Dr. Scafuri is a contributing writer to the Staten Island Advance, specializing in healthcare and travel medicine.Below are his most recent articles which can be found in the Health and Fitness section in the newspaper.
A closer look at PIDD
Could your child's frequent sinus infections or reoccurring bronchitis be more than just an infection?
March 29, 2010
By DR. FRANK SCAFURI, III
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Could your child’s frequent sinus infections or reoccurring bronchitis be more than just an infection? Do you suffer from the same illnesses everyone else does, but in abnormal quantities or severity? If that is the situation, you or your child may be suffering from primary immune deficiency disease (PIDD). However, you are not alone. Each year, 250,000 Americans are diagnosed with PIDD. Thousands more go undiagnosed.
PIDD occurs when a part of the immune system is not working or is missing. It is caused by genetics and is not contagious. PIDD is not visible and it affects any age, race or sex. Often, the first signs appear early in life. There are more than 150 different types of PIDD that vary widely in their severity and symptoms.
For example, David Vetter, who was dubbed by the media as the “boy in the plastic bubble” during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, had severe combined immune deficiency. This is one of the most serious disorders of PIDD. Similarly, someone who suffers from eight or more new ear infections within one year is considered to be suffering symptoms of PIDD.
Today, with early diagnosis and treatment, many PIDD patients can go to work or school, enjoy hobbies and lead productive lives. Though once thought to be very rare, as many as 1 in 1,200 people have some form of PIDD. One of the most common types, IgA deficiency, may be as common as 1 in 500 people. Hence, there are hundreds of people with PIDD on Staten Island and many may not know they are living with this disease.
According to the Immune Deficiency Foundation, it takes an average of nine years between the onset of symptoms to the diagnosis. Fifty percent of patients will be 18 years old or older, and 37 percent of patients will have permanent damage to their bodies by the time they are diagnosed. Early diagnosis and treatment leads to better outcomes, so it is important to recognize the signs of PIDD sooner rather than later.
Even mild immune deficiencies can lead to serious infections if left untreated. (Read Full Article)
Men and HPV vaccine
Gardasil is 90 percent effective in preventing genital warts caused by the human papillomavirus
Monday, December 28, 2009
By DR. FRANK SCAFURI, III
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- In a January article published in the Staten Island Advance, I reviewed the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration for girls and women ages 9 through 26. The FDA has now approved the same vaccine for boys and men in the same age group for the prevention of genital warts due to the HPV. (Read Full Article)
Hepatitis A is the most common type of hepatitis
Washing your hands is one of the best ways to protect against this serious liver disease
Monday, November 9, 2009 By DR. FRANK SCAFURI, III
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.--Are you traveling to another country, such as Mexico, Africa, Central or South America, Asia (except Japan) or Eastern Europe? Do you have children in a daycare center, work directly with children or help ill adults? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should consider receiving the hepatitis A vaccine.Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is the most common type of hepatitis and it can range from mild "flu-like" symptoms to sudden and severe onset liver failure. One in five people are actually hospitalized because of hepatitis A. Some common symptoms are feeling very tired, sick to your stomach, losing weight without trying, pain on the right side of the belly, under the rib cage, a fever or sore muscles. Additionally, older adults may have jaundice (yellow skin), along with dark urine and clay-colored stools.How is hepatitis A spread? The virus is found in the stool of an infected person. It is spread when a person eats food or drinks water that has come in contact with infected stool. This can happen when an employee with hepatitis A does not wash his or her hands after using the bathroom and then prepares food. The same is true in a daycare center when workers do not wash their hands after changing a diaper.Another way of contracting hepatitis A is by eating raw oysters or undercooked clams. Similarly, if you travel to a country where hepatitis A is common and you eat uncooked foods or drink tap water, you may contract the virus.
GET VACCINATEDA simple way you can protect yourself from hepatitis A is to get the vaccine. This involves a series of two shots and they are usually 100 percent effective when you get them both before you are exposed to the virus. (Read Full Article)
H1N1 flu virus: The good, the bad and the ugly
With so much incorrect flu information circulating, it's hard to decipher fact from fiction
Monday, October 5, 2009
By DR. FRANK SCAFURI, III
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- You cannot turn on the television or radio without hearing about the H1N1 virus. However, there is so much incorrect information circulating that it is hard to decipher what is true and what is exaggerated. This article will attempt to dispel the exaggerated, explain the truth and give people a place to turn to read about the virus.
First, the H1N1 flu virus was originally referred to as "swine flu" because laboratory testing showed many of the genes in this new virus were very similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs (swine) in North America. However, further studies have shown that this new virus is very different from what normally circulates in North American pigs. This is true despite the fact the H1N1 virus does have two genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia, as well as bird genes and human genes.
The H1N1 flu virus is a new influenza virus causing illness in people in the United States. That is a fact that cannot be denied. But, how serious is it? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that this virus is contagious and thought to be spread the same way the seasonal flu spreads. In particular, people who already have the virus spread flu viruses from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Touching something, such as a surface or object, with a flu virus on it and then touching your mouth or nose may infect you.
KNOW THE SYMPTOMS
How would you know if you contracted the H1N1 flu virus? People affected by the virus usually have the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Read Full Article
June 2009: How can sudden cardiac death be prevented in young adults? May 2009: Lower your risk of getting yellow fever ............................................... March 2009: The risk of getting shingles ............................................... January 2009: HPV and Gardasil Vaccine...............................................
September 2009: Diarrhea is the most common illness of travelers............