David P. Neff

Musings of a skeptical Jew

Vaccine Epidemiology: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Vaccines to Prevent Communicable Diseases

Vaccination is considered one of the greatest medical innovation of all time. Although vaccines have been around for a rather short period of time, less than 300 years, major infectious diseases such as smallpox, poliomyelitis, rabies, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza, and measles have been controlled. In 1980, smallpox, a diseases once responsible for over 400,000 deaths annually was eradicated. (Weinberg) Vaccines are among the most effective public health interventions against infectious diseases and it is important to encourage parents and the elderly to ensure that they are up to date with their immunization.

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What is a GMO?

Since the beginning of agriculture, humans have exploited and altered the genetic information in plants and animals to create new biological variations through artificial selection and crossbreeding. The main difference between genetic engineering and traditional breeding methods is that genetic engineering allows for us to isolate, copy, turn on, and introduce genes into other organisms. (Jones) This is done by identifying the gene of interests, isolating that trait, inserting that trait into the desired organism, and then propagating that organism. (Powell) However, the concept of a “genetically modified organism,” also known as a GMO, has been difficult to properly define by regulatory law because it is an imprecise category used to classify products that have had their genetic content engineered to cancel undesirable traits or express desired or added traits. (Tagliabue)

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