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Federal government announces special oversight for avian flu experiments By Carolyn Y. Johnson / Globe Staff

August 8, 2013 Comments off

boston.com

The federal government announced Wednesday a special oversight process for experiments that involve tinkering with a new strain of avian flu detected in Asia earlier this year, but the decision has not come without controversy.

Such experiments, which can produce forms of the H7N9 virus that are more dangerous to people, are aimed at understanding the pathogen that has infected more than 130 people in China and killed about a third of them. Researchers also announced Wednesday that they had seen the first evidence that the virus had spread from person to person.

The knowledge gained from this type of research could help prepare health officials for a potential pandemic and lead to the development of new therapies or vaccines, but also poses scary what-if scenarios, ranging from the accidental escape of a Read more…

Nightmare superbug killing half of those who are infected says CDC

March 7, 2013 Comments off

examiner.com

A nightmare gut bacteria that can kill up to 50 percent of those infected, the extremely drug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)–producing K. pneumoniae sequence type 258 (KpnST258) has emerged as an important pathogen worldwide. Hospitals are scrambling to get rid of this bacteria. Check out the video, “Hospitals scramble to kill ‘superbug’”on NBCNews.com.

A deadly class of superbugs nearly impossible to treat with a fatality rate approaching 50 percent need to be stopped. But how do scientists stop the CRE outbreaks from reaching the general public? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has identified deadly ‘nightmare’ bacteria that’s resistant to antibiotics and spreading through the nation’s hospitals. There’s the potential for CRE bacteria to spread to patients with common ailments such as diarrhea or more severe infections such as pneumonia. The doctors don’t have any drug to treat CRE outbreaks because the bacteria is resistant to Read more…

SARS-type virus passed from human to human for first time

February 13, 2013 Comments off

standard.co.uk

Passed between humans: A person is being treated in Birmingham in isolation after contracting coronavirus

A SARS-like virus may have been passed between humans for the first time, health experts believe.

One person is thought to have contracted the new coronavirus from a relative and is being treated in an isolation room at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and is said to be in a stable condition.

Previously experts believed the infection may have come from contact with animals. If the virus can spread between people it poses a much more serious threat.

This is the third case of the respiratory illness identified in the UK and the 11th in the world. The first two UK patients had been Read more…

Norovirus Bug On the Rise, New Strain Arrives in United States

January 29, 2013 Comments off

northkingstown.patch.com

Although the flu is on everyone’s mind this season, the winter vomiting bug, or the norovirus, is making its rounds. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the norovirus causes about 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths each year, mostly in young children and the elderly.

Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pains. The CDC points out that the norovirus is often referred to as the stomach flu, but it is unrelated to influenza.

A new norovirus strain, GII.4 Sydney, was detected last year in Australia.  The strain hit the U.K and sickened over a million people. It has now reached the United States and this new strain appears to be taking over.  Of norovirus cases reported from September to December, 54 percent have been identified as GII.4 Sydney, according to recently released data.

The first norovirus outbreak was Read more…

Hantavirus, Plague & West Nile: Are Animal-Borne Diseases on the Rise?

September 8, 2012 Comments off

myhealthnewsdaily

A string of recent reports of people falling ill and dying of diseases that spread to people from animals might have you wondering: Are animal-borne diseases on the rise?

This summer, three people died and eight were infected with hantavirus   — a disease carried by rodents — after visiting Yosemite National Park; a Colorado girl reportedly contracted the plague from flea bites she received while camping; researchers reported the cases of two Missouri men infected with a never-before-seen virus carried by ticks; and nearly 2,000 people across the United States fell ill with West Nile virus, which is carried by mosquitoes.

Experts say the number of new diseases crossing from animals to people   has indeed increased in recent years, from fewer than 20 in the 1940s to about 50 in the 1980s, according to a 2008 study published in the journal Nature. Between 1990 and 2000, more than half of newly identified infectious diseases originated in Read more…

1 in 17 of us will be affected by a rare disease

February 29, 2012 Comments off

independent

By Alastair Kent

The major paradox about rare diseases is that collectively rare diseases are not rare. In fact, 3.5 million people in the UK will be affected by a rare disease at some point in their lives – 1 in 17 of us. To put this into perspective, this represents the entire population of Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Greater Belfast and Cardiff put together. Despite these considerable numbers, in the past rare diseases have largely been overlooked by health policy makers.

A disease is classed as rare when it affects fewer than 5 in 10,000 of the general population. Some rare diseases are relatively well known; cystic fibrosis, motor neurone disease and muscular dystrophy for example. Few people would Read more…

Bird Flu, Swine Flu … and Now Bat Flu?

February 28, 2012 Comments off

yahoo

Scientists have found a new influenza virus that infects bats.

But don’t pull out the hand sanitizer leftover from the H1N1, or swine flu, pandemic just yet. When asked about the implications of this discovery for human health, one of the researchers, Ruben Donis, said: “It’s still too early to tell.”

We still don’t know that this bat flu virus can infect people, according to Donis, who is chief of the molecular virology and vaccines branch in the influenza division at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He and a team of American and Guatemalan researchers isolated the virus from fruit-eating, little yellow-shouldered bats in Guatemala. So far, there is no Read more…

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