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In the News: Ebola vaccine needs fast track

According to a recent Star Tribune article, “More than 23,000 people suffered suspected infections and more than 14,000 died in the current Ebola outbreak, but the number of new cases has slowed in recent weeks.” Although Ebola may be slowing down in the headlines, the epidemic is far from over. Experts suggest health officials shouldn’t be drawing back on testing and creating vaccines for this highly deadly virus.

Michael Osterholm, Ph.D., M.P.H., an infectious disease expert and director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), told the Star Tribune that “waiting for another global scare to ramp up vaccine efforts won’t work.” Osterholm, joined by 25 other international leaders in infectious disease, also known as “Team B,” are advocating for a pace of vaccine development that would be considered the fastest in human history.

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California measles outbreak reiterates importance of vaccines

As of this morning, there are 59 confirmed cases of measles tied to the Disneyland outbreak according to NPR.

The issue does not reside in the park itself, or any other public place for that matter. Measles is one of the deadliest of all childhood rash/fever illnesses, and the disease spreads very easily. However, measles is extremely preventable with vaccination. The CDC even declared that measles was eradicated in the United States back in 2000, attributed to a “highly effective vaccination program and a strong public health system for detecting and responding to measles cases and outbreaks.”

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Enterovirus D68 confirmed in MN by MDH, UMN

Enterovirus D68 is hospitalizing children around the Midwest due to its severe asthma attack-like symptoms. Today, it is confirmed that the virus has reached Minnesota.

According to a statement from the Minnesota Department of Health, its lab tests confirmed one case of having Enterovirus 68 (EV-D68). Labs at the University of Minnesota have also confirmed EV D68 in 11 samples from the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital.

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What you need to know about Enterovirus D-68

The spread of respiratory illnesses in children across the Midwest, just as school began, has parents on edge. There’s concern over how contagious this illness might be, and whether it can be quite serious.

Enteroviruses are common viruses affecting people of all ages, but especially children. These viruses can cause a variety of illnesses, including the common cold and even hand-foot-and-mouth disease. There are more than 90 different strains and these viruses can cause a variety of illnesses, including the common cold and even hand-foot-and-mouth disease. The current strain causing concern is Enterovirus D-68, or EV-D68. The virus usually affects the respiratory system, causing inflammation of the small and medium airways resulting in an asthma attack-like response.

HealthTalk checked in with pediatric infectious disease physician Bazak Sharon M.D to get more on what parents need to know to help keep their families healthy.

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U of M researcher works to prevent disease transmission in pumas

Minnesota may not seem like the obvious place for researching disease transmission and prevention among America’s large wild felids. But through collaborations with Colorado State University, the University of Tasmania, and state and federal agencies, the University of Minnesota will soon begin work studying six wild puma populations in California and Colorado, in addition to Florida’s endangered panther.

The work to study pathogens in puma populations is made possible through a new $2.14 million grant shared among the three institutions from the National Science Foundation.

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Health Talk Recommends: U.S. causes of death then & now

Of the many spectacular inventions of the 1900s, it’s safe to say we never may have made it to where we are today without radar, plastics or the once-revolutionary vacuum tube triode (responsible, in case you’re wondering, for launching the age of electronics).

Medical advances made throughout the 20th century, too, are nothing to bat an eye at.

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