About 40 percent of eligible people have been vaccinated against the flu in recent years, but many more might do so were it not for persistent myths about the disease and its vaccine. For example, a new survey shows that more than half of parents believe the flu shot can cause the flu. Experts explain why those myths aren’t true and set the record straight.
Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Preventive Medicine & Infectious Diseases, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Dr. Jean Moorjani, pediatric hospitalist, Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital, Orlando, FL
Dr. Michael Deem, Professor of Bioengineering, Physics & Astronomy, Rice University
Since the introduction of antibiotics in World War II, doctors have prescribed courses of treatment that typically ran longer than necessary. Bacterial resistance is forcing a reevaluation, shortening courses sometimes to just a few days and even prompting doctors to advise not using all pills if patients feel better.
Synopsis: Mosquito-transmitted Zika virus has arrived in Central and South America, and while most people are not affected by it, the virus has been linked to microcephaly, a severe birth defect. Experts discuss the virus, how it’s transmitted, its spread to the US, and how to protect yourself from it.
Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Dr. Uriel Kitron, Professor and Chair of Environmental Sciences, Emory University; Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Dr. Anna Durbin, Associate Professor of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Synopsis: Measles is more widespread than it has been in years. The current measles outbreak in several states has prompted questions about the responsibility of parents to have their children immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases. Experts discuss this “social contract” cited by courts since colonial times, and why highly-contagious measles is a good test case for the rights and responsibilities of parents.
Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Dr. John Swartzberg, Clinical Professor Emeritus, University of California Berkely School of Public Health; Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Infectious Disease, Vanderbilt University; Alta Charo, Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law and Bioethics, University of Wisconsin
Synopsis: The 2014-2015 flu season started much earlier than normal and so far has been much more severe than usual. Experts explain how this year’s mismatch occurred between the flu vaccine and the predominant strain of flu, and how people can protect themselves in spite of the ineffective vaccine.
Host: Nancy Benson. Guests: Dr. Helmut Albrecht, Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases & Heyward Gibbes Professor of Internal Medicine, University of South Carolina. Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Infectious Diseases, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.