Tag: #Influenza

Public Health is in a bit of a pickle over the nasal flu vaccine

No more FluMist vaccine for flu this coming flu season. What are the implications? Many.

Talking Tuesday: Spanish Interview on Flu Edition

Back in 2010, right before the flu season started, the bosses at the health department allowed me to do an interview with an AM radio station out of Washington, DC. The interviewer was awesome, and she really did a good job of asking pertinent questions and keeping my answers in line. It was a great opportunity to practice public speaking and speaking in Spanish. Although it is my first language, sometimes I forget some of its conventions. I've speaking English too long, I guess.

Time to freak out: FluMist is in short supply!

Yeah, okay, it's not time to freak out. You should never freak out. In fact, the first rule of emergencies is to stay calm. So stay calm. The "Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine" (LAIV) sold under the trademark FluMist in the United States seems to be in short supply. But this is the case right now and ...

The New Epidemiologists, Part 2

I got distracted when I was writing last time about "The New Epidemiologists" because we started our descent into Minneapolis. I wanted to tell you that one of the consequences of new methods to do disease surveillance and data analysis is that we have a batch of "new epidemiologists" that may not have proper public ...

Is the flu vaccine only 12% effective?

Synopsis The flu vaccine has low effectiveness, but that effectiveness is still better than nothing It has higher effectiveness in some age groups, lower in others There was a mismatch between the most common H3N2 influenza strain and the vaccine, bringing the effectiveness lower We need better influenza vaccine technology... Like, now! Of Sacred Cows ...

Talking Tuesday: Influenza Talk to Foreign Students

A group of students from Brazil came to Hopkins for a weeks-long course on public health. Now, these were not just any students. They were the cream of the crop from Brazil's public health infrastructure. Some were physicians, others were epidemiologists, and others were from other professions within public health there. My aim was to ...


We’re about to have a really bad influenza season

Today's weekly national flu report had the following nugget of information under the virology section: "41(48%) of the 85 H3N2 viruses tested have been characterized as A/Texas/50/2012-like, the influenza A (H3N2) component of the 2014-2015 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccine. 44 (52%) of the 85 viruses tested showed either reduced titers with antiserum produced against A/Texas/50/2012 ...

Days of a pandemic

I found these pictures in one of my hard drives today. They're from the very early days of the 2009 influenza pandemic. I was the influenza surveillance coordinator at the state health department at the time. I decided that I was going to document as much of those days as I could. I didn't have ...

Talking Tuesday: What else? Ebolaaaaa!

Yes, I'm late again. Relax. It's not like there are scores of you waiting for the podcast each week. Last I checked (this morning), there were 17 people subscribed to the podcast feed. I don't know how many are subscribed via iTunes, but I'm guessing there's not a lot. Anyway, today's rant is really a rant, and it originated from the madness going around in the media (mainstream, social, and popular) about the case of Ebola that was identified in Texas. We are worrying and sometimes outright panicking too much about this one case in Texas, ignoring the enormous burden of Ebola (and other diseases) on Africa. Also, I managed to get about a minute in of opinion on a satellite radio talk show. I explained to the host that between 3,000 and 49,000 people in the United States will die from influenza, but we don't stop planes from coming here from other countries, and we don't disinfect schools because of it.