Headlines: November 28, 2011
by Kyle Thomson
A review of 8 states shows that the trend of parents opting out of getting vaccination for their children is still on the rise. An Associated Press analysis found that more than 1 in 20 kindergartners aren’t getting the vaccines traditionally required for school attendance. The analysis also shows that more than half of the states in the U.S. have seen an increase in the rate of exemptions over the past five years, with Midwestern and Western states seeing the largest rates overall. Reasons for opting out of vaccinations vary from state to state, with the most stringent states allowing exceptions only for medical reasons and the more lenient states allowing exemptions for philosophical reasons. While many in the public health world are frustrated by the trend, parent groups argue that children’s medical care should be a family decision.A new trial of a Tenofovir, a microbial gel designed to prevent the contraction of HIV, has been canceled in Africa after researchers reported it was ineffective. A previous trial in South Africa had shown the gel had worked surprisingly well, protecting 39 percent of women who used it, but data indicating that the gel was not preventing infection in the current test led the NIH to shut down the trial to avoid exposing more women to the virus. The shutdown represents a major setback to AIDS research that is looking for ways to stop the spread of the HIV virus across Africa. Modern clinical research ethics require independent analysts to review data at various midpoints to assess whether the intervention is safe and effective. In this case, 6 percent of women using the treatment and 6 percent of those on the placebo had been infected with HIV, indicating that the gel was not working.
Ocean Spray has recalled certain lots of packaged and bulk original flavor Craisins - sweetened dried cranberries - because of a contamination with small metal particles. The company says that they have received no reports of consumers harmed by the metal fragments and that the particles are unlikely to cause injury, but the recall has been issued nonetheless. The fragments were caused by a malfunction on a piece of equipment on the production line at one of the firm’s cranberry-making facilities.