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Legal Responses to Health Emergencies

July 15, 2015 Comments off

Legal Responses to Health Emergencies
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report contains discussions of the regulations addressing health emergencies in 25 jurisdictions, including countries from six continents, the European Union, and the World Health Organization. All surveys included in this report review government structures tasked with delivering public health protection, relevant legislative frameworks for addressing health emergencies, and the powers of government institutions in times of health crises and their ability to mitigate the consequences of such crises. Analyses of the regulation of such issues as disease surveillance and notification systems are also provided.

Big Pharma’s Hidden Hand In Rise of Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs

July 15, 2015 Comments off

Big Pharma’s Hidden Hand In Rise of Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs
Source: Common Dreams

From the World Health Organization to the National Academy of Sciences, scientists are warning that rising antibiotic resistance poses a public health threat across the world. Now, a new report from consumer advocacy group Sum Of Us examines an often-overlooked factor behind this crisis: the complicity of pharmaceutical giants in the dangerous dumping of drug waste throughout the supply chain.

Irresponsible use of antibiotics—in human medicine and factory farming—has reportedly led to the rise of antimicrobial-resistant superbugs that threaten our ability to treat common infection.

The report Bad Medicine…examines antibiotic production from start to finish, revealing that some of the most well-known drug corporations are fueling the global health problem of antibiotic resistance.

Health Effects of Cut Gas Lines and Other Petroleum Product Release Incidents — Seven States, 2010–2012

July 14, 2015 Comments off

Health Effects of Cut Gas Lines and Other Petroleum Product Release Incidents — Seven States, 2010–2012
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Large mass casualty gas explosions and catastrophic oil spills are widely reported and receive considerable regulatory attention. Smaller, less catastrophic petroleum product releases are less likely to receive publicity, although study of these incidents might help focus and prioritize prevention efforts. To describe the causes and health impacts of petroleum product release incidents (including gas explosions and oil spills), the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) analyzed 2010–2012 data from the National Toxic Substance Incidents Program (NTSIP). A total of 1,369 petroleum product release incidents were reported from seven states, resulting in 512 injuries and 36 deaths. Approximately one fourth of the incidents were associated with utilities, and approximately one fifth were associated with private vehicles or residences. Approximately 10% of petroleum product releases resulted from inadvertent damage to utility lines. Understanding the characteristics of acute petroleum product releases can aid the public and utility workers in the development of preventive strategies and reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with such releases.

Legal Responses to Health Emergencies

July 8, 2015 Comments off

Legal Responses to Health Emergencies
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report contains discussions of the regulations addressing health emergencies in 25 jurisdictions, including countries from six continents, the European Union, and the World Health Organization. All surveys included in this report review government structures tasked with delivering public health protection, relevant legislative frameworks for addressing health emergencies, and the powers of government institutions in times of health crises and their ability to mitigate the consequences of such crises. Analyses of the regulation of such issues as disease surveillance and notification systems are also provided.

Epidemiology of Ciguatera in Florida

July 1, 2015 Comments off

Epidemiology of Ciguatera in Florida
Source: American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Ciguatera is the most commonly reported marine food-borne illness worldwide. Because there is a biological plausibility that ciguatera may be impacted by long-term climate variability and Florida is on the northern border of the geographic distribution of ciguatera, it is important to update our understanding of its epidemiology in Florida. We performed an analysis of 291 reports in Florida from 2000 to 2011 and an e-mail survey of 5,352 recreational fishers to estimate incidence and underreporting and identify high risk demographic groups, fish types, and catch locations. Incidence was 5.6 per 100,000 adjusted for underreporting. Hispanics had the highest incidence rate (relative risk [RR] = 3.4) and were more likely to eat barracuda than non-Hispanics. The most common catch locations for ciguatera-causing fish were the Bahamas and Florida Keys. Cases caused by fish from northern Florida were infrequent. These results indicate that ciguatera incidence is higher than estimated from public health reports alone. There is little evidence that incidence or geographic range has increased because of increased seawater temperatures since earlier studies.

U.S. Abortion Reporting Systems Should Be Strengthened, Not Subverted to Promote Antiabortion Agenda

June 30, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Abortion Reporting Systems Should Be Strengthened, Not Subverted to Promote Antiabortion Agenda
Source: Guttmacher Institute

The current U.S. abortion surveillance system yields reliable statistics on abortion incidence and patient characteristics, thanks to the joint efforts of state and federal governments and the Guttmacher Institute. Still, a new analysis in the Guttmacher Policy Review argues that this system should be strengthened in two key ways: First, the state and federal governments should collect data in a more complete and timely manner. Second, government abortion surveillance at the state and federal levels must be focused solely on collecting basic incidence and demographic data needed for legitimate public health purposes.

While very effective in informing public health policies and programs, the current U.S. abortion surveillance system is a patchwork. Most states report aggregate abortion data to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but reporting from some of them is incomplete and California, Maryland and New Hampshire do not report to the CDC at all. The Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit that funds its abortion surveillance work through private sources, supplements these government collection efforts through its own periodic census of abortion providers and survey of abortion patients.

Natural waste: canine companions and the lure of inattentively pooping in public

June 23, 2015 Comments off

Natural waste: canine companions and the lure of inattentively pooping in public
Source: Environmental Sociology

The most organized and regulated societies in Europe have a comparatively high density of pet dogs per inhabitant. Contrary to the general trend in Western societies towards raising standards of hygiene in everyday life, pedestrian areas and urban parks tend to be dog fouling hotspots. Unlike other nonhuman animals, pet dogs are often walked to public places for the sole reason to defecate. This article aims to explore a variety of dog owners’ strategies when dealing with excrement while walking their dogs. This is done to highlight the relational ties between dogs and humans that are manifested in strategies for dealing with a highly important ‘actant’ in the collective: poop. By so doing, the observed varieties of inattentively pooping in public are categorized into three main types in order to highlight different forms of knowing or not knowing about excrement in emerging associations between dog and dog owner through the medium of poop.

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