cross does not collect blood in Hawaii, Louisiana or New Mexico. We will continue to work closely with the FDA regarding our timeline for implementing testing in all U.S. states as required by the revised Zika virus guidance.

Increases in Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Any discussion about the spread of communicable disease has to include information on the importance of vaccines. Vaccines are one of the most important public health accomplishments of the 20th century. They have had a dramatic impact on reducing the number and severity of communicable disease outbreaks and are a cornerstone of public health and disease-prevention efforts. Several diseases, such as smallpox and polio, have been eradicated in the United States as a result of vaccination efforts. However, many other vaccine-preventable diseases persist, and in cases such as measles, have increased in prevalence because of lowered immunity in the general population.

Vaccines are listed as the top public health achievement of the 20th century. Over the past century, vaccines have been developed to prevent many diseases. Despite this success, however, more than 3 million individuals worldwide die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year. Approximately 1.5 million of these deaths are in children less than 5 years old.

Continue reading this article here.

Editor’s Note: Health officials continue to recommend vaccination as a means of preventing the spread of infectious diseases. A recent mumps outbreak in Washington found that approximately half of the infected individuals never received the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine.

Beards May Hold the Answer to Antibiotics

With antibiotic resistance on the rise and new antibiotics far and few between, the need for novel medications is as serious as ever. But research from the University College London (UCL) may have found an unlikely answer: beards.

“What we’ve done as a human species is to basically coat the world in antibiotics by our overuse and inappropriate use. So, we’ve selected for these resistance mechanisms in the bacteria, so it’s why we’re seeing the problem that we’re seeing now,” Adam Roberts, PhD, a microbiologist from the UCL, said in a news release.

So what do beards have to do with antibiotics? Previous research has shown that beards contained fecal bacteria. The researchers from UCL wanted to confirm if this was true, and so they conducted a study of their own. They did not find evidence of fecal bacteria in beards; however, they took the data to further evaluate different bacteria.

After swabbing 20 beards, more than 100 bacteria growths were identified.

Continue reading this article here.