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Health Care Tag

Public health experts are warning that the upcoming flu season may a rough one in this country, as data from Australia indicate the vaccine selected for this year's strain isn't effective against the virus.
The flu vaccine used this year in Australia — which has the same composition as the vaccine used in the U.S. — was only 10 percent effective, according to a preliminary estimate, at preventing the strain of the virus that predominantly circulated during the country's flu season,an international team of medical experts wrote in a perspective published today in The New England Journal of Medicine.

We have been following the outbreak of Hepatitis A as it has spread among the homeless and drug-users of California, into Utah, Michigan and Colorado. Public health officials are now reporting a significant uptick of cases of the disease in Kentucky. Genetic tests indicate the strain of the virus, which is transmitted via fecal matter and cause life-threatening effects on the liver, is the same strain as the one from Southern California.
Kentucky has become the fifth state to declare an outbreak of hepatitis A, reporting the 31 cases so far this represent a 55 percent increase over the annual averages for the past 10 years.

We have been following the efforts to contain the outbreak of Hepatitis A in California. Hepatitis A virus attacks the liver, causing yellowing of the skin or eyes, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain and fatigue. It extreme cases, it can be fatal. The pathogen is often spread through person-to-person contact and consumption of food or water contaminated with fecal matter. The fears of public health officials that the disease would spread to other states seem to have been realized, as 2 cases linked to the San Diego outbreak have been treated in Colorado.
An outbreak of hepatitis A in Southern California raised concern among Colorado health officials after two homeless people who apparently contracted the disease in San Diego were treated here.

Reports are surfacing of another scientific group revising data to conform to a pre-determined result. This time, the studies affected center on glyphosate, an important ingredient in Roundup weed killer. In fact, the State of California plans to force the manufacturer to label the popular product as a carcinogen.
Regulators in California took a pivotal step on Monday toward becoming the first state to require the popular weed killer Roundup to come with a label warning that it's known to cause cancer.

As the death toll in the Hepatitis A outbreak climbs to 18, California Governor Jerry Brown has officially declared a state of emergency.
The emergency proclamation, which was issued by Brown on Friday, allows the state to increase its supply of hepatitis A vaccines in order to control the current outbreak. Immunizations from the federal vaccine program have been distributed to at-risk populations in affected areas, but additional supplies are needed, according to a statement released by Brown's office. The emergency proclamation gives the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) authority to immediately purchase vaccines directly from manufacturers and distribute them to impacted communities.

This is one of those stories that just has me shaking my head. While it's true that AIDS no longer is an automatic death sentence, it's still deadly. In 2014, the last year for which I could find data, 6,721 died directly from AIDS, and there are tens of thousands of new infections. That's why the Red Cross prohibits people with HIV from donating blood, and screens blood donations:

The last time we checked on California's outbreak of Hepatitis A, a liver-impacting disease transmitted through fecal matter, a 17th person in San Diego had succumbed to the disease. Public health officials warn that the outbreak could last for months, and possibly years.
Dr. Monique Foster, a medical epidemiologist with the Division of Viral Hepatitis at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters Thursday that California’s outbreak could linger even with the right prevention efforts.

They can get you now, or get you later . . . Fifteen senators, including 2020 hopefuls like Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, are co-sponsoring Bernie Sanders' single-payer health care bill. But even some of those not signing on have plans to eventually convert the country to single payer. On today's Morning Joe, Dem Senator Chris Murphy [CT] described his plan, which Politico has called "stealthy single-payer." Under it, people would be given the option of buying into Medicare or remaining with private insurance. Murphy expressed the belief that:

Democrats are still reeling from their historic electoral losses during the Obama era, particularly the loss of the White House in 2016.  They now appear to be increasingly coalescing behind single-payer as part of their "get back in power" strategy. Socialist senator and failed Democrat presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) peddled his inconceivably expensive "Medicare for all" throughout the 2016 presidential primaries.  Sanders himself refuses to address pesky questions about the cost or real-world viability of his socialist pipe-dream, but that hasn't stopped Democrats from seizing on the idea.

The feds have had a very busy few months. The Justice Department has been rounding up MS-13 gang members. The EPA has been cracking down on climate change insanity. Now, the Food and Drug Administration has acted to seize smallpox vaccine given to cancer patients during an unapproved and potentially dangerous treatment program from a San Diego stem cell company.
Five vials of the vaccine were seized from StemImmune by the U.S. Marshals Service on behalf of the FDA. The vials, one partially used and four intact, originally contained 100 doses each of vaccine.

As expected, the news has come of the death of Charlie Gard. This sad and troubling case has drawn worldwide discussion, and questions and concerns have been raised about what might happen in a similar case here. Some analogies have been made to the well-known US case of Terry Schiavo, but there were very important differences in the fact situation there that makes Schiavo a poor analogy. That case involved a battle between the husband and parents of the adult Schiavo over what her expressed wishes about end-of-life care had been. In contrast, Charlie Gard is an infant, and his case pitted his parents' wishes against the opinions of the hospital and doctors.

Democrats have been struggling to find something positive to say, something to stand for and to campaign on.  Elizabeth Warren thinks that something should be single-payer health care. The idea of single-payer is nothing new for Democrats.  Back in 2003, then-Illinois state senator Obama said:
I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer, universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its gross national product on health care, cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. ... A single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. That's what I'd like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we've got to take back the White House, we've got to take back the Senate, and we've got to take back the House.
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