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  #301  
Old 02-28-2017, 05:00 PM
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SUPERBUGS

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/27/h...tionfront&_r=0

Quote:
Deadly, Drug-Resistant ‘Superbugs’ Pose Huge Threat, W.H.O. Says

The World Health Organization warned on Monday that a dozen antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” pose an enormous threat to human health, and urged hospital infection-control experts and pharmaceutical researchers to focus on fighting the most dangerous pathogens first.

The rate at which new strains of drug-resistant bacteria have emerged in recent years, prompted by overuse of antibiotics in humans and livestock, terrifies public health experts. Many consider the new strains just as dangerous as emerging viruses like Zika or Ebola.

“We are fast running out of treatment options,” said Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, the W.H.O. assistant director general who released the list. “If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time.”

Britain’s chief medical officer, Sally C. Davies, has described drug-resistant pathogens as a national security threat equivalent to terrorism, and Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the recently retired director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called them “one of our most serious health threats.”



Last week, the European Food Safety Authority and European Center for Disease Prevention and Control estimated that superbugs kill 25,000 Europeans each year; the C.D.C. has estimated that they kill at least 23,000 Americans a year. (For comparison, about 38,000 Americans die in car crashes yearly.)

Most of these deaths occur among older patients in hospitals or nursing homes, or among transplant and cancer patients whose immune systems are suppressed. But some are among the young and healthy: A new study of 48 American pediatric hospitals found that drug-resistant infections in children, while still rare, had increased sevenfold in eight years, which the authors called “ominous.”

......
The W.H.O. listed six pathogens as “high” priority. They include methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA, which is responsible for about a third of “flesh-eating bacteria” infections in the United States, and antibiotic-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes gonorrhea.

The W.H.O.’s third category was “medium priority,” which included drug-resistant versions of Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and shigella, all three of which cause common childhood infections. For now, most of those infections are curable, but doctors fear that resistant strains will push out weaker ones.

Tuberculosis was not on the W.H.O.’s list even though lethal drug-resistant strains — known as MDR-TB and XDR-TB — pose a major threat, because there are programs targeted at it.

.....
The W.H.O. list, Dr. Patel said, will also help a project the W.H.O. began in 2015, the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System.

“We’re at a tipping point,” Dr. Patel said. “We can take action and turn the tide — or lose the drugs we have.”
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  #302  
Old 03-11-2017, 07:42 AM
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FUNGUS

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.435a6386799a

Quote:
Deadly fungal infection that doctors have been fearing now reported in U.S.

Nearly three dozen people in the United States have been diagnosed with a deadly and highly drug-resistant fungal infection since federal health officials first warned U.S. clinicians last June to be on the lookout for the emerging pathogen that has been spreading around the world.

The fungus, a strain of a kind of yeast known as Candida auris, has been reported in a dozen countries on five continents starting in 2009, when it was found in an ear infection in a patient in Japan. Since then, the fungus has been reported in Colombia, India, Israel, Kenya, Kuwait, Pakistan, South Korea, Venezuela and the United Kingdom.

Unlike garden variety yeast infections, this one causes serious bloodstream infections, spreads easily from person to person in health-care settings, and survives for months on skin and for weeks on bed rails, chairs and other hospital equipment. Some strains are resistant to all three major classes of antifungal drugs. Based on information from a limited number of patients, up to 60 percent of people with these infection have died. Many of them also had other serious underlying illnesses.

Those at greatest risk are individuals who have been in intensive care for a long time or who are on ventilators or have central line catheters inserted into a large vein.

.....
Of the first seven cases that were reported to the CDC last fall, four patients had bloodstream infections and died during the weeks to months after the pathogen was identified. Officials said they couldn't be sure whether the deaths were caused by the infection because all the individuals had other serious medical conditions. Five patients had the fungus initially isolated from blood, one from urine, and one from the ear.

The infection is still relatively rare. “It's really hitting the sickest of the sick,” Chiller said.

So far, the fungus doesn't seem to be evolving into new strains within the United States. Because the country doesn't yet have any “homegrown” strains of the deadly fungus, “it gives us a better opportunity to contain it and stop it from spreading,” Chiller said.

In other countries, infections have been resistant to all three major types of antifungal drugs, but so far the U.S. cases have been treatable with existing drugs.

Because invasive bloodstream infections with Candida are common in hospitalized patients in the United States, health officials are concerned that this deadly strain could “get into that mix,” Chiller said. Unlike Candida infections in the mouth, throat or vagina (which are typically called yeast infections), invasive yeast infections can affect the blood, heart, brain, eyes, bones and other parts of the body and are more dangerous.


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  #303  
Old 03-19-2017, 09:22 AM
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VISUALIZATION

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsand...-your-backyard

Quote:
MAP: Find Out What New Viruses Are Emerging In Your Backyard
\.....


More than a dozen new viruses and pathogenic bacteria have appeared in North America in the past 20 years. Europe has had at least 18. Asia 17. Africa seven.

OK. By now, you might be thinking: Aha! I know what it is! Scientists have gotten better at detecting diseases — and the media have gotten better at giving us the heebie-jeebies about them.

That is true, says Barbara Han, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y. But it's not the full picture.

"There's never going to be a perfect way for us to take into account sampling bias," Han says. "But even when we try to compensate for how much more information there is, we just have more diseases overall. The data are very convincing."

Several teams have quantified the global rise in infectious diseases by analyzing disease databases and reviewing studies. They used a few tricks to take into account the fact that over time, doctors and scientists have developed better tools for identifying pathogens.

But still, the studies found a surge in diseases. Old diseases that we thought were gone — like the plague — are returning. New diseases are spreading into new regions. And more dangerous strains of old diseases are cropping up more frequently. (Not to mention the rise in drug-resistant versions.)

The only trend that looks reassuring is that the number of cases in outbreaks per person has declined over the past few decades, researchers at Brown University reported in 2014.

So the big question is: Why? Why is this era of new diseases happening now?

.....
Many scientists say we, humans, are to blame for this new disease era. That we're responsible for turning harmless animal viruses into dangerous human viruses.

Over the next month, NPR's global health team is going to explore why this is the case. We'll look at where these diseases come from. How they're unleashed and how they spread.

And why this isn't just a problem for poor countries. In fact, one of the hot spots for rodent viruses could be right here, stateside, in Nebraska.


http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsand...sneezing-chimp

Quote:
VIDEO: When Humans Got Cozy, Germs Got Deadly

Humans get along pretty well with most microbes. Which is lucky, because there are a lot more of them in the world than there are of us. We couldn't even live without many of them. But a few hundred have evolved, and are still evolving, to exploit our bodies in ways that can make us really sick. These are the microbes we call germs. Think plague, flu, HIV, SARS, Ebola, Zika, measles.

This is a series is about where germs come from. In this first of three episodes, we see what our early encounters with germs may have been like — and how germs first got the upper hand.

Next up: Episode 2: The Golden Age of Germs

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsand...n-age-of-germs

Quote:
Germ History: From Measles To Syphilis, How We Created The Golden Age Of Germs

Ten thousand years ago, at the dawn of the agricultural revolution, many of our worst infectious diseases didn't exist.

Here's what changed.

With the rise of agriculture, for the first time in history humans were living in close contact with domesticated animals — milking them, taking care of them and, of course, eating them. All that touching and sharing gave animal germs plenty of chances to get inside us.

Take measles. Researchers think that up until about 5,000 years ago, it didn't exist. But its older cousin rinderpest, a cattle disease, did. When humans began spending so much quality time with cows, little rinderpest germs started jumping over into us. And a few of the germs had a mutation that allowed rinderpest to evolve from a cattle disease into measles, a deadly human virus.

As if that weren't bad enough, something else was happening around this time that supercharged the degree of damage this new measles virus could do. It has to do with the magic number of 500,000. When the world's first cities hit the half-million mark, it meant that there were now enough humans living together that measles and other germs had a steady and potentially endless supply of humans to infect.

Along with measles, scientists think other nasty diseases such as mumps, diphtheria, scarlet fever and whooping cough all evolved to live permanently in humans around 3,000 B.C.

But our ancestors had no idea what the problem was — or how to fix it. See how humans finally get a clue, in Episode 3, coming Feb. 16.
part 3:
http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsand...ms-keep-coming
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  #304  
Old 03-19-2017, 09:24 AM
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NIPAH


swine flu:
http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsand...jump-to-humans

Quote:
A Taste For Pork Helped A Deadly Virus Jump To Humans

Listen· 7:28
....
The new virus — eventually called Nipah — is on the World Health Organization's list of viruses most likely to cause a global pandemic. It's the virus that inspired the 2011 movie Contagion. And just this past January, governments and philanthropists pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to develop a Nipah vaccine because it poses such a big threat.

Back in 1999, Nipah was spreading across Malaysia. And Chua was the only one who knew it.

But nobody believed him. Chua was still training in virology at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur and didn't have clout or confidence.

"I called my department head at his home. I said, 'Prof, please come. I want to show you something,' " Chua says.

Chua's professor told him to throw away the experiments — that Chua was wasting time. But Chua didn't throw away the virus. Instead he packed it up and brought the samples to the U.S.

.....
When a scientist put the samples into the microscope, Chua says a sense of great fear rushed through him: "The moment I saw the screen, I said 'Goodness! It's a paramyxo!' "

The image revealed the telltale signs of a frightening group of viruses: paramyxoviruses.

These viruses come from livestock, not mosquitoes. And they often infect the lungs. So they can spread rapidly through the air. Measles is a type of paramyxovirus, and it's one of the most contagious viruses on Earth.

Chua quickly realized just how dangerous this virus could be. He rushed to a phone and called officials in Malaysia. "Stop fighting mosquitoes!" he told them. "It's coming from pigs."

The Malaysian government listened. And it did something very drastic.

"Malaysia's army moved in for the country's biggest-ever animal culling," Journeyman Pictures reported in a documentary back in 1999. "Almost 1 million pigs, shoved into pits and shot."

Awali Muniandy helped with the pig culling. He says it was a horrific scene.

......
Huge pig farms turned into virus factories

It took more than a decade to figure all out, but eventually scientists realized that pigs had been getting Nipah virus for years. Maybe more. They very likely picked it up from bats.

But the outbreaks were small. And no one really noticed because the farms were small.

"In the olden days, the pigs were running and the family would look after a few pigs," neurologist Tan says.

Then in the '80s and '90s, Malaysia went through a massive economic boom. Families were entering the middle class. They could afford to eat pork several times a week.

So farmers changed the way they raised pigs. They started packing the pigs into tight quarters and industrializing the farms. They could produce more meat with fewer resources. But the productivity bump came with a cost: "When a virus got into the pigs, it could multiply very quickly," Tan says.

When you have thousands and thousands of pigs on one farm, there's a seemingly endless supply of new piglets to infect. The pig factory becomes a virus factory. The virus spreads like wildfire through the whole farm. Hops to another farm. And eventually jumps into farmers.

......
In Malaysia, pig farms have gotten cleaner. Farmers break large farms into smaller ones and keep pigs isolated from other animals and people. As a result, Nipah has stayed away.

But across Asia, there have been at least 16 outbreaks of Nipah since 1999 — in India, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

And there are signs the virus is becoming more dangerous. In the Malaysian outbreak, the fatality rate was about 40 percent, and the virus didn't seem to spread between people. But more recently, Nipah has killed up to 70 percent of those infected — and can spread not only from animals to people but also between people.

"The world is changing so fast," says Tan. And sometimes the only way to keep up is when a scientist like Chua isn't afraid to challenge the status quo.

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  #305  
Old 03-19-2017, 09:32 AM
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TICK-BORNE DISEASES
UNITED STATES

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsand...he-rise-in-u-s

Quote:
Beyond Lyme: New Tick-Borne Diseases On The Rise In U.S.

.....
Over the past 60 years, the number of new diseases cropping up per decade has almost quadrupled. The number of disease outbreaks each year has more than tripled since 1980.

The U.S. is no exception.

The country is a hot spot for tick-borne diseases. In the past 50 years, scientists have detected at least a dozen new diseases transmitted by ticks.

"The more we look, in a sense, the more we find," says Felicia Keesing, an ecologist at Bard College in upstate New York. "Around here, there's anaplasmosis, babesiosis and a bacterium related to Lyme, which causes similar symptoms."

And that's just in the Northeast.

In the Midwest, you can find Heartland virus, a new Lyme-like disease and Bourbon virus — which is thought to be spread by ticks but hasn't been proven yet. In the South, there's Southern tick-associated rash illness. Out west, there's a new type of spotted fever. And across a big swath of the country, there's a disease called ehrlichiosis.

Most of these diseases are still rare. But one is especially worrying. "It's a scary one," Keesing says.

"Our local tick — this blacklegged tick — occasionally carries a deadly virus that's called Powassan virus," says Rick Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y.

Powassan is named after a town in Ontario, Canada, where the virus was discovered in 1958. Now it's here in the U.S. The country records about seven cases each year on the East Coast and in the Upper Midwest.

What makes Powassan so dangerous is that it attacks the brain, making it swell up. In about 10 percent of cases, Powassan is deadly. And if you do recover, you have about a 50 percent chance of permanent neurological damage.
My strategy of staying indoors is looking better and better all the time
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  #306  
Old 03-21-2017, 10:27 AM
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Conspiracy Theories and Polio Vaccinations

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/a...ill-have-polio
Quote:
While the governments of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria have committed to the distribution of polio vaccines, they can't control the underground networks created by Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram, and Islamic State, or ISIS.
. .
Part of this resistance is grounded in the US-led assassination of Osama bin Laden, who was found, in part, due to a 2011 Hepatitis B immunization campaign orchestrated by the CIA. Since the Taliban and Islamic State figured out the role of this strategic faux-health campaign, they have been waging a war against health workers, including those dispatched to disseminate the polio vaccine in rural areas. Meanwhile, the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA is still in jail.
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  #307  
Old 04-12-2017, 01:21 PM
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MUMPS
UNITED STATES

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https://twitter.com/Ryan_Mac_Phd/sta...508928/photo/1

Quote:
Last year there were ~5,700 cases of Mumps virus in US.
We're on pace to exceed that by 51% in 2017.
Via @CDCgov
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  #308  
Old 04-28-2017, 07:36 PM
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TEXAS
MUMPS

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health...r-high-n745821

Quote:
Texas Mumps Cases Hit 20-Year High

Mumps cases have hit a 20-year high in Texas and the highly contagious virus is infecting spring break travelers to popular beaches, state health officials said Wednesday.

The virus is rarely deadly but it can cause discomfort as salivary glands swell up. It can also cause deafness and, very rarely, dangerous encephalitis, or swelling of the brain.

....
"Texas has had 221 mumps cases this year, the largest total since there were 234 cases in 1994."

It can take two to three weeks or even longer for symptoms of mumps to develop. College students are especially vulnerable as they share bottles, glasses, cutlery and as they kiss and share food frequently.

"Mumps cases potentially linked to South Padre Island first came to light this week when another state health department contacted [the Department of State health Services] about a patient with mumps who had traveled to the area for spring break," the department said.

"Mumps symptoms include swollen or tender salivary glands, swollen or tender testicles, low fever, tiredness and muscle aches," it added. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, despite rumors, the swollen testicles rarely end up causing infertility in men.

Nearby Arkansas is fighting a very large outbreak, with more than 2,900 cases under investigation. Many are among immigrants from the Marshall Islands.

"Throughout this outbreak, 90 percent to 95 percent of school-aged children and 30 percent to 40 percent of adults involved in the outbreak have been fully immunized," the Arkansas health department says on its website.

"The vaccine is not perfect. Two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) shot are about 88 percent effective at preventing the mumps. That means that if you have 100 people who are fully vaccinated, 88 of them will be fully protected," it adds.


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  #309  
Old 05-05-2017, 04:40 PM
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MEASLES
MINNESOTA

https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...=.1f7ef395756d

Quote:
Anti-vaccine activists spark a state’s worst measles outbreak in decades

The young mother started getting advice early on from friends in the close-knit Somali immigrant community here. Don’t let your children get the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella — it causes autism, they said.

Suaado Salah listened. And this spring, her 3-year-old boy and 18-month-old girl contracted measles in Minnesota’s largest outbreak of the highly infectious and potentially deadly disease in nearly three decades. Her daughter, who had a rash, high fever and cough, was hospitalized for four nights and needed intravenous fluids and oxygen.

“I thought: ‘I’m in America. I thought I’m in a safe place and my kids will never get sick in that disease,’ ” said Salah, 26, who has lived in Minnesota for more than a decade. Growing up in Somalia, she’d had measles as a child. A sister died of the disease at age 3.

Salah no longer believes that the MMR vaccine triggers autism, a discredited theory that spread rapidly through the local Somali community, fanned by meetings organized by anti-vaccine groups. The advocates repeatedly invited Andrew Wakefield, the founder of the modern anti-vaccine movement, to talk to worried parents.

Immunization rates plummeted, and last month the first cases of measles appeared. Soon there was a full-blown outbreak, one of the starkest consequences of an intensifying anti-vaccine movement in the United States and around the world that has gained traction in part by targeting specific communities.

.....
MMR vaccination rates among U.S.-born children of Somali descent used to be higher than among other children in Minnesota. But the rates plummeted from 92 percent in 2004 to 42 percent in 2014, state health department data shows, well below the threshold of 92 to 94 percent needed to protect a community against measles.

Wakefield, a British activist who now lives in Texas, visited Minneapolis at least three times in 2010 and 2011 to meet privately with Somali parents of autistic children, according to local anti-vaccine advocates. Wakefield’s prominence stems from a 1998 study he authored that claimed to show a link between the vaccine and autism. The study was later identified as fraudulent and was retracted by the medical journal that published it, and his medical license was revoked.

The current outbreak was identified in early April. As of Friday, there were 44 cases, all but two occurring in people who were not vaccinated and all but one in children 10 or younger. Nearly all have been from the Somali American community in Hennepin County. A fourth of the patients have been hospitalized. Because of the dangerously low vaccination rates and the disease’s extreme infectiousness, more cases are expected in the weeks ahead.
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:13 PM
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EBOLA

Ebola Kills 3 in Democratic Republic of Congo: WHO

Quote:
Three people have died from an Ebola outbreak in a remote northern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as health officials travel to the central African country in response to a rising number of suspected cases, the World Health Organization says.

Last week, WHO reported one Ebola-related death and the possibility of two others. On Saturday, the organization confirmed the other two deaths were also Ebola-related.

The first case, which came April 22, involved a 45-year-old man. The taxi driver who took the man to the hospital and a person who cared for the man both became sick and later died, WHO said.

All three deaths came in the Likati health district of Bas-Uele province, which borders the Central African Republic.

Bas-Uele province, with a population of 900,000 in 2007, is mostly inhabited by the Boa tribe, which subsists through farming and hunting and conducts some trade by way of the Uele River.

Health officials are investigating 17 other suspected cases, Dr. Ernest Dabire, WHO’s health cluster coordinator, said Sunday in Kinshasa. He further estimated that 125 people had been linked to the confirmed Ebola cases and urged the public to be vigilant and visit their doctor if they experience fever or other symptoms.

Symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and hemorrhaging can begin two to 21 days after exposure.
But no worries, folks:

Quote:
Though the scope of the outbreak is not yet known, WHO is not recommending any restrictions on trade with or travel to DRC.
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