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HEALTH
September 19, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
The hit movie "Contagion" depicts a nightmare scenario: a bat virus jumps to pigs and then to humans, infecting them with abandon since they have no immunity to the novel bug. The virus circles the globe in a matter of days, causing coughs, fevers and seizures as scientists from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scramble to identify the pathogen and develop a vaccine. Before they do, millions are infected and about a quarter of them die. Those who are not sickened hunker down at home or panic in the streets, scrounging for food and supplies until the outbreak can be contained.
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NEWS
April 25, 2014 | By Susan Rohwer, guest blogger
Celebrities who question the safety of vaccines just won't shut up. It seems like every week there's another famous person spouting some anti-vaccine nonsense, from Jenny McCarthy to Kristin Cavalari to Donald Trump and now, Alicia Silverstone . The continuing spread of misinformation about vaccines by celebs is alarming. And because the power of celebrity is used to sell products and champion social causes, like it or not, what famous people say has influence. So will the pro-vaccine celebrities please stand up?
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 27, 2010
'Frontline: The Vaccine War' Where: KCET When: 9 p.m. Tuesday Rating: TV-PG (may be unsuitable for young children)
SCIENCE
April 24, 2014 | By Karen Kaplan
How much are childhood vaccines worth to America? Nearly $1.7 trillion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That dollar figure represents the net savings of 20 years' worth of vaccines administered to American children born between 1994 and 2013 over their entire lifetimes, according to a report in Friday's edition of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. An estimated $295 billion worth of that savings comes in the form of direct costs averted, and $1.38 trillion is the estimated value of savings to society.
SCIENCE
June 7, 2012 | By Thomas H. Maugh II
The Austrian company AFFiRiS A.G. of Vienna said this week it has begun the first-ever clinical trials of a vaccine to treat Parkinson's disease. The study of as many as 32 patients is designed to test the safety and tolerability of the vaccine, called PD01A. Parkinson's is thought to result from the deposit of pathological forms of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain, causing the death of cells, particularly in the region known as the substantia nigra. The accumulation of alpha-synuclein disrupts the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain, impairing movement and causing tremors.
NEWS
November 28, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
Vaccinating children who are more than a year old against varicella, or chicken pox, also provides "tremendous indirect benefits" to young babies, researchers reported Monday in the journal Pediatrics. The U.S. implemented a variella vaccine program in 1995, offering the vaccine to children 12 months and older.  But younger babies who aren't old enough to get the vaccine are protected through so-called "herd immunity" -- because fewer older kids develop chicken pox, the younger children are less likely to be exposed to the virus.
HEALTH
September 14, 2009 | Thomas H. Maugh II
As the United States gears up for one of the largest vaccination programs ever conducted, the broad outlines of the campaign to vaccinate nearly 100 million Americans against pandemic H1N1 influenza virus by Christmas are beginning to fall into place. Many key questions remain, however, including precisely when the vaccines will become available and exactly where the public will be able to get shots. The situation is further complicated by the need to vaccinate about the same number of people against seasonal flu during roughly the same period.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 15, 2013 | By Los Angeles Times Staff
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation will offer free meningitis vaccines starting Monday. The move comes just days after a West Hollywood man died from the disease. Anyone who might have been exposed to the disease or might be at risk should to make plans to receive the vaccine, officials say. Worry over a meningitis outbreak started last week after 33-year-old Brett Shaad, a West Hollywood lawyer, died of the disease on Friday. Shaad became critically ill shortly after he attended an annual Easter weekend gathering of gay men in Palm Springs, according to the foundation.
NEWS
April 25, 2014 | By Susan Rohwer, guest blogger
Celebrities who question the safety of vaccines just won't shut up. It seems like every week there's another famous person spouting some anti-vaccine nonsense, from Jenny McCarthy to Kristin Cavalari to Donald Trump and now, Alicia Silverstone . The continuing spread of misinformation about vaccines by celebs is alarming. And because the power of celebrity is used to sell products and champion social causes, like it or not, what famous people say has influence. So will the pro-vaccine celebrities please stand up?
SCIENCE
July 25, 2009 | Thomas H. Maugh II
Hundreds of thousands of Americans could die over the next two years if the vaccine and other control measures for the new H1N1 influenza are not effective, and, at the pandemic's peak, as much as 40% of the workforce could be affected, according to new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is admittedly a worst-case scenario that the federal agency says it doesn't expect to occur.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 23, 2014 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO -- The percentage of parents opting for the "personal belief exemption" to avoid vaccinations for their children in kindergarten has tripled in a decade, county health officials said Wednesday. The result is that 4.5% of the 43,000-plus kindergartners in San Diego County schools are missing one or more of the recommended vaccinations, said public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten. That totals more than 1,900 students. Among the 14 diseases that vaccinations can prevent are measles, mumps, polio, chickenpox and whooping cough, Wooten said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 14, 2014 | By Steve Chawkins
Charles F. Farthing, a physician who was at the forefront of care for HIV/AIDS patients and who drew attention to the need for an AIDS vaccine by announcing his willingness to inject himself, has died. He was 60. Farthing, who collapsed in a Hong Kong taxi April 5, had a heart attack, family members said in an announcement. Farthing was chief of medicine for the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation from 1994 to 2007. He was planning to return to the foundation in June as director of treatment programs in the 32 countries outside the U.S. where it provides services.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 3, 2014 | By Hailey Branson-Potts
Three gay men who contracted meningitis have died from the disease, officials said Thursday, heightening calls in West Hollywood and beyond that people get vaccinated. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health began providing free vaccinations for patients without health insurance Thursday. It recommended that gay and bisexual men get the medicine. The department announced earlier this week that there have been eight cases of invasive meningococcal disease in the county so far this year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 28, 2014 | By Anh Do
Orange County health officials met in an emergency session this week after the latest measles tally showed the number of cases in the county had rocketed in the last few weeks. There are now 21 confirmed cases of measles in Orange County, the most of any county in California and nearly five times the number of cases in the entire state at this time last year, health officials said. Across the state, the numbers also moved forward, climbing to 49 cases by Friday. Last year, at this time, there were only four reported in the entire state.
BUSINESS
March 17, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik
And now, New York City. Measles is spreading in upper Manhattan and the Bronx, according to public health authorities in New York. About 16 cases have turned up, including two that involved contagion in doctors' offices. Outbreaks have also been reported in the Boston area , Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles .  Much of the current outbreak is traceable to the Philippines, where the disease is raging and easily spread to unvaccinated travelers. They come home to the U.S., where the virus is finding a surprising welcome.  Health experts add these to the tally of the anti-vaccination movement, which is based almost entirely on a long since debunked and withdrawn paper published in Britain in 1998.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 17, 2014 | By Meredith Blake, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
Jenny McCarthy has learned the hard way that Twitter can be a dose of bitter medicine.  On Thursday, "The View" co-host posed a seemingly innocuous question to her 1.1 million followers on Twitter: " What is the most important personality trait you look for in a mate? Reply using #JennyAsks . " The former Playboy model and co-host of the '90s MTV dating show "Singled Out" has been one of the most outspoken celebrity advocates of a  debunked theory linking childhood vaccines with autism.
SCIENCE
September 16, 2009 | Thomas H. Maugh II
The Food and Drug Administration today approved a vaccine for the pandemic H1N1 influenza from four manufacturers, clearing the way for the vaccine to be administered as soon as enough of it is available. The approval was announced to Congress by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The licensing means that the vaccine is made properly and meets specific manufacturing and quality standards. Officials from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced Friday that the vaccine was safe and produced adequate immunity with only one dose.
BUSINESS
October 16, 2008 | From Times Wire Services
A Carlsbad, Calif., biotech company co-founded by the late Jonas Salk to develop an AIDS vaccine has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Orchestra Therapeutics, formerly known as the Immune Response Corp., filed papers in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of California, the North County Times reported. The company listed $32.61 million in liabilities and $1.64 million in assets, the newspaper reported. The company gained national attention in the 1990s when it developed Remune, a vaccine to treat HIV that later fizzled because its effectiveness could not be proved.
OPINION
February 27, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The state of California issued an advisory on measles last week. Though only about a dozen cases have been reported so far, many more people have been exposed to the virus. In the Bay Area, thousands were warned to watch for signs of the disease after a man who'd been infected on a trip to Asia rode a BART train. In Los Angeles, far more people than necessary were exposed to measles because doctors failed to report two patients' cases immediately. One had traveled to Asia; the other had been exposed to a recently infected traveler.
SCIENCE
February 20, 2014 | By Monte Morin, This post has been corrected. See note at bottom for details.
With several weeks or more remaining in a particularly deadly influenza season, U.S. health officials on Thursday urged flu vaccinations for everyone over the age of 6 months, including pregnant women. "Influenza can make anyone very sick, very fast and it can kill," said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Vaccination is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself. " This year's illnesses have been caused predominantly by the H1N1 virus -- the same "swine flu" strain that caused the pandemic in 2009.
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