Monthly Archives: August 2014

The pathogens posing the greatest risk to Europe based upon a proxy for impact have been identified by University of Liverpool researchers using a ‘big data’ approach to scientific research. The researchers from the University’s Institute of Infection and Global Health ranked the top 100 pathogens affecting humans and the top 100 affecting domestic animals using a system which, they believe, will help governments across the continent plan for risks associated with… Read More

Rabies (and rabies virus, its causative agent) is usually transmitted through the bite of an infected animal into muscle tissue of the new host. From there, the virus travels all the way to the brain where it multiplies and causes the usually fatal disease. An article published on August 28th in PLOS Pathogens sheds light on how the virus hijacks the transport system in nerve cells to reach the brain with maximal… Read More

Ebola has struck an area in the northern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with at least two confirmed fatal cases, but authorities say it is not the same strain as in West Africa, according to media reports and the World Health Organization (WHO). DRC Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi announced on state television yesterday that 2 of 8 samples from patients in Djera, in the Boende region of Equateur… Read More

Ten years ago the equine influenza virus (EIV) A/H3N8, a common cause of respiratory infections in horses, turned up in dogs. Now Chinese researchers report that domestic cats in a lab setting are susceptible to the same virus and can spread it to other cats. Writing in Emerging Infectious Diseases, the researchers report that they inoculated six cats intranasally with H3N8. A day later, they placed five pathogen-free cats in the same… Read More

TORONTO – Canada is in the process of evacuating its three-member mobile laboratory team from Sierra Leone over concerns for the safety of the scientists as the World Health Organization investigates how an African doctor who worked at the same field unit as the Canadians contracted Ebola. The Public Health Agency of Canada said late Tuesday that the team is being recalled to Canada after people at the hotel complex where they… Read More

The standard thinking on MERS-CoV is that it doesn’t spread very easily, other than in healthcare settings with weak infection control precautions. A new study looking for transmission of the virus in the households of Saudi Arabian patients in 2013 seems to fit well with that view, though it has some limitations. An international team of researchers looked for MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) infection in 280 household contacts of 26… Read More

Initial human testing of an investigational vaccine to prevent Ebola virus disease will begin next week by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. The early-stage trial will begin initial human testing of a vaccine co-developed by NIAID and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and will evaluate the experimental vaccine’s safety and ability to generate an immune system response in healthy adults. Testing will take place… Read More

PUNE: Rabies claimed another life in the city on Tuesday, taking the death toll this year to 18 so far. Forty-five-year-old Rambhau Appa Tonde from Daund taluka died at the Naidu Infectious Diseases Hospital on August 26. Tonde was bitten by a dog on August 14. He did not take anti-rabies vaccine and fast-acting rabies antibodies on scheduled days which caused his death, said a civic official. “Tonde was admitted to Naidu… Read More

(Reuters) – Democratic Republic of Congo has sent its health minister and a team of experts to the remote northern Equateur province after several people died there from a disease with Ebola-like symptoms, a local official and a professor said on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear if there was any connection with Ebola. An epidemic of that disease has killed more than 1,200 people in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria…. Read More

There are conflicting reports over the fate of 17 suspected Ebola patients who vanished after a quarantine centre in the Liberian capital was looted. An angry mob attacked the centre in Monrovia’s densely populated West Point township on Saturday evening. A senior health official said all of the patients had been moved to another medical facility. But a reporter told the BBC that 17 had escaped while 10 others were taken away… Read More

H7N9 avian flu, which emerged in humans in China in the spring of 2013 and has since caused more than 450 cases, was found to replicate well in both the upper and lower respiratory tracts of cynomolgus macaques, a model for humans, and to show extended replication in the upper tract, indicating the possibility of prolonged shedding and transmissibility, say findings of a study today in mBio. Macaques were used because they… Read More

A World Health Organization (WHO) ethics panel said today that it’s ethical to use unlicensed experimental drugs and vaccines to fight West Africa’s Ebola epidemic, as media reports said the last available doses of one such drug are being sent to Liberia to treat two doctors stricken by the disease. At a press conference, Marie-Paule Kieny, PhD, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health systems and innovation, said a committee of a dozen… Read More