In The News

Are You Prepared For Flu Season?

When will flu activity begin and when will it peak?

The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.

People at High Risk of Developing Flu–Related Complications

Most people who get the flu will not need medical care or antiviral drugs, and will recover in less than two weeks. Some people, however, may have flu complications that result in being hospitalized and occasionally result in death. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications. The flu also can make chronic health problems worse.

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Health Authorities Issue Japanese Encephalitis Alert

Over half, or 64 percent, of the mosquitoes recently tested in the southern port city of Busan were found to be carrying the Japanese encephalitis virus, prompting the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a nationwide alert late last week. Children are at higher risk, so officials advise parents to make sure young kids are vaccinated. Some symptoms include: headaches, fever and convulsions and even comas.

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World Youth Day in  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – July 23-28, 2013

World Youth Day (WYD) is an awesome opportunity for cultural, social, and spiritual growth for Catholic youth from around the world. Even though this is an exciting time, your health and safety is still important. Take a few simple steps to protect yourself and make sure you get the most out of the experience. For more information, please visit:

HPV rates down more than expected

Human papillomavirus or as it is commonly known as  (HPV), which is the “common cause of cervical cancer in women has dropped by about half in girls ages 14 to 19,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC director. “That decline is even better than we had hoped for.”

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection seen in the United States, and causes more than two-thirds of cervical cancer; it also contributes to head and neck cancers and anal cancers. HPV affects 79 million Americans, and more than 14 million new infections are seen each year.

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New Middle East virus could be more lethal than SARS

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

MERS-CoV (formerly called “novel coronavirus”) has caused respiratory illness in a number of people in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia. Most people infected with MERS-CoV had severe illness and pneumonia, and about half of them have died. The virus can spread from person to person through close contact, so pilgrims living and traveling in close quarters may be at risk. Cases have continued to trickle in, and there appears to be an ongoing outbreak in Saudi Arabia. MERS cases have also been reported in Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Tunisia. Most have had a direct connection to the Middle East region. Special attention should be taken if a fever, cough or shortness of breath is developed within 14 days after returning.

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Hepatitis A Outbreak – USA

An outbreak of hepatitis A linked to frozen berries bought at Costco has apparently reached Contra Costa County. For more information, please visit:


Polio is a serious disease that can cause paralysis and death. This disease affects a person’s nervous system and is spread by ingesting items contaminated with the feces of an infected person. It can also be spread through water, other drinks and uncooked food. Children less than 5 years old are most affected but all ages are at risk. Signs and symptoms of severe illness may include paralysis of limbs and respiratory muscles.

As of July 1, 2013, there have been 25 reported cases from Somalia in 2013. CDC recommends that all travelers to Somalia and Kenya, and surrounding countries of Djibouti, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania be fully vaccinated against polio. In addition, adults should receive a one-time booster dose of polio vaccine.

  • Get vaccinated for polio.
  • Follow safe food and water practices.
  • Practice good hand hygiene.

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Take Precautions to Prevent Mosquito Bites When Traveling to Greece

Cases of malaria have been reported in Greece in Attica, Karditsa, Laconia, Viotia, and Xanthia regions as well as the cities of Evrotas, Marathon, Markopoulo, and Selino. Malaria is also prominent in: Africa, Central and South America, parts of the Caribbean, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the South Pacific.

Malaria is a disease spread through the bite of infected mosquitos. People with malaria often experience fever, chills, and other symptoms similar to the flu. Malaria is a major health problem that causes 350-500 million infections worldwide and about 1 million deaths each year.

  • Use insect a repellent on exposed skin and clothing.
  • Wear protective clothing.
  • Protect the area where you are staying.

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Dengue Fever

NY Times Slideshow – Dengue in India

An epidemic of dengue fever in India is fostering a growing sense of alarm even as government officials here have publicly refused to acknowledge the scope of a problem that experts say is threatening hundreds of millions of people, not just in India but around the world.

The tropical disease, though life-threatening for a tiny fraction of those infected, can be extremely painful. Growing numbers of Western tourists are returning from warm-weather vacations with the disease, which has reached the shores of the United States and Europe.

With more than one-third of the world’s population living in areas at risk for transmission, dengue infection is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. As many as 100 million people are infected yearly. Dengue is caused by any one of four related viruses transmitted by mosquitoes. There are not yet any vaccines to prevent infection with dengue virus (DENV) and the most effective protective measures are those that avoid mosquito bites. When infected, early recognition and prompt supportive treatment can substantially lower the risk of developing severe disease.

Dengue has emerged as a worldwide problem only since the 1950s. Although dengue rarely occurs in the continental United States, it is endemic in Puerto Rico, and in many popular tourist destinations in Latin America and Southeast Asia; periodic outbreaks occur in Samoa and Guam.

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Travel Tips For Staying Healthy While Away

Content Provided By ARA
(ARA) – Part of the excitement of travel is the thrill of the unexpected, never quite knowing what will happen. While most of the time that’s a good thing, every now and then, surprises can be less than enjoyable, especially if it involves getting sick or hurt while away from home.

All it takes is a little foresight and effective planning to ensure that your trip – wherever you’re headed – is safe, fun and memorable in all the right ways. Below are some essential tips for staying healthy while traveling away from home.

Don’t forgo first aid
You might think it’s a waste of space in your already tight suitcase, but a small first aid or medical kit is always a smart idea. You’ll want to stock it appropriately for wherever you’re headed, but some good general items to have on hand are bandages, gauze, disinfectant, pain relievers, tweezers, allergy pills, antibiotic cream, sunscreen/aloe and medicine for stomach upset.

Protect against problems
Whether you are traveling 50 or 5,000 miles from home, there is always a possibility that you’ll get sick or be involved in an accident. Purchasing a membership from a travel and medical emergency assistance company like On Call International before you leave will help eliminate your worries. Travelers can purchase a single-time trip or annual membership which include medical and travel assistance services like a 24-hour nurse helpline, emergency medical transportation, 24/7 emergency travel arrangements, worldwide legal assistance and more.

Watch what you eat
While it’s particularly true when you’re traveling abroad, being careful about what you eat and drink is often applicable on trips within the United States as well. One common culprit is buffet food. While a vast array of edibles laid beautifully out for your indulgence seems inviting, it is notoriously difficult to keep foods at their proper temperatures on a buffet line. Make sure that the hot foods are hot, and the cold foods are cold. If you’re traveling to a country where the water supply is not potable, make it a rule to only eat foods that have been peeled or thoroughly cooked – skip the salads and go for the sautees.

Don’t fear the needle
When you’re traveling to destinations with endemic diseases like malaria or yellow fever, make sure that you do your research and make an appointment with a travel health clinic. Some shots only need to be updated after quite a few years (like tetanus, with boosters recommended for adults every 10 years), but it’s always a good idea to face your fears and take the jabs. If you’re staying within the country, flu vaccinations should be a priority, since disease spreads easily in busy airports and on airplanes.

By planning ahead and making smart decisions, your travel plans are even more likely to go off without a hitch. When your trip is free of health-related hassles, you can be sure it’ll be one to remember.

Adults Need Vaccinations To Help Stay Healthy And In The Game

Content Provided By ARA

(ARA) – When it comes to adult health and wellness, working out and eating well are just part of the picture. Being up to date on recommended vaccines is also important. Unfortunately, many American adults are not up to date on their vaccinations.

“As an infectious disease specialist, it’s alarming to me that only a small percentage of adults have actually received the recommended vaccines,” said Dr. Brad Moore, Fellow of the American College of Physicians and associate professor of medicine and of health policy at The George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates. “Both patients and physicians should discuss the vaccinations that they need to help reduce their risk of catching vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Health experts recommend several vaccines for adults to help prevent serious diseases, including whooping cough and the flu. Although adults may have been immunized against some diseases as kids, protection provided by some vaccines can wear off over time, leaving adults and those around them at risk. In addition, adults may need to catch up on vaccinations that they missed or that were not available when they were younger.

To help prevent adults from being sidelined by vaccine-preventable diseases, Dr. Moore and soccer champion Mia Hamm are working together to remind adults about the importance of adult vaccinations in a well-rounded plan for healthy living.

“Being up-to-date on vaccinations is an important defensive tool that can help protect yourself and your family against serious diseases,” said Mia Hamm, who is also the mother of three-year-old twins. “Be sure to ask about the shots you need during check-ups or when getting your flu shot this year.”

Find out which vaccines are recommended for adults. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider about the vaccines on this checklist. For tips on staying well and other information on adult vaccinations, visit

Vaccines recommended for adults
* Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis)
* Influenza (flu)
* Hepatitis A
* Hepatitis B
* Human papillomavirus (HPV)
* Varicella (chickenpox)
* Zoster (shingles)
* MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
* Meningococcal
* Pneumococcal

Some vaccines are recommended for all adults while others may be needed based on age, gender or other risk factors. Talk to your healthcare professional about the vaccines that are right for you.

Mia Hamm and Dr. Brad Moore were compensated by GlaxoSmithKline for their participation in this educational program.