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Archive for January 13th, 2015

“Rare and Nasty” Baby-Killer Virus Found in NZ

Posted by feww on January 13, 2015

Sent by a reader in New Zealand

Novel Viruses: 25% of gastroenteritis outbreaks remain unsolved in NZ

A rare and nasty virus that can trigger potentially fatal diseases in babies and young children has been found in New Zealand, said a report.

Members of Environmental Science Research (ESR), who were investigating an outbreak of gastroenteritis, stumbled across the virus, known as human parechovirus (HPeV3).

The virus was found in a sample of feces from a two-year-old child who became ill during a gastro outbreak in 2012, said ESR.

The virus can cause  blood infections and inflammation of the brain, ESR added.

“It can affect different tissue types in the body, such as the membranes surrounding the brain, but there’s still a lot that we don’t know about it.”

HPeV3 was identified in Japan in 2004, but until recently only one other case in Bolivia had been reported; however, it was responsible for an outbreak of blood infection among children in Australia, last year, said the report.

ESR has recommended testing for the virus, “especially for rare cases of severe disease that can’t be explained.”

The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology this week.

Metagenomic Analysis of Viruses in Feces from Unsolved Outbreaks of Gastroenteritis in Humans. doi:10.1128/JCM.02029-14.


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Explosive Eruptions at Underwater Volcano Off Tonga Cancel Flights

Posted by feww on January 13, 2015

Ash explosions continue at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano

Large ash eruptions continue at the underwater Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano located about about 30 km south-southeast of Fonuafoʻou (aka, Falcon Island) and 65km north of the Tongan capital, Nuku’alofa.

Local officials have warned of volcanic ash falling across the region, said the Matangi Tonga online.

“The Ministry of Health should be advised to watch for any anomalies in cases of respiratory problems, eye symptoms, and skin irritation that may be due to ash falls,” the warning says.

Meantime, the volcano continued to eject ash up to 9,000m into the air, said the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC).

“Air New Zealand, Fiji Airways, pacific Blue and domestic flights in Tonga [as well as Virgin flights] have been grounded as concerns over volcanic ash grow,” said a report.

“Tonga residents described a spectacular sight, with the enormous plume from the volcano shooting high into the sky and a muddy discharge underwater turning areas of the sea off the island blood red,” said another report.

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