THE OUTBREAK

Monthly Archives: July 2014

(Reuters) – China has sealed off parts of its northwestern city of Yumen after a resident died of bubonic plague last week, state media reported on Tuesday. A 38-year-old victim was infected by a marmot, a wild rodent, and died on July 16. Several districts of the city of about 100,000 people in Gansu province were subsequently turned into special quarantine zones, Xinhua said. It said 151 people who came into direct… Read More

Ebola, the highly lethal hemorrhagic fever that can cause people to bleed out of their eyes and ears, is sweeping through West Africa. The current strain is unrelated to those which caused previous outbreaks in Uganda and Congo, meaning health officials are dealing with a new source, which is likely a bat or ape or some other wild animal. But the real root cause may be deforestation, or rather the activities and… Read More

How eating bats, washing victims’ bodies, and a lack of doctors are all contributing to the worst Ebola outbreak of all time. The worst Ebola virus outbreak ever is ravaging Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. So far, the disease has killed 670 people and infected more than 1,000, including an American doctor and aid worker. One reason why Ebola is so terrifying is that there’s no cure, and the fatality rate is… Read More

It’s the Hamptons’ dirty little secret: Dozens of children and adults are being diagnosed with Lyme disease each day as officials mount a campaign to battle ticks. The problem has gotten so bad that Southampton Hospital launched the Tick-Borne Disease Resource Center to help residents bugging out over the tiny blood-suckers. One physician, Dr. Blake Kerr, told The Post he treats 100 patients a week for Lyme disease. “It’s an epidemic,” said… Read More

As 67 new Ebola virus disease (EVD) illnesses in Sierra Leone and Liberia pushed the outbreak total to 1,048 cases, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned about the risk of virus transmission from wildlife, especially fruit bats. Along with new infections, 19 more deaths were reported in Sierra Leone and Liberia, raising the fatality count to 632, according to a Jul 19 update from the World Health Organization (WHO)… Read More

Canada’s only flu vaccine production plant, owned by GSK, has received word from a Health Canada inspection that 10 issues need to be addressed to meet required standards, according to a Canadian Press article today. GSK has until Aug 4 to submit a plan to fix the problems. Health Canada posted a summary of its inspection findings late yesterday. Some major findings related to two new vaccines being made at the plant… Read More

A cross-disciplinary team is calling for public discussion about a potential new way to solve longstanding global ecological problems by using an emerging technology called “gene drives.” The advance could potentially lead to powerful new ways of combating malaria and other insect-borne diseases, controlling invasive species and promoting sustainable agriculture. Representing the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, the Massachusetts Institute… Read More

Saudi Arabian researchers have detected genetic fragments of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the air of a barn holding a camel infected with the virus. The work, published this week in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, indicates that further studies are needed to see if the disease can be transmitted through the air. MERS, a serious viral respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, has… Read More

Study reveals promising information for developing an alternative to antibiotics Research published today in PLOS Pathogens reveals how viruses called bacteriophages destroy the bacterium Clostridium difficile (C. diff), which is becoming a serious problem in hospitals and healthcare institutes, due to its resistance to antibiotics. The study, by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Hamburg, Germany, could help bring about a new way of fighting this and other bacteria…. Read More

Bushmeat, the use of native animal species for food or commercial food sale, has been heavily documented to be a significant factor in the decline of many species of primates and other mammals. However, a new study indicates that more than half of the species being consumed are birds, particularly large birds like raptors and hornbills. “By surveying not only the meat made available for sale but the meat that is being… Read More