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  #91  
Old 03-31-2015, 12:06 PM
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Well, in some places they are bringing back DDT use, it sounds like. So maybe the mosquito eradication programs will do it.

Or perhaps genetic engineering of the mosquitos or something.
My understanding was that the DDT was being used in mosquito nets which were being distributed for free by NGOs. So that's a little different than just spraying DDT everywhere.

I hadn't heard about any plan to actually eradicate mosquitoes. That sounds dangerous from a food-chain perspective, although it sure would be nice to not get bitten by those suckers.
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Old 03-31-2015, 12:11 PM
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How about a spray that inoculates mosquitos against malaria?
I've wondered about this too. Or maybe you don't even need a spray. Maybe you just alter some mosquitoes in a lab to be immune to malaria and pass that trait on to their offspring. Then flood areas with said mosquitoes.

I recall reading about altering male mosquitoes to be incapable of reproducing. Then if mosquitoes are really bad, an environmentally friendly way of culling them is to dump the altered mosquitoes at a rate of 100x the population. That way any given female mosquito has a 99.5% chance of mating with an infertile male, and only 0.5% of the population will produce offspring.

I wonder if they could do something similar with malaria-resistant mosquitoes. It seems like within a few generations you might be able to eradicate or nearly eradicate malaria from the mosquito population.

The tricky part is probably finding a way to create malaria-resistant mosquitoes in the first place.
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Old 03-31-2015, 12:14 PM
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Cool! A relative picked up a MRSA infection in a hospital and it was nasty.
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  #94  
Old 03-31-2015, 11:02 PM
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ENTEROVIRUS

http://www.wired.com/2015/03/mysteri...ed-cold-virus/
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  #95  
Old 04-04-2015, 07:01 PM
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DRUG-RESISTANT SHIGELLA

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsod...nds-in-the-u-s

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This time last year, a painful new virus was knocking on our doorstep. Travelers were bringing chikungunya to the U.S. And eventually, the mosquito-borne virus set up shop in Florida.

Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says another nasty pathogen is hitching a ride to the U.S. with travelers: multidrug-resistant Shigella.

A woman protects her child's face in Managua, Nicaragua, as health workers fumigate for mosquitoes that carry chikungunya. The virus started spreading through Nicaragua and Mexico in the fall.

Shigella is just about as bad as the word sounds. The bacteria infect your intestines and trigger crampy rectal pain, bloody or mucus-laced diarrhea and vomiting.

Multidrug-resistant Shigella has caused several outbreaks over the past year in the U.S., the CDC reports Thursday in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. At least 243 people have gotten sick and about 20 percent were hospitalized.

Those numbers may not sound like much — especially when you consider a half-million Americans get regular shigellosis each year.

So what's the big deal? Well, this strain of Shigella is resistant to the go-to drug for the bacteria: ciprofloxacin.

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Old 04-05-2015, 07:41 PM
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ZOONOTIC DISEASES

http://www.economist.com/blogs/econo...st-explains-18

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NEW human pathogens arise in two ways. They may evolve from old ones, or they may jump to humanity from other species. The second is the more common route. Infections that jump in this way are called zoonotic diseases, or zoonoses. This seems to have been the route taken by Ebola fever, the latest outbreak of which has claimed more than 10,000 lives.

Ebola is suspected of being bat-borne, though that has yet to be proved beyond doubt. Bats also look like the origin of MERS, a viral illness that appeared in 2012 in the Middle East, and SARS, another virus, which burst upon the world from southern China at the end of 2002. HIV, meanwhile, came from other primates. The pandemic version, HIV1, was once a chimpanzee virus. HIV2, largely restricted to west Africa, came from the sooty mangabey, a monkey. Some older human diseases, too, are constantly replenished from animals. Influenza is an infection of pigs and poultry that subsequently spreads to people. Not every crossover is successful from the virus’s point of view. HIV1, which has been researched intensively, is known to have spread many times to people and then petered out, before one strain of it got lucky. But it only takes one strain to make the leap successfully for trouble to start.

Zoonoses are particularly likely to develop when people and animals live in close proximity to each other. One reason southern China often spawns them (SARS was not unique; a lot of influenza begins there, too) is that the region has a plethora of small farms, in which many species of animal live in close quarters with each other and with human beings. The constant crossing of pathogens between the species involved makes it more likely that one will emerge that can thrive in people. Agriculture is not the only sort of proximity that can foster zoonotic disease. HIV1 is suspected to have started with a hunter who killed a chimpanzee in the forest. In this context, the extensive clearance of forests, at present a serious environmental issue in many poor countries, brings people into habitats they might previously not have visited. That, in turn, is suspected by some to be increasing the amount of zoonotic disease.

All this suggests that disease-surveillance, which currently concentrates on people, needs to be expanded to look at animals as well. That is beginning to happen. In particular, a group called Global Viral, based in San Francisco, is developing a network of investigators in tropical countries who are watching for signs of crossover by monitoring both animals and people. As the example of HIV shows, not every transfer of a pathogen from an animal to a human being results in an epidemic. But, as in all battles, forewarned is forearmed.

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Old 04-13-2015, 05:11 PM
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POWASSAN VIRUS
TICK BORNE DISEASES

http://time.com/3817208/powassan-vir...e/?xid=fbshare

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Virus could cause permanent neurological damage, and has no cure

Don’t just worry about Lyme disease this summer—Powassan virus is also spread by ticks, and doctors say it could be much more dangerous.

Ticks in the Northeast and around the Great Lakes are carrying the Powassan virus, which can cause encephalitis and meningitis, leaving about half of survivors with permanent neurological symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10% of Powassan virus cases are fatal.

Doctors told CBS2 that symptoms of Powassan are similar to Lyme disease, but much more severe, and that the patients can start exhibiting symptoms—including vomiting, fever, confusion and weakness—just minutes after infection. There is no known treatment or cure.

Powassan is still much less common than Lyme disease. There were only 12 reported cases in 2013, the highest number since 2004 (there were also 12 cases in 2011), according to the CDC.

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Old 04-19-2015, 05:36 PM
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MYSTERIOUS DISEASE



https://sg.news.yahoo.com/mysterious...002202860.html
Quote:
A "mysterious" disease that kills patients within 24 hours has claimed at least 18 lives in a southeastern Nigerian town, the government said Saturday.
"Twenty-three people (were affected) and 18 deaths were recorded," the Ondo state health commissioner, Dayo Adeyanju, told AFP.
The government spokesman for the state, Kayode Akinmade, earlier gave a toll of 17 dead.
.....
The disease, whose symptoms include headache, weight loss, blurred vision and loss of consciousness, killed the victims within a day of falling ill, he said.
Laboratory tests have so far ruled out Ebola or any other virus, Akinmade said.
The World Health Organization meanwhile said it had information on 14 cases with at least 12 dead.
"Common symptoms were sudden blurred vision, headache, loss of consciousness followed by death, occurring within 24 hours," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told AFP by email, adding that an investigation was ongoing.
Another WHO spokesman, Gregory Hartl, told AFP that according to a preliminary report, all those affected began showing symptoms between April 13 and 15.
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Old 04-21-2015, 10:08 AM
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PANDAS

http://nautil.us/issue/23/dominoes/y...ign=pockethits

Quote:
Yes, You Can Catch Insanity
A controversial disease revives the debate about the immune system and mental illness.

......
As his behaviors worsened, both parents prepared themselves for the possibility that he’d have to be home-schooled or even institutionalized. Searching for some explanation, they came across a controversial diagnosis called pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococci, or PANDAS. First proposed in 1998, PANDAS linked the sudden onset of psychiatric symptoms like Isak’s to strep infections.

They didn’t give it much thought. Periodic strep tests on Isak had always come back negative. And his symptoms seemed too dramatic to be the result of a simple, common childhood infection.

But as Isak’s illness dragged into its fourth year, they reconsidered the possibility. The year before the epic meltdowns began, his older brother had four strep infections; perhaps it was more than coincidence. In September 2013, three and a half years after his first tics appeared, a pediatric infectious-disease specialist in Boston put Isak on azithromycin, a common antibiotic used to treat food poisoning, severe ear infections, and particularly persistent cases of strep throat.

The results were dramatic. Isak’s crippling fear vanished within days. Then he stopped grunting. Less than a week after starting his son on the antibiotic, Adam McCune saw Isak smile for the first time in nearly four years. After a few weeks, the tantrums that had held the family hostage for years faded away.

.....
PANDAS represents a striking branch of medical research that has been gaining acceptance in recent years, though not without controversy. In a field known as immunopsychiatry, researchers are exploring the possibility that inflammation, or an overactive immune system, is linked to mental disorders that include depression, schizophrenia, and Alzheimers’ disease.

A host of recent genetic and epidemiological studies “have shown that when people are depressed or have psychotic episodes, inflammatory markers are found in their blood,” says Golam Khandaker, a senior clinical research associate at the University of Cambridge, in England, who studies inflammation and the brain.

In the case of PANDAS, when the body reacts to strep infection, parts of the brain that help regulate motion and behavior wind up caught in the crossfire, mistaken for bacterial invaders by cells bent on destroying them. Eliminate the inflammation, some doctors say, and you signal the immune system to stand down, restoring normal brain function.

.....
The emergence of immunopsychiatry is a story of rediscovery, reflecting the twists and turns of mental health treatment over the last century. In the 19th century, mental illness and infectious disease were closely linked. That connection came uncoupled in the 20th century and immunopsychiatry’s argument that infection and inflammation can have a profound impact on the brain has struggled against psychiatric and neurological dogma. Yet emerging insights into mental illness unite the brain, body, and environment in ways that doctors and therapists are finally beginning to understand.

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Old 05-02-2015, 06:48 AM
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RUBELLA

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2015/may/01...s-third-virus/

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Health worker Jackie Carnegie delivers a rubella vaccine in Colorado in 1972.
Photo by Ira Gay Sealy Denver Post via Getty Images
Health worker Jackie Carnegie delivers a rubella vaccine in Colorado in 1972.
AUDIO

Aired 5/1/15
It took 15 years and hundreds of millions of vaccines. But North America and South America have officially eradicated rubella, health authorities said Wednesday. Rubella is only the third virus eradicated from people in the Western Hemisphere.

Also known as German measles, rubella causes only a mild illness in children, with a rash and sometimes a fever.

But when pregnant women catch rubella, their babies can develop serious birth defects, like heart problems, blindness and learning disabilities. The virus can also trigger miscarriages early in a pregnancy.

In the early 2000s, the Pan American Health Organization set a goal to eradicate rubella in the Americas by 2010. The last reported regional case occurred in Argentina in 2009, said PAHO's director, Dr. Carissa Etienne at a press briefing in Washington on Wednesday.

"The fight against rubella has has paid off with what I believe will be one of the important Pan American public health achievements of the 21st century," Etienne said.

In other places around the world, about 120,000 babies each year still catch a serious form of rubella, the agency said. Most of these cases occur in Africa and Southeast Asia.

The Americas wiped out rubella with huge vaccination campaigns for teenagers and adults, the PAHO said. Today most babies in the region get a shot before their first birthday, then a second shot before they go to school.

The eradication of rubella doesn't mean we'll never see the virus again in the U.S. People still bring it here from other countries. But it doesn't spread far because so many Americans are vaccinated.

The Americas have led the way when it comes to eradicating diseases. It was the first region in the world to eradicate smallpox in 1971 and then polio in 1994. And the PAHO already has its sights on another target.

"With rubella under our belt, now it's time to roll up our sleeves and finish the job of eliminating measles as well," Etienne said.

PAHO says it hopes to declare the Americas measles-free in the next year or so. The last endemic case was reported back in 2002. But recent outbreaks here in the U.S. and in Brazil have set back the effort.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
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