A new study found that the HPV vaccine might also lower the risk in young men of oral infections that can cause mouth and throat cancers.
The study, published by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, was the first to focus on whether the vaccine might prevent oral HPV infections in young men. No men who had received at least one dose of the vaccine were later found to have infections of HPV strains linked to cancer, while more than two percent of unvaccinated men were found to have the infections.
“When we compared the prevalence in vaccinated men to non-vaccinated men, we didn’t detect any infections in vaccinated men. The data suggests that the vaccine may be reducing the prevalence of those infections by as high as 100 percent,” Dr. Maura Gillison, professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, said.
Gillison and her colleagues examined oral HPV infection in men as previous research has shown that certain HPV-related cancers, such as those in the back of the throat, are more common in men than women.
“There may be additional benefits to vaccinating your son or daughter” beyond those benefits already known, added Gillison.
The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) confirmed five additional cases of mumps in Hawaii residents on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases in 2017 to 47.
So far, none of the cases have required hospitalization.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mumps declined steadily following the introduction of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine, and since the pre-vaccine era, there has been a more than 99% decrease in mumps cases in the United States.
“This is a contagious illness, more contagious than the flu and spreads much the same as the flu,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.
Between January 1 and April 22 of this year, 42 states and Washington, D.C. reported mumps infections in 2,570 people, according to the CDC.
An amendment to prevent vaccinations for children entering the foster care system passed the Texas House of Representatives on Wednesday.
Debate Wednesday on House Bill 39, which would require the Department of Family Protective Services to perform medical examinations on children who have been in CPS custody for more than three business days, focused on the amendment instead of the bill itself. This proposed amendment to HB 39 would prohibit vaccinations from being included in those medical exams.
Republican Representative Bill Zedler proposed the amendment, which prompted bipartisan pushback and much debate.
Representative Sarah Davis-R proposed an amendment to Zedler’s amendment, which would require foster children to be immunized for those vaccines proven to prevent cancer, for instance the HPV vaccine.
“I know that in 2014, 429 deaths from cervical cancer occurred in Texas and that accounts for nearly 10 percent of the 4,200 deaths from cervical cancer nationally…As I have said many times today, the HPV vaccine will eliminate cervical cancer,” Congresswoman Davis said.
Davis’s amendment, however, was tabled in a 74-64 vote.
Earlier this week, an anti-vaccination amendment was also proposed to a separate foster care bill in Texas.
House Bill 7, which would prevent a court from removing children from their parents on the grounds that they home schooled their children, were economically disadvantaged, had reasonably disciplined their children, or had been charged with a nonviolent misdemeanor, passed the House as amended on Tuesday.
The measles outbreak in Minnesota reached 44 cases this week, with 34 confirmed reports within the state’s Somali population.
The source of the Minnesota measles outbreak has not been confirmed by state health officials. The majority of patients had not been vaccinated against the disease, and nearly all are under the age of 10.
Vaccination rates within Minnesota’s Somali community have steeply declined since 2008, “following news reports about high rates of autism among Somali-American students in Minneapolis Public Schools.” Since then, a number of anti-vaccine advocates, including Andrew Wakefield and Mark Blaxill, have visited fearful parents in efforts to discredit vaccine safety.
Unfamiliarity with autism, coupled with language and cultural barriers, has led to decreased confidence in vaccines among Somali-Minnesotans. “We don’t have a word in our language that translates to autism…So when this started, we were like, ‘What is this?’” said Asli Ashkir, a senior RN consultant with the Minnesota Department of Health in St. Paul.
Currently, vaccination rates for Somali-Minnesotan children are less than half of those for the general population: “As of 2014, just 42 percent of Somali-Minnesotan 2-year-olds had received the MMR vaccine, compared with 89 percent of all other 2-year-olds.” Yet just 10 years earlier, “92 percent of Somali toddlers had the MMR vaccine” in 2004.
This is the biggest measles outbreak in Minnesota since 1990, when 460 cases were reported and three people died.
Testimony was given Tuesday on Texas House Bill 1124 which would expedite the process for parents seeking vaccination exemptions for their children.
The bill, proposed by Representative Matt Krause (R), would require Texas to provide immunization exemption forms on the state’s Department of State Health website and on all public school websites.
Current legislation requires parents to give the Texas DSHS personal information about their child, wait for a form to arrive in the mail, and turn the notarized form into the school district. And public school students are currently required to be vaccinated against measles, polio, hepatitis A and B, and meningococcal.
Vaccine legislature has been a hot-button issue in Texas recently. Earlier this month, representatives in Texas debated HB 2249, which would require public schools to share how many of their students have not been vaccinated.
“I have no doubt that immunization is beneficial to individuals and communities,” said DSHS commissioner John Hellerstedt. “The immunization status of the group of people you spend time with directly impacts your health, and visa versa.”
A number of medical experts spoke to CBS News this week for World Immunization Week, and raised concern about the number of Americans who are still not vaccinating their children or getting their own vaccinations.
An additional 1.5 million deaths could be prevented across the globe if more people were immunized, said the World Health Organization. And in 2016, 5,748 mumps cases were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Prevention, compared to 229 cases in 2012.
Mumps cases, for instance, spiked last year, hitting colleges particularly hard. The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella.
Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska and Rhode Island are in the top 10 states with the highest vaccination rates for the most common preventable childhood diseases.
“This battle, the ‘vaccine wars,’ is a battle of science over opinion, data over media. And it is a very, very sad fact when these kids end up in the hospital or dying from a vaccine-preventable disease. They’ve died of ignorance,” said Dr. Gregory Poland, who leads the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
“This is well-documented in the scientific literature, that parents of unvaccinated children tend to cluster and in those communities they’re at a higher risk for outbreaks of disease. And that’s happened over and over again,” added Sean OLeary, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and an associate professor of pediatric infectious disease at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado.