13 – 19 September 2018

Pauline Paterson joined an expert panel on BBC’s Newsnight, discussing latest figures revealing a fall in proportion of children in England getting the MMR vaccination: “Vaccines are a victim of their own success and if, for example, a parent doesn’t see the disease within a community, they may not feel the need to vaccinate their child.” Pauline is quoted by The Times (£) on the latest figures from the NHS.

Heidi Larson also discusses vaccine confidence this week in an article by Buzzfeed News exploring vaccine hesitancy in Europe compared to the United States: “While that outbreak from Disneyland was getting all the attention, there were 600 cases in Berlin, and no one said anything.” Heidi’s comments are also published by IFL Science.

Martin McKee is interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (from 1h10m) on Public Health England’s decision to launch a campaign with Drinkaware, a charity partly funded by the alcohol industry. Martin said: “The tie-up with Public Health England does give the alcohol industry a lot of credibility. It says we are part of the solution when clearly they are not.” Martin’s interview generates coverage in The Guardian and Daily Telegraph.

Catherine McGowan speaks to the Associated Press on the use of fentanyl test strips that can help heroin users to detect the contaminant and avoid overdose: “Anything that empowers people who inject drugs to mitigate their own risk is a good thing, You just need to be really careful.” The article generates coverage in over 200 articles worldwide including The New York Times, Fox News (US), National Post (Canada), Daily Mail and Times of India.

James Logan joins BBC’s The One Show (from 24m), discussing the latest research into how body odour could be key to understanding why some of us are more attractive to mosquitoes than others.

James Logan is also quoted in the Daily Telegraph on how experts are aiming to find out more about the causes of the Zika virus to improve outbreak preparedness: “Zika took everyone by surprise in 2015. We need to understand what happened so we’re better prepared in future. It’s an interesting time, with experts from many different disciplines collaborating to put the puzzle of this virus together.”

Hannah Kuper also speaks to the Daily Telegraph on research she carries out with families affected by Zika. Hannah’s work aims to improve understanding of the societal and economic impacts the disease has had in Brazil: “Generally, the attitude towards people with disabilities in Brazil is very negative but Zika has helped raise the profile of other disabilities and we have seen a real shift in attitudes.”

Rachel Lowe and Chris Drakeley join the TRT World Roundtable panel, discussing the growing threat of tropical disease outbreaks linked to rising temperatures due to climate change. Rachel also provides comment to Inter Press Service on the topic: “People are becoming more aware of infectious diseases in general, but probably not so aware of the fact there are certain infectious diseases in Europe.”

Brendan Wren speaks to BBC Breakfast on post-mortem results showing that a British couple died in Egypt from complications associated with E. coli infection.

Antonio Gasparrini is quoted by Thomson Reuters on new LSHTM-led research that shows the meet the climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement, or more people could die because of extreme temperatures: “Currently, we are on a trajectory to reach over 3 degrees Celsius of warming, and if this trend continues there would be serious consequences for health in many parts of the world.”

Nature report a new LSHTM-led study that explores the mechanism that allows the diarrhoea-causing bacterium Clostridium difficile to disrupt the gut’s natural microbial balance.

LSHTM experts comment on findings presented at the European Respiratory Society congress this week:

Neil Pearce provides comment on findings that suggests giving paracetamol to children under two could increase the risk of developing asthma as a teenager. He said: “The problem is that children are not given paracetamol early in life for no reason. They are often given it because they have respiratory infection. It may be the infection which increases the risk of asthma.” Neil’s comments are reported widely by UK media including ITV News, The Times (£), Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and an article by the Press Association generates coverage in over 150 UK outlets.

Stephen Evans provides comment on trial results that show there is no benefit to elderly people in good health to take an aspirin per day: “They also show that benefits of aspirin in healthy people are at best limited, and may well be harmful, and this harm may be increased beyond age 73.” Stephen’s comments are published by The Guardian, Daily Telegraph and The Times (£).

On social media

This week’s social media highlight is from LSHTM’s Instagram account and is a repost of Seacole Social’s first post since re-opening for the academic year. With a new menu, fairtrade, organic coffee and some new faces, Seacole Social is open to all from 8am-4pm Monday-Friday. Be sure to follow their Instagram account for menu and deals updates!

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