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Thread: Malaria, typhoid, West Nile & other tropical diseases

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    Lightbulb Malaria, typhoid, West Nile, cholera, ebola & other tropical diseases

    Experimental malaria vaccine shows disappointing results...

    Experimental Malaria Vaccine Falls Short
    November 09, 2012 - The world's first experimental malaria vaccine produced disappointing results in a large-scale test among African infants, raising questions about its potential for fighting the disease.
    The vaccine, promoted as a new weapon in the malaria fight, reduced the risk of malaria by only 30 percent. The study involved more than 6,500 babies aged six to 12 weeks. The results, released Friday, showed the vaccine providing less than half the protection it did in a previous smaller trial involving infants. The report said the "modest protection" the vaccine, which is also known as RTS,S or Mosquirix, has been provided in this latest trial was also lower than the 50 percent reported last year among older children.

    Dr. Jennifer Cohn, a doctor with Doctors Without Borders, told the Associated Press that the vaccine’s effectiveness was “unacceptably low.” Vaccinating babies is seen as a more cost effective way of battling the disease since it could be added to the regimen of other infant vaccinations. Billionaire Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, whose foundation is helping fund the vaccine, said the effectiveness rate came back lower than hoped. But the top British drug manufacturer developing the vaccine, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), will continue its efforts.

    Chief executive Andrew Witty said the drugmaker remains convinced the vaccine has a role to play in tackling malaria. “We’ve been at this for 30 years, and we’re certainly not going to give up now, he said during a conference call with reporters. The company, which has invested $300 million in the drug, does not expect to profit from the drug, which will be sold only in poor countries. “The results look bad now, but they will probably be worse later,” said Adrian Hill of Oxford University to the Associated Press.

    The results were released during a conference in South Africa Friday as part of a continuing study that will end in 2014. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 650,000 people die from the mosquito-borne illness each year. The vast majority are children in sub-Saharan Africa.

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    In Nigeria, Time Running Out for Kids Poisoned by Lead
    November 09, 2012 — The medical aid group Doctors Without Borders estimates that 1,500 children are suffering from lead poisoning in a northern Nigerian village, and can not be treated until the lead is cleaned up. The organization says if the cleanup does not begin soon, it may not be able to treat the children when, or if the cleanup ever happens.
    In the quiet village of Bagega, in northern Nigeria, the children were exposed when small-scale gold mining near the village released poisonous lead dust into the air. Hours away at a café in the capital, Abuja, Doctors Without Borders humanitarian affairs officer Hosanna Fox says it is not just medical workers that are alarmed. "All the state agencies, all the community leaders, people that are involved in various aspects of mining. They’re all joining forces with one message: There’s no more time left," Fox explains. "Children are suffering and dying from lead poisoning. Further government delay will have catastrophic effects for a group of children that have already been victims for two years.”

    Fox says cleanup of the lead is possible, and the government set aside more than $4 million in May for the project, but the money is tied up in the bureaucracy. She says unless the money is released by the middle of this month, there won't be enough time to complete the cleanup before the rainy season begins in April or May. If the cleanup is delayed until next year, she says, the treatment of the children will have to be delayed too, because treatment cannot be successful if lead dust is still in the environment.

    Fox says Doctors Without Borders will not commit to taking Bagega children into the group's lead poison treatment program unless the cleanup begins soon. “We’ve had really great success medically, but unfortunately we can’t wait indefinitely for the government of Nigeria to take action and at some point we will have to put limitations on our commitment,” he warns. The Zamfara lead poisoning outbreak began in 2010 and has been called the largest in recorded history. Hundreds of children died and others continue to suffer long-term mental and emotional problems and disabilities like paralysis and cerebral palsy. Aid workers say lead poisoning also affects adults in Zamfara state but treatment is not available.

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    Last edited by waltky; 11-09-2012 at 09:23 PM.

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    107 Dead In Sudan Yellow Fever Outbreak...

    WHO: 107 dead from yellow fever in Sudan
    November 13. 2012 - Sudan is working on an emergency vaccination drive for yellow fever, which is spreading.
    A yellow fever outbreak in Sudan's Darfur region has killed 107 people in the last six weeks, the World Health Organization reported Tuesday, warning that the disease could spread all over the country. The number of deaths from the outbreak is steadily rising, and Sudan is working on an emergency vaccination drive. Officials reported last week that 67 people had died in the outbreak. There is no medicinal cure for yellow fever, which is spread by mosquitoes. Doctors treat the main symptoms — dehydration, fever, bleeding and vomiting — and wait for the viral infection to pass. The WHO estimates that more than 500 million people in 32 countries in Africa are at risk of yellow fever infection.

    As part of the emergency response program, 2.4 million doses of the yellow fever vaccine are scheduled to arrive in the Sudanese capital next week, Dr. Anshu Banerjee of the WHO office in Sudan told the Associated Press by phone on Tuesday. More than 350 suspected cases of yellow fever have been reported in Darfur since late September, and more than 30% of people showing symptoms have died, according to a WHO statement. Around 70% are under 29 years old, according to a statement released Monday by the Sudanese Health Ministry and the WHO.

    Banerjee warned that yellow fever cases are "definitely spreading" to new areas of the remote region of Darfur, where Sudan's government has been battling rebel groups since 2003. More than 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict, and health care services are not available to many residents as a result of the turmoil. He said that while no yellow fever cases have been found outside Darfur, the WHO is planning a risk assessment in the next two weeks on the assumption that all areas in Sudan may be at risk of infection. Banerjee said that Darfur's heavy rainy season this year created additional breeding sites for the disease-carrying mosquitos. Sudan's last outbreak of yellow fever killed 160 people in the South Kordofan region in 2005.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/w...sudan/1702733/

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    roadmaster's Avatar Senior Member
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    yellow fever vaccine are scheduled to arrive in the Sudanese capital next week,
    They should have gotten them sooner.

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to roadmaster For This Useful Post:

    waltky (11-15-2012)

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    Granny says, `Bout time dey got around to lookin' in to it...

    Congressional Panel Probes US Meningitis Outbreak
    November 14, 2012 - A U.S. congressional panel has heard emotional testimony from the widow of a Kentucky judge who was among the first to die in a meningitis outbreak linked to 32 deaths and more than 400 illnesses.
    Joyce Lovelace told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee that better state and federal regulations are needed in order to prevent tragedies, such as the one that resulted in her husband's death in September.

    "We have lived a nightmare," Lovelace said. "We will be living this nightmare for ages to come. It is something that we will never really be able to get closure on because it was such a useless thing that happened to my husband."

    The House panel is investigating measures to strengthen government authority over so-called compounding pharmacies, facilities licensed to produce small batches of made-to-order prescriptions.

    Congressman Fred Upton said he was upset to learn that the now-closed New England Compounding Center, which made the contaminated steroid linked to the meningitis outbreak, had a similar incident a decade ago.

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    Ethiopia Is Using Radiation to Eradicate Tsetse Flies
    November 14, 2012 — Ethiopia is winning the battle against the tsetse fly, using what officials say is safe nuclear technology.
    The project to battle livestock-menacing tsetse flies started in April in a laboratory on the outskirts of the capital. The key weapon? Radiation. Terzu Daya, the director the lab, explains how it works. “The purpose of radiation is to make them [tsetste flies] to be sterile," said Daya. "If you avoid further generation, so that the tsetse fly can be eradicated. The main secret behind this is that, once female flies mate with the male, she will not mate again in her life. That’s the advantage."

    After the sterilization, a plane spreads thousands of non-productive tsetse flies every Wednesday in various parts of Ethiopia, especially along riverbed breeding grounds. So far, more than a million laboratory flies have been released. Now sterilized flies outnumber fertile flies, eight to one.

    Thomas Cherenet, the director general of the Southern Tsetse Eradication Project, says the program is safe, effective and will not affect the delicate food chain balance. "They [the tsteste flies] are not even used in the food chain," said Cherenet. "They are not used for any animal to be fed."

    The tsetse fly is only found in Africa and poses threats to both humans and livestock. The blood sucking fly spreads a parasite which causes trypanosomiasis and attacks the central nervous system. In humans the disease is commonly called sleeping sickness. In cattle and other livestock it is called nagana. Its symptoms are similar to malaria and it can kill, if left untreated. Tens of millions of Africans and their livestock are at risk each year.

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    Last edited by waltky; 11-15-2012 at 01:10 AM.

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    Stonewalling at the meningitis inquiry...

    FDA seeks more power to police compounding pharmacies, as Congress questions agency response
    Nov 14, 2012 - FDA seeks more authority amid meningitis outbreak
    The head of the Food and Drug Administration asked Congress Wednesday for more authority to police pharmacies like the one that triggered a deadly meningitis outbreak, even as lawmakers questioned why the agency didn't do more with its existing powers. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg called for new laws to clarify her agency's authority to crack down on companies like the New England Compounding Center, which distributed contaminated pain injections that have sickened more than 460 Americans, causing 32 deaths.

    Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee spent most of the first hearing on the outbreak questioning state and federal regulators about why they didn't act sooner against the company. A timeline assembled by the committee's Republican staff showed that the FDA and the Massachusetts board of pharmacy investigated the pharmacy more than a dozen times in the past decade. In particular, lawmakers pointed to a 2002 FDA inspection that found contamination issues with the same steroid implicated in the latest recall.

    "I was stunned and angered to learn that an inspection of the NECC by the FDA and the Massachusetts board of pharmacy over 10 years ago identified contamination in the very same drug at issue in the current outbreak," said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., who chairs the committee. Hamburg told lawmakers that the problems uncovered in inspections were "very serious," but that the agency was obligated to defer to Massachusetts authorities, who have more direct oversight over pharmacies.

    Hamburg emphasized repeatedly the difficulty of taking action against compounding pharmacies, which have long operated in a legal gray area between state and federal law. "The challenge we have today is that there is a patchwork of legal authorities that oversee the regulatory actions we can take," said Hamburg, who was nominated to head the FDA by President Obama in 2009.

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    Pharmacy Chief in Meningitis Outbreak Takes the Fifth
    Nov 14, 2012 - Barry Cadden sheds no light on what happened
    The co-owner and chief pharmacist of the company linked to the meningitis outbreak arrived on Capitol Hill today for a grilling armed with lawyers and an index card. And when House lawmakers asked Barry Cadden of the New England Compounding Center things like what happened or what he might say to victims, he read from the card:

    "Under advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer under basis of my constitutional rights and privileges, including the Fifth Amendment." He deviated only once, when asked whether he was going to invoke the Fifth on all questions, to which he answered, "Yes." Lawmakers then let him leave.

    Also at the hearing, FDA chief Margaret Hamburg said her agency needs clearer authority from Congress to go after compounding centers, reports AP. But she didn't get off easy, notes the Guardian:

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    New ebola outbreak in Uganda...

    Scores isolated after new Ebola outbreak in Uganda
    Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, Scores of Ugandans were isolated on Thursday to prevent the spread of a new outbreak of Ebola which has already killed three people.
    Uganda has experienced increasingly regular outbreaks of deadly hemorrhagic fevers that have left health officials grappling for answers. The new Ebola outbreak was confirmed Wednesday in a district 60 kilometers (40 miles) from the Ugandan capital, Kampala. The outbreak comes roughly a month after Uganda declared itself Ebola-free following an earlier outbreak in a remote district of western Uganda. Last month at least five people in a southwestern district of Uganda were killed by Marburg, a hemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola.

    The latest Ebola outbreak, officials say, is of the Sudan strain of Ebola and not linked to the previous one, of the Congo variety, which killed at least 16 villagers in July and August in the western district of Kibaale. In addition to the three dead in the latest outbreak, up to 15 are being monitored for signs of the disease, officials said. They advised against panic after it was revealed that two possible Ebola patients had since checked into Kampala's main referral hospital. "The Ministry of Health once again calls upon the public to stay calm as all possible measures are being undertaken to control the situation," Christine Ondoa, Uganda's minister of health, said.

    Ebola is especially feared in Uganda, where multiple outbreaks have occurred over the years, and news of it can cause patients to flee hospitals to avoid infection. In 2000, in one of the world's worst Ebola outbreaks, the disease infected 425 Ugandans and killed more than half of them in the country's north. Another outbreak in 2007 killed 37 people in Bundibugyo, a remote district close to the Congolese border. Ebola is highly infectious and kills quickly.

    More http://news.yahoo.com/scores-isolate...092259060.html

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    Dis lil' piggie went to market...

    Growing concerns over 'in the air' transmission of Ebola
    15 November 2012 - The infection is thought to get into humans through close contact with bodily fluids
    Canadian scientists have shown that the deadliest form of the ebola virus could be transmitted by air between species. In experiments, they demonstrated that the virus was transmitted from pigs to monkeys without any direct contact between them. The researchers say they believe that limited airborne transmission might be contributing to the spread of the disease in some parts of Africa. They are concerned that pigs might be a natural host for the lethal infection.



    Ebola viruses cause fatal haemorrhagic fevers in humans and many other species of non human primates. Details of the research were published in the journal Scientific Reports. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the infection gets into humans through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs and other bodily fluids from a number of species including chimpanzees, gorillas and forest antelope. The fruit bat has long been considered the natural reservoir of the infection. But a growing body of experimental evidence suggests that pigs, both wild and domestic, could be a hidden source of Ebola Zaire - the most deadly form of the virus.

    Now, researchers from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the country's Public Health Agency have shown that pigs infected with this form of Ebola can pass the disease on to macaques without any direct contact between the species. In their experiments, the pigs carrying the virus were housed in pens with the monkeys in close proximity but separated by a wire barrier. After eight days, some of the macaques were showing clinical signs typical of ebola and were euthanised. One possibility is that the monkeys became infected by inhaling large aerosol droplets produced from the respiratory tracts of the pigs.

    More http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20341423

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