Articles on Epidemiology

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A 6-month-old who is infected with measles in Madagascar, March 2019. AP Photo/Laetitia Bezain

Road to measles elimination is predictable, but can be rocky

Scientists identified the general pattern of measles infections as a country moves toward eliminating the disease. This roadmap can help public health workers most efficiently fight and end measles.
The flu comes on rapidly and symptoms get worse over the first few days. Shutterstock

We can’t predict how bad this year’s flu season will be but here’s what we know so far

The 2018 flu season was mild, while 2017 was a particularly bad year. It's impossible to predict what the 2019 flu season has in store, but we've seen more cases so far this year than usual.
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, responsible for transmitting Zika. AP Photo/Felipe Dana

Why it’s so difficult for scientists to predict the next outbreak of a dangerous disease

In January, measles returned to the Pacific Northwest, while Ebola resurged in the Congo. It would take a lot more research for scientists to be able to stop threats like these in their tracks.
Bottles of Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer in the United Kingdom, relabelled by activists to highlight the World Health Organization’s judgment that its main ingredient is a probable carcinogen. Global Justice Now

Roundup weed killer lawsuit hits a snag, but Monsanto is not off the hook

Thousands of people are suing Monsanto, claiming that its Roundup herbicide gave them cancer. A California judge has reduced the first damage award but let the verdict against Monsanto stand.
Monitoring sewage for virus allows for a quick public health response if any polio is detected. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Sewage surveillance is the next frontier in the fight against polio

Polio can be circulating through a community long before anyone is paralyzed. Monitoring sewage for the virus lets public health officials short-circuit this 'silent transmission.'
Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson reacts after hearing the verdict in his case against Monsanto at the Superior Court of California in San Francisco, Aug. 10, 2018. Josh Edelson/Pool Photo via AP

Jury finds Monsanto liable in the first Roundup cancer trial – here’s what could happen next

A jury concluded on Aug. 10 that exposure to the herbicide Roundup caused Dewayne Johnson's cancer and ordered the company to pay $289 million in damages. Thousands more claims are pending.
Could the yearly flu shot become a thing of the past? AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File

Influenza: The search for a universal vaccine

Flu virus mutates so quickly that one year's vaccine won't work on the next year's common strains. But rational design – a new way to create vaccines – might pave the way for more lasting solutions.
Crews clean up debris in a neighborhood flooded by Hurricane Harvey in Beaumont, Texas, Sept. 26, 2017. AP Photo/David Goldman

Scientist at work: Measuring public health impacts after disasters

Epidemiologists study disease outbreaks in populations to determine who gets sick and why. In the wake of this year's hurricanes, they are assessing impacts from mold, toxic leaks and other threats.

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