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DRC Province May Have More Than 40 Ebola Cases (And other bad bugs on the loose)
VOA ^ | 1-07-09 | By Joe De Capua

Posted on 01/07/2009 3:42:14 PM PST by Mother Abigail

OTHER BUGS ACTING BADLY

_______________________________________________________

International experts to study ebola reston

INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC and animal health experts arrived on Tuesday to start a joint risk assessment on the ebola reston contamination of local hogs, officials of the Agriculture department said yesterday.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III (R), flanked by international experts, addresses a press conference in Manila for an update on the outbreak of ebola reston at two pig farms north of the capital. The experts are (L to R) Kate Glynn of World Organization for Animal Health, Juan Lubroth and Kazuyuki Tsurumi of the Food and Agriculture Organization, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Salvador Salacup with Soe Nyunt-U from World Health Organization (not in photo). — AFP The 10-day joint study by a dozen experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), World Organization for Animal Health (also known for its French acronym OIE), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Agriculture department will be conducted on quarantined farms in Manaoag town in Pangasinan province and Pandi town in Bulacan province.

"The fact that this is the first time that the virus has been found outside monkeys, and the first time ever worldwide that this has been found in swine, a food-producing animal, makes this mission particularly important," WHO, OIE and FAO said in a joint statement.

The sub-type of the deadly ebola was first discovered in the Philippines in 1989 among crab-eating macaques being exported to Hazleton Laboratories in Reston, Virginia.

________________________________________________________

China, Vietnam report new H5N1 cases Lisa Schnirring Staff Writer

Jan 6, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Public health officials in two countries today announced new human cases of H5N1 avian influenza, involving a 19-year-old Chinese woman who died of her infection and an 8-year-old Vietnamese girl who is recovering.

In Beijing, local health authorities said the woman died yesterday after getting sick on Dec 24 and being hospitalized 3 days later, Xinhua, China's state news agency, reported today. Tests at two labs revealed she was infected with the H5N1 virus.

If the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the case, she will be listed as China's 31st H5N1 case-patient and 21st fatality. Her illness marks China's first human case since February 2008.

The Beijing Municipal Health Bureau told Xinhua that the woman bought nine ducks at a market in Langfang city in neighboring Hebei province on Dec 19. She removed the ducks' internal organs and then gave three of the birds away to family and a friend.

Zhao Qingchao, a Langfang City official, said investigators found that 13 people ate the ducks but only the woman got sick, Xinhua reported. He said the ducks were from Jixian county in northern China

Beijing's health bureau said 116 people had close contact with the woman and that 102 of them were medical workers, according to the Xinhua report. One nurse who had contact with the patient had a fever but has since recovered.

The WHO's office in China released a statement saying the woman's death from the H5N1 virus should not prompt alarm, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported today. "We are concerned by any case of human H5N1 infection. However, this single case, which appears to have occurred during the slaughtering and preparation of poultry, does not change our risk assessment," the WHO said.

Meanwhile, an official from Vietnam's Preventative Medicine Department told AFP that the 8-year-old girl, from Thanh Hoa province in northern Vietnam, got sick with pneumonia on Dec 27 after eating poultry and was hospitalized on Jan 2. If her case is confirmed by the WHO, she will be listed at Vietnam's 107th case-patient.

Nguyen Huy Nga, who directs the department, said tests revealed the girl's H5N1 infection on Jan 3. Her case is Vietnam's first since March 2008.

An official with the provincial health department said he expected that the girl would be discharged from the hospital soon, according to the AFP report.

Nguyen Huu Dinh, an animal health official in Thanh Hoa, said infected poultry had been detected and culled in the province, AFP reported.

Jeff Gilbert, an avian influenza expert with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), told AFP that Vietnam is entering a high-risk season because of cold weather that favors virus survival and the Tet (lunar new year) celebration, which often includes eating poultry dishes.

"China has the (lunar) new year coming up, so the situation would be the same," Gilbert said in the AFP report.

If the WHO confirms the new cases reported today, they will raise the global H5N1 total to 393 cases with 248 deaths.

The number of H5N1 cases and deaths in 2008 was the lowest since 2003, when the lethal H5N1 virus began causing outbreaks internationally, according to WHO figures. In 2008 there were 40 cases and 30 deaths, down from 88 and 59 in 2007, 115 and 79 in 2006, 98 and 43 in 2005, and 46 and 32 in 2004.

Although there were fewer cases in 2008, the 75% case-fatality rate for the year was the highest since 2003, a moderate increase from 2007's case-fatality rate of 67%.


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: disease; ebola; epidemic; h5n1; reston; virus

1 posted on 01/07/2009 3:42:15 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: Mother Abigail

OTHER BUGS ACTING BADLY

_______________________________________________________

International experts to study ebola reston

INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC and animal health experts arrived on Tuesday to start a joint risk assessment on the ebola reston contamination of local hogs, officials of the Agriculture department said yesterday.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III (R), flanked by international experts, addresses a press conference in Manila for an update on the outbreak of ebola reston at two pig farms north of the capital. The experts are (L to R) Kate Glynn of World Organization for Animal Health, Juan Lubroth and Kazuyuki Tsurumi of the Food and Agriculture Organization, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Salvador Salacup with Soe Nyunt-U from World Health Organization (not in photo). — AFP The 10-day joint study by a dozen experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), World Organization for Animal Health (also known for its French acronym OIE), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Agriculture department will be conducted on quarantined farms in Manaoag town in Pangasinan province and Pandi town in Bulacan province.

“The fact that this is the first time that the virus has been found outside monkeys, and the first time ever worldwide that this has been found in swine, a food-producing animal, makes this mission particularly important,” WHO, OIE and FAO said in a joint statement.

The sub-type of the deadly ebola was first discovered in the Philippines in 1989 among crab-eating macaques being exported to Hazleton Laboratories in Reston, Virginia.

________________________________________________________

China, Vietnam report new H5N1 cases
Lisa Schnirring Staff Writer

Jan 6, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Public health officials in two countries today announced new human cases of H5N1 avian influenza, involving a 19-year-old Chinese woman who died of her infection and an 8-year-old Vietnamese girl who is recovering.

In Beijing, local health authorities said the woman died yesterday after getting sick on Dec 24 and being hospitalized 3 days later, Xinhua, China’s state news agency, reported today. Tests at two labs revealed she was infected with the H5N1 virus.

If the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the case, she will be listed as China’s 31st H5N1 case-patient and 21st fatality. Her illness marks China’s first human case since February 2008.

The Beijing Municipal Health Bureau told Xinhua that the woman bought nine ducks at a market in Langfang city in neighboring Hebei province on Dec 19. She removed the ducks’ internal organs and then gave three of the birds away to family and a friend.

Zhao Qingchao, a Langfang City official, said investigators found that 13 people ate the ducks but only the woman got sick, Xinhua reported. He said the ducks were from Jixian county in northern China

Beijing’s health bureau said 116 people had close contact with the woman and that 102 of them were medical workers, according to the Xinhua report. One nurse who had contact with the patient had a fever but has since recovered.

The WHO’s office in China released a statement saying the woman’s death from the H5N1 virus should not prompt alarm, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported today. “We are concerned by any case of human H5N1 infection. However, this single case, which appears to have occurred during the slaughtering and preparation of poultry, does not change our risk assessment,” the WHO said.

Meanwhile, an official from Vietnam’s Preventative Medicine Department told AFP that the 8-year-old girl, from Thanh Hoa province in northern Vietnam, got sick with pneumonia on Dec 27 after eating poultry and was hospitalized on Jan 2. If her case is confirmed by the WHO, she will be listed at Vietnam’s 107th case-patient.

Nguyen Huy Nga, who directs the department, said tests revealed the girl’s H5N1 infection on Jan 3. Her case is Vietnam’s first since March 2008.

An official with the provincial health department said he expected that the girl would be discharged from the hospital soon, according to the AFP report.

Nguyen Huu Dinh, an animal health official in Thanh Hoa, said infected poultry had been detected and culled in the province, AFP reported.

Jeff Gilbert, an avian influenza expert with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), told AFP that Vietnam is entering a high-risk season because of cold weather that favors virus survival and the Tet (lunar new year) celebration, which often includes eating poultry dishes.

“China has the (lunar) new year coming up, so the situation would be the same,” Gilbert said in the AFP report.

If the WHO confirms the new cases reported today, they will raise the global H5N1 total to 393 cases with 248 deaths.

The number of H5N1 cases and deaths in 2008 was the lowest since 2003, when the lethal H5N1 virus began causing outbreaks internationally, according to WHO figures. In 2008 there were 40 cases and 30 deaths, down from 88 and 59 in 2007, 115 and 79 in 2006, 98 and 43 in 2005, and 46 and 32 in 2004.

Although there were fewer cases in 2008, the 75% case-fatality rate for the year was the highest since 2003, a moderate increase from 2007’s case-fatality rate of 67%.


2 posted on 01/07/2009 3:42:47 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: Mother Abigail

In the DRC, in Western Kasai Province, health officials are trying to contain an Ebola outbreak. The World Health Organization says of 42 patients, five cases of Ebola have been confirmed ,12 others are probable cases and 25 more are suspected cases of Ebola.

Gregory Hertl, WHO spokesperson for epidemic and pandemic diseases, spoke from Geneva to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about how hard it is to diagnose a case of Ebola.

“Certainly, on the ground, when you’re there in the middle in the jungle or a very isolated location, there are many diseases which are endemic in that part of the world. It is difficult to make a snap and accurate diagnosis of something being Ebola. Certainly, also, in the early phases of the disease, there are actually many diseases which have similar presentation…which is basically a spike in fever, plus vomiting and diarrhea. It’s only in the later stages of Ebola do you start to see the tell-tale hemorrhagic symptoms – bleeding,” he says.

Hertl says that the first response when a suspected Ebola outbreak is reported is to get health professionals “on the ground.” But that’s not always easy to do right away. He says, “Unfortunately, many of these outbreaks occur in extremely remote locations where very few people have access. So it takes a while to get people on the ground. But if we had people on the ground at the start of this, we would want to isolate suspected cases so that there was no possibility of transmitting the disease onward. We would want to institute proper…infection control procedures in hospitals so that no hospital workers were infected. We would want to do a laboratory testing to confirm that this was indeed Ebola.”

The WHO spokesperson says that the WHO and others would also work with the communities to make sure they understand what Ebola is and “what measures they need to take in order to not contract Ebola themselves and to stop the disease from spreading further.”

There’s no treatment for Ebola. Hertl says, “There’s no anti-viral medication. There’s no vaccine that one can be given beforehand. So, all you can do is hope that the body’s defenses will fight off the virus. And we know that unfortunately the virus can kill…up to 90 percent of the people it infects.”

It’s not only deadly, it’s easily transmissible. “They can’t even touch someone else because the virus is transmissible even by the touch of the skin,” he says.

It’s been difficult to pinpoint the source of Ebola in the bush or jungle. Hertl says, “It might come from contaminated bushmeat, but we’ve also seen other routes of transmission, certainly, even more so, more plainly, with Marburg (virus). Because Marburg, which is a very close cousin of Ebola, also can be transmitted by bats. If bats urinate on fruit, which is then eaten…or you come in contact with bat feces through one means or another, then the disease can also be transmitted that way. But certainly, yes, one of the first ways that we saw Ebola being transmitted was through bushmeat,” he says.

It’s difficult to educate communities in the bush to avoid the disease, due to its very nature of transmission. “What you really only can do is try to help them, often times after the fact, understand what can be done in order not to transmit it further, not to endanger the family, loved ones, community,” he says.

In areas where there have been previous outbreaks, communities often know what Ebola is and what steps to take to prevent its spread. “But in any time that Ebola first surfaces in an area which has never had it before, that’s a big issue,” he says.


3 posted on 01/07/2009 3:44:49 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: Mother Abigail


Is the Ebola epidemic spreading?

It’s difficult to say, at present. To date, a total of 42 people have developed symptoms resembling those of Ebola haemorrhagic fever, and 13 of them have died.

Where is the epicenter of the epidemic?

The epicenter is probably in a village called Kaluamba, 65 km (40 miles) south of Mweka, the main town in the area. There are also places where patients suspected of suffering from Ebola have been observed—in the villages of Kabau and Kalombayi, and in Mweka.

4 posted on 01/07/2009 3:45:49 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: Mother Abigail

Please pardon my backwards post, not sure how it happened. Perhaps I am a bit too tired.

MA


5 posted on 01/07/2009 3:47:18 PM PST by Mother Abigail
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To: Mother Abigail

Yeah, yeah, 40 cases of Ebola is a tragedy.
This is just another opportunity for the news people to sensationalize and scare the public. I’ll bet that ten times that number of people die of malaria, other well known diseases or just malnutrition in the same region this month.
The MSM just loves Ebola though. It provides the opportunity to panic the public.


6 posted on 01/07/2009 3:52:11 PM PST by BuffaloJack
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To: Mother Abigail

A BTT.


7 posted on 01/07/2009 4:00:25 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: BuffaloJack
Yeah, I think these superbugs are supposedly easier to contain because of their short incubation period and mortality rate as well.

Making a movie or documentary about malaria is not cool, though.
8 posted on 01/07/2009 4:06:06 PM PST by randomhero97 ("First you want to kill me, now you want to kiss me. Blow!" - Ash)
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To: BuffaloJack

Well if ebola ever got loose in say, India or China or some other high density population area, would be an absolute catastrophe..


9 posted on 01/07/2009 4:37:51 PM PST by Mmogamer (<This space for lease>)
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To: BuffaloJack

40 cases in the Congo is not cause for real fear. However, the Ebola virus strain recently found in pigs is very scary. Bacteria and viruses are rarely able to infect more than one species of animal. Judging by the article, this Ebola strain has been found in crab-eating macacques, primates, and pigs. That is scary indeed.


10 posted on 01/07/2009 5:27:08 PM PST by Melinator (Wholly CraP!!!)
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To: Mmogamer

“Well if ebola ever got loose in say, India or China or some other high density population area, would be an absolute catastrophe..”

Yes, it would. So far it is unlikely because those who contract the virus become extremely ill very quickly, so they are unable to infect a lot of people. If that changes, then it could be disastrous. Public health professionals need to be aware of this disease, and so do medical professionals if they want to keep this virus from spreading.

Informing the public of symptoms and locations of outbreak serves a pretty major purpose in protecting the public. People need to be aware, so quarantines can be implemented quickly and effectively if an outbreak is found.

To all those who think that the purpose of publishing this information is to panic the public, you need to look at the bigger picture. In the case of an infectious disease outbreak, an informed public, informed medical personnel at all levels, and competent public health officials is what will eventually protect us from an Ebola outbreak in the US -—or not.


11 posted on 01/07/2009 5:30:28 PM PST by ga medic
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To: Melinator

Pigs are interesting incubators for some viruses. They are the only species that is able to carry influenza strains from both humans and birds, and that makes them the most likely culprit in new influenza strains. I don’t know whether they are able to carry strains of Ebola from humans and primates, but epidemiologists are always watchful of swine infections.


12 posted on 01/07/2009 5:33:35 PM PST by ga medic
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To: Mmogamer

Ebola kills too quickly to be an epidemic threat. It’s certainly bad for those who get it, but it is self-limiting in that the host doesn’t usually live long enough to spread it to the general population. SARS, H5N1 influenza, and other contagious diseases have an incubatation period that exceeds a week and that allows for lots of time for a host to share his problem with a large amount of people.


13 posted on 01/07/2009 6:01:43 PM PST by BuffaloJack
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To: BuffaloJack

Unless it becomes airborne,,, then all bets are off.


14 posted on 01/07/2009 6:26:42 PM PST by Mmogamer (<This space for lease>)
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To: BuffaloJack

The problem with viruses is that they mutate very quickly. They can change in virulence and incubation in each infected individual. I agree that Ebola isn’t a threat in it’s current form. However there is a reason that health officials are keeping such a close eye on this virus. A couple minor mutations, and this could represent an epidemic threat. That is how viruses have managed to survive for so long. They are able to change faster than we are able to keep up with them.


15 posted on 01/07/2009 7:38:33 PM PST by ga medic
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To: Mother Abigail

Oh my, we are all going die, again.


16 posted on 01/07/2009 9:12:05 PM PST by razorback-bert (Save the planet...it is the only known one with beer!)
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To: 2ndreconmarine; Fitzcarraldo; Covenantor; Mother Abigail; EBH; Dog Gone; ...
ping (Ebola reston and H5N1)

Thank you for the post, Mother Abigail.

17 posted on 01/08/2009 7:03:27 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: Melinator; BuffaloJack
40 cases in the Congo is not cause for real fear. However, the Ebola virus strain recently found in pigs is very scary. Bacteria and viruses are rarely able to infect more than one species of animal. Judging by the article, this Ebola strain has been found in crab-eating macacques, primates, and pigs. That is scary indeed.

You missed the really bad news. Pigs are quite good at mixing and matching viral DNA, they are where new flu strains originate.

Airborne Ebola-flu, anyone?

18 posted on 01/08/2009 7:43:11 AM PST by null and void (Amendment 28: Islam is not recognized as an established religion in the United States. ~ farmer18th)
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To: razorback-bert
Oh my, we are all going die, again.

Yeah. All of us. Eventually. Of something.

19 posted on 01/08/2009 7:46:46 AM PST by null and void (Amendment 28: Islam is not recognized as an established religion in the United States. ~ farmer18th)
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To: Mother Abigail

Oh, dear. Oh, dear.


20 posted on 01/08/2009 7:48:10 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: ga medic; Mother Abigail

Thanks for your intelligent, knowledgeable remarks. You are certainly patient.

Emerging viruses always seem distant and harmless, until they’re not.


21 posted on 01/08/2009 11:26:21 AM PST by Judith Anne
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To: null and void

“Pigs are quite good at mixing and matching viral DNA”

You are right except about the DNA. Viruses do not have DNA. They reproduce by taking over living cells, and create copies generated from their RNA.

The difference is important because DNA has mechanisms to ensure that the code is copied correctly, which limits mutation. RNA does not have anything to ensure that the code is copied correctly. This results in numerous mutations or copy errors. Most of the mutations are harmful to the virus, but a small percent is actually neutral or helpful. This allows viruses to mutate at such a rapid rate.

Pigs are one of the few animals that can carry human borne viruses. If this is a human strain of Ebola, then it isn’t a big deal. If it is an animal borne strain, that isn’t adapted to humans it could be bad news.


22 posted on 01/08/2009 11:52:07 AM PST by ga medic
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To: ga medic

Good point. It should have read “Pigs are quite good at mixing and matching viral RNA”

As you say the lack of code protecting mechanisms could make this very dangerous.


23 posted on 01/08/2009 11:55:56 AM PST by null and void (Amendment 28: Islam is not recognized as an established religion in the United States. ~ farmer18th)
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To: null and void
Don't scare me like that.

No sarcasm.

24 posted on 01/08/2009 8:38:59 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers

Hey! No reason I should be the only one who can’t sleep!


25 posted on 01/08/2009 8:40:41 PM PST by null and void (Amendment 28: Islam is not recognized as an established religion in the United States. ~ farmer18th)
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