The Double Helix, Summer 2019


Preventing Measles

Since January 1, 2019, more than 1,000 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 28 states in the US. How did we reach this point? We know how to prevent measles—we have had a safe and highly effective vaccine for more than 40 years and we successfully eliminated measles transmission within the US in 2000.
Precisely because vaccines have been so successful, most parents (and even some healthcare professionals) have never actually seen a case of measles and may not see the need for vaccination. For them, measles is an invisible threat from ages ago that seems irrelevant today. But, now that we are in the midst of the worst measles outbreak in the US since 1992, it is clear that measles is highly relevant and the threat is very real.

Sadly, measles is not the only preventable disease we need to be concerned about. Vaccination rates for many diseases are suboptimal, including hepatitis B, HPV, influenza (flu), pneumococcal disease, and shingles, leaving far too many susceptible to needless suffering.

To help raise awareness and eliminate knowledge gaps, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) works tirelessly to help prevent diseases by educating the public and healthcare professionals about the burden, causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious diseases across the lifespan.

Using both social and traditional media, we help the public understand how serious and contagious measles can be, and how best to protect themselves and their communities. We have armed healthcare professionals with tools and strategies to address vaccine hesitancy, improve communication skills, and manage outbreaks. And we continue to recognize and celebrate the many heroes of public health through the Annual NFID Awards program (deadline for 2020 online awards nominations is July 1, 2019).

As a supporter of NFID, you continue to play an important role. Please consider three ways to show your support over the summer months:

  1. Respond to the NFID annual stakeholder survey, which helps us evaluate our programs to ensure that we are meeting your needs (watch for an email to be sent to all stakeholders in July);
  2. Watch for NFID social media resources for National Immunization Awareness Month in August and share widely with your networks; and
  3. Consider NFID in your charitable giving.

We will continue working to create a world in which no one has to suffer from measles, or other preventable diseases! Read on for more news about NFID and our partners. And thank you for your continued support.

I hope you have a wonderful summer and I look forward to seeing you at an NFID event this fall!

Best regards,

Marla Dalton, CAE
NFID Executive Director & CEO


Plan to Attend 2019 NFID Clinical Vaccinology Course

The NFID Clinical Vaccinology Course, scheduled for November 16-17, 2019 in Washington, DC, will offer healthcare professionals the opportunity to engage with leading experts on the latest developments and issues related to the use of vaccines. Participants gain information about updated US recommendations for vaccinations across the lifespan, and innovative and practical strategies for ensuring timely and appropriate immunization.

The 2019 course will also include in-depth discussions about the ongoing US measles outbreaks—why the US is seeing so many measles cases, the role of vaccine hesitancy, and what can and should be done  to protect patients and the community at-large. Registration opens July 2019.

Submit an Abstract: NFID invites poster submissions of immunization best practices and implementation strategies. Abstracts of previously published or presented work will be considered. Take advantage of this opportunity to gain recognition and share strategies while expanding your network.

Partner News

Measles Outbreak Toolkit

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a digital toolkit to support healthcare providers during the current measles outbreak. The toolkit includes science-based evidence to counter misinformation about measles and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and resources to support conversations with parents and office staff.

Immunization Visits for 16-Year-Olds

In 2017, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended an immunization visit specifically for 16-year-old adolescents to improve immunization rates. The Adolescent Immunization Initiative offers resources to help healthcare professionals implement this change in the immunization schedule, including a slide deck that explains the rationale and a white paper on best practices.  

NFID Leaders in the News

“A vaccine that remains in a vial is zero percent effective, no matter what the results of the clinical trial were,” said NFID Immediate Past-President Walter A. Orenstein, MD, in a recent profile by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The AAAS article traces Dr. Orenstein’s first-hand experience as a “vaccine hesitant” second-grader lining up for polio vaccine, to his work in India on smallpox eradication, to his time as head of the National Immunization Program, when measles was eliminated from the US. Now at Emory University, Dr. Orenstein and his colleagues are working to counter the anti-vaccination movement by communicating facts about vaccine safety through trusted channels.


To stay up-to-date on NFID activities, subscribe to NFID Updates and follow our blog, NFID News. Recent popular posts include:

Protecting Their Families: Dads Who #GetVaccinated
On Father’s Day, NFID celebrates dads who protect their families against vaccine-preventable diseases. We asked fathers (and grandfathers) among the NFID leadership to share their thoughts on the importance of vaccination for the entire family. Read more…

The 2019 Oscars of Infectious Diseases: An Evening of Inspiration
On May 9, 2019, the stars of the infectious disease community joined NFID to honor three distinguished public health heroes: Jeremy Farrar, FRS, Anne A. Gershon, MD, and Richard E. Besser, MD.
Read more…

Sharing the Gift of Health: Happy Mother’s Day
On Mother’s Day, NFID is celebrating mothers everywhere who protect their families from vaccine-preventable diseases. In that spirit, we asked mothers (and grandmothers) serving on the NFID Board of Directors to share their thoughts on the importance of
 vaccination for the whole family. Read more…

ID News Round-Up: Measles
Despite having eliminated measles in the US nearly two decades ago, the US is once again seeing record-setting cases of the vaccine-preventable disease. The number of measles cases reported in the US this year reached 1,001 on June 5, 2019. This is the largest number of measles cases reported in the US since the last major outbreak in 1994.
Read more…

Hit Flu Out of the Park!  

Join NFID for a night out at the ballpark on Friday, September 13, 2019 at 7:05 PM for the Annual Flu Awareness Night at Nationals Park as the Washington Nationals take on the Atlanta Braves. A portion of each ticket sold will be donated to NFID to help support the prevention and treatment of influenza and other infectious diseases. Purchase tickets online

Upcoming NFID Events  

Support NFID

For more than 45 years, NFID has educated the public and healthcare professionals to help achieve our vision of healthier lives through effective prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. Help us continue our impactful work by making an online donation.

You can also help support NFID with online purchases through established partnerships:

  • Purchase GIANTmicrobes and 5% of the proceeds will be donated to NFID

  • Shop online using the dedicated Amazon link and a percentage of all purchases made will be donated to NFID

Together, we can make a difference!

NFID New Email Service 


NFID will be switching email services and beginning in July 2019, all emails will be sent through Constant Contact. This will be the last message you receive through MailChimp. To ensure that you continue to receive NFID emails, login to your NFID account to review and update your contact information.

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