Tag Archives: CDC

HPV news… prevention works (Article)

The HPV vaccine has gained much attention in recent news, but there are many questions as to what it actually does and if it actually works. Experts at the CDC are now recommending that all children get vaccinated with the HPV vaccine long before they are sexually active.  I hear many parents question the wisdom of this vaccine until they understand how deadly HPV viruses can be. HPV, or human papilloma virus, is the most common STD in America. The infections affect people of all ages: teenage girls, boys, men, women, and even babies.  Fourteen million people become infected with HPV each year and are therefore put at greater risk for cervical cancer and head and neck cancers. Though every year, 19,000 women develop cervical cancer, and 8,000 men develop penile or head and neck cancers that are directly linked to the HPVs, many parents do not fully recognize the real danger of HPV infections.

The first HPV vaccine was approved for use in girls and young women in 2007 and recent data indicate its value.  Statistics gathered by the CDC shows that the HPV vaccine is incredibly effective, and therefore invaluable to protect our teenagers’ current and future health. Among girls ages 14 through 19 who were studied, the HPV infection rate has dropped by 56% in the past four years, even while vaccine rates are low. In the CDC sample population studied, just 5.1% of teenage girls became infected, compared to a pre vaccine rate of 11.5%. Imagine how low infection rates will be when far more children are vaccinated! If your teen hasn’t been vaccinated already, please don’t wait. The HPV vaccine has proven to be safe and effective defense against HPV. The inconvenience of simply getting a few injections is nothing in comparison to the devastating consequences of cancer.

Parents need to keep in mind that the HPV vaccine is a powerful tool to prevent cancers but only works if it is given before a person is infected, hence the young recommended age.  Remember this Doc Smo pearl: “Prevention trumps treatment, every time.”  Lets pass on a HPV free world to the next generation in the same way we were given a world without smallpox.  I hope you agree that a few shots is a small price to pay to avoid all that future pain and suffering.

Smo Notes:

  1. http://www.pediatricnews.com/news/infectious-diseases/single-article/cdc-study-finds-56-drop-in-hpv-infections/ad015e9f23f95a9ec437f9ee17cc0de1.html

Written collaboratively by Keri Register and Paul Smolen MD

New: Fun, educational iPad App from the CDC (Article)

Do you have any budding healthcare professionals and an iPad in your family? If so, the Center for Disease Control, the CDC, has developed something that is both fun and educational for the disease detectives in your family: an app called “Solve the Outbreak,” free at the App store on iTunes. I’ve been playing with it for the past week, and I must say, even for a pediatrician with a little wear on his tires, it’s fun! Try it yourself and share it with your older kids. I think you will quickly get hooked. I found it both an easy game to play and very thought-provoking. Not only will you learn about some of the big infectious diseases that cause outbreaks, but you and your children will also see how germ detectives nail down the root causes of these outbreaks.

It’s not everyday that a computer game has the potential to spark interest in medicine and public health, but this one does. Enroll your young public health officers in germ boot camp today by downloading and enjoying “Solve the Outbreak”.  I feel certain you will be glad you did.

Your comments are welcome at www.docsmo.com.  Until next time.

Smo notes:

1. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/solve-the-outbreak/id592485067?mt=8

2. http://www.cdc.gov/features/solvetheoutbreak/

From the desk of Doc Smo: Vaccine refusal growing? (Article)


Okay, it’s time for a little quiz about the practice of childhood vaccination in the United States.  You have probably heard about the resurgence of measles here. This resurgence is directly related to the failure to vaccinate children.   Last week, the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”)  published some data that attempts to explain the resurgence of measles in more detail.  Specifically, the CDC looked at the rate of measles vaccination at age five, the year of school entry for most children, across the United States.  Here are some of the questions that the CDC posed and answered:


What percentage of children have received two doses of MMR (Measles vaccine) by their fifth birthday?                                                                   (94.8%)


What percentage of families claim religious, medical, and/or philosophic reasons to exempt their children from getting MMR vaccine?        (0.1%-7%)


Which states do not allow religious exemption from vaccination?                                                                                                                                            (Mississippi and West Virginia)


Which state had the lowest rate of children having two doses of MMR  vaccine?                                                                                                                 (Colorado)


Which state has the highest vaccine rate for MMR vaccine?                                                                                                                                                       (Texas)


Which state had the highest rate of children not being vaccinated due to exemptions?                                                                                                      (Alaska)


Since parental refusal to vaccinate receives a lot of press, I was  surprised to see how few children are exempted from the requirement.  On average, only 1.5% of kindergartners have been exempted from the MMR vaccine.  Fortunately, this percentage represents only a 0.2% increase from the previous year. What I learned from this study is that even small increases in vaccine refusal can lead to quick and large increases disease frequency. Additionally, this is a reminder that the measles germs haven’t gone away and the only thing holding it back is getting all of our children vaccinated!  Parental resistance to vaccination does not seem to be increasing rapidly but even a little resistance can spell trouble for children. Get those kids of yours vaccinated!


Your comments are welcome. Please direct them to my blog at www.docsmo.com.   Until next time.


Vaccination Coverage Among Children in Kindergarten — United States, 2011–12 School Year


August 24, 2012 / 61(33);647-652