John Ross, MD, FIDSA

John Ross is an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is board certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases, and practices hospital medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital. He is the author of Shakespeare's Tremor and Orwell's Cough: Diagnosing the Medical Groans and Last Gasps of Ten Great Writers, and is one of the editors of the textbook Principles and Practice of Hospital Medicine.


Posts by John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Bad viruses travel fast: Measles vaccine important for travelers

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

Because measles is so highly contagious, and because there is a significant delay before symptoms manifest, a person can carry the virus and infect others without knowing it, and many adults may not have received an effective dose of the vaccine. Many outbreaks of measles could probably be prevented if more travelers received MMR vaccine prior to foreign travel.

Measles: The forgotten killer

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

Measles has serious, even fatal complications. A worrisome multistate outbreak underscores why preventing measles is so important. Here’s how to protect yourself, your circle, and your community –– and why you should.

Is hand sanitizer better at preventing the flu than soap and water?

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

In an eight-month study of toddlers in day care, researchers compared handwashing with soap and water to frequent and rigorous use of hand sanitizer. While the results were better for the hand sanitizer group, the study conditions may not reflect real-world hand hygiene.

Ticked off: America’s quiet epidemic of tickborne diseases

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

The number of annual cases of Lyme disease in the United States nearly doubled from 2004 to 2016 (and those are just the reported cases), but several other serious illnesses can be spread by ticks and mosquitoes.

The bacterial horror of hot-air hand dryers

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

Researchers testing the dispersal of bacteria in public restrooms found that the hand dryers were picking up bacterial deposits, likely from aerosolized microbes caused by the flushing of uncovered toilets.

This year’s flu season: Public health catastrophe or par for the course?

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

This winter flu activity has been higher than usual across the United States. If you have not gotten a flu shot yet, it’s not too late; some protection is better than none, plus there are other steps you can take to protect yourself and those around you.

Is the “full course of antibiotics” full of baloney?

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

Conventional medical wisdom has held that taking antibiotics for longer periods of time produces better results and lowers the risk for antibiotic resistance. But the evidence for this is slim, and researchers are now questioning this approach.

Bad bug, no drugs: The real end of antibiotics?

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

The constant stream of antibiotics in the food we eat and in the hospitals that treat us is creating the perfect environment for antibiotic resistant bacteria. It’s not cost effective to develop new antibiotics to replace the now-useless ones, so our pipeline is drying up. And while this sounds bleak, there are things you can do as a consumer and as a patient to help. You can start by paying attention to the food you eat and by not pressing your doctor for unnecessary antibiotics.

Charles Darwin, Chagas’ disease, and the killer kissing bugs of California

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

An insect known as the kissing bug has the ability to pass along Chagas’ disease to unsuspecting people. While it affects more people in Latin America than in this country, this parasitic disease can still be a problem in the southwestern United States. Most cases of Chagas’ disease pass without much incidence, but it can cause lasting problems. The rates of Chagas’ disease could go up with climate change, and more research is definitely needed. Charles Darwin may be one of the first “researchers” on the subject, but he’s not to be the last.

E-cigarettes: Good news, bad news

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

While e-cigarettes do not produce the tar or toxic gases found in cigarette smoke, this doesn’t make them a healthy option. The e-liquid found in e-cigarettes still contains highly addictive nicotine that also increases your risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Nicotine also increases the risk of addiction to other drugs and may impair brain development. Rather than rely on the perceived benefits of e-cigarettes, people should avoid smoking altogether.