Aug 3, 2019

Hepatitis A cases in Florida spike to more than 2,000

Hepatitis A virus, produced from an image taken with transmission electron microscopy. Photo: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Florida Surgeon General declared a public health emergency this week after cases of Hepatitis A, a vaccine-preventable disease, swelled to 2,034, the Miami Herald reports.

What's happening: 56 new cases of Hepatitis A, a communicable disease of the liver, were reported in Florida from July 20 to July 27. Most of the areas affected are in central and western Florida, according to the Herald.

“The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is through vaccination. It is important that we vaccinate as many high-risk individuals as possible in order to achieve herd immunity.”
— Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees, in a statement on Thursday

Context: Only 548 cases were reported in Florida for all of 2018, according to the state's health department. Florida’s outbreak is overlapping with a national influx of cases.

Go deeper: The intensifying national debate over vaccine exemption rules

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Florida's famous sabal palm trees under threat from invasive disease

Key Biscayne, Florida. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Florida’s official state tree, the sabal palm, is under threat from a rapidly spreading, fatal disease. It turns trees to dried crisps in months — and they have no chance for recovery, AP reports.

Why it matters: Lethal bronzing disease has gone from a small infestation on Florida’s Gulf Coast to a nearly statewide problem in just over a decade, per AP, which notes that "some worry it will migrate to California and Arizona, infecting date palms and damaging that fruit crop."

Go deeperArrowAug 19, 2019

Pinterest takes on vaccine misinformation

Pinterest said yesterday that it will start showing only information from health organizations — like the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the WHO-established Vaccine Safety Net — when people search for vaccine information, AP reports.

Why it matters: Vaccine misinformation has spread via social media, and experts worry that it's dissuading parents from vaccinating their children. The implications are clear: The measles outbreak recently broke a 27-year record.

Go deeper: Anti-vaccination content haunts Big Tech

Keep ReadingArrowAug 29, 2019

Measles outbreak surpasses 1,200 cases in 30 states as school year begins

Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

The measles outbreak in the U.S., which is fast approaching the 1-year mark and has broken a 27-year record, has reached 1,203 cases in 30 states since the start of 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

Why it matters: The school year is starting and public health officials are concerned that the highly contagious virus will be spread via unvaccinated children and college students, possibly leading to severe complications or death.

Go deeperArrowAug 19, 2019