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Old Mar 27, 2014, 10:00 AM   #1
DaytonIllini
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Seems like every year there is a new plague or pandemic threat. Here is the latest from West Africa.



http://news.yahoo.com/fear-confusion...130545795.html

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Guinea has forbidden the sale and consumption of bats and warned against eating rats and monkeys as the country combats a spread of Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever with a mortality rate of as much as 90 percent.

“We discovered the vector agent of the Ebola virus is the bat,” said Remy Lamah, the country’s health minister, in an interview from the town of N’zerekore today. “We sent messages everywhere to announce the ban. People must even avoid consumption of rats and monkeys. They are very dangerous animals.”
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-0...s-on-rats.html

I hereby pledge to stop eating bats, rats and monkeys.

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Old Mar 27, 2014, 10:13 AM   #2
Ransom Stoddard
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Originally Posted by DaytonIllini View Post
I hereby pledge to stop eating bats, rats and monkeys.
I'm nearly 50 years ahead of the curve on that one.

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Old Mar 27, 2014, 10:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Ransom Stoddard View Post
I'm nearly 50 years ahead of the curve on that one.
Me too brother. I just thought that would be a good thing to give up for Lent for some people.

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Old Mar 27, 2014, 05:06 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by DaytonIllini View Post

I hereby pledge to stop eating bats, rats and monkeys.
I don't need that one in writing. I'm in. Or is it "I'm out?"
Either way, cancel my order.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 08:02 PM   #5
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Should we buy ford now?

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Old Apr 4, 2014, 01:42 PM   #6
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BAMAKO/CONAKRY (Reuters) - Mali said it had identified its first possible cases of Ebola since the start of an outbreak in neighbouring Guinea, adding to fears that the deadly virus was spreading across West Africa.

More than 90 people have already died in Guinea and Liberia in what medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has warned could turn into an unprecedented epidemic in an impoverished region with poor health services.
http://news.yahoo.com/mali-suspects-...5TohQAZpjQtDMD

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Old Apr 15, 2014, 01:28 PM   #7
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A routine inventory check at Paris' Pasteur Institute revealed that 2,349 tubes containing fragments of the virus responsible for the deaths of 774 people in 2002 were missing, the centre named after French chemist Louis Pasteur said.

The institute was quick to reassure the public and said that the contents of the missing vials had no infectious potential. They contained only part of the virus and had no ability to spread.
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/sars-resear...-virus-1444924

Does anyone trust a place that loses thousands of samples when they say the samples are not infectious?

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Old Apr 15, 2014, 06:25 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by DaytonIllini View Post
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/sars-resear...-virus-1444924

Does anyone trust a place that loses thousands of samples when they say the samples are not infectious?
Even if they aren't infectious, what were the fragments? Did they contain the deadly components which you could add to another virus pretty easily? Just because it isn't the whole virus doesn't mean it isn't a bunch of deadly vectors. Considering it was research, I'm guessing the fragments weren't just junk DNA.
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Old Apr 22, 2014, 04:04 PM   #9
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Not that many people have heard of Chikungunya, but that may change as the highly infectious disease keeps spreading quickly through the western hemisphere.

The mosquito-borne virus, which causes fever and severe joint pain, may already be in Puerto Rico, and public health officials believe it could spread to the southern U.S. within months, Al Jazeera finds.

The first case in the Americas was detected on the Caribbean island of St. Martin in December and there have now been more than 25,000 cases reported in the region.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/n...virus/8003463/

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Old May 2, 2014, 02:36 PM   #10
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But it appears to be unusually lethal - by some estimates, it has killed nearly a third of the people it sickened. That's a far higher percentage than seasonal flu or other routine infections. But it is not as contagious as flu, measles or other diseases. There is no vaccine or cure for MERS.

The CDC on Friday released only limited information about the U.S. case: The man flew to the United States about a week ago, with a stop in London. He landed in Chicago and took a bus to the neighboring state of Indiana. He didn't become sick until arriving in Indiana, the CDC said. Symptoms include fever, cough, breathing problems, which can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure.

CDC officials say they are sending a team to investigate the man's illness, his travel history and to track down people he may have been in close contact with.
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...05-02-14-29-04

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Last edited by DaytonIllini; May 2, 2014 at 02:44 PM.
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Old May 2, 2014, 02:42 PM   #11
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If the international community fails to cooperate, “the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,” Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health security, said in a statement.

“Effective antibiotics have been one of the pillars allowing us to live longer, live healthier and benefit from modern medicine,” he said. “Unless we take significant actions … the implications will be devastating.”
http://www.latimes.com/science/scien...0,498494.story

This is 1 million times more worrisome for the future of you and your children than global warming or ozone depletion or pretty much any 'worry' that the press talks about. The lifespan of our grandchildren could be cut in half compared to our lives if we don't find new, novel and more effective antibiotics. There has hardly been an antibiotic invented in the past 20 years. We should be pouring billions into research on this. Instead we're researching solar power and fusion. Insane. And in case you don't care too much about your grandchildren, this is likely to affect you too within the next decade. Half of the isolates are now drug resistant. That was more like 5% 10 years ago. We're about to find that people are going to die from skinned knees, sore throats and urinary tract infections.

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Old May 2, 2014, 03:01 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by DaytonIllini View Post
http://www.latimes.com/science/scien...0,498494.story

This is 1 million times more worrisome for the future of you and your children than global warming or ozone depletion or pretty much any 'worry' that the press talks about. The lifespan of our grandchildren could be cut in half compared to our lives if we don't find new, novel and more effective antibiotics. There has hardly been an antibiotic invented in the past 20 years. We should be pouring billions into research on this. Instead we're researching solar power and fusion. Insane. And in case you don't care too much about your grandchildren, this is likely to affect you too within the next decade. Half of the isolates are now drug resistant. That was more like 5% 10 years ago. We're about to find that people are going to die from skinned knees, sore throats and urinary tract infections.
Not that I disagree, but this is a pretty well funded area of research. Not as well funded as cancer, and I think you'd agree that it should be, but it's well funded.

One of the problems, is that we just don't know anything. Cancer is a far more simple problem than antibiotic resistance. We don't know what causes the resistance. And we know that slightly different strains of the same bug can develop resistance to different drugs at wildly different rates. Sadly, we don't even have testable hypotheses at this point. Our best approaches are probably data driven screens which generate data that only super-computers can manage. And even then, we're left hoping we get lucky.
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Old May 2, 2014, 03:05 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by DaytonIllini View Post
This is what I actually logged on to post.

I share your worries about a virus/bacterial mediated mass extinction event. Contagion and that ilk of movie/book are not fiction.
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Old May 2, 2014, 08:42 PM   #14
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Not that I disagree, but this is a pretty well funded area of research. Not as well funded as cancer, and I think you'd agree that it should be, but it's well funded.

One of the problems, is that we just don't know anything. Cancer is a far more simple problem than antibiotic resistance. We don't know what causes the resistance. And we know that slightly different strains of the same bug can develop resistance to different drugs at wildly different rates. Sadly, we don't even have testable hypotheses at this point. Our best approaches are probably data driven screens which generate data that only super-computers can manage. And even then, we're left hoping we get lucky.
While I might differ with you on the relative complexity of cancer vs. infectious disease, I'm interested in your statement about investment. It seems that only a sliver of investment in antibiotics occurs relative to cancer drugs. Cancer doesn't pose an existential risk to society yet we happily spend $100k for a course of chemo yet balk at paying $200 for an antibiotic.

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Old May 5, 2014, 05:39 AM   #15
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While I might differ with you on the relative complexity of cancer vs. infectious disease, I'm interested in your statement about investment. It seems that only a sliver of investment in antibiotics occurs relative to cancer drugs. Cancer doesn't pose an existential risk to society yet we happily spend $100k for a course of chemo yet balk at paying $200 for an antibiotic.
I guess it's a matter of how direct that spending is.

I for example would view any research into the structure of a bacterial ribosome, the bacterial cell membrane/wall, bacterial metabolism, quorum sensing, etc., as an investment in combatting antibiotic resistance. Each of these areas is individually pretty well funded. The best people in these areas are doing better than the best people studying basic aspects of neuroscience, cancer biology, and other disorders. The saturation of those fields plays a role, but I think that the general recognition that we have to get an understanding of the basics of infectious diseases contributes greatly. Additionally, this is now becoming more of a focus not only within the NIH and NSF, but also within Pharma. With Pharma catching on you'll start to see therapeutic advances for which we can't explain the mechanism of action. I don't have the numbers for funding, and it certainly lags behind cancer, but the focus on this issue is increasing.

The issue is that we as a species can't really evaluate risk probabilities or risk magnitudes. Most of us have a family member or friend who has had or does have cancer. Therefore it is something that presents a clear risk. We cannot comprehend the damage that bacteria and viruses can do because we have not lived it in our lives. Therefore, we don't worry about it.
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Old May 6, 2014, 10:02 AM   #16
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Dayton, there is a series of "outlook" pieces in the most recent issue of Nature regarding antibiotics and resistance. Fluff mostly, but I found the timing interesting.
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Old Jul 22, 2014, 02:44 PM   #17
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WHO: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome could be airborne
http://theweek.com/speedreads/index/...ld-be-airborne

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Old Jul 22, 2014, 03:32 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by DaytonIllini View Post
http://www.latimes.com/science/scien...0,498494.story

This is 1 million times more worrisome for the future of you and your children than global warming or ozone depletion or pretty much any 'worry' that the press talks about. The lifespan of our grandchildren could be cut in half compared to our lives if we don't find new, novel and more effective antibiotics. There has hardly been an antibiotic invented in the past 20 years. We should be pouring billions into research on this. Instead we're researching solar power and fusion. Insane. And in case you don't care too much about your grandchildren, this is likely to affect you too within the next decade. Half of the isolates are now drug resistant. That was more like 5% 10 years ago. We're about to find that people are going to die from skinned knees, sore throats and urinary tract infections.
It seems to me we are getting more and more patients with MRSA or VRE. We are a 34 bed unit. Used to we might have one or maybe two with MRSA or VRE. Now seems common to have 4 or 5 sometimes
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Old Jul 23, 2014, 08:13 AM   #19
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(Reuters) - The head doctor fighting the deadly tropical virus Ebola in Sierra Leone has himself caught the disease, the government said.

The 39-year-old Sheik Umar Khan, hailed as a "national hero" by the health ministry, was leading the fight to control an outbreak that has killed 206 people in the West African country. Ebola kills up to 90 percent of those infected and there is no cure or vaccine.

Across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, more than 600 people have died from the illness, according to the World Health Organisation, placing great strain on the health systems of some of Africa's poorest countries.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/...ldNews&rpc=602

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Old Jul 27, 2014, 10:13 AM   #20
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A U.S. doctor is being treated for Ebola in Liberia as the deadly virus spread to Nigeria, the fourth African country to confirm cases since the worst outbreak of the disease on record started in March.

Kent Brantly is in isolation and receiving treatment in Monrovia, the capital, North Carolina-based Samaritan’s Purse said in an statement on its website yesterday. Brantly is the medical director of the aid charity’s Ebola Consolidated Case Management Center in Monrovia. Ebola, which has no cure or treatment, kills as many as 90 percent of its victims.

Ebola has killed more than 660 people in four West African nations since March, the worst episode of the virus since it was first reported in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976. Medical staff are at the highest risk of contracting the fever spread through bodily secretions because of proximity to patients.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-0...s-nigeria.html

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Old Jul 27, 2014, 10:19 AM   #21
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Some 8 million people have Chagas disease, a life-threatening illness passed to humans by "kissing bugs," or triatomines, living in Latin America.

In the U.S., few people know about the disease — but the CDC figures that some 300,000 people may be infected here. In countries like Bolivia, which has the highest rate of Chagas in the world, it's standard practice to screen expectant mothers for the disease, since they could pass it on to their children. But in the U.S., doctors rarely think to check for the illness.

But awareness is growing, especially in places like Virginia, which one doctor suggests could be "ground zero" for the illness in the U.S., the Atlantic reports. The state has more Bolivians than any other. Dozens of cases have cropped up in the region.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2...&dlvrit=206567

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Old Jul 27, 2014, 11:46 AM   #22
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This is scary stuff to me (just an engineer). The overuse use of antibiotics creates super bugs (not talking Ebola), and the increase in population with no fundamental sanitary living conditions, or supply of uncontaminated food/water is a time bomb (China, India, Africa, SA. and the middle east).
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Old Jul 29, 2014, 06:58 PM   #23
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The situation is not getting any better.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/29/health...html?hpt=hp_t1

"The CDC held a media briefing Monday to emphasize that there is "no significant risk" of an Ebola outbreak in the United States.
There has never been a confirmed case of Ebola spreading to a developed country, said Kamiliny Kalahne, an epidemiologist with Doctors Without Borders.
"This is because people generally transmit the infection when they are very sick, have a high fever and a lot of symptoms -- and in these situations, they don't travel."

But when he landed in Lagos, Sawyer, 40, collapsed getting off the plane. He had been infected with Ebola in Liberia, where he worked as a top government official in the Liberian Ministry of Finance.
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Old Jul 29, 2014, 07:34 PM   #24
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Old Jul 30, 2014, 06:10 AM   #25
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The World Health Organization says the risk of travelers contracting Ebola is considered low because it requires direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions such as urine, blood, sweat or saliva, experts say. Ebola can't be spread like flu through casual contact or breathing in the same air.
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...07-29-09-18-29

Because on a hot plane in Africa, a passenger seated next to you would never sweat on you. Nobody would ever sit on a toilet seat that some feverish patient just peed on or had diarrhea on. Has anyone from WHO ever flown on a plane?

If doctors and nurses are getting this left and right, it's not THAT hard to pass on.

The 60% death rate is actually scarier than the more typical 90% death rate for Ebola.

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