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First Death In China From New Coronavirus Pneumonia Outbreak

Health Screenings In Bangkok For China's Wuhan Pneumonia

Barney Stinson of the television show How I Met You Mother was wrong. New is not always better.

The latest news about the mystery pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China, is that scientists may have found a new virus. And this novel virus may be the culprit in the outbreak that has already left over 40 people sick and now a 61-year-old man dead.

Yes, this is the “mystery pneumonia” outbreak that I covered for Forbes last week. Now, as CBS News reported, a lead scientist in the ongoing investigation of the outbreak in China, Xu Jianguo, has said that it’s been “preliminarily determined” that a new strain of coronavirus may be the culprit. That would preliminarily suck because who wants yet another virus to worry about that can potentially kill.

Those of you who took Latin in high school so that you can talk to nobody may recognize that “corona” is the Latin word for “crown.” Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that have spikes on their surface that make them look like little crowns as you can see in this photo:

Can you you imagine one of these viruses on your head?

While it may be good to have a real crown on you, you probably do not want one of these on or in you. That’s because there are now seven different types of coronaviruses that can infect humans. The most common types of these so-called human coronaviruses are two, 229E and NL63, that fall into the alpha subgroup, and two, OC43 and HKU1, that fall into the beta subgroup of coronaviruses. These four may not be that easy to remember because their names sound a bit like droids on Star Wars.

https://i1.wp.com/onlinemarketingscoops.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Secrets-to-ebay-and-amazon-success-Ad-Gif-2.gif?resize=136%2C136&ssl=1But that’s OK, because these four aren’t the most worrisome ones. They tend to cause mild-to-moderate upper respiratory illnesses that consist of cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, headache, sore throat, fever, and general feeling of bleck. Occasionally, the infection can involve your lower-respiratory tract, resulting in bronchitis or pneumonia, which is more likely to happen when your immune system, heart, or lungs are weakened.

The human coronaviruses to worry much more about are the remaining three. One is the SARS-Coronavirus (CoV), which causes, you guessed it, SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome. This was the beta coronavirus that sickened 8,098 people and killed 774 around the world during the 2003 SARS outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that the SARS-CoV killed 14% to 15% of those infected.

A second is the MERS-CoV, which causes MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. As the WHO describes, MERS was first found in Saudi Arabia in 2012. This beta coronavirus has also been quite a killer, with around 35% of those infected dying.

The third human coronavirus in this uh-oh group and seventh overall is this new coronavirus just found in Wuhan, China. It doesn’t have an official name yet and is listed on the CDC website as “Novel Coronavirus 2019.”

This new one is still a quite a mystery. The MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, like other human coronaviruses, can spread from one human to another through contact with respiratory secretions. So far, word is that there haven’t been any clear cases of one human infecting another with “Novel Coronavirus 2019.”

For example, reportedly no health care workers who have been taking care of the patients with the virus have gotten sick themselves. Ah, but don’t rule out human-to-human transmission of the virus just yet. If human-to-human transmission is not possible then how the heck did so many people get infected? Did everyone somehow interact with the same group of animals? If so what animals are responsible? As they say, I have so many questions.

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Plus, even if a virus can’t go from human-to-human now, who knows what may happen in the future? A new virus that has managed to finally learn how to infect a human can be a bit like a contestant who has finally made it intothe reality television show The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. It can explore and learn how to wreak further havoc. Eventually, it may figure out how to jump from one human to another. After all, viruses and reality show participants can evolve quite quickly.

Stay tuned as this remains an evolving situation. For now, many countries in Asia are taking precautions and screening those traveling from Wuhan. If you are traveling to Wuhan, don’t interact closely with someone who appears to be sick and don’t hang out with animals. You don’t want to get caught off guard the next time something new emerges about this new virus.

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I am a writer, journalist, professor, systems modeler, computational and digital health expert, avocado-eater, and entrepreneur, not always in that order. Currently, I am a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the City University of New York (CUNY), Executive Director of PHICOR (@PHICORteam), Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, and founder and CEO of Symsilico. My previous positions include serving as Executive Director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University, Associate Professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Associate Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh, and Senior Manager at Quintiles Transnational, working in biotechnology equity research at Montgomery Securities, and co-founding a biotechnology/bioinformatics company. My work involves developing computational approaches, models, and tools to help health and healthcare decision makers in all continents (except for Antarctica) and has been supported by a wide variety of sponsors such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the NIH, AHRQ, CDC, UNICEF, USAID and the Global Fund. I have authored over 200 scientific publications and three books. Follow me on Twitter (@bruce_y_lee) but don’t ask me if I know martial arts.

Source: First Death In China From New Coronavirus Pneumonia Outbreak

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A Measles Outbreak in Samoa Has Killed 53 People and Infected 2% of the Population

s the measles virus continues to spread worldwide, Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi announced Monday that Samoa will take the dramatic step of closing its government for two days this week to assist with a public vaccination campaign.

Aside from 2019, Samoa has reported almost no cases of measles to the World Health Organization (WHO) in recent years. But vaccine coverage in the small nation is lacking, partially attributable to public concern following two vaccine-related deaths that occurred in 2018 due to faulty formulas, the WHO reports. As of 2018, only 31% of children had received one of two doses of the measles vaccine, allowing the virus to spread rapidly. A total of 3,728 people, nearly 2% of Samoa’s population, have contracted measles during the current outbreak, including nearly 200 in the past day alone, according to a government statement on Dec. 1. Fifty-three people have died from measles, and the outbreak was declared an emergency on Nov. 15.

While the measles outbreak in Samoa is particularly dramatic, countries around the globe are experiencing a resurgence of the virus, which starts with minor symptoms like a runny nose and skin rash but can progress to include complications such as brain damage and predispose sufferers to other infections. In 2018, about 350,000 cases of measles were reported globally, more than double the number in 2017, according to UNICEF. And according to provisional WHO data, about 413,000 cases had been reported worldwide as of November 2019.

The WHO has blamed a dangerous rise in vaccine skepticism for the uptick, saying earlier this year that vaccine hesitancy is one of the 10 largest threats to global health. Developed countries, such as the U.S. and France, seem to show the most hesitation toward vaccination, in part due to a widely discredited belief that vaccines can cause autism.

That thinking has become so pervasive in the U.S. that the country came perilously close to losing its measles elimination status this year. The disease was declared eliminated domestically in 2000, but more than 1,200 people have been diagnosed with the virus in 2019—the most in 25 years—leading to emergency declarations in places including New York City and New York’s Rockland County.

To help slow that rapid spread, all schools have been indefinitely closed since Nov. 17, and children have been barred from public gatherings. The country is also coordinating a mass vaccination campaign, with the help of about $72,000 in aid funding from the Red Cross’ Asia Pacific chapter. All government employees, except those who work in water or electric supply, will help orchestrate the campaign on Dec. 5 and 6, CNN reports. More than 58,000 Samoan people have already been vaccinated.

By Jamie Ducharme

December 2, 2019

Source: A Measles Outbreak in Samoa Has Killed 53 People and Infected 2% of the Population

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#WATCH The death toll continues to rise in Samoa as the measles epidemic ravages the country. According to the latest reports from Samoa, 20 people have died so far, most of them children. A state of emergency has been declared and vaccinations made compulsory. Children up to the age of 19 have now been banned from public gatherings and schools have been shut down to stop the disease spreading. This week New Zealand increased its medical support, but locals fear it could get worse before it gets any better. We bring you the latest on the measles outbreak…

Two People In China Got The Black Death Plague But Chances Of Another Pandemic Are ‘Close To Nil’

Plague disease positive

Topline: One of the deadliest pandemics in human history, the Black Death plague, has cropped up again with two cases recently reported in China—although chances of another global pandemic are slim to none, according to medical experts.

  • Two people from the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia are reportedly being treated for the plague—the same disease that caused the Black Death, which wiped out around 50 million people in Europe during the 14th century—according to state officials.
  • It’s not the first time the disease has been reported this year: Earlier in 2019, a Mongolian couple died from bubonic plague after eating a raw marmot kidney, while over the summer, plague-infested prairie dogs shut down parts of a Denver suburb in Colorado.
  • Human infections continue to occur primarily in rural areas, sometimes in the western U.S., but more frequently in parts of Asia, South America and primarily Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • In recent decades, an average of seven human plague cases in the U.S. have been reported each year, with the last deaths occurring in 2015, according to CDC data.
  • Plague can be transmitted through flea bites and infected animals, primarily wild rodents like rats, prairie dogs, squirrels and rabbits—although human pets like cats and dogs can also get infected.
  • While today we have modern antibiotics to effectively treat infections and prevent death if caught early enough, there is currently no vaccine to protect individuals from the plague.

Crucial quote: “The risks of a global plague pandemic such as the 14th century Black Death are close to nil,” says Dr. James Shepherd, an associate professor of internal medicine (infectious diseases) at the Yale School of Medicine. “It is a zoonosis—an infection with a wild animal reservoir—transmitted by flea bites and so it doesn’t have the capacity to rapidly spread from person to person. … There are sporadic cases in the U.S. annually, often in hunters, so we see it occasionally.”

Today In: Money

Key background: During the Middle Ages, the Black Death plague wiped out around 50 million people and 60% of Europe’s population at the time. Plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, and can arise in three forms: Bubonic plague is most common, marked by swollen lymph nodes on the body. If not treated early enough, that can cause septicemic plague, which infects the blood, and worse yet, pneumonic plague, which infects the lungs.

What to watch for: Despite its associations with historical pandemics, the disease is still around today. More than 3,248 cases were reported worldwide from 2010 to 2015, including 584 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. With close to 50,000 human cases of the plague in the last two decades, according to CNN, the WHO now classifies it as a reemerging disease. The three countries where the plague is most endemic are Peru, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Madagascar—where a 2017 outbreak saw 2,348 reported cases and 202 deaths.

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I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes, covering breaking news—with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I’ve reported at Money Magazine, The Villager NYC, and The East Hampton Star. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at sklebnikov@forbes.com

Source: Two People In China Got The Black Death Plague—But Chances Of Another Pandemic Are ‘Close To Nil’

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The Black Death pandemic swept across Europe in the mid-14th century killing about half the population. It was caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. This strain of bacteria is still around today, but intriguingly it causes far fewer deaths. To find out why, researchers reconstructed a medieval Yersinia pestis genome — and compared it to the genomes of contemporary strains. The team, led by German scientist Johannes Krause, made use of recent technological advances in DNA recovery and analysis to examine DNA from the skeletons of four individuals buried in East Smithfield in London, a well-known medieval burial site for victims of the Black Death. Read the original research paper here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature10549 And read the feature here: http://www.nature.com/news/2011/11102…

72 People Ill From E. Coli Outbreak, What Is The Cause?

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Pictured here is one strain of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli. (Photo: Getty Images)

Oh 103, no. Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that at least 72 people in 5 states have already gotten sick from an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) O103. Therefore, for now, be careful when eating anything. Anything? Yes, anything.

That’s because so far there is no clear cause of the outbreak that has affected at least 8 people in Georgia, 36 people in Kentucky, 5 in Ohio, 21 in Tennessee, and 2 in Virginia and has resulted in at least 8 hospitalizations.  A timeline provided by the CDC shows that illnesses started on March 2 , 2019. Those affected have ranged in age from one year old to 74 years young. The median age of people who have gotten ill is 17 years.

I’ve already written for Forbes about another STEC, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, that goes by the name O157:H7. This agent, not to be confused with 007, was the cause of the outbreak that was eventually linked to Romaine lettuce last year. A STEC by any name is not good. Besides causing all kinds of poop, including bloody poop, that starts 2 to 8 days after entering your mouth, a STEC can, in some cases, be life threatening.

The biggest concern is hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). As I have described before, this is HUS and it’s not good: the Shiga toxin triggers destruction of your red blood cells, which can then result in pieces of red blood cells clogging up your kidneys, your kidneys potentially failing, and you potentially dying. The typical symptoms of an “uncomplicated” STEC infection are bad stomach cramps, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. You should worry about HUS if you develop a fever, a pale skin tone, fatigue and irritability, small, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth, and especially decreased urination.

STEC can be all kinds of different foods and beverages. The Foodsafety.gov website includes the following examples:

  • Contaminated food, especially undercooked ground beef, unpasteurized (raw) milk and juice, soft cheeses made from raw milk, and raw fruits and vegetables (such as sprouts)
  • Contaminated water, including drinking untreated water and swimming in contaminated water
  • Animals and their environment: particularly cows, sheep, and goats. If you don’t wash your hands carefully after touching an animal or its environment, you could get an E. coli infection
  • Feces of infected people

So take precautions when potentially eating or drinking anything, including the feces of other people. I know, I know, you say that feces is not part of your diet. But you would be surprised by how much poop gets around if you don’t wash your hands. So wash your feces-ed hands, frequently and thoroughly, especially when handling food or your mouth.

Here’s how:

Besides washing your hands, which you should do frequently and thoroughly, the CDC recommends that you cook meats thoroughly (steaks and roasts to at least 145˚F and ground beef and pork to at least 160˚F), thoroughly clean anything that touches raw meat, wash fruits and vegetables before eating them, and avoid raw dairy products and unpasteurized juices. Oh, and you should wash your hands, thoroughly and frequently.

For now, the CDC and other authorities are searching for a source of this latest STEC outbreak. Therefore, wait for updates and wash your hands, thoroughly and frequently. The aforementioned food safety recommendations should apply regardless of whether there is a STEC outbreak. In other words, don’t return to wearing raw meat masks, guzzling raw milk, licking cutting boards clean, using unwashed celery as floss, and not washing your hands, frequently and thoroughly after an outbreak has passed.

Follow me on Twitter @bruce_y_lee and visit our Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Read my other Forbes pieces here

My career has spanned the worlds of digital and computational health, business, academia, medicine, global health, and writing. Currently, I am the Executive Director of..

Source: 72 People Ill From E. Coli Outbreak, What Is The Cause?

Immigrants Arrive With Flourishing Gut Microbes Then America’s Diet Trashes Them – Ben Guarino

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An empire of germs dwells inside you, trillions strong. About a half-pound of bacteria plus their genes make up our microbiome. Though each microbe is small, a healthy and diverse microbiome is mighty. Its influence, studies suggest, spans the human condition  from mood swings to weight gain. The microbiome begins as a departing gift from mothers at birth, but many factors alter its composition. Growing evidence shows location has a profound impact on the diversity of microbes, and some places are much less diverse than others. A study published this week in the journal Cell follows multi-generation immigrants from Southeast Asia to the United States……..

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2018/11/02/immigrants-arrive-with-flourishing-gut-microbes-then-americas-diet-trashes-them/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.1057c116fcf5

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