Tag Archives: Virus

India steps up hunt for origin of mysterious brain-damaging virus

India steps up hunt for origin of mysterious brain-damaging virusBy Subrat Patnaik and D. Jose MUMBAI/KOCHI (Reuters) – India began a fresh round of tests to trace the origin of a rare brain-damaging virus that has killed 13 people, a health official said on Monday, as initial tests on animals suspected of carrying the Nipah virus showed no sign of the disease. All animal samples, including those from bats, cattle, goats and pigs from the southern state of Kerala, sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, were negative for Nipah, said animal husbandry officer A. Mohandas. The department was now collecting samples of fruit bats from Perambra, the suspected epicenter of the infection and nearby areas, Mohandas said.



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This year’s flu shot might not stop the virus, but it can fend off the worst symptoms

This year’s flu shot might not stop the virus, but it can fend off the worst symptomsThere’s a potent flu virus infecting Americans this influenza season — even healthy people including a marathon runner and bodybuilder have become seriously ill. But although the flu shot isn’t so effective this year, the vaccine will still probably spare you from the most severe symptoms, hospitalization, or at worst, death. Like most flu seasons, there are a few strains circulating around the country right now, but one of these — dubbed H3N2 – is notably vicious. At worst, it’s taken the lives of children and healthy adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes there is "widespread" flu activity in nearly every region it monitors around the country, and H3N2 was the most frequently identified strain reported as of mid-January.  SEE ALSO: The coming Arctic blast probably won't make you sick, but winter definitely can Generally, severe fevers, chills, and fatigue are compelling an unusually high number Americans to seek medical treatment. “Our hospitals are brimming in the ER,” said Joan Faro, Chief Medical Officer at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital on Long Island, New York, in an interview. “Occupancy rates are through the roof.” Even medical professionals are taking extra precautions against this season’s virus. Faro said inoculated staff are wearing masks around sick patients — and that’s something she hasn’t seen before. “There’s an awareness that there’s something going on, something that is a little bit different than previous years,” Faro said. The H3N2 virus, though, has hit the U.S. numerous times before. And when it does, “it tends to be a rougher season,” said Susan Donelan, medical director and assistant professor of infectious disease at Stony Brook University’s School of Medicine, in an interview.  “It’s not pretty.” Already this flu season, 37 children have died in the U.S. from the virus, according to the CDC.  This virus is exceptionally nasty because it tends to change more than other flu viruses during the course of a season. Donelan calls these slight changes, known as “genetic drift,” little tweaks that occur in the viruses’ genes during or between the flu season.  The H3N2 virus' ability to change with time renders the flu vaccine, which is basically a weakened form of several dominant flu viruses, an imperfect match against this year's dominant illness. In essence, those who received the flu shot have spent time preparing to fight a specific invader that, when it finally arrives, ends up presenting itself differently. The flu vaccine becomes “a near match, but it’s not a perfect match,” said Shane Speights, a dean and associate professor of medicine at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University. A CDC map indicating geographic spread of the flu viruses, as of January 20, 2018. The tan areas indicate widespread influenza activity estimates.Image: CDCOur flu vaccines are bred in laboratories months in advance, so the virus has ample time to morph during that period. When this happens, the virus can then successfully attack and reproduce in bodies that have been inoculated. But getting the shot will mitigate the altered viruses’ aggressiveness. “The vaccine certainly still provides a lot of benefits,” explained Speights. “It’s still enough for your body to mount a response.” “It starts creating infantry cells so that when you come in contact with the real thing, it has some resistance to fight it off,” said Speights. And this bit of resistance, said Donelan, “can still keep people from getting really ill, and if hospitalized, can keep them from dying.” For that reason, even if it’s late January or early February — which is quite late in the flu season – Speights emphasized that “It’s not too late to get the vaccine. At minimum, this will “give your body a look at [the virus],” he said. And that seems like wise advice for a strain that can morph quickly, partially outwitting our carefully-developed vaccines.  “Influenza is a pretty clever organism,” said Donelan. WATCH: Your next flu shot may be replaced with this patch



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Potentially deadly flu virus is widespread in 46 states

Potentially deadly flu virus is widespread in 46 statesA particularly deadly flu virus has reportedly become widespread in 46 states across the country, according to the recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



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US stands by claim workers attacked in Cuba, maybe by virus

US stands by claim workers attacked in Cuba, maybe by virusWASHINGTON (AP) — The United States stood behind its assertion that U.S. personnel in Cuba were deliberately attacked and raised the possibility Tuesday that a virus was used, as lawmakers and even the FBI challenged the initial theory of "sonic attacks."



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Health Officials Warn of Deadly Powassan Virus

Health Officials Warn of Deadly Powassan VirusThe virus, which is transmitted through tick bites, is more rare than Lyme disease, and brings more serious symptoms, including inflammation of the brain.



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What You Need to Know About Zika Virus for 2017

What You Need to Know About Zika Virus for 2017After ranking as one of the top health stories of 2016, the Zika virus all but disappeared from the headlines once mosquito season came to an end for most of the continental U.S. But warmer days …



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One in seven people with HIV in EU unaware they have virus: report

By Emma Batha LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – One in seven people with HIV in the Europe Union region is unaware they have the virus, seriously hampering efforts to meet a global 2030 deadline for eradicating the AIDS epidemic, a senior health expert said on Tuesday. The average estimated time between infection and diagnosis is four years with nearly half of people not being diagnosed until the late stages of the disease, according to a report published ahead of World AIDS Day on Dec 1. Around 810,000 people are believed to be living with HIV in the EU’s 28 member countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows.
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‘Elephantiasis’ virus may boost AIDS risk: study

The parasite, Wuchereria bancrofti, is found in many areas in Africa where HIV infection rates are high, and can cause elephantiasis, a disease that horribly deforms the limbs and other parts of the bodyPeople infected with a common parasitic worm may be twice as likely to acquire the HIV virus that causes AIDS, a field study from Tanzania reported Wednesday. The parasite, Wuchereria bancrofti, is found in many areas in Africa where HIV infection rates are high, and can cause elephantiasis, a disease that horribly deforms the limbs and other parts of the body. The mosquito-borne worm can live in the human lymphatic system for years without symptoms emerging.



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HIV patients with undetectable virus unlikely to infect partner

By Andrew M. Seaman (Reuters Health) – When drugs for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) suppress the virus in the blood to very low levels, patients are unlikely to infect their partners during condomless sex, suggests a new study. After following nearly 900 heterosexual and gay couples for an average of 16 months, researchers found no evidence that uninfected partners became infected after condomless sex with an HIV-positive partner with viral suppression. This good news bolsters the role of HIV treatment as a form of prevention, said lead author Dr. …
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US urges condom use or abstinence to avoid Zika virus

Earlier this week, US health officials confirmed the first case of sexually transmitted ZikaMiami (AFP) – US health authorities on Friday urged people to use condoms or refrain from sex if they live in or have traveled to areas where the Zika virus is circulating.



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