Posts tagged with "CDC"

The spirits are willing: Business is up 140% for psychics during the pandemic

June 1, 2020

With a pandemic, a lockdown, painful personal losses, a spiraling economy, fewer jobs, stress on relationships, and literally nowhere to go, who can blame Americans for wanting to know what will happen in the “foreseeable future”?

Since the beginning of March, astrologers, spiritual guides, tarot card readers, and psychics have seen an uptick in business, Salon reports.

. According to Google search trends, Google searches for “psychic” jumped to a one-year high during the week of March 8—when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began issuing some guidance on COVID-19.

Business review and aggregator site Yelp posted an Economic Impact Report that noted that its “Supernatural Readings” business category was up 140%, as more Americans turned to tarot card readers, mediums and psychics.

Leslie Hale has been offering astrology readings since the late 1990s. She joined Keen.com, an online “spiritual advisor network” in 2001, and told Salon that currently her business is up about 30%. (Likewise, Keen.com told Salon they are experiencing a vast increase in traffic as of late.) Hale said usually she had from ten to 15 calls a day, but during the pandemic it’s been anywhere between 20 and 30. She charges $3.53 a minute.

“There has never been a time like this,” Hale told Salon of her 21-year astrologer career. “I think everybody wants to know if their life is going to go on, and if there’s anything in the future they have to look forward to.”

It makes sense that average people are seeking clarity in uncertain times.. According to Pew Research data from 2018, an estimated 60% of  American adults accept at least one “New Age belief,” a list that includes psychics.

While in the past, spiritualism meant looking for connection with the dead, today it is more about seeking assurance. Alicia Butler, a 38-year-old freelance writer, usually turns to tarot card readings for comfort. She told Salon during the pandemic they’ve been especially helpful.

“It’s definitely a source of comfort right now,” Butler, who is quarantining with her parents, told Salon. “If things don’t reopen and we don’t have a vaccine or something, am I going to just be 13 again and living with my parents, and not growing emotionally or professionally ever again?”

“I mean, it’s basically somebody telling you that everything’s gonna be okay,” Butler added.

Nathalie Theodore, JD, LCSW, a psychotherapist in Chicago, told Salon it makes sense that some would turn to psychics or tarot card readers during this time.

“Uncertainty is something that many of us struggle with and, for some, it can cause a tremendous amount of anxiety,” Theodore said. “Fear of the unknown can send us into a downward spiral of negative thinking and imagining worst case scenarios.”

Theodore added that one of the hardest parts of this pandemic is not knowing how long it will last or what our lives will look like once it ends.

Hale, the psychic, said the number one question she gets from clients is when they will find a romantic partner.

“The biggest concern of most of the people who call me is still their relationship,” Hale said. “People want to know, ‘when I am going to be able to go out and meet someone special again?'”

She believes that inquiry is tied to loneliness.

“During this time of social isolation, I think people are lonely . . . . of course we have technology but that’s not the same thing as sitting across the table from someone,” Hale said.

Sara Kohl, who does “remote viewing” for Keen.com, said many people are wondering about their job security, too. “I’ve had a lot of my clients get furloughed,” Kohl said. “And so they’re calling… wondering if they’re going to be going back to work, and when.”

Fortuitously, Kohl is one of those rare people who is unconcerned about job security right now.  “It’s been the busiest I’ve ever seen,” she said. “People are calling in droves.”

Research contact: @Salon

On the waterfront during COVID-19: Keeping safe this summer

May 28, 2020

Hot weather is here—and with it, the promise of a refreshing dip at nearby pools, beaches, hot tubs, and water parks. But before you catch a wave, or make a splashdown, you might want to check on whether “freestyle” water sports will be safe this season, The Huffington Post reports.

But there is some good news at the start of the season: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionno evidence has emerged to suggest that you can contract the coronavirus from the water, itself.

“There is no data that somebody got infected this way [with coronavirus],” Professor Karin B. Michels, chair of UCLA’s Department of Epidemiology, stated in a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times.

“I can’t say it’s absolutely 100% zero risk, but I can tell you that it would never cross my mind to get COVID-19 from a swimming pool or the ocean,” agreed Paula Cannon, a professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. “It’s just extraordinarily unlikely that this would happen.”

That said, the HuffPost notes, some safety measures and health warnings should still be kept in mind before you take a dip. Here’s what you should know:

Some experts suspected at the beginning of the pandemic that the coronavirus could dissipate in the warmer months, similar to the flu and other viruses. However, that’s yet to be determined.

The CDC states that hotter temperatures—those above 75 degrees—do not kill the virus. The disease can also still spread in warmer, humid climates. So don’t use sunbathing at the pool or the beach as an excuse to not practice healthy habits or follow pandemic guidelines.

Being outside and in the water is not completely risk-free, although it is better than staying in a more confined space. The CDC advises that you should avoid “group events, gatherings, or meetings both in and out of the water if social distancing of at least six feet between people who don’t live together cannot be maintained.”

Exceptions to this rule only include emergency evacuations and cases where someone is rescuing a distressed swimmer; or providing medical help or first aid, the HuffPost reports.

What’s more, all high-touch surfaces—such as handrails and chairs—should be regularly disinfected. If you’re swimming in your own pool or a family pool, you should make sure to wipe those areas down regularly.

Proper water maintenance also is important. The regular amount of chlorine used to treat pools should be enough to inactivate the virus, The Los Angeles Times reported.

There’s a chance that the virus can be spread when an infected person—even those who are asymptomatic―expels respiratory droplets onto surfaces and then someone else touches the same surface. (Although how easily the virus can spread when touching surfaces has been called into question recently, it’s better to assume right now that you could be susceptible to transmission in such a manner.)

It’s best to limit contact where possible, which means you should absolutely not share items like floats, masks, googles, snorkeling equipment (even with people who are in your own house). Bring or use your own, and be sure to disinfect them regularly.

Pool operators and people who will be in close proximity to others outside of the water are encouraged to wear a maskaccording to the CDC. Take it off once you get in the water—swimming with such a face covering can make it difficult to breathe.

With those safeguards, for now, you can dive on in. The water’s fine.

Research contact: @HuffPostLife

CDC announces new COVID-19 guidelines for pets after two cats test positive for virus

April 27, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced new guidelines for pet owners after a pair of house cats tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in two different parts of New York State. Just days before that, several big cats in the Bronx Zoo also had tested positive.

According to the CDC, the cats live in two separate areas and both have a mild respiratory illness, from which they are expected to make a full recovery.

COVID-19 infections have been reported in very few animals worldwide, mostly in those that have had close contact with an infected person, New York is the epicenter of the virus, with over a quarter of a million cases, so if a pet were going to catch the virus, that would likely be the place where it would happen.

The Daily Voice reports, that the CDC believes, that because the number of cases in household pets has been so limited to date, routine testing of animals has not been recommended, although state and federal health officials are making new determinations about whether an animal should be tested.

In the New York case announced earlier this week, a veterinarian tested the first cat after it showed mild respiratory signs. No individuals in the household were confirmed to have COVID-19. The virus may have been transmitted to this cat by mildly ill or asymptomatic household members or through contact with an infected person outside its home.

Samples from the second cat were taken after it showed signs of respiratory illness. The owner of the cat tested positive for COVID-19 before the cat displayed symptoms. Another cat in the household has shown no signs of illness.

Until more is known, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household;
  • Keep cats indoors when possible;
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintain a distance of at least six feet from other people and animals;
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where large number of people and animals gather;
  • If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would around other people;
  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick;
  • Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding;

Finally, if you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.

Research contact: @DailyVoice

Makers of Lysol warn against ingesting disinfectants

April 27, 2020

Following ill-advised, stream-of-consciousness comments made by President Donald Trump during a press conference last Thursday night, the makers of Lysol, as well as state officials nationwide, released repeated, urgent warnings on April 23 and April 24 about the dangers of ingesting disinfectants or cleaning products as a way to treat or prevent the novel coronavirus, The New York Times reported.

Specifically, with absolutely no support from medical experts, President Trump in a briefing on Thursday theorized about the possible medical benefits of introducing into the human body— either by injection or some other method— sunlight, ultraviolet light, or household disinfectants  to fight the coronavirus.

Among his comments: “… I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute — one minute —and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that ….”

The president also wondered aloud, “Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light?  … Supposing you brought the light inside the body, either through the skin or some other way.”

Reckitt Benckiser, the British company that makes Lysol and Dettolwarned customers on April 24 against using disinfectants as treatments, saying that “due to recent speculation and social media activity,” it had been asked about the “internal administration” of disinfectants.

“As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),” Reckitt Benckiser said in a statement, advising people to use the products in line with guidelines.

Americans are using disinfectants very frequently—and often in large amounts—to kill germs at home, in their cars, and on packages they receive. As a result, accidents with household cleaning products appear to have sharply increased in recent weeks, according to doctors who monitor activity at poison call centers.

On April 20, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an alarming trend of growing calls to poison control centers, and a significant increase in accidental exposures to household cleaners and disinfectants, the Times reported.

On Friday, the American Cleaning Institute, which represents companies in the cleaning products industry in the United States, echoed the warnings against the improper use of disinfectants. “Disinfectants are meant to kill germs or viruses on hard surfaces,” the organization said in a statement. “Under no circumstances should they ever be used on one’s skin, ingested or injected internally.”

Officials in Washington State, where researchers believe that hidden outbreaks were creeping through Seattle early this year, said Thursday night on Twitter that people should not consume laundry detergent capsules or “inject yourself with any kind of disinfectant.”

Just don’t make a bad situation worse,” the state’s emergency management authorities said.

Research contact: @nytimes

Brown-bagging it: During COVID-19 outbreak, grocers ban reusable bags

April 7, 2020

Shoppers “are being left holding the bag”—the reusable grocery bag, that is—during the novel coronavirus siege. With fear of germs escalating, customers are being asked to leave the reusable, ecofriendly totes at home and are being provided with free recyclable brown paper bags instead, The Huffington Post reports.

After all, who knows when a consumer last washed his or her cloth bag and what pathogens might be riding along with their purchases?

A case in point: The Portland, Oregon-based grocery chain, Green Zebra, prides itself on caring for the environment. The store specializes in sustainably raised food and socially conscious policies—encouraging customers to use reusable bags for their purchases in order to help reduce waste. But lately, they’ve reversed this policy. Due to the coronavirus epidemic, customers are being asked not to bring reusable bags into the store. Instead, they are being provided with recyclable paper bags.

Green Zebra founder and CEO Lisa Sedlar told HuffPost, “In the best of times, reusable bags can be unhygienic because a lot of people don’t wash them with soap and water after each use. During this unprecedented time, it’s life-and-death important to protect everyone’s health, so it wasn’t a hard decision to ban the use of reusable bags.”

Sedlar isn’t alone in worrying about reusable bags. Nationwide, the governors of states such as Massachusetts, Illinois, and Maine are temporarily banning reusable bags in an attempt to protect both customers and grocery store employees from spreading the virus.

Marion Nestle, a professor of Food Studies, Nutrition, and Public Health at NYU, told the online news outlet that this policy makes sense. “The single greatest risk factor for COVID-19 is getting within breathing distance of someone who is carrying the virus. The next greatest is touching a surface they’ve touched recently. In this situation, the theoretical risk goes both ways.

“The grocery store runs the risk that your bag is contaminated and the checkout clerk will touch it, pick up the virus, and pass it on. You run the risk that the checkout clerk is a carrier and touches the bag you take home.”

However, despite the risks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has yet to issue official guidelines when it comes to reusable bags during the coronavirus crisis. In most states, it still is a case-by-case decision left to the stores, themselves. For instance, at many Trader Joe’s locations, customers still are allowed to bring bags from home, provided they’re willing to package their own groceries.

In some cases, banning reusable bags might not even be possible. Karlie Frisbee Brogan works at a large national grocery chain which recently encouraged customers to bring their own bags because they were experiencing a paper bag shortage. She told HuffPost that she was never fond of touching reusable bags people brought from home, even before the coronavirus crisis, “but especially once the pandemic hit, I really didn’t want to handle their unwashed bags.”

It’s hard to blame her. Studies have shown that over 50% of reusable bags contain large quantities of bacteria and many even contain E. Coli and fecal matter. Food safety expert Jeff Nelken advises that, to be safe, reusable grocery bags should be cleaned every time you use them. In the age of the coronavirus, this is even more important. Luckily, he said, it’s very easy to do.

If you have disinfectant wipes on hand, Nelken said, you can use them to give your bags a good wipe down — but make sure they contain disinfectant approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, and to be sure to follow the instructions on the label.

If you don’t have wipes on hand, Nelken told HuffPost, you can make a homemade disinfecting solution with 4 teaspoons of unscented bleach for every 4 cups of water. Mix it in a spray bottle, spray on your reusable bag, and wipe with a towel.

If you’re interested in throwing fabric bags in the washing machine, the CDC recommends washing and drying fabrics at the hottest allowable temperatures and Nelken recommends adding 4 ounces of bleach to your detergent to be extra safe.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Time out: NBA suspends season after player tests positive for coronavirus

March 13, 2020

The NBA announced on March 12 that the 2019-2020 basketball season has been suspended “until further notice” after one Utah Jazz player  tested positive for the novel coronavirus and another was believed to also have contracted the illness. The league said that it will “use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the … pandemic.”

The NBA initially had reported on March 11 that one member of the traveling team, Rudy Gobert, had tested positive for COVID-19.  “The test result was reported … [just] prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena,” the NBA said in its Wednesday statement. “At that time, tonight’s game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.”

Earlier in the day, the Utah Jazz tweeted that players Emmanuel Mudiay and Gobert were both ill. Gobert is the only player who has reportedly tested positive for the virus.

Both teams are currently under quarantine and Gobert is being treated by health officials in Oklahoma City, according to the Jazz.

“The health and safety of our players, our organization, those throughout our league, and all those potentially impacted by this situation are paramount in our discussions,” the team said in a statement. “We are working closely with the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], Oklahoma and Utah state officials and the NBA to determine how to best move forward as we gather more information.”

The Associated Press reported that Gobert had “joked” about the illness in a post-practice press interview earlier in the week, during which he “touched all the tape recorders that were placed before him on a table—devices that reporters who cover the Utah Jazz were using during an availability with him on Monday before a game with the Detroit Pistons.

“It isn’t so funny now,” the AP said, noting that, “Gobert is now the NBA’s Patient Zero” for coronavirus in the NBA. The news outlet also reported on the rumor that Gobert’s Utah teammate Donovan Mitchel, had tested positive as well.

Before Gobert finally was tested for COVID-19, he tested negative for the flu and strep throat.

Research contact: @NBA

Exercise caution: Gyms and coronavirus

March 10, 2020

Is it healthy to visit a health club right now? The spread of the coronavirus could make even the most ardent gym rats stress out about picking up barbells, using equipment and mats, or even just taking a crowded class where everyone is huffing and puffing.

There’s a lower risk of picking up the coronavirus at a gym or health club than at a church service, for example Dr. David Thomas, a professor of medicine and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine., told The New York Times this week. By comparison, church services may include shaking hands and being in closer proximity to people.

But if you’re in a community where there have been cases of the coronavirus, “that’s, perhaps, a time to be more cautious with all types of exposures, including a gym,” Dr. Thomas advised the news outlet.

Sweat cannot transmit the virus but high-contact surfaces, such as free weights, can pose a problem, he said.

Scientists are still figuring out how the virus exactly spreads but have provided some guidance on how it seems to be transmitted. A study of other coronaviruses published in The Journal of Hospital Infection found they remained on metal, glass and plastic for anywhere from two hours to nine days.

Certain objects, like handles and doorknobs, are “disproportionally affected by hands, and those are the surfaces most likely to have viruses for that reason,” Dr. Thomas said.

The owner of a yoga studio in Washington State, where several coronavirus patients have died, according to The Yoga Journal, “says she’s seen a direct impact from all the hysteria in the area on both attendance and business.”

Equinox, the luxury fitness club brand, has sent notices to members, reassuring them that additional steps are being taken during the peak flu season and amid growing concerns about the coronavirus, the Times reports.

The additional steps include disinfecting all club areas with a hospital-grade solution three times a day, reminding people to stay home if they are sick and asking instructors to eliminate skin-to-skin contact, like hands-on adjustments during yoga, a spokesperson told the newspaper.

Brian Cooper, chief executive of YogaWorks, sent an email to the company’s clients, reassuring them that it was stepping up its cleaning processes “to keep our facilities a safe and welcoming environment for all students and staff.”

David Carney, president of Orangetheory Fitness, listed precautions in an email on Thursday. “Wipe down your equipment after every block, and don’t hesitate to request a new wipe whenever you need to,” he wrote.

But do you actually know what’s in those nondescript spray bottle at gyms that you’re supposed to use to wipe down your machine, mat and equipment? If you’re not sure, ask staff members what’s in the bottle or take your own wipes to the gym.

“I’ll probably bring my own wipes,” Dr. Thomas told the Times of his gym trip planned for later that day. “I’ll know that they’re the right wipes and they have the right concentration of alcohol.”

Diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and several common household disinfectants should be effective against the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Environmental Protection Agency released a list of disinfectants against the virus.

Most important: If you’re feeling sick, stay home. “This is mostly about how you keep from getting sick at a gym, but please don’t go to the gym if you feel sick,” Dr. Thomas said. “Don’t give it to other people.”

Research contact: @nytimes

For a clean bill of health, disinfect your cell phone!

March 9, 2020

With the number of coronavirus cases steadily rising in the United States, as well as worldwide, there’s one preventative measure that’s “called for” even more than wearing a face mask, according to Debra Goff, Pharm.D., founding member of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Clean your cell phone, she advises.

“People handle their phones hundreds of times a day,” she told Prevention Magazine last week. “That means potentially exposing yourself to what’s on those surfaces every time.”

Even before the COVID-19 outbreak hit all the headlines, cell phones were acknowledged to be pretty nasty—even revolting—when it came to germs. For example, a 2017 study published in the infectious diseases journal, Germs, looked at 27 mobile phones owned by teenagers, and found “bacterial contamination” on all of them.

Surfaces can be notorious for hosting viruses, and some of them linger longer than others. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus can stay on surfaces for days or even weeks. That particular virus gets attention most during cruise ship outbreaks, but it’s actually the most common cause of gastroenteritis (a.k.a. stomach flu) in the United States. Not only is it highly contagious, but it only takes a very small amount to make you sick.

Active influenza viruses also can live on surfaces for as long as two weeks, Prevention reports—and some are still present after seven weeks. Even on porous surfaces like cotton, the flu hung around for a week.

As for the coronavirus, it can make itself comfortable on your cell phone for at least nine days, scientists now believe.

So, exactly what should a cell phone owner do to ensure that his or her device is relatively germ-free? Prevention got a few tips from Goff and is passing them on—among them:

  1. Power down first. Before doing any cleaning, turn off your phone and unplug from any charger, Goff suggests.
  2. Opt for microfiber cloths. These specially designed cloths have more fibers than other types of material and, as a result, can pick up more microscopic particles, including bacteria and viruses, Goff says. That doesn’t mean it kills theml it just lifts them off surfaces without the use of water. Think of it as a little virus magnet. Because of that, be sure to thendisinfect the cloth before using it again. The best way is using your dishwasher—that “sanitize” cycle works like a charm—then hanging the cloth up to dry. However, you also can throw it in the washing machine with warm water. And of course, wash your hands thoroughly after handling the germy cloth.
  3. Turn to rubbing alcohol. If your cell phone is particularly grubby, or you don’t have microfiber cloths, you can disinfect by creating a solution of about 60% water and 40% alcohol. Use a small corner of a cloth to gently clean the phone. Immediately use a dry portion of the cloth right afterward. A caution: Don’t spray the alcohol directly on the cell phone, and be sure to dilute it. You can also use a microfiber cloth for this for extra cleaning clout. Goff adds that regular soap and water works, too, just be sure to squeeze out excess liquid before using.
  4. 4. Don’t use abrasive products. Using a screen protector is helpful,if you want to use other types of cleaning products, says Goff, but if you don’t have one, avoid using products with ingredients that will affect your phone’s screen coating. These includewindow cleaner, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide.
  5. Keep it clean. Also, be mindful about how you’re using your phone, Goff adds, especially in germy areas like public restrooms. Handling your phone or putting it down in an area that regularly gets a fine spray of toilet water, sneezes, and coughs? Yikes.

    Your phone will pick up whatever is on that surface,” says Goff. “So, keep your phone clean, but also change your habits in terms of how you handle it after that.”

    Research contact: @PreventionMag

Has Tamiflu perpetrated a $1.5-billion fraud?

January 27, 2020

According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of mid-January, between 15 million and 21 million Americans already had contracted the flu—leading to as many as 250,000 hospital visits.

Many of these patients are asking their doctors for a prescription for the medication, Tamiflu, an antiviral made by Hoffman La-Roche, in hopes that it will shorten the length of their suffering by about one day—if it they take it within 48 to 72 hours of experiencing the first symptoms.

But aside from some nasty side effects from the supposed wonder drug—among them, nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, eye redness, and even hallucinations in children—there’s another, more serious problem with the prescription: Tamiflu’s “cred” is dropping because, patients claim, it doesn’t perform as promised.

In fact, Oseltamivir, which goes by the brand name Tamiflu, has long claimed to shorten the duration of flu severity, to skepticism and sometimes even derision from the evidence-based science community, Science2.0 reports.

What’s more, a recently unsealed whistleblower lawsuit (United States of America, ex rel Thomas Jefferson, et al. v Roche Holding AG, Hoffman-La Roche Inc., and Genentech Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland— Case No. 14-CV-03665) claims the company bilked U.S. taxpayers out of $1.5 billion by misrepresenting clinical studies and publishing misleading articles falsely stating that Tamiflu reduces complications, severity, hospitalizations, mortality, and transmission of influenza .

And that $1.5 billion loss represents just the stockpiling of the drug by federal and state government agencies for availability in a pandemic. It does not include people who bought it with their own money, based on aggressive marketing campaigns which used the articles as evidence, the lawsuit alleges.

“As alleged in the complaint – Tamiflu does not do what Roche promised,” said attorney Mark Lanier of the Houston-based Lanier Law Firm. “Roche hid this fact for many years by selectively citing its studies and suppressing the data about Tamiflu. The company utilized lobbyists, key opinion leaders, and ghostwriters to promote Tamiflu with a deceptive promise to governments fearful of an influenza pandemic.”

The lawsuit brings claims under the False Claims Act, which allows individuals to bring claims on behalf of the government. It seeks reimbursement of taxpayer funds spent to purchase tens of millions of courses of Tamiflu for the Strategic National Stockpile. Roche is vulnerable to a judgment in excess of $4.5 billion—because the False Claims Act mandates payment of triple damages, plus civil penalties.

Whistleblower Dr. Thomas Jefferson, a physician and public health researcher affiliated with the respected global Cochrane Collaboration research network, has researched neuraminidase inhibitors like Tamiflu for more than two decades. He began questioning Tamiflu’s efficacy in 2009 and spearheaded efforts to have the company release the underlying clinical study data. When he finally received the data in 2013, Dr. Jefferson analyzed it and concluded that the clinical data does not support Roche’s claims about Tamiflu’s effectiveness for use in an influenza pandemic, the lawsuit states.

According to the data as analyzed by the Food and Drug Administration, Tamiflu’s effectiveness is limited to a small benefit of reducing the duration of flu symptoms and preventing onset of symptoms but not transmission or infection. In addition, as early as 2000, the FDA had warned Roche that data did not support its broader efficacy claims and that such statements were misleading.

Finally, has been no evidence of a reduction in hospitalizations or serious influenza complications; confirmed pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis or ear infection in either adults or children who take the drug.. There was a reported increased risk of psychiatric events of around 1% when Tamiflu was used to prevent influenza

Evidence also suggests that Tamiflu prevented some people from producing sufficient numbers of their own antibodies to fight infection.

Research contact: @Science20Radio

Sick puppies: CDC probes outbreak of illnesses linked to pet stores

December 26, 2019

Like all forms of love, “puppy love” occasionally can lead to malaise—even in the true, physical sense. In fact, more than two dozen people have been sickened by bacteria linked to pet store puppies, with the germs resistant to first-line antibiotics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced and NBC News has reported.

The agency is investigating the outbreak of Campylobacter jejuni in 13 states–with 30 cases reported as of December 17.. Four people had to be hospitalized, but no one has died. The illnesses have been reported throughout the year, with patients ranging in age from 8 months to 70 years.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and any animal contact in the week before they became ill. Ninety-nine percent of people reported contact with a puppy in the week before illness started, and 87% reported they had contact with a puppy from Petland stores, or had contact with a person who became sick after contact with a puppy from a Petland store. Twenty-five ill people worked at Petland stores.

The bacteria is closely related to germs that infected more than 100 people during a 2016–2018 Campylobacter outbreak, which was also linked to pet store puppies, the CDC said.

In a statement, Petland noted that more than one-third of the 2019 cases have been found in people living in places where it doesn’t have stores.

The Chillicothe, Ohio-based chain of pet stores—which has over 130 locations nationwide—said,“Petland takes the health and welfare of our employees, our customers and our pets very seriously.” “Since an earlier outbreak in 2016, in which no specific source of infection was identified, Petland has implemented all recommended protocols from federal and state animal and public health officials to prevent human and puppy illness.”

Campylobacter causes 1.5 million illnesses each year in the United States, according to the CDC. Symptoms include diarrhea that’s often bloody, fever and stomach cramps. The illness usually lasts about a week and most people recover without having to take antibiotics.

Most cases involve contaminated food, so animal-associated illnesses are rare in comparison to food poisoning episodes, Dr. Jeanette O’Quin, a clinical assistant professor at Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, told NBC News.

Pet stores can contain a perfect storm of risk factors for the animal-related outbreaks to happen, she said: Puppies from different breeding kennels get mixed together; they’re usually housed in close proximity to each other; and they’re often stressed, so they’re more likely to get sick and easily spread the illness.

People can get sick by accidentally ingesting the bacteria in the stool of an infected animal—petting a puppy and then putting an unwashed hand into their mouth, for example. The animal doesn’t have to look sick for it to shed the bacteria in its stool.

The best prevention is basic hygiene, NBC News reports. People should always wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching a puppy or dog, after handling their food, and after cleaning up after them, the CDC advised.

O’Quin also urged pet owners to pick up dog waste regularly so that it didn’t accumulate in their yards, and bathe dogs recently bought from a group setting or those who have soiled their fur.

“Preventing is where we can have the most impact,” O’Quin said.

Research contact: @NBCNews