Tuesday, December 29, 2009
What have we learned from the swine flu crisis that wasn't? Joan Nichols, associate director of research at the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch, and D.A. Henderson, public health expert and co-author of "Smallpox- the Death of a Disease: The Inside Story of Eradicating a Worldwide Killer," share their differing opinions on what we did right and what went wrong.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Federal health officials say that 10,000 people have died due to H1N1 (or "swine flu") since April. To put that number into context, we speak with Dr. Richard Wenzel, infectious disease specialist at Virginia Commonwealth University and immediate past President of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Santas across America are asking for priority when it comes to getting vaccinated against H1N1. They say they're at high risk for contracting the flu as they deal with runny-nosed kids sitting on their laps, coughing and sneezing as they tell Santa what they want for Christmas. Ernest Berger, president and founder of Santa America, one of the largest volunteer Santa Claus organizations in the country, joins us to discuss why it is important for Santa to get vaccinated.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
By Fred Mogul : Reporter, WNYC News
At the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatricians last month, many doctors were surprised to learn they hadn't hadn't really ordered vaccine weeks earlier, because they had misunderstood the forms.
According to Dr. Sara Kenamore, of Westchester Pediatrics, the process was like making an online purchase, where you ...
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Demand for H1N1 flu shots is so high in most of New York state that doctors, hospitals, clinics and officials can't keep up. Yet, curiously, only a fraction of city residents have sought the swine flu vaccine. The majority ...
Monday, November 02, 2009
Later today, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, along with the CDC and other experts, will hold a briefing to update the nation on the H1N1 virus. In anticipation of the update, we speak with Dr. Peter Hotez, who chairs the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at George Washington University.
Monday, October 26, 2009
On Friday, President Obama signed a declaration elevating the H1N1 influenza outbreak to a national emergency. The declaration comes on the heels of mounting frustration with delays in vaccine production as cases continue to spread. We look at what the declaration means and what is holding up the vaccine with Peter J. Hotez, professor of microbiology at George Washington University.
Monday, October 26, 2009
- Washington Takeout: The Takeaway's Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich tells us why the Obama administration had declared H1N1 a national emergency.
- Business Takeout: Columnist for Slate and Newsweek Dan Gross gives us a hint at what the government might label "too big to fail" when it comes to banks.
- Listener Takeouts: On vaccinations, H1N1, and living without credit cards
Friday, October 23, 2009
The federal government has thus far not been able to make good on its promise to deliver 120 million doses of the vaccine for H1N1, commonly known as swine flu. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that only 13 million doses have so far been delivered, leaving millions of Americans — including those at elevated risk for contracting the flu — unable to obtain it. We talk to Tom Skinner, spokesperson for the CDC, and Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former deputy commissioner at the Food and Drug Administration. They tell us why the shortage is partly a chicken and an egg problem...literally. We also speak to Alison Prange, who hasn't been able to get a vaccine for her 4-year-old daughter who has asthma.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
The H1N1 vaccine is being slowly distributed around the country. We talk to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Disease, about when the vaccine will hit doctors' offices nationwide. Then, we turn to two practitioners who are also parents: Dr. Sandra Arnold, a pediatric specialist in infectious diseases at the University of Tennessee in Memphis, who was one of the first in the nation to get the vaccine. We also talk with Dr. Matthew Davis, a pediatrician and internal medicine doctor at the University of Michigan Medical Center, who just conducted a poll on whether parents will be vaccinating their kids. It turns out that less than half of parents polled are convinced that the vaccine is necessary for their kids.
Friday, October 02, 2009
Flu season starts officially on Sunday, and while the government has been urging schools to close only as a last resort in the battle against H1N1, there have already been at least 187 school closures since the school year started last month. Ross Hammond from the Brookings Institution discusses his new report that reveals that the true cost to the nation of closing schools and day care centers could be as much as $47 billion. Kathleen Murphy is a registered nurse and the health services coordinator for the Milwaukee Public Schools; she tells us what her school district is doing to prevent closings. We also speak to Dr. Faheem Younus, the medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention at the Upper Chesapeake Health Center in Bel Air, Md., who has some practical advice for parents who can't take the day off of work.
"Approximately 75-80% [of students] eat two meals a day at school, so right there, when schools close, there's an impact on their nutritional status and a family's ability to meet that child's needs."
—Kathleen Murphy, registered nurse and health services coordinator for the Milwaukee Public Schools, on a side effect of closing schools in case of an H1N1 outbreak
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Yesterday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced that U.S. drug regulators have approved a vaccine against the H1N1 virus, commonly known as "swine flu." The U.S. government has purchased 195 million doses of the vaccine and plans to give them out for free to anyone who wants it. We talk to an expert who says this is one of the largest medical initiatives in the history of influenza: Dr. Richard Wenzel, chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University.
In addition to free flu vaccines, the federal government is partnering with Elmo to help stop the spread of H1N1:
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
As we await the peak season for the H1N1 virus, one simple act may prevent the spread of infection: washing your hands. According to new research in the journal Risk Analysis, one-third of the risk for H1N1 infection comes from hand-to-face contact. We talk with Tara Parker-Pope, who writes the "Well" column for the New York Times, about why the routine act of washing your hands can have such big consequences for public health.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Researchers in the United States and Australia have some good news for the fight against the potential pandemic of H1N1, or "swine flu." Turns out that the vaccine will protect adults with only one dose (and one shot, yay!). This means that the vaccines already in production will go twice as far as previously expected, allowing more people to be inoculated against the flu. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, gives us the details.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Knock it off, Don Juan. In Spain, the health minister has asked citizens to put a stop to the traditional greeting of kisses on both cheeks, to help prevent the spread of H1N1, or "swine flu." Some schools in the U.S. are asking students to refrain from high fives and officials from France to Lebanon and Kuwait have encouraged people to limit contact. Do we really need to swap fist bumps instead of kisses to protect ourselves from the flu? Sewell Chan, from our partner the New York Times, joins us to discuss the risks in greetings.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
China will be the first country in the world to start a mass vaccination program to inoculate their citizens against the threat of H1N1, commonly known as "swine flu." Shirong Chen, the BBC's China editor, explains that China learned valuable lessons from their experience with the SARS virus. He also offers an explanation for why China has opted to first inoculate the politicians and the participants in the National Day Parade.
Monday, September 07, 2009
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
Friday, September 04, 2009
With grade schools opening across the nation, many parents are taking measures to prevent their children from catching the H1N1 flu virus. But a new study out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that children under four-years-old may actually be the safest from H1N1. To tell us why is Dr. Richard Wenzel, chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth and the former president of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
From acetaminophen to gargling with salt water, most people we know will do anything to recover from being sick... except skip a day of work. But this attitude won't jibe with the H1N1 virus: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending that Americans who catch swine flu take at least 3-5 days off of work to prevent the illness from spreading. Even the thought of one hour of isolation from our cubicles gives us the jitters, so today, we're sitting down with clinical psychologist Robin Kerner to try to understand exactly why it is that Americans have such a hard time just staying home.
Need additional proof that Americans just don't vacation? Read Why we don't vacation like the French in the American Prospect, Please don't make me go on vacation in the New York Times, and Money vs. Time Off: Why we don't take vacations from The Digerati Life.
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Yesterday, the president held a press conference to update the nation about the government's preparedness for an impending outbreak of H1N1, or "swine flu." The briefing was lackluster, to say the least, and it came on the heels of some startling news: there's suspicion that three people in Egypt might have independently come down with both avian flu and H1N1 simultaneously, a viral partnership that could allow H1N1 to become more virulent. (For more, read this article from the International Society for Infectious Diseases.) Are we really prepared for that? To read between the lines of dry bureaucratic-speak, we've called in our swine flu guru, Dr. Richard Wenzler.
Click through for a transcript of the president's remarks or watch his speech below: