Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.
Despite concerns over the potential effects of the influenza vaccine in pregnant women, physicians still recommend its administration. According to NPR, a study published last week found an association between the flu vaccine and early-term miscarriage in some women. However, the study used data from pregnant women between 2005 and 2007, before the H1N1 pandemic resulted in the development of a new vaccine. The CDC requested scientists to conduct another study to see if the findings held up for the new vaccine. Investigators used data from pregnant women between 2010 and 2012 to identify an association between the flu vaccine and miscarriage during the first trimester. The findings revealed there was no causal relationship between the two, NPR reported. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a statement reminding women and physicians of the importance of the flu vaccine, saying it is an “essential element of prenatal care,” because it protects both women and newborn babies. Dr Christopher Zahn, vice president of practice activities at ACOG, told NPR, “These results are something we need to pay attention to and follow up on, but the overwhelming data supports the importance of vaccination.”
Public health specialists have petitioned the Unicode Consortium to include a female mosquito in the next emoji release, available next year, according to The Columbian. Female mosquitoes are the chief disseminator of malaria, dengue and yellow fevers, West Nile virus, and Zika virus. Unlike males, female mosquitoes are the only ones to bite. Specialists argue that a mosquito emoji would “be used by the hundreds of millions of people affected by mosquitos every year, as well as the scientist and health community to explain their work.” The mosquito emoji could be used to alert communities about eradication efforts in nearby areas or of the distribution of disease prevention tools. According to The Columbia, the emoji is up against 67 other finalists, which includes a llama, a tooth, and a lab coat.
Last week, health officials announced significant progress in the fight against HIV, malaria, and tetanus, The New York Times reported. According to the Pan American Health Organization, Infant and maternal tetanus—–an infection that at one time killed approximately 10,000 newborns per year in the Western Hemisphere––was officially eliminated from the Americas this year. Program expansions to eliminate HIV and malaria are also underway. The President’s Malaria Initiative plans to expand its efforts to Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Niger, Sierra Leone, and Burkina Faso, which would protect 90 million more people. Additionally, a new 3-in-1 antiretroviral cocktail for the treatment of HIV will soon be available in virtually all of Africa for approximately $75 per year.