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Topical news snippets about viruses that affect people.  And other things. Like zombies B-)
Curated by Ed Rybicki
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Rescooped by Ed Rybicki from Virology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca
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Easy Jump for H5N1 from Bird to Mammal

Easy Jump for H5N1 from Bird to Mammal | Virology News | Scoop.it
Hybrid viruses derived from an H5N1 bird flu strain can infect guinea pigs through the air.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

It is rather concerning that these guys did NOT have to make HA mutations to get their viruses easily transmissible - they just to make reassortants with H5N1 and H1N1pdm viruses.  As could happen in pigs or poultry anywhere both viruses occur....

 
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PLOS Pathogens: Environmental Predictors of Seasonal Influenza Epidemics across Temperate and Tropical Climates

PLOS Pathogens: Environmental Predictors of Seasonal Influenza Epidemics across Temperate and Tropical Climates | Virology News | Scoop.it

Human influenza infections exhibit a strong seasonal cycle in temperate regions. Recent laboratory and epidemiological evidence suggests that low specific humidity conditions facilitate the airborne survival and transmission of the influenza virus in temperate regions, resulting in annual winter epidemics. However, this relationship is unlikely to account for the epidemiology of influenza in tropical and subtropical regions where epidemics often occur during the rainy season or transmit year-round without a well-defined season. We assessed the role of specific humidity and other local climatic variables on influenza virus seasonality by modeling epidemiological and climatic information from 78 study sites sampled globally. We substantiated that there are two types of environmental conditions associated with seasonal influenza epidemics: “cold-dry” and “humid-rainy”. For sites where monthly average specific humidity or temperature decreases below thresholds of approximately 11–12 g/kg and 18–21°C during the year, influenza activity peaks during the cold-dry season (i.e., winter) when specific humidity and temperature are at minimal levels. For sites where specific humidity and temperature do not decrease below these thresholds, seasonal influenza activity is more likely to peak in months when average precipitation totals are maximal and greater than 150 mm per month. These findings provide a simple climate-based model rooted in empirical data that accounts for the diversity of seasonal influenza patterns observed across temperate, subtropical and tropical climates.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

This is really quite a big deal: I blogged recently on the first paper that explored this notion in detail; here we see that paper vindicated, and new data presented.

 

It is interesting that the virus should have evolved to be spread in this way: in drier cold air in temperate climates, and in warm wet air in more tropical climes.  It also very nicely explains seasonality in influenza transmission.

 

Now, let's do something ABOUT it!

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Carl Shiu's comment, March 19, 2013 11:16 AM
Interesting data. In tropical climes, I wonder if this phenomenon is associated with the overcrowding of shelters during intense rainstorms. A temporary increase in population density during these events would likely facilitate increased rates of person-person transmission.
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Tracking Ebola in the Congo Jungle

Tracking Ebola in the Congo Jungle | Virology News | Scoop.it

NIAID scientists and their collaborators travel to a remote village in the Republic of the Congo to search for Ebola

and other emerging viruses.

Vaccination has been successful at controlling many of the world’s diseases. However, there are many emerging viral diseases for which no licensed (US or EU) vaccine exists. Here I’ve selected 10 emerging or re-emerging viruses which I think are especially important due to their incidence, prevalence, morbidity, mortality and suitability of current treatment...

 

Ebola virus graphic courtesy of Russell Kightely Media

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Nice video, on the sexy side of virology.  Interesting how well they can set up in the middle of the jungle.

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