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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic; Now tracking the Wuhan Coronavirus COVID-19


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    Posted: November 01 2019 at 4:47pm

Bat Warning: Evidence of Cross-Species Virus Transmission From Bats to Humans
TOPICS:BatsDuke-NUS Medical SchoolInfectious DiseasesVirologyVirus

By Duke-NUS Medical School November 1, 2019

Bat in Cave

Infectious diseases spilling over from wildlife are not new as of 2008, approximately 70 percent of all known emerging diseases are thought to have originated from wild animals. In the last 50 years, several viruses, such as Ebola, Marburg, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Hendra, swine flu, and Nipah have appeared in areas with close human-animal contact. Tropical areas where hunted wildlife often supplements the locals meager diets such as in Africa, South and Southeast Asia are hotspots for pathogen spillovers. During such spillovers, viruses from hunted wild animals or bush meat infect humans and can lead to large scale outbreaks.

In Nagaland, bat-hunting is practiced by the Bomrr, who are a clan of the Longpfurii Yimchungii sub-tribe. According to their narratives, the Bomrrs have held a bat-harvesting festival in mid-October every year for at least seven generations.

During the harvesting, which usually lasts for two to three days, the Bomrr smoke out entire caves in which the bats roost, and the hunters are often scratched and bitten by bats trying to escape the smoky cave, exposing them to viruses shed by the bats, says Pilot Dovih, the studys lead author.

In this study, two species of bats, as well as humans engaged in hunting these bats, were found to have been exposed to viruses in the family Filoviridae, which includes Ebola and Marburg viruses. Although antibodies against two and three distinct filoviruses were found in the human and bat blood samples, respectively, no viral genetic material was detected in the samples. The pattern of reactivity of anti-filovirus antibodies carried by the humans were similar to those found in one bat species (Eonycteris spelaea), which makes these bats the most probable source of the viral spillover event.

Biodiversity, high human density, and changes in land use due to human activities make India a hotspot for emerging infectious diseases. That said, how do we scientifically study how spillovers happen? asks NCBS professor Uma Ramakrishnan, who is Dovihs mentor, and co-author of the study. Our results show that spillover events do not always result in outbreaks, she adds.

Bats are known to be natural reservoirs for several severe viral diseases, such as rabies, Marburg, and Nipah. However, these animals are an essential part of our ecosystem because they are major pest control, pollination, and seed dispersal agents, says Dr. Ian Mendenhall, Principal Research Scientist from Duke-NUS Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme, who is the senior author of the study. Dr. Mendenhall, who has studied animal reservoirs of infectious disease for the past 20 years, further adds, We want to make sure that our work does not result in demonization of bats and emphasizes protecting their natural habitats.

The team now plans to carry out additional investigations in another site in India where a similar harvesting event happens every year. Since such surveillance is expensive and time-consuming, the researchers are trying to develop more effective field and laboratory techniques for quick detection of viral spillovers. In addition, viral sequence data are also being investigated to understand the evolutionary history of these viruses, and their potential to cause outbreaks.

The team has also expanded their sampling range to better determine the geographic distribution of the bats and their viruses. By discovering and characterizing filoviruses across Southeast and South Asia, they hope to better understand why we have not (yet) witnessed a major bat-borne filovirus outbreak in this region.

The researchers published their findings in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases on October 31, 2019.

Reference: Filovirus-reactive antibodies in humans and bats in Northeast India imply zoonotic spillover by Pilot Dovih, Eric D. Laing, Yihui Chen, Dolyce H. W. Low, B. R. Ansil, Xinglou Yang, Zhengli Shi, Christopher C. Broder, Gavin J. D. Smith, Martin Linster, Uma Ramakrishnan and Ian H. Mendenhall, 31 October 2019, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0007733

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Format: Abstract

Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 Jan 17;26(1). doi: 10.3201/eid2601.191144. [Epub ahead of print]

Locally Acquired Human Infection with Swine-Origin Influenza A(H3N2) Variant Virus, Australia, 2018.

Deng YM, Wong FYK, Spirason N, Kaye M, Beazley R, Grau M, Shan S, Stevens V, Subbarao K, Sullivan S, Barr IG, Dhanasekaran V.

In 2018, a 15-year-old female adolescent in Australia was infected with swine influenza A(H3N2) variant virus. The virus contained hemagglutinin and neuraminidase genes derived from 1990s-like human seasonal viruses and internal protein genes from influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus, highlighting the potential risk that swine influenza A virus poses to human health in Australia.

Australia; H3N2v; Influenza virus; influenza; influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus; influenza surveillance; pH1N1; pandemic influenza; respiratory infections; swine influenza; viruses; zoonoses


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Eye Worms From Cows in California

News : World : Americas

Parasitic worms found in woman’s eye as scientists warn of ‘emerging’ disease

Patient remembers ‘swatting the flies from her face and spitting them out of her mouth’

    21 hours ago

'Thelazia gulosa' are typically found in cattle and carried by flies ( Richard S Bradbury et al/Clinical Infectious Diseases 2019 )

A parasitic worm typically found in cattle has been discovered in a woman’s eye in what scientists have warned may be an “emerging zoonotic disease” in the US.

The 68-year-old woman is the second human to have become infected by the parasite.

She was jogging on a trail near the coast in California in March 2018 when she ran around a corner into a swarm of flies, according to a case report in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The report said she remembered “swatting the flies from her face and spitting them out of her mouth”.

A month later, she experienced irritation in her right eye and when she flushed it out with tap water, she discovered a transparent roundworm around half an inch long, Live Science reported.

Air pollution linked to fertility issues in women

Inspecting her eye more closely, she found and removed a second worm.

The next day she visited an opthalmologist in Monterey, California, who removed a third parasite and sent it to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for identification.

Researchers there analysed the sample and identified it as a species of eye worm called Thelazia gulosa.

The parasitic worms are typically found in cattle and carried by certain types of flies.

Despite being prescribed an antibiotic ointment, she continued to feel irritation in both eyes.

Another doctor inspected her eyes but did not find any worms, instead diagnosing her with papillary conjunctivitis.

But she later found a fourth worm and after removing it, her conjunctivitis went away.

Only one other case of a human becoming infected by T gulosa has been reported before.

A 26-year-old woman from Oregon became infected in August 2016.

The second case within two years “suggest[s] this may represent an emerging zoonotic disease in the US,” the authors wrote, describing a disease that is transferred from animals to people.

Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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You are doing great, Techno! Keep it up!!
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Thank you!
Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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Vaccinia Virus Reported in Colombian Farm-Workers

Emerging Zoonotic Vaccinia Virus outbreak near Cundinamarca Department Colombia

November 16th, 2019 – According to a recent investigation, there is evidence for the possible emergence of vaccinia virus (VACV) in Columbia, South America.

This is important news since VACV, an orthopoxvirus used in the smallpox vaccine has caused previous human outbreaks in countries, such as Brazil.

This US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) early release report published on November 14, 2019, found VACV infections were identified among 31 percent of farmworkers tested in Colombia in 2014.

And, seropositivity was linked to a history of clinical symptoms in 13 percent of the study participants, suggesting a substantial disease burden.

he CDC said ‘without an identifiable reservoir, control efforts are limited to hygiene and isolation strategies. And, prior smallpox vaccination is not necessarily protective against VACV during outbreaks, likely because of waning immunity.

Another potential concern is the transmission of VACV through the milk of affected cows.

VACV is a member of the genus Orthopoxvirus within the family Poxviridae. Other notable viruses in this lineage include cowpox and monkeypox.

VACV is probably an emerging zoonosis in Colombia and poses a substantial health risk for the populations affected, namely, farm workers involved in the dairy industry.

In this investigation, the descriptions of VACV-like infections in this population revealed mostly localized, painful, cutaneous lesions affecting the hands, similar to other descriptions of bovine-related VACV infections.

More than half of the patients also reported accompanying systemic symptoms such as fever and malaise, and most of those affected required medical attention and time off work, indicating substantial economic ramifications.

In addition, two-thirds of the persons who were seropositive and reported a history of symptomatic lesions were ineligible to have received a smallpox vaccine, supporting the idea that unvaccinated persons are at greater risk for symptomatic disease.

More important, nearly one-third of participants who were seropositive would have been ineligible for smallpox vaccination, signifying an ongoing risk for population transmission.

After smallpox was eliminated from the world, routine vaccination against smallpox among the general public was stopped because it was no longer needed, says the CDC.

Smallpox eradication remains one of the most important achievements in science and public health and, during that time, many different VACV strains were used as vaccines around the world.

Consequently, its escape to the field is a plausible event.

However, because of concern that variola virus might be used inappropriately, the U.S. government has stockpiled enough smallpox vaccine to vaccinate everyone who would need it, if a smallpox outbreak were to occur.

The CDC says you should get the smallpox vaccine if you are a lab worker who works with a virus that causes smallpox or other viruses that are similar to it.

People who are being vaccinated for the first time have a stronger reaction than those who are being revaccinated.
Smallpox vaccine news

    November 14, 2019 – A Denmark based vaccine company announced the results from the pivotal Phase 3 efficacy trial of its smallpox vaccine, Jynneos™ (MVA-BN®), which has been peer-reviewed and published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Importantly, a single dose of MVA-BN induced neutralizing antibody titers comparable with ACAM2000 on Day 14, indicating the potential for use of the vaccine to protect the general population.
    September 3, 2019 – Emergent BioSolutions Inc. announced the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded an agreement valued at approximately $2 billion dollars over 10 years for the continued supply of ACAM2000, a smallpox vaccine.

The city of Medina was the center of the VACV investigation. Medina is located in the department of Cundinamarca, a central region of the Andes Mountains in South America.

Therefore, living in Medina would be expected to be associated with seropositivity.

However, because our investigation was geographically centered on Medina, very few participants resided outside this municipality.

A more extensive investigation of other dairy-producing areas in the country might reveal differing results. VACV has been detected in unpasteurized dairy products, but the effect of such contamination on VACV transmission is unknown.

The findings of this investigation are similar to results from studies carried out in Brazil that found a positive correlation between age and seropositivity, although the effect of prior smallpox immunization could not be ruled out.

This outbreak investigation reveals that VACV is likely to become an increasingly important zoonosis in this part of the world, concluded these researchers.

Dr. Rene Styczynski is an infectious disease fellow at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, USA. Her primary research interests include global infectious disease epidemiology and emerging infections.

These researchers did not disclose any relevant financial relationships.

Vaccinia virus news published by Vax-Before-Travel

Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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Aspergillus felis in Patient with Chronic Granulomatous Disease

Cite This Article

We report a case of Aspergillus felis infection in a patient with chronic granulomatous disease who had overlapping features of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. Identifying the species responsible for aspergillosis by molecular methods can be crucial for directing patient management and selection of appropriate antifungal agents.

A 42-year-old man with X-linked chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) sought care at a hospital in Paris, France, for a 2-week history of cough and night sweats. He had been receiving long-term prophylaxis with itraconazole (400 mg/d) and had normal trough levels (1,240 μg/L) 1 month before his hospital visit.

At admission, blood counts showed mild leukocytosis (leukocytes 9.6 × 109 cells/L, reference range 4–10 × 109 cells/L), with neutrophils at 6.1 × 109 cells/L (reference range 1.5–7 × 109 cells/L) and eosinophils at 2 × 109 cells/L (reference <0.5 × 109 cells/L). Computed tomography (CT) revealed an upper left lobe consolidation (Appendix Figure). We administered broad-spectrum antimicrobial drugs (2 g meropenem 3×/d and 20 mg/kg/d amikacin). Results of bacterial and mycological cultures from sputum were negative, as was serum galactomannan.

The patient’s condition did not improve, so we administered liposomal amphotericin B (5 mg/kg/d) and caspofungin (70 mg/d loading dose followed by 50 mg/d). Bronchoalveolar lavage demonstrated hypercellularity (1.22 × 106 cells/mL); manual differential showed 12% macrophages and 76% eosinophils. Results of bacterial, mycological, and mycobacterial cultures were negative. Pathology studies from a transbronchial biopsy revealed numerous eosinophilic granulomas alongside Charcot-Leyden crystals (Appendix Figure). Grocott methenamine silver staining revealed rare septated filamentous hyphae, but results of mycological cultures were negative. The patient had elevated total serum IgE (1,210 IU/mL, reference <114 IU/mL), elevated serum A. fumigatus IgE (7 IU/mL, reference <0.1 IU/mL) and A. fumigatus IgG (54 IU/mL, reference <5 IU/mL), and precipitating antibodies to A. fumigatus (2 arcs of precipitation in immunoelectrophoresis). Results of parasitologic examination of fecal samples and serologic testing for alternative causes of eosinophilia were negative.

Eosinophilia persisted (1.8–2 × 109 cells/L) despite antiparasitic treatment with ivermectin (5 mg/kg/d at days 1 and 7) and albendazole (400 mg/d for 7 d). Pathology findings from a transthoracic percutaneous biopsy revealed granulomas with Grocott-positive septated hyphae. Result of an Aspergillus section Fumigati PCR on a biopsy specimen were positive, and mycological cultures yielded a mold morphologically identified as Aspergillus. After 5 weeks of liposomal amphotericin B therapy (including 2 weeks of combination therapy with caspofungin), we switched treatment to oral voriconazole (loading dose of 400 mg 2×/d, followed by 200 mg 2×/d). Normalization of eosinophilia occurred at 6 weeks.

We sent mycological cultures from the biopsy specimens to the French National Center for Invasive Mycoses and Antifungals (Paris). Molecular identification based on the partial sequence of the internal transcribed spacer 2, 5.8S ribosomal RNA gene, and internal transcribed spacer 2 (525/526 bp; 99% similarity to the type strain, CBS 130245; GenBank accession no. KF558318.1) and the β-tubulin target gene enabled the identification of Aspergillus felis (109/109 bp; 100% similarity to the type strain, CBS DTO_131-E3 β-tubulin [benA] gene, partial cds; GenBank accession no. KY808576.1). The European Committee for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) MICs with broth microdilution methods (1) were 4 μg/L for voriconazole, 4 μg/L for itraconazole, 0.25 μg/L for posaconazole, 2 μg/L for caspofungin, and 4 μg/L for amphotericin B. Based on EUCAST MIC breakpoints for A. fumigatus (2), we switched treatment to oral posaconazole (loading dose of 300 mg 2×/d, followed by 300 mg/d). Chest CT performed 12 months after treatment initiation showed noticeable improvement of pulmonary lesions.

Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) remains a leading cause of death during CGD and IPA typically manifests as subacute pneumonia, with little or no angioinvasion (3). This patient had pulmonary infection caused by A. felis with overlapping features of IPA and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) (4). Sensitization to Aspergillus spp. in patients with CGD (5) and tissue eosinophilia in lung pathology studies during invasive fungal infections (6) have been reported but do not seem to be common features of IPA in patients with CGD (3,7). There was some uncertainty about whether A. felis was responsible for this overlapping phenotype between IPA and ABPA (Table).

A. felis is a member of the A. viridinutans complex, a group of cryptic species belonging to Aspergillus section Fumigati (8). Such fumigati-mimetic molds are increasingly being recognized as sporadic causes of IPA (9). A. felis has been reported as a cause of sino-orbital aspergillosis in cats, but less frequently in humans (8). In one such case of IPA, and in the few reported cases in patients with CGD of IPA caused by the closely related A. pseudoviridinutans and A. udagawae, the course of infection was more protracted than for A. fumigatus infections, and dissemination occurred in a contiguous manner (10). Nonfumigatus Aspergillus spp. exhibit decreased in vitro susceptibility to commonly used antifungal drugs. Most previously reported antifungal susceptibilities from A. felis isolates showed high MICs for voriconazole and itraconazole but lower MICs for posaconazole (8).

Because isolates may be misidentified as A. fumigatus, culture-based morphological identification of invasive fungal infections in CGD may sometimes be insufficient. In cases of breakthrough fungal infections, or when faced with an atypical or refractory course of infection, identification of the fungus at a species level by molecular methods appears to be critical to guiding proper patient management.

Dr. Paccoud is an infectious diseases resident at Necker Hospital, Paris, France. His primary interests include care for immunocompromised patients, fungal infections, and infectious disease epidemiology.

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Monkey infects scientist with deadly herpes B virus in a Japanese laboratory in countrys first human case of the extremely rare brain-damaging infection

    The patient is now in a critical condition after having headaches and a fever
    They worked in research for an unidentified pharmaceutical company
    Primates, like macaque monkeys, carry the virus mostly with no symptoms
    Only 50 cases have occurred in humans, causing 21 deaths

By Vanessa Chalmers Health Reporter For Mailonline

Published: 16:35, 29 November 2019 | Updated: 16:53, 29 November 2019

A monkey has infected a lab worker in Japan with the deadly herpes B virus, officials say.

The scientist has not been named but is reportedly in a critical condition after suffering headaches and a fever.

They are an employee of an unidentified pharmaceutical company who use macaque monkeys to conduct research.

The virus is harmless to primates but nearly always fatal to humans if untreated, causing inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

It's the first time a human case has been reported in Japan, and worldwide just 50 cases have occurred in 88 years.

Most of these people got infected after they were bitten or scratched by a monkey. In 1997, a researcher died from B virus infection after bodily fluid from an infected monkey splashed into her eye.

Officials in Kagoshima City, western Japan, said the patient was working at a local company involved in the research and development of drugs.

The employee reportedly assisted in studies involving monkeys, according to NHK Japan.

The person visited a hospital complaining of a headache and fever. Other symptoms of the virus include shortness of breath, poor co-ordination and flu-like aches.

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases confirmed earlier this month that the patient contracted the B virus and is in critical condition.

There is no record of the employee being bitten by a monkey, and it remains unknown how the infection occurred.

Health ministry officials and local authorities said they found no problems with the management and control of the research lab.

Of the 50 people infected with herpes B since 1932, 21 of them have died, according to The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC says the risk of human infection is extremely low even if they are bitten or scratched by wild monkeys.

The last death was Elizabeth Griffin, 22, in 1997. She was working as primate researcher at Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia, when a rhesus monkey flicked a bodily fluid in her eye.

Ten days later, her eye was inflamed. And then six weeks after that, she died of herpes B virus complications which paralysed her body.

Brian Lee, 60, is one of the few people in the world living with herpes B virus - which he says has been a 'nightmare' for ten years.

Mr Lee, of San Antonio, Texas, was struck down with it while working at Texas Biomedical Research Institute, where 2,500 primates are tested for research into diseases such as AIDS.

His job was to clean enclosures and feed monkeys. Every day he layered up in a protective bodysuit and glasses to protect him from splashes and bites.

But in the summer of 2008, water splashed in his eye when he was spraying down a cage. He was also cut by a shard of plastic that tore his bodysuit.

Last year, the grandfather-of-four revealed his face and body is turning numb, but doctors are unable to understand why.

He said: 'It is scary because I don't know what the future holds for me.

'Even with the antiviral therapy, most patients die of the encephalomyelitis or complications of the virus.

'I feel like I'm alone dealing with this because I can't talk to anybody else who has it.'

There has been only one reported case of human to human infection.



Herpes B virus kills around 70 per cent of sufferers unless they are treated immediately.

It is spread via macaque monkeys.

Macaques that are housed in primate facilities usually become infected by adulthood but often have no symptoms.

Infection in humans is extremely rare.

Since the virus was discovered in 1932, there have been 50 documented human cases, of which 21 were fatal.

Most of these infections resulted from animal bites or scratches, or from contaminated materials, such as a needle, entering broken skin.

However, a scientist died in 1997 after being splashed in the eye with an infected animal's bodily fluid.

Vets and lab workers are most at risk.

The herpes B virus can survive for hours on objects, particularly if they are moist.

Disease onset usually occurs within a month of virus exposure but can be as little as three days.

Symptoms include:

    Blisters at the site of exposure
    Pain, numbness or itching at the site
    Flu-like aches and pains
    Fever and chills
    Headaches that last more than a day
    Poor co-ordination
    Shortness of breath

If the virus is not treated immediately and therefore enters the central nervous system, most patients die even with treatment.

The most common cause of death is respiratory failure with paralysis, which starts in the lower limbs and moves up.

The few who survive often have lasting brain damage.

If a person suspects they may be infected, preventative anti-viral therapy may be required up to five times a day for two weeks.

Treatment depends on whether the central nervous system is thought to be affected but usually involves anti-viral drugs given intravenously twice-a-day.

There is no vaccine for herpes B.

Those who work with macque monkeys should wear proper protective clothing, including gloves and a face shield.

The animals should also be handled humanely to reduce the risk of bites and scratches.

Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention
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Could relatives of measles virus jump from animals to us?

By Jonathan Ball University of Nottingham

8 hours ago

We've seen recent spikes in measles infections.

Some European countries, including the UK, lost their measles-free status and many developing countries, especially parts of Africa, Asia and Oceania are seeing frequent outbreaks.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is experiencing a protracted outbreak of over a quarter of a million cases and more than 5,000 deaths, mainly in children under-five.

And the reason for this measles upturn?

Declining uptake of measles vaccination. You need to immunise over 90% of a population to protect it from measles outbreaks. In DRC immunisation rates are less than 60%.

Killer virus destroyed by UK lab

And there's a potential hidden danger of poor vaccine coverage.

Measles belongs to a group of highly related viruses called morbilliviruses, which can be found in various mammals, and these are adept at jumping from one host species to another.

The common ancestor of measles virus is thought to have been a virus circulating in cattle which, according to Louise Cosby, emeritus, honorary professor at the Wellcome Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, "probably jumped into humans when cattle were domesticated thousands of years ago".

"There are also historical records which suggest that canine distemper virus - or CDV - might have arisen from human measles in the Americas, following one or more human-to-dog spill-overs during extensive measles outbreaks in indigenous people, who were exposed to the virus for the first time when they came into contact with European explorers," she explained.

A cross-species spill-over is the transmission of a pathogen from one vertebrate species to another.
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption There might be another potential hidden danger of poor vaccine coverage
Deadly to dogs

As CDV has spread around the world, there are many examples of it hopping into other species including seals, cats and even monkeys - often with devastating effects.

In the 1980s, this virus wiped out the last wild population of black-footed ferrets and is even putting some endangered big cat species in peril.

To be able to flit from one species to another, a virus often has to adapt in order to use the new host cell machinery.

We call these potential host-blocks to virus infection the species barrier.

The first barrier a virus must overcome is cell attachment and entry. According to Dr Dalan Bailey, a virologist based at the Pirbright Institute, what makes morbilliviruses so adept at cross-species transmission is that the proteins it commandeers to do this are very similar across different mammalian species, so the species barrier is low.

And this could pose a potential future risk to human health

"We've definitely got evidence that non-human morbilliviruses can easily adapt to enter human cells, and we're confident that it can replicate in them too," Dr Bailey said.

It takes just two simple mutations in one of CDV's surface proteins to allow it to infect human cells.
A threat to humans

So, what's stopping animal morbilliviruses cropping up in humans?

"A major factor is likely to be pre-existing immunity, where natural infection or vaccination against measles provides a pool of antibodies, some of which cross-react and prevent infection by non-human morbilliviruses", explained Dr Bailey.

But, as vaccination rates fall, we will continue to see major outbreaks of measles, and this will give other morbilliviruses, like CDV, the chance to explore a new human host.

Currently, there is no evidence of human infection by CDV or any of its close non-human virus relatives, but we cannot discount the possibility, as Dr Katrina Lythgoe, from the Big Data Institute at the University of Oxford explained.

"You might have a sub-population of individuals where there's been no recent measles outbreaks and low vaccination coverage, and therefore low measles immunity. And it's in these people where you might see possible localised outbreaks," she said.

"We know spill-overs can happen - measles was one after all - but whether we could get human-to-human chains of transmission is difficult to say."

Often a virus must mutate for successful cross-species transmission. And whilst declining vaccination rates might not provide enough scope for a non-human morbillivirus to adapt and outcompete measles, there is one scenario where emergence might just be possible - The World Health Organization'sWHO plans for measles eradication.
Media captionInside the lab where they study the world's most deadly diseases

If we successfully eradicate measles through vaccination, there will be a temptation to stop immunisation, and herd immunity to measles - and therefore other morbilliviruses - will decline.

Prof Brian Willett, who studies morbilliviruses at the University of Glasgow agrees that it's this scenario, rather than falling vaccination rates, that could provide CDV with the opportunity to infect humans. But only if the conditions are right.

"Will it start in the UK? Well no, because most dogs are vaccinated and there's very little CDV. It would have to be in a country where dogs or other animals can develop CDV, for example in the US where there are outbreaks in raccoons, skunks and grey foxes which could spread into local dog populations," Prof Willett explained.

"A lot of things would have to fall into place. Removing measles immunity from the human population, an animal population that is shedding CDV and then the two coming together.

"So, if you remove measles immunity from a country where morbilliviruses such as CDV are endemic, then it's only a matter of time before you start to see evidence of humans being exposed. Whether the virus would then adapt to the new host remains to be seen", he said
Bovine clues

The researchers that I have spoken to are quick to highlight what happened in cattle when rinderpest vaccination stopped following its eradication.

"The net effect of rinderpest eradication was that there was no herd immunity to morbillivirus in cattle worldwide," said Dr Bailey.

"And what we are seeing now in the field is compelling evidence of infection by a morbillivirus called PPRV".

PPRV - or Peste des Petits Ruminants virus to give it its full name - circulates widely in relatively small animals such as sheep and goats.
Image copyright FAO
Image caption Rinderpest devastated cattle in Africa during the 1890s. Millions of people died from starvation.

The amount of infection that cattle are now experiencing is immense. "In Pakistan they're seeing seroprevalence of up to 17%, in Sudan they've seen 42% and I've spoken to people working in Tanzania and from the DRC and they're all seeing this high seropositivity," said Dr Bailey.

In sheep, goats and even antelope, PPRV can be devastating. So far there is no evidence that it causes any disease in cattle.

There's one obvious lesson from rinderpest eradication - that declining measles immunity will mean humans are susceptible to other morbilliviruses.

Of course, we can't predict which, or even if, a virus would emerge. But reported infections in monkeys makes CDV a prime candidate.

How it might behave if it does make the switch to humans is difficult to predict.

"Although measles infection can have devastating complications, this is rarer compared to CDV and some of the other morbilliviruses which normally produce severe disease in their natural hosts," said Prof Cosby.

"CDV is very virulent and normally will infect the brain in the later stages of the disease, whereas with measles this is a rare, but really dangerous event."

"This is not the only cause of death, as all morbilliviruses, including CDV, cause immune suppression in their host, which can lead to secondary bacterial infections, giving rise particularly to pneumonia and in some cases diarrhoea. So, CDV is a pretty nasty disease," she said.
Monkey deaths

Prof Cosby added: "Compared to measles, when you look at how CDV and the other morbilliviruses behave in the host, they're really devastating."

We can't tell what CDV would do to humans, but the fact that in some of the monkey outbreaks, many of the animals died should give us some cause for concern.

If we do ever reach the point of having a measles-free world, then we'll have to think very carefully about how best to stop its relatives hopping on board.

Some think that continued use of the measles vaccine might be sufficient to protect against a possible jump into humans by CDV, but Prof Cosby isn't as convinced:

"Although measles antibodies cross-react with CDV, they're not a perfect match; whilst measles vaccine helps to protect against CDV disease in non-human primates it does not totally stop virus being released from these animals.

"So, we may need to use a more CDV-specific vaccine to prevent any potential spread of CDV in the human population".

Of course, the most pressing consideration is not what might happen if we do eradicate measles, but how we can rise to the challenge of making this happen.

It will require better global access to the measles vaccine and many more people willing to take it.

Until then, measles will hang on to its deadly human morbillivirus billing.


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January 2, 2020
Summary: The European Union One Health 2018 Zoonoses Report

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control released their joint annual report—The European Union One Health 2018 Zoonoses Report—on trends and sources of zoonoses last month. Their research found that, in 2018, nearly a third of foodborne outbreaks in the EU were caused by Salmonella.

Here, a foodborne disease outbreak is categorized as an incident during which at least two people contract the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink. In 2018, the EU reported a total of 5,146 foodborne outbreaks that sickened 48,365 people.

Out of 1,581 Salmonella outbreaks reported, roughly two-thirds of them occurred in Slovakia, Spain, and Poland. These outbreaks were mainly linked to eggs.

The most commonly reported gastrointestinal infections in humans in the EU were campylobacteriosis (246,571 cases reported), followed by salmonellosis (91,857 cases reported), Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) (8,161 cases reported), and listeriosis (2,549 cases reported). The number of STEC cases represents a 37 percent increase compared to 2017, but researchers believe this may be partly due to new laboratory testing technologies that make detection of sporadic cases easier.

Researchers also note that while the number of listeriosis cases didn’t change much since 2017, the trend has been upward over the past decade.

Also, of the zoonotic diseases covered by the report, listeriosis accounts for the highest proportion of hospitalized cases (97 percent) and highest number of deaths (229), making it one of the most serious foodborne diseases.

“Findings from our latest Eurobarometer show that less than one-third of European citizens rank food poisoning from bacteria among their top five concerns when it comes to food safety. The number of reported outbreaks suggests that there’s room for raising awareness among consumers as many foodborne illnesses are preventable by improving hygiene measures when handling and preparing food,” says EFSA’s chief scientist Marta Hugas.


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Systems Analysis by CDC in Relation to Monkeypox Outbreak

Volume 26, Number 2—February 2020 peer reviewed article preview

Use of Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System for Human Monkeypox Outbreak, Nigeria, 2017–2019

Bernard C. Silenou, Daniel Tom-Aba, Olawunmi Adeoye, Chinedu C. Arinze, Ferdinand Oyiri, Anthony K. Suleman, Adesola Yinka-Ogunleye, Juliane Dörrbecker, Chikwe Ihekweazu, and Gérard KrauseComments to Author
Author affiliations: Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany (B.C. Silenou, D. Tom-Aba, J. Dörrbecker, G. Krause); PhD Programme “Epidemiology,” Braunschweig-Hannover, Germany (B.C. Silenou, D. Tom-Aba); Nigeria Center for Disease Control, Abuja, Nigeria (O. Adeoye, C.C. Arinze, F. Oyiri, A.K. Suleman, A. Yinka-Ogunleye, C. Ihekweazu); German Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig (G. Krause)

Suggested citation for this article


In November 2017, the mobile digital Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System was deployed in 30 districts in Nigeria in response to an outbreak of monkeypox. Adaptation and activation of the system took 14 days, and its use improved timeliness, completeness, and overall capacity of the response.

Human monkeypox is a severe and rare smallpox-like illness that occurs sporadically in remote villages in the tropical rain forest of West and Central Africa (1,2). The causative agent, monkeypox virus, is transmitted by animal-to-human and human-to-human contact (3,4). In September 2017, an outbreak of monkeypox occurred in Nigeria after 40 years of no reported cases in the country. As of October 2017, local health departments in Nigeria had reported 89 cases and 294 contact persons (5,6).

Early in the outbreak, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) used a conventional surveillance system for the outbreak investigation. That system consisted of paper-based forms transferred manually to databases within the framework of the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response system (7). As the outbreak expanded, NCDC faced challenges because of information delay and difficulties with updating and verifying case data, integrating laboratory tests, and managing contact tracing in the conventional system. In October 2017, NCDC decided to implement the Surveillance, Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System (SORMAS) on an ad hoc basis; an earlier prototype of this system had been successfully piloted in Nigeria in 2015 (8). SORMAS is an open-source mHealth (mobile health) system that organizes and facilitates infectious disease control and outbreak management procedures in addition to disease surveillance and epidemiologic analysis for all administrative levels of a public health system (9–11). SORMAS includes specific interfaces for 12 users (e.g., laboratorian, contact tracing officer, epidemiologist), disease-specific process modules for 12 epidemic-prone diseases, and a customizable process module for unforeseen emerging diseases; it adheres to the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response system. Most users operate SORMAS on mobile digital devices (e.g., smartphone, tablet), bidirectionally synchronized with a central server via mobile telecommunication networks.

We compared SORMAS performance with that of the conventional surveillance system. Here we describe how we adapted and deployed SORMAS, discuss challenges encountered during implementation, and provide recommendations for deployment of similar mHealth tools.

The Study

In the second week of October 2017, we held a 2-day design thinking workshop with clinicians, epidemiologists, and virologists, in which all specific procedures for surveillance and response were defined in accordance with guidelines from the World Health Organization (12). Within 10 days, we translated the findings of the workshop into process models and programmed them into the existing SORMAS. A 2-day field test guided final programming revisions, which took another 2 days before the new module was released. In total, it took 14 days from initial decision to adapt and use SORMAS until its deployment.

In November 2017, we trained the laboratory officers and district surveillance notification officers (DSNOs) in 30 of the most affected local government areas of 8 federal states (Appendix); each training session lasted 2 days. DSNOs used the mobile SORMAS version on mobile tablets to notify cases and conduct contact tracing; laboratories used either laptops or tablets to notify test results in SORMAS. We trained staff at the incident command center of the NCDC how to process and analyze data within SORMAS. The incident command center also transferred data into SORMAS received through the conventional system from local government areas not yet using SORMAS. The conventional system frequently involved recontacting DSNOs by phone to correct or update case reports. The dashboard and statistics module in SORMAS generated the epidemiologic indicators needed for weekly situation reports. We used the network package in R software for visualization and follow-up on chains of transmission (13). We conducted qualitative interviews with the NCDC incident managers of the monkeypox outbreak with regard to timeliness, usefulness, and workload of the conventional system compared with SORMAS. For quantitative evaluation, we used a set of core variables to compare the percentage of completeness in SORMAS versus that of the conventional system.

population. The incidence proportion...

Yinka-Ogunleye et al. describe the epidemiologic characteristics of the outbreak in detail (14). From September 2017 through July 2019, including the period when SORMAS was not yet available, DSNOs reported 240 cases, either directly digitally in the field via SORMAS (n = 90) or via the conventional system (n = 150). Comparison of system attributes between SORMAS and the conventional system indicated equal or better performance of SORMAS for all attributes (Tables 1, 2). SORMAS continuously displayed the updated status of cases by case classification, epidemic curve, map of spatial distribution, contact persons, fatalities, and laboratory results, and it reported events in its dashboard within the incident command center (Figure 1). The dashboard also included performance indicators on contact tracing and case follow-up. The network diagrams linking case-patients to contact persons demonstrate that, of 167 contact persons, 12 (7%) converted to case-patients, of which 8 (66%) emerged from 1 chain of transmission


In this comparison, SORMAS clearly outperformed the conventional surveillance system. SORMAS accelerated visualization and analysis of case reports; expedited data updates and production of daily situation reports; and improved data completeness, timeliness, and several aspects of usefulness. The automated generation of chains of transmission enabled NCDC to assess overall transmissibility and effectiveness of contact tracing and helped with allocation of field staff during the outbreak.

The comparison of data completeness between SORMAS and the conventional system was limited by availability of data from the conventional system only after the incident command center had already executed data revisions and completions. Without this resource-intensive measure, the difference between SORMAS and the conventional system would have been more pronounced.

We also encountered challenges during the deployment phase. The ad hoc deployment of this new digital system in the midst of the outbreak allowed only 2 days of training for DSNOs to become acquainted with the tool. It also resulted in running 2 systems in parallel. Because the SORMAS concept integrates continuous surveillance and response management but has not yet been used routinely, its full potential could not come into play as the outbreak unrolled in this particular situation. Other challenges included the complaint of DSNOs not receiving compensation for transportation to execute follow-up visits for contact tracing, which could result in incomplete information about chains of transmissions. This challenge, however, is not inherent to the conventional system or SORMAS, and SORMAS may have mitigated this challenge, given that it did produce chains of transmission that were not available by the conventional system.

Our evaluation was limited to selected attributes and based partly on quantitative analyses. Possibly the most convincing evidence for the added benefit of SORMAS was the ability of NCDC, while still responding to the monkeypox outbreak, to deploy SORMAS in 120 more local government areas of 6 federal states within 2 months. On the basis of the added value experienced through this measure, NCDC has set a goal to fully roll out SORMAS in all 774 local government areas of all 36 federal states plus the Federal Capital Territory in Nigeria by the end of 2021.

Overall, SORMAS has proven to be rapidly deployable and useful in response to multiple outbreaks, including an outbreak of an emerging disease such as monkeypox. For tools that integrate outbreak detection and response process management (such as SORMAS), we recommend their deployment independently from any response to an acute public health emergency to optimize efficiency of resources for software adaptation, hardware infrastructure, and training. Such a proactive approach will improve not only outbreak response but also early detection of outbreaks, thus further enhancing sustainability.

Mr. Silenou is working toward a PhD degree at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research and the Hannover Medical School in Germany. His primary research interests are investigation of the climatic factors that drive infectious diseases outbreaks in Africa and research and development of digital surveillance systems.

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German Shrews Carry Deadly Virus - Official!

Deadly brain-destroying virus lurking in SHREWS has killed at least 14 people across Europe since 1999 and gone unnoticed for DECADES

    The Borna disease virus is found in bi-coloured shrews in Germany and Austria
    The illness can cause encephalitis, a brain infection, in humans
    Scientists found eight out of 56 encephalitis cases in which Borna was present
    Experts now say there needs to be more detailed testing to reveal the true scale

By Sam Blanchard Senior Health Reporter For Mailonline

Published: 23:30, 7 January 2020 | Updated: 09:37, 8 January 2020

A deadly disease spread by shrews has been killing humans for decades and going unnoticed, according to scientists.

Doctors say at least 14 patients in Germany have died from encephalitis caused by Borna disease virus 1.

But it is feared the total could be much higher, given the shrews that carry the bug are found in Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Experts are now calling for more research into the spread of the virus, to work out if it really is behind even more unexplained human deaths.

Encephalitis makes the brain swell up and can cause a fever, headache, vomiting, seizures, limb weakness and loss of consciousness.

Experts at Regensburg University Hospital in Germany studied the medical records of 56 people who died between 1999 and 2019.

The group all had encephalitis and lived in in the south of Germany, where the Borna disease-carrying bi-coloured white-toothed shrews roam naturally.

Eight of them were found to have Borna disease virus 1, bringing the confirmed total of human cases to 14.

Six older cases of Borna virus were not dated but were diagnosed in the same region and only one of them recovered.

The eight new patients all died within two months of being diagnosed with encephalitis, which affects around 6,000 people each year in the UK and 25,000 in the US.

Their illnesses tended to begin with a fever, headache and confusion, and progress to unsteady walking, memory loss, seizures, deep coma and eventually death.

The others had encephalitis which stemmed from other causes – viruses such as herpes, measles, mumps and rubella may also cause the deadly brain illness.

Professor Barbara Schmidt, one of the researchers, said: 'Our findings indicate Borna disease virus infection has to be considered a severe and potentially lethal human disease transmitted from a wildlife reservoir.

'However, it’s not a newly-emerging disease, but one that appears to have occurred unnoticed in humans for at least decades.'

She added it 'may have caused other unexplained cases of encephalitis in regions where the virus is endemic in the host shrew populations'.

'Our tests bring the total number of reported cases of human Borna disease virus in southern Germany to at least 14,' said Professor Martin Beer, one of the authors.

'So it is still relatively rare in absolute numbers, but it might be behind a larger proportion of unexplained severe to fatal encephalitis cases.

'Only more tests on patients with severe or even deadly encephalitis will find this out.'

He added that 'earlier detection might be possible using serum and cerebrospinal fluid samples from living patients'.

Although the effects of Borna disease on humans are not well documented, it can cause similar symptoms and also anxiety, mania, psychosis and depression, according to scientists.

The study does not mention any deaths in Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, where the white-toothed shrews are also found.

The researchers suggest the virus may travel to humans through pet cats.

In at least seven of the 14 deaths, the patients had had close contact with pet cats – the scientists suggest cats may bring infected cats into the home after hunting them.

They also said living in rural areas, agricultural work or outdoor activities appeared to be common to the patients who had died.

The same virus is also found in sheep and horses, but all cases of the disease can be traced back to shrews, which are its natural host.

Most of the patients reported contact with cats, whereas only one said they had been near horses.

The research was published in the medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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10 Deadly Diseases That Hopped Across Species

By Robert Roy Britt February 23, 2011

acteria and viruses that are deadly to one type of creature can evolve quickly to infect another. While the swine flu outbreak is the latest example, a host of infectious and deadly diseases have hopped from animals to humans and from humans to animals.

The cross-species infection can originate on farms or markets, where conditions foster mixing of pathogens, giving them opportunities to swap genes and gear up to kill previously foreign hosts (i.e. you). Or the transfer can occur from such seemingly benign activities as letting a performance monkey on some Indonesian street corner climb on your head. Microbes of two varieties can even gather in your gut, do some viral dancing, and evolve to morph you into a deadly, contagious host.

Diseases passed from animals to humans are called zoonoses. There are more than three dozen we can catch directly through touch and more than four dozen that result from bites.

But disease-carrying parasites are not picky about hosts. Human diseases can decimate animal populations, too, from such well-meaning activities as ecotourism.

Influenza pandemics

The swine flu outbreaks cropping up in several countries now are nothing — so far — compared to historical flu outbreaks. But with more people on the planet, and more of them huddled in cities and more of them traveling so easily, the potential for pandemic is not lost on health officials.

Flu history is frightening: The 1918 influenza pandemic swept the world within months, killing an estimated 50 million people — more than any other illness in recorded history for the short time frame involved.

One-fifth of the world's population was infected, and it struck more than 25 percent of U.S. residents. Unlike some flu strains that mainly kill the elderly, children, and those with compromised immune systems, the 1918 strain hit young adults hard. In one year, the average life expectancy in the United States dropped by 12 years.

Today, governments are more prepared, scientifically and logistically, to handle flu outbreaks. Still, there is no vaccine for swine flu, and it could take months, or more, to develop one.

Bubonic plague

Nothing beats the 14-century Black Death (also called Bubonic Plague) for sheer global impact of a single disease outbreak and bringing civilization to its knees. It is the epitome of plague. Corpses piled in the streets from Europe to Egypt and across Asia. Some 75 million died — at a time when there were only about 360 million to start with. Death came in a matter of days, and it was excruciatingly painful.

Plague is a bacterial disease caused by Yersinia pestis. It is carried by rodents and even cats, but becomes most deadly to us when transmitted between people, as became the case in the 1300s. Symptoms include fever, chills, weakness, and swollen and painful lymph nodes. Even today, if not treated, death ensues.

The plague of the 14th-century resulted after the rare bacteria had been dormant for centuries in Asia's Gobi desert. After awaking in the 1320s, it piggybacked along trade routes from China, through the rest of Asia and eventually to Italy in 1347, then later to Russia.

It took centuries for some societies to recover, as some of the survivors mistrusted local authorities and in some cases even God, under whose wrath they presumably had suffered.

Diseases that bite

A range of zoonotic diseases — thought to be on the rise — are caused by animal bites that kill hundreds of thousands of people every year. Mosquitoes lead the way: Malaria infects 350 million or more people every year, and more than 1 million die, most of them young children in Africa south of the Sahara. Mosquito-borne dengue fever infects some 50 million people annually; about 500,000 are hospitalized and about 2.5 percent of those die.

The problem is growing, with insect-borne disease outbreaks becoming more common and more virulent, and epidemics having spread to the Americas. Scientists say the warming climate will only make matters worse.

Illustrating our illness connection to animals and especially pets, rabies kills about 55,000 people globally each year, mostly in Asia and Africa. Most deaths follow a bite from an infected pet dog, though wild animals can carry rabies too. And an estimated 16 million or more people from Mexico to Argentina are affected by Chagas disease, a chronic, frequently fatal infection transmitted by the feces of blood-feeding bugs called triatomines (commonly called "kissing bugs"). Chagas is often spread by dogs or even chickens that are kept indoors at night, giving the bugs access to the people.

You don't even have to be bitten by bugs or animals to get some deadly diseases from them. Hantavirus is carried mostly by deer mice. You can catch it by breathing dust contaminated with mouse droppings. Lack of appetite, fever, vomiting and muscle aches characterize Phase 1. Phase 1? Yep. Just when you start to feel better, you may get a stiff neck, another fever, confusion and have trouble moving. It is incurable, but most people recover. About 1 percent die.


HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, originated from chimps and other primates and is thought to have first infected humans at least a century ago. It destroys the immune system, opening the door to a host of deadly infections or cancers. Example: Tuberculosis (TB) kills nearly a quarter of a million people living with HIV each year.

At the end of 2007, an estimated 33 million people had HIV, including about 2.7 million new cases for the year, and about 2 million died (including 270,000 children) during the year. Two-thirds of HIV infections are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Recently, researchers found that HIV was in the United States as early as 1969, much earlier than had been thought.

Insane mind parasite

The bizarre parasite Toxoplasma gondii infects the brains of more than half the human population, including about 50 million Americans. It is thought increase the risk of neuroticism and may contribute to schizophrenia.

However, its primary host is house cats, in which the microbe reproduces sexually. Cats left to roam are more prone to picking it up. You can get it from cat feces. The bug is also found in many other mammals, too (where it reproduces asexually).

Initially, symptoms in humans are typically flu-like. But this bug never goes away. Some scientists think it has altered human behavior enough to shape entire cultures. Countries with high prevalence of T. gondii infection also have higher average neuroticism scores, one study found.

Cat ulcers

A large cat dining on the entrails of one our early ancestors thousands of years ago contracted an ulcer-causing bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, that spread to lions, cheetahs and tigers, scientists figure. It persists to this day in large cats. Technophobe: Hey! We gave that one to themn!


Ebola is a widespread threat to gorillas and chimps in Central Africa, and may have spread to humans from people who ate infected animals. It is now transmittable human-to-human, by contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person, and it has killed a few hundred people in each of several outbreaks going back to the mid-1970s.

The awful symptoms: sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, often followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. It's deadly somewhere between 25 and 90 percent of the time depending on the strain.

Ebola may be carried by bats, researchers think, because when bats are infected with it, they don't die.

Polio, Yaws, Anthrax

Studying wild animal populations can be difficult. But scientists have speculated that chimps at Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania contracted polio from humans, according to Fabian Leendertz, a wildlife epidemiologist at the Robert Koch-Institute and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

There have also been concerns that gorillas contracted yaws, a disease related to syphilis that is not sexually transmitted, from humans, Leendertz added.

Gorillas and chimpanzees in West Africa have been killed by outbreaks of anthrax, which might have originated from cattle herded by humans, although Leendertz said these events may have been caused by anthrax existing naturally in the forests.

Human virus that kills chimps

Ecotourism fuels outbreaks of respiratory diseases among African chimps. The human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) and human metapneumovirus (HMPV) kill infant humans in developing countries. Nearly all humans have had contact with these germs, though, and so have developed antibodies naturally designed to fight them. But in the first confirmed evidence of viruses transmitted directly from humans to wild great apes, the virus killed entire populations of chimps in part of West Africa between 1999 and 2006.

Gorillas gave humans 'crabs' This says lots about people!

Humans caught pubic lice from gorillas about 3 million years ago. We likely picked up the delightful disease, affectionately known as "crabs," not by sleeping with gorillas, but by sleeping in gorilla nests or eating the gorillas, scientists concluded in 2007. Humans, by the way, are the only primates that have both pubic lice and head lice (chimps have just head lice, and you now know which kind gorillas have).

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[Not exactly zoonosis, but displays a pattern]

Study Demonstrates Pig Virus Spreads Between Chickens and Turkeys

The virus spread quickly among both chickens and turkeys.

Emily Caldwell
Ohio State News

The first animal study of a pig virus’s potential to jump to another species shows that the virus, once introduced to a select group of birds, is easily transmitted to healthy chickens and turkeys.

The researchers who led this work were part of a team that previously found in a lab setting that the virus could infect cells from multiple species, including chickens and humans.

In this study, birds that were given the virus developed diarrhea by two days after infection. Healthy birds housed with infected chickens and turkeys also developed diarrhea two days after exposure.

Scott Kenney
That rapid spread of disease surprised the Ohio State University scientists.

“We weren’t even sure the virus would transmit from bird to bird. That’s a significant finding,” said senior author Scott Kenney, assistant professor of veterinary preventive medicine based in Ohio State’s Food Animal Health Research Program at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster.

“It looks like it’s pretty readily able to spread between birds. It’s a little concerning because if the virus gets into one or two animals in a large layer or broiler house, it would probably permeate through the entire house pretty quickly,” Kenney said.

Susceptibility to a pig virus can’t ethically be tested in humans – but the previous work in cells showed the virus attaches itself to the same type of receptor in many different host species.

“If the human cell culture model is as predictive as it was with the chickens, then humans are definitely susceptible to having virus-related disease,” he said.

The study is published in the online journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

This virus, porcine deltacoronavirus, was first detected in pigs in Asia in 2009 and caused a swine diarrhea outbreak in the United States – involving Ohio pigs – in 2014. It is part of the family of pathogens that cause respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases in the species they infect.

There are four types of coronaviruses. Two illnesses known for life-threatening regional outbreaks, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), were caused by betacoronaviruses. The current respiratory disease outbreak associated with a live animal market in China is also attributed to a betacoronavirus. Deltacoronaviruses historically have been linked to birds, and scientists suspect that this porcine virus originated in an avian species.

In this study, researchers worked with 14-day-old chickens and turkeys. In each group, they directly gave 10 birds the virus obtained from an infected pig. Two days later, the researchers allowed uninfected “sentinel” chickens and turkeys to live among the infected birds.

Patricia Boley
Most infected birds developed diarrhea at various time points, and the sentinels had mild to moderate diarrhea after joining the infected flock. Based on the length and severity of symptoms, the study showed that turkeys are more susceptible to the virus than chickens.

Other signs of disease in the birds included distended intestinal tracts containing gas and yellow liquid, high levels of the virus RNA in swabs of their tracheas and digestive tracts, and increased antibody levels in the directly infected birds and some sentinels, said Patricia Boley, first author of the study and a research associate in Kenney’s lab.

“Both chickens and turkeys were still shedding the virus at 14 days, when the study ended. We don’t know how long either species would continue shedding the virus,” Boley said.

Despite the presence of virus RNA in the trachea, the birds showed no signs of respiratory symptoms, which would make this virus more dangerous than enteric – intestinal – symptoms. The virus also did not kill the birds, but it can lead to death in piglets.

“We want to figure out why the virus is enteric versus respiratory, and how the hosts respond differently,” Kenney said. “With piglets we see mortality. We don’t have chickens dying, but we have piglets dying from the virus, so what makes the chickens different in their response to the virus? Maybe we can learn something from chickens and apply it to the pigs so they get less sick from the virus.”

Though there is no screening in place to detect this deltacoronavirus in humans, Kenney said it is feasible that humans have been exposed and infected and even had symptoms.

“People who get gastroenteritis may write it off as food poisoning. Deltacoronaviruses may be in some cases causing human disease, but we don’t know that aspect of it yet,” he said.

The virus cannot be transmitted to humans by consumption if the meat is properly cooked, he noted.

This work was supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s funding to the Food Animal Health Research Program.

Ohio State co-authors Moyasar Alhamo, Geoffrey Lossie, Kush Kumar Yadav, Marcia Vasquez-Lee and Linda Saif also worked on the study.

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[Apparently the UK also has a current case of monkeypox. This is another article on the nasty zoonotic disease in Wuhan, China. (Details here: )]

Britain on high alert as deadly mystery virus from China threatens global pandemic

A MYSTERY virus is in danger of becoming a pandemic after spreading in China as the World Health Organisation (WHO) warns hospitals across the planet to prepare for cases.

By Carly Read
PUBLISHED: 21:10, Tue, Jan 14, 2020 | UPDATED: 21:22, Tue, Jan 14, 2020

Fears are mounting after an outbreak that infected dozens of people and killed one in China is in the process of spreading, with scientists from the WHO telling the world to be on high alert. Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, acting head of WHO’s emerging diseases unit, said hospitals have been given guidance. Dr Kerkhove said: “This is something on our radar, it is possible, we need to prepare ourselves.”

The Organisation is baffled by the virus which has never been seen before.

Tests have revealed it is a type of coronavirus, which is a large family of viruses that cause infections ranging from the common cold to the SARS virus.

More than 40 people are currently injected, with the first case today having been reported in Thailand.

Phuket airport is currently screening arrivals from China.

The outbreak appeared to start in the Chinese city of Wuhan with the first case reported in December.

Fears are mounting after an outbreak infected dozens of people and killed one in China

A woman from China has become the first victim, having contracted pneumonia and died as a result of complications from the virus.

She also said there has been some “limited” human-to-human transmission of the virus, which has symptoms including runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat and a fever.

The disease has spread to infect a current total of 41 people over just two weeks.

The WHO added that cases have mainly been seen in small clusters among family members.

It comes as the first case of monkeypox was confirmed in the UK last month, which had come from Africa.


Monkeypox is a rare viral infection, with most cases of the virus reported in Africa.

It’s not spread easily between people and the risk to the general public in the UK is very low.

But while it’s usually a self-limiting illness and most people recover within a few weeks, some individuals can suffer severe illness and it can prove fatal.

The case of monkeypox in the UK has been confirmed in England, and the patient is believed to have contracted the infection while visiting Nigeria.

Public Health England (PHE) has said the patient was staying in South West England prior to transfer to the specialist high consequence infectious disease centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, where they are receiving appropriate care.

The outbreak began in Wuhan, China

As a precautionary measure, PHE experts are now working closely with NHS colleagues to implement rapid infection control procedures, including contacting people who might have been in close contact with the individual to provide information and health advice.

This includes contacting passengers who travelled in close proximity to the patient on the same flight to the UK.

Britain remains on his alert over the disease.

Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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Preparing for the Novel Coronavirus
January 23, 2020, 10:51 pm IST ET Edit in ET Editorials | Edit Page | ET

The rising number of 2019-Novel Coronavirus cases — from 314 confirmed worldwide on January 21 to 571 cases in China alone on January 22 — presents a major health concern. While no cases have been detected in India, it is welcome that the government has moved swiftly — issuing travel advisories and instituting screening at ports and airports. The World Health Organisation is monitoring the situation and is yet to declare apublic health emergency of international concern. Chinese authorities have put in place strict travel bans to and from three Chinese cities in Hubei province — Huanggang, Ezhou and Wuhan, the last, specifically, its animal market that also traded in illegal wildlife, being the epicentre of the outbreak.

The incidence of zoonotic diseases, in which a germ originally transfers from an animal to a human, has gone up, exacerbated by climate change and dramatic decline in natural ecosystems and biodiversity.

A 2016 study by the UN Environment Programme reported that 75% of the all emerging infectious diseases were zoonotic. The biggest cause of concern about the Novel Coronavirus is that it spreads human-to-human, with an incubation period of about two weeks. It is adapting and mutating, and, therefore, tougher to treat. Symptoms include high fever, laboured breathing and lung lesions, but detection of mild infection is difficult, as it presents as flu or a bad cold.

Screening and isolating those who show the symptoms is the course of action for now. As of now, the coronavirus is not fatal for healthy individuals. The current outbreak underscores the need for improved management of zoonoses, bringing together the environment, agriculture and health in a policy framework.

Zoonotic diseases call for robust healthcare, functional institutions and rapid response.

Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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