When facts don’t matter: Arizona cancels vaccine program after backlash from parents who don’t vaccinate

When will post-truth thinking extend to buildings and bridges, which will remain intact because of faith rather than physics?

Australia gets a few totalitarian things right, such as mandatory voting and mandatory vaccination if parents want their kids to attend school.

Stephanie Innes of Arizona Central writes the state of Arizona has canceled a vaccine education program after receiving complaints from parents who don’t immunize their school-age children.

The pilot online course, modeled after programs in Oregon and Michigan, was created in response to the rising number of Arizona schoolchildren skipping school-required immunizations against diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough because of their parents’ beliefs.

But some parents, who were worried the optional course was going to become mandatory, complained to the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council, which reviews regulations to ensure they are necessary and do not adversely affect the public. The six-member council is appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey, with an ex-officio general counsel.

Members of the council questioned the state health department about the course after receiving the public feedback about it, emails show. The state responded by canceling it.

The complaints that ended the pilot program came from about 120 individuals and families, including 20 parents who said that they don’t vaccinate their children, records show.

“We’re so sorry we couldn’t make a go of this — strong forces against us,” Brenda Jones, immunization services manager at the Arizona Department of Health Services, wrote in an Aug. 6 email to a Glendale school official, along with a notification about the course’s cancellation.

In an email to two Health Department staff members on Aug. 14, Jones wrote that there had been “a lot of political and anti-vaxx” feedback.

“I’m not sure why providing ‘information’ is seen as a negative thing,” said state Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, who spent the last three legislative sessions as chairwoman of the House Health Committee and helped create the pilot program.

“Providing information doesn’t take away a parent’s choice to seek an exemption. … This is a major concern. Vaccines have saved lives for generations. We all want to live in safe and healthy communities.”

Kindergartners in Maricopa County as a whole are now below herd immunity for measles, said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

Maricopa County reflects national trends that show people who choose not to vaccinate their children tend to be higher income and white, sh

The American Academy of Pediatrics views non-medical vaccine exemptions to school-required immunizations “as inappropriate for individual, public health, and ethical reasons and advocates for their elimination,” a September 2016 policy statement says.

A California law that took effect in 2016  —  a little more than a year after a measles outbreak erupted at Disneyland and spread to include seven Arizona cases — prohibits personal belief exemptions. Children in California may still get exemptions for medical reasons, as long as their exemption is signed by a licensed physician. Otherwise, they aren’t allowed to enroll in school. 

Strawberry fields forever: At least 20 sickened with hepatitis A linked to frozen berries from Poland

Hepatitis A virus is an important cause of food-borne diseases and has been associated with several European outbreaks linked to berries [14]. Here, we describe an ongoing outbreak of hepatitis A virus (HAV) in Sweden and Austria and the confirmation of frozen strawberries imported from Poland as the source of infection. The aims are to highlight the importance of sequencing in outbreak investigations and, due to the long shelf-life of the food vehicle, to increase awareness and warnings towards HAV infections related to frozen strawberries in Europe.

According to a report by the scientific journal Eurosurveillance, 20 cases of hepatitis A were reported in six districts of Sweden between June and September 2018, of which 17 were confirmed and three were likely. “In combined epidemiological and microbiological studies, imported frozen strawberries produced in Poland were identified as the source of the outbreak,” the journal said. Also in Austria hepatitis A diseases have been associated with strawberries from the same manufacturer.
Swedish and Austrian researchers have identified strawberries as a source of infection for many hepatitis A diseases in their countries. “Examinations and interviews with kitchen staff showed that the strawberries had never been sufficiently heated before serving. Strawberries were the only food that was common to all cases, “says the Swedish experts.

The best protection against hepatitis A is vaccination, which is available for children 12 months and older.

Hepatitis A outbreak linked to imported frozen strawberries by sequencing, Sweden and Austria, June to September 2018

Eurosurveillance 2018;23(41)

Theresa Enkirch1,2Ronnie Eriksson3Sofia Persson3Daniela Schmid4Stephan W. Aberle5,Emma Löf1,6Bengt Wittesjö7Birgitta Holmgren8Charlotte Johnzon9Eva X. Gustafsson8,Lena M. Svensson10Lisa Labbé Sandelin11Lukas Richter4Mats Lindblad3Mia Brytting1,Sabine Maritschnik4Tatjana Tallo1Therese Malm12Lena Sundqvist1Josefine Lundberg Ederth1

 https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2018.23.41.1800528

https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2018.23.41.1800528

Vaccines work: Beware the Hep A in Denmark from Morocco

On 2 May 2018, Denmark reported a cluster of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections with the subgenotype IA strain DK2018_231, through the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)’s Epidemic Intelligence Information System (EPIS) for food- and waterborne diseases and zoonoses (FWD).

One of the three confirmed cases had travelled to Morocco. In response, five additional European Union (EU) countries (France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom (UK)) reported cases (n = 20) infected with the same strain between 21 January and 10 April 2018.

Concurrently, Germany reported to EPIS that it observed more cases of hepatitis A with travel history to Morocco than expected, compared with the same period in the previous 5 years. Molecular analysis of the HAV VP1/P2A region revealed an unrelated cluster of the HAV subgenotype IB strain V18–16428. Cases infected with this unrelated strain were also reported from France, the Netherlands, Sweden and UK.

The appearance of clusters with a link to Morocco triggered further epidemiological investigations.

Two concurrent outbreaks of hepatitis A highlight the risk of infection for non-immune travelers to Morocco, January to June 2018

5.july.18

Eurosurveillance

Martyna Gassowski, Kai Michaelis, Mirko Faber, Julie Figoni…

https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2018.23.27.1800329

Vaccines work: Will low-cost shots for restaurant workers tame the hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky?

Darla Carter of Insider Louisville reports the city is taking aim at the hepatitis A outbreak by offering low-cost vaccination shots to food-service and hospitality industry workers such as restaurant employees.

The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and the University of Louisville Global Health Center have teamed up to provide the service at a discounted price of $25 per shot, with the restaurant or business paying the fee.

“It’s a significant discount,” said health department spokesman Dave Langdon, noting that the typical rate is more like $65 to $100 a dose.

Against the Grain, a Louisville brewery and restaurant, is among the businesses that have stepped up to get some workers vaccinated.

“We care for our employees and want them to be well and we care for our customers and want them to be well,” co-owner Adam Watson said. ” … Any place that handles food, it’s probably a wise decision to try and get this done.”

The discounted shots are part of an effort to stop an outbreak that has led to nearly 200 cases of acute hepatitis A in the Louisville area, according to the health department. At least one person has died.

Locally, the highly contagious liver infection mainly has stricken the homeless and people who use drugs. It’s usually spread when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks contaminated with small amounts of stool from an infected person, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The health department and its partners have given shots to thousands of people at high risk, such as the homeless, and is urging restaurants and other food handlers to practice good sanitation and hygiene as the Kentucky Derby approaches in May.

Also, by taking advantage of the discounted shots, businesses “certainly would be helping to prevent the spread of hepatitis A throughout the community,” Langdon said. “Also, they would be protecting themselves against the potential bad publicity and loss of business that might come with having one of their workers identified with being infected with hepatitis A.”

Public health folks in Detroit offering free hep A shots for uninsured food handlers

One cost that’s been debated in food service for over twenty years is whether or not employers or public health folks should require food handlers to be vaccinated for hepatitis A. Jacobs and colleagues arrived at the conclusion that the public health benefit of vaccinating for hep A doesn’t equal the costs – but doesn’t factor in all the bad publicity, hassle and incident management costs.

How about free vaccines for uninsured food handlers. Sounds good to me. That’s what’s happening in Detroit after 692 hep A cases in southeast Michigan have occurred recently, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Food workers are being encouraged to get a Hepatitis A vaccine shot on Monday by the Detroit Health Department in the wake of an outbreak hitting southeast Michigan.
The vaccination clinic is scheduled for Monday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Samaritan Center, Kilpatrick Conference Room, 5555 Conner.

The Detroit Health Department is recommending that all food establishments in the city make arrangements for workers to get vaccinated. Food workers include those who work at restaurants, bars, fast food establishments and delis.
Food workers are encouraged to bring a photo identification and health insurance card if they have insurance. Uninsured food workers may be eligible for a free vaccine.
The department has extended its hours to 8 p.m. to accommodate workers with busy schedules.

Vaccines work: New York country club patrons exposed to hepatitis A linked to fancy place

Christopher Eberhart of Lohud writes that patrons at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club may have been exposed to hepatitis A as an outbreak linked to bartaco in Port Chester continues to spread.  

A Sleepy Hollow Country Club employee was infected by one of the five people who were exposed to hepatitis A at bartaco, Westchester Health Department officials said today.  

Health officials don’t believe this outbreak will involve as many people as bartaco, which included treatments of more than 3,000 people, who were potentially exposed to Hepatitis A. 

“We’re not expecting to be treating thousands this time,” Amler said at a Friday afternoon press conference. 

While the greatest risk is to those who ate or drank at Sleepy Hollow’s Grill Room, in an abundance of caution the Health Department recommends preventive treatment for anyone who ate or drank at the club between Oct. 27 and Nov. 4.

The county is offering free preventative treatment today from 4-7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the county clinic at 134 Court St. in White Plains. Dr. Sherlita Amler, commissioner of health, said more clinics are expected to be scheduled for next week, but the details haven’t been sorted out yet. 

Vaccines work: Fancy food ain’t safe food, Australia hep A edition

Get vaccinated.

The NSW Food Authority has issued an alert for diners of a top Sydney restaurant after a food handler employed there contracted Hepatitis A.

Any diners who ate at Sokyo restaurant in the Star Casino complex during September and October are being advised to contact their GP if they have any concerns.

The food handler, who works in the ‘hot food area’ in the restaurant’s kitchen, contracted the virus whilst travelling overseas. After being admitted to hospital with symptoms, hospital staff contacted the NSW Food Authority to advise of the issue after learning where the food handler worked.

NSW Food Authority performed a review the next day and concluded that processes and hygiene at the Sokyo restaurant are robust and that there there was a low risk of anyone being infected with no ongoing risk to other diners.

This Hepatitis A warning is unrelated to the current Hepatitis A outbreak occurring throughout Sydney.

Drug-related outbreak now affecting food events: Hepatitis A outbreak causes fifth death in San Diego

FOX 5 reports a hepatitis A outbreak in the San Diego area has claimed the life of a fifth person, county health officials reported Wednesday.

Vaccinations to help prevent Hepatitis A and B, where given by HEP Team to those interested, free of cost. Second day of the 26th Annual Sunset Junction Street Fair with food, games rides and health information for the hundred attending on Sunday. (Photo by Carlos Chavez/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The outbreak now totals 228 cases and required the hospitalization of 161 of those sickened, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency. So far, the disease has mostly affected the homeless population and/or users of illegal drugs, with seven out of every 10 cases affecting those populations. One of every five people sickened with hepatitis A also has hepatitis C.

But according to a couple of barfblog.com types, the outbreak has led to the cancellation of food events in September.

Public health investigators have not identified any common food, drink or drug source as a contributing cause to this outbreak, officials said. Hepatitis A is most commonly spread via contaminated food or water, sexual contact or sharing drug paraphernalia.

“It is imperative that anyone at risk for hepatitis A get vaccinated,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “We cannot stress this enough — get vaccinated and make sure you wash your hands after going to the bathroom.”

“Lives are at risk,” Wooten said. “Protect yourself, your family and the community.”

County health officials have been working with homeless services providers, community health clinics, faith-based organizations, substance abuse treatment providers, hospital emergency departments, jails and probation facilities to conduct vaccination clinics for people who are at risk of catching the illness. It can take up to nearly two months after exposure to develop symptoms, but the disease can be prevented if people get immunized within two weeks of exposure, the HHSA said.

Get vaccinated now: Marriage shouldn’t involve hep A

When Amy and I agreed to marry, having both been divorced and having already bought a house together, we went and bought cheapo wedding rings, and I asked her by the car, in 2006, across from the jewelers in Manhattan, Kansas, and said, I’m too old to be engaged, let’s just get married.

Done.

Now, it’s 2017, and once again, newlyweds who want it all are grappling with Hepatitis A.

It’s like getting married and then saying one of you has chlamydia.

Ariana Lubelli of FiOS 1 reports June 10, 2017 was the day Jay and Jennifer Gorinson had been dreaming of: a wedding that seemed as perfect as can be. But in the days following, the newlyweds faced a nightmare.

“We were notified on the first day of our honeymoon of a potential infection of hepatitis A,” said Jay Gorinson, the groom.

The couple’s nearly 200 guests are at risk for Hepatitis A. The Health Department confirmed that a bartender at their wedding venue, Monteverde at Oldstone in Cortlandt Manor, was infected.

“It’s embarrassing. The first notification that I had to put out about our marriage was warning our guests, family members and loved ones about a potential virus infection,” continued Gorinson.

“All attendees essentially that may have been inside the mansion, including my 1 and 3-year-old nephew and niece, who just got vaccinated today as well and incurred about $700 worth of charges that I contacted Monteverde about today and they said it was an unfortunate circumstance and they had no further comment after that.”

Get vaccinated now.