Flu Season Ramps Up As More Cases Reported In Several States
Meanwhile, a USA Today investigation finds a series of safety-related incidents at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the agency has tried to keep secret. And the search for a malaria vaccine turns to human volunteers.
St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Flu Has Come To Town, Not Too Late To Get Vaccine
The latest statewide and national data shows minimal flu activity across Missouri up until Dec. 24 – before the peak of holiday togetherness and travel – but a jump in the number of patients showing up with symptoms at St. Louis-area emergency departments over the past week. “We have really just started in the last couple of weeks seeing flu cases,” said Dr. Kimberly Quayle, medical director of the emergency department at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “We would expect the number of cases to keep going up significantly.” (Munz, 1/4)
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Lots Of Us Are Sick, And It's Probably Going To Get Worse. Here's Why.
Public health officials say we are definitely in the early weeks of this year's flu season. Tina Tan, state epidemiologist for the New Jersey Department of Health, said flu activity in the state was "moderate" by Dec. 24, the most recent period included in the state's flu report. She described the season so far as "pretty typical," but said many other viruses were also circulating. The report shows more flu cases in the middle of the state. Pennsylvania's Department of Health reported "widespread" flu in the last week. The number of confirmed flu cases rose sharply in the last three weeks of 2016. But many people with the flu do not go to a doctor, and many who do go are not tested for the virus. (Burling, 1/5)
CDC Keeps Secret Its Mishaps With Deadly Germs
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has faced congressional hearings and secret government sanctions over its sloppy lab safety practices, is keeping secret large swaths of information about dozens of recent incidents involving some of the world’s most dangerous bacteria and viruses. CDC scientists apparently lost a box of deadly and highly-regulated influenza specimens and experienced multiple potential exposures involving viruses and bacteria, according to heavily-redacted laboratory incident reports obtained by USA TODAY. (Young, 1/4)
The Associated Press:
Volunteers Get Bit To Test New Strategy For Malaria Vaccine
Researchers infected lab mosquitoes with genetically weakened malaria parasites, and then recruited volunteers willing to be bitten — a lot — to test a possible new strategy for a vaccine. The idea: Vaccinate using living malaria parasites that are too weak to make people sick. It’s a huge challenge, and while Wednesday’s study is a small step, it illustrates the urgent quest for a powerful malaria vaccine. (Neergaard, 1/4)