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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  • standingfirm

Biblical Preparedness The Foolish and Wise Virgins

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 13, 2008

The Parable of The Foolish and Wise Virgins

Then 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, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.

Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.

The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’

But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’

While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.

Then the door was locked.

Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’

But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’

Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

~Matthew 25:1-13

Stay Awake!

Is There Oil In Your Lamp!

 

 

 

 

 

“Whoever receives you, receives me.”

~Matthew 10:40

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Posted in Christianity, Prepare, Preparedness | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

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.

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

 

 

Posted in Massachusetts, Medical Reserve Corp, Public Health | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

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 »

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.

Posted in Prepare, Public Health | 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 »

Another PlanFirst Webcast Announced

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 6, 2008

planfirst

Wednesday,

December 17th

at 2 p.m. ET

Please note, you will need Flash (http://www.adobe.com) installed on your computer in order to view the live video stream.

The focus of this Webcast will be a discussion of HHS guidance on antiviral drug use and stockpiling to be released later this month.

Antiviral drugs will be an important part of a multi-faceted response to an influenza pandemic. They will be used to contain an initial pandemic outbreak, slow the spread of infection, and treat those who have pandemic illness.

No registration is required. Email your questions for the Webcast panelists before and/or during the program to hhsstudio@hhs.gov. Please include your first name, state and town.

Background

On March 13, 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched PlanFirst, a regular Webcast series on pandemic planning. The goal of the PlanFirst Webcasts is to help states, local communities, employers, faith-based and civic organizations, and families and individuals learn more about pandemic planning.

The pandemic influenza PlanFirst Webcasts are brought to you by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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

Links to Previous PlanFirst Webcasts:

Secretary Leavitt’s Discussion on Pandemic Planning and Preparedness

Secretary Leavitt’s Discussion on Pandemic Planning and Preparedness

(October 29, 2008) – 72 minutes

  • Secretary Mike Leavitt
  • Dr. Bill Raub, Science Advisor to Secretary Leavitt
  • Dr. Michael Osterholm, University of Minnesota
  • Maggie Fox, Reuters

Individual Preparedness 

(September 25, 2008) – 57 minutes

  • Admiral Joxel Garcia, HHS
  • Dr. Richard Benjamin, American Red Cross
  • Harlan Dolgin, PandemicPrep.org
  • Tim Woerther, PandemicPrep.org

Home Health Care Agencies Planning

(July 8, 2008) – 57 minutes

  • Alexis Silver, Home Care Association of New York State
  • Geraldine A. Coyle, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • James G. Hodge, Jr., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Workplace Preparation 

(June 4 2008) – 46 minutes

  • Andrew Levinson, Department of Labor

New Federal guidance for State Pandemic Planning Assessments

(April 30, 2008) – 65 minutes

  • Dr. Francisco Averhoff, CDC
  • Ms. Dana Carr, Department of Education
  • Ms. Barbara Bingham, Department of Labor

New Federal guidance for State Pandemic Planning Assessments

(April 2, 2008) – 76 minutes

  • Dr. Dan Jernigan, CDC
  • Colonel Dan Bochicchio, National Guard
  • Ms. Joan Harris,  Department of Transportation
  • Captain Ann Knebel, HHS

New Federal guidance for State Pandemic Planning Assessments

(March 13, 2008) 68 minutes

  • Dr. William F. Raub, HHS
  • Ms. Barbara Bingham, Department of Labor
  • Dr. Christa-Marie Singleton, CDC
  • Paul Strang, Department of Homeland Security 
  • Chris Logan, National Governors Association

Posted in Family, HHS, PlanFirst | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

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 »

One World Virus

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 21, 2008

Pandemics are typically named for the country of origin or the geographical region where the outbreak begins or is first reported. The “Spanish Flu” or the “Hong Kong Flu” are the most recent examples of this trend.

Of course, the “Spanish Flu” didn’t really originate in Spain, Spain was the first to report it. I am not so convinced that the Hong Kong Flu originated there either so perhaps, again, it was named because of the first reported cases.

What’s in a name?

Everything matters when it comes to influenza viruses. Politically and economically, having your country identified with a virus by name may have devastating effects in today’s interconnected world.

Culturally, having your country identified with a virus that causes the deaths of millions of people may be devastating. It may also have the secondary effect of countries obfuscating illnesses in order to not be named as the country of origin. It would be difficult to deliver up viral samples if you are going to be “punished” by having your country identified with in such a way.

Perhaps the flu should be named after the least cooperative country, since a lack of cooperation may be further enabling the virus. No, that is not right either. A virus does its damage in spite of all of our human efforts to contain it. And being vindictive is immoral, in my book anyway.

Cooperation, or lack of it, in the end may not matter a whole lot for this pandemic. We have learned a great deal about negative sense single stranded RNA viruses, and probably other viral types and this information may help stop epidemics of similar viruses. But mostly the gain has been in our human response to the negative societal effects in our modern day interconnected world.

To be honest, interconnectedness does not look so good to me right now. What I think that we have learned is that the most important efforts to respond to this will be the local ones. The communities who have developed and are ready to utilize their local resources will be better off.

So, how to best come up with the popular name for an influenza virus, well, maybe it is time to change that too. So my suggestion, tongue in cheek of course, is that we name this virus the “One World Virus”. There is such a major effort to globalize everything these days, why not globalize responsibility too.

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

First, Do No Harm

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 18, 2008

a Hat tip to Kobie at Fluwiki for this article

Health department will use grants for disaster planning

By Kimberly Ross (Contact)
Monday, November 17, 2008

Motorists who got a drive-through flu shot last month in Anderson may not have realized they also helped Shasta County prepare for the next worldwide pandemic flu strike.

A pandemic flu, anthrax attack or bioterrorism are probably of little concern to Shasta County residents — as they should be, Public Health Director Donnell Ewert said Monday.

“People should be way more worried about seasonal flu than pandemic flu. Go get your flu shot. … That’s a real threat, not a hypothetical threat,” he said.

Read the rest of this report here

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

There are times in our lives when we have to weigh the preponderance of the evidence and decide for ourselves whether or not “hypothetical” threats carry a significant amount of weight where we need to act on them proactively. A pandemic is one of those threats, in my humble opinion. If it does not happen, great. I have not lost a thing, not a thing. Pandemic preparedness leads to better preparedness for all sorts of hazards. General awareness increases. Knowledge increases. And personally, my family has benefitted a great deal by paying more attention to what we waste our money on.

To state that people need to be “way more worried about seasonal flu than pandemic flu” discounts the fact that a pandemic requires a good deal more planning for than seasonal flu. A seasonal flu we can weather in the few weeks that we are ill. As discussed before on this blog and so many other blogs, wikis, forums, and even the US government websites like HHS, and the CDC site, there are far more things to be concerned about than just becoming ill with pandemic influenza.

With increased absenteeism at work, it will be difficult to resupply goods during a pandemic. So it really does matter that we stock our pantries ahead of time. It isn’t like our efforts will go to waste. Carefully rotating our stock on hand so that food does not go out of date is a skill to be learned, and once learned, we really do benefit. With the economy such as it is, we have benefitted by having a full pantry during a tough month. Not having to go out a purchase food while our bills were particularly tough was a real blessing.

Worry is one of those words though that just bug me. To be honest, I don’t worry about anything. Worry, to me, means that I have forgotten who orders my day and who has my back. I am a woman of faith and I live my faith every day. Worry? No I don’t worry. I do know that God gave us and intellect and the ability to reason through the challenges of our times. And a pandemic is one of those challenges that we will face. To discount the challenge ahead is completely foolhardy.

Besides a pandemic, health preparedness helps us to keep vigilant and ready for many biological threats including seasonal flu. Doesn’t it just make sense to be a more prepared public all the way around?

When I hear of people discounting the need for health preparedness I begin to wonder if there is not some denial going on in their minds. I know that there is a lot of adjustment that we have to go through to be able to accept the fact that our world is not as biologically friendly as it was when our vaccines and antibiotics covered most of our illnesses but the truth is, we abused what we once had in our arsenal. Not on purpose, we just did not expect the rebound effect that overusing some of these things would have. And now some of these diseases have changed. Multi drug resistance, extreme drug resistance, it certainly will not hurt us to be more aware of how these diseases are transmitted.

More education, not less…more preparedness, not less – that is how we are to “first, do no harm”

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

Myths, Rumors, Outright Lies, and Some Truths Sprinkled In

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 17, 2008

I have spent the better part of the last three years studying pandemics, the H5N1 virus, infectious diseases, vaccines, online and offline as well. I am far from being an “expert”. I do know enough to not buy into some of the stuff being spread by people who always seem to be asking for donations. Ok, donations aren’t always bad when the money is spent wisely.  On some of these websites I just picture the author

laughing all the way to the bank.

I didn’t want to rely on the internet alone as a source of information because, well, it is the internet and anyone can say anything. It’s a new method of communication and relying on collaborative efforts could mean that we are collectively wrong.

Lately I have been reading a lot of myths and outright hyped fearmongering about influenza, H5N1, and “deliberate” pandemics. Pandemics happen and they have for centuries. Even if deliberately started, which I am not conceding by any stretch of the imagination, but even if – my response does not change. How I act responsibly would not change.

That’s what I do, and I think that it works for me.

I cut to the chase of what this all means to me, my family, my neighborhood, my town and how I, personally, can be of service to them in the difficult days ahead.

I am not in service to my government since I am not employed by it. I have not taken any oaths to uphold the government, but neither am I an anarchist. I believe that we get the government that we deserve. I truly do try to think every day “what would Jesus do” and then I try to do it.

The Roman Empire during the time that Jesus lived was a brutal government. We have some way to go. In some ways, it was because of the Roman Empire that the Gospel got its start, not in spite of it. God’s desire and purpose is never thwarted by anything man can and will do. In season and out of season, God’s will will be done.

In all of the New Testament I do not recall a single verse where Jesus spoke against the rulers of His day. He did speak against what rules our hearts when we are at enmity with God. “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the thing that are God’s”.

While rendering unto Caesar, we work within Caesar’s system in order to influence that system. We are citizens within that system and have the freedom, right and responsibility to try to influence our lawmakers and leaders. We live in a representative democratic republic, which is not the same as an absolute democracy. The people do not rule. In a representative republic, a certain body of electorate – the people – is represented by those we elect. These representatives are responsible to us.

This makes the days ahead very local to me. My local representative needs to understand my needs, my families needs, my towns needs, and he needs to represent our needs to the rest of the government.

I am an American citizen whose primary focus is on the health and well being of others. I can control what I do and my response to what the world throws at me. I can control how I respond to people who want to stir up feelings and emotions causing us to act without reason and responsibility.

It is not that I am in denial of the very precarious place we find ourselves, or the times that we are living in, I know full well most of the implications. I have actively sought to see the black swans amongst the white ones.

We are to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves”.

I hear what people are saying and I hear the fear that they have. I just don’t share in it, but neither do I want to promote it. When I read websites that are promoting fear, angst, rebellion, and when they seem to be twisting words, I ask how this person could possibly know that what they are saying is true.

Could what they are saying be true, I suppose they could get a few things right but probably not all. And the sheer number of websites popping up after all this time of relative silence simply because more people are now paying attention tells me something. Making a name for yourself so you can make a quick buck in these economic times at the expense of others is shameful.

Learn to discern and rightly divide the truth.

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

There Is Hope, Even When Death May Be Around Every Corner

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 16, 2008

[it is Sunday, it’s my blog – so I am going to tell it like it is]

Striving to save lives. That doesn’t adequately describe why I do what I do. Prepare this, prepare that, for what reason do we do this. And why focus so much on it when certainly there are more important things to be doing. Why urge people on? I ask myself this often.

I am not doing this so that lives may be saved. Though I suppose lives may be temporarily saved as a by-product of what I do. This life is a passing gift.

I am not doing this so that when the day of trouble comes we can all be a lot more comfortable and happy, although I suppose that may be a by-product of what I do. But that too is a temporary fix.

I am not doing this so that we can advance world peace or even a spirit of cooperation, who am I but a woman at a keyboard, that all seems so lofty, though I suppose it could be a by-product of what I do. But when the wind blows, that will change as it will.

I am not doing this so that people can read my words and find salvation, although that may be a result I suppose, though certainly not because of me or what I say or do. I can save no one.

I think that there is a danger in focusing so much on the value of human life that it becomes an idol. We have a reverence for human life that sometimes seems to be elevated above our reverence for God. We focus on ending misery by alleviating suffering all over the world. We focus on ending starvation, poverty, abuse, all noble deeds, unless we have lost the reason for why we do these things.

Of course, I cannot answer for anyone else. I can only explain the motives of my own heart in a clear way. I say this knowing even that it angers some.

We are all sinners who deserve hell. Every single one of us. Rich, poor, none of us even deserve life let alone a good and pleasant life. Not one of us is righteous. Not one of us deserves to be forgiven. And so many of us are not even bothered by this. This is an insult to God and so many today do not care about this at all. I say this because I know where anger towards me comes from, it comes from enmity with God. I am small, who should care what I think or say? If there truly is no God, why does He stir up so much in the human heart?

What is the primary care and concern today is our happiness. Too often what motivates us is the thought, “How can I be happy even though the rest are suffering.” We try to look noble in our motives. And I have met quite a few good folks who truly want to help others. With some I would want to ask is it because not helping others makes them feel miserable?

Too often over the years I have heard people express the thought is “how can I hide my ‘treasure’ so that thieves cannot come and steal it from me.” Too often the thought came up, “I will kill whoever tries to take what is mine.”

What we are not seeing in this is our utter selfishness, our self centeredness, our hedonism, is what is killing us now. For surely our soul is dying a little bit more with every step that we take away from the source of all goodness, God. We are insulting the Creator, our Heavenly Father, and so many just do not care. This old fashioned thinking of mine seems to make them feel bad about themselves and who wants that in this pleasure seeking, ego driven, society?

So many are not bothered by their insult toward God.

Remember God?

I remember God.

So what I do, I do, because I love God.

I blog about the pandemic, plague, pestilence, whatever you want to call it because I want to bring glory to God, through service. By serving God, a by-product may be that I end up serving my fellow man, as God pleases.

Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.

Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 1 Corinthians 10:24

I know not to let my life be a stumbling block to others.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. ~1 Corinthians 10:31-33

I know the miracle that I have experienced in my life. Because I know this miracle, that has changed my life, bringing glory God means everything to me.

As far as the pandemic is concerned.

There is nothing man-made, man planned, man designed, that can save us from what is ahead.

And sometimes a pandemic seems such a small part of what the next few years will bring.

Do I think that some of our plans and efforts will help people, will relieve suffering, will make us better individuals, stronger families, stronger communities, I hope so.

I suspect that for the most part many have spent the better part of 5 years planning for a pandemic in order to keep our society, our world, functioning with as little a hitch as possible not because of good stewardship but because our pleasure in this world is threatened. We are afraid to suffer.

The truth is…

We are planning to throw antivirals, antibiotics, vaccines, and all manner of things at this and it is all like spitting into the wind if we have a severe pandemic.

A severe pandemic some say is too big for government to handle, they say “you are on your own”, and of course they are right. No government could take care of the needs of everyone during a pandemic.

A severe pandemic will be too big for local government to handle, and of course they are right too.

A severe pandemic is also too much for businesses to handle, and the truth of our massive incapacity to overcome this as human beings is frustrating so many people.

So what is the point?

I think the point is to get to the point where we are no longer bargaining or trying to make a deal with God (or death).

I think that the point is to get to the moment of decision.

Who do you serve, God or man?

Do you serve God or Mammon?

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other You cannot serve God and wealth. ~Matthew 6:19-24

I think that the point is to get to the point where every one of us decides what the meaning of their life is. And the point is to reach this moment of decision before their life ends and there is no turning back. To me, this is the reason for this season.

The only way for God to get glory is for us to be willing to give up our life by obedience to God. I embrace the cross of Christ not because of what I get out of it, I embrace the cross of Christ and suffer the anger and hatred of those who hate my words because I know that in giving up my life, and it does feel like that sometimes, I know that Jesus Christ is glorified. He has pardoned me. He is my advocate and my judge. To me this is the greatest joy on earth.

So even with knowing that a pandemic is snapping our jaws at our heals, I have found hope, joy and peace. But I found it when I was willing to give it the only pleasure that I knew, human pleasure for delighting in God.

That is the point.

There is hope, even when death may be around every corner.

Our hope is found in God.

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

Now that I am on a roll, lets talk about vaccines

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 15, 2008

[this is a changeable post. I keep adding more information as I do research.]

Sufficiently humbled it would probably be a good time for me to approach the difficult, important, and timely subject of vaccine safety and efficacy.

I will take it slowly and carefully.

I was going to write about societal changes that make preparedness crucial, but I will hold off because of the sheer number of stories every day that are being published about vaccines, adjuvants, mercury, and the possible link to autism. I am a fence sitter leaning toward the position of “yeah,no” and more toward no.

But since these are our children I want to protect them.

I want to protect them from deadly diseases that do exist and will come back with a vengeance if we become lax in our vaccination schedules.

And yet, I find myself gritting my teeth over our reliance on them and the ingredients in them, the need for these ingredients, and the possible health effects from these ingredients.

I am the mother of five grown children, and grandmother to one grandchild, I care about children. I care about pandemic preparedness, in large part, because I care about children – they are our future and I want to protect them.

All of my children were vaccinated against all childhood illnesses except on daughter may have had a reaction to her first pertussis shot so she did not have the other two in the series. She ended up getting whooping cough in her mid-teens and she was very ill.

What would be a perfect scenario in a perfect world would be that we wouldn’t need vaccines.

The truth is that prior to the development of vaccines people died from the diseases that we now vaccinate against and not just children. I for one, do not want to go back to a time when most families experienced the death of some of their children and grandchildren.

When vaccines were developed parents were very thankful. Smallpox, polio, diphtheria, measles, whooping cough, these were and are deadly childhood diseases.

I did a vaccine post here and mentioned pneumonia vaccine in a post about this report here.

I also understand the concern that parents have over the possible connection between autism and vaccines because of the immunologic adjuvants in the vaccines themselves.

from wikipedia:

In immunology, an adjuvant is an agent that may stimulate the immune system and increase the response to a vaccine, without having any specific antigenic effect in itself.[1]

The word “adjuvant” comes from the Latin word adjuvare, meaning to help or aid.[2] “An immunologic adjuvant is defined as any substance that acts to accelerate, prolong, or enhance antigen-specific immune responses when used in combination with specific vaccine antigens.”[3]

Adjuvants have been called the dirty little secret of vaccines [4] in the scientific community, as much about how adjuvants work is a mystery.

Known adjuvants include oils, aluminum salts and virosomes.

First, Do No Harm

Aye, there’s the rub.

What would be ideal is to be able to test individuals for the genetic marker that indicates that they have an underlying metabolic condition that predisposes them to autism spectrum disorders before they take the vaccine.

We could then vaccinate all who do not have the marker, keep up our “herd immunity”, and protect those who have the marker.

But not all of us would want to be tested or have our children tested for these markers.

So that leaves us to having to gamble a bit when we vaccinate our children.

When most people were vaccinating the diseases were kept at bay. Now that parents are thinking twice and becoming afraid the diseases are making a comeback.

Far be it for me to tell anyone what they should do for their children. I can just say what I have done for mine and honestly tell you what the results were for us. None of my children have autism.

Some of the questions that I ask myself are

Do the potential damages outweigh the risks?

Death vs. autism – The childhood illnesses that we vaccinate against can often be deadly and life altering. Autism is heartbreaking and life altering but it is a relatively rare disorder.

I cannot answer that for other people. I know that my children are vaccinated so they are protect unless the disease changes so that they will need to be given booster shots as adults. Not that they are adults they can choose for themselves. Personally, I take all the vaccinations that I can that have been out for a few years.

But if my children were small, I would still choose to vaccinate…up to a point but that is a different issue, and a different topic for another time. As parents and as adults we need to educate ourselves and use our discernment.

I do not see any reason for me to not be vaccinated so if asked my recommendation to my children about my grandchildren would be to vaccinate them against all that they can right now. I would also tell them to pay attention to what other parents are telling them.

Questions that I do not have answers to but I think about…

Is autism on the rise, or being aware are we diagnosing it more?

Are we blaming something on vaccines that has a different environmental cause (e.g. if mercury in vaccines is suspected, how about the fish we serve our children, or the plastic bottles that they drink out of)?

As a public, we have the same responsibility to “first, do no harm”.  Not taking vaccines has the potential to do far more harm, to far more people than taking vaccines – which has enjoyed a good level of compliance to this point, and a good track record.

There are so many things that we do as a society right now that may not be in our best interests and we gamble with our lives and our children’s health every day.

We should probably take the cell phones away from our children, not allow them to drink out of plastic bottles, not microwave foods in certain plastics, not ingest melamine tainted products, eat fish laden with mercury, sit in car seats window open while refueling a vehicle, be exposed to second hand smoke, listen to loud music, become obese, or eat diets full of high fructose corn syrup….

Children typically begin to show signs of autism spectrum disorders between the ages of 12 and 36 months. Right when we also vaccinate children. That does not make one a cause and the other an effect.

Do Autism Spectrum Disorders occur at the same rate in non-vaccinated children?

The answer to that question would be most helpful.

 

Resources:

Noel Piper with an excellent blog post regarding the book “Look No Hands“. Here is a quote from her post….

“Brian’s parents hoped they were doing the best thing for him. As a mother, a story like this helps me empathize with parents who agonize over the best thing—is there a “best” thing?—for their child. I am reminded that prayer is essential for families facing medical and therapeutic challenges—prayer for confidence in God far beyond confidence in science.”

One vaccine that I did recommend to my own family members to hold off on taking until more information about the effects were known was the human papillomavirus vaccine – Gardasil.

This vaccine began getting mixed reviews almost immediately after the general population began being immunized. As I said, I am for vaccination on general principles, but I do want to ensure that what we are injecting into our bodies is safe. And I do have questions about Gardasil.

[One question, is every adolescent pregnancy tested prior to receiving this vaccine? The safety and effectiveness has not been established in pregnant women. Experimenting on our adolescents and unborn children by government mandate seems inappropriate to me.]

Some research indicates that the vaccine is now required of immigrants to the U.S.:

Vaccination Requirements for IV Applicants.

Applicants

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO IMMIGRANT VISA APPLICANTS CONCERNING VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS

United States immigration law requires immigrant visa applicants to obtain certain vaccinations (listed below) prior to the issuance of an immigrant visa. Panel physicians who conduct medical examinations of immigrant visa applicants are required to verify that immigrant visa applicants have met the vaccination requirements, or that it is medically inappropriate for the visa applicant to receive one or more of the listed vaccinations:

— Acellular pertussis
— Hepatitis A
— Hepatitis B

— Human papillomavirus (HPV)
— Influenza
— Influenza type b (Hib)
— Measles
— Meningococcal
— Mumps

— Pneumococcal
— Pertussis

— Polio
— Rotovirus
— Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids
— Varicella
— Zoster

In order to assist the panel physician, and to avoid delays in the processing of an immigrant visa, all immigrant visa applicants should have their vaccination records available for the panel physician’s review at the time of the immigrant medical examination. Visa applicants should consult with their regular health care provider to obtain a copy of their immunization record, if one is available. If you do not have a vaccination record, the panel physician will work with you to determine which vaccinations you may need to meet the requirement. Certain waivers of the vaccination requirement are available upon the recommendation of the panel physician.

Only a physician can determine which of the listed vaccinations are medically appropriate for you, given your age, medical history and current medical condition. For more detailed information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Panel Physician Technical Instructions for Vaccination.

N.B. Certain waivers of the vaccination requirement are available upon the recommendation of the panel physician.

My concern is with the one vaccine for HPV, Gardasil. It is too new, too untested, for mandatory vaccination requirements.

“First, do no harm”

I am just not absolutely sure that harm is not being done.

Resources:

CDC: Reports of Health Concerns Following HPV Vaccination

CDC: Questions and Answers about HPV Vaccine Safety

CDC: Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System

CDC: Immunization Schedules

Merck: Gardasil Information

Use in Specific Populations

Safety and effectiveness of GARDASIL have not been established in the following populations:

  • Pregnant women. Physicians are encourage to register pregnant women exposed to GARDASIL by calling 1-800-986-8999 so that Merck can monitor maternal and fetal outcomes (8.1).
  • Children below the age of 9 years and pediatric males of any age. (8.4).
  • Women 27 years of age and older. (14.4).

and

Judicial Watch Uncovers New FDA Records Detailing Ten New Deaths & 140 “Serious” Adverse Events Related to Gardasil

 

 

Posted in Public Health | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Don’t Forget About November 20th

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 14, 2008

I know, I can be an awful nag.

Six days until the Great American Smokeout

Quitting smoking really can be difficult. I know how hard it is. I truly do. But I also know how great the health benefits are.

I was a smoker and I do empathize. I do understand. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t say a word.

I do care.

I also know what it feels like to have an asthma attack. For a while I had a reactive sort of asthma. When I would get a bad cold or the flu I had asthma symptoms and had to use a nebulizer. Thankfully, it is under control now. Losing weight helped too.

The point is, even though quitting smoking is hard to do, the effort is worth it.

And I cannot promise that I won’t mention this again….

This is from the CDC:

Smoking and Influenza

If you are thinking about quitting smoking – today is the time to take the appropriate steps to do so.
  • Some research studies show an increase in influenza infections among smokers compared to nonsmokers.
  • There is a higher mortality rate for smokers than nonsmokers from influenza
Additional respiratory health consequences:
  • Smoking is related to chronic coughing and wheezing among adults and children and chronic bronchitis and emphysema among adults.
  • Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to have upper and lower respiratory tract infections, perhaps because smoking suppresses immune function.
Within 20 minutes after you smoke that last cigarette, your body begins a series of positive changes that continue for years.

Smoking Cessation:

  • Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and reducing the health of smokers. Quitting smoking has immediate, as well as long-term health benefits.
  • Individual, group, or telephone counseling by trained health professionals increases the chances of successful quitting. Nicotine replacement products and certain other medications also increase the chance that people can successfully quit.

To successfully quit smoking, you should take the following steps:

  • See your doctor, call a telephone quitline, or join a group program to learn new skills and behaviors to deal with situations when you want to smoke.
  • Get ready and set a quit date.
  • Get support and encouragement from family and friends.
  • Get medication and use it correctly.
For information on how you can quit smoking visit the following web sites and resources below:

Additional Information on How to Quit Smoking at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/how2quit.htm

Posted in Preparedness, Public Health | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Reports that Encourage and Bring Hope

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 14, 2008

Admittedly, it has been a marathon to increase awareness of pandemic influenza and encourage preparedness among the public.

For some reason when this story was dropped into my inbox this morning it brought tears to my eyes. Not tears of sadness, but tears of gratefulness and thanksgiving.

Maybe it is just my imagination, but the sheer number of stories about local preparedness efforts and announcements of rural areas that are planning and announcing their planning to the public are increasing. And I am breathing a tremendous sigh of relief.

Preparedness and awareness are our best mitigation tools.

This type of reporting, rather than create panic in the public, will help many to begin to prepare their family and home. Good information (rather than rumors and misinformation) never hurt, it always helps.

The following report is what opened the floodgates for me. I have family ties to this area and years ago I started telling people about preparedness in this area. Since we are not able to get to our island home as much as we would like I have not been as aware as I would like to be about the planning efforts of the place that holds my heart, and where I long to be.

(I would encourage more than 10 days of food, water, and medicines….but it’s a beginning)

Pandemic planning pushes preparedness

Written by Robert Levin

Friday, November 14, 2008

BAR HARBOR — Public officials are continuing with efforts to prepare for a potential outbreak of pandemic flu this winter or in coming years.

The Mount Desert Island Pan Flu working group was set this week to ask the league of towns to approve initial plans for stepped-up communication procedures among area towns in the event of an outbreak or other major event.

The league of towns, made up of representatives from Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor, Tremont, Mount Desert, Swans Island, Cranberry Isles, Acadia National Park, Trenton and Lamoine, was slated to take up the request of the at a regular meeting in Mount Desert Wednesday. Results of the meeting were not available by press time.

“Coordinated dissemination of public information in the event of a big event, such as the pandemic flu, would simply go a long way to ensuring an effective public response,” said Mount Desert Island hospital spokesman Jeff Nichols, the chairman of the Pan Flu working group subcommittee handling communications procedures.

With the support of the league of towns, Mr. Nichols hopes to coordinate training on how to manage media and spread information efficiently in the event of an emergency. He has asked each town to designate a public information officer to work with him on communications plans.

The ability to spread information quickly and efficiently in the event of a pandemic flu outbreak is extremely important, said Doug Michael of the pan flu working group. Mr. Michael, who is the director of Healthy Acadia, said the potential for such an outbreak remains very real.

“Public health officials in the state and the nation and across the world are largely in agreement that we are overdue for a pandemic event,” he said. “We cannot predict when it will happen, but it behooves us to be prepared.”

Since 2003, world health officials have been tracking the spread of the H5N1 avian flu virus. A growing number of human cases have been reported in Asia, Europe, and Africa, killing more than half of the people infected.

While almost all of the cases have been caused by exposure to infected birds, officials remain concerned that the H5N1 virus will mutate into a strain that is capable of human-to-human transmission, leading to a pandemic flu event. Because avian viruses do not commonly infect humans, there is little or no immune protection against them in the human population.

The world’s last large pandemic flu outbreak was in 1918, killing an estimated 50 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Smaller pandemics occurred in 1957 and 1968, killing one to two million people each time.

In the event of an outbreak, officials likely would close public schools and try to keep people as isolated from each other as possible, in an attempt to curtail the spread of the virus, Mr. Michael said. People can prepare for such an event by having 10 days worth of food, water, medical supplies, and other necessities stockpiled in their homes, he said.

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Respiratory Etiquette and Healthy Habits

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 13, 2008

It goes without saying good health hygiene is always wise.

With cold and flu season upon us, along with a flu shot, a little more concentration on our healthy habits will protect us through the winter.

It is also a good idea to pay particular attention to developing our good habits now in order to be more prepared for other serious infectious disease outbreaks like a pandemic.

While most folks won’t want to don masks for seasonal flu or colds, we may be asked to especially when we are around those whose immune system puts them at particular risk for infection, the elderly, and very young children.

Respiratory illnesses like whooping cough, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) are spread by coughing and sneezing, by touching our eyes, ears, mouth, and nose with unclean hands.


Minnesota Department of Health

If you are coughing or sneezing you should:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands. Be sure to dispose of used tissues in waste containers.
  • After coughing or sneezing wash your hands with soap and water. Effective hand hygiene includes washing with soap and warm water for 15 seconds or cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand cleaners after contact with respiratory secretions.
  • You may be asked to wear a mask.
  • Proper cold and flu etiquette: stand or sit at least 3 feet from other persons, if possible.

Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often and thoroughly will help protect you from germs.

Wash your hands with soap and warm water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds – friction matters. When soap and water are not available use alcohol based hand-sanitizers.

Good Hand Hygiene is crucial

Wash your hands:

  • before preparing food
  • before meals and snacks
  • after using the restroom
  • after touching animals
  • when hands are dirty
  • when you or someone around you is ill

  from the CDC:

    • Clean Hands Saves Lives!
      Tips on hand washing and using alcohol-based hand sanitizers
    • Wash Your Hands Often
      Fact sheet and video clip from “An Ounce of Prevention Keeps the Germs Away”
    • Take Action Clean Hands Campaign
      Facts and survey results, educational materials From American Society for Microbiology
    • Consumer Advice: Clean: Handwashing
      Links to lots of educational materials, including those for schoolchildren. From www.foodsafety.gov
    • It’s a SNAP Toolkit: Handwashing
      Handwashing materials. Part of It’s A SNAP program aimed at preventing school absenteeism. From the School Network for Absenteeism Prevention, a collaborative project of the CDC, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Soap and Detergent Association
    • Handwashing
      Brief facts and quiz questions. From “Food Safety A to Z Reference Guide” part of middle school food safety science program produced by the FDA and the National Science Teachers Association

Free Flu Materials available from the CDC are located here.

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H5N1 News Update and the Latest Innovations

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 12, 2008

The test results came back positive that a fifteen year old Indonesian girl from the city of Semarang in Central Java died from an H5N1 avian influenza infection. Living near a poultry slaughterhouse, the girl became infected after coming in contract with infected poultry.

Hospitalized for 10 days, the girl died on November 7, 2008. Test results for two laboratories confirmed the H5N1 virus was the cause of her death.

We must not become complacent about H5N1

In June of this year Indonesia’s Health Minister, Siti Fadilah Supari stated that she would no longer announce deaths from H5N1 immediately after that were confirmed promising instead to make the information available “eventually”. Supari’s decision was a source of frustration for many and came after she stopped sharing bird flu samples with global infectious disease experts in January 2008.

Indonesia’s timely announcement is step in the right direction for improving global relations and cooperation on the avian influenza front.

The World Health Organization website H5N1 virus has infected 388 people worldwide, killing 246.

Our federal agencies have not been complacent over this issue. Recently several agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation, Customs and Border Protection, and state, local departments along with the airline industry, took part in a full-scale exercise at Miami International Airport in order to test the government’s strategy to slow the spread of a novel human to human virus into the US.

Clearly educating the public long before a full fledged pandemic begins would be the best approach.

Innovative thinking like googles flu trends which monitors real time search queries in order to determine if there are outbreaks in areas around the country will be crucial in giving the public the head’s up that we will need in order to make decisions at the local level on when to close schools and implement other mitigation strategies. Having a public that is already aware and ready to jump right in with their own tools and planned approaches is the best strategy of all.

This truly is the first time that the world has had an opportunity to plan ahead for a pandemic…and we aren’t doing a bad job of it at all. But clearly more effort and planning is needed.

Onward and upward!

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The Great American Smoke Out

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 12, 2008

November 20, 2008

Plan to Quit

Grassroots efforts really can make a difference! And quitting smoking would certainly be a wonderful pandemic preparedness idea! Money from quitting could be spent on preparedness items. Your lungs, and your families lungs, would all benefit. I quit a three pack a day habit in 1983 and have never regretted it.

A Massachusetts resident, Arthur Mullaney, organized the first “smokeout” in 1971. As a guidance counselor in the local high school he was used to hearing students talk about the high cost of a college education. Looking outside he said to his students, “you know, if I could have a nickel for every cigarette butt I see outside we’d have enough money to send all of you to college.”

He asked his community of Randolph to give up smoking for a day and donate the money that they would have spent on tobacco products to a local cause, the high school scholarship fund in town. “I called it ‘Smokeout’,” says Mullaney. “And we had a saying—’light up a student’s future, not a cigarette.'”

Thus Randolph Massachusetts was the first town in the U.S. to quit smoking en masse.

Strike a match, an idea was born from one little comment one one ordinary day.

Students and local businesses pushed the idea forward. By the third year the American Cancer Society began helping with the marketing of the idea. A national campaign was born.

Quitting Resources:

Local Resources

Live Free. Smokefree. Breathe easy, New England!

American Cancer Society-Quitting Preferences Poll

image

American Cancer Society

Benefits of Quitting Smoking

When Smokers Quit — Benefits of Quitting Over Time

  • 20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drops.
    (Effect of Smoking on Arterial Stiffness and Pulse Pressure Amplification, Mahmud, A, Feely, J. 2003. Hypertension:41:183.)
  • 12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
    (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1988, p. 202)
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
    (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp.193, 194,196, 285, 323)
  • 1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
    (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 285-287, 304)
  • 1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
    (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p. vi)
  • 5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.
    (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p. vi)
  • 10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker’s. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decrease.
    (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. vi, 131, 148, 152, 155, 164,166)
  • 15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.
    (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p. vi)

More Materials

It’s Time To Quit -Just Do It!

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Every Once In A While…

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 11, 2008

I just HAVE to point to a post on another blog.

Mike at Avian Flu Diary always does a wonderful job at blogging. But one recent post stands out (but there are so many more).

Please read this one.

Modular Blocks Of Preparedness

“In a disaster such as a pandemic, if we hope to minimize our losses,we must find ways to work together as families, as neighborhoods, and as communities”. ~ Mike Coston – a Fla_Medic

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Google.org Flu Trends

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 11, 2008

Kudos to Google!

Nothing mysterious or sinister here, just good old fashioned smart thinking utilizing the tools that we have at our fingertips, literally.

Privacy is protected and individual search queries are not identified.

Explore flu trends across the U.S.

Check it out.

Complete with state information, a flu shot locator, flu news from the CDC and the American Lung Association, and a nationwide flu activity map we should all be well aware of when it is safe to venture out this flu season AND during a pandemic…

(…that is if the internet stays up and the electricity stays on throughout a pandemic.)

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Novartis Vaccines and PTA Battle Flu

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 11, 2008

11/10/2008

  • Partnership aims to provide convenient access to vaccination — helping keep kids and teachers in school and parents at work
  • “Let’s Fight Flu Together!” initiative supports CDC’s new vaccination recommendations which include children six months to 18 years old 1
  • Campaign goal is to increase vaccination rates while supporting PTA with a donation for those vaccinated

Cambridge, MA, November 10, 2008 — Novartis Vaccines announced today a national public health initiative for influenza vaccination for school-aged children, their families and teachers. In an effort to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) broader influenza vaccination recommendations, Novartis Vaccines has partnered with PTA (Parent Teacher Association) and Flu Busters, an on-site vaccinations provider, for a nationwide influenza vaccination campaign called “Let’s Fight Flu Together!

Check out the rest of this press release here

Kudos to Novartis and the PTA

 

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CDC Travelers Health Kit

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 11, 2008

International travel and even travel within our own country demands a bit more preparedness these days.

The CDC has developed some recommendations for travelers to travel safely.

Knowing that a pandemic can start at any time, and that there are other concerns of late, traveling safely requires a bit more planning. The U.S. Department of State recommends to “Remain in Country During a Pandemic” “Americans who are overseas should be prepared to remain in country for an extended period”.

This Christmas it would be a good idea to be a bit more practically minded with our gift giving overall. A few of my friends are missionaries in far off places. A wonderful Christmas gift this year would be a Traveler’s Health Kit.

For more extensive information check out the “Yellow Book”

yellow book Read the Table of Contents here

What is also important to note that during a pandemic travel to and from home will become fraught with difficulty.

Travelers’ Health Kit

is a feature in Chapter 2 that bears highlighting.

A woman packing a suitcase

Attention, international travelers! Save room in your suitcase for your Travelers’ Health Kit. Use this as a guide for packing items you will need to stay healthy on your trip—such as sunscreen and insect repellent, prescription medicines, and basic first-aid items.

A sample travelers' health kit

There’s a lot to think about when you are preparing to travel to a different country! When you’re planning what to take on your trip, don’t forget to pack a Travelers’ Health Kit in your luggage. It’s a good idea to keep all medicines, especially prescriptions, in your carry-on bags. Because of airline security rules, sharp objects and some liquids and gels will have to remain in checked luggage.

Here are a few items you might want to include in your kit.

Basic First-Aid Items

  • Adhesive bandages
  • Gauze
  • Elastic wrap for sprains
  • Antiseptic
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Digital thermometer
  • Antibacterial and antifungal ointments/creams
  • 1% hydrocortisone cream
  • Moleskin for blisters
  • Aloe gel for sunburns
  • Lubricating eye drops
  • First-aid quick reference card

Medicines

  • Acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, or another medicine for pain or fever
  • Antacid
  • Over-the-counter antidiarrheal medicine (such as bismuth subsalicylate or loperamide)
  • Antibiotic for self-treatment of moderate to severe diarrhea
  • Oral rehydration solution packets
  • Mild laxative
  • Antihistamine
  • Decongestant (alone or in combination with antihistamine)
  • Cough suppressant/expectorant
  • Throat lozenges
  • Personal medicines:
  • Any prescription or over-the-counter drugs you take on a regular basis
  • Epinephrine auto-injector (such as EpiPen), if you have a severe allergy
  • Anti-malaria drugs, if needed

More Information

Other Important Items

  • See the Travelers’ Health Kit section of the CDC Health Information for International Travel 2008.
  • Remember that CDC recommends you talk to a doctor familiar with travel medicine 4-6 weeks before your trip to make sure you have any vaccines or medicines you need to stay healthy. See the Travelers’ Health Web site for more information.
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen (at least SPF 15)
  • Antibacterial hand wipes or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol)
  • Other items, depending on your destination and possible activities:
  • Water purification tablets
  • Mild sedative (such as zolpidem) or other sleep aid
  • Anti-anxiety medicine
  • Medicine to prevent or treat altitude illness
  • Latex condoms

Passenger jet landing

Contact Card

When you travel with medicines:

  • Make sure you carry them in their original containers with clear labels, so it’s clear what medicines they are.
  • If you are taking any prescription medicines, carry along a copy of the prescription, including the generic names for medicines.
  • If you are carrying any controlled substances or injectable medicines, carry a note on letterhead stationery from your doctor to explain your reason for having this medicine.

Also what bears highlighting during the holiday season of heightened travel is the following…The Post-Travel Period

Checking this link before you travel internationally is also wise.

The International Society of Travel Medicine

They post outbreak news updates like the following:

Current as of November 11, 2008

News from WHO

Outbreak News – November 2008

Outbreak News – October 2008

Outbreak News – September 2008

Travel safe, travel wise

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Happy Birthday Martin Luther

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 11, 2008

Compelled to Defiance, Martin Luther understood by faith what it means to be a “Christian”, a Christ follower.

The time that we live in demands of us spiritual preparedness. I believe that Martin Luther would have stood firm for that preparedness.

The path of a Christian is not one of prosperity or ease, it is one that marked with sacrifice, service, and the realization that nothing, nothing, is more powerful or more important that the truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, God Himself as only the living Trinity can reveal to us by grace.

And the gates of hell will not prevail against this truth.

Martin Luther understood that the upheaval of his time and all the efforts of the great thinkers of his day are in vain when they oppose God.

Martin Luther understood that spiritual domination by anything or anyone other than God himself, through His son Jesus Christ and the personal relationship that we can have with the Godhead through faith, is the spirit of antichrist by definition. Martin Luther knew that faith in a church, faith in a pope, or a hierarchy – or any other man made thing, was and is today a way of eternal death.

God doesn’t need our money, our institutions, our UN, our WHO, our government, our help, in order to fulfill His promises. His promises will be fulfilled no matter what. Our works are dead unless they are deeds done from faith and the blessing is to us, not God. We are blessed by our own obedience through faith and our service to God strengthens us, not Him.

Martin Luther thought that “indulgences are most pernicious because they induce complacency and hereby imperil salvation”.

Indulgences in the Roman Catholic sense are the release from punishment for sin. In Martin Luther’s day these were sold by the Catholic Church. A practice that continues to this day.

Today the even bigger issue that looms is the spirit of antichrist that is alive in the world. And it is this that breeds indulgences of all types, churched and unchurched.

Making allowances for sin has become the vogue. It is no wonder people are confused. And confusion does not come from God.

If Martin Luther were alive today, I suppose that he would be speaking about much the same thing, indulgences. I think that he may also be addressing more broadly the spirit of antichrist which is at the heart of all indulgence and excess. 

The spirit of antichrist is accepted and taken on in our hearts when we worship and find hope in man, or a man. The spirit of antichrist is alive when we embrace other gospels. The true “Good News” is only found in the Bible. The spirit of antichrist is very much alive in this world today and in due time God will allow the man of lawlessness, the final antichrist, to be revealed.

The spirit of antichrist is in all who reject Jesus Christ. This is true by definition – anti-christ. There is only one way to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, and that is through faith that He is the Son of God, which is silliness and anti-intellectual to all who do not know Him. It saddens me to get to know people of great intellect who cannot see, understand, or embrace, the simplest of truths. They are haughty and boastful, assured of their intellect. They heart of pride.

I see the foolhardiness of those who thing their great intellect amounts to anything more that hole in the snow. I do not boast about having a great intellect, I do boast in the Glory of God. Ask yourself why.

The spirit of antichrist comes also from within the church but not the body of Christ that is the true Church. It comes from those who claim the name of Jesus Christ but are truly not His. They say that they are Christ followers but they do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and fully God. They may say that they pray to Jesus, they may say that they are “saved”, even Satan believes in Jesus Christ. Believing that Jesus lived and breathed is not saving faith.

Praying to the historical Jesus is not a prayer of faith. Allowing yourself to be a mocker of all that is Holy is not evidence of saving faith. It is evidence of all that is anti Christ.

I pray for all who believe that they are His and are not. They are deceiving themselves and that is a very sorry place to be. They are self assured and are tragically wrong.

see “Romans Road to Salvation

There will be wrath…

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator,who  is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.  They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Do you want to have a bebased mind? Do you care that you are filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice, envy, strife, deceit, and maliciousness. Do you care that you are a gossip, slanderer, hater of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, an inventor of evil, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless?

to reiterate…

“Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them”.

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done”.

Salvation is possible for all, God desires all to be saved, and by the grace of God we can be saved.

Like Judas Iscariot who healed and cast out demons, they will be able to show all power, signs and lying wonders in order to deceive for their own gain. They will enslave and destroy but like Hitler, Genghis Kahn, Nero, Stalin, they do so with deception. Do not be deceived.

What the world is looking for is anyone who will lift the world out of its misery.

"What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people, to lift us out of the economic morass into which we are sinking. Send us such a man, and whether he be god or devil, we will receive him".

~Paul Henri Spaak of Belgium, (25 January 1899 – 31 July 1972) was a Belgian Socialist politician and statesman. He was one of the organizational leaders of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications

Martin Luther did a very loving thing when he stood up and stood firm.

So in honor of his birthday…

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

There will be a time…

when strong delusion will come. We are in a time of increasing lawlessness and falling away.

Care about what will happen to you and your loved ones when the restrainer is taken away.

Care about a time when the Gospel will no longer be able to be preached throughout the world. We do not know when that time will come – today, tomorrow?

2 Thessalonians 2

The Man of Lawlessness

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?

And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Stand Firm

But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

Do Not Be Deceived

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Posted by preparedcitizens on November 10, 2008

I post this because this is a document that I will be referring back to over the next few years.

Here is the wikipedia link to the explanation of the document

It really is a fascinating document.

1948 surely was an eventful year.


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(other language versions | Human Rights Day 10 December | 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)


Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”

PREAMBLE

    Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

    Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

    Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

    Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

    Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

    Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

    Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
Article 1.

    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

    Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

    No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

    Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

    All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

    Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

    Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.

    (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

    (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.

    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.

    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

    (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

    (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

    (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.

    (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

    (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.

    (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

    (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

    (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.

    (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

    (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.

    Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

    (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

    (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

    (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

    (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.

    Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.

    (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

    (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

    (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

    (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.

    Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

    (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

    (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

    (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

    (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

    (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

    (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

    (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.

    Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.

    (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

    (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

    (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.

    Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html

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