This week’s Please Explain looks at the outbreak of fungal meningitis from contaminated steroid shots. We’ll find out how epidemiologists trace outbreaks like this to their origins and what compounding pharmacies are and how they work. Dr. Emil Hiesiger, clinical associate professor of neurology, NYU School of Medicine, and Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University and president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, explain.
Administering HPV vaccines for girls and young women has become a controversial topic, with some parents uncomfortable vaccinating children as young as 11 for a sexually transmitted disease. The vaccine has also become a hot topic among the GOP presidential candidates, with Rep. Michele Bachmann falsely claiming the vaccine caused a girl to become "mentally retarded." Doctors say there have been no proven cases of any harmful side-effects and that the vaccination is important in preventing several cancers, which HPV can lead to. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that boys and young men take the vaccine to prevent throat and anal cancer, as well as the spread of HPV to women.
Tomorrow, children across the country head back to school. Today, however, we’re joined by three health care professionals to talk about what school communities are doing to combat the spread of the H1N1 virus. Dr. William Schaffner is the chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Vanderbilt School, Lisa Swank is a public health emergency preparedness coordinator from Maryland, and Carol Johnson is the superintendent for Boston Public Schools.
"Stay home for 24 hours after your symptoms have resolved. And for people, particularly with underlying illnesses, once the systems start, immediately call, you don't visit, but call your doctor because your doctor may want to prescribe an ant-viral medication for you, which will shorten the course of the illness."
—Dr. William Schaffner, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Vanderbilt School,for students who start to feel symptoms