- Pneumococcal vaccine: Babies routinely get this vaccine, but older children, adults, and seniors need to keep it in mind too. This vaccine can protect those with underlying health conditions from getting pneumonia, a dangerous complication of influenza.
"But because flu season lasts until May and more outbreaks are likely, some of those officials, including the top ranks at the CDC, have begun talking about the pneumonia vaccine, which they say could save thousands of lives a year and prevent debilitating effects of severe illness in many more."
- Oh, that unhealthy Santa: Santa, the large jelly-bellied man who "visits" kids at Christmastime, sits around, gets pulled by reindeer, and eats cookies at every house he visits. What an unhealthy image for kids! This article suggests that Santa needs a carrot, not a cookie. And that's not even starting to talk about all the sick, snotty kids who sit on Santa's lap all day, every day this time of year. (Ew.)
- Your tap water is legal, but is it healthy? This article discusses the outdated Safe Drinking Water Act, a 35-year-old law that covers a fraction of the thousands of potential chemicals and contaminants. And the effects of these contaminants may not be noticed until years after the exposure, making it difficult to pinpoint the source. The Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) is looking into changing the standards:
".. Even the E.P.A., which has ultimate responsibility for the Safe Drinking Water Act, has concluded that millions of Americans have been exposed to drinking water that fails to meet a federal health benchmark.."
- This very interesting blog post examines the latest health care reform proposal in the Senate for public health provisions. Examples include: focus on evidence-based medicine (we'll see how that goes over with the public - see the outcry about mammogram recommendations), emphasis on healthy communities and healthy lifestyles, authorizing the Epidemiology Laboratory Capacity program to increase surveillance capacity (yay!), addressing public health workforce shortages, and an emphasis on prevention.
- Trust for America's Health has released a new report "which finds that the H1N1 flu outbreak has exposed serious underlying gaps in the nation's ability to respond to public health emergencies and that the economic crisis is straining an already fragile public health system." Surprise! The report scores states on their preparedness levels.
- And finally, CSTE has released its 2009 Epidemiology Capacity Assessment report, which assesses states' capacity to perform essential public health services related to epidemiology and surveillance. Check it out!