Fewer than 20 percent of gay and bisexual men have been tested for HIV in the previous six months — as recommended by national public health agencies — and almost a third have never been tested at all, according to a survey conducted in the summer by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The same survey found that gay and bisexual men were largely uninformed about drug therapies to prevent HIV and that most of them rarely, if ever, talk to their doctors about the virus.
King County has received a four-year, $6 million grant to improve testing, treatment and cure rates of people with chronic HCV infection.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects large numbers of people in King County, but it often goes unnoticed until it’s too late.
“Thousands of people in King County have chronic HCV, but many don’t know they have it,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Chief of Communicable Disease & Epidemiology at Public Health – Seattle & King County. “This grant will allow us to make sure that patients with chronic HCV are not just identified, but also seen by a provider, receive follow-up testing, and get the care they need.”
The grant will fund the Hepatitis C Test & Cure Project, which will provide training for clinicians on the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of HCV and connect them to specialists. Continue reading
From Public Health – Seattle & King County
Local public health officials are investigating a confirmed case of measles infection in a traveler who was at Sea-Tac airport during the contagious period.
The traveler was likely exposed to measles outside of the United States.
What to do if you were in a location of potential measles exposure Continue reading
Disease modeling shows virus is spreading ‘without any end in sight’
By JoNel Aleccia / Fred Hutch News Service
The deadly Ebola epidemic raging across West Africa will likely get far worse before it gets better, more than doubling the number of known cases by the end of this month.
That’s the word from disease modelers at Northeastern University and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who predict as many as 10,000 cases of Ebola virus disease could be detected by Sept. 24 – and thousands more after that.
“The epidemic just continues to spread without any end in sight,” said Dr. Ira Longini, a biostatistician at the the University of Florida and an affiliated member of Fred Hutch’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease and Public Health Sciences divisions. “The cat’s already out of the box – way, way out.”
It’s only a matter of time, they add, before the virus could start spreading to other places, including previously unaffected countries in Africa and developed nations like the United Kingdom — and the U.S., according to a paper published Sept. 2 in the journal PLOS Currents Outbreaks. Continue reading
Enterovirus D68, which has been linked to outbreaks of respiratory infections in the Midwest, is now suspected to have arrived in King County
Children with asthma at increased risk for respiratory infections
From Public Health – Seattle & King County
Local health officials are working with Seattle Children’s Hospital to investigate a cluster of patients with severe respiratory illness who tested positive for a possible enterovirus infection.
Additional testing is being done at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that can determine whether it is the enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) strain that has been seen recently in other U.S. states.
At this time there are no confirmed cases of EV-D68 in King County or Washington state.
“Although we can’t currently say that these cases are definitely due to EV-D68, it would not be surprising if the virus is confirmed on further testing,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Chief of Communicable Disease and Epidemiology at Public Health – Seattle & King County.
If EV-D68 does appear locally, large numbers of children could develop respiratory infections in a short time period, as the virus spreads similarly to the common cold. Continue reading
To stop a man with HIV who has infected eight other people in the last four years, public health officials have sought court enforcement of its order requiring him to attend counseling and treatment sessions.
Two young girls have died and a boy was hospitalized in critical condition in the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday after becoming infected with E.coli in two separate incidents, health officials said.
In addition to making funds available to the United Nations for the current outbreak, the Seattle-based foundation has stated that it plans to work with public and private sector organizations to develop vaccines and diagnostic tools that could help prevent something like this from happening in the future.
From the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
For Colleges and Universities
Advice for Study Abroad, Foreign Exchange, or Other Education-related Travel
Is it safe to travel to countries where the Ebola outbreaks are occurring (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria)? What should we do if we have study abroad, foreign exchange, research, or other education-related travel planned to these countries? Continue reading
From the Washington State Department of Health
Immunization rates for Washington toddlers have improved from last year, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Immunization Survey.
The survey says 71 percent of kids under three years old in Washington got a series of recommended vaccines in 2013.
The state’s rate for the same series of vaccines in 2012 was 65 percent.
Pertussis vaccination still low and concerning in light of recent epidemic
For all vaccines counted, rates increased across the board except for DTaP, the vaccine that prevents pertussis (whooping cough).
This is especially concerning because of our state’s whooping cough epidemic in 2012. Continue reading
From the US National Institutes of Health
Trial will evaluate vaccine’s safety
Initial human testing of an investigational vaccine to prevent Ebola virus disease will begin next week by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.
The early-stage trial will begin initial human testing of a vaccine co-developed by NIAID and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and will evaluate the experimental vaccine’s safety and ability to generate an immune system response in healthy adults.
The pace of human safety testing for experimental Ebola vaccines has been expedited in response to the ongoing Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.
The study is the first of several Phase 1 clinical trials that will examine the investigational NIAID/GSK Ebola vaccine and an experimental Ebola vaccine developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and licensed to NewLink Genetics Corp.
The others are to launch in the fall. These trials are conducted in healthy adults who are not infected with Ebola virus to determine if the vaccine is safe and induces an adequate immune response. Continue reading
Experts have long believed that when the risk of a disease is high, people are more likely to accept a vaccine to prevent that disease. But recent research suggests that might not be uniformly true. Dr. Elizabeth Wolf, an investigator in Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, led a study that determined Washington’s recent pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic did not influence the number of infants who were vaccinated against the disease.
From the Washington State Department of Health
A Walla Walla County man is the first Washington resident in 2014 known to have been infected with West Nile virus in our state, Washington State Department of Health officials said Monday.
The man in his 20s was likely exposed near his home and was hospitalized. The infection was confirmed by testing at the Washington State Public Health Laboratories in Shoreline.
So far, 34 mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in 2014, including Benton County (11), Franklin County (11), and Grant County (12).
A King County man in his 70s and a Grays Harbor woman in her 50s were infected with West Nile virus this year while traveling out of state.
Additional reports of possible infections are currently under investigation. Continue reading
- Disease is global
- Ebola is unique
- Fear, misunderstanding are factors
- Response must balance individual, collective interests
- Ebola in US unlikely
- Be optimistic
Consumer Update from the US Food and Drug Administration
Tempted to get a tattoo? Today, people from all walks of life have tattoos, which might lead you to believe that tattoos are completely safe.
But beware—there may be associated health risks.
Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) became aware of a problem after testing inks in home use tattoo kits marketed by White and Blue Lion, Inc. FDA has confirmed bacterial contamination in unopened bottles of the company’s inks.
White and Blue Lion, Inc. recalled contaminated products on July 11, 2014, but FDA is still concerned that tattoo artists may be using contaminated inks from other distributors.
“FDA has confirmed one case of skin infection involving a consumer that used this company’s tattoo products,” Katz says, “and we are aware of other reports linked to tattoo products with similar packaging.”