Novel coronavirus infection – update

Saudi Arabia has informed WHO of another confirmed case of infection with the novel coronavirus (NCoV).

The patient was hospitalized on 29 January 2013 and died on 10 February 2013. The case was laboratory-confirmed on 18 February 2013. Further investigation into this case is ongoing.

In the United Kingdom, the Health Protection Agency continues to investigate the family cluster where three members of the family tested positive for NCoV infection. One member of this family, who had an underlying health condition, has died.

Coronaviruses are spread like other respiratory infections such as flu. They travel in airborne droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Related to viruses found in bats, NCoV is known to have infected at least 13 people around the world so far, half of whom have died.

NCoV belongs to the same broad family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

In the early 2000s, SARS killed roughly 800 people around the world and triggered a worldwide health scare. The symptoms of both NVoC and SARS include fever, coughing and respiratory difficulties.


Typhoid in Syria

Typhoid has broken out in an opposition-held region of Syria due to people drinking contaminated water from the Euphrates River.

An estimated 2,500 people in northeastern Deir al-Zor province are infected with the contagious disease, which causes diarrhoea and can be fatal.


Novel Coronavirus Infection – Update

The United Kingdom has informed the WHO of another confirmed case of infection with the novel coronavirus (NCoV). This is the third case confirmed in the country this month and is in the same family cluster as the two recently confirmed cases.

see: previous post

Bird Flu on Poultry Farm – Germany

German authorities said a case of H5N1 bird flu had been discovered during initial tests on a poultry farm in the eastern state of Brandenburg.

The case was discovered in a duck farm, which was carrying out its own tests, the Brandenburg state agriculture ministry said on Friday.

However, the bird flu virus could not be confirmed in final testing.


Yellow Fever in Chad

The Ministry of Health of Chad is launching an emergency mass-vaccination campaign against yellow fever from 22 February 2013, following laboratory confirmation of two cases in the country in December 2012.


New Sars-Like Virus Infects British Patient

A new virus from the same family as SARS that sparked a global alert last September has been found in another patient in Britain, health officials said on Monday.

The latest case of infection with the new virus known as a coronavirus brings the total number confirmed globally to 10, of whom five have died.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the latest infection was “a sporadic case” and did not alter the WHO’s risk assessment. It added, however, that the new case “does indicate that the virus is persistent”.

The British patient, who recently had travelled to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, is receiving intensive care treatment in hospital in the city of Manchester, northern England.

The new virus, which the WHO refers to as novel coronavirus or NCoV, shares some of the symptoms of SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – a coronavirus which emerged in China in 2002 and killed about a tenth of the 8,000 people it infected worldwide.


Bird Flu – Cambodia

The Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Cambodia reported five new human cases of avian influenza that were confirmed positive for the H5N1 virus in January 2013.


Cholera in Kenya

At least 18 cholera cases have recently been confirmed in Ntoroko district following massive displacement of residents by floods.


Swine Flu Pandemic – Report

Swine flu infected at least 20% of all people worldwide, including half of schoolchildren, during the first year of the pandemic in 2009, according to data from 19 countries. It is thought the virus killed 200,000 people around the world.

Although large numbers of people were infected, not all would have developed full-blown flu. The H1N1 virus first appeared in Mexico in 2009 and rapidly spread around the world. Approximately 24% of people had been infected overall, but half of school-age children showed signs of infection. Fewer than two in every 10,000 people infected died during the pandemic.


Antibiotic ‘Apocalypse’ Warning

The rise in drug resistant infections is comparable to the threat of global warming, according to the chief medical officer for England. Bacteria are becoming resistant to current drugs and there are few antibiotics to replace them. Experts say it is a global problem and needs much more attention. Antibiotics have been one of the greatest success stories in medicine. However, bacteria are a rapidly adapting foe which find new ways to evade drugs. MRSA rapidly became one of the most feared words in hospitals wards and there are growing reports of resistance in strains of E. coli, tuberculosis and gonorrhoea. While the full effects of global warming lie some time in the future, the apocalyptic scenario is that when someone needs a new hip in 20 years he might well die from a routine infection because we’ve run out of antibiotics.

The World Health Organization has warned the world is heading for a “post-antibiotic era” unless action is taken. It paints a future in which “many common infections will no longer have a cure and, once again, kill unabated. Research is not happening quickly enough. “We need resources for surveillance, resources to cope with the problem and to get public information across.” The drugs companies have run out of options as all the easy drugs have been made. “We have to be aware that we aren’t going to have new wonder drugs coming along because there just aren’t any.”


Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak in Melbourne, Australia

Victoria’s health department has ordered the testing of cooling towers in the busy Melbourne suburb of Footscray, after a fatal outbreak of legionnaires’ disease. A man aged in his 50’s died in hospital this morning and four others have been admitted.


Brazil City Fights Dengue Fever

Health authorities in the Brazilian city of Campo Grande, in the southern state of Mato Grosso do Sul, are fighting a dengue fever epidemic. About 600 residents a day have reported suffering from the symptoms of the fever since the beginning of the year. Heavy rains have increased the risk of reproduction of the mosquito which transmits the disease. Hundreds of workers have been hired to clear the streets of standing water, where the mosquitoes breed.

In Paraguay, across the border from Mato Grosso do Sul, eight people have died from the fever and more than 8,500 suspected cases have been reported. There, the army and the police have been deployed to help clear potential mosquito breeding grounds. Global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically, about half of the world’s population is now at risk.

More U.S. States Reporting High Flu Levels

Thirty states are now reporting high levels of flu-like illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Two Children Die in Seasonal Diarrhoea Outbreak – Cape Town

At least two children have died and thousands have been treated for gastric-related complications across the city as the notorious diarrhoea season gains momentum. In the numerous informal settlements around the city, where there is poor sanitation, residents are particularly at risk in hot weather. The cases, which start around November, usually peak during February and March.


Flu Epidemic in USA

New York Governor declares public health emergency to combat flu.


Flu Outbreak Becomes Epidemic in USA

Influenza has officially reached epidemic proportions in the United States, with 7.3 percent of deaths last week caused by pneumonia and the flu, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.


Mexico Reports Bird Flu Outbreaks At Two Egg Farms

Mexico reported outbreaks of highly pathogenic bird flu virus at two egg farms and that these had been resolved after the culling of nearly 300,000 birds.

A total of 740 poultry have died from the virus which emerged in the two egg farms located in the central state of Aguascalientes.


Haiti Cholera Epidemic

The death toll in Haiti’s cholera epidemic is approaching 8,000, and more than 6% of Haitians have had the disease since it invaded the country in October 2010 after the major earthquake.

Boston Mayor Declares Public Health Emergency

Signs of an increasingly severe flu season prompted city officials to declare a public health emergency in Boston, where infections have increased tenfold compared with last season. So far about 700 cases and four deaths, all seniors, have been reported in Boston, which is experiencing its worst flu season since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.