Prepared Citizens

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  • Previous Posts

  • Michael Osterholm Quotes:

    “What we need to be doing now is the basic planning of how we get our communities through 12 to 18 months of a pandemic.”

    “Ninety-five out of 100 will live. But with the nation in crisis, will we have food and water? Are we going to have police and security? Will people come to work at all?”

    “It's the perfect setup. Then you put air travel in and it could be around the world overnight.”

    “We can predict now 12 to 18 months of stress of watching loved ones die, of wondering if you are going to have food on the table the next day. Those are all things that are going to mean that we are going to have to plan -- unlike any other crisis that we have had in literally the last 80-some years in this country.”

  • US Health and Human Services

    Secretary Michael Leavitt

    "If there is one message on pandemic preparedness that I could leave today that you would remember, it would be this:

    Any community that fails to prepare with the expectation that the federal government or for that matter the state government will be able to step forward and come to their rescue at the final hour will be tragically wrong,

    not because government will lack a will, not because we lack a collective wallet, but because there is no way that you can respond to every hometown in America at the same time."
  • Joseph C. Napoli, MD of Resiliency LLC

    "I think a new meaning is evolving for resiliency and resilience.

    In some contexts the words are being used to mean the strength to resist being impacted by an adverse event rather than either the “capacity to rebound” or “act of rebounding” from adversity.

    Therefore, resiliency and resilience appear to be assuming the meaning of fortitude, that is, “the strength or firmness of mind that enables a person to encounter danger with coolness and courage or to bear pain or adversity without despondency” as defined in the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary.

    If so, we are coming full circle with science accepting a religious moral virtue – fortitude – as written in the Bible’s Book of Wisdom"




  • Faith Based Resources

    John Piper
    Jonathan Edwards
    Reformation
    Pink-Saving Faith
    Pink-Christian Ethics

    "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves"
    (2 Corinthians 13:5).

    Why Faith Groups Must Care

    When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper

    Stand

    Be Not Afraid
    Overcoming the fear of Death
    by Johann Christoph Arnold







    While I am not a professional journalist, I do embrace the code of ethics put forth by the Society of Professional Journalists and the statement of purpose by the Association of Health Care Journalists and above all else I strive to "do no harm".


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  • Definitions

    from Wikipedia



    Pandemic Influenza


    An influenza pandemic is an epidemic of the influenza virus that spreads on a worldwide scale and infects a large proportion of the human population.

    In contrast to the regular seasonal epidemics of influenza, these pandemics occur irregularly, with the 1918 Spanish flu the most serious pandemic in recent history.

    Pandemics can cause high levels of mortality, with the Spanish influenza being responsible for the deaths of over 50 million people.

    There have been about 3 influenza pandemics in each century for the last 300 years. The most recent ones were the Asian Flu in 1957 and the Hong Kong Flu in 1968.



    Seasonal Influenza


    Flu season is the portion of the year in which there is a regular outbreak in flu cases.

    It occurs during the cold half of the year in each hemisphere.

    Flu activity can sometimes be predicted and even tracked geographically. While the beginning of major flu activity in each season varies by location, in any specific location these minor epidemics usually take about 3 weeks to peak and another 3 weeks to significantly diminish.

    Individual cases of the flu however, usually only last a few days. In some countries such as Japan and China, infected persons sometimes wear a surgical mask out of respect for others.



    Avian (Bird) Flu
    Avian influenza,

    sometimes Avian flu, and commonly Bird flu refers to "influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds."


    "Bird flu" is a phrase similar to "Swine flu", "Dog flu", "Horse flu", or "Human flu" in that it refers to an illness caused by any of many different strains of influenza viruses that have adapted to a specific host.

    All known viruses that cause influenza in birds belong to the species: Influenza A virus.

    All subtypes (but not all strains of all subtypes) of Influenza A virus are adapted to birds, which is why for many purposes avian flu virus is the Influenza A virus (note that the "A" does not stand for "avian").
    Adaptation is non-exclusive.

    Being adapted towards a particular species does not preclude adaptations, or partial adaptations, towards infecting different species.

    In this way strains of influenza viruses are adapted to multiple species, though may be preferential towards a particular host.

    For example, viruses responsible for influenza pandemics are adapted to both humans and birds.

    Recent influenza research into the genes of the Spanish Flu virus shows it to have genes adapted to both birds and humans; with more of its genes from birds than less deadly later pandemic strains.

    H5N1 Strain


    Influenza A virus subtype H5N1, also known as A(H5N1) or simply H5N1, is a subtype of the Influenza A virus which can cause illness in humans and many other animal species.

    A bird-adapted strain of H5N1, called HPAI A(H5N1) for "highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of type A of subtype H5N1", is the causative agent of H5N1 flu, commonly known as "avian influenza" or "bird flu".

    It is enzootic in many bird populations, especially in Southeast Asia. One strain of HPAI A(H5N1) is spreading globally after first appearing in Asia.

    It is epizootic (an epidemic in nonhumans) and panzootic (affecting animals of many species, especially over a wide area), killing tens of millions of birds and spurring the culling of hundreds of millions of others to stem its spread.

    Most references to "bird flu" and H5N1 in the popular media refer to this strain.



    As of the July 25, 2008 FAO Avian Influenza Disease Emergency Situation Update, H5N1 pathogenicity is continuing to gradually rise in wild birds in endemic areas but the avian influenza disease situation in farmed birds is being held in check by vaccination.

    Eleven outbreaks of H5N1 were reported worldwide in June 2008 in five countries (China, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam) compared to 65 outbreaks in June 2006 and 55 in June 2007.

    The "global HPAI situation can be said to have improved markedly in the first half of 2008 [but] cases of HPAI are still underestimated and underreported in many countries because of limitations in country disease surveillance systems".





    Pandemic Severity Index


    The Pandemic Severity Index (PSI) is a proposed classification scale for reporting the severity of influenza pandemics in the United States.

    The PSI was accompanied by a set of guidelines intended to help communicate appropriate actions for communities to follow in potential pandemic situations. [1]

    Released by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on February 1, 2007, the PSI was designed to resemble the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale





    From the Massachusetts Health and Human Services



    Isolation


    refers to separating people who are ill from other people to prevent the spread of a communicable disease.



    Quarantine


    refers to separating and restricting the movement of people who have been exposed to a communicable disease and are not yet ill.
  • Additional Information

    Creative Commons License
    Prepared Citizens by Catherine "Jackie" Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
    Based on a work at http://www.preparedcitizens.org.




    The posts on this site are subject to change. Mostly due to errors in spelling or grammar. I never said I am a professional journalist. I have new appreciation for the job that they do. Also, not all comments made by others will make it onto this site. Comments that advertise a commercial product do not get posted most of the time.


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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

The Next PlanFirst Webcast Is Scheduled

Posted by preparedcitizens on January 20, 2009

Mark your calendars: Wednesday, January 28th at 2 PM

planfirst

And this webcast on Pandemic Influenza is somewhat of a mystery. I am sure that it will be interesting and timely.

Previous PlanFirst Webcasts are located at the PandemicFlu.gov/AvianFlu.gov website located here as well.

Other videos and webcasts are located at the website.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has done an excellent job of keeping this citizen informed about avian flu and the preparedness that needs to get done in order to be ready for a pandemic.

 

I have said this before, I struggle with the preparation part of all of this. It takes a long time to get ready. Slowly but surely I am reaching some goals and I have to set new ones all of the time.

So if the budget is tight like mine please don’t hesitate to prepare.

I know that when you first hear about a pandemic what it truly means takes some getting used to but I have found that action is better than inaction. Truth be told, we have been preparing for over four years and if you were to look around my house you would never know it. We buy “twosies” of everything but lately we have been eating what we buy. So my goal now is to purchase “threesis” of essentials and cut back on non-essentials. There really is no room for failure here so I just keep plugging at this.

Sometimes I fear that if I delay, I will run out of time and my family won’t have what we need to endure. We do have some of the basic disaster essentials, it is the food that is a challenge (remember to rotate what you do purchase…at first I didn’t. I made that mistake so I will pass along the tip.

But I digress…..

 

There is a good deal of information at the Pandemic Flu website that helps to understand just what a pandemic is, stockpiling, workplace and individual preparation…and so much more.

For leaders in a community there is the “Take the Lead” page, also an excellent resource!

I hope that you make it to the PlanFirst Webinar!

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Posted in HHS, Public Health | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

It is the season for colds, flu, and strep – Do Not Ignore A Sore Throat

Posted by preparedcitizens on January 13, 2009

Type A Strep with Toxic Shock Syndrome is a serious disease. School and health officials are doing a good job in their diligence to control the spread of this within the school. While one case does not an epidemic make, this is a good reminder for us to pay attention to what is circulating in our communities and how we respond when these illnesses occur. Vigilence and diligence are the key words and this community has both.

My prayers are for the young student and his family and prayers of thanks to a proactive town in following up and being diligent.

Here is the recent headline of this story from East Bernstadt, Kentucky

Mystery Disease of Local Student Diagnosed

Posted: 9:31 PM Jan 13, 2009
Last Updated: 9:31 PM Jan 13, 2009
Reporter: Dara Rees
Email Address: dara.rees@wymtnews.com

School officials say doctors have finally diagnosed an East Bernstadt student’s illness. The school’s principal says the seventh grader from Laurel County has “Type A Strep with Toxic Shock Syndrome”.

School custodians started taking extra cleaning precautions last week when the student first became sick. School officials say they are cleaning every day and even between classes to make sure the school is safe for students.

School nurse Ronda Bundy says, “The doctor said there were no additional precautions to be taken, to proceed as you normally would.”

The custodial staff at East Bernstadt say they have cleaned every surface they think a student could come in contact with, using commercial grade cleaners.

“The desks have been bleached, we mopped with a lot of extra bleach, we went through lockers, we did the carpet areas, we did an extra cleaning on the carpet areas, water fountains, doorknobs. Inside, outside doorknobs!” says custodian Rosemary Callahan.

Classmates created cards for the boy and his brother who also attends the school. Some students then asked teachers if they could join together to pray for the family.

“The kids have mostly been in school with the student for a number of years and they just want to voice their concerns. And since they can’t go to the hospital and bombard the hospital, we’ll just get together and offer prayer and thoughts on his behalf,” says Principal Jim Meding.

He says there are no other students in the school with the same symptoms.

Principal Meding says the seventh grader is still in serious condition, but he believes after weeks in the hospital, the student will recover.

 

Just a reminder – a sore throat should be cultured by a physician early.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

 

 

Posted in Public Health | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

From Me To You: About Weathering This Storm

Posted by preparedcitizens on January 12, 2009

Sometimes issues just seem to pick us. I never really set out to learn all there is to know about influenza, bioterrorism, infectious diseases (and I certainly have not even come close to achieving that end)….this life path just opened up somehow and I find myself trudging along trying to avoid the potholes and major obstacles that crop up from time to time.

My friend Debi @ A Pandemic Chronicle pointed us to an article written by Peter Sandman, another highly respected gentleman whose writing I have been fascinated by over recent years. He is a personable gentleman who is down to earth and he really knows risk communication.

I read what my fellow bloggers had to say today, even the Reveres weighed in, and DemFromCt @ Daily Kos had a wonderful article, Helen Branswell, Mike at Avian Flu Diary, (as I referenced in my previous post) and I am sure, though I haven’t checked yet, Crawford Kilian has had some wonderful insight.

I had to push back from my pc and take a breath.

There is a profound dialogue going on here.

An equally profound message is working its way through the many posts on the subject by all of us. None of us are claiming any expertise, not that I am aware of. I think that for the most part what we are trying to convey here is a message of deep caring and concern for our fellow man and we are all healers of a sort trying to prevent tragedy. So maybe I shouldn’t be putting words in my fellow flu blogger’s mouths. They do an excellent job on their own. But this is the impression that I have of all of them. A deep caring and commitment to their readers. And the fact is, we may not always get our messaging right but when you read between the many lines of flowing dialogue a caring heart of shows through.

Not one person, and I know most of these folks personally as friends, wants to “get it wrong” not one wants to add to anyone’s burden or stress. Not one would want to harm a single hair on anyone’s head and all of them are doing their utmost to educate and inform because each and every one of us know that this imparted information can be a benefit to you, the reader.

On my end, and for my contribution, I have to work very hard at understanding these technical studies so that I can attempt to convey what I think they are saying in order that I can translate that into some sort of workable action on our parts. I may not be so good at this. But what I try to do, what “voice” I try to have, is the one where I am explaining what I am reading to my better half, my husband, and my family and how if we do *A* we many not feel the effects of *B*.

This has been an ongoing effort by a great many people in greater “flublogia”, as we like to call ourselves, and we reside all over the globe. We have come together in order to think through some of these issues that will eventually effect us all.

So if I get any part of this wrong, if I misspeak, or misunderstand, and then misadvise, please know that I have done so with no ill will and certainly no intent to hurt a single person.

When it comes to advice, I really have no sure way, no certain path to see our way through a pandemic let alone a flu season. All I can do is point to the issues and who is speaking about them. I can tell you what advice I am taking and why and this by no means should be taken as my advice to you or an admonishment to you for not doing what I have chosen.

There is value in awareness and education. But I learn from each of you as much as you hopefully learn from me.

Onward, Upward and thanks for reading,

Catherine

Or as my friends know me as “Jackie”

Posted in H5N1, Public Health | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Biosurveillance: Why A Head’s Up Approach Is Crucial To Saving Lives

Posted by preparedcitizens on January 11, 2009

Google has realized that what people are searching for on the internet may be an early indication of what people are experiencing in any given area. Knowing this information may give us the first clue that a pandemic has begun. Certainly information from Google is not the only criteria, many other indicators are in place already. A sudden surge in purchases of over the counter medication in an area, a surge in emergency room visits, etc, these are all variables, things that experts are monitoring in order that we may all know when the best time is to hunker down. But how will that information reach the rest of the population if no one is really paying attention? And will this information be divulged to a largely unprepared population? Certainly, if we are not ready to receive the information it may not. Panic is something that no one wants to trigger. All the more reason for those of us in the general public to be prepared to receive this information.

For better of for worse we live in the information age. It is time that we put that information to use. It is time to make all the tools that are at our disposal work for us especially in regards to an infectious diseases outbreak or bioterrorism event. Information alone will not cause panic. What causes panic is information combined with unpreparedness. If we are ready to hear the news, while we may have some fear, we won’t become paralyzed in our fear.

Ah but it all seems so silly to prepare our homes for influenza to strike. I know this is what I think sometimes and I admit to thinking on occasion “why bother”. But it is this very inclination which will be our undoing. I have been getting a lot better at this preparedness thing. It took me admitting to myself that we are living in a dangerous world and I so much wanted our world to be the same as it has always been. And it no longer is. The balance of power IS shifting, there are groups of people who do want to wipe us off the map, and there are crazies out there who will commit suicide in order to kill as many people as they can. If these are not reasons enough for someone to prepare, then we add on top of this the threat of yet another influenza pandemic.

In order for me to not panic I had to ask tons of questions of the experts. I had to read report after report in order that I could understand so I would not panic. And I no longer feel as though I am on pins and needles waiting for something bad to happen. But I have grown up and grown into this new lifestyle….reluctantly. Now that I am here I try to encourage others to get “here” too. On hindsight, it wasn’t all that difficult. I just have never been that good at change.

A friend of mine is an expert in biosurveillance. You can read his blog here.

What the big question is….

Do you want to be given a head’s up if something major comes our way if that head’s up will increase your chances of survival?

I am working under the assumption that  “YES” anyone would want a head’s up and I am working my fingers to the bone in order to assure that head’s up for my readers. There are a few of us out here actively engaged in solving this problem.

So please prepare so that when the heads up comes you can hunker down and not go out there to start to prepare.

You can vote in my poll at polldaddy http://poll.fm/r4y3/

Posted in Prepare, Public Health | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Drawing Fire and Ire: The Tower of Babel All Over Again

Posted by preparedcitizens on January 3, 2009

The Tower of Babel – The height of human arrogance. The height of disrespect toward God.

Bruegel the Elder's Tower of Babel

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come (Matthew 24:37-42).

 

Let’s look again. Pre-flood people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage….the were not aware of the evil that was overtaking them.

In Genesis 10 we learn of a post flood world. The sons of Noah have spread out across the globe. The very genealogies point to the time of the gentiles and the time of faith in Christ Jesus. (Genesis 10:8-14).

The rise of Nimrod, a violent man who forced submission, persecuted the innocent, and took everything for his own. His arrogant desire was to rule all of the world. Do you see this mystery at work in the world today? Do you see what I see?

So Nimrod built his tower, his tribute to the arrogance of man.

Josephus wrote of this time…

Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it were through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness.

He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power…

Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God; and they built a tower, neither sparing any pains, nor being in any degree negligent about the work: and, by reason of the multitude of hands employed in it, it grew very high, sooner than any one could expect; but the thickness of it was so great, and it was so strongly built, that thereby its great height seemed, upon the view, to be less than it really was.

It was built of burnt brick, cemented together with mortar, made of bitumen, that it might not be liable to admit water.

 

When God saw that they acted so madly, he did not resolve to destroy them utterly, since they were not grown wiser by the destruction of the former sinners; but he caused a tumult among them, by producing in them diverse languages, and causing that, through the multitude of those languages, they should not be able to understand one another.

The place wherein they built the tower is now called Babylon, because of the confusion of that language which they readily understood before; for the Hebrews mean by the word Babel, confusion…

Is that not what we are attempting today? Yes, I think so. All that we do apart from God is the very bitumen, brick and mortar in this great tower that is being built. The quasi religious theories and humanistic approaches that are embraced by man but not centered in God’s will for man. It is God who we must obey, that is what is healthy and beneficial for us. And that we are straying ONCE AGAIN….

This is the great mystery that must be revealed.

So add AI to the machines, allow them to learn, put all of our intelligence into the public domain, all music, art, thought, and teach it to the machines that we have built and presto Babel is built. Or so we think….for surely it will not last.

No testament to the arrogance of man has ever withstood the ire of God (thankfully so).

The “days of Noah” ended with a confrontation between good and evil, God being good and idolatry being evil. So continue to build this idol, this testament to man’s inability to be like God. Truly our days are like the days of Noah and the days of his sons too.

Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See, Yahweh is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer. In that day, Yahweh will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea. In that day– "Sing about a fruitful vineyard: I, Yahweh, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it (Isaiah 26:20-27:3).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So to all who hear the cry of the overcomers…the hour may be next, a year or five, ten or twenty away but His hour will come.

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions (Matthew 24:42-47).

"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. "At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out. "’No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. "Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ "But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour (Matthew 25:1-13).

Those who do not have their oil…the door will be closed. The Lord will not know you, as He does not know you now. You fear, you mock, you hate, you think these words foolishness, you do not know Him. Are you buying into the lies of the postmodern “progressive” world who thinks that they can make concessions with “the world”. Those who mocked and hated Him when He was with us, that spirit, that arrogance is still alive in the world today….and they will hate us.

But we do not hate, but love in Truth, we have found and kept to the very narrow way?

"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him" (Luke 12:35-40).

That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows (Luke 12:47).

Are you watching?

Are you ready?

Are you afraid to be mocked and hated by many? Overcome that.

Be ready to enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you. When He comes you can immediately open the door for Him.

What a glorious privilege it has been to be able to point to the Master who will come.

 

Stand firm, stand fast, and prepare the way, for our Master is truly coming.

 

Posted in Christianity, Public Health | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rejoice! Hope Exists and We Can Defeat Fear

Posted by preparedcitizens on January 2, 2009

Show me where an orthomyxoviridae as expressed in H5N1 has developed a new trait.

Mutations plus time plus chance does not prove evolution. There is evidence of neutrality not evolution.

H5N1 has not generated *new* genetic information as it has marched across the globe. And natural selection still fails to prove the existence of evolution in that a new and bolder species has not self-generated or been spontaneously created. Nothing new has emerged.

This is not to say that natural selection does not favor a shift in adaptability to a human host. H5N1 may still cause a pandemic but a loss of information through genetic mutation may yet still be demonstrated when it does.

More and more I am growing increasingly aware that the zoonotic orthomyxoviridae enhance the human H1s, 2 and 3s rather than mutate into strains that infect humans. (…just my pet theory).

To prove evolution a new species with new traits must spontaneously create itself. H5N1 has not done so to date.

Human behavior can alter the outcome. The use of non-pharmaceutical interventions can alter the impact and course. We are not being held hostage by nature and the worse threat that we face is what we do, and do not do for each other.

Complacency and apathy is the worst thing right now. Preparedness and vigilance is a God given strength. We are close to the brink of utter desolation because of our own behavior. *We* are our own worst enemies. Especially when we deny the One who created all and controls all.

He is a jealous God. And by that what is meant is that He loves us and He wants us to love Him back without elevating anything else to His level. The jealousy of God is not the same as human jealousy. It is a perfect jealousy that is meant for our good.

To deny the gift, to hide our head in the sand, is an affront to the One who gives us this peace of mind, this hope, this joy, this peace. We are His, He loves us, He wants the best for us and it is us who deny Him, not the other way around.

We can do this! We can help others! God does not want us to cower in fear.

Prepare Now! Prepare with Joy and Hope!

Prepare Deeply.

Do Not Fear.

Posted in H5N1, Preparedness, Public Health | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Cease and Desist All Experimentation On Children

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 30, 2008

This latest study to cross my desktop got my dander up BIG TIME!

Here we are discussing the safety of tried and true vaccines with a hint of concern over the possibility that some children predisposed to having a reaction to vaccines that have been in use for decades and then this….

Safety, Humoral and Cell Mediated Immune Responses to Two Formulations of an Inactivated, Split-Virion Influenza A/H5N1 Vaccine in Children

<snip>

“Participants

Healthy children, aged 6 months to 17 years, were recruited at two centres in Bangkok, Thailand between June and September 2007.

Before enrolment, each child’s parents (or other legal representative) provided their written informed consent and each child aged 7 years or older provided written informed assent.”

<snip>

I wonder how many of these children were “wards of the state” and how many were the children of the wealthy and/or well educated. Even with parental permission there is NO justification for the experimentation on children. NO JUSTIFICATION WHATSOEVER.

These children cannot give informed consent. Children are not the property of the state OR even their parents. And even though such experimentation may ultimately save the lives of many more children NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO DECIDE FOR THEM and at 7 years old they simply do not have the intellectual capacity to fully understand the implications of what they are doing.

I don’t care how much we think that we need a vaccine, and a vaccine is mighty attractive, one must not be created like this.

Sanofi Pasteur should be ashamed. I wonder just how much experimentation on those whose voice is a whisper or non-existent is going on today.

Posted in Children, Public Health, Vaccine, World Health Politics | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

It’s Not Too Late

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 29, 2008

Flu season is upon us but it is not too late to get a flu shot. And this years flu shot is a very good match to what is circulating.

It takes about 2 weeks for the shot to kick in so if you were already exposed prior to the shot you may still get the flu. The flu shot itself is made from dead viruses which cannot reproduce in the body. The flu shot does not make you ill. (If you are allergic to egg based products the flu shot is probably not for you. If you have had a severe reaction to any vaccine in the past, you should consult your doctor before taking a flu shot or other vaccines.)

This is also about not spreading influenza to others.

Another reason to get a flu shot:

A study at the University of Texas at Houston under the direction of Cardiologist S.Ward Casscells demonstrated that….

“Time and time again, we were seeing people in our practice who had had an upper-respiratory infection and then suffered a heart attack. When we dug into the literature, we saw reports that many heart attacks, as many as 35 percent, were preceded by an upper-respiratory infection. We also saw that patients who had received their flu shots were less likely to have a heart attack.”

Subsequent studies at other major universities have corroborated this report.

And then….if you don’t get the flu you won’t get the secondary complications of the flu either and they also can be deadly. Flu is dangerous and anyone who has truly had influenza will tell you that they do not want to experience it again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My daughter came home the other day and told me that she went and got her flu shot. What a relief to know that this household is now covered. (…..now to encourage the rest of my family and friends)

American Lung Association Flu Clinic Locator

Maxim Health Systems Flu Shot Locator

In Massachusetts: MassPro Flu shot locator

 

 

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Vaccines: What Are People Really Saying?

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 24, 2008

Countless reports have been published this flu season alone of how much vaccine is going unused.

What comes to mind when you read these reports?

  • Do you automatically assume that those who do not vaccinate are ignorant?
  • Do you automatically assume that their behavior is unnecessarily placing others at risk?

If you do, you are making dangerous assumptions and also elevating your own standards at the expense of others. I believe that we must put others first. This works for vaccinating and the flip side is that it works for not vaccinating. (oh the moderation of it all — simply beautiful wisdom.)

There are plenty of very intelligent people in this country who have concerns about what we are injecting into our bodies, drinking in our water, eating in our food, and breathing in our air. It isn’t God’s creation that we are finding fault with, it is man’s intervention into that creation. And plenty of people have concerns about a growing trend, the reliance on technology in our lives. As I sit here on a wireless laptop listening to my own radio station speaking to hundreds perhaps thousands of people it is hard to see the downside to this…but there is always a flip side…always.

As I have said, I am a vaccinator. I have also appreciated and recognize the advances that are being made in medicine but I also see some danger.

The point of this post is not to harp on what I see as ethical and moral considerations of the use of science and technology in medicine or other areas of our lives, my focus is on what people are saying by their actions. They do not trust, nor do they see the benefit, of some of what is being offered as a benefit to their health and to the health of others in their immediate environment who their lives and decisions have an impact on. How their decisions drive our thinking, that is the thrust here. And that is where I feel a stone burdening my heart.

In the face of extreme pressure will we always respect others freedom to refuse medical treatment or vaccination? I look to some extremes…the forced sterilization and reproduction laws in China are, in my humble opinion, a human rights abuse. And this is dissimilar to the fight to abolish abortion and infanticide the world over. In the first case does a government have a right over the womb when what issues from it, a beautiful child made in God’s image, is a burden on a government? In the second case, the rights of the unborn, who have no voice, are the focus. The choice was made at and leading up to conception, after that point the child must be afforded all the rights under our constitution.

So the question remains and it must be asked now, before a pandemic, before a bioterrorism attack, this is “pre”paredness.

Will the right to opt-out of vaccination, the right to refuse medical treatment, always be respected even when that refusal will have an impact on our neighbor, other family members, our communities. And will the rights of those who refuse be further infringed upon by other measures under our current isolation and quarantine laws?

The heart walks a fine line and history does repeat itself. Different issues, similar responses because as human beings, right or wrong, we generally have the same fears.

So even though, up to THIS point I have been a vaccinator and an encourager of vaccination in it’s current state, this may not be true in the future. Advances in techniques are increasingly ethically precarious and I want the right to refuse without fearing the strong arm of the law by, for instance, being interned over my decision. The internment of the Japanese was not that long ago and I do not think that we adequately addressed this as a country.

It is time to revisit what we have done in the past before we walk so boldly into the future.

Posted in Health, Public Health | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

Merry Christmas

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 24, 2008

There was once a man who didn’t believe in God, and he didn’t hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays — like Christmas.

His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked him to come, but he refused.

“That story is nonsense!” he said. “Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That’s ridiculous!” So she and the children left, and he stayed home.

A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm.

He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening when he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then another thump. He looked out, but couldn’t see more than a few feet.

When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been thumped on his window.

In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn’t go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter.

They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed.

The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It’s warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm.

So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside.

But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn’t seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.

The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away.

He went into the house and came with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread crumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn’t catch on.

Now he was getting frustrated.

He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn.

Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe.

“Why don’t they follow me?!” he exclaimed. “Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?”

He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn’t follow a human. “If only I were a goose, then I could save them,” he said out loud.

Then he had an idea.

He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese.

He then released it.

His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn — and, one by one, the other geese followed it to safety.

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind: “If only I were a goose, then I could save them!”

Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. . . . “Why would God want to be like us? . . . “That’s ridiculous!”

Suddenly it all made sense.

That is what God had done.

We were like the geese–blind, lost, perishing.

God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us.

That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized.

As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought.

Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come. Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm.

He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer: “Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!”

–Author unknown

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Drug Resistance Translates Directly Into An Impact On Lives

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 22, 2008

This is a bit of a personal post because mostly it is a very public reminder to myself that drug resistance is not just a medical term. Drug resistance translates directly into increased impact on those who become very ill with influenza. This directly translates into more lives lost.

So searching my heart I ask what response *I* should have to this development?

I am very aware of my virological footprint. Unlike some somewhat nebulous concepts for my mind to grasp I DO know that protecting others by concentrating on my own germ hygiene is the kindest and best thing that I can do.

Note to self:

I will remember to sneeze and cough into my sleeve at the crook of my arm…and then

I will wash my hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer so as to not spread viruses to surfaces that others will touch.

If I do use tissues, I will dispose of them very carefully.

If I am ill or think that I am becoming ill I will stay home and away from others.

If someone in my household is ill I will stay home and take care of them without going out and spreading illness.

If anyone is ill at Christmas, even at Christmas, we will not “mingle”.

I will be aware of other’s viruses so that I do not expose my unvaccinated friends and loved ones.

(and I will remember to be joyful about this even though this is hard to remember to do and I don’t like thinking this much about these extra hygienic measures.)

I think that I will make up even more tips for myself and post them on the fridge to remind myself.

Maybe it’s just because I am getting old but I am needing lists more and more <sigh>

 

Share Life, Not Viruses!

 

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Why Public Health Activists Urge Preparedness

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 21, 2008

A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of a story that is important to focus on. Thank you Babcom.

Traffic Jam Dampens Holiday Spirit
by Casey J. Bortnick
Published Dec 20, 2008

Wedged in between two potential snow storms local shoppers saw Saturday as their last day to get their holiday shopping done. Thousands of people and their cars packed area malls and shopping centers. The results were long lines, and that’s just for those lucky enough to get in.

Those who went to the Eastview Mall were greeted with bumpers, brake lights, and frustrations.

"Traffic seems to be a mess. I hope some people are getting some shopping done. I’m not one of them right now," said Michael Shanley.

"Just waiting, I’ve wasted a lot of time. And I’m hungry!" Patty Stoutz exclaimed.

Eastview expected a large volume of holiday traffic Saturday. But shoppers didn’t expect to be stuck in the parking lot for as long as three hours.

"I don’t know why they don’t have more county cops out here trying to direct the traffic better," said Bill Benge.

The Ontario County Sheriff’s Department did call in re-enforcements. But with thousands trying to get in and out, deputies say there was only so much they could do.

"As you know the roads can only handle so many cars at a time, and it ended up being a huge logistical night mare for us and mall security," said Deputy Bob Green.

The traffic was so bad that the county’s 9-1-1 system was overloaded with angry shoppers calling from the Eastview mall parking lot. Green says cellular service in the area was briefly knocked out.

"It’s a story of too many cars trying to occupy a smaller area at the same time," Green said.

Cell service was restored and in the end, sheriff’s deputies say it was more of an inconvenience than a safety concern. After a long wait some left with a valuable lesson for next year.

"I’m going to go much earlier, I don’t know if it’s the snow that messed everything up or what? But it’s ridiculous," said Benge.

"You can’t move, can’t get out of the car, and you can’t find a parking spot. It’s easier to shop on the computer at this point," Shanley said.

No accidents or injuries were reported, but deputies say the overload of the 9-1-1 system could have been a serious problem. They urge those stuck in traffic to call 9-1-1 only in the case of an emergency.

This report is an example of what will happen at the outset of a public health emergency when the public is largely unprepared. And it won’t happen in one place, it will happen everywhere. And it won’t happen with such order because it won’t be holiday shopping that is being done, it will be life and death preparedness.

This is what planners across the country have discussed over the years about the higher category pandemic, other infectious disease outbreak or major terrorist attack possibilities….

When the real panic does occur, how long will it last? Hours, days? People will realize that there is nothing because of the reports that there is nothing.

~~~~~~~~~~

After the stores are emptied people will go home and try to stretch out what they have. When their supplies run low, hunger (and thirst, and cold) will drive those who are well but possibly exposed and contagious out to search and beg from extended family, friends, and neighbors. What else can they do?

Those who are ill, may be gravely ill. There may not be any medical care available at this point either because supplies at hospitals and clinics are limited too.

First people will try to color within the lines. They will call the social service agencies and churches in their area. When they realize that those agencies have nothing for them because so many are in that same position who have tapped the well dry already, then they will search out other resources. What that happens the real “panic” will set in. Hunger, thirst, cold, these are the extremes that will cause people to act much differently than they do now.

The real panic is like what happens when someone is drowning. I have experienced that panic as a lifeguard and it is terrible. In the victims fear they WILL pull you down too. It isn’t because they want to kill you, you are their lifeline, it is because at some point extreme fear causes an irrational response. There are times, as a lifeguard, that we have to swim away and wait for the victim to stop thrashing. And we have to plan our approach carefully or both victim and rescuer will die.

As citizens we can’t need the lifeguard. The more prepared that we become as a society, the more we will not need the lifeguard. We have to learn to swim safely alone.

There are skills that a crucial to learn. Purchasing resources and learning how to watch the dates on the products we use. How to store them safely and inventory them….it takes practice and more thought than we are used to.

In the West we have grown too used to being able to think about something we want and jumping in the car to go and get it (even purchasing it on credit rather than with cash).

These practices will not serve us well in the days ahead.

And unfortunately, the “lifeguard” may not make it in time….thousands and thousands will be in need of rescue.

When we have to deal with a pandemic or other outbreak of widespread illness, or a dirty bomb attack, or any other situation that may require us (and we will WANT to) stay in and away from trouble.

The truth is no one knows “when” and “if” has fallen away from the dialogue.

A religious man is on top of a roof during a great flood. A man comes by in a boat and says "get in, get in!" The religious man replies, " no I have faith in God, he will grant me a miracle."

Later the water is up to his waist and another boat comes by and the guy tells him to get in again.

He responds that he has faith in god and god will give him a miracle. With the water at about chest high, another boat comes to rescue him, but he turns down the offer again cause "God will grant him a miracle."

With the water at chin high, a helicopter throws down a ladder and they tell him to get in, mumbling with the water in his mouth, he again turns down the request for help for the faith of God.

He arrives at the gates of heaven with broken faith and says to Peter, I thought God would grand me a miracle and I have been let down."

St. Peter chuckles and responds, "I don’t know what you’re complaining about, we sent you three boats and a helicopter."

I am a firm believer in God’s miracles and I also firmly believe that Jesus took a boys lunch and fed the multitude. I am not discounting God’s abundant provision or His ability to do anything that He wants to do in our lives. He is sovereign and of that I have no doubt.

Sometimes the miracles that God does are so common to us as to be almost unrecognizable.

Perhaps reading this post will cause you to prepare which will be the blessing that you needed in order to be prepared for the days ahead.

What a blessing we can be when someone comes knocking on our door and we have the provision to share with them because we, and so many others, have prepared. When we who can are not a burden to the system there will be no panic, no need, no hunger, no thirst and the social agencies will not be overwhelmed because people who could, did.

 

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Don’t Leave To Others What We Must Do For Ourselves

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 20, 2008

My town, my wonderful town, is really working hard at a disaster response plan. Jeremy Bedson presented his pre-disaster mitigation plan and it was tabled until May 2009. And for good reason. Our cities and towns are not capable of being our answer in a disaster of any magnitude. They can be of assistance, they can be a resource, but they cannot be our answer….and we cannot be their burden.

After years of thinking about this issue I ask myself what I expect from my town as far as “a response” is concerned. As a citizen of this town I expect an attempt at resilience. The town itself must not *fall* even though some of us will. I expect information, honesty, transparency, and a request for *my* assistance when it is needed. I do expect that those in town employ continue to do their job *as they are able*.

What I don’t expect from my town…care, feeding, clothing, shelter, security, medical care, or anything else that I know that I will have to do for myself in an extreme emergency where town employees themselves will be in danger. I recognize these things as blessings and not rights.

So call me crazy. I do appreciate every effort that this town is making on my behalf and on the behalf of every resident. Jeremy, Kathleen, Lorri, Judy, and others, are doing a stand up job and they should be applauded. But this resident and this residents family is not looking for support from or sustenance from a town who simply cannot provide it now or in the future.

What I *do* hope for in my dream of dreams…is that every resident of this town is aware of the dangers and risks and the need to seek their own solutions in order that they can mitigate their own problems ahead of time, the inabilities of the town to come to our aid in a disaster of any large magnitude, and the knowledge that our town’s resilience, may in the end, depend largely on all of us.

I pray for a happy and healthy New Year for us all.

 

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WHO: Addressing Ethical Issues in Pandemic Influenza Planning

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 16, 2008

DISCUSSION PAPERS

 

The World Health Organization has released this 119 page collection of discussion papers regarding ethical issues in pandemic influenza planning. I cannot tell by the website when this was released for public consumption or even when the information was compiled into this form. It definitely is an important source of information for those interested in ethical considerations regarding infectious disease outbreaks and how they will be responded to by a world body.

Experts in the subjects of law, public health, ethics, WHO staff and country representatives were brought together into working groups to discuss the major issues that we will face in the days ahead.

The topic headings…

  • I Equitable access to therapeutic and prophylactic measures – prepared by chairperson Marcel Verweij of Utrecht University (Netherlands)
  • II Isolation, quarantine, border control and social-distancing measures – written by Larry Gostin, chairperson
    of the working group on “Isolation, quarantine, border control, and social distancing” and Ben Berkman, both of Georgetown University
  • III The role and obligations of health-care workers during an outbreak of pandemic influenza – prepared by chairperson Ross Upshur of the University of Toronto (Canada)
  • IV Pandemic influenza planning and response – transnational issues for governments – prepared by Robert Archer, chairperson

I am just getting into the meat of this document now but I highly recommend it.

 

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Compensation for Culled Poultry, a Recipe for Starvation

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 16, 2008

From the headlines, the track record for compensation has not been good. And as Debi points out at A Pandemic Chronicle, this is a major humanitarian crisis. Humanitarian crisis. Sometimes the words we begin to use take us a degree of separation from the real impact on people. People do not want their food taken from them, this I can understand. People don’t want their livelihood stripped from them, this is what is happening.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Paltry compensation for culled birds sparks fresh cases of bird flu in West Bengal

May 11th, 2008 – 8:53 pm ICT by admin –

Sukna (West Bengal): While officials in West Bengal blame residents for the outbreak of the bird flu virus, resident complain that they are not being compensated enough for the culled birds.
Veterinary workers started culling thousands of backyard poultry to contain an outbreak of bird flu in the region, which has struggled to control the virus since January, but then they say that the residents are not cooperating.
“The response that we are getting is not good. People are still eating the chickens. The problem is that they are not earnest and they are lying. It is only when we tell them that the police raid them that they begin to cooperate,” said Samir Rai, Block Livestock Development Officer.

<snip>

The rest of this story is here.

Compensation yet to reach villagers
The Statesman, India – 15 hours ago
15: Compensation of Rs 500 to each family whose backyard poultry were culled in March this year in English Bazaar town, following outbreak of Bird Flu is

The rest of this story is here.

We in the west are uniquely situated. We can both prepare for what is coming AND help those who are being impacted by this first.

The fact of the matter is that without the government of India adequately compensating their people and in a timely way, there will be many empty stomachs in the houses of India.

Even at a time when we want to conserve our own personal resources there is so much more that we can give to those in need. The answer to this question remains to be seen, will we become isolationists now that the worlds people have largely grown to hate us in the US? For me, this is the time when we open our arms and our hearts wider. Just my 2c.

 

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Do You See What I See

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 15, 2008

The Final Judgment

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.

Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 

And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.

‘ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them,’Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.

‘ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’  Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

“Sick”, “least of these”….”did not minister” to them……this is what we are doing to Him.

Anyone who knows me, knows that this is about the biggest affront to my heart that there is. That is when the Holy Spirit is grieved, rejected, maligned, abused – I have to turn away. I have to wipe the dust from my feet and move on.

“First, do no harm”, here is that tried and true principle that we have almost always accepted in our society. Not only are we not ministering to the least of these, we are killing the least of these. Most assuredly just as we crucified Christ in our sins and deeds we are doing it again by proxy and in some cases being the beneficiaries of the actions of those who are doing so.

THIS IS OUR LEGACY

Going in to battle with the plagues, pestilences, and trouble all over the world which is ahead, this has been our recent track record. What we do now has everything to do with what we will do in the days ahead.

I hope that this awareness makes others as uncomfortable as it made me when it hit me like the 2×4 that it is. Yet, I suspect many will think of this as just a little more foolishness from a “religious buffoon”.

So why not just let it all out.

Abortion, is an attempt at control.

For those faced with the dilemma….don’t believe the lies and don’t fall prey to the believing that abortion is good for you, a kindness to your ill baby, a burden lifted from your family, or from your life.

Abortion is not giving you freedom, it is about enslaving you.

Abortion isn’t an answer to your problem it is ensuring the death of those just like you in the future, your children. You are  flushing your future down the drain, literally. Your ancestors and your progeny are being wiped out with a sure swipe. This IS the lie that you are believing – that it is all okay to do. You are being lauded a hero for making a tough decision and putting others first when in actuality that decision needed to happen quite a bit sooner.

But know this, if you fall prey to the lie there is a way back, there is always a way back – until the door is closed. Jesus Christ loves the humble and contrite and I know this for a fact.

Abortion puts an end to all the unwanted and imperfect among us…so in the future society will breed a better human.

This is so patently obvious.

What is desired…a tanned, multi faithed, raced, world citizen who is androgynous or bisexual and promiscuously given over and open to all pleasure, and who will never, ever, think outside of the box. A human being who will not be at war with anyone because he is all of them and he will probably speak a form of Euro-speak, a blend of all tongues and languages, and will bow down to the king of the world, a leader who best models that ideal — truly a “world citizen” will be one who does not honor the God proclaimed differences between us.

Difference does not mean we have to be at war or uncivilized toward each other.

And there will always be a remnant who will not be God denying.

So maybe I should write science fiction but that is not too far off from the description of the beast of Revelation and the world that Daniel 3 and 4 describes.

All of our collected works, our efforts, our human heart apart from God, well, Qohelet put it best in his cry…”all is futile under the sun”

Is it our hedonistic pursuit of pleasure which matters in the end?

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone.” ~Ecclesiastes 12:13

Abortion has been with us as a source of grief in every society for a very long time. Probably since we left the garden. But never before has the world made it a pleasing and acceptable practice.

The world over, abortion was considered by most as a shame or a blight upon the society it was found in. It has always been a social issue to solve – not encourage and turn a blind eye to.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Spina Bifida was an early target in the US campaign. Under the auspices of saving these children from a life of pain and suffering we tested, genetically counseled, and scared parents away from embracing their imperfect but still very lovable and meaningful children. A terrible, terrible, heartbreaking disease, yes, but not one that should have ever been a cause to kill the child in the womb.

There are lives, short and/or painful as they may be, that stand as a testimony to a loving, yes loving, God who has compassion on ALL of His creation.

Look to some of those considered to be the least among us, there lives can and have been a testimony to all that God can do amazing things when we allow Him free reign in our lives.

I am sure Joni Eareckson Tada would tell you that a life lived in suffering can also bring a life of wonderful joy and peace. Joni reminds us to…

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.”
–Ephesians 6:7-8

And yet there is a push on to eliminate the least among us. The crippled, the diseased, the infected, the maimed, the incapable, the starving, the poor, the destitute, the drug addicted, the homeless, the prostitutes, even the faithful, the artists, and the Jews – there is simply no room for them in the inn.

I am sure that I am on the list of cast-offs. Be that as it may, I do not care one bit for my own skin.

I do care more about what brings glory to God. What is God honoring, is doing what is in His word.

“‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ ~ Matthew 25:45

The Godly wisdom and advice of my life is to do great kindness to those who ARE truly the least of these – they have no power, they have no voice and increasingly no one to defend them.

What are we doing for and to the least of these? Our society, our world, is attempting to eliminate them. The reason that “the poor we will always have with us” because they are the evidence of who we are by how we treat them – all over the world.

“Heap coals of kindness upon your enemy”.

If you still believe the lie you have come to accept…remember…no one will be able to stand against the lie of the society of the future. There will always be one more group that does not fit in, and they will keep on getting eliminated by the majority who are uncomfortable with their presence. This IS an abomination.

THIS is what we have opened the door to, this is what we must stand against. Not against the woman who has bought into the lie, against the crime itself.

For the woman, and the man, there is forgiveness in Christ Jesus.

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Turning A Blind Eye To The Suffering Of The Innocent

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 15, 2008

I am not insensitive to the many situations where a pregnancy can be dangerous, inconvenient, heartbreaking, mind-testing. I thankfully have not experienced this testing. I am not condemning the woman who has been tested in such ways. I am not the judge of her heart or her actions. I am not here to condemn anyone. How can I condemn a heart when I know the forgiveness of God that gives me great joy and peace.

But I can condemn what we do as a society, and what we allow as the law of this land.

Our new President, Barack Obama, so strongly puts himself behind abortion rights that he does not see anything wrong, in fact he supports, POST BIRTH ABORTION. [see: Washington Post Article]

There are so many scenarios that put us to the test, put our feet to the fire. As women, as human beings, we are constantly being challenged to grow through things that sometimes seem at the time impossible to live through. Yet we endure and sometimes grow and shine despite the challenges that we have faced. Sometimes we even begin to see the absolute blessings that have come because of these challenges in life.

Rather than experience the tough stuff though, we have a tendency to look for the opt out clause in everything. This is human nature I suppose. We don’t want to suffer, we don’t willingly choose to suffer for the sake of someone else. We largely forgotten the absolute magnificence and God glorifying act of laying our will down to God and our life down for another.

We have the example in our soldiers willingly will lay down our lives for us when they choose to fight in distant lands but even today that is not being discussed as much. These men and women leave their country, their loved ones to answer a call of duty so that we can remain safe here. And sometimes I think that we have become hardened to this truth. I know that I don’t remember to pray for our troops in harms way every single day, much to my shame. I am trying to correct that now. I am remembering to pray for our country and our new president and administration coming in to power.

If I have forgotten some of these good things it is not hard to see how I, we, have also become hardened to other even less pleasant deeds.

The truth is, the tendency of human nature is to harden the heart to what hurts us. It is far easier to put these discussions on a back burner. It is far easier to let someone else decide these major issues. We rely on the advice of doctors, politicians, and leaders who, in some cases, have proven to be morally corrupt. Is there anyone we can trust anymore? Do I even trust myself? I HAVE to go back to the timeless truths of the Bible because nothing in human nature is trustworthy, even myself.

We opened the door to abortion and now euthanasia, the horrors and completely legal abuses that can and will result from opening these doors is potentially massive in scope. And the flow is flooding inward toward us.

I mention “first, do no harm” a great deal, and with a reason. What is true for an infant will ultimately, at some point in the future, be true for masses of human beings. A pandemic will bring out the best and the worst in all of us. To not get this right now, will be are undoing later. Fear of the ill and infected will be a fiery furnace for us all, “first, do no harm” must be in all of our thoughts.

Is there value to ALL human life? The sick and dying, do they have value. The Down’s Syndrome infant, born alive, breathing and kicking. Does this child have value? Do you have value if you have complications from the flu like encephalitis lethargica or other life altering and socially burdensome effects? There is value to all human life and this must be set in stone.

Discount me as a “religious” bumbling fool, for if I am wrong that is what I am, but I am willing to stake my life on this “foolishness”.

I value the timeless, constant, and valuable word of God that has proven itself over and over as worthy. My college attending family members pick up textbooks written today that are full of spelling and grammatical errors. What other errors are being perpetuated in these books? Find me an error in the Bible, it cannot be done, although not everyone has heart and eyes open to see the hidden truths. The invitation remains open to all who are called to Jesus Christ. And this Christmas, especially, the call to recognize that baby in the manger as the Messiah is so strong, perhaps as a blessing to us before the Holy Spirit is taken from the world. I see Him in evidence more and more every day.

How we treat the least of these is how we treat Him.

Widows and children, how do we treat them today?

With increasing euthanasia and infanticide.

From wikipedia

Abortion – In the 18th–19th centuries various doctors, clerics, and social reformers successfully pushed for an all-out ban on abortion. In the 20th century various women’s rights groups, doctors and social reformers successfully repealed abortion bans. While abortion remains legal in many Western countries, it is regularly subjected to legal challenges by pro-life groups.[2]

Partial Birth Abortion – “Partial-birth abortion” defined by law

Since it was first coined in 1995 by pro-life congressman Charles T. Canady, the term “partial birth abortion” has been used in numerous state and federal bills and laws, although the legal definition of the term is not always the same. The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act defines “partial-birth abortion” as follows:

“An abortion in which the person performing the abortion, deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother, for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus; and performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus. (18 U.S. Code 1531)”

In the 2000 Supreme Court case of Stenberg v. Carhart, a Nebraska law banning “partial-birth abortion” was ruled unconstitutional, in part because the language defining “partial-birth abortion” was deemed vague.[8] In 2006, the Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Carhart found that the 2003 act “departs in material ways” from the Nebraska law and that it pertains only to a specific abortion procedure, intact dilation and extraction.[2] Some commentators have noted that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act’s language was carefully crafted to take into account previous rulings.[9] Although in most cases the procedure legally defined as “partial birth abortion” would be medically defined as “intact dilation and extraction”, these overlapping terms do not always coincide. For example, the IDX procedure may be used to remove a deceased fetus (e.g. due to a miscarriage or feticide) that is developed enough to require dilation of the cervix for its extraction.[10] Removing a dead fetus does not meet the federal legal definition of “partial-birth abortion,” which specifies that partial live delivery must precede “the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus.”[11] Additionally, a doctor may extract a fetus past the navel and then “disarticulate at the neck”, which could fall within the terms of the statute even though it would not result in an intact body and therefore would not be an intact dilation and extraction.[12]

Post Birth AbortionJill Stanek has brought this evil to the light of day. Reading what this nurse has experience first hand and the investigative work that she has done is crucial to this discussion.

Resources and background: Media Matters – Media cite anti-abortion activist and Obama critic

To vote NO is unconscionable when first we strive to do no harm. To vote no means that post birth abortion can be allowed in Illinois.

“This is not about Roe vs. Wade” Bill Bennett

Is this who we want to be as Americans?

With globalization and post birth abortion and euthanasia the law in some countries, like the Netherlands, do we want to be identified as individuals with such things, for surely what we allow to happen under our watch is our responsibility?

Do we ever want to give up our voice in such matters? The United States with full states rights was and is such a marvelous governance concept, why must it be abandoned with such seemingly little regard.

And again, I am not saying that we should ever condemn those who have believed a lie told to them, especially one with such ferocity. We should and must have compassion on those who grieve when they realize what has been allowed to take place. It is legal recourse that must change and that will only come about through changed hearts.

My concern

A pandemic will be one of those situations where our hearts are put to the test. We will all endure some very tough times ahead.

When we, collectively, have no value for innocent human life, and because so many of us have largely remained silent, apathetic, and willingly unaware of the horrors of abortion…judgment may be visited upon us through reaping what we have allowed to be sown while we were not paying attention. The progression beyond abortion is apparent to those who do not turn away. If we can turn a blind eye to the suffering of babies fresh from the womb who have been declared substandard and not fit for life by a doctor or a woman giving birth, what hope do you have to live out your days if YOU become “substandard” in the future?

Euthanasia is already spreading. It is not difficult to redefine the definitions once the door is opened a crack.

We are opening doors that must remain shut.

And beware, there are some who think there are lives we can do without…is yours next?

 

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The Truth of The Matter Is

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 13, 2008

I really am not very good at this physical preparedness stuff.

I don’t like spending money that I don’t feel that I earn so I am careful about what I spend our family money on.

As a pandemic preparedness activist I have tended to focus on the eternal questions and how they relate to preparedness and response. I have left no doubt that I serve Jesus Christ, first and only. How I ended up with the message of “prepare” is no mistake. Our talents are used in order to reach into hearts.

I don’t see a conflict between the two messages. One is an action that mirrors the heart’s response. I am prepared, but my preparedness varies from yours.

Helping others to be ready allows us to explain why we are doing so, why we have done so..

Once we know who we serve, and we can only serve one of two masters – God or Mammon we are able to explain the difference in those two masters.

What is more important what we have here or what we do in His name while here? Bringing glory to God is what life is all about….heaping coals of kindness because He did it all first and foremost.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I do have some questions about what life will truly be like in Monson MA during and a minor infectious disease outbreak all the way through the range to a major outbreak, like a pandemic or bioterrorism event.

So – Putting These Questions All Together……

We live pretty central to a good many major cities. I am thinking that the best approach is be able to stand secure in our own homes and perhaps ready to protect a neighbor or two. Is there a different plan in the works than this? Certainly our town police force is not large enough to withstand a category 4 or 5 event without citizens themselves ready to secure their own homes.

Is there a method of communication for an “all hands” or “all clear” call in case phones are down or power is out for an extended time?

Will town government be able to withstand a category 3, 4 or 5 pandemic? Are the Continuity of Operations Plans completed for each department?

Who will be the authorities in charge during an infectious disease disaster?

What can I expect under a declaration of emergency? What laws will change?

What are the quarantine and isolation laws.

Will my civil rights be protected? What am I allowed and not allowed to do under martial law? Will my parental rights be safeguarded? I do not want others telling me how to raise my children by forcing them to take vaccines or other unwanted medical procedures. As a parent, and now grandparent, I must be the sole determiner of what is right for my child and loved ones, not the locality, not the state, and not any world body.

Will the second amendment be upheld in Massachusetts and honored in Monson?

What our EMT’s respond to all calls for health assistance?

What are our backup services if the surge capacity overwhelms Wing Memorial Hospital?

If the acute care center is closed who can I call for assistance?

Will there be enough personal preparedness equipment for each one of the town’s responders?

Can I Adopt An Essential Worker’s Family?

I have volunteered for my local MRC but have not heard anything back. Will my services be needed or wanted?

Will worship services and other gatherings be banned during a extended infectious disease outbreak?

During a category 5 pandemic many children may be left abandoned. Has a provision been made for protecting these children?

During a category 5 pandemic social breakdown is a probability. How should we best protect ourselves?

Does the Monson Police Department have enough personal preparedness equipment to last through the duration of a pandemic (perhaps 18 months)?

How can I assist our town?

Will you need skilled tradesmen, craftsmen, or day laborers? Will there be personal preparedness equipment available if I assist?

What if the power is out for an extended period of time? Where will those who are ill go for shelter? Where will the exposed go for shelter? Where will the “well” go during a pandemic AND an extended power outage?

If the town water service and power is out for longer than a week, do we have to shut off the main in front of our house? How can I obtain instructions?

That reminds me…a map of local springs would be helpful in case of extended power outage. (I will see what I can find.)

If my business closes and I am not getting paid, will my town services be cut off? (Can us little guys expect a bailout?)

How will I know if schools have been closed? What will the early school closure policy be in town?

If the local funeral homes are overwhelmed, who can I call for assistance?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As for what I have been doing lately…

I tell each person that I bump into in my travels who may need a hand or know of someone who needs assistance that I can help out, then I remind them when I see them.

I Pray Unceasingly

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A Novel Approach to Vaccination

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 12, 2008

Docs now have a way to prevent whooping cough

New vaccine for adults holds promise of blocking the spread of the infection.

BY COLLEEN LAMAY – clamay@idahostatesman.com

Edition Date: 12/12/08

For most of the past two decades, Idaho has had more pertussis ( whooping cough) cases per capita than the U.S. average.

But for the first time, public health officials have hope for beating the disease. The weapon is a newly licensed vaccine aimed at adults.

“I am so excited about this vaccine, because for the first time we can tackle getting pertussis out of adults,” said Dr. Christine Hahn, state epidemiologist. “We (adults) were the cesspool of pertussis giving it to the little kids.”

[Read the rest of the story here.]

This novel approach to whooping cough vaccination is something to think about for prevention of other disease outbreaks.

When it comes to pandemic influenza and what will amount to the dispensing of largely untested vaccines who should be the first to receive them?

Especially when it comes to our children, I have a fierce desire to “do no harm”. I also have an urge to protect them and keep them from these scourges but also I realize that some of our attempts at halting the virus may not yet be perfected.

So would this approach that they are attempting with whooping cough work for Influenza vaccination?

Vaccinate the children? Vaccinate the adults? How do we decide?

Adults probably spread influenza far and wide more than children do. We are the global and national spreaders.

Go to work and who knows where your coworkers have been or who they have come in contact with, and from where they have traveled. We adults travel roam the world and encounter others who do too. We spread these viruses around by bringing them home to the kids to spread in schools and day care.

Children are more local spreaders.

The question remains for me…

Are the adjuvants in vaccines less detrimental to adults? Only the one taking the vaccine can answer that for themselves.

If we refuse to be vaccinated, should we be allowed to go to work or elsewhere?

Sometimes I suspect that this is point where this debate is heading…and I am not the one who is leading it.

Influenza IS a scary illness, so are pandemics. And the devastation can and will be horrible. As each pandemic in history has indicated, most of us survive them. Will the next one be a civilization altering event like some scientists have suggested.

As for me, I turn to the word of God. The end times are described as having plagues and pestilences. I have found peace in knowing that even in the worst of times we can know the right way to live. I pray about everything. Trust that if you are His, you will know what to do when the time comes.

We have to be careful of who we can become as human beings especially when fear is the motivator.

Do not fear.

There are ways that will seem right to a man, but just will not be.

Proverbs 14:12

Posted in Faith based, flu shots, Public Health, Vaccine | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Massachusetts Medical Reserve Corps

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 8, 2008

Hudson MA Medical Reserve Corp is looking for reinforcements.

By Jeff Malachowski/Daily News correspondent

The MetroWest Daily News

Posted Dec 07, 2008 @ 11:13 PM


HUDSON —

Two years after organizing the Hudson Medical Reserve Corps, Health Agent Dr. Samuel Wong said the number of town residents who have joined is not enough to assist the health department during a crisis.

The Hudson Medical Reserve Corps, a group of volunteers with medical and non-medical backgrounds, provides assistance to medical personnel in the event of a health emergency or natural disaster.

Wong said the group was formed two years ago, yet only 45 residents have signed up. He wants to see that number climb.

“We’re not even close,” Wong said. “In order to prepare for certain emergencies we need 180 to 200 volunteers. We still have a ways to go in recruiting people.”

 

read the rest of the Hudson story here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In Monson our Western Massachusetts Medical Reserve Corps webpage is here.

Welcome to the webpage for MRC Units in Hampden County, MA

There are nine MRC Units in Hampden County including:
Agawam
Chicopee
City of Springfield HHS
Greater Westfield and Western Hampden County, Inc.
Holyoke
Town of Longmeadow
Town of Monson
Wilbraham
West Springfield

Each MRC Unit is currently recruiting new members, please take a few minutes to review information on this website, contact a Unit Coordinator and visit the national MRC website at http://www.medicalreservecorps.gov. MRC Units are independent volunteer based and community focused entities working together to build capacity for public health and emergency response.

Mission Statement
The mission of the Medical Reserve Corps Units in Hampden County, Massachusetts is to improve the health and safety of residents and their communities by organizing and utilizing public health, medical, safety and other volunteers. Medical Reserve Corps build the capacity of each community to better respond to natural, man-made or public health emergencies.

Kathleen Conley Norbut has done an amazing job organizing a pandemic response for our area. This woman is a local town hero and we owe her a debt of gratitude. Amazing! Kudos Kathleen.

Check this out…..

Upcoming Events

  • Training: 12/9/2008 – Springfield EDS Drill Review
  • Training: 12/11/2008 – Partner Shelter Training with the Pioneer Valley American Red Cross
  • Meeting: 12/10/2008 – HCMRCMAG Hampden County MRC Advisory Group
  • Meeting: 12/18/2008 – MRC

News

  • Shelter Training for MRC Volunteers
    Our partner organization the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross has recently expanded coverage to include Hampshire and Franklin Counties. The PV ARC is offering Shelter Training for MRC Volunteers in December 2008.
    Please visit the Calendar to Register.
  • Hampden County Emergency Preparedness Communication Drill
    On November 12, 2008, the Hampden County Health Coalition conducted a communication drill to test systems for public health, emergency response and Medical Reserve Corps volunteers.
    The state HHAN (Health and Homeland Alert Network) was utilized for the drill.

And for the Town of Monson specifically…

Our medical reserve corps is looking for volunteers.

Town of Monson
Unit Coordinator: Lorri McCool
monson@wmmrc.org
Town of Monson Board of Health
110 Main St.
Monson, MA 01057
Telephone: 413-267-4107
Related Web site: n/a

Lorri McCool has developed brochures for the town and has held many local meetings to increase aware and preparedness in our area. She has been a dedicated and successful health agent of the area towns for many years.

We are in good and capable hands under her leadership.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

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First Annual Massachusetts Influenza Awareness Week

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 8, 2008

Sponsored by State Senator Joan Menard (D-Fall River)

Today marks the beginning of a week long influenza awareness week.

December 8-12, 2008 the first annual…

“Massachusetts Influenza Awareness Week”

Tuesday, December 9th at 1:30 pm in Room 222 at the State House, Boston, MA 02133 Senator Menard, MassPRO, and other health advocacy partners will be launching the campaign.

The event is open to the public.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MassPRO Public Flu Shot Clinics

Find your flu shots here

fluclinicsign

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Be Part of The Debate – A National Vaccine Plan

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 8, 2008

Public Input was Requested and according to Lisa Schnirring’s report from CIDRAP, “HHS releases draft of national vaccine plan

In a letter accompanying the draft, Joxel Garcia, MD, MBA, assistant secretary for health at HHS, wrote that the next step involves extensive input on the plan from the public, the vaccine industry, and other stakeholders. He added that HHS’s goal is to finalize the plan by late 2009.”

Unless the goal of having an engaged public changes under the Obama administration (and anything is possible when administrations change), concerned citizens are allowed to be a part of the policy process.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Some background…

from the HHS website:

National Vaccine Program Office
U.S. National Vaccine Plan

Download Documents

2008 Draft Strategic National Vaccine Plan Documents
The 2008 draft strategic National Vaccine Plan is the initial step in updating the 1994 National Vaccine Plan. The NVPO introduction describes the process the National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO) and other federal agencies and Departments followed to create the 2008 draft Plan, as well as how we propose to gather input from non-federal stakeholders to revise this draft into a national Plan. Should you have comments or questions about the draft Plan or our planning process, please email NVPO at nvpo@hhs.gov.

1994 National Vaccine Documents

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

An event was held this month.

2nd National Stakeholder Meeting. Review of Priorities in the National Vaccine Plan

Event Date:
December 01, 2008

I am waiting for the meeting minutes to be released to the public. I hear that it is an audio feed.

I joined the LISTSERV.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Draft Strategic National Vaccine Plan

November 26, 2008

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A check for 2009 events did not list anything having to do with the National Vaccine Plan yet. I will keep checking the site.

As a side note these events are listed on the agenda at Institute of Medicine website and may be of interest to pandemic planners.

Apr 22
Medical Preparedness Forum Lunch Seminars entitled, “Civil Defense for the 21st Century

Apr 7
Medical Preparedness Forum Lunch Seminars entitled, “Civil Defense for the 21st Century

Mar 23
Medical Preparedness Forum Lunch Seminars entitled, “Civil Defense for the 21st Century

 

Other Resources noted:

The Topics page at the Institute of Medicine is huge and worth reading.

As is the projects page.

Some things of interest that I noted.

Initial Guidance for an Update of the National Vaccine Plan: A Letter Report to the National Vaccine Program Office

The Impact of Globalization on Infectious Disease Emergence and Control: Exploring the Consequences and Opportunities. Workshop Summary

Ensuring an Infectious Disease Workforce: Education and Training Needs for the 21st Century – Workshop Summary

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now I have more reading to do….

 

Posted in flu shots, Health, HHS, Public Health, Vaccine | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

My Sunday Reading

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 7, 2008

I started out a John Pipers website “Desiring God” today. It is always an edifying experience to read, watch, and listen to that interactive website.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~then I stumbled on

The Nations in Prophecy

By: John F. Walvoord

I stumbled upon this really is a good online book today. It is an excellent introduction to last days events according to the premillenialist viewpoint of John Walvoord.

I am a hopeful premillenialist but a cautious one. I don’t want to lose flexibility by trusting completely in man’s interpretation of God’s mind.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~with led me to Mikes site

Mike had a good post today at Avian Flu Diary. “The Gift of Preparedness

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~from there I stumbled to here

Families Fighting Flu

…a thoughtful and informative website.

I particularly appreciated their prevention tips.

Get vaccinated.
According to the CDC, vaccination against the flu each year is the single best way to help prevent influenza. Since the virus and the vaccine changes every year, it is important to get a vaccination annually.

Wash your hands.
Frequent hand washing keeps lots of germs out of our bodies, including the influenza virus. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer.

Stay home if you don’t feel well.
Should you become infected, keep the germs from spreading by staying home – and don’t forget to take care of yourself!

Do the elbow cough.
Cough into elbows, not hands where it’s more likely to spread bacteria and viruses through touch.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~which led me here

Voice for Vaccines

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~and here

NNii – National Network for Immunization Information

The National Network for Immunization Information (NNii) is an affiliation of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the University of Texas Medical Branch, the Society for Adolescent medicine and the American Medical Association.

NNii is a service provided by Immunizations for Public Health (I4PH), a Texas-based nonprofit corporation dedicated to making immunization information available to those who need it.

The Board of I4PH is composed of global health leaders, recognized for their knowledge relating to vaccines and global immunization issues.  It has been organized to advance education and science relating to vaccines and immunizations.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~then I was led here from NNii’s list of diseases.

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National Influenza Vaccination Week

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 7, 2008

National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) begins December 8, 2008!

CDC encourages vaccination throughout December, January,
and beyond.

Learn more about NIVW and share information on your organization’s activities.

 

Looks at what is happening in our area!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Massachusetts, Rehoboth

Date/Time
Wednesday, December 10, 2008; 9:00 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.

Activity
Flu Clinic

Description
Flu Vaccine Administration

Contact: Lynn Allienello at 508-252-5947 or rehobothtownnurse@gmail.com.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Massachusetts, Boston

Date/Time
Ongoing

Activity
Get V’d Campaign/ Flu Vaccination Promotion

Description
Hebrew Senior Life is hosting the Get V’d Campaign To promote influenza vaccination this year, we have come up with a slogan designed to be provocative and engaging and yet strongly and succinctly express the importance of getting vaccinated. Get V’d. The letter and symbol of a “V” commonly evokes a number of associations. In this case, not only does the “V” represent the “V” in vaccination, and therefore the importance of getting vaccinated, but also as a symbol of peace, the peace of mind that you will feel, knowing that you will not get ill with the flu. In addition the “V” stands for the “V” in victory that you will have over the flu as well as other secondary illnesses like pneumonia. The Get V’d Campaign can serve as a model to the larger community and other healthcare facilities. It represents a unique and creative approach to promoting influenza vaccination.

Contact: Kathy Davidoff or Lisa Graves at 617-363-8000 or Davidoff@mail.hrca.harvard.edu.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Massachusetts, Northampton

Date/Time
Ongoing

Activity
Flu: What You Can Do – Caring for People at Home

Description
Flu: What You Can Do – Caring For People At Home, a collaborative effort of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and The Local Public Health Training Institute of Massachusetts, is a statewide educational campaign which will build upon and complement ongoing efforts for both seasonal influenza prevention and pandemic planning in the Commonwealth. The Flu: What You Can Do – Caring For People At Home initiative aims to build on past work to educate the public and introduces information about caring for people with the flu at home. As one of the key components of the initiative, this course is designed to train public health professionals to implement effective strategies for using the “Flu: What You Can Do” campaign materials, including a video, presentation, and booklets, to educate residents of their communities about flu care at home, and to have a better understanding of the similarities and differences between seasonal and pandemic flu. This course will be conducted by MDPH staff.

Contact: Barbara Coughlin at 413-586-7525 or barbara.coughlin@state.ma.us.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Massachusetts, Springfield

Date/Time
Tuesday, December 9, 2008; 2:30-3:45 p.m.

Activity
Immunization Clinic

Description
Community flu clinic in a facility owned by the elks lodge.

Contact: Bettye Anderson Frederic at 413-787-6761 or bafrederic@springfieldcityhall.com.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Massachusetts, Springfield

Date/Time
Thursday, December 11, 2008

Activity
Immunization Clinic

Description
Community flu clinic hosting vaccinations.

Bettye Anderson Frederic at 413-787-6761 or bafrederic@springfieldcityhall.com.

 

Be Informed.

My own favorite reminder to myself….pray about all things.

 

 

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What Are We Being Prepared For? Its Sunday Why Not

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 30, 2008

Plagues and pestilences are foretold. They are coming. We do not know when just that they will come. Will H5N1 be the cause or something else? I do not know. H5N1 does seem to be the most likely candidate.

So many times these days it seems as if there is this overarching agenda, a plan, a method, something that is being accomplished behind the scenes. Is a pandemic something that will further accomplish an agenda. Is it a means to an end. I suppose it could be. I cannot do something about that which I have no control over.

I do have control over my families preparedness level, and to some extent my towns level in that I am part of the town. If I am prepared that is one less family, one less individual drawing from resources. We all have this responsibility, I think. I have always thought that my little voice speaking up loudly and clearly may help one more person. If I have reached ONE person then I have succeeded. Although I have wanted to reach as many people as possible.

Have we all realized yet that this world is in trouble? Beware of what we are building.

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
~ Romans 16:17-20

Another’s “agenda” really does not matter when what we do as individuals in our society is above reproach. Isn’t this the heart of the message that we teach. Personal responsibility and the desire to improve one’s behavior, is this not seen as an important moral standard by almost every culture and religious group?

“By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive”.

Don’t be naive. That is like saying don’t be apathetic. There is some effort involved.

We must be aware in order to not be naive. To become aware we must open our eyes. We must work to gather information, we must work to be able to make informed decisions. We must know these things so that we can make decisions for ourselves and our family, for those that we are responsible for.

Sit back and take stock of what you think that you know. I try to do this from time to time

I try to think about what makes me uncomfortable about the world that we are living in. I attempt to think about the direction that we are taking, who we are trusting, who we are looking to for leadership.

What are we being prepared for?

We are being prepared for the battle between God and Satan. A battle which has already been won but what has not been decided is the side that YOU will chose. Will you chose the losing side or the one who has already won? Funny to think of anyone choosing a losing side of anything. But that is what people do when they reject God.

Do you think that there is no war being waged?

We are witnessing a slow fade because of the haughtiness of our approach.

America has collectively turned its back on God and now God is turning His back on us. This IS the judgment and the repercussions will keep coming.

Is Christianity really saying to hate the sinner?

Think again.

Christians realize that we are all sinners, every single one of us. Not one of us is capable of living a perfectly controlled life. There was only one perfect man and our sin killed Him. He died to redeem us from our sin state. He died for each one of us and for all of us. Not one person’s sin, not one homosexual’s sin, not one abortionist’s sin, killed Him…my sin, all of our sin that is the reason that He died.

Our gracious God has given us a way out. Faith in Jesus Christ, Son of God yet fully God, for us who believe in Him we are redeemed. The price has been paid and we are now free from eternal punishment although not from the effects that sin has upon this world and what this world can and will bring into our lives.

I know that this seems so weak, so embarrassing, so belittling, so unintelligent, so, so, so, humbling. And that IS the point isn’t it? Humility. We need God. And God wants us to know this.

Think about the tower of Babel. Why was it built? (and think of the globalization effort that exists today). “Babel was a city that united humanity, all speaking a single language and migrating from the east; it was the home city of the great king Nimrod, and the first city to be built after the Great Flood. The people decided their city should have a tower so immense that it would have "its top in the heavens." (וְרֹאשׁוֹ בַשָּׁמַיִם). However, the Tower of Babel was not built for the worship and praise of God, but was dedicated to the glory of man, with a motive of making a ‘name’ for the builders: "Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’" (Genesis 11:4).”

So what did God do? He scattered man and confused our languages.

Myth?

I don’t think so…although you might and that is your prerogative.

‘Mystery Babylon’ and all that it entails. That is hat we seem to be building today. It isn’t a “tower” its scope and reach far greater and it certainly isn’t being built to honor God as Creator. Mystery Babylon IS globalization of government, economy, health, science, religion, communication, etc. We are building it now and have been since 1948.

This is that generation.

Come out of it. Be overcomers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ask yourself why a person is capable of thinking about many different things and on many different levels would come to the end of their life and accept the Bible as truth.

Were they unwise? What did they know, what did they experience that gave them such confidence in God? I have that same confidence…do you?

  • Nicolaus Copernicus: 1473-1543 Polish Astronomer – Developed the heliocentric theory of the solar system.
  • Galileo Galilei: 1564-1642 Italian Physicist
    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
  • Johannes Kepler: 1571-1630 German Astronomer
    The 3 laws of planetary motion. Advanced Copernicus’ heliocentric theory.
    "Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it befits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God."
  • Blaise Pascal: 1623-1662 French Mathematician
    "There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ." “But by Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ, we prove God and teach doctrine and morals. Jesus Christ, then, is the true God of men."
  • Newton Isaac: 1642-1727 (born Dec 25) English Mathemetician
    Laws of gravitation and motion, developed calculus. Major contributions to optics, physics, math and astronomy. The solar system itself could not have been produced by blind chance or fortuitous causes but only by a cause "very well skilled in mechanics and geometry."
  • Michael Faraday: 1791-1869 English Chemist
    Discovered Benzene, electromagnetic induction, lines of force, relationship between polarized light and magnetic fields. Strong believer in the literal interpretation of Scripture. Deacon and elder in his church. "Since peace is alone in the gift of God; and since it is He who gives it, why should we be afraid? His unspeakable gift in His beloved Son is the ground of no doubtful hope."
  • Lord Kelvin: 1824-1907 (William Thomson) British Physicist
    First and second laws of thermodynamics. Absolute temp scale. Trans-Atlantic cable.
    "I believe that the more thoroughly science is studied, the further does it take us from anything comparable to atheism."
  • Robert Boyle – “The gospel comprises indeed, and unfolds, the whole mystery of man’s redemption, as far forth as it is necessary to be known for our salvation.”
  • George Washington Carver – “Our creator is the same and never changes despite the names given Him by people here and in all parts of the world. Even if we gave Him no name at all, He would still be there, within us, waiting to give us good on this earth.”
  • Kenneth H. Cooper M.D. M.P.H. – "Father of aerobics" “To maximize life’s potential personally, professionally, and spiritually, you must know the zone in which you are the happiest and most productive. Most people never reach that utopian state because they do not know how to get there.” speaking about Christian author Max Lucado’s book Cure for the Common Life
  • Michael Faraday
  • Jim Irwin – astronaut, Ark Hunter
  • Samuel Morse
  • Isaac Newton – inventor, scientist
  • Louis Pasteur
  • Hugh Ross – physicist
  • Francis Schaeffer – theologian and thinker
  • Wright Brothers
  • Arthur Eddington, mathematical cosmologist
  • Georges Lemaître, proposed the Big Bang theory
  • Henry F. "Fritz" Schaefer, theoretical chemists
  • William Phillips – 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics
  • Francis Collins – Director of the U.S. Human Genome Project
  • Rustum Roy, one of the world’s foremost materials scientists, holds three chairs
  • Jimmy Carter – former U.S. President
  • Abigail Adams – first lady, wife of U.S. President Samuel Adams
  • John Ashcroft – former Missouri Gov. & Senator
  • Christopher Darden – Lawyer, prosecutor in O. J. Simpson case
  • Elizabeth Dole – director, American Red Cross
  • Stonewall Jackson
  • Alan Keyes – U.S. Presidential candidate.
  • Steve Largent – U.S. House of Representative
  • Robert E. Lee – Confederate General
  • Abraham Lincoln – U.S. President
  • Don Nickles – U.S. Senator, Virginia
  • J.C. Watts – U.S. House of Representative, former college football player
  • Dan Quayle – former U.S. Vice President.
  • Clarence Thomas – U.S. Supreme Court Judge.
  • George Washington – U.S. President
  • Oswald Chambers – author, My Utmost for His Highest;
  • G. K. Chesterton – science fiction, mystery, non-fiction, Orthodoxy
  • Tim Lehaye – author, "Left Behind"
  • C. S. Lewis – author of fantasy, science fiction, and non-fiction religious books such as Mere Christianity;
  • Catherine Marshall – author, "Christy".
  • Norman Vincent Peale – author, Power of Positive Thinking;
  • Frank Peretti – author, This Present Darkness;
  • Charles Sheldon – author, In His Steps
  • Charles Spurgeon – author
  • Danielle Steele – author
  • J.R.R. Tolkien – author, The Hobbit
  • Joni Eareckson Tada – author, Artist & Speaker. Quadriplegic.

the list goes on and on and on….

Posted in Faith based, H5N1, Public Health, World Health Politics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The Brave New World of Vaccine Technology

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 27, 2008

Are we elevating science and technology as the next savior of mankind? Perhaps this is a question that is asked each time a new technology is introduced. Newness sometimes does inspire myth. Newness is uncomfortable because we either lack understanding or are not sure of all of the ramifications. There are unknowns. We should always be cautious even when the results appear to be overwhelmingly positive. And as laymen we cannot stop trying to understand new technologies.

How best to introduce a new practically untested technology? During a crisis. We have always been aware of the strides and advances that are made when our feet are held to the fire. “Necessity is the mother of invention”. But in this case necessity may lead to the acceptance of invention which is too new and too unknown. The initial attraction and the overwhelming need may drive our acceptance.

We have not yet perfected adjuvants and now recombinant DNA technology is being utilized to create our vaccines.

As I have said many times throughout this blog, I vaccinated my children when possible and safe. I take flu shots and recommend them to my own family members. I have had numerous pneumonia shots and so has my husband, I am not anti-vaccine per se. Nor am I anti-technology. I am just cautious when we, en masse, look to the next “great hope” and I am concerned about how we elevate science and technology to almost godlike status.

Recombinant DNA Technology

 

From Shering-Plough

Here is how recombinant technology works

Recombinant technology begins with the isolation of a gene of interest. The gene is then inserted into a vector and cloned. A vector is a piece of DNA that is capable of independent growth; commonly used vectors are bacterial plasmids and viral phages. The gene of interest (foreign DNA) is integrated into the plasmid or phage, and this is referred to as recombinant DNA.

Before introducing the vector containing the foreign DNA into host cells to express the protein, it must be cloned. Cloning is necessary to produce numerous copies of the DNA since the initial supply is inadequate to insert into host cells.

Once the vector is isolated in large quantities, it can be introduced into the desired host cells such as mammalian, yeast, or special bacterial cells. The host cells will then synthesize the foreign protein from the recombinant DNA. When the cells are grown in vast quantities, the foreign or recombinant protein can be isolated and purified in large amounts.

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The different types of vaccines available today are. In most cases adjuvants are used to boost the immune system response even further. As an aside, this is a stretch for me to understand let alone explain to others. Caveat lector.

  • Live Vaccines also called Live Attenuated Vaccines – These contain viruses or bacteria that have been altered so that they cannot cause disease. These vaccines are created from the naturally occurring virus or bacteria itself. These vaccines can still infect people, but they are weakened (attenuated) so that they do not cause serious disease. Examples of live attenuated vaccines are MMR vaccine (covering Measles, Mumps and Rubella), OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine), and Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccine and Yellow Fever Vaccine. In tuberculosis vaccine, another example, a related but not contagious strain, “BCG”, is used. The advantage with live virus vaccines is that actual infection takes place and two types of immune response are stimulated and immunity lasts many years. 
  • Inactivated virus vaccines – These vaccines contained killed bacteria or inactivated viruses. They stimulate an immune response and antibodies are produced. The viruses themselves are inactivated with chemicals such as formaldehyde. Formalin is difficult to remove and may carry some residual toxicity. Betapropiolactone has been used to inactivate viruses and is rendered nontoxic. Examples of Inactivated Vaccines are IPV (an inactivated polio vaccine given by injection and Influenza Vaccine. Vaccines for Cholera and bubonic plague are also examples of inactivated vaccine.
  • Toxoid Vaccines – These contain toxins that have been rendered harmless by using heat or chemicals in order to render them harmless. By injecting them our bodies immune response is stimulated and immunity results. An examples of a toxoid vaccine is the DTP
  • Component Vaccines – These contain parts of the whole bacteria or viruses. These vaccines cannot cause disease and they work by stimulating the bodies own immune response. Examples of these are Hib Vaccine, Hepatitis A an B Vaccine, and Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine. Gardasil (guarding against HPV) is an example of this type of vaccine.

Examples of new vaccines in development.

DNA Vaccines – Because the body recognizes what we inject as foreign substances, it attacks in order to destroy and without further injections the immune system completes its mission and returns to normal. Some vaccines need booster shots because of this reason, (or because the viruses themselves change or drift as in seasonal influenza – so we need a yearly or sometimes twice a season immunization). DNA vaccines contain the genetic code for the proteins that cells make. Injections of this type of vaccine allows for cells to take up the DNA which allows the cells to keep making more antigens. These altered cells could theoretically make antigen indefinitely. Subunit vaccines which utilize a cells surface proteins of a pathogenic virus which are prepared by purification or recombinant DNA cloning. They lack infectivity which make them attractive when the viruses which they are protecting against are extremely virulent or when they cannot be easily grown. These vaccines are able to be produced very rapidly.

  • Recombinant Virus and Subunit Vaccines use the process of genetic recombination to inject the genes for proteins into the genome of another virus. Bacteria or yeast are utilized to produce large quantities through DNA cloning of a single viral or bacterial protein. This protein is the injected into the body and the immune response produces more antibodies. The genes introduced could replace genes not required for replication of the carrier virus or it could be added to the viral genome. The carrier virus replicates and a robust and varied immune response results. No adjuvants are necessary and the proteins themselves will not cause illness. The question remains whether tweaking immune responses in this way may not be playing with fire. For example, using carrier viruses in this way may limit their use with other more time tested technologies and also a second example of a possible drawback is having limited knowledge of immune response in general. Are we certain of what we do not know. The use of carrier viruses may in and of themselves produce an immune response. If we have overutilized them we may render useless our other technologies.
  • Anti-idiotype Antibodies – A cancer vaccine made of antibodies that see other antibodies as the antigen and bind to it. An antibody to an idiotype of another antibody will look like an antigen that triggered the cells to make the first antibody (an anti-idiotype). This stimulates the immune system responses and the body attacks both the anti-idiotype and the antigen.  Researchers are hopeful that this type of vaccine will be successful in treating lymphomas especially and other types of cancer. Adjuvants are used to boost the immune system response even further.

We are being asked to have faith in science and technology to solve these great issues and terrible problems of the day. Science and technology has been very useful to us over the years. I have taken part and benefited in and from these advances.

It sometimes takes years for us to realize the effects of the science and technology that we use every day. Cell phones, plastics, chemicals, adjuvants, even computers…these fast and furious changes are not being studied over time to demonstrate to us consumers the safety of these products that we use every single day. Computer use is said to be altering our brains, cell phone use to increase the frequency of brain tumors, adjuvants in vaccines may have an impact on autism and learning disabilities.

I have been asked to  trust in the ability of our scientists and researchers, our physicians, and other professionals. Time and time again my trust is shaken. The older that I get the more I realize that I should not be blindly trusting in such things.

I simply urge extreme caution on the eve of a pandemic when people will want to grasp at any straw in order to save their life or the life of their child.

Posted in Public Health, Vaccine | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The Consequences of Not Vaccinating, A Brief History of DTP Vaccination, and Some Current Headlines

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 25, 2008

As a parent, I have had first hand experience with pertussis. Whooping cough, when experienced by one of your children makes one thankful for the vaccines that we do have. Not vaccinating our children can have disastrous effects.

Very young children who cannot yet be vaccinated are put at risk when many choose to not vaccinate.

Vaccines are the best defense that we have against childhood illnesses that can and have devastated lives.

Considering that no vaccine is 100% safe, when it involves the life of your child, gambling is a scary prospect. DTP vaccination has not been without controversy but let’s consider these illnesses themselves. We are not discussing the common cold or even the flu, dangerous as it is in its own right. The diseases that we currently vaccinate against were the stuff that caused nightmares for our parents and grandparents. They would probably think us absolutely crazy to be giving up the opportunity to vaccinate against these illnesses that had an deadly impact on almost every family at one time.

I am sympathetic to parents who want the best for their children and truly are seeking out the best advice…I have none to offer. I can only offer counterbalance to the argument for or against.

In the U.S. immunization against pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria became commonplace in the late 1940’s.

[borrowing heavily from the CDC…]

Diphtheria

Prior to the introduction of vaccine, diphtheria was commonplace. In the 1920s there were an estimated 150,000 cases with 13,000 deaths reported annually. By 1945 the number of reported cases had dropped to 19,000. In the decade of the 70’s an average of 196 cases were reported annually. Between 1980 and 1995 a total of 41 cases of diphtheria were reported. Of these 41 cases 10% were fatal. Of the fatal cases all of them were unvaccinated children.

What is Diphtheria

image

Diphtheria is a highly contagious disease caused by bacteria. Corynebacterium diphtheria infects the nasopharynx but it can also infect the skin.

image

In the nasopharyngeal form of the illness the bacteria live in the nose, throat, and mouth of an infected person and the illness is spread to others mostly through respiratory secretions but less commonly through contact with skin lesions or through contact with contaminated objects such as used tissues. Asymptomatic carriers can also spread the bacteria and can be contagious for 2 to 4 weeks unless they are treated with antibiotics.

During the course of the illness the bacteria begin to produce toxins that damage cells, destroy tissues and can cause a membrane to form at the site of infection within 2 to 3 days of infection, usually at the nasopharynx. This membrane can grow large enough to obstruct breathing.

image

The toxins themselves can be absorbed into the bloodstream effecting the entire body. If enough of the toxins are absorbed the illness can cause inflammation of the heart muscle, inflammation of the nerves or groups of nerves causing pain, loss of reflexes or atrophy of muscles, coma, and death.

The overall death rate among those infected is 5-10%, rates of death among children under 5 is up  to 20%. Those older than 40 years of age also experience death rates up to 20%.

image

Diphtheria cases in the United States 1940-2003

Tetanus

Tetanus is a nervous system disease caused by toxins produced by the spore forming bacteria, Clostridium tetani. Tetanus is not a contagious illness but without vaccination these commonplace bacteria that live in soil, dust, and animal feces can enter the body through breaks in the skin.

Once in the body, the bacteria then produces tetanus toxins which circulate throughout the body blocking nerve impulses which normally allow the muscles to relax.

Beginning with spasms in the jaw and neck which can be so severe that the infected person cannot swallow or will have trouble breathing.

image

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The stiffness spreads throughout the body. Spasms can be so severe as to break bones. Up to 11% of all tetanus cases are fatal even with treatment. Tetanus can infect newborns through mothers who have not been vaccinated. This is a common problem in other areas of the world where tetanus vaccination is less commonplace. About 270,000 deaths per year are caused by neonatal tetanus.

Through vaccination tetanus cases have thankfully declined.

image

Tetanus cases from 1940 to 2003

Pertussis

pertussis

click here: Watch this video

or this one

Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly contagious disease caused by the gram negative bacteria, Bordatella pertussis. It is one of the leading causing of vaccine preventable deaths in children world-wide. The illness is spread by airborne droplets. Symptoms begin like the common cold but progresses to the severe cough noted in the videos above. An infected person has trouble eating, sleeping, drinking, and even breathing. This severe coughing can last for weeks and can lead to pneumonia, dehydration, weight loss, seizures, brain damage and death.

image

Reported cases of pertussis 1922-2004

In the news

North Carolina

2 more whooping cough cases verified

Updated 5:25 PM

By: Johnny Chappell

CHAPEL HILL – Health officials confirmed another two cases of whooping cough at Estes Hills Elementary Tuesday afternoon, meaning a total of seven students have been infected with the disease.

Health officials are warning parents to be on alert. They said the seven infected students at the school were either related or had close contact with each other. Teachers sent home letters everyone who has had close contact with the children, and all of the school nurses are on alert looking for symptoms of coughing.

A vaccination for whooping cough, or pertussis, is required by the state for all children before going into kindergarten.

“Any vaccine is not 100 percent effective, so even though you’ve had the vaccine you still may be at risk,” Orange County Health Department Director Rosmary Summers said.

She said the highest risk groups are infants and the elderly.

“Those are the ones, who, if they got pertussis, would have a serious illness, perhaps would be hospitalized,” Summers said.

Health officials said family or friends who come into close contact with those affected are usually the only ones at risk, but parents should still keep a close watch out for symptoms.

“It’s a particular cough that you don’t have a pause in between. You just have to keep coughing, so you can barely catch your breath,” said Summers. “At the end of the cough, there’s sort of the classic ‘whoop’ or inhalation that gives you that strange sound.”

Summers warned that with the holidays ahead, it’s important to remember family members who may be at high risk.

an earlier report today stated….

Whooping cough outbreak possible in NC

CHAPEL HILL (WTVD) — Officials are warning about a possible outbreak of whooping cough in several counties.

Five cases were reported at Estes Hills Elementary School in Chapel Hill. Administrators are asking parents to keep a close eye on their children and watch for symptoms.

Pertussis is an acute bacterial infection of the respiratory tract that is caused by the organism Bordatella Pertussis. It is transmitted through close contact with an infected person’s respiratory droplets.

[read the rest of the report here]

Kansas

Health officials warn of whooping cough

WICHITA, Kansas – Sedgwick County health officials are warning parents to be on the look-out for whooping cough.

The Sedgwick County Health Department has two suspected cases from students – one at Allison Middle School and the other at Northwest High School.

Officials say this is not an outbreak, but they just want to remind parents of the symptoms.

Whooping cough’s initial symptoms resemble a cold with the coughing intensifying in frequency, severity and regularity. There is often times a “whooping” sound as a person is breathing. Doctors recommend having your child vaccinated to prevent the illness.

Missouri

Whooping Cough Cases on the Rise

(St. Louis, MO) — An increase in whooping cough cases has officials reminding all Missourians to check on their latest vaccination for the disease.

While there are no reports so far this year in Greene County, it’s quite a different story in St. Louis County.  Health officials there have reported 146 cases, compared to only eight last year.

Two other Eastern Missouri counties have also seen a spike.
The bacterial infection causes coughing with a high-pitched “whoop” sound and nausea.

Make sure you check with your doctor to make sure their vaccines are up-to-date.   Health officials say you can get a TDAP shot, which has tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria.

Illinois

Whooping cough reported in Dist. 220

Barrington Area Unit District 220 has issued an alert to the community that four cases of pertussis have been reported in its schools.

Pertussis, commonly called whooping cough, has become more widespread in this year in Lake County, where health officials have reported 82 confirmed cases as of Nov. 21. That compares to 20 in 2007.

District 220 did not indicate which specific schools were affected, though the health department said about 60 percent of cases involved children 5 to 11.

Whooping cough can be highly contagious and can be similar to a common cold or flu, though can be serious is severe cases. Symptoms can include a cough lasting more than seven days and coughing fits. Anyone with symptoms should contact a physician.

Most area cases have been mild since most were in children who were vaccinated, authorities said.

Basic prevention includes hand washing with soapy water and coughing into a tissue or sleeve. Children should be reminded not to share drinks, eating utensils or lip balms.

District 220 is out of session until Monday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Kane County health officials monitor number of whooping cough cases

By ERIC SCHELKOPF – eschelkopf@kcchronicle.com

Although Kane County has not experienced as many cases of whooping cough this year as other counties, health officials here are monitoring the situation.
So far this year, the county has had nine cases of the highly contagious disease, with the last case being diagnosed in September. The county had 14 cases last year.

In comparison, Winnebago County last week announced it has had 38 cases of whooping cough since the end of October, with 28 cases involving a private school.

“It is a real serious disease and we will keep an eye out for it,” said Tom Schlueter, public information officer for the Kane County Health Department.

[Read the rest of this report here]

Other states reporting in recently Nebraska, Minnesota, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio,…

Resources from the CDC:

Diptheria, Tetanus & Pertussis  Vaccines – What You Need To Know Adobe Acrobat print-friendly PDF file

Pertussis Fact Sheet

Clinical Features
Highly communicable, vaccine-preventable disease that lasts for many weeks and is typically manifested in children with paroxysmal spasms of severe coughing, whooping, and posttussive vomiting.

Etiologic Agent
Bordetella pertussis, a gram-negative coccobacillus.

Incidence
This disease results in high morbidity and mortality in many countries every year. In the United States, 5000-7000 cases are reported each year. Incidence of pertussis has increased steadily since the 1980s. The incidence in 2002 was 3.01/100,000 when 8,296 cases of pertussis were reported.

Complications
Major complications are most common among infants and young children and include hypoxia, apnea, pneumonia, seizures, encephalopathy, and malnutrition. Young children can die from pertussis and 13 children died in the United States in 2003. Most deaths occur among unvaccinated children or children too young to be vaccinated.

Transmission
Occurs through direct contact with discharges from respiratory mucous membranes of infected persons.

Risk Groups
Children who are too young to be fully vaccinated and those who have not completed the primary vaccination series are at highest risk for severe illness. Like measles, pertussis is highly contagious with up to 90% of susceptible household contacts developing clinical disease following exposure to an index case. Adolescents and adults become susceptible when immunity wanes.

Surveillance
National reporting through the National Electronic Telecommunications System for Surveillance (NETSS) and through several Enhanced Surveillance Sites throughout the United States.

Trends
Pertussis is an endemic illness. In the United States epidemics occur every 3-5 years. The most recent epidemic occurred in 1996. Overall increase in cases since 1990, with disproportionate increase in adolescents and adults.

Challenges
Understanding pertussis pathogenesis and immunity; protecting infants from severe pertussis; control of pertussis outbreaks; diagnosing pertussis in a timely, accurate, and standardized fashion; understanding the true burden of disease in different age and socioeconomic groups; evaluating the impact of a licensed pertussis vaccine in persons > 14 years of age; evaluating the impact of acellular vaccines on prevention programs; and determining the prevalence of erythromycin-resistant B. pertussis.

Opportunities
Characterize strains using newly developed molecular typing methods (e.g., pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and gene-sequencing analysis) to elucidate epidemiology and virulence factors, examine isolates for antimicrobial susceptibility and to identify resistance mechanisms; study transmission of pertussis within populations (e.g., how adults/adolescents transmit the organism to others); study efficacy of acellular pertussis vaccines among persons > 14 years of age; study effectiveness of acellular pertussis vaccines to control outbreaks; apply/evaluate new diagnostic tests.

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Guidelines for Control of Pertussis Outbreaks

bk_guidelines.pertussis_thmb

Individual Downloads Adobe Acrobat print-friendly PDF file

Posted in Children, Parenting, Public Health, Vaccine | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Vigilance Without Being Vigilantes

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 25, 2008

A health care crisis requires something of us consumers. We are not experiencing just one health related crisis, as most of us are aware we are actually struggling on several levels at once.

Not only dealing with the economic and insurance related matters, we are also combating changes in infectious diseases themselves. This is all swirling into a perfect storm which will have a serious impact on each one of us in the days ahead. We will all be effected and if we do not become vigilant now we may be swallowed up by the storm.

Case in point

Recent surgery that my husband endured brought us up close and personal with a bacterial infection. If we did not recognize the infection right away, if we weren’t aware of the dangers of what we were up against, if we weren’t able to impress upon the various physicians we were dealing with what we were looking at as far as the infection was concerned, things may have turned out very differently than they seem to be now.  And because of the nature of health care right now our vigilance was crucial. An appropriate antibiotic given at just the right time seems to be having a positive effect. A close call was averted because we knew what we were looking at, we knew to be concerned and we knew not to wait until the infection got out of control. We really do have to be wise health care consumers right now. We cannot rely on our health care professionals alone because there may be a time coming when they just will not be available. If we do not have the answers we need to know where to go, who to ask, and how to ask, in order to obtain the answers that we need. Unfortunately, right now there are shortcomings in the system and as consumers we need to pick up the slack.

What I am not saying is that this is the fault of anyone in particular. The dominoes are falling while we watch. Consumers have have had a hand in the situation that we are in.

A litigious society has resulted in insurance rates that have skyrocketed both on the consumer side and the provider side. The behavior of a few, seeking to take advantage for their own gain, may have punished us all. I know of many lawsuits which have resulted in outrageous awards that really should not have even been considered the slightest bit legitimate. We all know stories. To me this is similar to shoplifters seeking their own gain at the expense of the rest of us. And the cost of those few “takers” is passed on to us. We are all paying the cost of not holding each other accountable. Just the other day I confronted three teenagers attempting to steal from a vending machine. Burying our heads in the sand and/or putting the blinders on in denial is how we are not holding each other accountable. We tend to pass things off as someone else’s issue to confront, someone else’s call to make.

For instance, where was the outrage against those bringing these frivolous lawsuits? Where was the restraint on the part of the judicial system? We all have had a hand in this and now we are outraged by the cost of care. Too many lawsuits have even deterred some of our best and brightest from entering the medical field.

To a degree, our own demand for and overuse of antibiotics and antimicrobials have encouraged bacteria and viruses to become resistant to them, and we will suffer the effects of all of these changes too unless we ourselves make changes. We have allowed others to control an aspect of our lives that we ourselves should be in control of, our own care plans. It is so much easier to allow others to have charge over us rather than take responsibility for educating ourselves for our own good.

Now the current trend is to blame vaccines for illnesses in our children when as parents we expose them to many of the same chemicals every day of their lives. It is too easy to blame others and look for the fault in what others do rather than change what we ourselves do to contribute to the failure of the entire system. The products that we use every single day may have more of an negative effect on us than we care to admit because to give up what we enjoy or what brings us pleasure, comfort, or convenience, is too much of a sacrifice.

Even the plastic bottles that we drink from may carry some danger. Some ingredients that we should be considering or thinking twice about: Propylene glycol – found in baby wipes and other products may have severe adverse health effects. Deafness, kidney damage, liver problems and skin damage at the cellular level has been demonstrated in many studies, aluminum (oxy)hydroxide (found in vaccines, some toothpaste, some antacids, etc.), sodium laureth sulfate (makes the bubbles that convince us that a product is working, found in shampoo, thought to be safe but so are vaccines), toluene (found in some moisturizing creams, nail products, laundry products etc.), triethanolamine (shampoos, skin products etc.), triclosan (toothpaste, mouthwashes, bedding, socks, etc.), formaldehyde (found in the plastics widely in use, plywood and carpeting in our homes, facial tissues), Diethanolamine DEA (found in shampoos, lotions, creams, cosmetics), the list goes on and on, point being every day use of the products that contain these ingredients may have more of a negative impact on our children than the lifesaving vaccines that we inject them with. Skin allows these chemicals to be absorbed by the body just as much as an injection and we use these products on our children every day for years. We do not want to think that our own behavior while pregnant, our own product use then or on our infants and children may have had a negative impact on them. It is easier and safer to blame vaccines because we do not directly inject them.

Contrast the above ingredients with the following…

The most common vaccine adjuvants in use today are aluminium hydroxide, aluminium phosphate (a leavening agent found in cake mixes and some baking powders) and calcium phosphate (found in dental products, is a nutritional supplement and found in cheese products), killed bacteria or killed viruses, lipopolysaccharides, and squalene (a naturally occurring product “produced by all higher organisms including humans”, found in many personal care products), thiomersal (also found in eye, ear and nose drops and ointments, antiseptic sprays, topical medications, tincture of Merthiolate, make-up remover, eye shadows, mascaras, eye moisturizers and soap free cleansers).

There is a separate issue regarding third generation vaccines not discussed here, another topic for another day. The point is, we do need to be careful and considerate about everything that we use in our modern world. But we must not “throw out the baby with the bath water”.

I didn’t mean to jump back on the vaccine bandwagon again but the point is vigilance without being vigilantes. Sometimes it seems that we can own a point of view so much that reason and balance leaves us. We cannot afford to do this any longer. More care and careful consideration weighing all aspects is needed because we can no longer afford to rely on others wholeheartedly. This is not fair to them or to us. The truth is, we need to put the public back in to public health.

We know that the current trend is to keep people out of hospitals and into home based care. This truly is for our own benefit. Gone are the days of long hospital stays, and good riddance as long as we know how to care for ourselves and our loved ones (and we have access to the tools that we will need like antibiotics and antivirals). But it does require us to be more involved, more aware, and more responsible for our own care and the care of our loved ones.

Thinking ahead to an infectious disease outbreak that will be severe in its far reaching effects and impact on us and combining that knowledge with the understanding that hospitals will close and health care workers will not show up for work due to their own fear or the fact that they themselves will be ill or family members will be ill at home and need to be cared for, we ourselves must be ready to step up to the plate and be responsible caregivers for our loved ones in our own homes. And we will want our loved ones to know what to do if we become ill. Which brings me back to my first point. In order to be vigilant we need to be educated. No one can or will do this work for us. This one is on us and us alone. Learn or perish, that is what we are faced with now.

When we have to deal with an infectious disease crisis, the tendency will be to forget all that we know unless we have used what we know in previous crises or have drilled so that we can react on cue. As medical consumers, we have largely not needed to learn any medical treatment skills. We have trusted others to care for us, to make decisions for us, to guide us and those we have grown to rely on may not be available to us in an infectious disease catastrophe which is what a pandemic really is. All over the country experienced all at the same time, professionals will be spread too thin. In order to survive we must be ready. WE must be ready to treat our loved ones in our homes without antibiotics, without respirators, without antivirals, without many, many, tools that we rely on now. There simply may not be anyone else to call or rely on for information and if we ourselves are not ready with the information, and the skill because we have had the foresight to study and drill, we may not survive….and that is what it will all come down to – survival.

The world does not need a whole lot more vigilantes, the world does need a whole lot more people being vigilant, engaged and involved.

Posted in pandemic, Public Health | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The Public’s Trust and Compelled Vaccines

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 24, 2008

A major report on Gulf War Illness was released last Thursday. The report, for me, reiterates the why we must not compel anyone in the general public to take vaccines.

But the issue is not so simple as the mistrust that adjuvants in these vaccines cause when it comes to the subject of vaccine use during a pandemic or other widespread infectious disease outbreak. The new third generation DNA based vaccines are a cause for concern just based on their newness and unknowableness given their lack of widespread testing and long term use.

Many variables effect a vaccines safety and not just the adjuvants used. And many variables are possibly implicated in Gulf War Syndrome, not the adjuvants used in the vaccines. How the vaccines are produced, especially when manufacturing massive amounts of vaccine and the storage of these vaccines (especially during a pandemic when the power may have an impact on a vaccine safety) are all considerations that must weigh heavily on public health decisions made pre-pandemically.

What we decide now when cooler heads prevail, should determine how we proceed during a pandemic. Waiting for a time to make decisions, that may become quite local during an infectious disease outbreak where we will be “on our own”, when fear of those who are ill or infected is widespread or when logic, reason and sound science may be in short supply, is not a good course to follow.

“First, do no harm” is an important ethical and moral principle. In the days ahead when people may be hungering to use widely untested vaccines to stop the spread of pandemic influenza, there may be more pressure exerted on those in the public who desire to not take them. What is in the vaccine, how it has been stored, how it has been manufactured, may actually do more harm than good and there will not be time to properly test and evaluate what is being used to inoculate us. Public fear can be compelling. Public pressure unavoidable.

It isn’t that I am against vaccine use on general principles. I have posted about the positive effects of vaccines. I am against compelling people to take part in, what sometimes seems to be experimentation on the general population. Even after all this time of a raging controversy regarding newer immulogic aduvants, little has been done to study the effects as well as the effects of multiple vaccines taken in a short period of time. If we do not know these . But enough of a question exists in my mind to allow room for doubt and there is this doubt for many, many, people. The American public must not be experimented upon and that is what is occurring when these manufacturing changes take place with very few studies to point to that demonstrate safety.

When Gardasil first came out, that was exactly my thought. I counseled the females in our family to wait, and I am glad that they did. Now, with little long term evidence that the vaccine is safe, it is being made a mandatory vaccine for some groups of people.

Vaccines should never be compelled.

Mandatory vaccination for participation in public school or attendance at camp, is understandable, one can always opt out of participation or choose to homeschool. But now even some homeschoolers are being made to provide proof of vaccination. This is concerning. Forcing the general public to vaccinate in order to leave their home to go to work or worship or to socialize is a strong arm tactic that I can envision in our future as a pandemic approaches. Absolute faith and trust in science and technology as a means to an end is foolishness. Have we not proven time and time again that “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. Awry, in this case, are lives lost. Certainly not in accordance with the “first, do no harm” principle when the variables that determine vaccine safety cannot be guaranteed in the future.

We must be very careful what we are allowing to be enacted as our public health policies. To bury our heads in the sand now as an apathetic public is a very dangerous approach to the days ahead.

The effects of vaccines and adjuvants used during the Gulf War and the full implications of their use is still unclear. The following report illuminates much but does not confirm anything – there is just more reason for concern and a reason to urge caution about what we allow to be injected or taken into our bodies.

From the report:

GWIandHealthGWVeterans_2008_WebCover

Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans: Scientific Findings and Recommendations:

A report by the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veteran’s Illnesses

From the website:

The Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses was created by Congress in 1998, and first appointed by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi in January, 2002.  The mission of the Committee is to make recommendations to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on government research relating to the health consequences of military service in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during the Persian Gulf War.

According to its charter, the guiding principle for the work of the Committee shall be the premise that the fundamental goal of Gulf War-related government research is to improve the health of ill Gulf War veterans.   Research priorities will be judged against this standard.

The research priorities are not to reduce the likelihood of further reactions or to determine whether or not vaccines and adjuvants are safe for use by the general population or armed forces personnel now. The guiding principle and premise is to “improve the health of ill Gulf War veterans.”

A general background on just vaccines (there are other chemicals implicated in the report) – from the report:

Vaccines and Gulf War Illness

Summary

Vaccines and Gulf War illness. Gulf War veterans received multiple immunizations for deployment. These included the anthrax vaccine, which was given to a large number of military personnel for the first time during the Gulf War. Diverse issues have been raised in relation to the anthrax vaccine’s potential for causing adverse health effects. Due to changes in production methods and quality control measures between 1990 and 2001, it is not known if the safety profile of the anthrax vaccine in current use is the same as that of the vaccine given to Gulf War personnel. Recent studies have indicated
that the current anthrax vaccine is associated with high rates of acute adverse reactions, particularly in
women. No information is available on rates of persistent symptoms or multisymptom illness following
receipt of the anthrax vaccine. Studies have not identified excess hospitalizations or outpatient visits for diagnosed diseases in the weeks and months following receipt of the vaccine. Limitations in the types of information provided by these studies, however, indicate a continued need for long-term follow up, to determine whether excess rates of diagnosed or undiagnosed conditions occur in anthrax vaccine
recipients.

An excess of circulating antibodies to the natural substance squalene was reported in symptomatic Gulf War veterans in 2000, and investigators suggested this could have been caused by an unapproved vaccine adjuvant in the anthrax vaccine. Testing of potentially suspect vaccine lots by two laboratories identified only trace amounts of squalene, far below levels usually used for vaccine adjuvants. The observed association between Gulf War illness and elevated levels of squalene antibodies was not contingent on anthrax vaccine being the source of this abnormality, however, and has not yet been independently evaluated.

Gulf War epidemiologic studies have not identified any individual vaccine, including the anthrax vaccine, to be a prominent risk factor for Gulf War illness. Several studies have provided indications that personnel who received a larger number of vaccines for deployment have had higher rates of persistent symptoms since the war. Few Gulf War studies have adequately analyzed data collected in relation to vaccines received for deployment, however, to determine whether individual vaccines or combinations of vaccines are independent risk factors for persistent health problems in Gulf War veterans.

Recommendations

Diverse concerns have been raised in relation to vaccines received for the Gulf War, but relatively little reliable information has implicated individual vaccines as prominent risk factors for Gulf War illness. Several issues related to vaccines received by Gulf War veterans have not been adequately addressed by existing research. These include the need for more thorough evaluation of vaccines as risk factors for chronic health problems in epidemiologic studies, a definitive study to conclusively evaluate the previously-observed association between squalene antibodies and Gulf War illness, and the need for longer-term evaluation of symptoms and diagnosed diseases following receipt of the anthrax vaccine.

The Committee therefore recommends the following research:

  • In previously-conducted and future epidemiologic studies of Gulf War veterans, analyze associations between Gulf War illness and individual vaccines, combinations of vaccines, and total number of vaccines received using methods that control for potential confounding by other Gulf War-related exposures.
  • Commission a case-control study to provide clear answers concerning possible associations between Gulf War illness and squalene antibodies. The study should, at minimum, analyze blinded samples from well-characterized symptomatic and healthy Gulf War veterans for the presence of squalene antibodies using each of the assays developed for this purpose. It should also assess whether there is an identifiable link between levels of squalene antibodies in ill Gulf War veterans and receipt of the anthrax vaccine or vaccines more generally. The project should be organized and overseen by qualified investigators not affiliated with the federal government or civilian scientists whose initial work raised the squalene issue in relation to Gulf War illness.
  • Evaluate the association of anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA) with chronic symptoms, Gulf War illness, and diagnosed diseases in personnel known to have received the anthrax vaccine during the Gulf War. These health outcomes should also be assessed at least five years after vaccination in deployment and era subgroups of personnel in the Millenium Cohort study as well as other groups vaccinated in association with the military’s anthrax vaccine immunization program and federal anthrax vaccine trials.

Why does this matter to us in the general population?

There is an indication in this report that the use of vaccine adjuvants has changed over the years and that change may be implicated in the symptoms that military personnel experienced.

From the report…

Characteristics of the anthrax vaccine used in the Gulf War. The anthrax vaccine licensed for use in the U.S. was developed in the 1950s. The U.S. vaccine, referred to as anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA), is a cell-free filtrate of an unencapsulated strain of anthrax, adsorbed onto aluminum hydroxide. Its immunogenic component is protective antigen (PA), one of three proteins produced by the anthrax
bacillus that contribute to its toxic effects. Aluminum hydroxide acts as an adjuvant to boost the body’s immune response to the vaccine. Although disputed by nonmilitary observers, the Department of
Defense has consistently maintained that all anthrax vaccine used in the Gulf War was manufactured and supplied by the Michigan Department of Public Health (MDPH), which had been producing AVA since 1970. In 1995, the vaccine manufacturing division of MDPH became known as the Michigan Biological
Products Institute (MBPI). MBPI was sold in 1998 to the private company, Bioport. Bioport is currently a subsidiary of Emergent Biosolutions, which continues to manufacture AVA for the U.S. military under the trade name BioThrax.

It has been necessary for the Committee to distinguish the large amount of information now available on
the anthrax vaccine—pro and con—from the more limited amount of information specifically relevant to anthrax vaccine and the health of Gulf War veterans. An important first question, which the Committee was not able to fully answer, concerns the extent to which research on adverse effects of the U.S. anthrax
vaccine, largely conducted prior to 1972 and again after 1998, can be applied to the anthrax vaccine given
to Gulf War veterans. There are many unknowns surrounding the anthrax vaccine provided at the time of
the Gulf War. This includes a number of indications that AVA has not been an unvarying product with a risk profile that can be assumed to be the same before, during, and after the Gulf War.

The anthrax vaccine used during the Gulf War was the general type developed and tested in the 1950s, but modifications were made in vaccine components and production methods over the years, including major changes made between the 1950s efficacy trial and vaccine licensure in 1970. Specific
changes in the manufacturing process were also made by MDPH in 1990, just prior to the Gulf War, to meet the military’s increased demand. At that time, MDPH changed from glass to stainless steel fermenters and substituted nylon filters for the ceramic filters previously used. The changes sped up processing time and increased production volume for a given lot, allowing more vaccine to be
produced in a shorter time period.
No information is available from testing done by MDPH at the time of these changes, however, to determine possible effects on the vaccine. An investigation by the General Accounting Office (GAO, now the Government Accountability Office) suggested that the filter changes
could result in higher levels of proteins in the vaccines
, and that MDPH did not test for anthrax proteins edema factor (EF) or lethal factor (LF). The GAO also reported that results of an unpublished Army
study, conducted in October 1990, found as much as a 100-fold increase in the level of PA in the vaccine after the filter change. It is likely that some of the vaccine lots distributed in the Gulf War were manufactured prior to the 1990
production changes, and some after, raising the possibility of differences among lots given to Gulf War military personnel. Earlier studies, for example, had indicated that AVA lots produced in the 1980s
contained detectable amounts of LF and EF. The type of filters used in the Michigan production plant were again changed in 1997, to a polyvinylidene filter. Therefore, vaccine lots produced in the late 1980s and after the 1990 filter changes might both have differed from vaccine produced after the 1997 filter changes and also from lots produced after extensive changes were made in the Michigan production facility in 1998 and 1999.

Several reports have indicated that acute reaction rates to the Michigan-produced anthrax vaccine did vary between lots. For example, data collected by CDC between 1967 and 1972 in support of AVA licensure
identified significant lot-to-lot variation in rates of acute reactogenicity. Similarly, adverse reactions reported by 1,583 workers who received anthrax vaccine at Fort Detrick between 1973 and 1999
also varied significantly by lot. Of the 32 anthrax vaccine lots used over the 26 year period, highest injection site reaction rates were reported for lots numbered 10, FAV001, FAV004, FAV006 and FAV008. This is of particular interest, since anthrax vaccine lots FAV001, FAV004, and FAV006 were also given to Gulf War troops during the war, and lot FAV008 was  manufactured at about the same time
as lots given to Gulf War troops.

There are other distinctions potentially applicable to Gulf War-era anthrax vaccine. The vaccine is temperature sensitive, and must be kept between two and eight degrees Celsius.138 Reports have described the challenges involved in maintaining a high-quality system for packaging and transporting the
vaccine to ensure it is maintained at proper temperatures. After the 1991 Gulf War cease fire, for example, DOD reports that all unused anthrax vaccine stocks were stored at an Army medical supply
facility in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Refrigeration malfunctions at the facility in April and May 1991 prompted Army officials to recommend that the vaccine be disposed of, rather than returned to the
U.S. In 1999, DOD had to destroy a shipment of 20,000 vials of anthrax vaccine delivered to a U.S. base in Germany because of vaccine degradation caused in shipment. Since that time, an improved system for packaging and transporting AVA was jointly developed by DOD and Bioport. But during
the Gulf War, it is possible that some vaccine was affected by problems during shipment, storage, or distribution under the difficult circumstances of wartime, mass inoculations, and the harsh desert
environment.

Although there are many sources of possible variability in the anthrax vaccine used in the Gulf War, there is little reliable information to indicate whether or how the anthrax vaccine given to Gulf War veterans was actually affected by any of these circumstances. So the question of whether effects of AVA received in the Gulf War can reliably be deduced from studies of vaccine produced in the years before the war, or in more recent years, remains open. If the anthrax vaccine given to Gulf War troops varied in important ways from AVA produced in recent years, adverse effects data from recent studies would tell us little about adverse effects of anthrax vaccine given to Gulf War veterans. If there were problems with specific shipments or lots of the vaccine used during the war, Gulf War veterans or other subgroups who received
those lots might be affected by problems not typical of vaccine recipients overall, problems that could go undetected when all Gulf War veterans are assessed as a single group.

Quality control issues related to vaccine production at the Michigan facility. U.S. FDA regulations require any vaccine lot approved for distribution to pass specific tests that demonstrate the lot’s purity, potency, sterility, and safety. The anthrax vaccine has a three year shelf life, but the
manufacturer may request three year extensions of the expiration date, after retesting and demonstrating
the lot’s potency. As mentioned, FDA identified multiple violations and problems in MBPI/Bioport’s production facility in the late 1990s. But little quality control information is available on anthrax vaccine produced by MDPH at the time of the Gulf War. There were no FDA inspections of the MDPH anthrax
vaccine production facility prior to 1993. Department of Defense inspections, however, identified multiple problems in the MDPH anthrax vaccine production process in 1992, including a lack of stability studies.

In 1993 and 1995, FDA inspections at MBPI revealed a number of problems and violations in product lines unrelated to anthrax vaccine. Additional problems were noted between 1996 and 1998, some of
which did relate to anthrax vaccine production and testing. For example, 1998 FDA inspections identified significant violations related to stability testing, potency testing, assigning expiration dates, and justification for redating expired anthrax vaccine lots that resulted in MBPI quarantining several lots.
FDA issued warnings during this period, and a 1997 notice to revoke MBPI’s license.

MBPI voluntarily ceased vaccine production in January 1998 to undergo extensive plant renovations that
had been previously planned. The facility transferred ownership to Bioport in September 1998. After renovations were completed, the production facility and newly produced vaccine were required to
undergo detailed testing and FDA review before full production could resume, and before newly manufactured vaccine was released for distribution. All plans, processes, and facilities related to
production of the anthrax vaccine received final FDA approval in January, 2002.680

Production changes in the U.S. anthrax vaccine before and at the time of the Gulf War, lot-to-lot variation documented before and after the Gulf War, production violations after the Gulf War, and extensive improvements in the manufacturing process since 1998 all contribute to the Committee’s observation that health effects potentially related to AVA given to Gulf War veterans may not be reflected by vaccine studies conducted prior to 1972 and, again, after 1998. However, any identified patterns of health
problems that relate to AVA more generally, over different periods of time, may be informative about the potential for anthrax vaccine to have contributed to ill health in Gulf War veterans. Therefore, the Committee reviewed available research concerning acute reactogenicity and longer-term health effects of
the anthrax vaccine.

In the news…..

Panel Confirms Gulf War Syndrome Is Real and Causes Are Definable

By John Gever, Senior Editor, MedPage Today
Published: November 17, 2008

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 — The Gulf War illness was caused by pyridostigmine bromide pills taken by U.S. troops to neutralize the effects of nerve gas attacks and by exposure to neurotoxic insecticides, according to a VA advisory panel.

These two factors amounted to a definable scientifically valid illness with significant nervous system symptoms often still affecting veterans of the 1991 conflict in Kuwait and Iraq, said the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses.

Exposures to neurotoxic compounds including insecticides — which thousands of soldiers took as protection against nerve gas — are the most likely causative candidates, added the report.

“Scientific evidence leaves no question that Gulf War illness is a real condition with real causes and serious consequences for affected veterans,” the report said.

[This report continues here.]

And a second report

Chemical Exposures in Gulf War Caused Veterans’ Illness

By Crystal Phend, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Published: March 11, 2008
Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

SAN DIEGO, March 11 — Chronic illness among Gulf War veterans may be caused, in part, by exposure to acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, including pesticides and nerve agents, according to a systematic review.

These chemicals have consistently been linked to illness in epidemiologic and animal studies and in dose-response to exposure among service members, reported Beatrice A. Golomb, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of California, San Diego, online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The evidence satisfied criteria for causality, suggesting exposure to this class of chemicals “may account for some or perhaps much of the excess illness seen in Gulf War veterans,” Dr. Golomb said.

[This report continues here.]

Being allowed to decide what we take into our own bodies, to determine our own health treatment, is crucial in any free society even when what we do or not do has implications to the health of others. Simply stating that a vaccine is safe and effective is no longer a trustworthy statement. Too many conflicting reports and too many reports from affected and believable individuals have shattered the public’s trust in government and manufacturing sector studies to allow for mandatory vaccination without an opt out clause in my humble opinion, and forced vaccination will prove to be a dangerous path to take in the days ahead when trust will be a crucial factor in resiliency during and after a pandemic.

Now add to this mix new widely untested technology and a pandemic of influenza where the pressure to vaccinate the public will be at a peak.

from Wikipedia:

DNA vaccination is a technique for protecting an organism against disease by injecting it with genetically engineered DNA to produce an immunological response. Nucleic acid vaccines are still experimental, and have been applied to a number of viral, bacterial and parasitic models of disease, as well as to several tumour models. DNA vaccines have a number of advantages over conventional vaccines, including the ability to induce a wider range of immune response types.

<snip>

The wikipedia article continues on to explain what these “third generation vaccines” are thought to accomplish.

[the page continues here]

And then there is this article: First Positive Results for DNA-based flu vaccine

Now, based on all the conjecture on both sides of this issue, if anyone thinks that I would jump right in and allow myself to be injected with a “third generation vaccine” until it is absolutely proven to be harmless, they have another think coming. Again, just my humble opinion, but my lack of faith in man, science, and technology simply will not allow this leap.

Posted in Public Health, Vaccine | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Now that you have quit smoking

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 22, 2008

Check out this link.

Smokefree.gov offers expert help by phone or instant message!

There is also a link to a list of medications that will help now that you have quit.

Preparedness is an all inclusive list of changes that we must make in order to be ready for the days ahead. It isn’t always an easy thing to do, but it is a necessary thing. Congratulations to all who decided to quit and have stayed with their decision. If you relapse, don’t let it discourage you from stopping again. The more success that you have in fighting off the temptation in many situations, the easier it gets.

I found that knowing my patterns of smoking, helped me to gird yourself against those times when I was most tempted. Instead of sitting with my coffee, a time when I would have been smoking too, I found an activity and drank my coffee on the run.

In this economy quitting smoking will help you and your family tremendously. When I quit in the early 80’s I kept a jar where I would place the money that I would have spent on cigarettes in a prominent place. Then I would reward myself with “a treat” for having not smoked. I was single then, but rewards work for the entire family.

One other thing that really helped me when I quit. I did a deep cleaning of the walls and windows of my house. Seeing that yellow from all of the smoke come off the windows and walls reminded me that my lungs were doing the same. A clean environment is motivation to not dirty it again, and a reminder to not dirty our lungs up. A fresh smelling house is like a gift in and of itself.

But watch out….after a few weeks of not smoking, food tastes a whole lot better. :-)

Congratulations on quitting.

You can do it!

Posted in Public Health | Tagged: | 2 Comments »