Public Health News Roundup: April 1
National Public Health Week Events: ‘Public Health is ROI: Saves Lives, Saves Money’
"Public Health is ROI: Saves Lives, Saves Money" is the theme of this year’s National Public Health Week, from April 1 to 7. By emphasizing prevention and ensuring strong public health systems, public health helps to saves lives and stop diseases before they have a chance to happen. The end result is improved public health and reduced health care spending, meaning those valuable financial resources can go toward strengthening other aspects of a community. Communities and public health schools across the county are celebrating the week and spreading the messages of public health. Read more about National Public Health Week.
WHO: Strain of Bird Flu Kills Two in China; Third Person Infected
While a strain of bird flu has taken the lives of two Chinese men, there is at the moment no evidence to show it can be transmitted from person to person, according to the World Health Organization. The men died in February; a third person, a woman, is in critical condition. The H7N9 virus had previously infected only animals. "At this point, these three are isolated cases with no evidence of human-to-human transmission", said Michael O'Leary, MD, the WHO representative in China. "A new virus tends to be more virulent in the beginning. Either it is going to become a truly human virus, in which case we have to start dealing with it regularly, or it is going to be primarily an animal virus with just a rare human case." Read more on infectious disease.
Given Disease Labels for Children, Many Parents Push for Ineffective Medications
When it comes to doctors insisting sick infants don’t need medication, many parents refuse to take that “no” as an answer, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics. Instead when given a simple disease label they often push for medications that won’t actually have any effect. Researchers say this demonstrates how simple disease labels can influence parents’ decision-making and shows the importance of good communication. "The disease label seems to send the message that there is an illness that requires medical treatment," said lead author Laura Scherer, an assistant professor in the department of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri. "But, depending on the situation, medical treatments may be necessary, or not. In the case of [gastroesophageal reflux disease], an otherwise healthy infant probably will not benefit from medication. So in this case [that] label can be misleading." Read more on infant and maternal health.