Communicable disease list continues to grow
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York's list of communicable diseases continues to grow, as new infections find ways to thwart human immune systems and public health experts hone their methods of identifying and tracking dangerous illnesses. The state Health Department has added yet another disease to its list: vaccinia, a virus caused by the immunizing agent in smallpox vaccines. People who
get vaccinated against smallpox, which is also on the communicable disease list, can in turn become infected by the virus and pass it along to others, according to the Health Department.
Starting in February, core hospital health care teams and public health response teams have been getting vaccines against smallpox amid worries that the disease can be used in a terrorist attack against the American populace. Of more than 700 critical health care response workers immunized earlier this year, the Health Department said vaccinia was confirmed in one instance. Vaccinia immune globulin is available from the Centers for Disease Control to combat the adverse reaction to the smallpox vaccine.
Health officials are considering whether to expand the smallpox immunization program to include more hospital workers, government employees and others who would respond in the case of a terrorist attack. The state Health Department said it is crucial to track any adverse reactions to the immunizations as represented by vaccinia, especially with an expected expansion of the vaccination program.
While smallpox has been in the news because of its possible use by terrorists, New York state health officials have been tracking the disease for more than a century. The same is true of anthrax, another potentially fatal illness that homeland security officials worry can be used in weapons of mass destruction by terrorists.
As in many other states, New York began trying to systematically track instances and outbreaks of dangerous diseases in the years after the Civil War. The state Health Department had a Division of Communicable Diseases by 1909, and by 1913 a system was in place for physicians around the state to report the presence of communicable diseases to Albany. Doctors would mail special index cards to Health Department headquarters filled out with the patient's name, age, occupation, address and the confirmed or suspected disease they were suffering from.
At the time, 24 diseases were on the mandatory reporting list. They included anthrax, diphtheria, dysentery, measles, the plague, polio, smallpox, tuberculosis, typhoid fever and whooping cough. The idea behind the reporting system was to both get a better overall picture of the health of the state's residents and to identify nascent epidemics. State health officials would be dispatched from Albany to apparent epidemic areas, where they would usually order the sick quarantined and seek out the source of the problem, such as tainted wells. Inadequate sanitation was the most frequent underlying cause of epidemics.
Most of the original diseases are still on the state's list, which grew to 61 last week. More recent additions to the list have included E. coli, hepatitis, Legionnaire's Disease, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Toxic Shock Syndrome. Before vaccinia, the state most recently added Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome to the list. The Asian export caused alarm, especially among travelers and the elderly, when it emerged in late 2002. "Changes are made to the list of mandatory reportable conditions to address emerging threats, such as SARS, and to respond to a reduced public health significance of other diseases," Kristine Smith, a Health Department spokeswoman, said Friday. "The changes allow us to respond quickly and effectively to communicable illnesses that pose the greatest danger to New Yorkers."
While newly identified treats are added to the list, other diseases fall off. Leprosy and typhus were dropped in 1999 because no cases of the diseases originating within New York had been reported for years. Reye's syndrome was removed the same year as the result of a better understanding of the condition, which damages the livers of youngsters. It was traced to the aspirin that some children were being given when they had the flu or chicken pox, and scientists had come to conclude that it was not communicable between people.
Article by Jane Walsh:
Could The Cleanliness Of Our Hospitals Make Vaccines Pointless?
We are regularly told that vaccinations will protect us and our children from all sorts of infections and diseases. But Vox say that only 0.7% of children aged between 19 and 35 months aren’t given any sort of vaccination, which is a lot of protected toddlers in America. Or is it? Vaccinations are highly recommended across the US, especially to newborn babies. However, while there are plenty of doctors who encourage the practice, other doctors are completely against vaccinations. Furthermore, there is an increasing amount of evidence proving that our health authorities are not as clean as expected, which is rendering vaccinations pointless and putting the health of families across the US at risk.
Most vaccines are given via a needle and patients have to simply trust that the needle is sterile. But can you really be sure that's always the case? A drug user working in a New Hampshire hospital, was found to have used hospital needles to inject himself before returning them back to the hospital. These same needles where then used on potentially 870 unsuspecting patients. This is shocking and worrying news for Americans across the country who have their trust invested in the expensive health care services they pay for, to deliver safe vaccines are beneficial to their bodies. But the facts suggests that in reality they could be putting themselves at risk of contracting serious diseases and infections.
Standards of cleaning
Hospitals adhere to strict and specialized cleaning practices carried out by professional and fully trained staff. Every area of a hospital should be regularly cleaned and maintained and items such as bedding should be changed after each patient’s use. These cleaning methods are followed to control infections and prevent outbreaks of illnesses and diseases. Ultimately, a hospital’s cleaning firm is tasked with protecting a hospital’s patients, visitors and workforce.
Cleaning horror stories
But how can you be sure that your local institute is one of the good ones? After all, there are so many reports suggesting hospital bedding, cubicle curtains and bathrooms fail to meet the high standard of cleaning expected within the health and social care sector?
In 2016, an email revealed that a deadly mold outbreak had killed six patients that was traced back to dirty linen used on wards from 2014. This is shocking news for anyone looking to get vaccinated and really makes you ask, how many other hospitals in the country use the same linen firm found to have provided dirty laundry? And just how many other items in the hospital did the linen come into contact with and potentially infect?
And if that's not worrying enough, a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, found that 37% of hospitals only launder cubicle curtains when they were visibly soiled, further putting patients at risk of contracting infections.
If you’re considering vaccinating either yourself or your child, carefully consider your hospital’s cleanliness first. Make sure they use clean, unused needles and be on the lookout for signs that high standards of cleaning and sanitization are not being met. You cannot be too careful when it comes to yours and your family's health.