One more reason not to use heroin: anthrax contamination @thebodyhorrors #science

krestonr2

Another informative post from Rebecca Kreston on Body Horrors blog! This time Kreston looks at common contamination of illicit drugs… including a cases of heroin accidentally laced with anthrax. Ooops.

But there is one microbe in particular, one that boasts a tabloid-worthy reputation, that has made a series of unexpected appearances in the past few years among heroin users: anthrax.

Check out the post for tons of info on anthrax, and how its getting into illegal heroin on our streets.

Anthrax is widely feared for its potential as an agent of bioterrorism; the media-induced panic attack that is occasionally invoked usually relies on images of shadowy terrorist cells spraying spores from planes above cities or perhaps into malls filled with aimless shoppers. However, this frightful microbe’s recent entry into our communities was far more insidious and unexpected, relying on an altogether different type of illicit network that spreads harm.

New England alone has seen a huge increase in heroin use over the last year or so, with the Governor’s taking action to fight the epidemic use of the drug. Hopefully the heroin isn’t contaminated….

August is National Immunization Awareness Month: ~3 million preventable deaths a year #BodyHorrors

krestonr

Rebecca Kreston has written a terrific post on Body Horrors blog about the under-appreciated importance of vaccines and the lives they could be saving

Unbeknownst to many of the public, August was National Immunization Awareness Month. I know, I know: it’s been overshadowed by some very exotic and thrilling headliners this month. The Ebola epidemic blazing defiantly in West Africa. The jaw-dropping videos shown on Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week.” The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge clogging everyone’s social feeds. Vaccines are just not as sexy or as flamboyant as these issues. 

Kreston breaks down the numbers of deaths caused by ‘news-worthy’ killers compared to the number of deaths caused by diseases that can be prevented with vaccination.

But here’s the thing: Vaccine-preventable diseases kill an estimated three million people every year, with half of those deaths in children. That is five-hundred times the number of people who die every year from the devastating, progressive neurological disorder that is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (around 6000 deaths every year). That is seven-hundred-and-fifty-thousand times the number of people killed in shark attacks (about 4 deaths every year). So far, the Ebola epidemic has killed 1350 people in West Africa (as of August 22, 2014).

The post breaks down and explains diseases that cause thousands to hundreds of thousands of deaths a year and can be prevented through vaccination. Read the post and educate yourself!