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

  1. #21
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    WHO responding to yellow fever outbreak...

    WHO to Provide Emergency Yellow Fever Vaccines on Angola-DRC Border
    June 23, 2016 - The World Health Organization (WHO) will launch emergency vaccination campaigns for Yellow Fever along the border between Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, it announced Thursday.
    The WHO emphasized that preventing further international spread of the disease is the current priority. “While WHO is working with partners and vaccine manufacturers to increase vaccine production and replenish the emergency stockpile currently being used for this outbreak, it is vital to interrupt transmission, especially in cross-border areas to rapidly bring this outbreak under control and halt further international spread,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa.

    The initial phase of the campaign will begin in July, and will focus on areas along the border with the most trade and activity to try to prevent further international spread of the disease. Working in a 75-100 kilometer belt spanning the Angola-DRC border and targeting areas such as capital city Kinshasa will create an "immune buffer to prevent further international spread" of the virus, according to the WHO.

    As of June 13th, three countries, China, Kenya, and the DRC, have reported cases of Yellow Fever connected to the Angola outbreak. So far, over 15 million doses of the Yellow Fever vaccine have been delivered to Angola and the DRC, but lack of funding, urgent need, and the difficulty of making the vaccine have resulted in significant shortages.

    http://www.voanews.com/content/who-t...s/3388760.html
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    Key African Anti-Venom About to Permanently Run Out
    June 24, 2016 — It sounds like a tale of corporate greed: A particularly effective African anti-venom soon will be completely unavailable because its manufacturer decided it was not profitable. Remaining stocks of the drug expire at the end of June.
    The situation has prompted aid groups like Doctors Without Borders to sound the alarm over the imminent shortage of Fav-Afrique, which treats bites from 10 types of snakes. “We are upset about the decision of Sanofi Pasteur to stop Fav-Afrique because we need the anti-venom,” said Dr. Monica Rull, a health advisor for Doctors Without Borders. “We need an anti-venom that is polyvalent and it’s easy to use, not thinking too much about which type of snake has bitten the patient.” The aid group estimates that 30,000 Africans die of snakebites each year.

    'Polyvalent' anti-venoms

    Rull said there are other anti-venoms available in Africa, but none are as effective as Fav-Afrique, and few are polyvalent — meaning they can treat multiple poisons. That matters because patients often can’t accurately identify the species of snake that attacked them. But the sad story of the demise of Fav-Afrique is a complicated one, says Dr. Jean Lang of pharmaceutical company, who contends governments and donors are equally responsible for this poisonous situation. Lang was part of the team that developed Fav-Afrique two decades ago. He spoke to VOA from Sanofi Pasteur’s facility in Lyon, France.


    A member of the Amazonian Tatuyo tribe holds a snake while waiting for tourists in his village in the Rio $#@! (Black River) near Manaus city, Brazil

    While tests have shown that Fav-Afrique is very effective, he says his product has commercial disadvantages. Production is lengthy and complicated, and it will take at least two years to make a batch to replace the one that is now expiring. Fav-Afrique has to be refrigerated — a tall order for rural African clinics — and treatment is expensive, with the average patient needing multiple courses that total about $500. “The people who decide at the ministry of health of these African countries, of course considering the price of the product ... when you face a five-fold cheaper product and you consider they are equivalent, because you are not a scientist or a physician,” he said.

    Fav-Afrique's demise

    When the company decided in 2010 to discontinue Fav-Afrique, they announced they would share the technology with anyone who wanted to resume production. No one has stepped up, Lang says. He says he is worried the death of Fav-Afrique is a symptom of a bigger disease in the healthcare industry. He says his company is urging donors, governments and aid organizations to step up to fund essential pharmaceuticals like vaccines and anti-venoms.

    “I think there are vaccines that are also under threat because no one realizes that even with the market failure, we are going below some fair return for investments,” he said. “And that’s apparent to us with the measles vaccine, for example. So there are other vaccines that, if we don’t rethink, most of the new vaccines we are making are driven out of the business cases of our company.” As the boardroom battle rages over who will pay for these lifesaving medications, the burden is now falling to those who can least afford it — patients, who may pay with their lives.

    http://www.voanews.com/content/key-a...t/3390646.html
    Last edited by waltky; 06-24-2016 at 02:26 PM.

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    Dengue fever outbreak in Pakistan...

    Telephone Hotline in Pakistan Predicts Dengue Outbreaks
    July 08, 2016 - Predicting an outbreak of dengue fever could be just a phone call away. A telephone helpline is assisting public health officials in Pakistan predict the incidence of the mosquito-borne disease.
    Researchers have created a computer algorithm that uses hotline reports from the public to help forecast the number of dengue cases, two to three weeks before there’s an actual outbreak. By knowing how many people could become infected, public health officials can take preventive measures to limit the impact of dengue on a community. Lakshmi Subramanian, a professor of mathematical sciences at New York University, said the computer model is extremely accurate. “So this is telling you in [these] particular localities, the number could vary between five and seven within the next two weeks; it could vary between 17 and 19 over the next two, three weeks,” he said. “It’s actually giving you the exact range. And that is more powerful than,'Oh, I think an outbreak is going to happen or an outbreak is not going to happen.'” He added that an outbreak can even be traced to particular neighborhoods and blocks within those areas. Subramanian and colleagues described their computer model in the journal Science Advances.


    A woman holds her son, suffering from dengue fever, as she sits under a mosquito net inside a dengue ward of a local hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan

    Hotline origin

    An estimated 400,000 people are infected with dengue fever each year. Worldwide, an estimated 2.5 billion people are at risk of contracting dengue, which causes sudden high fever, severe headaches and agonizing joint and muscle pain. Parasite-infected mosquitoes spread the illness, for which there is still no cure or vaccine. In 2011, the Pakistani province of Punjab was blindsided by a severe outbreak of dengue, which infected more than 21,000 people and took 350 lives. Unprepared for the onslaught, hospitals in Punjab were swamped. Since then, researchers in the United States and Pakistan developed a telephone hotline to help forecast the scope of a particular dengue outbreak. The computer algorithm that feeds information from callers into the prediction model.

    Hotline response

    So far, some 300,000 people have called the hotline with questions about the symptoms of dengue. They also report areas where there is still water or open sewage that could be a breeding ground for dengue mosquitoes. The information from the algorithm can be widely disseminated to help hospitals prepare for a dengue outbreak. Proactively, public health workers can eliminate standing pools of water and use insecticides to kill mosquitoes. The authors say the hotline-based system is economical and does not require a huge effort to collect and analyze disease incidence information.


    A boy tries to outrun a man fumigating for mosquitoes in an effort to combat dengue fever, on the streets of Lahore, Pakistan

    The study’s first author, Nabeel Abdur Rehman, said a hotline has also been established to pinpoint outbreaks of polio, a disease that has been virtually eradicated worldwide but for a few remaining cases in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rehman, a doctoral student at NYU, said similar systems can be set up to help identify suspected cases of malaria and influenza. “So, to some extent, it’s very generic and can be deployed in any other parts of the country and any other countries because it’s cost-effective and it can be developed for any other disease.” With information from the hotline and disease prevention efforts, the authors say the number of dengue cases in Lahore fell to 1600 cases in 2013.

    http://www.voanews.com/content/pakis...e/3409547.html

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    Drug-resistant Malaria possibility in Africa...

    Prospect of Drug-resistant Malaria Stirs Concern in Africa
    July 14, 2016 — The number of new malaria cases in Africa fell 42 percent from 2000 to 2015, according to the World Health Organization. The drop was due in large part to insecticide-treated mosquito nets, indoor spraying and better access to effective treatments. But this progress could be derailed by a new wave of drug-resistant malaria that's currently affecting Asia.
    Abdoulaye Djimde, head of the molecular epidemiology and drug resistance unit at the Malaria Research and Training Center in Bamako, Mali, said that "we should be concerned. ... Given the frequent interconnection between Asia and Africa — you have direct flights from almost everywhere to several parts of Africa — there is the risk for importing these resistant parasites. [It] is higher today.” In the 1970s, millions of Africans contracted malaria resistant to the front-line drug at the time, chloroquine. The results were catastrophic.


    Women hold mosquito nets after receiving them at a distribution point in Sesheke, Zambia

    As of last year, five countries in Southeast Asia had reported cases of malaria resistant to the latest treatment, Artemisinin-based combination therapies, or ACT. “We need to be alert so that what happened with chloroquine resistance does not catch up with us," said Eunice Misiani of South Africa's National Malaria Control Program. "We have to make sure we conduct the efficacy testing standards on a regular basis — every two to three years.”

    Fake drugs persist

    Counterfeit drugs continue to be a big problem in Africa. The fake drugs, while cheaper, often have lower levels of active pharmaceutical ingredients, and using them can lead to drug resistance over time. Getting people to complete the treatment regime is also difficult. Many stop taking the pills after a day or two, once they start to feel better. Hans Rietveld, market access director at Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis' Malaria Initiative, said doctors in Africa often over-prescribe anti-malarial drugs. “First of all, ensure that there is adequate diagnosis before initiating treatment," he said. "And that is an issue in many countries where the practice ... of diagnosing prior to treatment isn’t yet embedded in normal medical practice.”

    Some studies show that an estimated 40 percent to 60 percent of cases treated as malaria in Africa aren’t actually malaria. Rietveld said expanding the use of rapid diagnostic tests in Africa could prevent overtreatment. The at-home tests can diagnose malaria with a finger $#@!. Novartis said there are now two new potential drugs in the works. Both treat malaria differently than ACTs. But getting these new drugs onto the market will take at least a few more years.

    http://www.voanews.com/content/prosp...a/3418741.html
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    HIV Treatment Lagging in West Africa
    July 11, 2016 — The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is relatively low in West Africa compared to the rest of Africa, but treatment rates there are equally low, say activists and health care workers. In Ivory Coast, about two-thirds of people living with HIV/AIDS are not on antiretroviral treatment.
    Stéphane Alliali Dié Kouamé walks one neighborhood in Abidjan every day to visit people living with HIV/AIDS. "I encourage you to take your treatment so you can get better. Have they already done the last test for the child?" Kouamé asks a woman holding a baby. "No, but I have the first one," the woman replies. "And what did it say? Oh, negative," Kouamé remarks. Treatment with antiretroviral drugs can reduce mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy and birth. Kouamé works for the local NGO Lumière Action, which runs a treatment center nearby. He says people fall out of treatment for many reasons.

    Some become discouraged. Some become misguided by charlatans touting cures. Others don't have enough money to pay for transport to the clinic. And then, there is the stigma. "Just last week, a couple came to the clinic and they recognized one of the nurses, so they didn't want to come back to get their treatment. They asked me to bring it to them," Kouamé said. "They stigmatize themselves sometimes." The clinic also offers free HIV tests. Ivory Coast made antiretroviral medications free in 2008.Since then, the percentage of people on ARV's has doubled to about 30 percent, but aid groups say that is still too low.

    Low ARV Stocks

    Clinics frequently run out of stock. "For first line treatment, there is no problem. But for the second line, there are always stocks outs. We are people living with HIV/AIDS. We are told we have a lifelong treatment to follow. We cannot understand that today there are stock outs," says Leontine Sidye of RIP PLUS, a coalition of 68 local NGO's working on HIV/AIDS. Since last year, an alert system has been implemented. When a clinic runs out of stock, it contacts RIP PLUS. The group gets in touch with the Ivorian authorities to try to get the medicine. Treatment with antiretroviral drugs can slow the virus' spread in the body and delay the onset of AIDS.

    Antiretroviral drugs or ARV's, in Ivory Coast are financed by initiatives like The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and PEPFAR (The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), along with the government, but the demand remains high and so is the cost. "We could better the situation by producing the ARV's locally. Not necessarily within the country, but within the sub-region. That could lower the costs," says Tamsir Sall, a UNAIDS representative in Ivory Coast. About 80 percent of ARV's used in Africa are imported from abroad and many countries are pushing to produce locally. South Africa recently announced the creation of a state-owned company to manufacture ARV's there.

    http://www.voanews.com/content/activ...a/3414538.html
    Last edited by waltky; 07-15-2016 at 08:33 AM.

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    Genetically Modified Mosquitoes help fight dengue fever...

    Cases of Dengue Drop 91 Percent Due to Genetically Modified Mosquitoes
    July 14, 2016 - Once again, a technique that modifies insects in order to control their populations has been proven effective. RIDL, which stands for Release of Insects carrying a Dominant Lethal, has been applied to diamondback moths, Mediterranean fruit flies, and olive flies, and it has been used in field trials on mosquitoes in order to reduce cases of dengue.
    Scientists apply the RIDL technique to male insects in the lab, which basically makes them die young unless they receive a substance called tetracycline. As long as they have tetracycline, they will live, but take it away from them and they’re goners. It’s almost as if they’re breeding insects that are drug addicts from birth. Next, they release millions of these male insects into the wild and allow them to mate with females. Since they no longer have tetracycline, the males die soon after mating. Their offspring, which also need tetracycline to live, will die before reaching adulthood since they have no access to the substance.

    Using this technique, scientists have reduced the cases of dengue, which can be deadly, by 91% in a neighborhood called CECAP/Eldorado in the city Piracicaba, which is located in the Brazilian state of São Paulo. There were only 12 cases of dengue in the area, versus 133 cases the previous year. Surrounding areas also saw a reduction of dengue cases by 52%. This is good news not only for potential victims of dengue, but also for people who may be susceptible to Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever because the mosquito that transmits dengue — Aedes aegypti — also transmits these other diseases. The Brazilian health authorities and Oxitec, the company that produces the mosquitoes, call this undertaking the Friendly™ Aedes project.


    “Over the course of one year, we were able to bring the dengue fever incidence down by more than 50% in Piracicaba — the outcome of diligent work to eliminate still water spots, the breeding site of the mosquito,” said the city’s Secretary of Health, Pedro Mello. “In CECAP/Eldorado, where we had the Friendly™ Aedes project, the reduction was extraordinary, going over 90%.” “We are delighted with the result achieved so far by Friendly™ Aedes which shows the potential of our approach,” said Glen Slade, Oxitec do Brasil director. “We hope to see this effect on a larger scale beyond the limited area of CECAP/Eldorado with our expansion into Piracicaba’s downtown city.”

    Friendly™ Aedes mosquitoes have been used in Piracicaba since April 30, 2015, when the first insects were released in CECAP/Eldorado. By January 2016, the technology had already reduced the number of wild Aedes aegypti larvae by 82% in the treated area, compared to a non-treated area. This novel way of reducing the mosquito population has the added benefit of reducing the use of chemical insecticides. Scientists saw similar reductions of dengue in previous trials in the Cayman Islands in 2010 and in a suburb called Juazeiro, which is located in the state of Bahia in Brazil.

    https://entomologytoday.org/2016/07/...ed-mosquitoes/

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    Global warming Not Expected to Boost Malaria in West Africa...

    Study: Climate Change Not Expected to Boost Malaria in West Africa
    July 18, 2016 - Our climate is changing. And it is having significant effects on the world around us. From threats of extinction for many species to cities submerged in rising ocean waters, there are many concerns. But one important effect often gets lost in discussions of climate change’s impact: disease transmission. A new study, in Nature Climate Change, models the long-term effects of climate change on malaria transmission in West Africa. And for once, the results aren’t all bad.
    A necessary evil

    In West Africa, subsistence farming relies on the regional monsoons. These heavy rains, combined with the flat landscape, also provide female mosquitoes ample puddles where they can lay their eggs. The temperatures are also just right for the mosquitoes to live a full life -- two months during which they can bite people and pass on parasites, including the plasmodium parasite which causes malaria. The location of water pools after monsoons is the driving process for malaria transmission in West Africa. Arne Bomblies, now an associate professor at the University of Vermont, painstakingly measured the temperature, location and size of these pools during his graduate work, enduring the heat and the nausea associated with malaria prevention pills.


    Researcher and field assistant taking measurements on a puddle in Zindarou, southwestern Niger.

    For her graduate work, Teresa Yamana incorporated Bomblies’ hydrological data into models that combined the best West African climate predictions, mosquito behaviors and detailed information about the land. “We really look into a lot of detail. It’s not just amount of rainfall that matters it’s when it happens and what is the pattern of rainfall and how do these relate to the specific water pools that mosquitos need to breed,” Yamana, now a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University, tells VOA. Most models that look at the climate effects on malaria transmission do not take into account the water pooling characteristics of the regions. They also mostly focus on the short term effects over a decade or so. The model Yamana developed predicted the burden fifty years from now. And the results were optimistic. The combination of temperatures warming to levels higher than those beneficial to mosquitoes and lower amounts of predicted rainfall act to maintain or decrease the malaria burden in West Africa.

    Determining the malaria burden elsewhere

    Bomblies and Yamana both hope that this process of including the hydrological characteristics of a region into malaria transmission models will be used elsewhere, although they note that the models cannot be used ‘as is’. They would need to be adapted to the terrain, mosquito ecology and hydrology of the region of interest. And this would be complicated for regions such as East Africa. Malaria burden is of particular concern in East Africa. The worry is that rising temperatures will cause malaria to spread into regions where previously, it was too cold for mosquitoes to breed. Andrew Githeko, a research scientist at the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Nairobi, tells VOA that the complicated topography of East Africa would require a significant change to the models before they could be used in this region. Andy Morse is a professor of climate impacts in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Liverpool. He stressed to VOA that this study predicts a reduction in the malaria burden in West Africa over the next 50 years, a much longer period of time than most studies. So he says regional authorities should still continue their attempts to control and prevent malaria transmission.


    The monsoon season in West Africa usually occurs between May and October, though recently it has gotten more difficult to predict.

    Although the long-term outlook appears optimistic, Yamana and Bomblies point out that climate change will have many other impacts on the region. Bomblies notes that food scarcity is the utmost concern of people in West Africa. During his fieldwork, a serious famine caused a food shock there. This illustrated to him just how vulnerable the people of West Africa are to these changes in rainfall, which his models predict are going to decrease in the future. “While it might be sort of good news that malaria isn’t going to get worse in West Africa,” he cautions, “it by no means, means that there’s going to be no issue with climate change in West Africa.”

    http://www.voanews.com/content/clima...a/3423296.html

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    Cholera outbreak suspected in So. Sudan...

    Cholera Outbreak Suspected in Beleaguered South Sudan
    July 20, 2016 : Dozens of people have fallen ill with suspected cholera in South Sudan, a nation already beseiged by civil unrest, the United Nations said.
    UNICEF said the main hospital in Juba, admitted 69 new cases Wednesday, bringing the total number of people being treated in the capital to 112. Nationwide, there were 141 suspected cholera cases, with six reported deaths. This was down from an earlier report of 11 deaths. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and partner agencies, UNICEF is providing medical supplies, sanitation services and community awareness.


    A South Sudanese baby suffering from cholera is being attended by medics in Juba Teaching Hospital

    One suspected case came from inside a U.N. base in Juba, raising fears that it could spread among the 4,000 people sheltering there from fighting this month between opposing army factions. South Sudan's civil war displaced some 28,000 people in Juba after fighting began in late 2013, and renewed fighting last week caused more upheaval, with 15,000 people taking shelter in U.N., aid organization, church and other compounds.

    Last year, 47 people died in South Sudan in a cholera outbreak, and 167 died from the disease in 2014. Cholera is a gastrointestinal disease, usually spread by contaminated water and food, and can cause severe diarrhea that, in extreme cases, can lead to fatal dehydration and kidney failure within hours.

    http://www.voanews.com/content/chole...n/3427799.html

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    Usin' chickens to ward off malaria mosquitoes...

    Malaria Mosquitoes Repelled by Chickens
    July 21, 2016 - If you live in sub-Saharian Africa in a malaria endemic area, it might not be such a crazy idea to sleep next to a chicken. It turns out some mosquitoes are repelled by the odor of chickens, potentially offering another cheap protection method against the mosquito-borne illness.
    Most mosquitoes, including those that carry the often-deadly malaria parasite, like to bite humans. They transmit the disease through a blood meal. They also take blood meals occasionally from cattle, goats and sheep. But they are selective feeders. Mosquitoes don’t like the taste of chicken blood, so poultry rarely gets bitten. Swedish researchers made the discovery in field studies in Ethiopia. They set up traps to capture the most common mosquito in the area, Anopheles arabiensis, in 11 houses in Addis Ababa. Investigators then tested the blood inside the mosquitoes, finding blood from all sorts of animals. But rarely was there any blood from chickens.


    Studies have found that mosquitoes don’t like the taste of chicken blood, so poultry rarely gets bitten.

    That begs the question: Should people in malaria endemic regions sleep next to a chicken? It’s a joke that Rickert Ignell hears all the time. “Oh yes. We do that all the time [make jokes] ... and the joke is also that people should carry a chicken around to protect themselves against malaria. But it hasn’t really caught on.” Ignell is a professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, interested in studying the chemical attraction of disease-carrying insects, including malaria mosquitoes.

    In those 11 houses, Ignell recruited 11 volunteers to sleep under untreated bed nets with traps, baited with chicken compounds, nearby. According to Ignell, “One of the tests we did was to actually suspend a chicken next to the traps that we used. And we actually saw about a 95 percent reduction in the trap capture. Indicating that chickens and chicken odors alone could actually repel the mosquitoes from the houses.”

    Chicken feathers

    Ignell said the odors that were offensive to the mosquitoes came from compounds in the chickens’ feathers. The compounds are cheap and some are already available. The idea of keeping a chicken inside a house to ward off malaria mosquitoes is not such a bad idea. “Many places in Ethiopia and many places in Africa that we’ve been working in, people actually keep their livestock indoors. Not often the chickens, but that is certainly something one could try to see if it works or not,” Ignell said. Ignell said the chicken method of insect repellent would have to be in combination with insecticide-treated bed nets for fuller protection.

    Protection inside and out

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    Bacterial meningitis outbreak in Niger...

    Bacterial Meningitis Linked to Sand Storms in Sahel
    July 27, 2016 - There’s new evidence linking hot desert sandstorms in Africa to bacterial meningitis in the Sahel, an area that stretches from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east. Known as the “meningitis belt,” researchers have homed in on why the region has its name.
    Sandstorms are a fact of life in West Africa's Sahel region. New research suggests that exposure to all that airborne dust, along with the already high temperatures contribute to the high number of bacterial meningitis cases each year.” Most people carry the bacteria that causes meningitis in their nasal passages, but British and Belgian researchers think that sand and other airborne debris people breathe in during a sandstorm carries the bacteria high into the respiratory tract where it is more likely to develop into the deadly infection.

    Daniel Neill is a researcher at the University of Liverpool in the school’s Institute of Infection and Global Health. “In our noses, mouths and throats some of these bacteria live quite harmlessly, and that’s very common throughout the world ,” said Neill. "But what’s very rare is for these bacteria to move from these sites in the nose and mouth and throat to places like the brain, lungs or bloodstream where they cause severe disease. So what we were able to show was that the dust causes the likelihood of the bacteria moving from the mouth, nose or throat from these other sites where they cause severe infection.” Over the past ten years, there have been about one million cases of bacterial meningitis in the Sahel, resulting in some 100,000 deaths.


    А boy is seen eating dry couscous in the village of Goudoude Diobe, in the Matam region of northeastern Senegal.

    Streptococcus pneumoniae can cause often-lethal inflammation of the lining of the brain. Neill says it is treated aggressively with antibiotics, and effective meningitis vaccines have significantly reduced the incidence of the disease. For their study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Neill and colleagues spent eight years studying dust storms in the Sahel – which encompasses 26 countries with a population of 300 million people. Their work focused on Niger. Investigators measured periods of visibility during the storms. They found that the lower the visibility - where people could see for no more than three meters - the more cases there were of meningitis. When combined with extremely hot temperatures, he suggests, the bacteria release toxins that make it hard for the immune system to fight off infection.

    Neill says the number of meningitis cases might be reduced if people who must go outdoors during a sand storm cover their noses and mouths with scarves or gauze material. “And that’s something that we could test relatively simply in which we’d like to do in the future is just to see whether adopting simple measures like that can affect the incidences of meningitis in these parts of the world,” said Neill. Dust storms tend to occur during the Sahel’s dry season, the hottest part of the year. Neill says by monitoring climate conditions, it may be possible to forecast when the most dangerous storms are likely to occur.

    http://www.voanews.com/content/bacte...l/3437305.html
    See also:

    Scientists Find Potential New Antibiotic, Right Under Their Noses
    July 27, 2016 — Scientists in Germany have discovered a bacteria hiding out in peoples' noses that produces an antibiotic compound that can kill several dangerous pathogens, including the superbug MRSA.
    The early-stage finding, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, could one day lead to a whole new class of antibiotic medicines being developed to fight drug-resistant bacterial infections, the researchers said. As well as being a focal point for many viral infections, the nasal cavity is also a rich ecosystem of 50 or so different species of bacteria, lead researcher Andreas Peschel of the University of Tuebingen told reporters in a telephone briefing. "[That's] the reason why we looked at this particular body site,” Peschel said. “[And] it led us to some very unexpected and exciting findings that may be very helpful in looking for new concepts for the development of antibiotics."

    Most antibiotics discovered and developed until now have been isolated from soil-living or other environmental bacteria, but the researchers said this discovery highlights the value of the human microbiome as a potential new source. "The human body has a lot of different ecological niches," Peschel said. "Maybe this is just the right place to look for new human antibiotics. Lugdunin is an example that we've been able to characterize. We're sure there will be others to discover." Naming their new discovery lugdunin, the researchers said it was the first known example of a new class of peptide antibiotics.


    Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) broths are shown in this file photo. Scientists have discovered a bacteria in people's noses that produces an antibiotic effective in treating a strain of the superbug MRSA.

    Lugdunin is produced by the nostril-dwelling bacterium Staphylococcus lugdunensis (S. lugdunensis). In experiments with mice, Peschel's team showed it is able to effectively treat a skin infection caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), which can cause serious and superbug infections. They also found lugdunin was effective against a wide range of so-called Gram-positive bacteria, including strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

    The researchers then analyzed nasal swabs from 187 hospital patients and found that in those who had the S. lugdunensis bacteria in their noses, only 5.9 percent also harbored the potential infectious S. aureus bacteria. In those with no S. lugdunensis, however, 34.7 percent were found to have S. aureus in their noses. This suggests that in the human nose, S. lugdunensis helps to keep S. aureus at bay, the researchers said. Peschel stressed that the research is at a very early stage and the team would need many years of work, ideally with a pharmaceutical company, before a potential new antibiotic medicine could be developed and tested in clinical trials.

    http://www.voanews.com/content/scien...s/3438048.html
    Last edited by waltky; 07-28-2016 at 07:00 AM.

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    Cholera outbreak in Congo, CAR...

    Cholera kills 16 people in C. African Republic, 34 in Congo
    Aug 12,`16 -- Central African Republic's health minister says at least 16 people have died from cholera and there have been 66 recorded cases since the beginning of August.
    Fernande Ndjengbot, Minister of Health, said Friday the government is mobilizing with organizations including the World Health Organization and U.N. Children's Agency to isolate the disease and provide clean water, medicine and aid to the communities. He called on residents to report cases.

    The ministry's emergency health report said it has spread across the Oubangui river to Congo's Libi area where 34 people have died and there are 387 suspected cases.

    Cholera is a gastrointestinal disease, usually spread by contaminated water and food, and can cause severe diarrhea that in extreme cases can lead to fatal dehydration and kidney failure within hours.

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...08-12-14-43-03

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    Side effect of dengue fever vaccine Could Cause Severe Illness...

    Dengue Fever Vaccine Could Cause Severe Illness
    September 01, 2016 - The first vaccine marketed to prevent dengue fever could be making people sick, according to a new study. The authors are urging public health officials to consider carefully which individuals to vaccinate, to prevent severe illness.
    An estimated 400 million people globally are infected each year with dengue fever, a mosquito-borne virus found most often in tropical regions. People who live in dengue-prone areas frequently are infected more than once, but most suffer relatively mild symptoms, including fever. However, more than 2 million people each year develop a severe hemorrhagic case of the disease, which can be fatal. Dengue is more severe the second time a person gets infected. About 25,000 people a year die as a result of the infection. So when Dengvaxia — the first and, so far, only vaccine against dengue — was approved by regulators, there was much excitement.


    A dengue fever victim receives medical treatment at a health center in Managua, Nicaragua

    Infections cut sharply

    Large clinical trials — involving approximately 10,000 children, ages 2 to 14 — were conducted in Southeast Asia and in Latin America. Phase-three trials involved about 21,000 youngsters between the ages of 9 and 16. Researchers found the Dengvaxia vaccine, made by pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Pasteur, reduced the number of infections by 60 percent and hospitalizations by 80 percent. But as time went on, many of those who had been vaccinated, including the younger children, fell seriously ill with dengue. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Imperial College London and the University of Florida analyzed data from all of the vaccine trials, involving more than 30,000 people in 10 countries, with long-term follow-up of the participants.


    Vietnamese parents look after their children in a room designated for the treatment of dengue fever at Ho Chi Minh City's pediatric hospital

    One of the study’s lead authors, Isabel Rodriguez-Barraquer of the Bloomberg school, said it appears the vaccine acts as a silent, first infection in some people. “What seems to be happening with this vaccine is that those people who have never seen dengue in the past, that have never been infected in the past, if they get vaccinated, let’s say the vaccine acts like their first infection, right? So, if they ever get a second infection, or a true first infection, it would be more severe than it would have been, right? And that’s the concern,” said Rodriguez-Barraquer. That may explain why young children, many under the age of 9, were getting severely ill. They hadn’t lived long enough to get a first infection.

    WHO directive

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