Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge:

Did you know that Opossums do NOT carry RABIES? 

They may look and sound scary, BUT…they rarely ever attack, bite or chase you. There are more benefits to keep them in your yard than to rid them of it. Opossums can eat venomous snakes and help prevent Lyme disease outbreaks. Opossums’ main killers: DOGS and CARS.
This little guy shown here was one of our rehab patients, practicing his defenses! He was released just last week!

Zika Outbreak Updates: Puerto Rico Declares State of Emergency

As the Zika virus outbreak continues, including in wide swaths of Central and South America, concerns are growing, especially for pregnant women because the mosquito-borne virus has been linked with a serious birth defect called microcephaly, characterized by an abnormally small head and brain.

Here are the latest updates about the outbreak, which the World Health Organization has deemed a “global health emergency.”

Puerto Rico Declares State of Emergency

Puerto Rico has declared a state of emergency due to the ongoing Zika virus outbreak. The U.S. territory has at least 22 people who have been reported to have been infected with the Zika virus, health officials said.

The State Emergency and Disaster Administration is creating a task force for both federal and state officials to deal with the crisis.

Additionally, a price freeze has been ordered for products needed to prevent the disease, according to government officials.

New Zika Virus Cases Include Pregnant Woman, Man With Paralysis Syndrome

In Puerto Rico, a pregnant woman in her first trimester was diagnosed with the disease, health officials said. In addition, a man has also been diagnosed with Zika and has developed a rare paralysis syndrome sometimes associated with viral or bacterial infection.

Called Guillain-Barre syndrome, it is an immunological reaction that has been associated with influenza, among other illnesses.

At least 22 people who have been reported to have been infected with the Zika virus in Puerto Rico, health officials said.

FDA Signals New Recommendations on Blood Transfusions Likely

In a statement to ABC News, officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said they intend to “rapidly implement appropriate donor deferral recommendations” to safeguard the donated blood supply in the U.S.

“Blood donor deferrals serve as an important measure to protect the United States’ blood supply,“ FDA officials said in a statement. "The FDA also intends to put in place recommendations to help maintain a safe blood supply in United States territories where the virus is present. In the meantime, we fully support the blood banking industry’s voluntary recommendations that potential blood donors be deferred for 28 days after returning from travel to areas where Zika is endemic.”

Sexually Transmitted Zika Case Prompts CDC to Issue New Guidelines

After the Zika virus was transmitted through sexual contact in Dallas, Texas, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines today for travelers to and from outbreak regions.

The CDC advises men with a pregnant partner to use condoms if they have traveled to an area with "active Zika virus transmission.”

Additionally, couples where a male partner who has traveled to an area with Zika transmission “may consider using condoms consistently and correctly during sex or abstaining from sexual activity,” if they are concerned about sexual transmission of the Zika virus.

At Least 54 People Infected in the U.S.

There are at least 54 people infected with the Zika virus in the U.S. In all except one case, the infection was acquired while out of the country, according to health officials.

In one case in Dallas, Texas, the virus is believed to have been transmitted through sexual contact from an infected traveler to a partner.

Florida has the highest number of cases in the U.S., with 12 people infected. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in five counties and ordered thousands of tests that will help identify the disease.

What Does the Virus Do?

Common symptoms of the Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately one in five people infected with the virus show symptoms. Severe complications from the virus that require hospitalization are rare, according to the CDC.

The virus has also been associated with a rise of microcephaly birth defect cases.

The CDC is also investigating if a rare paralysis syndrome called Guillain-Barre is related to the virus. The syndrome is an immunological reaction that can also occur after other viral or bacterial infections.

How Is It Transmitted?

The virus is transmitted mainly through the bite of the Aedes aegypti species of mosquito. This is the same type of mosquito that spreads dengue fever. The Aedes albopictus species has also been identified as a potential carrier.

Before the current outbreak, the virus had been found mainly in tropical settings in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. An outbreak of the disease in Brazil led to an alert by the Pan American Health Organization last May.

Whooping cough reaches epidemic level in Texas: official

(Reuters) - Whooping cough has reached epidemic proportions in Texas and could hit a 50-year high, a health official said on Thursday.

Nearly 2,000 cases of whooping cough have been reported in Texas this year. Two infants, who were too young to receive the whooping cough vaccine, have died, state officials said. The number of cases likely will surpass the recent high of 3,358 in 2009, according to the state health services department.

Keep reading

The facts on Vaccines:

These are all FACTS not options. and yes I show the dangers and benefits of getting vaccines. Please do not think you or your child should not be vaccinated, please do not think you are safe without them. Please don’t think they are dangerous. Please just read if you are at all unsure or feel they may be unsafe.

Global Immunization: Vaccine Coverage is Variable

Each year about 2.1 million people around the world die from vaccine-preventable diseases. Most of the deaths are due to a lack of immunization. People may not receive needed vaccines because of availability, personal beliefs, vaccine safety concerns, or circumstances out of their control. Availability and circumstance are particularly important in the developing world:


What’s the real vaccine deal?

by Tammy Worth

When it comes to the history of vaccines, it’s been a long, bumpy ride. Once hailed as lifesaving wonders of modern technology, vaccines are now more likely to be a source of suspicion and angry playground debate.

Will we ever agree on the risk and benefits of vaccines? Probably not.

But to sort out fact from fiction, took a look at the scientific research to date on vaccines.

Some vaccines contain mercury


Thimerosal, a preservative containing about 50% mercury, prevents contamination by bacteria. It can be found in most flu shots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, since 2001, thimerosal has not been present in routine vaccines for children younger than 6. And, both the flu shot and some vaccines for adults and older children can be found in thimerosal-free versions, or with only trace amounts.

Vaccines cause autism


A small 1998 study by Andrew Wakefield claimed to find a link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism, setting off a panic that led to dropping immunization rates, and subsequent outbreaks.

Since then, the study’s been deemed flawed, and it’s been retracted by the journal that published it. In 2004, the Institute of Medicine released a report that found no scientific evidence of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. In September 2010, the CDC published similar results.

“It’s more risky for your child to not be vaccinated,” says Carrie Nelson, MD, chair of the Commission on Health of the Public and Science for the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Vaccines can have side effects


Vaccines aren’t risk free. The most common side effects are soreness at the injection site and fever, which are best treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Less common are seizures (defined as “jerking or staring”), and risks vary depending on the vaccine. For example, 1 in 14,000 children suffer a seizure after receiving the DTaP shot; it’s 1 in 3,000 with the MMR vaccine.

Some kids are at higher risk for side effects than others. In these cases, it may be best to proceed with caution or skip them, according the CDC.

You’re safe if everyone else is vaccinated


Unfortunately that’s a big if. “Often, like-minded unvaccinated families by choice attend the same preschools, playgroups, and schools, thus making it very easy for vaccine-preventable diseases to spread,” says Ari Brown, MD, pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Brown says this was true with outbreaks in San Diego and Boulder, Colo. And some people can’t be vaccinated due to health or age restrictions. Plus, you can catch some germs, like tetanus and hepatitis A, from contaminated soil or food, not another person.

Vaccines guarantee protection


Vaccines are not a 100% guarantee you won’t get sick. But they are a huge help.

Take the flu vaccine; you may still get the flu if you get the jab, but it is likely to be less severe. Or, take the chicken pox vaccine. Dr. Brown says it is 80% effective against preventing infection and 100% effective in protecting against serious illness.

For the best protection, experts rely on “herd immunity"—the more people who are vaccinated in the population, the better chances of protecting everyone, including people who can’t get shots due to age, health, or religious reasons.

Too many shots weaken the immune system


Dr. Brown says it’s quite the contrary. "Each dose allows the body to mount an immune response and make defense [antibodies] so the body can fight off a real infection if it showed up,” she says.

Children are given multiple vaccinations at a time to provide as much protection as early as possible. Both the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that vaccinations be given to children simultaneously when appropriate.

Vaccines are for kids only


There are numerous vaccines that can help keep adolescents and adults, both young and old, healthy. Most obvious is the flu shot, which is given annually.

College students should get a meningitis vaccine before living in a dorm, and elderly adults can benefit from pneumonia vaccines.

Adults also need boosters for tetanus and pertussis. Children aren’t fully immunized against pertussis until age 4, Dr. Nelson says; smaller babies are at high risk, and pertussis can be transmitted to babies by adults with waning immunity.

The HPV shot is for girls only


There are two HPV vaccines: Cervarix, for girls and women 10 to 25, and Gardasil, for females 9 to 26. But Gardasil can also be given to boys and men between ages 9 to 26, according to the CDC. Gardasil protects against types 6 and 11 of human papillomavirus, which cause about 90% of all genital warts.

Dr. Nelson says she recommends the HPV shot to patients, but “it’s variable. It’s like a 50-50 split.” Still, she says, girls definitely receive it more often than boys.

According to the CDC, approximately 500,000 cases of genital warts occur each year in the United States.

Pregnant women can’t get vaccines


Well, this is partially true. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, pregnant women should not be given vaccines for varicella (chicken pox) or MMR.

But the inactivated flu vaccine is safe and even recommended for pregnant women, Dr. Brown says. During pregnancy, women’s immune systems are compromised, making them more susceptible to infection.

But many are not getting the flu shot; the CDC says that, at last estimate, only 11% of pregnant women got one. Dr. Brown says the shot triggers the mother’s antibody production, protecting her baby through the first six months of life.

Natural immunity is better


Dr. Nelson says infections are more likely than vaccines to trigger lifelong immunity. (An exception is the flu; it changes strains every year.) But you may think twice about taking your little one to a chicken pox party.

The problem with natural immunity is the risk of complications. Chicken pox can lead to encephalitis, pneumonia, or, if kids scratch too much, skin infections like MRSA. A polio infection can cause permanent paralysis; mumps, deafness; and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), brain damage.

“Those are the chances people take if they defer the vaccine,” Dr. Nelson says.

Vaccines aren’t necessary because disease has been eradicated


The only infectious human disease that has been eradicated worldwide is smallpox, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Even today there are outbreaks of conditions like measles, mumps, and pertussis.

Vaccines can protect you when you’re around those who aren’t vaccinated, either in the U.S or elsewhere. According to the WHO, less than 95% of people in many parts of Western Europe receive vaccines, and that’s where 82% of measles cases occurred in 2009.

Docs make money off them


Vaccines aren’t a cash cow for docs. “It’s probably more of a money loser than anything,” says Dr. Nelson, because they’re labor intensive. Some doctors do receive financial incentives from HMOs, but “the bonuses are there to support high-quality practice and help the physicians justify the manpower that goes into administering them,” she says.

Vaccines are about 1.5% of total pharmaceutical revenues, says, a website run by the Penn Center for Bioethics. “We’ve had problems with vaccine supply because so few pharmaceutical companies are making vaccines anymore,” Dr. Nelson says. (Three decades ago, more than 30 companies produced vaccines; today about five companies account for 80% of the market.)

Next: 7 Vaccines You Need Right Now

You’re never too old for vaccines. Here are 7 vaccines that can help adults, and the ones they love, stay healthy.

Adults need shots too

by Jessica Snyder Sachs

Three months before she gave birth, Diana Simpson, a dental hygienist in Davison, Michigan, started coughing. The pain was unbearable. “It brought me to tears,” she says. Simpson had pertussis, a bacterial infection that is known as whooping cough because of its seal-like cough.

Most people are vaccinated against pertussis as kids. But here’s a surprise: It’s come roaring back since an all-time low in the 1970s, largely due to waning immunity in adults.

Pertussis boosters strengthen immunity in adults, yet only 2% get them. That’s just one of several vaccines you may need now.

Whooping cough

Vaccine: Tdap
If you get a tetanus-diptheria (Td) booster every 10 years, you may not need an extra pertussis jab. Vaccine makers have added a pertussis component to that booster (Tdap).

During pertussis outbreaks, the greatest danger is to babies, who almost always catch it from unvaccinated adults.

Simpson was too late: She had passed the infection to her mother and her baby, who landed in the hospital three weeks after he was born. Simpson and her baby, along with her mother (and husband, too), eventually got the shot for future protection.

Chicken pox

Vaccine: Varivax
More than 90% of women in their childbearing years are immune to chicken pox because they had it as kids.

The rest should be vaccinated before they try to get pregnant; catching chickenpox during pregnancy can lead to devastating birth defects. Once you get the vaccine, the CDC says you should delay trying to conceive for at least one month, due to the small risk that the fetus can get the virus from the vaccine.

Chicken pox complications are more frequent and severe in adults than children and can include life-threatening pneumonia and encephalitis (brain inflammation).


Vaccine: Zostavax
If you’ve had chicken pox, you are at risk of developing shingles, a painful reawakening of the chicken pox virus.

In nearly 50% of cases in adults in their 50s, shingles progresses to postherpetic neuralgia, an often agonizing form of nerve damage that can linger for years. (The risk increases with age.)

But with the vaccination, you can lower your risks dramatically. In a study of more than 38,000 adults over age 60, the vaccine cut the rate of shingles by over half and reduced the incidence of postherpetic neuralgia by two-thirds.

The mumps

Vaccine: MMR booster
The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, a must for kids, is back for adults too. U.S. cases jumped from 300 or less per year to 6,584 in 2006.

Mumps causes swelling of the salivary glands and sometimes ovary inflammation. In rare instances, mumps can trigger life-threatening encephalitis.

Those born before 1957 are likely to have been infected or exposed, which provides lifelong immunity. Those born between 1957 and 1967 are less likely to have had mumps or may have received a less-effective vaccine. A single dose of the current MMR should bring your protection up to date.

Travelers’ diseases

Vaccine: Ask your doc
Going on a cruise or an organized tour? Consider getting a flu shot. Influenza outbreaks frequently occur on cruise ships, even during summer voyages to northern destinations like Alaska.

In addition, visitors to Asia should talk to their doctors about vaccine protection against typhoid and Japanese encephalitis. Visitors to the “meningitis belt” of central Africa should get a meningococcal vaccine.

And yellow fever vaccines are important for travelers to much of South America and parts of Africa.

Hepatitis B

Vaccine: Recombivax HB or Engerix-B
Both vaccines protect against the hepatitis B virus, which is spread through sexual contact or contaminated needles and blood.

An infection can lead to dangerous liver disease.

Each year, more than 78,000 Americans become infected and about 5,000 die of associated liver diseases, including cancer, yet few know that the CDC recommends the vaccine for all sexually active people who are not in long-term relationships.

CDC: Vaccines save hundreds of thousands of lives

Vaccines given to infants and young children over the past two decades will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vaccines also will have saved $295 billion in direct costs, such as medical expenses, and a total of more than $1.3 trillion in societal costs over that time, because children who were spared from sometimes-devastating illnesses will be able to contribute to society, the report shows. These calculations may underestimate the full impact of vaccines, the study notes, because authors considered only the early 14 routine childhood immunizations typically required for school entry. Authors didn’t include flu shots or adolescent vaccines given at ages 11 or 12.

The CDC released the report at a time when many parents are uncertain about the benefits of vaccines, leading some to skip or delay routine childhood shots. Authors of the new report based their estimates on CDC annual immunization surveys and published reports showing the known efficacy of vaccines, as well as complication rates from infectious diseases.

Before the measles vaccine became available in 1963, the virus infected about 500,000 Americans a year, causing 500 deaths and 48,000 hospitalizations. In recent years, the number of diagnoses fell to around 60 to 65, mostly in isolated travelers arriving in the USA.

Doubts about vaccines safety – and fading memories of vaccine-preventable diseases — have contributed to a resurgence of nearly forgotten diseases such as measles, which was officially declared eradicated in the USA in 2000. Numerous studies have debunked the notion that vaccines cause autism or other chronic diseases, says William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville.

“We have roomfuls of evidence” showing that vaccines are some of the safest medications available, Schaffner says, “but rumors and conspiracy theories still spread. Young parents today haven’t seen these disease, and they don’t respect and fear them.”

The CDC reports that 129 people in the USA have developed measles this year, in 13 outbreaks largely sparked by unvaccinated travelers who become infected while abroad, then spread the disease to their communities. Most measles patients were either unvaccinated or didn’t know whether they had been vaccinated. Among the unvaccinated measles cases, 68% had a “personal belief” exemption from school vaccination requirements, the CDC’s Anne Schuchat says.

The USA also is fighting outbreaks of whooping cough, which has infected 5,634 people this year. Mumps has sickened 393 this year, more than twice the number of cases in 2013.

Health officials have battled such outbreaks for the past 20 years through the federal Vaccines for Children program, which provides free immunizations to poor and uninsured kids. About half of children and teens in the USA are eligible for the program, which has a budget of $4 billion a year, according to the CDC.

Congress created the entitlement program in 1994, responding to a measles outbreak in 1989 to 1991 that sickened 55,000 people and killed more than 100. At the time, measles outbreaks were fueled by viruses circulating among low-income, inner-city residents.

The picture has completely changed today, Schaffner says. The federal program has eliminated racial and ethnic disparities among vaccines. Today, the bulk of the unvaccinated children come from wealthy, educated families where parents intentionally choose not to immunize them, due to concerns about vaccine safety. These relatively wealthy children can then spread measles after returning from vacations in Europe, which has had large outbreaks for several years, Schaffner says.

“Borders can’t stop measles, but vaccination can,” CDC Director Tom Frieden says.

Containing a measles outbreak can be tricky, given that many younger doctors have never seen a case, says Julia Shaklee Sammons, a hospital epidemiologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. That can allow measles to spread in doctor’s offices and hospitals, Sammons wrote in an article in Annals of Internal Medicine published today.

Sammons described the typical symptoms and course of a measles infection in her article to help remind younger doctors who aren’t familiar with the disease.

The CDC recommends two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine for babies starting at age 12 months. Babies who will be traveling internationally can receive one dose as early as 6 months.

Adults who aren’t sure if they’ve been vaccinated should also get a measles booster before going abroad, especially to the Phillippines, where an ongoing outbreak has sickened 20,000 people, Schuchat says.

“If you’re not sure, get another dose,” Schuchat says.


lately I’ve been so disturbed. The place where I get my all natural supplements, my chiropractor and my friend who is studying to become an all natural healer are all against vaccines of any kind. They say vaccines do more harm then good. My uncle killed himself because he was dying from a disease we now have a cure for. So many children, people all over the world are dying of preventable disease and yet measles, once thought to be wiped out in America is back and killing children because of anti-vaccine lies spreading. Vaccines are not perfect, and like anything medical, there is risk, but you risk your life so much more going to the bathroom then getting a vaccine! the risks are so very small and rare, and not getting vaccinated, not getting your children vaccinated puts you and them at SUCH high risk for pain, illness, being crippled the rest of their lives and DEATH.

did you know most accidental deaths occur from slipping in your bathroom then dying in America?

Please, I beg of you. Get you and your children vaccinated. Please don’t die from ignorance and lack of motivation. Please.
Birth control for everyone: Instead of scolding about alcohol, the feds should promote contraception for everyone
By Amanda Marcotte

After 2006, when feminists exploded in outrage after the Centers for Disease Control recommended that every woman of reproductive age treat herself like she’s “pre-pregnant,” you’d think the agency would have learned not to release healthcare information that frames women as something closer to walking uteruses than full-fledged people in their own right. But now they’ve gone and done it again, releasing a report recommending that any woman of reproductive age who is not using birth control should refrain from drinking alcohol altogether. Yes, even if you are not actively trying to get pregnant.

The anger was, if anything, even greater this time, showing how much feminism online has really grown. Ruth Graham of Slate writes, “it’s the kind of swath-yourself-in-bubble-wrap thinking that has turned modern pregnancy into a nine-month slog of joyless paranoia.”

Instead of piecemeal recommendations about sex and drinking, the CDC should recommend contraception for all women


Rand Paul (R-KY) “shushes” CNBC news anchor Kelly Evans (at 0.31s - 0.46s) and tells her to “calm down”…and that’s ~after~ he regurgitated the false meme that vaccines cause “mental disorders”and that anti-vaxxers have the right to publicly endanger everyone else by not vaccinating their children. 

By the way, he’s a 2016 Republican presidential candidate.


David Tennant’s plea on Comic Relief last night.

Malaria is a preventable epidemic, yet somewhere in the world it kills a child every 30 seconds. It is still responsible for up to 50% of hospital visits in some African countries, and Cerebral Malaria is the leading cause of neurological disabilities in African children.

£ 5 (~$7.50) = 1 mosquito net.
Which lowers the risk of contracting Malaria by 50%


I chose Comic Relief - once I found out you can donate from the States. If you can afford to donate, please do. If not, please pass on.
One map sums up the damage caused by the anti-vaccination movement | I Fucking Love Science

Vaccinations are one of the of most incredible aspects of modern medicine. They can make previously lethal diseases disappear from society and save countless lives. There is, however, a chance that the vaccines work a little too well and our collective memory is too short to remember the devastating effects some of these diseases caused just a few short decades ago. Recently, for reasons that are not based on science or logic, many parents have outspokenly rejected vaccinating their children. Unfortunately, this has caused a reemergence of easily managed diseases. The Council on Foreign Relations has released an interactive map detailing the catastrophic outcome of these poor choices.
Desert island toxic algae may hint to a treatment for dementia
Scientists say they now have good evidence in animals that exposure to a toxin from algae is to blame for a type of dementia seen in people living in the Pacific Islands.

Scientists say they now have good evidence in animals that exposure to a toxin from algae can trigger dementia-like changes in the brain.

If the US team is right, they may have found a new route towards treating and preventing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s .

Their work, in the Proceedings B journal, lends weight to a scientific theory experts have been chasing for decades.

Continue Reading.

Dear @MSF: thank you for the #perspective. A #reminder to #give, especially when you are not making headlines, because no one reports the children who didn’t die (woo, mainstream media). am certain there is a specific cause you champion and directly provide care for near everyone’s heart; sending you good vibes for the results of the tri-fold mailer campaign in the US, along with a transaction.