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Posts Tagged ‘infectious diseases’

Infectious Diseases Kill 1,448 Chinese in October: Report

Posted by feww on November 18, 2014

SCENARIOS 993, 797, 444, 080, 011, 01

Infectious Diseases kill 1,448 Chinese, sicken more than 608,000 in October

[Reported cases of] infectious diseases in mainland China killed  at least 1,448 people and sickened more than 609,000 people in October, Xinhua quoted the health officials as saying.

Plague, a Category A infectious disease, killed at least two people, said the report.

Infectious diseases in Category B were responsible for the bulk of the fatalities (1,421 cases reported), with Hepatitis, tuberculosis, syphilis, dengue and diarrhea being the deadliest.

Category C infectious diseases killed 25 people in October, said China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) classifies the Emerging Infectious Diseases in categories A, B and C as follows:

Category A pathogens are those organisms/biological agents that pose the highest risk to national security and public health because they

  • Can be easily disseminated or transmitted from person to person
  • Result in high mortality rates and have the potential for major public health impact
  • Might cause public panic and social disruption
  • Require special action for public health preparedness

Category A Priority Pathogens

Category B pathogens are the second highest priority organisms/biological agents. They

  • Are moderately easy to disseminate
  • Result in moderate morbidity rates and low mortality rates
  • Require specific enhancements for diagnostic capacity and enhanced disease surveillance

Category B Priority Pathogens

  • Burkholderia pseudomallei (melioidosis)
  • Coxiella burnetii (Q fever)
  • Brucella species (brucellosis)
  • Burkholderia mallei (glanders)
  • Chlamydia psittaci (Psittacosis)
  • Ricin toxin (Ricinus communis)
  • Epsilon toxin (Clostridium perfringens)
  • Staphylococcus enterotoxin B (SEB)
  • Typhus fever (Rickettsia prowazekii)
  • Food- and waterborne pathogens
  • Mosquito-borne encephalitis viruses
    • West Nile virus (WNV)
    • LaCrosse encephalitis (LACV)
    • California encephalitis
    • Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE)
    • Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE)
    • Western equine encephalitis (WEE)
    • Japanese encephalitis virus (JE)
    • St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV)

Category C pathogens are the third highest priority and include emerging pathogens that could be engineered for mass dissemination in the future because of

  • Availability
  • Ease of production and dissemination
  • Potential for high morbidity and mortality rates and major health impact

Category C Priority Pathogens

  • Nipah and Hendra viruses
  • Additional hantaviruses
  • Tickborne hemorrhagic fever viruses
    • Bunyaviruses
      • Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome virus (SFTSV), Heartland virus
    • Flaviruses
      • Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever virus, Alkhurma virus, Kyasanur Forest virus
  • Tickborne encephalitis complex flaviviruses
    • Tickborne encephalitis viruses
    • European subtype
    • Far Eastern subtype
    • Siberian subtype
    • Powassan/Deer Tick virus
  • Yellow fever virus
  • Tuberculosis, including drug-resistant TB
  • Influenza virus
  • Other Rickettsias
  • Rabies virus
  • Prions
  • Chikungunya virus
  • Coccidioides spp.
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV), MERS-CoV, and other highly pathogenic human coronaviruses (new in FY14)
  • Antimicrobial resistance, excluding research on sexually transmitted organisms*
    • Research on mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance
    • Studies of the emergence and/or spread of antimicrobial resistance genes within pathogen populations
    • Studies of the emergence and/or spread of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens in human populations
    • Research on therapeutic approaches that target resistance mechanisms
    • Modification of existing antimicrobials to overcome emergent resistance
  • Antimicrobial research, as related to engineered threats and naturally occurring drug-resistant pathogens, focused on development of broad-spectrum antimicrobials

*NIAID Category C Antimicrobial Resistance—Sexually Transmitted Organisms Excluded

  • Bacterial vaginosis, Chlamydia trachomatis, cytomegalovirus, Granuloma inguinale, Hemophilus ducreyi, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, herpes simplex virus, human immunodeficiency virus, human papillomavirus, Neisseria gonorrhea, Treponema pallidum, Trichomonas vaginalis


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State of Emergency Declared in Lithuania due to Deadly Swine Fever

Posted by feww on July 30, 2014

SCENARIOS 444, 333, 078,  011

Deadly African Swine Fever Spreads in Lithuania

Lithuanian government has declared a  state of emergency following an outbreak of the deadly African swine fever (ASF) in Ignalina region.

African swine fever was originally discovered in Lithuania in January 2014, and soon spread to neighboring Latvia resulting in high death rates among pigs in both countries.

Poland confirmed its first case of African swine fever (ASF) last week at a farm near Bialystok, close to Belarus border.

The admission by Polish authorities followed numerous reports of African Swine Fever cases among wild boar populations in northeast Poland.

Polish pork exports in the first quarter of 2014 dropped by at least 6 percent due to the ASF outbreak, with China and Russia imposing restrictions on imports.

Meanwhile, ASF has killed thousands of pigs in Adjumani District of Uganda since the outbreak of the viral disease in November 2013.

ASF Virus

  • ASF spreads extremely rapidly because it’s highly contagious and has a complex epidemiology.
  • The virus can survive in a protein environment, especially in meat and meat products, for long periods.
  • The disease mortality rate is almost 100 percent.
  • ASF has no vaccine as of now.


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Outbreak of Pneumonic Plague Kills Dozens in Madagascar

Posted by feww on December 13, 2013

Ninety percent of the cases are pneumonic plague

“There is an epidemic in Madagascar which is currently affecting five districts [out of 112.] Eighty-six people have been inflicted by the plague, of which 39 have died,” the health ministry was reported as saying.

Pneumonic plague is a severe type of lung infection caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, and is more virulent and rarer than bubonic plague.

Although the deadly disease claimed its first victim sometime in October, the authorities didn’t declare the plague outbreak until November 23, said reports.

In 2012, plague killed more than 60 people in Madagascar, the highest toll globally.

What’s Plague?

Plague is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called Yersinia pestis. The bacteria are found mainly in rodents, particularly rats, and in the fleas that feed on them. Other animals and humans usually contract the bacteria from rodent or flea bites, the US National Institute of Health (NIH) said. The bacteria can also spread from person to person through the air by coughing. When transmission occurs through the air, Y. pestis infects the lungs. [See below for the disease forms.]

Historically, plague destroyed entire civilizations. In the 1300s, the “Black Death,” as it was called, killed approximately one-third (20 to 30 million) of Europe’s population. In the mid-1800s, it killed 12 million people in China. Today, thanks to better living conditions, antibiotics, and improved sanitation, current World Health Organization statistics show there were only 2,118 cases in 2003 worldwide.

About 20 people in the United States are diagnosed with bubonic plague each year caused by flea or rodent bites—mostly from infected prairie dogs—in countryside in the southwestern United States, according to NIH.  “About 1 in 7 of those infected die from the disease. There has not been a case of person-to-person infection in the United States since 1924.”

There have also been small plague outbreaks in Asia, Africa, and South America.

What’s Pneumonic Plague?

Yersinia pestis
Image: Yersinia pestis. Fluorescence antibody positivity is seen as bright, intense green staining around the bacterial cell. [Source: CDC]

Facts about Pneumonic Plague [Information Sourced from CDC]

Image: Wayson stain of Yersinia pestis. Wayson stain of Yersinia pestis. Note the characteristic “safety pin” appearance of the bacteria
. [Source: CDC]

Plague is an infectious disease that affects animals and humans. It is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. This bacterium is found in rodents and their fleas and occurs in many areas of the world, including the United States.

Y. pestis is easily destroyed by sunlight and drying. Even so, when released into air, the bacterium will survive for up to one hour, although this could vary depending on conditions.

This patient presented with symptoms of plague that included gangrene of the right hand causing necrosis of the fingers. In this case, the presence of systemically disseminated plague bacteria Y. pestis, i.e. septicemia, predisposed this patient to abnormal coagulation within the blood vessels of his fingers.
Photo: CDC 1975. Caption: CDC/ CDC/Dr. Jack Poland

Pneumonic plague is one of several forms of plague. Depending on circumstances, these forms may occur separately or in combination:

  • Pneumonic plague occurs when Y. pestis infects the lungs. This type of plague can spread from person to person through the air. Transmission can take place if someone breathes in aerosolized bacteria, which could happen in a bioterrorist attack. Pneumonic plague is also spread by breathing in Y. pestis suspended in respiratory droplets from a person (or animal) with pneumonic plague. Becoming infected in this way usually requires direct and close contact with the ill person or animal. Pneumonic plague may also occur if a person with bubonic or septicemic plague is untreated and the bacteria spread to the lungs.
  • Bubonic plague is the most common form of plague. This occurs when an infected flea bites a person or when materials contaminated with Y. pestis enter through a break in a person’s skin. Patients develop swollen, tender lymph glands (called buboes) and fever, headache, chills, and weakness. Bubonic plague does not spread from person to person.
  • Septicemic plague occurs when plague bacteria multiply in the blood. It can be a complication of pneumonic or bubonic plague or it can occur by itself. When it occurs alone, it is caused in the same ways as bubonic plague; however, buboes do not develop. Patients have fever, chills, prostration, abdominal pain, shock, and bleeding into skin and other organs. Septicemic plague does not spread from person to person.

Symptoms and Treatment

PHIL_4139_loresThis patient presented with symptoms of plague that included gangrene of the right foot causing necrosis of the toes. In this case, the presence of systemically disseminated plague bacteria Y. pestis, i.e. septicemia, predisposed this patient to abnormal coagulation within the blood vessels of his toes. Photo CDC. Caption: CDC/William Archibald

With pneumonic plague, the first signs of illness are fever, headache, weakness, and rapidly developing pneumonia with shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, and sometimes bloody or watery sputum. The pneumonia progresses for 2 to 4 days and may cause respiratory failure and shock. Without early treatment, patients may die.

Early treatment of pneumonic plague is essential. To reduce the chance of death, antibiotics must be given within 24 hours of first symptoms. Streptomycin, gentamicin, the tetracyclines, and chloramphenicol are all effective against pneumonic plague.

Antibiotic treatment for 7 days will protect people who have had direct, close contact with infected patients. Wearing a close-fitting surgical mask also protects against infection.

A plague vaccine is not currently available for use in the United States.

Plague Information: Infection Control

During the 1975 Rhodesian, (now Zimbabwe), Marburg epidemiologic investigation, health officials came across this African farmer with an inguinal bubo. Photo: CDC 1975. Caption: CDC/ Dr. J. Lyle Conrad

The epidemiologists uncovered an outbreak of plague amongst the local farmers, and treated these patients with oral antibiotics. Sanitarians were quickly dispatched to spray huts for fleas, and then trap rats carrying the pathogenic agent, Yersinia pestis bacterium.

This patient acquired a plague infection through abrasions on his upper right leg. Bubonic plague is transmitted through the bite of an infected flea, or as in this case, exposure to inoculated material through a break in the skin. Symptoms include swollen, tender lymph glands known as buboes. Photo: CDC 1975. Caption: CDC/ CDC/Dr. Jack Poland

This photograph depicts the shaved anterior thoracoabdominal region of a rock squirrel, Spermophilus variegatus, formerly known as Citellus variegatus, which is afflicted with the plague. This squirrel is displaying a petechial rash, which is similar in appearance to those found on humans also afflicted with Yersinia pestis. A petechial rash refers to small, pinpoint, flat lesions of the skin and mucous membranes that are associated with hemorrhages beneath the skin surface. Photo: CDC 1977. Caption: CDC/ William Archibald; Laboratory/ Ft. Collins

Related Links

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Birds, Bees, Neonicotinoids and Deadly Disease

Posted by feww on April 10, 2013

China culls more than 40 tons of poultry daily

China has reported 33 cases of H7N9, including nine fatalities, in Shanghai municipality and the provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui and Zhejiang, according to the country’s National Health and Family Planning Commission.

China shut down poultry markets in Shanghai on April 5 and began culling tens of thousands of birds as a precaution to stop the spread of a new, deadly strain of avian flu.

“A top Chinese biology lab has ascribed the H7N9 avian influenza to genetic reassortment of wild birds from east Asia and chickens from east China,” said a report.

  • “A virus carried by wild birds from the Republic of Korea and other east Asian regions mingled with the avian influenza virus carried by ducks and chickens in the Yangtze River Delta during migration,” researchers said.

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)

“Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a serious problem threatening the health of honey bees and the economic stability of commercial beekeeping and pollination operations in the United States. ” USDA said.

bee decline
Image credit: Stephen Ausmus/USDA/ARS

  • Bee pollination adds more than $15 billion in increased crop value in the U.S. each year.
  • The number of managed honey bee colonies has dropped from more than 5 million in the 1940s to less than 2.5 million today.
  • The almond industry in California requires the service of 1.4 million colonies of honey bees.
  • Losses from the winter of 2006-2011 averaged about 33 percent each year, with a third of all losses attributed to CCD by beekeepers.
  • Total losses of managed honey bee colonies were 21.9 percent nationwide for the 2011/2012 winter, according to the annual survey conducted by the USDA.
  • Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically related to nicotine.
  • The European Food Safety Authority recently stated that neonicotinoids pose an unacceptably high risk to bees.
  • The American Bird Conservancy recently published a review of 200 studies on neonicotinoids and called for a ban on neonicotinoid use as seed treatments due to toxicity to birds, aquatic invertebrates, and other wildlife.
  • A coalition of beekeepers, conservation, food campaigners and sustainable agriculture advocates sued EPA last month on grounds that the agency has failed to protect the bees.
  • “The lawsuit accuses the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of failing to protect the insects – which pollinate three-quarters of all food crops – from nerve agents that it says should be suspended from use. Neonicotinoids, the world’s most widely used insecticides, are also facing the prospect of suspension in the European Union, after the health commissioner pledged to press on with the proposed ban despite opposition from the UK and Germany.”


1,067 Days Left 

Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.

  • SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,067 Days Left to ‘Worst Day’ in the brief Human  History
  • The countdown began on May 15, 2011 …


Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

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Rising Threat of Fungal Infections: Exserohilum Rostratum

Posted by feww on October 11, 2012


[October 11, 2012] Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016. 

  • SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,252 Days Left to the ‘Worst Day’ in Human History


Global Disasters/ Significant Events

Exserohilum Rostratum

Several of the meningitis patients who received epidural steroid injections (medication injected into the spine), have had strokes related to the infection, according to CDC. The meningitis was found to be caused by fungi that are common in the environment but rarely cause infection.

is a common mold found in soil and on plants, especially grasses. Exserohilum can cause keratitis (eye inflammation), subcutaneous phaeohyphomycosis, endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart), osteomyelitis (bone infection), and sinusitis. (Source: CDC)

Fungal Meningitis Outbreak in the U.S.

  • Case Count: 137  [October 10, 2012 5:45:00 PM EDT]
  • States: 10
  • Deaths: 12

West Nile Virus Infections

“Four thousand seven hundred and thirteen [4,713] human West Nile virus infections have been reported to CDC ArboNET [4,249 cases cited elsewhere on the CDC website] from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.” CDC reported.

  • 168 deaths reported
  • Cases reported from 47 states and District of Columbia
  • More than 70 percent of the cases have been reported in 8 states: Texas, Mississippi, Michigan, South Dakota, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Illinois and California.
  • Texas reported about 40 percent of all cases.
  • The Dallas-Fort Worth area has reported 33 deaths, the highest number in the country.
  • “The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday that health officials in Tarrant County, home to Fort Worth, may have vastly underreported cases of the serious neuroinvasive form of West Nile,” a report said.

WNV activity reported from 47 states and DC

West Nile virus (WNV) activity reported to ArboNET, by state, United States, 2012 (as of October 9, 2012). 

U.S. Agri Disaster Areas

USAD has designated 64 counties across six states as agricultural disaster areas. The disaster list also includes independent city of Charlottesville in Virginia and Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana.

  • In Montana and surrounding states—Idaho and the Dakotas—losses have been caused by “the combined effects of early spring frosts and freezes, drought, excessive heat, high winds, wildfires, insects, hail, lightning and tornadoes that began Jan. 1, 2012, and continues.”
  • North Carolina counties were designated as disaster areas due to losses caused by excessive rain and flooding that occurred May 14-16, 2012.
  • In Virginia disaster areas were declared due to losses caused by excessive rain, hail, high winds and lightning associated with a derecho.

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background


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Forest Fires Force Thousands to Evacuate in Canary Islands

Posted by feww on August 12, 2012

Disaster Calendar – 12 August 2012


[August 12, 2012] Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.  SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,312 Days Left to the ‘Worst Day’ in Human History…

Symbolic countdown began to the ‘worst day’ in human history on May 15, 2011...

Soaring heat spurs more forest fires across Canary Islands forcing thousands to flee their homes

A new round of forest fires consumed hundreds of hectares on Tenerife and La Gomera islands, two of Spain’s Canary Islands, located off the coast of Africa.

  • At least 4,000 people were evacuated.
  • The new blazes have consumed a total of about 1,000 hectares on both island.
  • Since last week, wildfires have consumed about 4,000 hectares on Canary Islands.

Other Global Disasters/ Significant Events

  • East Azerbaijan province, Iran.  Death toll from the two strong earthquakes that struck NW Iran on August 11 has climbed to about 300, with more than 5,000 people injured.
    • The quakes affected about a 1,000 rural communities, destroying or severely damaging 150 villages.
    • Many of the mountains villages are hard to reach by road.
    • About 36,000 people were evacuated to emergency shelters, news media reported officials as saying.
    • About 70 aftershocks have struck the area, as of posting.
  • Texas, USA.  Dallas County officials have declared a state of emergency due to rapid rise of West Nile virus infections.
    • Dallas County has reported 181 infections, which have resulted in at least nine deaths.
    • More than 431 human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in northern Texas with at least 12 fatalities attributed to the infections.

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

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