Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Apparently, boxer Clinton Woods was suffering from aseptic meningitis during his world title defeat to Antonio Tarver. After consulting Medline Plus (I'm a little rusty, okay?!), I remembered that nearly half of the cases of aseptic meningitis are due to coxsackie and echoviruses (both picornaviruses). Other possible viral causes listed include HIV acute retroviral syndrome, herpes viruses, mumps, and West Nile. Also, he should be tested for certain fungi and mycobacteria and it should be determined which meds he was recently taking, because these, too, can cause meningitis.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Deadly virus> ------------> Medical examinations have determined that 8 other Chinese sailors> have the deadly virus, but have not developed any illness. The cook,> aged 40, and a crewmember of the vessel, aged 38, died on 9 Apr 2008,> after suffering high fevers for hours. No medication was able to stop> the progression of the disease.>> Experts of the Forensic Medicine Institute of Public Prosecutions> [IML] have determined that the cause of death was an adenovirus that> has become extremely deadly.>> Adenoviruses are spread by physical contact or through the air and> are one of the causes of the common flu, but were not considered> fatal. At least, not so far.>> The virus that causes severe acute respiratory [syndrome], an> atypical pneumonia that first appeared in November 2002 in Guangdong> Province, China, has been ruled out.>> The head of the IML, Luis Bromley Coloma, indicated that "we are> facing an adenovirus that has mutated and become deadly, but it is> still unknown what caused the mutation and how fast it can spread",> which is why an Epidemiological Alert has been declared.>> The autopsy performed on the 2 victims hurled death, multiorgan edema> in the brain, lungs, heart, liver, pancreas, and kidneys, and> microhemorrhages in all organs. Toxicological, biological, and> pathological tests performed revealed the presence of the mutated> adenovirus.>> Now, health authorities are working to establish where and what> generated the mutation to find a cure or a way to contain it.>> "Chan An 168" is a squid and shrimp fishing vessel that sailed from> the port of Yautay, China, on 19 Aug 2007 with 23 people on board.> Since then they have not had contact with dry land. On 13 Dec 2007 it> delivered its catch to another boat and received 2 other crewmembers.> The same happened on 15 Mar 2008.>> On 9 Apr 2008, the port captaincy of Callao received a distress call> from the captain of the "Chan An". That morning 2 Chinese crewmembers> -- the cook and a fisherman -- had died. The only symptom was a high> fever lasting from 2-5 hours; none of the medicines on board helped.>> Unfortunately, the Navy and International Maritime Health personnel> boarded the Chinese ship to provide the care they needed, without> taking the precautions needed to avoid contagion, hence it has been> decided to quarantine them. The disease can manifest itself in 14> days to 3 months.>> Specialists from the IML, and epidemiologists from the Ministry of> Defense, the Navy, and the Ministry of Health, met yesterday 19 Apr> 2008] to assess the results of the biological and pathological> examinations in order to take the necessary preventive measures to> avoid spread of the virus.>> "The autopsies carried out indicate that the 2 Chinese crewmembers> died from pneumonia resulting from an adenovirus, a cause of the flu> that is not usually fatal. What happened in this case is that the> virus has mutated and become deadly, and we are on an epidemiological> alert,'' the head of the Institute of Forensic Medicine, Luis> Bromley, said yesterday [19 Apr 2008].>> The specialist added that this outbreak has 2 characteristics: the> victims are people with weakened immune systems, having been almost a> year at sea, isolated and living in subhuman conditions. The other> factor is still being studied -- still unknown are the cause that led> to the mutation and how to fight it.>> "The entire crew has been evaluated and it has been found that 8> crewmembers are infected with the mutated adenovirus and are under> observation; they can not be treated, because we do not know how to> fight this virus," stressed Bromley.>> It has been arranged for 30 Peruvian people who have been to the ship> to provide help and have come into contact with patients remain under> epidemiological surveillance, isolated, and without contact with> their families until the deadly disease has been ruled out. In these> cases ''security measures may sound extreme, but prevention is better> than later to have to bear the consequences if nothing was done,"> asserted emphatically the head of the Institute of Forensic Medicine.
"To tell how much a new strain differs from previous ones, researchers test how well its HA is inhibited by antibodies to known strains harvested from infected ferrets. If the antibodies bind well, the new virus is "antigenically close" to those earlier ones; if they don't, the new strain is more distant. These results are used to create complex tables with thousands of numbers, each describing the outcome of one binding assay; they are impenetrable to all but the most experienced researchers."
Now isn't that just what we were saying last week?
Click here to read it all for yourself
Monday, April 21, 2008
A team of scientists from Bolivian Health authorities, the US Navy, and the CDC Special Pathogens Branch has characterized a new Hemorrhagic Arenavirus that they are calling Chapare virus. Although similar in its clinical presentation to the other New World Arenaviruses such as Junin and Machupo, Chapare demonstrates different genetics than both of these two viruses. The disease seems to be found only in a remote part of the Andean foothills of Bolivia and may carry a fatality rate of 30% if untreated. It has been suggested that recent human migration to the area may have brought about increased contact with the assumed rodent carriers of the virus. Read the Pro-Med Post Below:
ARENAVIRUS HEMORRHAGIC FEVER - BOLIVIA: (CHAPARE), NEW ARENAVIRUS
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases <http://www.isid.org>
Date: Thu 17 Apr 2008
Source: EurekAlert! Public News, PLoS [Public Library of Science] Pathogens report [edited] <http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-04/plos-sdn041508.php>
A team of Bolivian health authorities, US Navy health experts based
in Lima, Peru, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) has characterized "Chapare arenavirus," a previously
unrecognized arenavirus, discovered in serum samples from a patient
in rural Bolivia who eventually died of the infection. A full report
of the study is published 18 Apr  in the open-access journal
Named after the Chapare River in the eastern foothills of the Andes,
the new Chapare arenavirus produces clinical hemorrhagic symptoms
similar to those associated with other New World arenaviruses, such
as the Junin, Machupo, Guanarito, and Sabia viruses. Genetically,
however, Chapare is different from each.
Junin, Machupo, and Guanarito viruses have been associated with large
outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever. Initial symptoms often include fever,
malaise, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and anorexia, followed later
by hemorrhagic symptoms. Untreated, more severe neurologic and/or
hemorrhagic symptoms may develop, and death occurs in up to 30
In this study, the authors first tested for yellow fever and dengue
hemorrhagic fevers, but results were negative. Tests for Machupo and
other related viruses also were negative. Sequence analysis of
specific segments of the virus later confirmed it as a unique member
of the clade B New World arenaviruses.
Due to the remote nature of the region where the case occurred, only
a limited description of a possible cluster of cases in the area was
"Further surveillance and ecological investigations should clarify
the nature of the health threat posed by the Chapare virus, and give
us better information on the source of human infection," says CDC
virologist Tom Ksiazek of the Special Pathogens Branch.
"We need to learn more about this virus: how it is related to the
other arenaviruses, how it causes disease, where it lives in nature,"
says Ksiazek. "Together with our colleagues in Bolivia and Peru,
we're anticipating a more intensive investigation that improves our
understanding of the virus, the disease it causes, and its ecology."
[Byline: Craig Manning
Health Communications Specialist
Special Pathogens Branch
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
Delgado S, Erickson BR, Agudo R, Blair PJ, Vallejo E, et al. 2008:
Chapare Virus, a Newly Discovered Arenavirus Isolated from a Fatal
Hemorrhagic Fever Case in Bolivia. PLoS Pathog 4(4): e1000047.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000047 [available at
[PLoS Pathogens (<http://www.plospathogens.org/>) is an open-access
journal that focuses on pathogens and their interactions with hosts.
ProMED-mail Rapporteur A-Lan Banks
[One hopes that this interesting report of a new Bolivian arenavirus
that causes human hemorrhagic disease will prompt timely follow-up
studies on its pathogenesis, epidemiology, and its natural hosts
(presumably wild rodents). The relationship of Chapare virus to other
South American arenaviruses, and especially Machupo virus found in
lowland Bolivia, will be of considerable interest. The Chapare region
is ecologically varied, transitioning from higher elevation foothills
to lower tropical forest. Over the past 20 years, this region has
been the site of considerable human migration from the high plateau
(Altiplano) and inter-Andean valleys into the Chapare for
Almost 6 million people in Mali have been vaccinated against yellow fever in a landmark vaccination campaign this week. About 6 000 health-care providers and 2 000 volunteers were engaged to reach and vaccinate people at risk of contracting yellow fever across southern Mali.
You thought I was gone, but I'm not.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Apparently, flu is endemic year-round in certain areas, not just winter. Wonder if that still fits with the UV theory for flu seasonality...
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Apparently Japan has just announced its plan to vaccinate around 6,000 health care professionals with H5N1 stockpiled vaccines. Officials report that the purpose of this first large-scale vaccination is to test the efficacy and side effects of the vaccine. This represents a governmental policy change, as Japan has stockpiled 10 million doses of the vaccine and in the past only planned on using the vaccine in case of a break-out.
Check out the article here.
Of course, there's no telling if the vaccine would be at all effective considering that if an avian flu pandemic were to hit Japan, it's likely that the newly arisen strain of virus may not be protected for by the current H5N1 vaccine.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Hugs and kisses,
To read more click here
Monday, April 7, 2008
When should the government step in?