Although this month’s Hepatitis Headlines doesn’t directly discuss viral hepatitis, the information presented is relevant and important.
Bleak New Estimates in Drug Epidemic: A Record 72,000 Overdose Deaths in 2017
This article by Margot Sanger-Katz appeared in the New York Times on Aug. 15, 2018.
Reporting on recent data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sanger-Katz wrote, “Drug overdoses killed about 72,000 Americans last year, a record number that reflects a rise of around 10 percent…The death toll is higher than the peak yearly death totals from H.I.V., car crashes or gun deaths.”
Strong synthetic opioids like fentanyl are contributing to the high overdose death rate. Note that death by overdose is just one of the ways in which people can die from opioid use. The list of potential harm that can occur from unsafe use of drugs and drug-related equipment is long, and includes various infectious diseases such as hepatitis B and C. Immunization can prevent hepatitis B; treatment is a pivotal tool in the prevention of hepatitis C transmission among people who use injection drugs.
Trolls, Bots, and Anti-Vaxxers
This article by Gaby Galvin appeared in U.S. News and World Report on Aug. 23, 2018.
Apparently, Russian hackers aren’t just attempting to interfere with U.S. politics; they appear to be trying to mess with our health. Journalist Gaby Galvin informs readers about attempts by Russia-linked social media accounts to create friction in our country by tweeting for and against vaccinations.
Quoting from a recent study from George Washington University, the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University, “Content from these sources gives equal attention to pro- and anti-vaccination arguments…This is consistent with a strategy of promoting discord across a range of controversial topics – a known tactic employed by Russian troll accounts.”
This is alarming. The thought that we could wipe out a huge part of our population because of ignorance and distrust is the stuff that appears in science fiction. Except in this case, it is happening. For instance, measles was eliminated in the U.S. in 2000 because of a highly effective immunization campaign. Now it is back.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the 1918 flu pandemic. Nearly one-third of the world’s population was infected; approximately 50 million people died. We now have ways of preventing the flu and many other infectious diseases, but the effectiveness of this prevention relies on immunizing as many people as possible. Be sure you get a flu shot and are current on all recommended vaccinations, including hepatitis A and B immunizations.Share This Page