Infectious Diseases

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Is There Such A Thing As Too Many Vaccines?

As a physician, I see the illnesses caused by vaccine-preventable diseases. No child should suffer from a disease that can be prevented by vaccines. I also see children who can't be immunized because of a medical condition such as cancer, and who rely on others around them to be immunized so the virus or bacteria does not spread. We all play an important role in preventing infections that we once feared.
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Why Is A Preventable Disease Still Claiming Lives In Canada And Beyond?

It's World Tuberculosis Day, and this year it will be marked with the sad distinction that we have allowed this preventable, curable disease to become the world's biggest infectious killer. The millennia-old disease tuberculosis (TB) now outranks even HIV/AIDS in the number of lives it claims, at over 1.5 million a year. With leading experts predicting that by 2050 evolving strains of drug-resistant TB could claim an additional 75 million lives worldwide -- costing the global economy $16.7 trillion -- the need for immediate action is clear.
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Is It OK to Question Your Doctor About Hand Washing?

If you ever suspect that your doctor, nurse or other health-care provider forgot to use the hand sanitizer, by all means raise the question. But, in reality, most patients in your situation are reluctant to do so. Surveys going back almost a decade found that Ontario patients didn't want to be placed in the role of a police officer to ensure that doctors and nurses wash their hands.
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MRSA Is More Widespread Than You Think

Based on the analysis, the length of time MRSA lingered in a home was between two and eight years. In the process, the bacteria simply transferred within the confines of the home. The presence of MRSA in the community, such as the home or public places, continues to be a concern for public health officials.

Viruses of Bacteria May Help Win The War Against Cholera

Antibiotics were the first and still are the go-to means of microbial distraction. However, in light of the continuing rise of antibiotic resistance, their usefulness is limited and we need to explore other options. One such ally is a living organism known to have just as much of a hatred for infectious bacteria: the bacteriophage.
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Stop the Fear-Based Propaganda About Vaccines

The information war over vaccination is an obvious reflection of this fear. Public health has had its hands full during this war, but has failed to really counter the misinformation in vaccine hesitant communities. We are in desperate need for a new message, and a group of high school students from California have made one in a most spectacular way. Despite the myth-makers, the spin addicts, and the conspiracy nuts, cigarette use has gone down, climate science has become even more exact, and vaccines have been shown to be both safe and effective.
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Don't Believe These 'Tips' For Avoiding the Flu

Finally we have Wylde's first suggestion, the one that made me believe it is just sitting in his kitchen making this up out of thin air. There is absolutely no evidence adding petroleum jelly to the inside of your nose will increase your infection barrier and prevent infection. Your nose is much larger than just the nostril you can stick the swab into, so there will be plenty of area left to harbour virus.
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5 Ways to Avoid Holiday Germ-Giving

Bad gift-giving, whether material or microbial, should never happen. While there may never be a means to prevent waking up to a disappointing present under the tree, you can minimize the possibility of sharing infection. Hopefully, with these five steps, you can set aside the worry and focus on the spirit of the holiday season.
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Viruses Are Perfect Gift Wrappers

In the microbial world, gift wrapping -- better known as cellular packaging -- is also considered to be an art. All germs perform some aspects of packaging but the masters are without a doubt the viruses. Viruses are unique from all other germs in that they don't start to thrive until they have entered a host cell.

A Eulogy to the Germ-Fighting Penny

February 4 of this year was a momentous day for numismatists as the Canadian Mint officially stopped distribution of the one-cent coin, the penny. While the reaction from Canadians was mixed, there was a general consensus that the loss was still a sad end to a 105-year era. The moment was also a sombre day for those striving to improve public health.

Bieber Fever: The Scariest Infectious Disease Of All

Last week, the analysis of this incredibly chilling illness made headlines worldwide. To better appreciate the potential impact of Ebola and other infectious diseases, such as SARS, HIV, and pandemic flu, a University of Ottawa researcher has taken a look at a much more devious disease, which continues to spread worldwide with apparently no end in sight. Bieber Fever.