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 ‘Vaccine’ Category

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.

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

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 »

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

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

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 »

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.

 

 

Posted in CDC, Public Health, Vaccine | 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.

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

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

image

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.

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

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 »

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 »

Antimicrobial Resistant Serotype 19A Streptococcus Pneumoniae and our children

Posted by preparedcitizens on October 31, 2008

This is not about pandemic preparedness but it is a pointer to changes occurring in the world of microbes….and how this effects us and our children.

My children were always prone to ear infections. Watching them pull on their ears and cry was something hard to take for this mom. It is hard to stand back and watch our children suffer and I know that I wanted antibiotics and I wanted them immediately, just to stop the suffering.

But that may have been unwise and over the course of years the overuse of antibiotics may be the cause of these emergent drug resistant illnesses. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.

My children were not able to be vaccinated with Prevnar, it was in use after they were grown, but now even that vaccine has some limitations. With the rise of Streptococcus Pneumoniae serotype 19A a new vaccine is needed.

Now, a promising vaccine may protect children under two against pneumococcal meningitis and pneumonia. 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV-13) may offer broader protection in infants and children than the current vaccine in use, Prevnar. Touted as being as effective as Prevnar (PCV7), PCV13 may expand coverage for six additional serotypes found worldwide.

Streptococcus Pneumoniae is a bacterium that normally inhabits that respiratory tract. It can cause sinusitis and otitis media and as a secondary infection meningitis and pneumonia. It also causes osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, endocarditis, peritonitis, and less frequently cellulitis and brain abscesses. Streptococcus Pneumoniae is the leading cause of invasive bacterial disease in children and the elderly.

Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype19a is an antibiotic resistant bacteria which is not currently covered by Prevnar. Ear infections that do not respond to antibiotics are currently being tracked in the United States by public health officials. The subtype 19A does not respond to any antibiotics that have been approved for use in children. Levaquin, a powerful antibiotic which is approved to treat adults and is not recommended for children has had some anecdotal success. Otitis media can be a serious illness which can lead to permanent hearing loss.

The overuse of antibiotics is cited as a cause of the creation of superbugs, or drug resistant infections, which are on the rise. Physicians have begun to adopt a wise “wait and see” approach to ear infections in children holding off on using antibiotics to see if the ear infection lasts for an extended period of time. This is something parents may not be used to and may balk at, but it is with good reason that they are doing so.

from the New York Times:

Worrisome Infection Eludes a Leading Children’s Vaccine

By LAURA BEIL

Published: October 13, 2008

A highly drug-resistant germ has become a common cause of meningitis, pneumonia and other life-threatening conditions in young children. The culprit — a strain of strep bacteria — can conquer almost all antibiotics in pediatrics, and has dodged a vaccine otherwise credited with causing the number of serious infections in children to plummet.

Since 2000, American toddlers have been immunized against Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus, an organism that preys largely on children younger than 5 and the elderly. Pneumococcal meningitis can be fatal, and survivors are often left with deafness and other lifelong neurological problems.

And by most measures, the vaccine has worked: by 2002, rates of infection from these bacteria had dropped as much as 80 percent in some places. But progress has now stalled, and infection with a particular type of pneumococcus, Serotype 19A, is steadily rising.

 

click here for the rest of the NYT Article

 

 

 

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Pneumococcal vaccine could prevent numerous deaths…

Posted by preparedcitizens on October 29, 2008

source: Avian Influenza Daily Digest

Technorati Tags:

AI Research

Pneumococcal vaccine could prevent numerous deaths, save costs during a flu pandemic, model predicts

10/29/08 Eureka Alert–A new predictive model shows that vaccinating infants with 7 valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7)–the current recommendation–not only saves lives and money during a normal flu season by preventing related bacterial infections; it also would prevent more than 357,000 deaths during an influenza pandemic, while saving $7 billion in costs.

Keith P. Klugman, PhD, professor of global health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, will present results of the research using the predictive model at the joint ICAAC/IDSA meeting in Washington, DC, Oct. 25-28. (Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy/Infectious Disease Society of America.

Bacterial infections, particularly pneumococcal disease, can follow a viral illness such as flu and cause secondary infections that worsen flu symptoms and increase influenza-related risk. Bacterial infections may have been the cause of nearly half of the deaths of young soldiers during the 1918 flu pandemic.

"We’ve known for years that bacterial infections can develop after influenza," says Klugman. "Unlike the 1918 flu pandemic, which preceded the antibiotic era, we now have vaccines that can prevent these types of pneumococcal infections. This model shows what a dramatically different outcome we could expect with standard PCV vaccination."

Klugman and colleagues at Harvard University, i3 Innovus in Medford, Ma. and Wyeth Research constructed a model to estimate the public health and economic impact of current pneumococcal vaccination practices in the context of an influenza pandemic.

Since 2000 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP) has been recommending PCV vaccinations for infants and children.

The new predictive model was used to compare the results of no PCV vaccination to the current routine vaccination of infants less than two years old. The researchers assessed the effect of vaccination policies under both normal and pandemic influenza conditions. They included both direct vaccination effects in vaccinated individuals and indirect vaccination effects (called herd immunity) in the unvaccinated. For manifestations of pneumococcal disease, they included invasive pneumococcal disease (meningitis or bacteremia), all-cause pneumonia and all-cause acute otitis media (ear infections). The model’s estimates were based on the 1918 pandemic.

The new model predicted that current pneumococcal vaccination practices reduce costs in a typical flu season by $1.4 billion and would reduce costs by $7 billion in a pandemic. In a pandemic, they would prevent 1.24 million cases of pneumonia and 357,000 pneumococcal-related deaths.

"Our research shows that routine pneumococcal vaccination is a proactive approach that can greatly reduce the effects of a future flu pandemic," says Klugman. Countries that have not yet implemented a pneumococcal vaccination program may want to consider this as part of their pandemic flu preparedness."

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Flu Season Has Begun

Posted by preparedcitizens on October 19, 2008

Seasonal flu is making it’s way through areas around the country. According to Lara Salahi of ABC News California, Connecticut, Idaho, New York, Alaska and Wyoming “all have reported early flu outbreaks”. Please read the rest of the story here.

There is plenty of flu vaccine available. Once onboard in our system, each day adds antibodies which will make it easier to fight off the flu if you come in contact with it.

Vaccines are made with dead viruses. You cannot get the flu from flu vaccine. The ABC news story also brings up the very good point that vaccines help us to help others.

When we are vaccinated we do not spread influenza.

Gotta get my flu shot!

I will post it here as soon as I do.

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

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Local Flu Shot Clinics

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 14, 2008

Seasonal Flu Shots Save Lives!

If you have been exposed to the flu prior to getting the vaccine or for two weeks after receiving the vaccine, you may still come down with the flu. The flu shot contains killed viruses and it will not give you the flu.

Excerpts from the CDC page – Influenza Key Facts:

People who should get vaccinated each year are: Read the rest of this entry »

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