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Weekly Health Digest: Ebola Vaccine Transparency, Flu Vaccination Rates, TB From Deers, And More

Photo by Scott Carroll on Unsplash

A summary of important health news from the past week.

Doctors Without Borders Calls For More Transparency In Distribution Of Ebola Vaccine

By: Paolo Zialcita

The humanitarian NGO, Doctors Without Borders, claims that the World Health Organization is restricting the availability of the Ebola vaccine in the Democratic Republic of Congo based on unclear eligibility criteria. Doctors Without Borders believes that at least 2,000 people could be receiving the vaccine on a daily basis but only 1,000 are. Ebola is still a concern in Congo as it has killed more than 2,100 since August 2018. Doctors Without Borders called for the establishment of an entity that can manage vaccine distribution. However, WHO responded by saying that they are doing as much as they can and working closely with the local government and different expert boards to best address the situation. 

Only half of Americans plan to get a flu shot this year. Here’s why that’s a problem

By: Jen Christensen

Only 52% of adults plan to get vaccinated against the flu this year, according to a survey run by National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Children are more likely to get the flu vaccine than their adult counterparts, and last year 63% of children received their vaccine. The higher vaccination rate in children is likely due to the role of the pediatrician, who often stresses the importance of getting the vaccine, as children are particularly susceptible to the flu. However, this messaging is often lacking for older populations and their caretakers, who are also particularly vulnerable. According to the survey, 51% of those who did not plan on getting a flu vaccine this year don’t believe that the vaccine actually works. While flu vaccine effectiveness can vary depending on the year, getting vaccinated is shown to dramatically reduce the chances that a given person will be hospitalized or die from the flu.

Humans can get tuberculosis from deer, the CDC says

By: Scottie Andrew

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that humans can become infected from bovine tuberculosis. Over the past 15 years, some hunters have contracted tuberculosis after hunting infected deer. The mycobacterium can be inhaled while processing the organs of infected deer. The CDC suggests regular screening for anyone who works closely with carrier animals or consumes raw dairy products.

Is America’s Health Care System a Fixer-Upper or a Teardown?

By: Margot Sanger-Katz

The Democratic candidates have been very vocal about their plans to improve the American health care system. The two main stances between the candidates are those who want to tear down the system completely and those who want to fix up what presently exists. This article features intricate home construction metaphors as a way to understand the Democratic health care plans of the candidates.

Women are dying unnecessarily from heart attacks, leading health charity says

By: Rory Sullivan

According to the British Heart Foundation, in England and Wales, two women a day are dying needlessly from heart attacks because of gender gap in awareness, diagnosis and treatment. Quite simply, women are suffering from worse treatment than men. The British Heart Foundation works to end misconceptions that heart attacks are a male disease because twice as many women in the United Kingdom die of coronary heart disease over breast cancer. Additionally, risk factors can be more problematic for women and women seek medical assistance later than men.