Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I don't know that anyone is checking this (seeing as how we're on vacation and all) but, like Thomas, I was really excited about something virus related and NO ONE was here to share my excitement. There's a commercial about a new cold medication and it starts with "Do you know what the #1 cause is of the common cold?" And I got so excited I practically jumped out of my seat and yelled "RHINOVIRUSES!!" and my parents looked at me like I was crazy. Anyways, the commercial has a great picture of a rhino and talks about how "the rhinovirus" is just ready and waiting to trample you down. The commercial then says the only way to deal with the common cold is to treat your symptoms... until now. I don't buy in to it, but I'm sure tons of people will. Just one of many examples of how this class will allow us to be informed consumers! Enjoy your breaks, stay healthy and see you in January!
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Bird flu hits Pakistan... that can't be good.
Nerdy as this is to do over the break, I just had to share the story (as no one here at home was as excited as I was)...
Thursday, December 13, 2007
More than 30 percent of the cases of dengue fever came from Jakarta, the Head of Health Service Special Capital District, Dr. Wibowo Sukijat, MPH, said on Thursday (Dec 6, 2007). This number is an increase compared to the previous year  when there were 24,932 cases with 39 deaths.
There were several factors in Jakarta that account for why this area had the highest numbers of dengue fever cases, including bad environment, the mobility of many inhabitants, the inhabitants's substantial population, as well as increased temperatures, so virus [transmission] has been increasingly raging.
The [dengue virus mosquito vector] control campaign has not yet given optimal results.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
To find out more:
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Out of the 27 confirmed cases of bird flu in China, 17 have been fatal. Uh oh.
Monday, December 10, 2007
"You can eat anything with four legs except the dinner table" -- Local expression
P.S. GOOD LUCK STUDYING!!!
But Dr. Anthony Fauci is a pretty cool guy. He is the head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases at the NIH and also an early AIDS research pioneer. I went to school with his daughters and he always came to our cross-country meets, too.
The link below will lead to you a transcript of the World AIDs Day Webcast, which you can also view on video. Basically, the panelists Dr. Parham (Health Resources and Services Administration), Dr. Kevin Fenton (CDC), Ms. Beverly Watts Davis (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), and Dr. Fauci (NIAID/NIH) discuss the state of the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, prevention programs, testing programs, care, treatment and research.
NIH and their public service campaign for Hispanic Youth on the link between non-injection drugs and HIV
Hispanic youths represent 16% of the US teenage population, but are expected to grow by 25% in the next decade. The CDC reports that Hispanic/Latinos account for 18% of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses.
Read more about the campaign at http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/nov2007/nida-26.htm
You can download the program for free at http://www.midasmodels.org, where you can enter and store infectious disease data (like age, sex of infected individuals and onset of symptoms, close contacts, etc). The program uses this info to statistically determine the probability that people contracte the disease from each other, the average number of people an individual could infect, and the rate that the infection occurs.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
(UTMB) have reported their discovery of the reason behind a
mysterious epidemic on the island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean.
An outbreak in 2005 and 2006 resulted in the 1st deaths from a virus
called chikungunya, a mosquito borne virus that mutated and became lethal.
In all, 266 000 people were infected, and at least 260 deaths
resulted. Researchers proved the epidemic was caused by a single
mutation and the virus was carried by a mosquito not previously known
to be a carrier. The species, _Aedes albopictus_, also called the
Asian tiger mosquito, has been established in the U.S. for around 20
years and has recently started spreading to Europe.
The researchers say the mutation gives the new strain of virus an
evolutionary edge over its predecessor and was predominantly
transmitted versus the original strain. The new strain evolved when a
single amino acid chain changed, leading to the ability for the virus
to infect the new mosquito. One of the authors created the same
change in a strain collected in Africa in 1983, which then also
showed a greater ability to infect _Aedes albopictus_.
In its non-lethal form, chikungunya causes extreme arthritis-like
pain, sometimes lasting for months or years. Many tourists became
infected at La Reunion and carried that [La Reunion] strain home with
them. Although no epidemics broke out in Europe [with the La Reunion
strain], the possibility was there. Another strain of the virus
causing an ongoing epidemic in India has spread to humans in Italy
through the Asian tiger mosquito.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
The Jiangsu Provincial Health Bureau announced on the night of Sun 2
Dec 2007 that the Ministry of Health had confirmed a human case of
highly pathogenic avian influenza in Jiangsu, and that [the patient]
had died in hospital that day due to multiple organ failure.
In an exclusive interview with Health Times, Professor Yin Kaisheng,
attending physician for the fatal Nanjing avian influenza case,
Ministry of Health national public health emergency response
specialist, and official in charge of the Jiangsu Province Health
Bureau's Human Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Prevention Medical
Treatment Team, stated that, for the moment, it is not possible for a
SARS-like super-spreader to emerge, transmitting avian influenza from
one person to the masses. Residents don't need to panic.
Yin Kaisheng revealed that during this patient's hospitalization
there was no way to confirm [he had] avian influenza. It was the
Jiangsu Center for Disease Control's laboratory that detected that
the infection was H5N1 type avian influenza virus. Moreover, the
patient always maintained that he had no way [to contract] this
infection, and had no history of contact with poultry. It is only
known that 20 days before becoming ill [he] had been bitten by a dog,
and 20 days later [he] developed fever after drinking a little alcohol.
However it is possible that dogs in their role as scavengers could
mechanically transmit bird flu virus by biting. The 20-day lapse
between bite and onset of illness in this case makes this route of
transmission of disease unlikely, and there would still have to
reservoir of infected wild birds or domestic poultry in the area.
Interesting! Those dogs in China ARE pretty nasty (you'll have to see them to believe them)
Check this out for the details:
Friday, December 7, 2007
6 hepatitis B cases and 6 hepatitis C cases have showed up among Dr. Finkelstein's patients, each of which has been linked back to Dr. Finkelstein's faulty needle technique. Previously Dr. F had been found to have infected at least one other patient by plunging needles into medicinal containers more than once...thereby contaminating the medicine.
Case and point: watch out for the parenteral spread of such infections, even in places where you least expect it.
They work at the "heads table" where, eww, compressed air was shoot into the skulls to eject brain matter. Aerosolized pig brains anyone?
Business travelers and health officials alike welcome the convenient way to get flu shots because people often forgo getting the vaccination due to time constraints and busy schedules.
Last year, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport offered 5,000 flu shots to passengers and employees from kiosks next to gates.
Read more about these innovative clinics at:
Get your flu shots!
Thursday, December 6, 2007
from one nation to another.
Around 91 people have been infected with this strain. In the aftermath of 2 health workers dieing today, Ugandan officials were candid on the challange facinf the country. "We are facing a crisis, health workers are scared and the morale is low, there is a very big shortage of nurses."
Uganda's health ministry has also deployed medics to the north-west to control outbreaks of cholera, meningitis and bubonic plague.
H5N1 bird flu has killed 200+ people since 2003. In 2007 there were 48 deaths due to the virus, down from 71 deaths in 2006.
Donors from across the wold have committed $400 million to fight against the chance of bird flu. The donations were made at the end of a international conference in New Delhi discussing the disease.
However the World Bank says that $1.2 billion will be needed over the next 2-3 years to help fight the virus in affected countries. Costs include developing a low-cost vaccine and compensating bird farmers who are forced to kill their flocks.
The cost of pandemic though is predicted to be as high as 2 trillion dollars. Experts urge prevention and preparation to avert these costs.
The World Bank has said that such a pandemic could cost up to two trillion dollars.
The Ministry of Health in China has reported a new case of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. The case was confirmed by the national laboratory on 2 December.
The 24-year old male from Jiangsu Province, developed symptoms on 24 November, was hospitalized on 27 November and died on 2 December. There is no initial indication to suggest he had contact with sick birds prior to becoming unwell. Close contacts have been placed under medical observation and all remain well.
Of the 26 cases confirmed to date in China, 17 have been fatal.
Also interesting, this vaccine has a "replicative vector, which means it is designed to kill HIV by replicating itself".
The article dates back to the beginning of November, however, PubMED is reporting on it now because there were errors in the original article. The actually story is as follows: H7N3 highly pathogenic notifiable avian influenza (HPNAI) was found in the Province of Saskatchewan. The virus is one of many subtypes of Influenza A, and interestingly did not have a close phylogenetic relationship to the HPNAI H7N3 subtype found in British Columbia in 2004. In order to control the outbreak, 3 and 10 km surveillance zones were extablished and all flocks in this area were tested. A control areas was established beyond this zone and all flocks in this control area were tested as well.
In addition, public health measures were enacted to prevent direct infection of exposed individuals. Secondary preventive measures were also put in place including the use of Tamiflu.
This article is super interesting and extremely relevant to all of the concepts we discussed in class last week. I highly recommend that you read it! Here's the link:
The 2007 District of Columbia HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Annual Report says that 12,400 - or 1 in 50 - are currently living with our least favorite retrovirus.
Some alarming stats:
- black residents account for 57 percent of the city’s population of 500,000 but represent 86% of HIV/AIDS cases
- Cases in Washington, DC account for 6% of all mother-to-child H.I.V. infections in the nation in the last five years; vertical transmission can be easily prevented
- The disease spread through heterosexual contact in more than 37% of the cases detected from 2001 to last year, in comparison with the 25% of cases attributable to men having sex with men.
- Starting in 2004, the number of new H.I.V. cases among men and women ages 40 to 49 outpaced every other age group in the city
- City health officials said unprotected sex was the most common way H.I.V. is spread, followed by intravenous drug use.
- but...Washington is the only city in the country that is barred by federal law from using local tax money to finance needle exchange programs - hmmm
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Major airport cities are going to offer flu shots past the security check points.
It's because the virus is more stable and stays in the air longer when air is cold and dry.
"Influenza virus is more likely to be transmitted during winter on the way to the subway than in a warm room," said Peter Palese, a flu researcher who is professor and chairman of the microbiology department at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and the lead author of the flu study
Intresting point...Flu season in northern latitudes is from November to March, the coldest months. In southern latitudes, it is from May until September. In the tropics, there is not much flu at all and no real flu season.
Read more here...http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/12/05/healthscience/05flu.php
effect of prescribing these drugs is not just neutral, but may lead toantibiotic resistance.
The team recommends morepalliative treatment such as ibuprofen. Speculated reasons for
the findings include that antibiotics are not able to reach the sinuses easilyand that the
infections may be more due to viruses than we acknowledge. Although this isn't about
viruses necessarily, I thought it was pertinent given cold season!
Dave (I give up...this isn't formatting correctly. sorry it got cut off)
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
African swine fever virus is in the Asfarviridae family. I wanted to post this article because I think it's interesting to learn about viruses outside of those the in the 24 families that infect humans. The virus is highly contagious and only causes disease in domestic and feral pigs. It is spread by direct contact with infected pigs or by feeding on infected meat. Humans are not affected. Read more about the outbreak here:
1. Don't open doors with your mouth. Normally when your hands are full the easiest way to open a door is to grip the handle with your mouth, but it's a good idea to start getting in the habit of avoiding this with viruses being so widespread.
2. Know where your blood comes from. Sure, we all need more blood, and with gas prices shooting through the roof we may not be able to be as choosey as we would like to be with regards to where it comes from. But think how much more money it will cost you when you have to spend a couple work days home sick. An extra buck or two for that blood doesn't seem so bad now does it?
3. Eat two different kinds of food a day. We all know the old adage starve a cold, overfeed a flu. We've found from personal experience though, that it is less about quantity and more about variety. This might seem to go against common sense, but give it a try. Instead of eating 5 bowls of Beef and Barely Soup tomorrow, try making the last bowl Clam Chowder. Your body will thank you, even though the clams won't!
4. Replace handshakes with saluting. The reason America wins wars is because our soldiers stay so healthy. Take this trick from the pros and switch to saluting. This is also a great way to help you figure out which people consider you to be a higher rank then them.
5. Don't go inside. Most winter time illness are caused by the increased amount of time people spend indoors. Buildings are the prime location for bacteria to start breeding. Its this reason that native Americans didn't get sick until Europeans came and started building houses. Hence the term "Cabin Fever."
These may take a little getting use to, but the results are a 100% guaranteed. If you do become ill following these steps, it is safe to assume that you are doing something wrong. Reread the list and try again.
Many of the 271 British citizens living on the volcanic island of Tristan da Cunha, in the south Atlantic, have developed severe breathing problems.
They need to ensure that their current medical supplies do not run out.
An international operation to provide help is being led by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
BBC world affairs correspondent Mike Wooldridge said the islanders were being affected by what appears to be an outbreak of viral-inducted asthma, which causes severe breathing problems.
Tristan da Cunha's one resident doctor, a South African, has issued an appeal for medical supplies.
The South African Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre was alerted first and informed British coastguards.
The volcanic island has no airstrip, making getting medicines there difficult.
However, merchant ships in the area are unlikely to have the necessary drugs on board and a coastguard spokesman said there were no British military vessels nearby at present.
Viruses have swept through the island before but Michael Swales, chairman of the Tristan da Cunha association, said he could not recall medicines becoming exhausted on previous occasions.
He said there was particular concern about the health of the elderly and the very young.
Resident Rosemary Glass told BBC Radio Cornwall that the island's tiny four-bed hospital was full to overflowing last week, but some patients had since gone home leaving three people in hospital.
"It makes people chesty and it's hard for them to breathe," Mrs Glass said of the illness mainly affecting the elderly and children.
Tristan da Cunha is situated 2,800 km west of Cape Town, South Africa, and is part of a small group of islands.
It was at one time on the main trading route between Europe and the Indian Ocean, but the small community living there is now extremely isolated.
The community of 275 people describe themselves as living in the world's most isolated settlement.
The island is famous for a mass evacuation to Southampton in the 1960s after a volcano erupted.
The main island is about 38 sq miles (98 sq km) and the currency is the British pound.
-Ahhh! Sounds like maybe a type of coronavrus? - Raquel
Monday, December 3, 2007
It probably tasted better, too.
Link to the article
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Read on at http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/diseases/notifiable/disease/ai/pdf/ai-prelim-epireport071129.pdf
and read about the Warsaw outbreak at http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L0136861.htm
Interestingly, the strain causing the outbreak is unknown, and has different clinical presentation that typical Ebola; instead of causing massive hemorrhaging and causing people to die from shock, this strain is causing people to have high fevers and not bleed as much.
Check out the story here:
And here's my reference for the Japanese encephalitis story:
She developed a fever and a rash, 2 and 4 days after her return to Italy, while two other unvaccinated (again !) students on the trip also developed rashes on Sept 20 and Oct 1. Although the two siblings (who were not on the trip) of the Oct 1 rash case were vaccinated against measles on Oct 3, both developed fevers 7 days after vaccination, and rashes on Oct 11 and 12, 10 days after the onset of their sister's rash.
33 additional mealses cases were identified among adolescents and young adults living or attending schools in same city where the index case resides, while 8 cases were reported in nearby towns. Epidemiologhical studies conducted showed that the link was defined as contact with a measles case 7-18 days before the onset of rash. 96% of the cases were 12-21 years old, while 93% of the cases were unvaccinated against measles.
Given that there have been several reported cases of meales in the UK, it is likely that the index case was imported from the UK. Piemonte region health officials also reprt that the measles vaccination rates for the 1989-1992 birth cohort are low (70-85%), while a greater percentage of younger cohorts (90-92%) have been vaccinated.
Read more at http://www.eurosurveillance
Recall that mumps can cause fever, headache, and swollen glands around the jaw, but can sometimes (unfortunately) lead to more serious complications such as sterility, meningitis, and deafness. Thus, public health officials are working hard to put a stop to the spread of this viral infection.
Hypotheses to why such an outbreak occurred? Well, seing as how many of the cases are happening to college-aged students (age range typically 17-26) and how people in this age range received only one dose of mumps vaccine when they were children, it is thought that the immunity provided by the vaccine may have worn off. Thus, to help control the outbreak and prevent similar future outbreaks, the Canadian province is offering free mumps immunizations in two phases: first are the post-secondary students, and then everyone in the high risk 17-26 age group.
want more juicy details?
Saturday, December 1, 2007