Sunday, April 23, 2006

Duvenhage Virus: The New Rabies

ProMED-mail reported last week on the death of a 77-year-old South African man who contracted Duvenhage virus from a bat scratch. Duvenhage is a Lyssavirus related to rabies:

Duvenhage virus was 1st discovered in 1970 when a man developed fatal rabies-like disease after being bitten indoors at night by an unidentified insectivorous bat about 80 km from the present incident. The only 2 other isolations of Duvenhage virus were made from bats: in 1981, it was obtained from a _Miniopterus schreibersi_ insectivorous bat which had been caught in daylight by a cat in Makhado town (formerly Louis Trichardt) in Limpopo province, about 250 km to the north of the present incident, and in 1986, the virus was obtained from an insectivorous bat, _Nycteris thebaica_, caught near a mine shaft across the border from Limpopo province in Zimbabwe.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Mumps on the Rise

Last Wednesday Reuters reported on the spread of mumps to eight midwestern states and 1100 cases:

The outbreak is the largest mumps epidemic in the United States in more than 20 years, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Most are in Iowa, where 815 cases have been recorded, the CDC said.
An additional 350 mumps cases have been reported in Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Missouri and Oklahoma, officials said. Investigators are reviewing possible cases in seven other states that were not named.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

FDA Notice about Fungal Keratitis

The FDA Notifies You about the increased risk of eye infections with Fusarium associated with Renu MoistureLoc and possibly other Renu contact lens solutions:

Dear Healthcare Practitioner:
This is to inform you of a recent increase in the number of reports in the United States of a rare but serious fungal infection of the eye in soft contact lens wearers. The infection, a fungal keratitis caused by the Fusarium fungus, may cause vision loss requiring corneal transplants.
Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating this situation. At this time, Bausch and Lomb has agreed to stop shipping the ReNu MoistureLoc brand contact lens solution. This Notification will be updated as more information becomes available.

Thanks to JAD for alerting me to the related AP story.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Mumps Popping Up All Over

CNN reports on a mumps epidemic in Iowa:

"We are calling this an epidemic," said Iowa state epidemiologist Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, explaining that mumps has spread to more than one-third of the state and does not appear to be confined to certain age groups or other sectors of the population.

Thanks to JAD for the tip.

Monday, April 03, 2006

A Virus for Prostate Cancer

Via Gene Expression: An article in the March issue of PLoS Pathogens, "Identification of a Novel Gammaretrovirus in Prostate Tumors of Patients Homozygous for R462Q RNASEL Variant", connects yet another cancer to a viral agent.

Prostate cancer is the most frequent cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in US men over the age of 50. Several genetic factors have been proposed as potential risk factors for the development of prostate cancer, including a viral defense gene called RNASEL. A common genetic variant in this gene, R462Q, was recently implicated in up to 13% of prostate cancer cases. Given the antiviral role of RNASEL, the authors sought to examine if a virus might be present in prostate cancers associated with the R462Q variant. Using a DNA microarray designed to detect all known viral families, the authors identified a novel virus, named XMRV, in a subset of prostate tumor samples. Polymerase chain reaction testing of 86 prostate tumors for the presence of XMRV revealed a strong association between the presence of the virus and being homozygous for the R462Q variant. Cloning and sequencing of the virus showed that XMRV is a close relative of several known xenotropic murine leukemia viruses. This report presents the first documented cases of human infection with a xenotropic retrovirus. Future work will address the potential connection between XMRV infection and the increased prostate cancer risk in patients with the R462Q RNASEL variant.

Gene Expression also links a second article about Borna disease virus and neurological disease.