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VaccineDengue Virus has been a particularly difficult virus for scientists to develop a vaccine for because of the four different types of the virus. Typically the first time a patient is infected with dengue, the symptoms are not overly serious. However, a second infection hits the immune system far worse and leads to hospitalizations.

In a new study that was recently released, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Imperial College London and the University of Florida re-analyzed data from the dengue vaccine trials with more than 30,000 participants from 10 different countries. They also compared long-term follow-up data on participants and the result was not what one would hope for in a vaccine trial.

It turns out that where dengue has a high transmission rate, the vaccine is 20 to 30 percent effective. That’s the good news (although in vaccine trials, one hopes for a 30 percent effective rate). The bad news is if it is in a low transmission rate area, the vaccine may increase illness and hospitalizations. Researchers believe that if a patient receives the vaccine after first being infected by dengue, the patient is then protected from that second, harsher infection. However, if the vaccinated patient has not first been infected by dengue and is then exposed to the virus through the vaccination, the patient reaction is much like the harsher second infection experienced by those not vaccinated when they are naturally exposed to the virus.

While the fight against dengue continues, this research opens another clue inside this tricky virus. To learn more about the researchers’ finding, I encourage you to read the press release.

As we move into application season, it's time for a few reminders.

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Every fall, Admissions Services and department staff hit the road to meet students face to face. As is typical, we are traveling from NYC to LA. This year’s travel season begins on Thursday, September 8 in New York and ends with the AISES conference in Minneapolis on November 11 and 12.

In addition to doing onsite fairs and joint information sessions, we will be doing several SOPHAS Virtual Fairs. In fact, we have one coming up on Wednesday, September 14. Our last virtual fair is on November 16, so don’t miss a chance to talk to us if we aren’t coming to an area near you.

Be sure to check our Meet JHSPH in Your Area page for all the details on our travels and come meet us when we’re in a city near you!

American FlagClasses may have started yesterday, but we have a long weekend coming up. Monday marks a national holiday in the United States: Labor Day, in which we celebrate the American labor movement and the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.

This weekend also typically marks the end of summer with one last get away to the beach and the end of BBQ season.

We too will be celebrating and the office will be closed on Monday, September 5. We will re-open with normal hours on Tuesday, September 6.

I realize that in the month of August I’ve had a bit of a food focus. There was the best crab cake of my life blog, the Global Obesity Prevention Center blog and now a blog on food labels. In reality I’m not typically a foodie and I don’t find nutrition to be my particular public health passion. However, I recently saw on the JHSPH Facebook feed a WIRED article on redesigning food labels. As someone who does dissect the food labels quite a bit, my attention was caught. The result is fascinating.

Basically, WIRED designed a food label based on an idea from a nutrition professor at New York University and the label that the Bloomberg School’s very own Alan Goldberg is creating. In general, I would prefer a food label that follows more updated nutritional guidelines and is easier for the common man to decipher. However, what’s gotten me thinking is Goldberg’s addition. As a toxicologist, Goldberg is suggesting a way to communicate the ecological and ethical quality of a food item in a standard format. Not just food allergens, but the risk level for food-borne illness and a glycaemia index to whether it is “Water Wise” and how the product impacts animal and worker well-being. I am fascinated. It’s a whole new approach to food labeling. Take a look at the suggested labeling in the WIRED article.

I’d also like to take a moment and say if nutrition is your particular public health passion, take a look at our Center for Human Nutrition. The center takes a lot of different approaches to nutrition, from education to the obesity epidemic, agriculture to preventing cancer and biomarkers, there might be a place for your research interests.