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Author Topic: Pestilences  (Read 26137 times)
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« Reply #105 on: December 04, 2008, 09:50:41 PM »

Zimbabwe declares national health emergency
Dec 4, 6:41 AM (ET)


HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Zimbabwe has declared a national emergency over a cholera epidemic and health care system collapse, and is seeking more international help to pay for food, drugs and hospital equipment, the state-run newspaper said Thursday.

"Our central hospitals are literally not functioning," Minister of Health David Parirenyatwa said Wednesday at a meeting of government and international aid officials, according to The Herald newspaper.

The health minister declared the state of emergency at the meeting, and appealed for money to pay for food, drugs, hospital equipment and salaries for doctors and nurses.

"Our staff is demotivated and we need your support to ensure that they start coming to work and our health system is revived," he was quoted as saying.

A cholera epidemic blamed on lack of water treatment and broken sewage pipes has killed more than 500 people across the country, the United Nations said.

Without help, the situation could get much worse, said Walter Mzembi, the deputy water minister who also attended Wednesday's meeting. He said the ministry has only enough chemicals to treat water nationally for 12 more weeks.

U.N. agencies, embassies and aid groups at the meeting pledged to help, The Herald said.

The European Commission said it would provide more than $12 million for drugs and clean water, and the International Red Cross said it would release more funds to help deal with cholera.

"We need to pool our resources together and see how best we can respond to this emergency," Agostinho Zacarias, the U.N. Development Program director in Zimbabwe, was quoted as saying.

Zimbabwe is suffering from the world's highest inflation, and Zimbabweans face daily shortages of food and other basic goods.

The government, meanwhile, has been paralyzed since disputed March elections, with President Robert Mugabe and the opposition wrangling over a power-sharing deal.

Despite the threat of arrest, Zimbabweans have increasingly been willing to protest for more government response to the worsening crisis. Riot police on Wednesday charged a group of protesting doctors and nurses and broke up other demonstrations. Several activists were reportedly detained, apparently to keep them from rallying protesters.

In neighboring South Africa, where increasing numbers of Zimbabweans are seeking cholera treatment, the crisis was being discussed at the highest levels.

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe planned to convene a Cabinet meeting "to consider ways in which South Africa could work with other countries in the region, donor organizations and (aid groups) to address the urgent need for food and other humanitarian needs," government spokesman Themba Maseko said Thursday.

Earlier this week, South African officials said the bacteria that causes cholera had been found in South African waters in the Limpopo River, which forms part of the country's border with Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe declares national health emergency

People are starving to death, an issue which the government seems to virtually nothing. The citizens are facing inflation and are in poverty. They have a corrupt leader who is going after anybody who dares disagree with him. Such is the power of GREED!!  Cry

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« Reply #106 on: February 18, 2009, 09:48:20 AM »

Infectious Superbug Invades Beaches

By Robin Lloyd, Senior Editor
13 February 2009

CHICAGO — Add the MRSA "superbug" to the list of concerns you bring to the beach nowadays, a research doctor said today.

It's still safe to go in the water, especially if you shower thoroughly before and after swimming, but antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a strain of bacteria that can cause staph infections that are difficult to treat with traditional anti-infection drugs such as methicillin, can be caught when you take a dip in ocean water, said Dr. Lisa Plano of the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine.

MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or multiple-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It has become a deadly and growing problem in hospitals in recent years.

"MRSA is in the water and potentially in the sand," Plano told a group of reporters today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. "This constitutes a risk to anyone who goes to the beach and uses the water ... Most of us won't get infected but it only takes one infected person to spread [MRSA to others]."

So-called staph or Staphylococcus aureus, the kind that responds to antibiotics, is not a big deal typically out in the general public. About a third of us has it living in the nose or on the skin all the time, and we don't get sick from the bug. But for babies, the elderly and other people with compromised immune systems, staph can lead to an infection that can be deadly.

And in any population, when people catch the antibiotic-resistant strain (MRSA), doctors struggle to find a way to kill the infection.

Both the staph that responds to antibiotics and MRSA (which does not) have long been problems in hospitals, but the bugs have cropped up in locker rooms full of healthy people more recently, including some rumored infections among NFL and NBA players. Staph and MRSA can also occur in daycare settings.

A 'complicated bug'

Scientists already knew staph could spread in water. Now the research led by Plano shows that MRSA is also found at the beach — in the sea water and potentially in the sand.

To pin this down, Plano and her colleagues recently studied 1,300 adult bathers at a South Florida beach, half of whom took a dip in the water and brought back a sample of water for later lab analysis, and the other half of whom sat on the beach for 15 minutes.

Some 37 percent of the ocean water samples had Staphylococcus aureus in them, and 3 percent of those were the antibiotic-resistant strain of the bug, Plano said, even though the beach is located nowhere near a sewage source.

In other words, the "call was coming from inside the house" — probably, the bathers.

The staph was relatively mild strain, Plano said, but the strain of MRSA was particularly virulent, she said.
One weird thing she found was that a later genetic analysis of the bugs in the water samples indicated a very low presence of markers for genes that cause the skin infections associated with staph.

"Staph is a really complicated bug," Plano told LiveScience in a phone interview earlier in the day. "S. aureus has an excess of 40 different virulence factors that it could potentially have and use to establish different types of infections, and not all staph will have all of them. Basically, most staph will have some of them, and what I looked at and what I compared these to are ones we knew to be associated with skin-infecting bugs."

In the sand too

Municipal pools and most private pools are safe from S. aureus if chlorine levels are appropriate, Plano said.

But there is some evidence that staph is spread in beach sand, she said. In one study, several quarts of staph-free sea water was poured over 14 previously staph-free toddlers in diapers who had played for 10 minutes in beach sand. The water that flowed off the kids was collected and analyzed — some of it was found to have S. aureus in it.

"If they had MRSA on their skin, they would've had MRSA in the sand," Plano said.
It's unclear if staph and MRSA incubate in ocean water, she said. "We know that MRSA can be isolated from marine mammals such as dolphins and seals, which suggests MRSA is still in the water," she said, but more research needs to be done to find out how long organisms can survive in the water.

Infectious Superbug Invades Beaches

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« Reply #107 on: February 19, 2009, 01:03:37 AM »

MRSA is a nightmare, and people need to pay attention to it. Chapped or broken skin enhances your chances of being infected with it GREATLY. Using public places is dangerous these days because people who are very sick are also using public places. Keeping your hands away from your mouth and other such places is also a good safeguard until you can properly WASH YOUR HANDS. Covering open skin is also a must. These types of dreaded diseases have been spread to the general population by people abusing drugs, using dirty needles, and involvement in ABNORMAL activities.

MRSA can be a very hard to get rid of skin infection, OR it can enter the body through broken skin and settle in other parts of the body. Regardless of form, it's potentially FATAL even in simple forms. Your skin is a natural body defense barrier against infection, and this is the reason why chapped and broken skin is very dangerous these days. I'm not kidding at all. Lotions should be used on chapped skin because these infections can enter the body through chapped skin. Broken skin, cuts, and even simple nicks from shaving leaves an EASY way for MRSA to enter your body. Your first MRSA infection could easily be your last. Band-aids and other covering should be used for cuts, scrapes, and other abrasions to RESTORE THE INFECTION BARRIER - your skin. WASH YOUR HANDS - WASH YOUR HANDS - WASH YOUR HANDS! I also can't over-emphasize the important of keeping your HANDS away from your mouth and other entries into your body until your hands have been WASHED (i.e. eyes, ears). The ROBUST HEALTH of the potential MRSA victim makes no difference at all. MRSA can easily kill or cripple the healthiest person.

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« Reply #108 on: April 24, 2009, 07:46:02 PM »

U.S. swine flu linked to Mexico outbreak
Source of unique virus a mystery; CDC announces additional case in Calif.

The unique strain of swine flu found in California and Texas has been connected to the deadly flu that has broken out in Mexico, killing as many as 61 people, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has confirmed.

The strain has never been seen before and is raising fears of a possible pandemic across North America.

The CDC's acting director Dr. Richard Besser announced Friday that an additional child in California tested positive for the swine flu, bringing the total number of U.S. cases to eight. All of the U.S. patients have recovered from the flu.
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CDC labs have confirmed that the flu-like illness in both countries is due to the same unusual genetic strain of the virus, Besser told reporters in a telephone briefing. Of the 14 samples tested from Mexico, seven were matches.

It first looked mostly like a swine virus but closer analysis showed it is a never-before-seen mixture of swine, human and avian viruses.

“It is a virus that mutated from pigs and then at some point was transmitted to humans,” Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said.

Cordova said additional suspected cases were still being tested. Mexico's Public Health Department put the total number of people sickened at close to 1,000 nationwide.

Cordova said in Mexico the virus has killed only people among the normally less-vulnerable young and mid-adult age range. One possibility is that the most vulnerable segments of the population — infants and the aged — had been vaccinated against other strains, and that those vaccines may be providing some protection.

Mexico closed museums and libraries Friday as well as canceled classes for millions of children in its sprawling capital city and surrounding area.

The White House is closely following the outbreak and President Barack Obama has been informed, an administration official said on Friday.

U.S. health officials said they expect to find more cases of the swine flu as they check people who had contact with the California and Texas patients.

The CDC has issued a travel advisory, warning people traveling to central Mexico to take flu-prevention precautions.

At least one of the California victims had traveled to Mexico.

The swine flu's symptoms are like those of the regular flu, mostly involving fever, cough and sore throat, though some of the seven also experienced vomiting and diarrhea.

"We are very, very concerned," WHO spokesman Thomas Abraham said. "We have what appears to be a novel virus and it has spread from human to human." If international spread is confirmed, that meets WHO's criteria for raising the pandemic alert level, he added.

Growing mystery
The U.S. cases are a growing medical mystery because it's unclear how they caught the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said none of the eight people were in contact with pigs, which is how people usually catch swine flu. And only a few were in contact with each other.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said they believe it can spread human-to-human, which is unusual for a swine flu virus.

Still, health officials said it's not a cause for public alarm. Worldwide, seasonal flu kills between 250,000 and 500,000 people in an average year. Plus, testing indicates some mainstream antiviral medications seem to work against the new swine virus.

Health officials have seen mixes of bird, pig and human virus before, but never such an intercontinental combination with more than one pig virus in the mix.

Scientists keep a close eye on flu viruses that emerge from pigs. The animals are considered particularly susceptible to both avian and human viruses and a likely place where the kind of genetic reassortment can take place that might lead to a new form of pandemic flu, said Dr. John Treanor, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

The virus may be something completely new, or it may have been around for a while but was only detected now because of improved lab testing and disease surveillance, CDC officials said.

The virus was first detected in two children in southern California — a 10-year-old boy in San Diego County and a 9-year-old girl in neighboring Imperial County.

The cases were detected under unusual circumstances. One was seen at a Navy clinic that participates in a specialized disease detection network, and the other was caught through a specialized surveillance system set up in border communities, CDC officials said.

Investigators have since discovered six more cases. That includes a father and his teenage daughter in San Diego County, a 41-year-old woman in Imperial County who was the only person hospitalized, and two 16-year-old boys who are friends and live in Guadalupe County, Texas, near San Antonio.

Puzzling cases
The Texas cases are especially puzzling. One of the California cases — the 10-year-old boy — traveled to Texas early this month, but that was to Dallas, about 270 miles northeast of San Antonio. He did not travel to the San Antonio area, Schuchat said.

The two 16-year-olds had not traveled recently, Texas health officials said.

No details were available about the eighth victim, a child from San Diego.

CDC are not calling it an outbreak, a term that suggests ongoing illnesses. It's not known if anyone is getting sick from the virus right now, CDC officials said.

It's also not known if the seasonal flu vaccine that Americans got last fall and early this year protects against this type of virus. People should wash their hands and take other customary precautions, CDC officials said.

The Mexican government warned people not to shake hands, kiss when greeting or share food, glasses or cutlery for fear of contracting the flu.

Mexico City, one of the world's biggest cities and home to some 20 million people, was quieter than usual on Friday morning. Normally choking traffic was less chaotic in the absence of school buses and parents driving kids to school.

Many people waiting to enter subway stations had their faces covered with surgical masks.

Antivirals ready if needed
WHO said on Friday that it was prepared with "rapid containment measures" including antivirals if needed to combat the swine flu outbreaks in Mexico and the United States.

But health authorities in the two countries have the resources required already in place and are "well equipped," WHO spokeswoman Aphaluck Bhatiasevi said in Geneva.

She said the United Nations agency saw no need at this point to issue travel advisories warning travelers not to go to parts of Mexico or the United States.

The WHO will convene a meeting of its Emergency Committee on international health regulations, probably on Saturday afternoon, she added.   

Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #109 on: April 29, 2009, 08:36:50 AM »

Swine flu kills first victim in U.S.
The CDC says a 23-month-old child in Texas has died. 'My heart goes out to the family,' acting director says.

The swine flu outbreak has claimed its first victim in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: A 23-month-old child in Texas.

Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the CDC, confirmed the fatality in an appearance this morning on NBC's "Today" show.

With 64 confirmed cases of the disease nationwide according to the agency's latest accounting – including 45 in New York City – the agency says it's too soon to say how fast the flu is spreading.

Health authorities had anticipated the first U.S. death after the disease was suspected in the deaths of more than 150 people in Mexico, where the outbreak is believed to have begun. Yet the death of the toddler in Texas is tragic, Besser said.

"As a pediatrician and a parent, my heart goes out to the family,'' Besser said.

The flu case in Texas was one of six that had been confirmed in the U.S. in addition to 10 in California, 2 in Kansas and one in Ohio, according to the CDC's accounting Tuesday. In addition, other reports of illnesses from Chicago to New York have raised the possibility that the number of cases will continue to climb.

Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #110 on: June 19, 2009, 11:51:40 PM »

New Mexico Boy, 8, Dies of Bubonic Plague

Friday , June 05, 2009

An 8-year-old New Mexico boy has died and his 10-year-old sister was hospitalized after both contracted bubonic plague, the first recorded human plague cases in the nation so far this year.

New Mexico health officials did not immediately say Thursday how the brother and sister contracted the infectious disease, but they are conducting an investigation at the family's residence to determine if there is any risk to other people.

Plague is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas, but also can be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, rabbits and pets.

Symptoms of the bubonic form of the plague in humans include fever, chills, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea and swollen lymph nodes in the groin, armpit or neck areas. Pneumonic plague, which is an infection of the lungs, can include severe cough, difficulty breathing and bloody sputum.

The Health Department, citing privacy concerns, would not release the name of the siblings or give a location for their home, other than saying it was in Santa Fe County. Spokeswoman Deborah Busemeyer said the boy died in the last couple of days but she declined to be more specific.

Fleas collected from the area are being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing. Health workers also canvassed the neighborhood to tell other residents that plague had been confirmed in the area.

The CDC says an average of 10 to 15 persons contract the plague each year in the United States. Modern antibiotics are an effective treatment.

New Mexico Boy, 8, Dies of Bubonic Plague

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« Reply #111 on: June 24, 2009, 11:43:19 PM »

Locusts swoop down on Ethiopia     
Jun 23

Crops in large swathes of Ethiopia risk being destroyed by swarms of locusts coming from northern Somalia, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Tuesday.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) "reports that locust swarms have been confirmed in seven regions in the country, including in areas where there is no previous record of infestation," a statement said.

"The government is expected to present a response plan specifying immediate and medium-term actions to be taken during the week," OCHA said.

It added that 1,390 hectares of land in several regions, mainly in southeastern Ethiopia had been sprayed in ground and air operations.

The vast majority of Ethiopia's 77 million inhabitants depend on subsistence agriculture and have been badly hit by successive infestations of voracious locusts that destroy every plant in their path.

Locusts swoop down on Ethiopia

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« Reply #112 on: August 01, 2009, 12:11:49 PM »

Military planning for possible H1N1 outbreak       



The U.S. military wants to establish regional teams of military personnel to assist civilian authorities in the event of a significant outbreak of the H1N1 virus this fall, according to Defense Department officials.

The proposal is awaiting final approval from Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The officials would not be identified because the proposal from U.S. Northern Command's Gen. Victor Renuart has not been approved by the secretary.

The plan calls for military task forces to work in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There is no final decision on how the military effort would be manned, but one source said it would likely include personnel from all branches of the military.

It has yet to be determined how many troops would be needed and whether they would come from the active duty or the National Guard and Reserve forces.

Civilian authorities would lead any relief efforts in the event of a major outbreak, the official said. The military, as they would for a natural disaster or other significant emergency situation, could provide support and fulfill any tasks that civilian authorities could not, such as air transport or testing of large numbers of viral samples from infected patients.

As a first step, Gates is being asked to sign a so-called "execution order" that would authorize the military to begin to conduct the detailed planning to execute the proposed plan.

Orders to deploy actual forces would be reviewed later, depending on how much of a health threat the flu poses this fall, the officials said.

Let us fight the good fight!
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