MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Poultry producers and scientists have been hoping warmer weather would knock down a virulent strain of bird flu that has hammered the Midwest, but the virus recently took its biggest toll yet, hitting a farm in Iowa that held...
Ed Rybicki's insight:
Possibly not bigger than what happened in China and Hong Kong....
Last fall, with the Ebola epidemic raging, the small nation of Benin, a few countries away from the outbreak zone, experienced a cluster of unexplained deaths.
In mid-October, a 12-day-old baby was taken to a hospital in Tanguiéta, in northwest Benin, and died two days later. By early November, three employees of the hospital, St. Jean de Dieu, were dead too.
Ultimately, 16 people fell ill and nine died, including a prominent pediatrician. Ebola was suspected because of symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. But in mid-November, lab tests were negative for the virus.
“There was a lot of panic,” Catherine Smallwood, a technical officer with the World Health Organization, said. “They didn’t know what it was.” W.H.O. described the incident recently in a report on its website.
The day the Ebola tests came back negative, Dr. Smallwood and a W.H.O.-led team happened to arrive in Benin, part of an effort to help 14 vulnerable African countries prepare for a possible Ebola outbreak. The team suggested that the samples be tested for Lassa fever, a related virus that had never been seen in Benin.
Ninety-nine percent of human deaths are caused by dog bites, with India having the most rabies deaths — almost 21,000 a year.
Rabies kills 59,000 people a year, or about 160 a day — more than had previously been assumed — according to a study published last week.
The report, based on mathematical modeling, is higher than previous estimates based on officially reported deaths, the authors said. It was produced by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control and published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Although India has the most rabies deaths — almost 21,000 a year — many African countries have higher per capita death rates. China also has a high death rate from rabies.
Although all mammalian animals can get rabies, 99 percent of human deaths from rabies are caused by dog bites.
LONDON (Reuters) - The world's first malaria vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, could be approved by international regulators for use in Africa from October after final trial data showed it offered partial...
The city imposed a quarantine of schools, theaters and other public gatherings. Poolrooms were closed and public funerals were banned. Factory schedules were staggered to prevent crowding on streetcars.
Twenty years ago most people (including many scientists) thought of bacteria solely as agents of disease, best treated with disinfectants and antibiotics. Today, most of us are aware that bacteria make up almost 90% of the cells in our bodies, and play a critical role in digestion and the immune response. In plants, bacteria also form important mutualistic relationships, providing nitrogen fixation, growth enhancement and defence against pathogens, and undoubtedly a host of other functions that have yet to be described. The stigma of bacteria has changed dramatically in recent decades, and most people are aware that we need our good microbes.
Although there have been recent efforts to characterize the plant microbiome with a focus on finding beneficial microbes, viruses generally have not been included in the beneficial microbe lists (Berg et al., 2014, and references cited therein). Recent work has indicated that they can also play important and beneficial roles in plants, especially in extreme environments in which they are involved in conferring tolerance to drought, cold and hot soil temperatures (Roossinck, 2011). Beneficial viruses are defined for the purposes of this discussion as viruses that provide a trait to crop plants that increases their value or growth potential, or decreases the need for the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
Cases of H5N1 have inexplicably increased, and a study of genetic sequences in victims shows some mutations that may make humans more susceptible.
Cases of H5N1 avian flu have been surging in Egypt since the fall. Egypt has now passed Indonesia as the country with the most human cases in total since the virus was first found in Hong Kong almost 20 years ago.
About a third of the 336 cases Egypt has reported to theWorld Health Organization since 2006 have been fatal. H5N1 avian flu still has killed more people in Indonesia.
Despite the sudden unexplained increase — Egypt has officially reported 125 cases since January — the World Health Organization said the country’s “current risk status” has not changed.
Nearly all cases still appear to involve contact with poultry; the disease has long been endemic in birds throughout Egypt, where many households have small poultry flocks. Transmission from birds to humans continues to be sporadic, the W.H.O. said.
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