Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia
Between 1 and 5 September 2015, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 25 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection. Ten (10) of these reported cases are associated with a MERS-CoV outbreak currently occurring in a hospital in Riyadh city.
Salmonella Outbreak – USA
A cucumber recall linked to a fatal case of salmonella includes products shipped to 22 states, including New Jersey.
The recalled cucumbers, grown in Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, have sickened 285 people in 27 states, including a woman in California who died from the illness, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Ebola – West Africa
Though several of the West African countries most impacted by the worst Ebola outbreak in history have declared themselves free of the devastating virus, experts say the fight against it overall is far from over.
“This virus and this outbreak in particular has a nasty sting in the tail,” the World Health Organization’s lead on Ebola response Bruce Aylward said, according to Reuters. “It’s not finished, by a long shot.”
Aylward led a new study to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine that still found traces of the virus in semen after six months in half of men considered to be Ebola survivors — three months longer than the virus was previously thought to remain in survivors’ systems.
One country that has seen several new cases of Ebola recently is Sierra Leone.
The WHO declared Liberia Ebola-free for a second time earlier this month after the country hardest hit by the deadly virus saw a brief resurgence of cases not long after the first time it thought the disease was gone for good. It’s now within a 90-day surveillance period.
Global Warming – Potential for Disease Outbreaks
Scientists have discovered a 30,000-year-old Frankenvirus in the frozen Siberian wastelands. They fear the dangerous virus, known as Mollivirus sibericum, could reanimate as global warming melts the ice and snow, releasing the microscopic pathogens into the air to infect humans.
Researcher Jean-Michael Claverie stated that some of the particles they discovered were still considered to be infectious.
Researchers are astounded by the prehistoric viruses they have found over the last 12 years. Each has been much larger and more complex than current viruses. The Mollivirus sibericum has over 500 genes. A virus found in 2003 was found to have more than 2,500 genes. In comparison, the flu virus has only eight genes.
Testing on the Mollivirus sibericum will take place in a safe laboratory, where the virus will not spread outside of the room after it is woken up and testing begins. Researchers are anxious to learn from the Frankenvirus and see what impact it had on prehistoric life and could potentially have on modern day life.