Category: Diseases


Daily International News

WHO: Ebola Death Toll Tops 120

Health workers walk in an isolation center for people infected with Ebola at Donka Hospital in Conakry, April 14, 2014.

Health workers walk in an isolation center for people infected with Ebola at Donka Hospital in Conakry, April 14, 2014.

VOA News

WHO says health ministries in Guinea, Liberia and other affected countries have reported about 200 confirmed or suspected cases of the virus.

The vast majority of victims are in Guinea, where officials have reported 168 cases, including 108 deaths. Liberia reports 13 deaths from the disease.

News reports Tuesday said Gambian authorities have ordered airlines not to pick up passengers from affected countries.

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The New Zealand Herald

The Gambia bans flights from ebola-hit countries

Health workers wearing protective suits walk in an isolation center for people infected with Ebola at Donka Hospital in Conakry, Guinea. Photo / AFP

Health workers wearing protective suits walk in an isolation center for people infected with Ebola at Donka Hospital in Conakry, Guinea. Photo / AFP

The Gambia has banned flights from Ebola-hit west African countries from landing in its territory, airport officials said.

Staff at Banjul International Airport said on condition of anonymity that President Yahya Jammeh had ordered airlines to cancel all flights from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in a bid to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

“This decision by the Gambian authorities has left prospective passengers travelling to Banjul … stranded in these west African countries,” said an airport official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Brussels Airlines, which transits in Freetown from Europe, is only allowed to drop passengers there, but not pick anyone up.”

The outbreak in Guinea is one of the deadliest in history, with 168 cases “clinically compatible” with Ebola virus disease reported, including 108 deaths, since the start of the year, according to the World Health Organisation.

The outbreak began in the impoverished country’s southern forests, but has spread to Conakry, a sprawling port city on the Atlantic coast and home to two million people

Neighbouring Liberia has reported 20 probable or suspected cases, six lab-confirmed cases and 13 deaths.

Mali also had suspected cases but was given the all-clear on Tuesday after samples taken from patients tested negative for Ebola in laboratories, the health ministry told reporters in Bamako.

There was no official confirmation of the ban from the Gambia but AFP has seen a letter dated April 10 from the transport ministry notifying airlines of the measures while Sierra Leone’s government said it was in talks with Banjul over the issue.

It was not immediately clear if sanctions were being threatened against airlines or airport authorities for ignoring the ban.

“I went to the Gambia Bird (airlines) office in the Greater Banjul area to purchase an air ticket for my elder brother currently in Monrovia but was informed by the travel agent that they are not selling tickets to passengers travelling from Monrovia and Freetown,” Banjul resident Nyima Sanneh told AFP.

 

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SARS: French scientists lose 2,300 samples of potentially deadly virus

Institut Pasteur realised tubes were missing during a routine inventory check. Pictured posed.

Institut Pasteur realized tubes were missing during a routine inventory check. Pictured posed.

 

The renowned Institut Pasteur in France has admitted that it has misplaced 2,349 vials containing samples of the potentially deadly SARS virus and, despite enlisting help from France’s drug and health safety agency, have been unable to find them.

 

The investigation by the ANSM at the unnamed laboratory failed to locate the samples, which have been missing since January. It has now filed a case to the prosecutor of Paris to investigate the disappearance.

The Institut Pasteur has been quick to reassure the public that the vials do not pose any risk, according to The Local.

“The tubes concerned have no infectious potential,” a statement said. “Independent experts referred by health authorities have qualified the risk as ‘nil’ in regards to available evidence and literature on the survival of the SAS virus.”

 

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Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

©

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-16

The Pasteur Institute in Paris has asked the authorities to investigate the disappearance of more than 2,000 vials containing fragments of the SARS virus, while insisting that missing samples represent no danger to the public.

The institute said it discovered the loss of 29 boxes containing 2,349 tiny vials during a routine inventory check.

Professor Christian Bréchot, the head of the Pasteur Institute, said “human error” was the most likely explanation, but that they “did not want to rule anything out.”
“From the start, we’ve known that the samples are harmless,’’ he said.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is an airborne virus.  In a 2003 outbreak, it  spread to 30 countries infecting  8,273 people and causing a reported 775 deaths, the majority in Hong Kong, for a mortality rate of almost 10 per cent.
An outbreak of a SARS-like illness in 2013 caused a reported  40 cases worldwide, two of them in France, where a 65-year old man died from the illness.

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Earth Watch Report  -  Biological Hazards

Chicken Pox - Typical Early Lesion

These chicken pox lesions are also in the early stage – around day three or four. Treatment options for chicken pox are limited. Unfortunately, it often just needs to run it’s course. Since wide-spread vaccination began in the mid-1990s the incidence of chicken pox and its complications have decreased dramatically.

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Biological Hazard USA State of Florida, Jacksonville [University of North Florida] Damage level Details

 

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Biological Hazard in USA on Thursday, 10 April, 2014 at 03:26 (03:26 AM) UTC.

Description
The University of North Florida Student Health Services has reported two cases of chickenpox on campus this week. Officials said one student lives on campus in Building 55, Osprey Fountains, and the other student lives off campus. Chickenpox is a very contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. According to health officials, the virus spreads easily from people with chickenpox to others who have never had the disease or received the chickenpox vaccine. The virus spreads in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Officials said it can also be spread by touching or breathing in the virus particles that come from chickenpox blisters. A person with chickenpox can spread the disease from one to two days before they get the rash until all their chickenpox blisters have formed scabs. Authorities said it takes from 10 to 21 days after exposure to a person with chickenpox or shingles for someone to develop chickenpox. If a person vaccinated for chickenpox gets the disease, they can still spread it to others. Health officials said for most people getting chickenpox once provides immunity for life. However, for a few people, they can get chickenpox more than once, although this is not common. The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get the chickenpox vaccine. Children, adolescents and adults should have two doses of chickenpox vaccine. Health officials said the chickenpox vaccine is very safe and effective at preventing the disease. Most people who get the vaccine won’t get chickenpox. Officials said if a vaccinated person does get chickenpox, it’s usually mild — with fewer blisters and mild or no fever. The chickenpox vaccine prevents almost all cases of severe disease.
Biohazard name: Chickenpox
Biohazard level: 2/4 Medium
Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses that cause only mild disease to humans, or are difficult to contract via aerosol in a lab setting, such as hepatitis A, B, and C, influenza A, Lyme disease, salmonella, mumps, measles, scrapie, dengue fever, and HIV. “Routine diagnostic work with clinical specimens can be done safely at Biosafety Level 2, using Biosafety Level 2 practices and procedures. Research work (including co-cultivation, virus replication studies, or manipulations involving concentrated virus) can be done in a BSL-2 (P2) facility, using BSL-3 practices and procedures. Virus production activities, including virus concentrations, require a BSL-3 (P3) facility and use of BSL-3 practices and procedures”, see Recommended Biosafety Levels for Infectious Agents.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed

 

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Local doctor: Chickenpox at UNF could affect rest of city

By Gene Wexler

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —

A local doctor says a possible outbreak of chickenpox at the University of North Florida could potentially affect the rest of Jacksonville.

On Tuesday, UNF issued a health advisory informing students of two reported cases of chickenpox on campus this week.  One student lives in Building 55, Osprey Fountains, and the other off-campus.

“It certainly could spread out,” says Dr. Sunil Joshi with the Duval Medical Society.  “If the students were exposed to young children – pre-school or elementary school children who may have never had the chicken pox – the risk of it spreading quickly would be much higher.”

Dr. Joshi says he thinks the risk of the Jacksonville community getting exposed is “a little bit higher” with a campus like UNF, as opposed to the University of Florida.

“This is a university where a lot of the kids that go there live in Jacksonville and they’re from Jacksonville,” he says.  “So they live at home with their parents, and they go to the same grocery stores as we go to.”

 

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Earth Watch Report  -  Biological Hazards

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Biological Hazard USA State of Virginia, [The area was not defined.] Damage level Details

 

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RSOE EDIS

Biological Hazard in USA on Thursday, 10 April, 2014 at 03:23 (03:23 AM) UTC.

Description
Dr. Richard Wilkes, State Veterinarian with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), announced Tuesday that Virginia has just received laboratory confirmation of its first case of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED). In light of this case, which coincides with the beginning of the exhibit season for 4-H members, ffa students and other livestock exhibitors, Dr. Wilkes says strict biosecurity is the most effective and most practical way to prevent the spread of PED and many other livestock and poultry diseases. Wilkes encourages every person involved in showing livestock to enhance their biosecurity efforts. “We always urge livestock owners who show animals and managers of show and exhibition facilities to keep biosecurity uppermost in their minds,” Wilkes said, “but with swine, it is even more important now that Virginia has experienced its first case of PED. Good biosecurity can help keep the disease from spreading.” Anytime animals are co-mingled at events, there is a risk they may be exposed to an infectious disease agent. Some states have cancelled pre-show weigh-ins or other animal commingling events to try to prevent PED infection of swine. Virginia show managers may want to consider voluntarily cancelling some of the higher risk activities. The PED virus is highly contagious, and commonly spreads through pig manure. Consuming pork continues to be safe and the disease does not affect humans, but is often deadly to piglets. Practicing and implementing sound biosecurity measures is critical in keeping the state’s animals disease free and marketable. Equine Herpes Virus is another highly contagious disease that has caused disease and death at multiple equine events across the country recently. Wilkes says that good biosecurity and advance planning will reduce the chances of spreading an infectious disease by people, animals, shoes and clothing or equipment. Show managers should have a proper biosecurity plan ready to execute in the event that an animal disease is introduced at a major stock show or event.
Biohazard name: Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED)
Biohazard level: 3/4 Hight
Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans, but for which vaccines or other treatments exist, such as anthrax, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, SARS virus, variola virus (smallpox), tuberculosis, typhus, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Among parasites Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, and Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis, also come under this level.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed

 

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National Hog Farmer

 

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) Virus: FAQ and Survival Tips

 Iowa State University swine veterinarians provide answers to some of the most-asked questions about Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus.

By now, swine producers should be well aware of the emergence of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus in the United States.  Do not underestimate the likelihood of transmission to your herd; this is a sneaky virus.

Some answers to common questions asked at the diagnostic laboratory follow, as well as tidbits on how to understand disease impact and decreases losses of suckling pigs.

What is PED Virus?

Porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus is a disease occurring only in pigs, caused by a coronavirus that does exactly what the disease name implies: produces acute and severe outbreaks of diarrhea that rapidly transmits among all ages of pigs (epidemic).

Where did PED virus come from?  Sequence data from U.S. strains thus far suggests all to be very similar to a strain deposited in GenBank from China in 2012. PED virus is present in many countries in Asia and has been present in Europe since the 1970s.

How common is PED Virus in the United States?

Data provided by veterinary diagnostic laboratories to the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) suggests that there are 40-50 new cases of PED virus diagnosed each week, with the disease now reported in 14 states. The epidemic form of the disease is easy to recognize clinically so samples may not always be submitted to a laboratory, hence currently reported data likely underestimates true prevalence. An accurate estimate of U.S. prevalence is difficult to achieve and will eventually need to rely on serologic surveys, particularly if the disease becomes endemic.

How did PED virus get into the United States?

There is no confirmation of particular source or location of entry of the virus. Speculation abounds, but it is unlikely that we will ever know how PED virus entered the United States with certainty. However, this does provide the opportunity to scrutinize the possibilities to prevent future events.

How is PED virus spread?

Huge numbers of virus particles are shed in feces. One thimble-full of feces could contain enough virus to infect all the pigs in the United States. The PED virus is being detected in samples collected from pig collection points, slaughter facilities, transportation vehicles and innumerable fomites illustrating the vast potential for transmission. It is expected that survivability and transmission of virus will be enhanced in cold weather. Farm biosecurity efficacy is likely to be tested aggressively in the coming months.

How do I get an accurate diagnosis of PED virus?

If PED virus is suspected, consult your veterinarian. Sometimes, 10 ml of feces from acutely affected pigs tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is sufficient to confirm the presence of virus. However, submission of tissues from acutely affected pig(s) for complete diagnostic testing (bacteria, viruses, parasites) will allow for diagnosis of PED virus as well as other diseases. The value of histopathology and immunohistochemistry (IHC) testing is illustrated in Figures 1-4 below. Sampling tips are found at http://vetmed.iastate.edu/vdpam/disease-topics/porcine-epidemic-diarrhea-ped-diagnostic-testing as well as the addendum below.

What is the impact of PED virus in weaned pigs?

Once pigs are weaned, the mortality rate from PED virus plummets. When not complicated by other diseases, pigs in nursery-finisher stages generally recover in about a week. The rumors of severe disease or high mortality in weaned pigs usually involve co-infections with salmonella or hemolytic E. coli or other risk factors associated with the environment or feeding practices.

 

 

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National Hog Farmer

 

Virginia Confirms PEDV Outbreak, Focuses on Biosecurity

Richard Wilkes, DVM, State Veterinarian with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), recently announced that Virginia has just received laboratory confirmation of its first case of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) in the state. In light of this case, which coincides with the beginning of the exhibit season for 4-H members, FFA students and other livestock exhibitors, Wilkes says strict biosecurity is the most effective, as well as the most practical way to prevent the spread of PEDV and many other livestock and poultry diseases.

Wilkes encourages every person involved in showing livestock to enhance their biosecurity efforts. He noted that the VDACS always urges livestock owners who show their animals, as well as those individuals who manage show and exhibition facilities to keep biosecurity uppermost in their minds.

However, Wilkes said that with swine it is even more important now that Virginia has experienced its first case of PEDV, and that having good biosecurity measures in place can help reduce the spread of the disease.

Anytime animals are co-mingled at events, there is a risk they may be exposed to an infectious disease agent. Some states have cancelled pre-show weigh-ins or other animal commingling events to try to prevent PEDV infection of swine.

 

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Earth Watch Report  -  Biological  Hazards

File:Coxiella burnetii, the bacteria that causes Q Fever.jpg

A dry fracture of a Vero cell exposing the contents of a vacuole where Coxiella burnetii are busy growing. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Author  :  National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Wikipedia.org

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Biological Hazard Spain Basque Country, Bilbao Damage level Details

 

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RSOE EDIS

Biological Hazard in Spain on Thursday, 10 April, 2014 at 03:07 (03:07 AM) UTC.

Description
According to the Provincial Council of Bizkaia, 8 workers from the landfill of Monte Anaiz, in the municipal district of Bilbao, are suffering from Q fever related to the presence of remains of cattle in the waste. In addition to the 8 confirmed cases, 25 are pending study. An initial focus of the outbreak has been recently traced to the Mechanical Biological Treatment Plant at Monte Anaiz and a 2nd cluster is located in Berriatua, where up to 10 people may have been infected. The outbreak is due to the fact that animal remains not intended for human consumption (byproducts such as heads, or goat and sheep hides) repeatedly enter the processing plant mixed in with urban waste. The symptoms of Q fever are similar to those of a flu, although sometimes it also affects the liver. The Basque Government and the Provincial Government of Bizkaia, in a coordinated manner, have adopted measures to control the outbreak. Extreme precaution is being taken and diagnostic tests have been applied to all staff and subcontractors as a preventive measure. Authorities are trying to identify the origin of these products, a difficult task, because the animal remains have come in garbage bags from which the identification tags have been removed.
Biohazard name: Q Fever
Biohazard level: 3/4 Hight
Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans, but for which vaccines or other treatments exist, such as anthrax, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, SARS virus, variola virus (smallpox), tuberculosis, typhus, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Among parasites Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, and Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis, also come under this level.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed

 

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File:Pneumonia x-ray.jpg

Combination of two x-rays found on the two websites http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/ct/what.html FDA website with normal chest x-ray http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol6no1/scrimgeourG2.htm CDC website documenting Q fever pneumonia All editing performed by me and released into public domain

Wikipedia.org

 

Signs and symptoms

Incubation period is usually two to three weeks.[8] The most common manifestation is mild flu-like symptoms with abrupt onset of fever, malaise, profuse perspiration, severe headache, myalgia (muscle pain), joint pain, loss of appetite, upper respiratory problems, dry cough, pleuritic pain, chills, confusion and gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The fever lasts approximately seven to 14 days.[citation needed]

Approximately half of infected individuals exhibit no symptoms.[8]

During its course, the disease can progress to an atypical pneumonia, which can result in a life-threatening acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), whereby such symptoms usually occur during the first four to five days of infection.[citation needed]

Less often, Q fever causes (granulomatous) hepatitis, which may be asymptomatic or becomes symptomatic with malaise, fever, liver enlargement (hepatomegaly) and pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen. Whereas transaminase values are often elevated, jaundice is uncommon. Retinal vasculitis is a rare manifestation of Q fever.[9]

The chronic form of Q fever is virtually identical to inflammation of the inner lining of the heart (endocarditis),[10] which can occur months or decades following the infection. It is usually fatal if untreated. However, with appropriate treatment, the mortality falls to around 10%.

Clinical signs in animals

Cattle, goats and sheep are most commonly infected, and can serve as a reservoir for the bacteria. Q fever is a well recognized cause of abortions in ruminants and in pets. C. burnetii infection in dairy cattle has been well documented and its association with reproductive problems in these animals has been reported in Canada, USA, Cyprus, France, Hungary, Japan, Switzerland and West Germany.[11] For instance, in a study published in 2008,[12]a significant association has been shown between the herds’ seropositivity and typical clinical signs of Q Fever observed such as abortion, stillbirth, weak calves and repeat breeding. Moreover, experimental inoculation of C. burnetii in cattle induced not only respiratory disorders and cardiac failures (myocarditis) but also frequent abortions and irregular repeat breedings.[13]

 

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The Yomiuri Shimbun

Workers involved in culling the chickens on Monday place a blue plastic tarpaulin over the ground where the chickens were to be buried.

8:27 pm, April 15, 2014

The Yomiuri Shimbun KUMAMOTO—The Kumamoto prefectural government has completed the culling of about 112,000 chickens after an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza at a poultry farm in Taragi, Kumamoto Prefecture, was confirmed Sunday. The chickens, which had been kept on two farms operated by the same owner in Taragi and Sagara in the prefecture, were placed into pits at the farms on Tuesday morning, according to the prefecture.

The prefectural government will also place feed and manure from the two farms in pits and bury them with the chickens as epidemic prevention measures on Wednesday.

Poultry houses at the farms will be disinfected as well.

The prefectural government is beefing up avian influenza countermeasures and trying to prevent an outbreak by such means as increasing the number of disinfection checkpoints.

The agriculture ministry on Monday announced that the source of the current avian influenza outbreak “is highly likely to have been spread by migratory birds.”

The prefectural government has set up 13 disinfection checkpoints for passing vehicles and will add four more disinfection checkpoints soon. The checkpoints are primarily used for vehicles driven by people involved in the livestock industry.

As of 10 a.m. Tuesday, the prefectural government had received no reports of suspected avian influenza cases beyond the Taragi farm case, according to the prefecture.

Recent cases…..

 

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Earth Watch Report  -  Biological Hazards

Mystery illness strikes scores of French pupils

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Biological Hazard France Multiple areas, [South-western regions] Damage level Details

 

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RSOE EDIS

Biological Hazard in France on Thursday, 10 April, 2014 at 10:35 (10:35 AM) UTC.

Description
Hundreds of French school children have fallen victim to a mystery sickness that has spread like wildfire through their school. All classes have been suspended and baffled health authorities have advised the school to close, while they try to determine the cause of the outbreak. Since January at least 227 pupils at their school in south-western France have reported headaches, dizziness, vertigo and trouble breathing while, but health authorities, despite carrying out multiple tests, are no closer to determining the cause. Earlier this week regional health authorities in Aquitaine recommended “as a measure of precaution” closing part of the College Jean-Moulin in Artix, French magazine L’Express reported. The school apparently remains open for the moment, but all classes have been suspended. So far the most promising lead was the series of renovations completed at the secondary (junior high) school over the winter holidays. It was shortly after classes resumed in January that pupils began reporting symptoms. The head of the Aquitaine regional health authority told L’Express they were baffled by the outbreak of sickness. “This is an unexplained phenomenon. We carried out multiple environmental analyses, starting with carbon monoxide tests, and so far everything’s come back negative,” Michel Laforcade said. Health inspectors have also checked for volatile compounds that could be in the air after the renovations, perhaps coming from the glue used to attach the carpet or materials in the furniture, but that also proven to be a dead end. The hypothesis of a psychosomatic cause has not been ruled out for the moment, but it doesn’t seem likely in Laforcade’s view. “We don’t believe that this many illnesses could have a social cause,” He told L’Express. As their investigation continues, health authorities plan to keep a close eye on the children who have been withdrawn from school due to illness. They also expect to carry out a complete analysis of every material used in the school in an effort to find the cause. Finding the culprit will take as long as it takes, Laforcarde said, adding: “This is really unheard of and all hypotheses bare exploring. We will pass on the information as we get it.”
Biohazard name: Unidentified Illness
Biohazard level: 3/4 Hight
Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans, but for which vaccines or other treatments exist, such as anthrax, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, SARS virus, variola virus (smallpox), tuberculosis, typhus, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Among parasites Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, and Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis, also come under this level.
Symptoms: headaches, dizziness, vertigo and trouble breathing
Status: suspected

 

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Mystery illness strikes scores of French pupils

A mystery illness has struck hundreds of pupils at a French school. Photo: Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP

Mystery illness strikes scores of French pupils

Published: 10 Apr 2014 11:05 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Apr 2014 11:05 GMT+02:00

Hundreds of French school children have fallen victim to a mystery sickness that has spread like wildfire through their school. All classes have been suspended and baffled health authorities have advised the school to close, while they try to determine the cause of the outbreak.

Since January at least 227 pupils at their school in south-western France have reported headaches, dizziness, vertigo and trouble breathing, but health authorities, despite carrying out multiple tests, are no closer to determining the cause.

Earlier this week regional health authorities in Aquitaine recommended “as a measure of precaution” closing part of the College Jean-Moulin in Artix, French magazine L’Express reported. The school apparently remains open for the moment, but all classes have been suspended.

So far the most promising lead was the series of renovations completed at the secondary (junior high) school over the winter holidays. It was shortly after classes resumed in January that pupils began reporting symptoms.

The head of the Aquitaine regional health authority told L’Express they were baffled by the outbreak of sickness.

“This is an unexplained phenomenon. We carried out multiple environmental analyses, starting with carbon monoxide tests, and so far everything’s come back negative,” Michel Laforcade said.

Health inspectors have also checked for volatile compounds that could be in the air after the renovations, perhaps coming from the glue used to attach the carpet or materials in the furniture, but that also proven to be a dead end.

 

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Earth Watch Report  -  Biological Hazards

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/83/10-0002-F1.gif

 

 

A) Greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis) with white fungal growth around its muzzle, ears, and wing membranes (photograph provided by Tamás Görföl). B) Scanning electron micrograph of a bat hair colonized by Geomyces destructans. Scale bar = 10 µm.

http://www.cdc.gov/eid/content/16/8/1237-F1.htm

Authors  :  Gudrun Wibbelt, Andreas Kurth, David Hellmann, Manfred Weishaar, Alex Barlow, Michael Veith, Julia Prüger, Tamás Görföl, Lena Grosche, Fabio Bontadina, Ulrich Zöphel, Hans-Peter Seidl, Paul M. Cryan, and David S. Blehert

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Biological Hazard USA State of North Carolina, [Rutherford and Henderson counties] Damage level Details

 

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RSOE EDIS

Biological Hazard in USA on Thursday, 10 April, 2014 at 10:38 (10:38 AM) UTC.

Description
A fungal disease of unknown origin that is killing hibernating bats in eastern North America appears to be spreading in Western North Carolina, according to biologists monitoring the epidemic. White-nose syndrome has been confirmed in at least seven mountain counties, but Biologist Gabrielle Graeter of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission said this week, “I think it’s all over Western North Carolina at this point.” Last year, the fungal disease – named for the white growths covering the muzzles of affected bats – was found to have killed a tri-colored bat at the Nature Conservancy’s 186-acre Bat Cave Preserve in Rutherford and Henderson counties. But Graeter said the fungus that causes the disease is now more widespread than those seven counties that had confirmed cases as of 2013 – Avery, Buncombe, McDowell, Haywood, Yancey, Transylvania and Rutherford. “To confirm that it’s in a county, we have to find the fungus has invaded the skin tissue of a bat,” she said. “We’re largely depending on someone in the public finding a freshly dead bat and they have to know to call us and submit it for testing. So we have gaps on our maps just because of the testing methodology.” The Wildlife Resources Commission and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been monitoring caves and mines throughout the state that are known as bat hibernating sites. Last winter, the partners found bat numbers in some hibernacula had declined by 95 percent. In North Carolina, the fungal disease has taken its biggest toll on species such as the little brown bat, northern long-eared bat (which has been proposed for endangered species status) and the tri-colored bat, Graeter said. “Before white-nose syndrome, tri-colored and little brown bats were considered the most abundant species we have and now we’re seeing these really precipitous declines,” she said. To slow the spread of the disease, wildlife officials have been working with the caving community to restrict spelunking during the bat’s winter hibernation, and to decontaminate their clothing and equipment to prevent transmitting the fungus between sites. “The professional cavers have been very cooperative and willing to take measures to minimize disturbance to bats,” Graeter said. “It’s more a problem on the recreational side of things. I think people just aren’t aware of the situation.” The occurrence of the same fungus in healthy bats in Europe suggests it may have originated in Europe, and was accidently transmitted to bats in North America that lack immunity. In the U.S., white-nose syndrome was first documented in New York in 2006 and has spread throughout the East and as far west at Oklahoma. Bats affected with white-nose syndrome don’t always have obvious fungal growth, but they may display abnormal behavior within and outside of their hibernacula. Scientists speculate the fungus may awaken the bats from their winter slumber, burning precious fat reserves. Although the outlook for cave-hibernating bats is dire, Graeter said there are some hopeful signs. The fungus has been detected on two species of big-eared bats, she said, “but we do not have any evidence of these two species getting the disease or any kind of die-off from this.” Biologists are also studying a variety of biological controls to see if the bat species that are faring better might have oils, bacteria or other fungi on their bodies that may be inhibiting the white-nose fungus.
Biohazard name: White-noise Syndrome (bat)
Biohazard level: 2/4 Medium
Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses that cause only mild disease to humans, or are difficult to contract via aerosol in a lab setting, such as hepatitis A, B, and C, influenza A, Lyme disease, salmonella, mumps, measles, scrapie, dengue fever, and HIV. “Routine diagnostic work with clinical specimens can be done safely at Biosafety Level 2, using Biosafety Level 2 practices and procedures. Research work (including co-cultivation, virus replication studies, or manipulations involving concentrated virus) can be done in a BSL-2 (P2) facility, using BSL-3 practices and procedures. Virus production activities, including virus concentrations, require a BSL-3 (P3) facility and use of BSL-3 practices and procedures”, see Recommended Biosafety Levels for Infectious Agents.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed

 

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ECO Watch

Devastating Bat-Killing Disease Spreads From Eastern U.S. to Midwest States

Center for Biological Diversity | April 12, 2014 10:00 am

The devastating bat-killing disease that has already killed more than 7 million bats across the Eastern U.S. has spread to Wisconsin and Michigan, state wildlife officials announced this week. During routine surveys of bat hibernating areas late this winter, biologists discovered signs of the malady known as white-nose syndrome that was first documented in upstate New York in 2006. Subsequent lab testing confirmed the presence of the disease in the two upper Midwest states, bringing to 25 the total number of states where the disease is present. White-nose syndrome has also spread to five Canadian provinces.

“White-nose syndrome has now reached the last strongholds of the once-abundant little brown bat and several other species,” said Mollie Matteson, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Given the rapid spread and devastating consequences of this disease, it’s incredibly urgent that we put more resources into finding a cure and saving our bats.”

White-nose syndrome is the worst wildlife health crisis in recent memory, killing up to 100 percent of bats in affected caves. There is no known cure for the disease, which has afflicted seven bat species so far and has pushed several to the brink of regional extinction. Last year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the northern long-eared bat, one of the species hardest hit by the disease. The other bat species hit by the disease are the little brown bat, tricolored bat, eastern small-footed bat, federally endangered Indiana bat, federally endangered gray bat and the big brown bat.

 

 

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Voice of America

Deadly Virus Surges Through Arab Gulf

FILE - In this June 8, 2011 file photo, a Yemeni manas he leads his camel loaded with his belongings in Taiz, Yemen. Scientists say the mysterious MERS virus has been infecting camels in Saudi Arabia.

FILE – In this June 8, 2011 file photo, a Yemeni manas he leads his camel loaded with his belongings in Taiz, Yemen. Scientists say the mysterious MERS virus has been infecting camels in Saudi Arabia.

Mohamed Elshinnawi

— Saudi Arabia says a deadly virus is rippling through the kingdom as additional cases were reported over the weekend in the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, have been seen at two major hospitals in the port city of Jeddah.

Saudi health authorities are embarking on a variety of measures to prevent further spread of the 18-month-long outbreak.

“We have detected 11 cases of (the virus) in Jeddah,” said Dr. Abdul Salam Noorwali, director-general of health in the Makkah region said last week. “Two of the patients have died, while six others have been cured and three cases are under medication,” he said.​

Three of the patients in Jeddah were health workers, including one of the two who died, prompting authorities to temporarily shut down the emergency ward at the city’s King Fahd Hospital.

MERS, by demographicMERS, by demographic

Sami BaDawood, Jeddah’s health affairs director, said the emergency department was closed for disinfection after one health worker there tested positive for the virus and subsequent tests on other staff members showed further infections.
Some patients were transferred to other hospitals while the disinfection was carried out, he said.

The latest figures bring to at least 179 the number of cases of MERS in Saudi Arabia since the virus first appeared in the kingdom in September 2012.

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MERS Virus Hits Middle East Hard Once Again; Saudi Arabia Reports 15 New Cases And 2 Deaths

MERs

The Middle East is experiencing a surge in MERS infections, with two deaths being reported out of Saudi Arabia and Yemen seeing its first. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus may have ties to the notorious SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) coronavirus that spread to almost 25 countries within a half year, killing 770 of the 8,000 people sickened by it, but it’s far more mysterious and deadly. And while it has remained out of the spotlight lately, recent reports from Saudi Arabia and Yemen confirm new deaths and cases.

Yemen reported its first case ever of the virus. The man, living in Sanaa, works as an aeronautics engineer, according to Reuters. MERS has already infected 212 people and killed 88 according to the World Health Organization. The virus is deadlier than SARS because compared to the amount that become sick, death rates are high. MERS has already killed about 42 percent of those who fell ill.

“The [Yemeni health] ministry is working in effective cooperation with the World Health Organization to confront this virus and is in direct and constant communication with all hospitals to receive information on any other suspected cases,” Public Health Minister Ahmed al-Ansi was quoted as saying by a Yemeni newspaper, according to Al Jazeera.

 

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Saudis Blame Government, Hospitals as Deadly Virus Spreads in Mideast

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome has killed 60 percent of the people it has infected

 

A rare respiratory virus that killed more than 100 people in the Middle East in 2012 has resurfaced—and it’s sparking alarm and anger.

New cases of MERS, a virus traced to an Egyptian tomb bat, have turned up again in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and for the first time in Yemen, too. The rage has been the loudest in Saudi Arabia, which has had the majority of MERS cases. People are upset about what they say are poor levels of hygiene at Saudi hospitals, a lack of public outreach about MERS and mismanagement of the crisis by the Saudi Ministry of Health.

MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, remains a mystery. Researchers and doctors don’t know how it spreads or why it emerged in the first place. Much like the SARS virus, which infected more than 8,000 people in Asia in 2003, when people get MERS they first show symptoms of fever and a mild cough, which may last for several days. That can lead to pneumonia. However, unlike SARS, MERS can ultimately cause rapid kidney failure.

MERS first appeared in September 2012, and while it has infected only 189 people, it has had a fatality rate of 60%. By contrast, less than 10% of the people infected with SARS have died. With a surge of new MERS cases, the hashtag #corona in Arabic was tweeted over 110,000 times in a span of three days. Mapping the social media discussion of the virus shows that the epicenter of the anger is in Jeddah, the scene of one of the more virulent current outbreaks.

Corona virus Saudi 2

Jeddah, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest cities, attracts millions of visitors every year. During the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Jeddah’s international airport gets up to 2 million visitors from around the world in the span of a week. Last year, 1 million people were forced to forgo the annual Hajj because of concerns over the spread of MERS.

 

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The Daily Star

Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi Arabia: ministry

April 14, 2014 05:10 PM

Agence France PresseA view of the King Fahd hospital which has closed its emergency department banning the exit and entry of people and patients, on April 9, 2014 in Jeddah.   AFP PHOTO/STRA view of the King Fahd hospital which has closed its emergency department banning the exit and entry of people and patients, on April 9, 2014 in Jeddah. AFP PHOTO/STR

 

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia: A foreigner has died from MERS in the western Saudi city of Jeddah, where authorities have sought to calm fears over the spreading respiratory illness, the Health Ministry said Monday.

The death of the 70-year-old man brought the toll of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in the most-affected country to 69 fatalities. Four new cases of infection were registered, bringing the kingdom’s total to 194, the ministry said.

It did not disclose the man’s nationality.

Last week panic over the spread of MERS among medical staff in Jeddah had caused a temporary closure of an emergency room at a main hospital, prompting a visit by Health Minister Abdullah al-Rabiah aimed at reassuring an anxious public.

Rabiah briefed the council of ministers on Monday following his visit to hospitals in Jeddah over the weekend.

“The situation concerning the coronavirus is reassuring,” the council said in a statement following its meeting.

The virus was initially concentrated in the eastern region but has now spread across other areas.

 

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Earth Watch Report  -  Biological Hazards

File:H1N1 versus H5N1 pathology.png

Different sites and outcomes of H1N1 versus H5N1 influenza infections. Based on Respiratory system.svg with annotations.
Author  :  TimVickers

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Biological Hazard Egypt Governorate of Beheira, Damanhur Damage level Details

 

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Biological Hazard in Egypt on Monday, 07 April, 2014 at 03:05 (03:05 AM) UTC.

Description
A(n) 86-year-old woman from the capital city of Damanhur in the Egyptian coastal governorate of Beheira is the latest human case of H5N1 avian influenza in the North African country, according to a EGYNews rport Saturday (computer translated). The report notes that the elderly woman is hospitalized in intensive care and is currently in “poor condition”. She also has the underlying condition of diabetes. She is being treated with Tamiflu. This human H5N1 avian flu case follows 2 confirmed cases 2 weeks ago (one case was from Damanhur also) Since 2006, Egypt has reported 175 (not including this current case) cases of human H5N1 bird flu with 63 deaths (Case fatality ratio – 36 percent).
Biohazard name: H5N1 (highly pathogenic avian influenza)
Biohazard level: 4/4 Hazardous
Biohazard desc.: Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, H5N1(bird flu), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantaviruses, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic or unidentified diseases. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a Hazmat suit and a self-contained oxygen supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a Level Four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, autonomous detection system, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a Biosafety Level 4 (P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed

 

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The Global Dispatch

Egypt reports third H5N1 avian influenza case of 2014

Image/CIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A(n) 86-year-old woman from the capital city of Damanhur in the Egyptian coastal governorate of Beheira is the latest human case of H5N1 avian influenza in the North African country, according to a EGYNews rport Saturday (computer translated).

 

The report notes that the elderly woman is hospitalized in intensive care and is currently in “poor condition”.

She also has the underlying condition of diabetes. She is being treated with Tamiflu.

This human H5N1 avian flu case follows two confirmed cases two weeks ago (one case was from Damanhur also).

 

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Enhanced by ZemantaH5N1: Egypt reports third H5N1 case of 2014  

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