September 5, 2012
- History, Epidemiology, Policy, Crystal Ball
West Nile Story:
A Brief Update on the Largest Outbreak of West Nile Virus in U.S. History
Beth P. Bell, MD, MPH
Director, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Polio Conquered? Check! (well, almost):
What's Next for Disease Eradication?
Stephen L. Cochi, MD, MPH
Senior Advisor, Global Immunization Division
Center for Global Health, CDC
- Clubhouse Location:
- WHSCAB Plaza and Auditorium (1440 Clifton Rd)
- 6:00pm — wine, cheese, networking
6:30pm — meeting convenes
8:00pm — casual buffet dinner, more networking
Welcome to Fall!!!
I know just how busy you will all be between now and September 5 packing away your summer whites, boating at the lake, and attending or hosting a Labor Day BBQ* but PLEASE take a moment before the madness begins to register to attend the September meeting of the Vaccine Dinner Club.
- The Western hemisphere was still one year away from its first case of West Nile virus (detected in 1999 in New York state)
- > 50 countries were still reporting endemic polio;
- 134 million children in India were immunized against polio on a single day;
- National immunization days were conducted for the first time in Somalia and southern Sudan;
- Melik Minas of Turkey became the last case of polio reported in Europe;
- the VDC was planning its first ever meeting ("Getting it On: Immunologic Memory and Protective Immunity to Virus Infections … Understanding their Relationship" -- Speaker: Rafi Ahmed, PhD; Attendance 312)
122 meetings of the VDC later the world has turned upside down; West Nile has gone global and Polio has been vaccinated to extinction in all but three remaining countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.
There have been more than 1,500 cases of, and 66 deaths from, West Nile virus in the United States in 2012 to date, with all but Alaska and Hawaii now reporting cases. Bad news: Public health officials doubt that the numbers have peaked.
Where did West Nile first emerge? What animals have proven to be the most efficient hosts and vectors? What makes this year different from earlier ones re: transmission? What efforts can and are being made to contain the spread?
Got questions like these? Come to the September VDC meeting ... VDC member-in-good-standing Beth Bell has (at least some of) the answers!
With only three countries left still reporting new cases of polio, many among us are confident that the day will come soon when epidemiologists are at last able to identify the person who will be the Ali Maowmaalin** of the polio history books.
That day can't come soon enough of course. The hardship and sacrifice that has lately been required to eradicate polio in Pakistan, not to mention in Nigeria and Afghanistan, has been utterly heartbreaking and we owe it to the memory of Mr. Muhammad Ishaq to pour all we have into the polio endgame once the ban on vaccination activities has been lifted, both by the Taliban and the WHO.
But even as efforts are underway to snuff out the final threat of polio, a contract hit has ALREADY been put out on the NEXT set of bad boy bugs. Want to know which ones they are and how eradication efforts are going?
OK. The answer is …
… Just kidding. I am totally not going to give away the punch line here. Dr. Cochi would kill me. :-)
So forward this message to all of your lab buddies, your colleagues, your class mates, your science-savvy laymen friends, and any other Inquiring Minds you know who don't already belong to the VDC and encourage them all to meet up with you for the September 5 meeting of the Vaccine Dinner Club. Its time to celebrate the opening of our 15th season, get the scoop on what's up with West Nile, hear stories about the final push to eradicate Polio, and get fired up for the Next Big Thing!
Hope to see you for Dinner at the Club next Wednesday (BYO mosquito repellant),
-Kimbi -- aka your friendly neighborhood Vaccine Dinner Club Goddess
*I once attended a Labor Day BBQ in which all of the guests were public health scientists. I don't remember anyone being particularly worried about mozzies but I DO remember that that was the afternoon I learned that it is a Really Bad Idea to put enteric disease researchers in charge of grilling chicken. Every time someone would start to take it off the grill someone else would start another story that began with the words: "Do you remember that time we investigated the food-borne outbreak in …" and before you knew it there would be a tacit decision to leave the chicken on the grill for "just a few more minutes." By the time the rest of us gathered the courage needed to storm the grill and stage an intervention every single piece of chicken in sight was utterly and completely carbonized.
**Ali Maowmaalin was a cook in Merca, Somalia who had worked as a smallpox vaccinator, but neglected to be vaccinated himself. He contracted the last case of naturally occurring smallpox.