Program Recap - March 11, 2015
When does an outbreak become an epidemic? Why wasn’t the flu vaccine as effective this year as it has been in the past? What does herd immunity mean? Rotarian and retired urologist Bill Mobley addressed these questions and more in his recent presentation to the Rotary Club of Cashiers Valley, titled “Epidemics & Pandemics: From Small Pox to Ebola and Beyond.”
“I was concerned about the way some of these topics have been covered in the media,” said Dr. Mobley. He began his presentation with a look at the contraction and mortality rates of ebola, which are significantly smaller than those of small pox, the Spanish flu, AIDS and other wide-spread health threats of the past and present.
Dr. Mobley then gave a fascinating history of small pox, from its earliest documented cases through to the development of a successful vaccination and its eradication in 1977, when the last case of small pox was reported.
“The story of small pox,” said Dr. Mobley, “is the story of how we deal with epidemics today.” He went on to illustrate this statement with an in-depth analysis of the path a virus takes from outbreak to full-blown pandemic.
Speaking specifically about the current flu season, Dr. Mobley walked the Club through a layman’s version of what it takes to create a flu vaccine. After studied analysis, informed prognosis, and careful cultivation, each vaccine is comprised of 3 flu strains most likely to effect the largest swath of the population to the greatest degree.
Dr. Mobley was quick to point out that, contrary to much of the media coverage, the current flu vaccine was not completely ineffective on all fronts and that it was still a good idea to get the vaccine available anyway.
Dr. Mobley closed his presentation with an explanation of passive, active and herd immunity, and how vital vaccination is against the spread of measles and the potential rise of other viruses previously stamped down.
Also on Wednesday, Cashiers Rotary presented Hampton Preschool & Early Learning Center with a donation of $1500. The donation will go directly towards assisting children whose continuing educational coverage is susceptible to shortfalls in state funding.
The Rotary Club of Cashiers Valley meets every Wednesday morning at the Cashiers UMC on Highway 107. To learn more about the Club’s mission, work in the community, or how to become a member, please visit www.cashiersrotary.org.