ATLANTA (AP) - A government study offers a new theory on why the whooping cough vaccine doesn’t seem to be working as well as expected.
The research suggests that while the vaccine may keep people from getting sick, it doesn’t prevent them from spreading whooping cough - also known as pertussis - to others.
"It could explain the increase in pertussis that we’re seeing in the U.S.," said one of the researchers, Tod Merkel of the Food and Drug Administration.
Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease that can strike people of any age but is most dangerous to children. It was once common, causing hundreds of thousands of illnesses annually and thousands of deaths. But after a vaccine was introduced in the 1940s, cases dropped to fewer than 5,000 a year.
The vaccine was replaced in the 1990s because of side effects that included pain and swelling from the shot and fever. The newer vaccine is part of routine childhood vaccinations as well as adult booster shots.
But cases have rebounded. Last year was the nation’s worst year for whooping cough in six decades- U.S. health officials received reports of more than 48,000 cases, including 18 deaths.
This year hasn’t been half as bad - about 20,000 reported illnesses, including six deaths so far. Whooping cough ebbs and flows in cycles, so experts aren’t surprised to see cases recede. But 20,000 can still be seen as a lot when a widely used vaccine is supposed to protect the public.
Some studies have concluded the newer vaccine doesn’t last as long as the old one. But the study by Merkel and his colleagues offers a new wrinkle.
Their research used baboons, considered the most human-like model for studying whooping cough. Baboons at ages 2, 4 and 6 months were vaccinated and then exposed to whooping cough at 7 months - when vaccine protection would be new and strong.
The baboons didn’t get sick, but they had high levels of bacteria in their respiratory system for five weeks - which suggest they were contagious for about that long. Some baboons given the old vaccine had low levels after only two weeks.
That’s a big deal finding because it was thought that people only spread the disease when they had coughs and other symptoms, said Dr. Erik Hewlett, a University of Virginia whooping cough researcher who was not involved in the FDA study but has collaborated with Merkel.
Health officials have sought to protect small children by vaccinating the people who are in contact with them such as grandparents and baby sitters- a strategy called “cocooning.” But that may not work as well as hoped if infected people who don’t show any symptoms can still spread it, the research suggests.
"This is a whole new way of thinking of the problem," Hewlett said.
Still, cocooning is better than nothing. An infected person with a cough is probably spreading more germs that someone who spreads it through talking or exhaling, said the FDA’s Merkel.
The study was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Versions of the vaccine are made by two companies - Sanofi Pasteur and GlaxoSmithKline. A GSK spokesman said the company didn’t have enough information on the study to comment. Sanofi said in a statement that it’s not clear how well the findings translate to humans, and that many factors may contribute to recent surges in whooping cough. It also said the research contains “valuable information” and points to areas for further study.
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John Lee showed up for an interview about his sneaker empire wearing a pair of leather loafers.
"I’m not in the culture," the 53-year-old president and owner of KicksUSA said unapologetically.
But with 30 sneaker and athletic-apparel stores in the Philadelphia area, and plans to double that number in two to three years with an expansion into New York, Lee is most assuredly in the business of serving that culture.
It’s a fanatical one. A limited-release shoe can trigger iPhonemania-like lines outside athletic-footwear stores like KicksUSA.
Sneaker obsession - with the most intensely afflicted buying not only to wear, but to collect - has been traced to 1985, when the Air Jordan I hit the market for $65. A pair now can sell for more than $1,000, depending on the condition and the seller.
It’s a largely urban phenomenon. Don’t underestimate the importance of the suburban sneaker fiend, though. With close to $100 million in annual sales - 75 percent from footwear - KicksUSA, which debuted in 2002, is predominantly in Philadelphia neighborhood strip centers. But a store opened earlier this month in Cherry Hill, and another will open in the middle of December in Willow Grove Park Mall.
KicksUSA is a company that not only survived the recession, but also boldly expanded during it, adding 15 new stores since 2008 - distinguishing them from competitors, in part, with bigger footprints and lots of color and light. A new technology initiative aimed at better serving customers will allow them to check, through in-store kiosks or online at , which sneakers are in stock and where - and to order, pay, and make arrangements for pickup.
Lee said he was out to bust a faulty notion, in particular: “A lot of people think because we are an urban retailer, we don’t invest, we’re not innovative enough.”
Inventory-tracking systems and eye-catching in-store displays are cool. Spend time with some of KicksUSA’s 500-plus employees, however, and they rave most about its investment in them.
There’s Crystal Morales, 19, from Northeast Philadelphia, a biology major at Temple University on the premed track. She started working for KicksUSA in October 2010 as a sales associate - and is now that and a cashier, mostly working weekends at the flagship Roosevelt Mall store because of her school workload.
Morales arrived at work one day in September to find a notice from the home office announcing an essay scholarship contest for employees with at least six consecutive months with the company and college plans.
Applicants were asked to describe “your most meaningful achievements and how they relate to your field of study and/or your future goals.”
One of two daughters of a single mother, and worried about school expenses, Morales promptly started writing about her volunteer work at Bebashi-Transition to Hope, a nonprofit focused on sexual health, breast health, and hunger relief.
She won. Lee presented her with a $1,500 check in October and said something to her that meant as much as the money, maybe more, Morales said in an interview last week.
"He told me he was really proud of me," she said. "To have a male figure tell you something like that, it was really meaningful to me… . He’s someone who makes you feel anything is possible."
That’s also part of Lee’s business plan. Married to a family practitioner and the father of three teenagers, the Newtown resident said he considers his family way bigger than that. It encompasses all his employees.
"I really wanted to build a company based on the family culture," he said.
That he gives each employee an iPad and $500 on his or her 10th anniversary with the company, and offers scholarships and internship programs, 401(k) matches and - to assistant managers and above only, at present - medical, dental, and life insurance benefits, is all part of building a culture that encourages employees to “get excited about coming to work,” Lee said.
It’s working, and one reason Philadelphia “might be Timberland’s top market,” said Dave Newcombe, national account manager for the company, whose boots are in KicksUSA’s vast inventory.
"They have tremendous customer service in store, … and probably most important, they are respected on the street," Newcombe said. "We need more accounts like them."
Lee said he thinks his background as a Korean immigrant influences his commitment to his workers’ career development.
"A lot of our employees are from that background," he said. "When you’re an immigrant, you have to work hard and there’s a lot of struggles, a lot of obstacles. Related businesses:
"Yes, we do business to create profit and create jobs, but at the end of the day, without your team, your employees, you’re very limited," Lee said.
Which brings us to what he calls the Happiness Fund. It’s $250,000 - and will grow, Lee said - to cover whatever needs emerge from the latest employee survey on what else would make them happy. Say, child-care support or transportation reimbursement.
"Our goal is to create the best company to work for in our industry," Lee said.
different sneaker styles in a KicksUSA store
the year Air Jordan 1 hit the market, sparking the sneaker craze
age of KicksUSA’s
typical hourly pay of KicksUSA
Owner John Lee talks about the KicksUSA experience.
Major League Soccer has released its national television schedule for the 2014 season. Games will be broadcast across networks owned by ESPN, NBC and Univision in the United States, and by TSN and RDS in Canada.
ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to air 20 games, with five on ESPN and 15 on ESPN2. All of those games will be simulcast in Spanish on ESPN Deportes, and also broadcast on ESPN Deportes Radio.
Although the ESPNs won’t have any games until May 27, they will make up for that with six games in July. The highest-profile of them comes on July 13, the day of the FIFA World Cup final, as the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers contest MLS’ signature rivalry.
Three days later, the Philadelphia Union will host the New York Red Bulls, also on ESPN2. They’ll get another ESPN2 game on October 2, at home to the Chicago Fire.
NBC will air three games over the air and 38 on NBC Sports Network. All three over the air games feature the league’s highest-profile teams: Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and New York. Seattle’s home game against Los Angeles will be the Sounders’ first home game on NBC since the network’s rights deal with MLS started in 2012.
As part of its slate of games in 2014, NBC got a few things that it really wanted to help boost MLS’ lagging television ratings.
Two of the three NBC games and 14 of the 38 NBCSN games will be shown as doubleheaders with English Premier League games. That includes a few games on the west coast which could kick off before noon local time.
MLS will go dark during the World Cup group stage, with no games between June 11 and June 25. Most of the league’s players who will participate in the World Cup will be long gone by then, though, as the tournament begins on June 12.
After the World Cup, NBCSN will begin something that its fans clamored for in 2013: regular Friday night national broadcasts.
MLS and NBCSN experimented with Friday night games in 2013 as a way of getting more national broadcasts out of the way of the league’s always-crowded Saturday calendars. Fans responded positively to the move, and that has led to a big increase in Friday broadcasts in 2014.
There will be an exclusive game each Friday from June 27 through the end of the regular season. Though the kickoff times will not be uniform, the Friday slot will at least get MLS a night of the week to call its own.
Among the highlights of the Friday slate is a doubleheader on July 4. Although there will be FIFA World Cup games on that date, they are likely to be finished by the time the doubleheader kicks off at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.
Many of NBCSN’s weekend games also will be in exclusive timeslots. NBCSN’s weekend broadcasts in the first two years of its three-year contract often saw their ratings suffer significantly by being at the same time as multiple other MLS games.
In 2014, at least 29 of NBCSN’s 38 broadcasts (with some start times still to be determined) will be in exclusive time slots. By contrast, in 2013 just 13 of NBCSN’s 38 broadcasts did not overlap with any other MLS games.
Finally, there is at least the potential for MLS to get its first dose of flexible scheduling. This is because one of NBCSN’s broadcasts slots has not yet been filled.
According to a source, the network could fill it by picking a game of its choosing on the final weekend of the regular season, but could also use it sooner. for key late-season contests, similar to how the National Football League, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball operate. Holding one broadcast slot open could give MLS fans a taste of how flexible scheduling for the league could work.
NBCSN will bring back its “MLS Breakaway” show, a whip-around program with look-ins to live games across the league, twice in 2014: August 2 and September 20.
The latter date will be an especially busy one for soccer fans in America, with games between NBCSN and NBC before the Breakaway show at night. It will start with an English Premier League doubleheader at 7:45 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. NBC will then have a Premier League game at 12:30 p.m. and New York vs. Seattle at 2:30 p.m. The action will then shift back to NBCSN, with Portland-Vancouver at 5:00 p.m. The Breakaway show is expected to follow at around 7:30 p.m.
August 2 will also see games across multiple networks. NBC will have Portland-Los Angeles at 2:30 p.m. and NBCSN will have San Jose-Seattle at 10:30 p.m. That game will be the first ever sporting event at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., the new home of the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers. The Breakaway show will likely air between those two contests.
MLS’ Spanish-language partner, Univision, will air a total of 28 regular-season games in 2014. Eighteen games will be shown on UniMás and 10 will be shown on Univision Deportes. Many of those broadcasts will also be streamed live on Univision’s website, a first for the league. That should give fans who don’t get the channels access to those games, which are blacked out in the league’s proprietary online streaming package.
In Canada, at least 40 games will be brodcast in English on TSN and TSN2, and at least 30 games will be broadcast in French on RDS and RDS2. Those networks’ full schedules will be released at a later date.
It’s worth noting that this year marks the final season of MLS’ television deals with ESPN, NBC and Univision. The league has already started negotiations for its next round of deals, which will begin in 2015. With the World Cup looming over those talks, it’s likely that the league’s national television ratings will draw more scrutiny than ever next year.
All times below are Eastern.
ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes Radio
Tuesday, May 27: Sporting Kansas City vs. New York Red Bulls (9:00 p.m.) Sunday, July 6: Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago Fire (3:00 p.m.) Sunday, September 28: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. New York Red Bulls (8:30 p.m.) Sunday, October 19: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders (8:30 p.m.) Sunday, October 26: Sporting Kansas City vs. New York Red Bulls (8:30 p.m.)
ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes Radio
Sunday, June 1: Chicago Fire vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (time TBA) Wednesday, June 11: Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas (10:00 p.m.)
Sunday, July 13: Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers (10:00 p.m.) Wednesday, July 16: Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls (7:00 p.m.) Saturday, July 19: Sporting Kansas City vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (6:00 p.m.) Saturday, July 26: Seattle Sounders vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (8:00 p.m.) Wednesday, July 30: Real Salt Lake vs. New York Red Bulls (9:00 p.m.)
Sunday, August 10: Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo (10:30 p.m.) Sunday, August 24: Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders (5:00 p.m.)
Sunday, September 7: Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes (5:00 p.m.) Wednesday, September 10: New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United (8:00 p.m.)
Thursday, October 2: Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire (8:00 p.m.) Sunday, October 12: FC Dallas vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (7:00 p.m.) Thursday, October 16: Houston Dynamo vs. New England Revolution (8:00 p.m.)
(All broadcast start times are tentative)
Saturday, August 2: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers (2:30 p.m.) Saturday, September 20: New York Red Bulls vs. Seattle Sounders (2:30 p.m.) Saturday, October 25: Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers (2:30 p.m.)
NBC Sports Network
(Games with an asterisk indicate tentative broadcast start times)
Saturday, March 8: Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting Kansas City (3:00 p.m.*) Saturday, March 15: New York Red Bulls vs. Colorado Rapids (4:00 p.m.*) Saturday, March 22: Real Salt Lake vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (4:00 p.m.*) Saturday, March 29: D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire (4:00 p.m.*)
Saturday, April 5: Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders (3:00 p.m.*) Saturday, April 12: D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls (2:30 p.m.*) Saturday, April 19: Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution (4:00 p.m.*)
Sunday, May 4: Sporting Kansas City vs. Columbus Crew (4:00 p.m.) Sunday, May 11: Portland Timbers vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (2:30 p.m.*)
Friday, June 27: Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City (11:00 p.m.) Saturday, June 28: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (time TBD)
Friday, July 4: Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls (8:30 p.m.) Friday, July 4: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers (11:00 p.m.) Friday, July 11: San Jose Earthquakes vs. D.C. United (11:00 p.m.) Friday, July 18: Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids (11:00 p.m.) Wednesday, July 23: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chicago Fire (11:00 p.m.)
Friday, August 1: Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia Union (8:00 p.m.) Saturday, August 2: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Seattle Sounders (10:30 p.m.) Friday, August 8: LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes (10:30 p.m.) Friday, August 15: Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union (9:00 p.m.)
Saturday, August 16: Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders (2:30 p.m.*) Friday, August 22: FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake (9:00 p.m.) Friday, August 29: Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo (8:00 p.m.) Sunday, August 31: D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls (2:30 p.m.*)
Friday, September 5: LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids (10:30 p.m.) Friday, September 12: Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake (10:30 p.m.) Saturday, September 13: Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls (3:00 p.m.*) Friday, September 19: Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids (10:00 p.m.) Saturday, September 20: Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (5:00 p.m.) Friday, September 26: Sporting Kansas City vs. New England Revolution (8:00 p.m.) Saturday, September 27: D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union (3:00 p.m.*)
Friday, October 3: 8 p.m. D.C. United vs. Sporting Kansas City (8:00 p.m.) Saturday, October 4: New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo (6:00 p.m.) Friday, October 10: Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (10:00 p.m.) Friday, October 17: Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake (10:00 p.m.) Saturday, October 18: Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas (3:00 p.m.*) Friday, October 24: Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo (8:00 p.m.)
Sunday, March 9: Chivas USA vs. Chicago Fire (3:00 p.m.) Sunday, March 16: Portland Timbers vs. Chicago Fire (3:00 p.m.) Sunday, March 23: Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls (3:00 p.m.) Sunday, March 30: New York Red Bulls vs. Chivas USA (3:00 p.m.)
Sunday, April 6: Chivas USA vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (3:00 p.m.) Sunday, April 13: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Columbus Crew (3:00 p.m.) Sunday, April 27: Houston Dynamo vs. Portland Timbers (3:00 p.m.)
Sunday, May 4: FC Dallas vs. New York Red Bulls (3:00 p.m.) Sunday, May 11: Colorado Rapids vs. Chivas USA (3:00 p.m.) Sunday, May 18: Chicago Fire vs. Sporting Kansas City (3:00 p.m.)
Sunday, September 7: Columbus Crew vs. Chivas USA (3:00 p.m.) Sunday, September 14: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (3:00 p.m.) Sunday, September 21: Toronto FC vs. Chivas USA (3:00 p.m.) Sunday, September 28: Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire (3:00 p.m.)
Sunday, October 5: Colorado Rapids vs. Seattle Sounders (3:00 p.m.)
Sunday, October 12: Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United (3:00 p.m.) Sunday, October 19: New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew (3:00 p.m.) Sunday, October 26: Chivas USA vs. San Jose Earthquakes (3:00 p.m.)
Sunday, May 25: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Philadelphia Union (8:00 p.m.)
Sunday, June 1: Colorado Rapids vs. Houston Dynamo (8:00 p.m.) Sunday, June 8: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Chivas USA (8:00 p.m.)
Sunday, July 20: D.C. United vs. Chivas USA (8:00 p.m.) Sunday, July 27: New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo (8:00 p.m.)
Sunday, August 3: Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United (8:00 p.m.) Sunday, August 10: Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls (8:00 p.m.) Sunday, August 17: D.C. United vs. Colorado Rapids (8:00 p.m.) Sunday, August 24: Philadelphia Union vs. San Jose Earthquakes (8:00 p.m.) Sunday, August 31: Chivas USA vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (8:00 p.m.)
Saturday, March 8: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. New York Red Bulls (7:30 p.m.)
Saturday, March 22: Montréal Impact vs. Seattle Sounders (4:00 p.m.)