From the Associated Press:
"GENEVA (AP) — Eight more cases of Ebola have been identified in Congo, raising to 17 the number of people confirmed to have contracted the deadly illness, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.
The cases were confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told reporters in Geneva.
The outbreak in Congo is the first major resurgence of Ebola in years.
At least 170 people have died — though only six were confirmed to have had Ebola — in the affected region of Kasai Occidental over the past four months, and more than 400 have fallen ill, Chaib said.
The fate of the eleven remaining confirmed cases is unknown, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said.
Some of the cases have tested negative for Ebola, but positive for other diseases like shigella — a diarrhea-like disease — or typhoid. Some of the patients have improved after being given antibiotics, which would have no impact on Ebola, WHO experts said.
According to WHO the so-called "Zaire strain" of Ebola kills over 80 percent of those infected through massive blood loss, and has no cure or treatment. It is spread through direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person, or objects that have been contaminated with infected secretions.
Congo's last major Ebola outbreak struck in Kikwit in 1995, killing 245 people. Kikwit is about 185 miles from the site of the current outbreak.
WHO says more than 1,000 people have died of Ebola since the virus was first identified in 1976 in Sudan and Congo. Primates, hunted by many central Africans for food, can carry the virus."
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
And in my own old home state, too! Oh Idaho, first Sen. Craig and now Cryptosporidium... I think your PR campaign is going great. Boise will big the #1 hotspot for gay tourists, and you also get an excuse to maybe get a contract for a biodefense lab for the state (run on Nuclear energy of course!). Any way, here's the AP with the story:
"BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Nearly 230 Idaho residents have been sickened by a waterborne parasite this year, along with hundreds of others across the Rocky Mountain West, health officials said.
The cryptosporidium outbreak has reached record numbers, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare spokesman Tom Shanahan said, and has federal officials looking at the role water parks and public pools play in spreading the diarrhea-causing parasite.
Since 1995, Idaho has averaged about 23 cryptosporidium cases a year, said Dr. Randall Nett, an epidemic intelligence officer with Idaho's Health and Welfare Department. But this year, 229 cases have been reported, the vast majority in the Boise and Meridian areas.
Nearby Utah has been even harder hit, with more than 1,600 illnesses attributed to cryptosporidium so far this year, Utah Department of Health epidemiologist Diane Raccasi said.
"It's a record year by a long way," said Nett. "There's probably going to have to be some research done to determine if it was weather, rainfall, runoff or other things contributing to the outbreak."
Colorado and other Western states have also reported increases, Nett said. However, Montana has seen a decrease. There have been 42 cryptosporidium cases so far this year, compared to 93 at this point in 2006, according to Jon Ebelt, spokesman for the Montana Department of Public Health and Services. There were 152 total cases last year, driven in part by an outbreak at a Missoula water park, Ebelt said.
Health officials believe splash parks and other recreational water parks can offer the hardy parasite the opportunity to rapidly spread from person to person.
Splash parks are often a feature of city parks, and are popular with younger children because they require no swimming skills. Instead of a pool, water sprays up from spouts in the ground, somewhat like a glorified sprinkler system. Many parks also feature water guns or water slides.
But at parks where water is recirculated, the spray can rinse any contamination — whether from diarrhea, vomit or dirt — down into a water holding area and back up through the water spouts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Unfortunately, there's no national pool code to regulate how these splash pads are designed, so the CDC is working with a consortium of scientists to come up with a model pool code," similar to what the Food and Drug Administration created for food, Nett said.
"To prevent outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis, change is needed in the way we build and operate the nation's disinfected recreational water facilities," the CDC wrote in a report earlier this summer. "Key changes call for the inclusion of new supplementary disinfection measures that kill the parasite ... and existing chlorine disinfection."--------------------------------------------------------------
And waterparks are a huge thing in Idaho and Utah, too... the big tunnel ride kind with the giant wave pool. Man those are fun.
Too bad the waterpark industry couldn't standardize cleaning and filtration processes to make them safe... heh. Just goes to show you the lack of standardization when an industry is unregulated.
"Hey there ain't no law that says we can't skimp on our Muriatic acid levels, so fuck it lets save a few nickels!"
It's this kind of thinking that leads to regulation. The market can solve this, but every market solution is a reaction, and prevention is either legislated or the business must up and decide to regulate themselves.
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 9/22/2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
As always, the assurances by the local government that they have an outbreak under control were untrue. Here's what Reuters is reporting on the situation:
"Health workers launched an emergency operation on Wednesday to fight an outbreak of deadly Ebola haemorrhagic fever in southern Congo, airlifting supplies, setting up isolation tents and disinfecting contaminated areas.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and medical NGOs such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) joined local health authorities in a major logistics operation to try to contain the outbreak in Kasai Occidental province of Democratic Republic of Congo.
Congo's government, citing test results from international laboratories, said on Monday at least five cases of Ebola had been confirmed in the province, where authorities have reported more than 160 deaths among 352 sick people over four months."--------------------------------
And just after their "mystery disease" incident! The worst thing about this, of course, is Congo now has to reset their "... days since an Ebola outbreak" calender.
Does the WHO even care anymore? "Try to contain?" How about a little confidence folks...
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 9/12/2007
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Here's something that's more than a little troubling...
"United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) experts have arrived in the centre of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where there has been an outbreak of an unknown but highly deadly illness that is proving to be particularly harmful for young children.
WHO said in a statement today that the exact number of cases and deaths is unknown, but the illness - which so far has no known cause - has a high mortality rate. Most sufferers experience fever, headaches, diarrhoea, vomiting and colicky abdominal pain, and more than 50 per cent of cases involve children under the age of 10.
A joint investigation team from WHO, the DRC's provincial and national health ministries and the National Institute of Biological Research (known by its French acronym INRB) has reached the source of the outbreak, in Kasai Occidental province, and taken clinical samples for laboratory testing.
WHO said it was also mobilizing support to mount an epidemiological investigation and to provide logistics, such as water, sanitation and other supplies, should they be required in any emergency response.
National health authorities in the DRC have already begun implementing measures to improve hygiene, strengthen infection controls, ensure the safety of the water supply and promote safe burial practices to try to limit the outbreak."
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 9/01/2007