Showing posts with label virus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label virus. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

"human behavior is far more important in shaping the course of the pandemic than any variant"

"News headlines and health experts on social media are sounding the alarm over another variant of the coronavirus, this time Delta, claiming it is much more contagious and perhaps more lethal than any other variant seen so far. It’s easy to understand why: New variants of the virus continue to emerge, and cases are rising in many countries. But whether new variants pose a unique or substantial risk is still unknown, and as virologists, we are concerned that misunderstanding variants and the risk they pose can cause confusion and panic.

As the coronavirus spread globally, its genome changed — mutated — as expected for any virus. These mutations may affect the virus’s “fitness,” its ability to reproduce and spread. Some mutations weaken a virus, some have no measurable effect, and some make it stronger.

As a virus becomes more fit, it will outcompete less fit viruses — and Delta is not the first variant that has beat its predecessors and competitors in certain areas. There’s the Alpha variant that first became dominant in Britain, and the Gamma variant that first became dominant in Brazil. Such changes are not unique to the coronavirus. Increased viral fitness happens during every flu season and is why some flu variants may circulate more widely than others.

Just because a variant displaces another does not necessarily mean it is more infectious or more deadly to the people who become infected with it. As has been true for the past year and a half, human behavior is far more important in shaping the course of the pandemic than any variant."
Continue reading the article online (subscription maybe required)
Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos
Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Go Viral Game

"A 5-minute game that helps protect you against COVID-19 misinformation"
Fun and insightful to play. Give it a try. How well do you do?
Note: I share this cautiously. If you don't know or recognize how things do go viral, you will find out. As with any tool, this information can be used for good or not. Your choice. Please make a good one. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Hope, Through History: Episode 3 = The Polio Epidemic


"From the late 19th to mid 20th centuries, the nation lived in fear of the polio virus. Often handicapping or paralyzing its victims, sometimes resulting in death, the disease was made all the more frightening by the fact that it preyed on young children. 
Generations of Americans were affected by this incurable illness until a brilliant young medical researcher, empowered by the coordinated efforts of public and private institutions, developed a miraculous vaccine. 
The expert knowledge and first-hand experiences of Walter Isaacson, David Oshinsky and Geoff Ward, assist Jon Meacham in telling a story which begins with debilitating fear and ends with everlasting hope. "

Listen to the episode here (33 minutes)
Or look for "Hope, Through History" on your favorite podcast app. As an alternative, you can also look for John Meachem. 

Hope, Through History:  Episode 3  = The Polio Epidemic
Hope, Through History:  Episode 3  = The Polio Epidemic

Friday, January 24, 2020

“There are appropriate public health approaches in place"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"The risk to Massachusetts residents is low, but all health care providers must be on alert for the potentially deadly coronavirus.

That message was delivered Thursday by the state Department of Public Health, including information on what doctors should do if patients exhibit possible symptoms of the virus.

Initially detected in December in Wuhan, China, the virus has spread to other parts of Asia, with the first confirmed case in the U.S. announced this week."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

As part of the Franklin Matters Radio series, we just sat with Franklin's new Health Director, Cathleen Liberty for an introductory interview. The interview is the first of a series planned to keep residents informed on health issues like this virus.

For more information on the Health Dept, visit their Town of Franklin page

The January monthly meeting of the Board of Health was recorded and available for replay:

“There are appropriate public health approaches in place"
“There are appropriate public health approaches in place"

Friday, April 5, 2019

In the News: MA has first case of measles this year; Nursing homes closure threatens health care

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

MA has first case of measles this year
"John F. Enders is likely turning in his grave. 
Massachusetts in April reported this year’s first case of the measles, for which Enders created a vaccination more than 50 years ago. The deadly virus is making a comeback across the United States. 
“There is heightened concern,” said Dr. Lawrence Madoff, director of the Epidemiology and Immunization Division at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. “The United States is seeing hundreds of cases this year – way above normal levels.” 
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March said 387 measles cases were reported in 15 states, already exceeding the total from 2018. Massachusetts joined the list on April 1 when state officials reported the first case of 2019, and warned residents of potential exposure in multiple locations, including Braintree, Framingham, Hyannis, Plymouth and Waltham."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

# of measles cases reported by year (CDC)
# of measles cases reported by year (CDC)

Nursing homes closure threatens health care

"Almost three dozen nursing homes across Massachusetts are at risk of closing this year, threatening the ability of senior citizens to access needed care, an industry group warned. 
In recent months, 20 facilities have shuttered, and another 35 could do so by the end of the year if lawmakers do not act to close a $360 million annual funding gap, according to the Massachusetts Senior Care Association. 
MassHealth allocated an additional $25 million last fall to stabilize nursing homes, but the MSCA called for additional investment ahead of a Joint Committee on Elder Affairs hearing scheduled for Monday. 
“It is crucial that we continue this important progress and address the growing nursing facility workforce and funding crisis, which impacts all nursing facilities — not-for-profit, for profit and family owned,” MSCA President Tara Gregorio said in a statement. “However, significantly more is needed in order to prevent many regions of the state from losing core facilities.”

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Monday, September 19, 2016

PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY: 2nd human case of West Nile Virus in Norfolk County

"The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has announced the state’s second human case of West Nile Virus in a 70 year old man from Norfolk County. 
While West Nile Virus can infect people of all ages, people over 50 are at a higher risk for severe disease. 
It is important to note that Massachusetts is still in the peak season for possible West Nile Virus infection. The risk will continue until the first hard frost of the year, which typically occurs in October. All residents are strongly urged to follow the recommendations listed below to protect themselves and their loved ones from illness caused by mosquitoes. 
Apply Insect Repellent When Outdoors: Use a repellent with DEET, Permethrin, picardin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to the instructions on the product labels. Remember not to use products with DEET on infants under two months of age. DEET products in concentrations above 30% should not be used on older children. Oil of eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age. 
Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours: Mosquitos are most active between the hours from dusk to dawn. Limit your exposure out of doors during this peak biting time if possible. If you must be outside, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks will help keep mosquitos away from your skin. 
Drain Standing Water on Your Property: Mosquitos lay their eggs in standing or stagnant water. Drain birdbaths, flower pots, buckets and children’s wading pools frequently. 
Additional public health advisories/alerts regarding WNV and EEE will be provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Franklin Health Department as the situation warrants. 
More information on mosquito-borne viruses can be found at the MADPH Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page at"

This was shared from the official Town of Franklin webpage

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Live reporting - H1N1 Update

Board of Health - David E. McKearney, R.S.

over 1100 confirmed cases, with 11 fatalities in MA
shows an affinity for younger population, those 18 and younger

Have 2 viruses to worry about, (1) the regular seasonal flu and (2) the H1N1 virus

The seasonal flu vaccine will be made available earlier this year

Projecting to have initial does of the H1N1 vaccine here in MA in later October/early November
There will be designated distribution sites for the vaccine

The information available is fluid and changing, as soon as it is updated, it will be spread.

Some of the models for combating the virus are to vacinate the target population, the target population is itself changing. It usually includes the young, pregnant mothers, EMT's etc.

It currently does not include the Police Dept and that has raised some concerns.
Franklin has compiled a listing of medical professionals (over 40 thus far).
If we qualify, we could become a designated distribution site at no cost to the community.

Need to formulate the plan in detail (fire dept, school nurses, medical volunteers, etc.)

To hit the targeted school population (over 8000 including Tri-County and the Charter school). We could have a capacity of doing about 400 per hour. The one item we may not be able to control is the actual amount of vaccine we will receive.

Q - Since there have been very few deaths with this versus others, is there something they are not telling us?
A - I share your concern. The numbers don't tell much. However, mixing this virus into a larger population, along with the seasonal flu could mutate in ways we have not seen. There is a great deal of preparation on this. There is a lot of literature on this. We have been preparing for a pandemic for some time.

Q - Is there some place that medical professionals that they should register with.
A - We got a listing from the State a while ago, we sent out a mailing to all the known professionals. We did it a second time a couple of months ago. We yielded more in the second pass. They can reach out to us at the Board of Health. The information is available on the web site.

Q - Are you reaching out to the other Town departments to coordinate the effort.
A - Yes, we have been reaching out to all the departments with regular meetings. The Superintendent of Schools has been participating regularly. All the standard procedures (covering your cough, basic hand hygine, etc.)

Nutting - We have an emergency management team meeting regularly. We had discussed different items, hurricanes, other storms,and recently have been dealing with the H1N1. Maureen and her folks are all over this.

Q - Where do we actually get the vaccine?
A - The State gets it from the Federal level, then the State will distribute it locally. We are supposed to get plenty but if the distribution supply is interrupted, then things could change. We take direction from the Department of Public Health. It is a bit daunting but when you break it into bits, it becomes more manageable.

The vaccine is strictly voluntary. We are not mandating anything.

Q - How much testing is there being done? Is it safe?
A - I cdon't have a definite answer to that. It has been fast tracked. It is getting pilot studies with humans.

Q - If MA gets 2 million by November, will they use the one million and save the other one for the second round.
A - No, at this point they have been told to utilize the vaccine and not to hold it for the second pass.