August 14, 2007

'Crucial Week' in Disease Fight
BBC News -
13 Aug 2007
Photo courtesy of AFP
Area: United Kingdom

The UK's chief veterinary officer has said this is a "crucial week" in the fight against foot-and-mouth disease. Debby Reynolds told the BBC vigilance was still needed and plans must be made "with a real sense of urgency" to return the farming industry to normal. Farmers' leaders in England say the ongoing restrictions on animal movement are damaging their livelihoods. Meanwhile, the government is awaiting the results of independent tests on soil from the outbreak site in Surrey.

The Health and Safety Executive said on Friday it had received the results of the tests from the Pirbright laboratory site and would report back to ministers once the data had been analysed. Dr Reynolds told BBC News 24: "It is a crucial week for a combination of vigilance and planning ahead. "Vigilance for those people who keep animals looking for early signs of infection just in case there is some foot-and-mouth disease virus still there, but also planning ahead with a real sense of urgency." She said she wanted to see "a staged, risk-based, step-wise way forward for all concerned".

Woman's Death Marks Bali's First H5N1 Case
Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy -
13 Aug 2007
Area: Bali Indonesia

Indonesia's health ministry today announced that a 29-year-old woman from Bali died yesterday of H5N1 avian influenza, signaling the first human case on the popular tourist island, and that her 5-year-old daughter had died earlier of a similar illness. Lily Sulistyowati, head of Indonesia's national avian influenza control committee, said in a health ministry press release that the woman became ill Aug 3 with a fever and respiratory symptoms and was diagnosed about a week later with serious pneumonia. On Aug 10 she was hospitalized at Sanglah Hospital in the Bali capital of Denpasar with a high fever and breathing difficulties, and she died there 2 days later. Tests at the health ministry's lab and the Eijkman Institute in Jakarta confirmed that she had an H5N1 infection, the press release said.

If the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the woman's case, she will be listed as Indonesia's 103rd case-patient and its 82nd fatality. The woman is from Jembrana district, where avian flu is endemic in poultry, the health ministry reported. The district is in the northwestern part of the island, far from the major tourist areas, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported today. Ian Barr, deputy director of the WHO's Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, said travelers shouldn't panic about a human H5N1 case being confirmed on Bali, Australia's Sydney Morning Herald reported today. "Most of these cases occur in villages, not in downtown Kuta or Denpasar, so I'm not sure that travelers should be too concerned," he told the Herald.

Tularemia - Spain (Northern): Vole Reservoir - Archive Number 20070813.2646
ProMED Mail -
13 Aug 2007
Area: Spain

To the extent that burning destroys the voles' food sources, it may have some effect. However, burning fields does not directly kill many voles. Voles (of practically all species) typically burrow far enough underground that fast-burning grass fires and forest fires sweep right over them with no effect. They go into semi-hibernation to minimize their oxygen consumption and just wait the fire's out. Because of this, voles are usually the 1st mammals to reappear anywhere after a bad fire.

The West Nile Buzz
The Review -
14 Aug 2007
R Spiteri
Area: Canada

Though two dead crows tested positive for West Nile virus in North Tonawanda recently, health officials on this side of the Niagara River say they haven't seen anything similar. But they'll continue to be on alert in the coming weeks and months. "It is safe to say that (West Nile virus) is here to stay," said Andre Laflamme, manager of environmental health with the Niagara Region Public Health department. "It has been in Ontario since 2001, and every year we unfortunately have either birds, mosquitoes, humans or sometimes all three test positive for the virus."

West Nile is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause inflammation of the brain as well as flu-like illness. The virus is fostered in the mosquito and bird cycle and is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Since 2001, when public health began a surveillance and control program, there have been 24 human West Nile virus cases in Niagara, according to health department statistics. The virus has also been identified in the bird, mosquito and horse populations.

Mo. Sees Rise in Tick-borne Illness
The Wichita Eagle -
12 Aug 2007
Area: Missouri USA

Reported cases of tick-borne diseases have jumped this year in Missouri. Driven in large part by increased recognition from doctors and more houses built in old forests, the diseases are being reported at a rate far higher than the five-year average. For example, the state has received reports of 117 cases of ehrlichiosis, compared to the annual average of 40. It has also received reports of 186 cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, compared with the normal 64; 18 cases of tularemia, compared to 12; and 35 cases of Lyme disease instead of the normal 22.


Lyme Disease a Suburban Challenge

Whirling Disease Changed How Hatchery Raises Fish: Spring Water Now Flows through the Raceways


Functional Genomics Highlights Differential Induction of Antiviral Pathways in the Lungs of SARS-CoV–Infected Macaques [free full-text available]
PLoS Pathogens. 2007 Aug; 3(8): e112
A de Lang et al.

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