Monthly Archives: May 2014

We have only known about Lyme disease since 1975, but now the discovery of an amber-encased 15-million-year-old tick has revealed that the bacteria that causes the disease has been around much, much longer than the human race. The discovery was made by George Poinar, Jr. from Oregon State University, and the findings were published in Historical Biology. Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria in the genus Borrelia, which uses ticks as… Read More

After leveling off over the past few weeks, Ebola virus activity in West Africa sparked up again on two fronts, in a newly affected area of Guinea and in Sierra Leone, which had not had a previous outbreak case, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest updates. In Guinea, eight new cases and three more deaths were reported from three districts. Three of the infections were reported from Telimele prefecture,… Read More

Editor’s note: W. Ian Lipkin is John Snow professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. (CNN) — A third case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in the United States has been reported. An unidentified Illinois man was infected after having “extended face-to-face contact” with an Indiana man who was diagnosed with the… Read More

Only one prefecture in Guinea—Gueckedou—has reported continued community transmission  and deaths in the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak there as of May 18, says an update from the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa. Gueckedou is the prefecture that has seen the most clinical cases (168, with 123 deaths) during the outbreak, which began earlier this spring. The cumulative total for clinical cases stands at 253, with 176 deaths. Confirmed… Read More

The US, Canadian, and Mexican governments formally agreed yesterday that during health emergencies they will share communications plans and statements with one another before releasing them to the public. The three countries signed a declaration of intent on the subject at the 67th World Health Assembly in Geneva, according to an announcement from the Canadian government. “Infectious diseases are not limited by countries’ borders, and neither are the ways through which we… Read More

Saudi Arabia today reported seven new Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases, one of them fatal, as details emerged that Filipinos are among the recent deaths. Six of the new Saudi cases are from areas that have reported several recent infections, such as Jeddah (4), Medina (1), and Riyadh (1). But one of the patients is from Gonfothah, on the southwestern coast of the country, according to a statement from Saudi… Read More

Drug-resistant bacteria annually sicken 2 million Americans and kill at least 23,000. A driving force behind this growing public health threat is the ability of bacteria to share genes that provide antibiotic resistance. Bacteria that naturally live in the soil have a vast collection of genes to fight off antibiotics, but they are much less likely to share these genes, a new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in… Read More

The sharp rise in Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases and the impact of the disease are concerning, but it doesn’t meet the definition of a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today, following its emergency committee’s deliberations yesterday. Keiji Fukuda, MD, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health security and environment, said at a media telebriefing today that after the committee heard from outside… Read More

  “We had a half-dozen dogs – Labs, pointers – die: They’d just fall over,” Berdon Lawrence said. “Nobody knew what was going on.” Lawrence, a Houston businessman, recalled one dog in particular that made him determined to discover what was happening to the working canines housed on his South Texas ranch. On a quail hunt, a seemingly perfectly healthy pointer was zigzagging through the brush. “The pointer was working quail and… Read More

  NEWBURYPORT — Local veterinarians have been notified that the canine influenza has arrived in Greater Newburyport. Dog owners who were unaware that there is even a dog flu aren’t alone. Canine influenza was first discovered in Florida in 2005, and while the virus will have pockets of outbreaks and has made appearances in other states, this is the first time it has ever been seen in dogs in Massachusetts, said Dr…. Read More

  YARMOUTH — Confirmed and probable cases of Lyme disease in Nova Scotia nearly tripled in 2013 over the previous year. The dramatic hike in numbers was not unexpected, said provincial Health and Wellness Department officials. The number of cases, including probable ones, in 2013 was 155, department spokesman Tony Kiritsis said recently. In 2012, the number of cases was 52, and in 2011, it was 57. “There could be a lot… Read More

Discover Magazine’s Rebecca Kreston writes about some key public health issues surrounding dogs and humans from an historical and a contemporary context. “The state of veterinary health is too rarely considered as an integral component of human public health, but the two are intimately intertwined: what infects farm animals, domestic pets and flying fowl often affects us two-legged mammals as well, as outbreaks of SARS, swine flu, and West Nile Virus have… Read More