WHO issues ethics guidance to protect rights of TB patients

WHO, 22 March 2017
“New tuberculosis (TB) ethics guidance, launched today by the World Health Organization (WHO), aims to help ensure that countries implementing the End TB Strategy adhere to sound ethical standards to protect the rights of all those affected.”
Find news release here.

Treat HIV as a public health matter, not a criminal one

Sfchronicle, 20 March 2017
Author: The San Francisco Chronicle
“Treatment of HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS, has grown by leaps and bounds since the epidemic was at its height in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It’s time for our state law regarding the disease to evolve, too. A bill, SB239, has been introduced that would reduce these penalties to the status of a misdemeanor. The idea is to reduce the stigma and public health problems around HIV by treating it the same way, legally, as other communicable diseases.”
Find article here.

California Lawmakers Hold LGBT Caucus Briefing on Bill that Would Decriminalize HIV

ECT, 10 March 2017
Source: ECT
“On Thursday, the LGBT Caucus held a briefing on the decriminalizing HIV and SB 239. The controversial bill, Senate Bill 239, introduced in early February, would repeal laws passed more than three-decades ago that Wiener and supporters say are discriminatory and not based in science. The proposed bill would treat HIV like other communicable diseases under California Law. According to the proposed bill, it would make it a misdemeanor instead of a felony to intentionally expose someone to HIV.”
Find article here.

Banning unvaccinated kids from child care may have unforeseen consequences

The Conversation, 14 March 2017
Author: C Raina MacIntyre
“The federal government’s push for all state and territories to ban unvaccinated children from child care is a coercive measure that may disadvantage working parents and their children, and may have other unintended consequences. The much discussed “No Jab No Pay” policy makes vaccination a condition for receiving certain government benefits and subsidies. But there is no evidence that banning unvaccinated children from child care will be any better than excluding them temporarily during an outbreak, which already occurs.”
Find article here.

Australians’ attitudes to vaccination are more complex than a simple ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ label

The Conversation, 9 March 2017
Authors: Julie Leask, Margie Danchin and Nina J Berry
“Reading the headlines, it would be easy to believe childhood vaccination rates are declining in Australia, due to an increasing trend towards distrust of vaccines among parents. In fact, vaccination rates in Australia have been high and stable, hovering between 91% and 93% since 2003. Among the 7% of children who are not or not fully vaccinated across Australia, more than half have been prevented from accessing vaccination by some practical barrier. Although the numbers are small, there are good reasons to be concerned about parents who don’t vaccinate their children, or who delay getting their children’s vaccinations.”
Find article here.

Ethics panel blocks proposed Zika vaccine research

Statnews, 28 February 2017
Author: Helen Branswell
“A federally appointed ethics panel has rejected an application from a team of scientists to deliberately infect people with the Zika virus, a decision that threatens to further slow the search for an effective vaccine. The panel’s report said it would not currently be ethical to conduct the study because of the risk to potential volunteers and their sexual partners and because there are other possible study approaches.”
Find article here.

How hospitals, nursing homes keep lethal ‘superbug’ outbreaks secret

Reuters, 22 December 2016
Authors: Deborah J. Nelson, David Rohde, Benjamin Lesser and Ryan McNeill
“Across the U.S., vague rules give healthcare providers lots of leeway in deciding when, or even whether, to report unusual clusters of infections. And when they do alert officials, that information is usually kept from the public. A patchwork of state laws and guidelines, inconsistently applied, tracks clusters of the deadly infections that the federal government 15 years ago labeled a grave threat to public health. As a result, the United States has no way to count the deadly spikes in infections that hit the nation.”
Find article here.

U.N. Apologizes for Role in Haiti’s 2010 Cholera Outbreak

NYT, 1 December 2016
Author: Somini Sengupta
“After six years and 10,000 deaths, the United Nations issued a carefully worded public apology on Thursday for its role in the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti and the widespread suffering it has caused since then. The mea culpa was an implicit acknowledgment that cholera was not present in Haiti until United Nations peacekeepers arrived in the country from Nepal, where a cholera outbreak was underway.”
Find article here.

New AIDS vaccine: ‘Final nail in coffin’ for disease?

Aljazeera, 1 December 2016
Source: AFP
“South Africa has launched a major clinical trial of an experimental vaccine against the AIDS virus, which scientists hope could be the “final nail in the coffin” for the disease. It is one of the biggest clinical trials involving the disease ever undertaken and has revived hopes of a breakthrough in the battle against AIDS.”
Find article here.

Victims, vectors and villains: are those who opt out of vaccination morally responsible for the deaths of others?

J Med Ethics 2016; 42:762-768
Authors: Euzebiusz Jamrozik, Toby Handfield, Michael J Selgelid
“Mass vaccination has been a successful public health strategy for many contagious diseases. The immunity of the vaccinated also protects others who cannot be safely or effectively vaccinated—including infants and the immunosuppressed. When vaccination rates fall, diseases like measles can rapidly resurge in a population. Those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons are at the highest risk of severe disease and death. They thus may bear the burden of others’ freedom to opt out of vaccination. It is often asked whether it is legitimate for states to adopt and enforce mandatory universal vaccination. Yet this neglects a related question: are those who opt out, where it is permitted, morally responsible when others are harmed or die as a result of their decision?”
Find article here.