Friday, September 30, 2005

Tamiflu Resistance

Reuters reports that bird flu is proving resistant to Tamiflu:

"Manufacturers should think about producing an injectable form of Relenza because resistance to Tamiflu has been seen in Japan and Vietnam."

Thanks to JAD for the link.

From the Don't Eat the Guano files...

The New York Times reports that two groups of researches have independently identified the Chinese horseshoe bat as the natural reservoir for the SARS virus.

The bats apparently are healthy carriers of SARS, which caused severe economic losses, particularly in Asia, as it spread to Canada and other countries. In Asia, many people eat bats or use bat feces in traditional medicine for asthma, kidney ailments and general malaise.

Thanks to an unnamed source for the link.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Rise in Bird Flu Cases

Channel NewsAsia reports 57 suspected cases of avian influenza in Indonesians. Other sources report 54 cases; either number is an increase over the last count of 42 suspected cases.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Coming Flu Pandemic

Via an anonymous source: ABC News reports on the coming flu pandemic.

The prospects have become so bleak that in planning meetings held in New York City, veteran emergency responders have walked away.
"They just don't know how we're going to get through," says Osterholm of those responders. "If we have a repeat of the 1918 life experience, I can't imagine anything to be closer to a living hell than that experience of 12 to 24 months of pandemic influenza."

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Dog Flu II

The New York Times reports on canine flu, a H3N8 strain related to equine influenza:

Dr. Cynda Crawford, an immunologist at the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine who is studying the virus, said that it spread most easily where dogs were housed together but that it could also be passed on the street, in dog runs or even by a human transferring it from one dog to another. Kennel workers have carried the virus home with them, she said.
How many dogs die from the virus is unclear, but scientists said the fatality rate is more than 1 percent and could be as high as 10 percent among puppies and older dogs.
Dr. Crawford first began investigating greyhound deaths in January 2004 at a racetrack in Jacksonville, Fla., where 8 of the 24 greyhounds who contracted the virus died.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Virtual Plague

The BBC reports on a virtual "corrupted blood" plague infecting the World of Warcraft. Despite attempts to eradicate the infection, the problem continues:

Blizzard tried to control the plague by staging rolling re-starts of all the servers supporting the Warcraft realms and applying quick fixes.
However, there are reports that this has not solved all the problems and that isolated pockets of plague are breaking out again.

Thanks to an unnamed source for the tip.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Plague Mice

ABC News reports that at least three mice infected with Yersinia pestis have been missing from the Public Health Research Institute in Newark, NJ for at least two weeks. The FBI Joint Terror Task Force and the CDC are investigating.

"We're satisfied that there is no public safety risk, and there doesn't seem to be any nexus to criminal activity or terrorism," he added.
Nevertheless, federal authorities, including the FBI, have criticized the lab for lax procedures that resulted in a potential public health menace.
"This is the black death," said Richard Ebright, a microbiologist at Rutgers University. "This is the disease that killed a quarter of Europe's population."

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Cows Eating People

Via ProMED-mail: The BBC reports on a new theory of the origin of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy--cows eating human remains.

Some raw materials for fertiliser and feed imported from South Asia in the 60s and 70s contained human bones and soft tissue, the Lancet reports.
Bone collectors could have picked up the remains of corpses deposited in the Ganges river to sell for export.
If infected with prion diseases, they could have been the source for BSE.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Post-Hurricane Diseases II

Despite their earlier optimism, the CDC reports five deaths from Vibrio vulnificus.

The patients, evidently evacuees, appear to have been infected with Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, a water-borne pathogen that is related to the bacteria that cause cholera and is common in water off the Gulf of Mexico.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Post-Hurricane Diseases

The CDC has an encouraging report on infectious disease after a hurricane:

Unless a disease is brought into a disaster area from elsewhere, any outbreaks that occur are almost always from diseases that were already in the disaster-affected area before the disaster struck.