The nationwide measles outbreak is the largest in recent memory. But back in the early 1990s, thousands of people, mostly in large cities, got measles and nearly 100 died.
As a pediatrician — and grandfather — I ask myself: What would I do if I had family members raising kids in Flint, Mich., right now?
The answer is anything in my power to get them out of that toxic, distressed and struggling city. And if that’s the right answer on a personal basis, it offers a critical insight into what has to be considered on a general policy level for the health and well-being of a community where water for drinking and bathing has been contaminated with lead for almost two years.
The impacts of climate change on human health have been documented globally and in the United States. Numerous studies project greater morbidity and mortality as a result of extreme weather events and other climate-sensitive hazards. Public health impacts on the U.S. Gulf Coast may be severe as the region is expected to experience increases in extreme temperatures, sea level rise, and possibly fewer but more intense hurricanes.
The death of Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, who succumbed to Ebola in a Dallas hospital, is of course tragic. But the extraordinarily poor way his case appears to have been handled may also inadvertently have done the United States an enormous service -- not just in shining a light on the threat posed by this virus but also by revealing the profound problems both in our health care delivery system and the public health programs supposed to help prevent outbreaks, track contacts and control the spread of disease.
Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, talks with Rachel Maddow about how funding cuts and other systemic challenges have put the U.S. at a disadvantage in dealing with health emergencies.