Ebola: Why Quarantine?

A handful of states, in response to the Ebola outbreak, are imposing a mandatory quarantine on health care workers returning to the United States from Ebola zones amid fears of the virus spreading outside West Africa.[1]

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New Jersey officials now require that travelers coming through Newark Liberty International Airport be categorized as either high risk, some risk, or low risk. Continue reading

The Politicization of Disease

Senator and 2016 presidential hopeful Ted Cruz (R-TX) made media waves this October when he criticized the Obama Administration’s response to Ebola cases reported in the US. “I remain concerned we don’t see sufficient seriousness on the part of the federal government about protecting the American public and doing everything possible to ensure that people infected with Ebola do not come to the Unites States,” he said, advocating for an air travel ban for those coming to the United States from regions afflicted with the virus. “The administration is not treating [the outbreak] with the gravity it deserves.”

Cruz was just one of many Republicans – including Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) – denouncing the current administration’s ineffectiveness at the height of what was a highly competitive, highly partisan midterm campaign season. Continue reading

First Monthly Public Health Table

1. Care to spice up dinner time? 
2. Feeling a significant lack of casual public health discussion in your life? 
3. Want to learn about something meaningful in the comfort of Whitman’s common dining hall?
If you answered yes or were even unsure about any of those questions, then JOIN US!
Don’t overthink it and just come on over.
The Princeton Public Health Review (PPHR) is having its first monthly public health table!
Monday, December 8
6:30-8:00 PM
Whitman Common Dining Hall
**featuring**
Yi-Ching Ong, PhD from the Global Health Department
 presenting new non-profit models for pharmaceuticals and drug development for neglected diseases!

Timothy Buschman, Winner of the 2014 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award

Timothy Buschman, assistant professor at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute and Department of Psychology, was awarded the New Innovator Award. This grant is awarded to “early stage investigators of exceptional creativity proposing research of uncommonly high potential impact.”

Buschman’s project, entitled “Developing an Adaptive Cognitive Prosthetic to Replace Damaged Brain Regions”, is the creation of a hierarchal algorithm that uses a neural or behavioral feedback system to learn. Continue reading

FDA Q&A: The Approval Process for Vaccines and Trumenba With Rachael Conklin: Communications Officer

Last month, the FDA approved Trumenba, a vaccine for meningitis B. Meanwhile, the vaccine that was administered to Princeton students last year, Bexsero, continues to be under review. Below, PPHR discusses the vaccine approval process with FDA Consumer Safety Officer Rachael Conklin.

PPHR: What considerations does the FDA have when approving a new vaccine?

Conklin: The main considerations are the same for approving a vaccine as for approving any other drug product: safety and efficacy. Continue reading

Public Ignorance and Ebola

Clipboard-Guy

In mid-October, a man – soon to be known as “Clipboard Guy” – was seen alongside four other health officers in hazmat suits, wheeling an Ebola patient for transfer from Dallas to Atlanta. He was wearing no protective gear, carrying a clipboard, and helping the HAZMAT-suited individuals with the patient. It caused an uproar on sites like Twitter, with people wondering why safety protocols seemed to be breached, why the virus was being taken lightly, and whether or not the man was infected and now a risk to society. As can be seen in this incident, mass hysteria is easily spurred by the media. As such, a lot of speculation about the Ebola virus has been based in ignorance and the human tendency to sensationalize.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was asked to explain the audacity of the man in a CNN interview. Continue reading

Quarantines in Newark and Princeton

Recently, there have been concerns that Ebola, the deadly virus that erupted in West Africa causing hemorrhagic fever, has made its way to Newark, New York, and Princeton. One such story is that of Ebola nurse Kaci Hickox who has been placed in quarantine for 21 days at the University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey because she helped to treat Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. However, she has been tested and has not contracted the disease. Still, New Jersey governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo require that anyone has who worked with or come into contact with Ebola patients must be quarantined, no matter how healthy they may appear.

This policy came into being after a recent New York City doctor was diagnosed with Ebola on October 23. Continue reading

Uncertainty of Ebola Concerns Princeton Citizens, Prompts Policies

The Ebola outbreak has resulted in global panic, making citizens question the safety of everything from public transportation to crowded events. Recent developments have brought the crisis directly to Princeton.

On October 1st, NBC cameraman Alexander Mukpo contracted Ebola while cleaning a car that had transported dead Ebola victims in Liberia. Continue reading

Editorial: Ebola

The American public, along with state and federal government officials, had sufficient cause to be frightened when the first case of Ebola knocked at its doorsteps. Amidst the panic and frenzy in response to the Ebola outbreak, a controversial quarantine was issued against 33-year-old nurse Kaci Hickox, who had served Ebola patients in West Africa before being held under a 21-day quarantine after her arrival in Newark.

The Princeton Public Health Review’s editorial board believes that while the principle behind issuing a mandatory quarantine against nurse Kaci Hickox was a valid one, the haphazard manner in which the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act was carried out suggests the need for enforcement to be improved and better amended to deal with the health risk at hand. Continue reading

Valley Fever: The Mysterious Fungus Infecting the Southwest without a Vaccine or Cure

Valley Fever or Coccidioidomycosis, also known as cocci, is a fungal disease endemic to the soils of the Southwest. Around 60% of those exposed never have symptoms. The majority of the other 40% have flu-like symptoms. About 5 to 10% of those exposed develop serious and long-term problems with their lungs. In about 1% of those exposed, the fungus spreads throughout the entire body, infecting areas such as the brain and bones (1).

Although the first diagnosis was in 1892, Valley Fever continues to infect people without a vaccine or cure. Continue reading