Toronto Star HPV test should replace Pap test as first screen for cervical cancer, experts say Toronto Star HPV testing should replace the Pap smear as the first screening procedure for cervical cancer for women over 30, recommends Cancer Care...
Health experts report that deaths from the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa are slowing, which is a sign that the latest outbreak of the deadly virus may finally be getting under control. The current outbreak has killed more than 120 people and, unlike previous outbreaks, has spread beyond the forested rural villages into a big city.
Guinea’s health ministry told the media that the number of new cases has fallen dramatically. Once they are sure there are no more new cases, the outbreak will be considered under control.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the death toll from the 2014 Ebola outbreak is now 121 people in Guinea and Liberia. Officials in those two countries and other neighboring countries that may have been affected have reported approximately 200 patients confirmed or suspected to have the virus. However, that figure includes some cases from Mali, which the government there reported today turned out not to be Ebola. The vast majority of victims are in Guinea, where the current outbreak began. Officials have reported 168 cases in Guinea, including 108 deaths. Liberia has reported 13 deaths from the virus.
A Filipino male nurse has been confirmed to be the first reported case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus in the Philippines, Health Secretary Enrique Ona announced Wednesday. The nurse, a friend of the Filipino paramedic who died from MERS last week in the United Arab Emirates, tested positive and has been quarantined along with nine other people who may have been exposed to the virus, Ona said.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
"Don't do that journey, pilgrim" could be the message here.
The first cases went unrecognized. Ebola had never been seen in Guinea before, so when people became ill with fever, muscle pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, health workers initially assumed Lassa fever or yellow fever—both endemic in the region—were to blame. No one put the pieces together until late March. By then, the virus had been spreading for months. Now, health workers are struggling to contain the outbreak, which has already killed more than 100 and has affected at least two neighboring countries. At the same time, scientists are combing the forests, and the genome of the virus itself, looking for clues to how this strain—well known in Central Africa—ended up so far west, and whether its spread suggests people in forested areas all across sub-Saharan Africa are at risk.
Ebola is not a complete stranger to West Africa. In the mid-1990s, two outbreaks hit chimpanzees in Taï National Park in the Ivory Coast, and one researcher studying the animals was infected. (She survived.) "We expected to find the Taï strain," says Sylvain Baize, a virologist at the Institut Pasteur in Lyon, France, who with his colleagues sequenced some of the first samples of the virus from Guinea. To their surprise, it turned out to be Ebola Zaire, the deadliest of the five known Ebola species.
"We have no idea how it's moved from Central Africa to Guinea," says primatologist Christophe Boesch of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. A leading suspect is fruit bats. In Central African rainforests, several species have shown evidence of infection with Ebola without getting sick. And at least one of the species, the little collared fruit bat, Myonycteris torquata, has a range that stretches as far west as Guinea. "We've always been very suspicious of bats," says William Karesh of EcoHealth Alliance in New York City, who studies the interactions among humans, animals, and infectious diseases.
Some people think of tobacco as a drug, whereas others think of it as a therapy — or both. But for the most part, it's hard to find people who think of the tobacco plant in terms of its medical applications. Qiang Chen, an infectious disease researcher at Arizona State University, is one such person. His team of scientists conducted an experiment,published today in PLOS ONE, that demonstrates how a drug produced in tobacco plants can be used to prevent death in mice infected with a lethal dose of West Nile virus. The study represents an important first step in the development of a treatment for the mosquito-borne disease that has killed 400 people in the US within the last two years.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
Thanks to @Ken Yaw Agyeman-Badu. Now I know Qiang "Shawn" Chen and the ASU crowd, and they're a smart bunch - and they're almost certainly using the same vector system we do.
Strange thing, that: using a plant virus-based vector system in tobacco to make monoclonal antibodies to combat an arbovirus. Full-on molecular zoo!
In recent years Nigeria has experienced sporadic incursions of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza among poultry. In 2008, 316 poultry-exposed agricultural workers, and 54 age-group matched non-poultry exposed adults living in the Enugu or Ebonyi States of Nigeria were enrolled and then contacted monthly for 24 months to identify acute influenza-like-illnesses. Annual follow-up sera and questionnaire data were collected at 12 and 24 months. Participants reporting influenza-like illness completed additional questionnaires, and provided nasal and pharyngeal swabs and acute and convalescent sera. Swab and sera specimens were studied for evidence of influenza A virus infection. Sera were examined for elevated antibodies against 12 avian influenza viruses by microneutralization and 3 human viruses by hemagglutination inhibition.
Nasal Spray Holds Hope in Fighting Flu Epidemic New York Times Scottish and American scientists have found a new way to prevent flu infections that could, in theory, be used to fight an epidemic long before a vaccine is ready.
New vaccines against the virus which triggers most cervical cancers will protect young girls after two doses, rather than the three in the current schedule, enabling GAVI to reach more in the developing world where most cases occur (Two shots of HPV...
Japan has been forced into the 'emergency slaughter' of 112,000 chickens after confirming that the virus, last seen in the country three years ago, is back.
Urgent DNA tests were conducted after 200 birds suddenly died in just hours at a farm in Kumamoto, southwestern Japan.
Officials have now confirmed it IS the deadly H5 strain of the virus and could even be the SAME super-resistant H5N1 strain that spread around the world within days in 2005 and killed more than 600 people.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
OK, OK, I'm just doing this to show you how hard we work to protect you all from the Virus Apocalypse.
A Malaysian man who went on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia has become the first death in Asia from Middle East respiratory syndrome...
Malaysia’s health ministry said the man returned to Malaysia on March 29 and developed a high fever and cough and had difficulty breathing more than a week later. The man, a 54-year-old from southern Johor state, neighbouring Singapore, died Sunday in a hospital, it said Wednesday.
A report published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that 20% of the American public believe that doctors and the government know that vaccines cause harm, and yet they continue to inoculate children. The survey found that, of the 1351 participants, 69% had heard of this conspiracy theory, making it the most widely known medical conspiracy theory mentioned in the survey. Of the 1351 participants 20% agreed with the conspiracy, and 44% disagreed. Whilst it is of course good news that twice the number of participants rejected rather than endorsed the conspiracy, what is troubling is the 36% of the public that are sitting on the fence.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
Well, I'd say that this would be a self-limiting phenomenon, except that it'd take too long. Maybe it's better to just educate them?
Pollination is an essential step in the reproduction of flowering plants and is also crucial in agriculture in regard to fruit development, seed output, and the creation of new varieties of plants. However, at least 18 viruses can infect the mother plant through the fertilized flower (horizontal transmission by pollen). Horizontal transmission by pollen is epidemiologically important for viruses infecting perennial crops, since pollen grains from infected trees continue to be scattered every year. The mechanism how pollination with virus-infected pollen grains causes systemic viral infection to healthy plants has been unknown since the first report of horizontal transmission by pollen in 1918.
Historically, this blog has focused on “news you can use,” but in the spirit of two-way communication, for this post I thought I would try something that might generate more discussion. I’m sharing my thoughts on an issue I’ve been contemplating a lot: the hazards of overly hypothesis-driven science.
When I was a member of one study section, I often saw grant applications that began, “The overarching hypothesis of this application is….” Frequently, these applications were from junior investigators who, I suspect, had been counseled that what study sections want is hypothesis-driven science. In fact, one can even find this advice in articles about grantsmanship .
Despite these beliefs about “what study sections want,” such applications often received unfavorable reviews because the panel felt that if the “overarching hypothesis” turned out to be wrong, the only thing that would be learned is that the hypothesis was wrong. Knowing how a biological system doesn’t work is certainly useful, but most basic research study sections expect that a grant will tell us more about how biological systems do work, regardless of the outcomes of the proposed experiments. Rather than praising these applications for being hypothesis-driven, the study section often criticized them for being overly hypothesis-driven.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
I love it: "the hazards of overly hypothesis-driven science"! Viva, that man, viva!