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Friday, March 8, 2013

CDC warns health officials about deadly new virus: kills nearly 6 in 10

 March 8, 2013CHICAGO – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday warned state and local health officials about potential infections from a deadly virus previously unseen in humans that has now sickened 14 people and killed 8. Most of the infections have occurred in the Middle East, but a new analysis of three confirmed infections in Britain suggests the virus can pass from person to person rather than from animal to humans, the CDC said in its Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report on Thursday. The virus is a coronavirus, part of the same family of viruses as the common cold and the deadly outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that first emerged in Asia in 2003. The new virus is not the same as SARS, but like the SARS virus, it is similar to those found in bats. So far, no cases have been reported in the United States. According to the CDC’s analysis, the infections in Britain started with a 60-year-old man who had recently traveled to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and developed a respiratory illness on January 24, 2013. Samples from the man showed he was infected with both the new virus and with H1N1, or swine flu. This man subsequently passed the infection to two members of his household: a male with an underlying illness who became ill on February 6 and subsequently died; and a healthy adult female in his household who developed a respiratory illness on February 5, but who did not need to be hospitalized and has recovered. The CDC said people who develop a severe acute lower respiratory illness within 10 days of returning from the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries should continue to be evaluated according to current guidelines. The health agency said doctors should be watchful of patients who develop an unexplained respiratory infection within 10 days of traveling from the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries. The CDC has set up a special website with updates on the infections at Symptoms of infection with this new virus include severe acute respiratory illness with fever, cough and shortness of breath. Neither the CDC nor the World Health Organization has issued travel restrictions related to the virus. –Yahoo
Meningitis outbreak in Nigeria kills 100: A fresh outbreak of suspected cerebrospinal meningitis has killed more than 100 in north-west Nigeria and dozens more elsewhere in the country. People in the town of Jabo have never seen anything like the past two weeks. They have just buried 60 people. The cause of the latest outbreak is unknown and health workers have treated people based on the symptoms they have shown. The government says medical teams have been deployed to carry out an immunization and education program and more epidemics are expected. –Al Jazeera
Virulent meningitis strain hits New York: New York is facing a deadly meningitis outbreak that is targeting gay men, many of which are HIV-positive. The city’s health department said several gay men have been found dead in their homes, and is urging people to immediately get vaccinated. “Since August 2010, we’ve detected 12 cases of this very specific strain but what we’re most concerned about is that in the past four weeks there have been four cases and one of those cases has died,” Deputy Commissioner for Disease Control in the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Dr. Jay Varma, told CBS affiliate 1010 WINS. All of the recent bacterial meningitis cases have involved HIV-positive gay men who have had close contact with nose or throat discharges from an infected person. The New York Health Department initially issued a warning about the bacterial meningitis for HIV-positive men, but have since changed that warning to apply to all gay men. There have been 17 cases of bacterial meningitis in New York since 2012 and 22 cases since 2010, seven of which were fatal. “Meningitis symptoms usually come on quickly, and the disease can be fatal if not treated right away,” Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said in a press release. –RT

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