What we’re reading: Violating law and human rights, immigrant detention conditions, policies are also at odds with U.S. public health priorities

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Denying flu shots to immigrants in custody a stark violation of law, ethics – In this Medpage Today opinion piece Dr. Cynthia Sears, the president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (which produces this blog) and professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, condemns the decision by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to deny vaccinations against seasonal influenza to immigrants held in its detention centers. “We can’t say we don’t know the stakes,” she writes, citing current statistics on influenza deaths and on continued measles outbreaks fueled in part by low vaccination coverage. Federal legislators and public health officials have recognized the imperative of disease prevention and control measures at home and abroad, she notes, with initiatives that include global and domestic tuberculosis responses, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and the plan to end HIV transmissions in the U.S.

Customs and Border Patrol’s Flu Vaccine Policy Breaches Basic Public Health Tenet – Here is the response to the policy, signed as well by the leaders of the HIV Medicine Association, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, to which Dr. Sears alludes in her Medpage Today op-ed.

NIAID’s Ongoing Ebola Efforts in DRC, Elsewhere – While U.S. immigrant detention conditions and policies continue to sow a fertile breeding ground for the spread of preventable infectious diseases, here, by contrast, is a summary of federally supported research toward improving capacities to prevent, detect, treat and ameliorate the effects of Ebola virus, demonstrating recognition that stopping the spread of disease at its source is the most important investment that can be made in public health.

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