Cervical screening was a hot topic following the announcement that from 1st January 2022 the routine screening interval for people with a cervix aged 25 to 49 in Wales was extended from three to five years. This caused widespread concern and a petition to overturn the decision has received over 1.2 million signatures to date.
Malaria infection exerts a tremendous impact on the body, which can have long-term health repercussions, ranging from accrued susceptibility to bacterial infection to cognitive impairment. While some of these nefarious effects are known for the most severe forms of the disease, mounting evidence suggest that this is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Once again COVID is resurging across Europe. But not all countries are in the same position. Why? It’s an easy question to answer, yet confusion reigns in the press, on social media, and even among some scientists and epidemiological modellers. The answer is a basic epidemiological principle - population immunity - a concept that any young epidemiologist learns in early career development, as did I during my first month at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) back in 1976.
In the UK we’re heading full pelt into the normal winter respiratory viral season, something we can all relate to: from a mild snuffle to a week in bed at the mercy of flu. As many parents will be aware, respiratory viral infections are particularly common in children who have lots of contact with others, especially at school.
Over the last 20 years, annual analysis by the World Health Organization has brought good malaria news. Cases and deaths have steadily decreased since the turn of the millennium, although this progress has plateaued in recent years. But things are very different in 2021. This year’s World Malaria Report found deaths were at their highest for nearly a decade with an estimated 627, 000 worldwide in 2020.
Even prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the question for scientists was not ‘if’ there would be another pandemic, but when. The spread of infectious diseases among populations in history is evident even outside of the pages of epidemiology textbooks – many great 19th and 20th century writers make it quite clear that their fictional characters were besieged by the likes of polio or TB.
Those working in tobacco control have much to celebrate. Rates of tobacco use globally have fallen. But the world’s population has grown, so today there are still 1.3 billion tobacco users, most of them wanting to quit. Yet, nicotine is addictive and, despite the tobacco industry’s efforts to portray itself as being part of the solution, it continues to actively promote nicotine and tobacco in an ever increasing variety of forms. One thing is clear – the tobacco industry wants to replace its users and maximize its profit by sustaining the use of these products.
Progress was made here in areas such as financing and emissions reductions, and the conference emphasised the broad impact of climate change with themed days for topics including youth empowerment and transportation.
The global closure of schools due to COVID-19 has helped spotlight the value of school meals across the world. In the UK, the conversation between Marcus Rashford and the Prime Minister brought recognition to the role of school food as a social safety net. Meanwhile globally, the support of President Macron of France and President Kigame of Rwanda demonstrated that this was a crisis that affected rich and poor countries alike.
The Dutch famine caused by the Nazi blockade of the Netherlands in the Second World War ended over 70 years ago, but for survivors who were conceived during the famine, the health effects persist. Famine exposure during early fetal development has been associated with higher rates of mortality, obesity, diabetes, and schizophrenia.