WASHINGTON, D.C. (WBRE/WYOU) – A major key to helping all of us enjoy better health is to better educate medical professionals. That’s the goal of an event called IDWeek that gets underway Wednesday, October 2 in Washington, DC.
The ID in IDWeek stands for infectious disease. Health care professionals of all backgrounds and institutions around the world are taking part to determine how better to treat patients. Among the professionals is an expert dealing with diseases who shared some insights with Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller.
The first week of October signifies more than the start of flu season. It also marks the arrival of IDWeek.
“I can promise you that news is going to break at this meeting that can affect your health and the health of people you know,” said Epidemiologist Kristina Bryant, MD.
Dr. Bryant and other health professionals from across the globe are eager to discuss medical breakthroughs concerning infectious diseases. The findings will include new research confirming why it’s so important to get an annual flu shot even if it doesn’t prevent all cases of the flu.
“Research presented at this meeting will show that the flu shot reduces the risk of hospitalization in children and it reduces the risk of death from flu in adults,” said Dr. Bryant.
That research will emphasize that flu vaccine introduced into the body ramps up the immune system to better fight off viral infections even if the vaccine isn’t specific to a particular flu strain. Another key topic at IDWeek? The re-emergence of diseases like measles, mumps, and pertussis.
Dr. Bryant said, “The important thing to know is that we can prevent these diseases. We can prevent measles. We have a safe and effective vaccine and people should be immunized and immunize their children.”
While experts at IDWeek will tackle how vaccine hesitancy threatens the health of the population, they’ll urge caution when it comes to using antibiotics for most dental procedures.
“Not only are they unnecessary, they might do harm,” said Dr. Bryant.
The research will point to antibiotic overuse resulting in severe allergic reactions and drug-resistant bacteria. Other key topics will include vulnerable health populations, and HIV prevention and treatment.