Emergency Meeting Called to Assess Global Risks of Ongoing Ebola Outbreak – WHO

Sputnik News – May 17, 2018

In response to the spreading of the Ebola virus to urban areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Thursday that it has scheduled an “emergency meeting” tomorrow to assess the global risks this latest outbreak poses.

The World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee will come together on Friday to determine if the ongoing outbreak is a “public health emergency of international concern,” WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said on May 17, as cited by the Reuters news agency.

If the WHO deems necessary, a concerted effort by the international community to prevent the Ebola virus from spreading to other parts of Africa and beyond – perhaps even to Europe – will be launched after the committee meets.


New pig virus found to be a potential threat to humans

Terra Daily – May 15, 2018

A recently identified pig virus can readily find its way into laboratory-cultured cells of people and other species, a discovery that raises concerns about the potential for outbreaks that threaten human and animal health.

Researchers at The Ohio State University and Utrecht University in the Netherlands collaborated to better understand the new virus and its potential reach. Their study, the first to point to possible transmission of this virus between species, appears online in the journal PNAS.

Porcine deltacoronavirus was first identified in 2012 in pigs in China, but it was not associated with disease. It was first detected in the United States in 2014 during a diarrhea outbreak in Ohio pigs and has since been detected in various countries. Young, infected pigs experience acute diarrhea and vomiting. The disease can be fatal. As of yet, no human cases have been documented, but scientists are concerned about the possibility.

“We’re very concerned about emerging coronaviruses and worry about the harm they can do to animals and their potential to jump to humans,” said Saif, a distinguished university professor of veterinary preventive medicine.


Report finds cases of STDs reach all-time high in California

Christopher Weber – May 14, 2018

The number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases in California reached a record high last year and officials are particularly concerned by a spike in stillbirths due to congenital syphilis, state health authorities said Monday.

More than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in 2017, a 45 percent increase from five years ago, according to data released by the California Department of Public Health.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are most common among people under 30, the report said. Rates of chlamydia are highest among young women, while men account for the majority of syphilis and gonorrhea cases.

If left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain. Syphilis can result in blindness, hearing loss and neurologic problems.


Ebola outbreak: WHO puts 10 countries on ‘high alert’

DW – May 11, 2018

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday said 10 countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and its neighbors, have been put on high alert after local authorities declared an Ebola outbreak earlier this week.

“We are very concerned, and we are planning for all scenarios, including the worst-case scenario,” said WHO emergency response chief Peter Salama in Geneva. Up to 18 people are suspected of dying from infection so far.

Salama said that WHO officials are most worried about the spread of Ebola in Congo-Brazzaville and the Central African Republic, since they are both connected to the outbreak area through river systems.

He noted that the latest outbreak has occurred in a remote area near Bikoro. But if the virus spreads to Mbandaka, the capital of DRC’s Equateur province home to more than one million inhabitants, it could have devastating consequences, he added.


New Ebola outbreak KILLS 17 people in Congo with two more cases confirmed and 21 suspected

Joshua Nevett – May 8, 2018

Jean Jack Muyembe, head of the national institute for biological research in the Democratic Republic of Congo, confirmed the new outbreak of the lethal infectious disease on Tuesday.

Congo health officials have reported 21 cases showing signs of viral hemorrhagic fever, a severe illness that causes fever and bleeding disorders and in some cases death.

Of the patients examined, two cases of the Zaire strain of Ebola have been confirmed, according to Congo’s health ministry.

The new cases will alarm health officials after an unprecedented outbreak of the disease between 2014 and 2016 killed more than 11,000 people across western Africa.


Yellow fever threatens South Florida after Zika scare

Larry Barszewski – May 6, 2018

he Zika scare of 2016 could lead to a yellow fever panic this year if South Florida residents let down their guard when it comes to protecting themselves from disease-carrying mosquitoes.

There hasn’t been a yellow fever outbreak in the United States in more than 100 years, but state health officials are concerned that a large outbreak in Brazil and others in South and Central America could lead to infected travelers bringing the disease to South Florida, which has the right mosquitoes and climate for it to spread.

The disease is deadlier than the Zika virus. Zika raised alarms because many infected pregnant women gave birth to infants having microcephaly, a condition that causes abnormally small heads and developmental defects. Yellow fever can kill. Brazil reported 1,131 cases and 338 deaths attributable to yellow fever from July to March.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned travelers in March not to go to yellow fever hotspots in Brazil unless they were vaccinated.


Romaine Lettuce E. Coli Outbreak Becomes Deadly

Nate Church – May 3, 2018

After spreading to half the country and infecting more than 120 people, the E. coli outbreak claims its first life.

The tainted romaine lettuce has tallied 121 people across 25 states, hospitalizing 52, causing kidney failure in 14, and now killing one. The death occurred in California, but no further information has been received from either the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the California Department of Public Health on this first casualty.

The first known case of the outbreak was spotted on March 13. While it evaded the identification of a source for some time, it has finally been traced to whole-head romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona. In Alaska, prison inmates were afflicted specifically due to produce from the Yuma-based Harrison Farms. However, none of the other illnesses seem to share that specific point of origin.


CDC: Diseases from Ticks, Fleas, Mosquitoes Soaring in US

Newsmax – May 1, 2018

Diseases from mosquitoes, ticks and flea bites tripled in the United States from 2004 to 2016, and officials said Tuesday rising temperatures and an increasingly connected global society are to blame.

More than 642,000 cases of these illnesses were reported during the 13 years studied in the Vital Signs report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cases of Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, West Nile and Zika numbered more than 27,000 in 2004, and soared to over 96,000 in 2016, it said, warning that since many cases go unreported, these numbers are likely “substantially” lower than the true amount.

These diseases pose “an increasing risk” and the “nation needs to be better prepared to face this public health threat,” said the report.


British authorities give toxic caterpillar warning

DW – April 29, 2018

Residents of the British capital should beware of getting too close to caterpillars of the oak processionary moths that are infesting the city and its surrounding areas, the British Forestry Commission has warned.

The caterpillars are covered with tiny white hairs that contain a protein which causes skin rashes, eye and throat irritations, dizziness and even respiratory problems in some people.

The commission said in an information brochure that they can also pose a hazard to the oak trees in which they normally nest, as they eat the leaves. In large numbers, they can potentially strip a tree bare, making them susceptible to other threats.

People are being warned not to touch or approach nests or caterpillars themselves, or to allow children and animals to do so.


Autism Disorder Increases in U.S. Children, CDC Study Finds

Elise Young – April 26, 2018

U.S. autism prevalence has grown, according to a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, with about 1.7 percent of 8-year-olds affected in 11 states.

The study, based on 2014 research, again identifies New Jersey with the highest incidence. One in 34 children in that state, or 3 percent, fall on what’s called the autism spectrum, which encompasses a range of social, behavioral and learning disorders ranging from the barely noticeable to the profoundly debilitating.

Nationally, the prevalence has increased 150 percent since 2000, according to the study, which called autism “an urgent public-health concern.”