Twitter round-up: Peter Hotez’s tweet on the false link between vaccines and autism trends in November 2019Top tweets in infectious diseases in November 2019

1. Peter Hotez’s tweet on the false link between vaccines and autism

Prof Peter Hotez, a vaccine scientist based in Texas, US, tweeted on the false claims related to the link between vaccines and autism. The influencer further stated studies conducted in more than 1.2 million children revealed that vaccines do not cause autism. He noted that approximately 100 autism genes are at work during the early foetal development.

The influencer shared an article in his tweet, detailing how Bill Maher, a HBO host, promoted the opinions of a vaccination skeptic, Dr Jay Gordon. The article further revealed that the host agreed to the skeptic by listing his own experiences and the fallacies associated with modern medicine. Although the medical community believes that vaccines do not cause autism, vaccine evasion instances in the past year led to a rise in preventable diseases in children in New York and California. This caused health officials to take drastic measures such as isolating unvaccinated minors from public spaces.

Username: Prof Peter Hotez

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Twitter handle: @PeterHotez

Retweets: 280

Likes: 971

2. Francis Collins’ tweet on gene editing for curing unthinkable diseases

Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), shared an article on gene-editing technologies capable of curing diseases such as sickle cell disease (SCD), HIV, muscular dystrophy, and other severe conditions. The new breakthrough is called the ‘prime editing’ system, which can make a wide range of edits to a DNA code.

Researchers are currently working on lab tests to see how prime editing can correct genetic mutations that cause two severe conditions – SCD, a life-threatening blood disorder, and Tay-Sachs disease, a neurological disorder. Prime editing requires further research before being launched for human clinical trials, opine health experts.

Username: Francis S Collins

Twitter handle: @NIHDirector

Retweets: 256

Likes: 548

3. Tara Smith’s tweet on what measles can do

Dr Tara Smith, an epidemiologist specialising in infectious diseases, tweeted on how measles has caused 42 deaths, with 200 new cases reported each day. The influencer shared an article listing the latest updates by the government of Samoa on the measles outbreak.

Approximately 3,149 cases have been reported since the measles outbreak, with as many as 42 deaths, according to the government of Samoa. Further, 50,068 individuals were vaccinated in the recent Mass Vaccination Campaign held during the end of November 2019.

Username: Dr. Tara C. Smith

Twitter handle: @aetiology

Retweets: 209

Likes: 232

4. Helen Branswell’s tweet on the approval of Ervebo Ebola vaccine

Helen Branswell, a public health reporter and writer, shared an article about the marketing authorisation of Ervebo, the Ebola vaccine by Merck in Europe. Clinical trials and research protocols related to the vaccine are currently taking place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Merck is in the process of working with a number of regulatory bodies and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to obtain approval for the vaccine. The company expects the licensed vaccine to be available in the third quarter of 2020.

Username: Helen Branswell

Twitter handle: @HelenBranswell

Retweets: 200

Likes: 262

5. Laurie Garrett’s tweet on China’s pneumonic outbreak

Laurie Garrett, an author and science journalist, shared an article about China informing WHO about the pneumonic outbreak almost two weeks later than the first cases of hospitalisation. She noted that more than the disease, the slack way in which the government responded was worrisome.

The author stated that the government was more prompt about managing public reactions, rather than curbing the spread of the disease. People started venting out their fears on social media platforms, especially fuelled by Chaoyang Hospital’s role in concealing the outbreak since it was previously responsible for hiding the SARS epidemic in 2003.

Username: Laurie Garrett

Twitter handle: @Laurie_Garrett

Retweets: 115

Likes: 114

6. Seth Berkley’s tweet on children dying from diarrhoeal disease

Seth Berkley, an epidemiologist and CEO of Gavi, the vaccine alliance, tweeted about diarrhoeal diseases being the third leading cause of death in children and the rotavirus being the leading cause of childhood diarrhoea. Approximately 76 million children have been immunised against this deadly virus, stated Seth.

The article further highlights that approximately 1.6 million people died from the disease in 2017, with almost one-third of them being children aged below five years. Exposure to risk factors and lack of essential treatment are being posed as the dominant factors of diarrhoeal related deaths in children. Some interventions to treat the disease include vaccination, antibiotics, sanitation, breastfeeding and oral rehydration solution (ORS).

Username: Seth Berkley

Twitter handle: @GaviSeth

Retweets: 75

Likes: 132

7. Mathew Hodson’s tweet on the late diagnosis of HIV in non-African women

Mathew Hodson, the executive director of NAM aidsmap, tweeted on the late diagnosis of HIV in women, and especially non-African women. Non-African women are often perceived to be not so much at risk of contracting the disease. Mathew noted that HIV testing and prevention work was vital for women.

The influencer shared video of a personal account of Adrienne, an HIV survivor living in the UK. She was diagnosed with the virus three years after having actually contracted it.

Username: Matthew Hodson

Twitter handle: @Matthew_Hodson

Retweets: 53

Likes: 108

8. Judy Stone’s tweet on infections catching up on migrant children

Judy Stone, a physician and author, shared an article explaining how infections are increasing among migrant detained children and how the treatment of these flu-affected children has gone unnoticed and unconcerned.

Approximately 57,000 people, including 129 children, died in border detention camps during the 2018-2019 flu season. Despite this the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is refused to provide vaccines to the children. Health officials are of the opinion that children are succumbing to infections such as influenza at these detention camps because of inhumane, and low sanitary conditions.

Username: Judy Stone

Twitter handle: @DrJudyStone

Retweets: 140

Likes: 124

9. Didier Pittet’s tweet on antibiotic-resistant healthcare associated infections

Didier Pittet, an infectious disease expert, shared an article defining the role of infection prevention and control in preventing antibiotic resistance in healthcare. The influencer tweeted that one in every ten patients affected by healthcare associated infections (HAIs), were more than likely to die than otherwise.

The article further details the need for effective infection prevention and control (IPC) programmes, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) to stop the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The article also stated that approximately 50% of surgical site infections are antibiotic resistant.

Username: Prof Didier Pittet

Twitter handle: @DidierPittet

Retweets: 62

Likes: 106

10. Ron Daniels’ tweet on world antibiotic awareness week

Ron Daniels, the creator of UK Sepsis Trust, tweeted on the World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW), which takes place every year in November. The aim of this campaign is to promote awareness and to educate the world about antibiotics, its role in treating infections, and the growing risks associated with antibiotic resistance.

The influencer further tweeted that it was not about one infection alone, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), or sepsis, but about global health. The campaign was endorsed by the Sixty-Eighth World Health Assembly in 2015, to raise awareness on and to prevent antibiotic resistance.

Username: Dr Ron Daniels

Twitter handle: @SepsisUK

Retweets: 58

Likes: 101