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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.”

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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…

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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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