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News => Signs of the Times => Topic started by: Cop on June 18, 2019, 07:49:30 AM

Title: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on June 18, 2019, 07:49:30 AM
Third World Immigrants Spread Third World Diseases

Typhus, tuberculosis, and other ancient illnesses are spreading quickly

nfectious diseases – some that ravaged populations in the Middle Ages – are resurging in California and around the country, and are hitting homeless populations especially hard.

Los Angeles recently experienced an outbreak of typhus—a disease spread by infected fleas on rats and other animals—in downtown streets. Officials briefly closed part of City Hall after reporting that rodents had invaded the building.

People in Washington State have been infected with the diarrheal disease shigella, spread through feces, as well as Bartonella Quintana, or trench fever, which spreads through body lice.

Hepatitis A, also spread primarily through feces, infected more than 1,000 people in Southern California in the past two years.
The disease also has erupted in New Mexico, Ohio, and Kentucky, primarily among people who are homeless or use drugs.

Public-health officials and politicians are using terms like disaster and public-health crisis to describe the outbreaks, and they are warning that these diseases can easily jump beyond the homeless population.

“Our homeless crisis is increasingly becoming a public-health crisis,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said in his State of the State speech in February, citing outbreaks of hepatitis A in San Diego County, syphilis in Sonoma County, and typhus in Los Angeles County.

“Typhus,” he said. “A medieval disease. In California. In 2019.”

The diseases spread quickly and widely among people living outside or in shelters, helped along by sidewalks contaminated with human feces, crowded living conditions, weakened immune systems, and limited access to health care.


Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places."
Post by: Cop on June 18, 2019, 08:01:39 AM
6 Cops In L.A. Skid Row Precinct Have Typhoid Fever

A Los Angeles police detective has been diagnosed with typhoid fever, a rare illness typically spread through contaminated food or water, and at least five other officers who work in the same station are showing symptoms, union officials said Thursday.

The six officers work in the Central Division station, where a state investigation into unsafe and unsanitary working conditions led to penalties and more than $5,000 in fines earlier this month, documents show.

The division polices downtown Los Angeles, including the notorious Skid Row area where hundreds of homeless people camp on the streets.

The police union says homeless encampments must be cleaned up following the recent diagnosis and other cases where officers contracted hepatitis A and staph infections …

The Police Department said exposed areas of the Central Division were being disinfected and officials were reviewing the state’s “concerning” report that found health violations at the station.

The building lacked an effective extermination program and had “rats/rodents, fleas, roaches, flies, gnats, mosquitoes and grasshoppers,” according to the state’s report.
The CDC says typhoid fever isn’t common in the U.S. but affects 22 million people annually in other countries.

It is different from typhus, which can spread from infected fleas and caused an outbreak earlier this year that sickened homeless people who live near City Hall and a deputy city attorney.

Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on July 05, 2019, 07:59:48 AM
New York Times Confirm Migrants Bring Contagious Bugs To U.S.

The rise of Candida auris embodies a serious and growing public health threat: drug-resistant germs.

The New York Times – Last May, an elderly man was admitted to the Brooklyn branch of Mount Sinai Hospital for abdominal surgery.
A blood test revealed that he was infected with a newly discovered germ as deadly as it was mysterious. Doctors swiftly isolated him in the intensive care unit.

The germ, a fungus called Candida auris, preys on people with weakened immune systems, and it is quietly spreading across the globe.

Over the last five years, it has hit a neonatal unit in Venezuela, swept through a hospital in Spain, forced a prestigious British medical center to shut down its intensive care unit, and taken root in India, Pakistan and South Africa.

Recently C. auris reached New York, New Jersey and Illinois, leading the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to add it to a list of germs deemed “urgent threats.”

The man at Mount Sinai died after 90 days in the hospital, but C. auris did not. Tests showed it was everywhere in his room, so invasive that the hospital needed special cleaning equipment and had to rip out some of the ceiling and floor tiles to eradicate it.

“Everything was positive — the walls, the bed, the doors, the curtains, the phones, the sink, the whiteboard, the poles, the pump,” said Dr. Scott Lorin, the hospital’s president. “The mattress, the bed rails, the canister holes, the window shades, the ceiling, everything in the room was positive.”

C. auris is so tenacious, in part, because it is impervious to major antifungal medications, making it a new example of one of the world’s most intractable health threats: the rise of drug-resistant infections.

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Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on July 05, 2019, 08:03:14 AM
Harvard Medical School Hosts Week-Long Summit on Infectious Diseases

Travelers and immigrants are spreading infectious, hard-to-treat diseases,
This comprehensive CME [continuing medical education] program ensures attendees are current with state-of-the-art approaches to prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. The weeklong program will be held April 23 – 27, 2019 in Boston.

Updates, best practices and new guidelines include strategies for “challenging, rare, and emerging infectious diseases”:

Zika, Ebola, Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and other emerging infectious diseases
Re-emergence of vaccine-preventable diseases
Pulmonary and extrapulmonary non-tuberculous (“atypical”) mycobacteria, including Mycobacterium chimaera
Candida auris infection
Infections in travelers and immigrants
Zoonoses—the old and the new

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Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on November 13, 2019, 07:11:31 AM
LA public health in 'complete breakdown': 'No city on Earth tolerates this'

Pinsky told host Laura Ingraham:
“We have the three prongs of airborne disease, tuberculosis is exploding, (and) rodent-borne. We are one of the only cities in the country that doesn’t have a rodent control program, and sanitation has broken down.”

Pinsky’s comments followed news that Los Angeles police officer had contracted typhoid fever, a rare and life-threatening illness that fewer than 350 Americans contract each year.

Meanwhile, bubonic plague – a pandemic that killed tens of millions of people during the 14th century – is “likely” already present in Los Angeles, Pinsky added.

“Third World countries are insulted if they are accused of being like this. No city on Earth tolerates this. The entire population is at risk.”

Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on November 13, 2019, 07:16:59 AM
Florida Residents Warned To Cover All Doors And Windows...A deadly mosquito-borne virus that causes brain swelling in humans has been detected in Florida

Florida health officials are warning of an uptick in a mosquito-borne virus known as Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).

Several sentinel chickens tested positive for EEE, which can spread to humans via infected mosquitoes and cause brain infection and swelling, the Florida Department of Health in Orange County said in a Thursday statement.

Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Persons over age 50 and under age 15 seem to be at greatest risk for developing severe disease when infected with EEEV.

Most cases of EEE have been reported from Florida, Massachusetts, New York, and North Carolina. EEEV transmission is most common in and around freshwater hardwood swamps in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states and the Great Lakes region.

Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on November 13, 2019, 07:22:30 AM
Farms In Asia, Africa Pose Mega Threat Global Health...Alarm as antimicrobial resistance surges among chickens, pigs and cattle

Drug-resistant bacteria are gaining a stronghold in developing countries where meat production has soared. Farm animals in India and northeast China are becoming more resistant to common antimicrobial drugs — a worrying trend that is rising as meat production increases in the developing world, researchers report.

Hotspots of drug resistance are also emerging in Kenya, Uruguay and Brazil, according to a study of antimicrobial resistance in livestock across Asia, Africa and South America.

Meat production has risen sharply in these regions since 2000, fuelled by more intensive farming practices, including the use of antibiotics in animals to promote growth and prevent infections. The study was published on 19 September in Science.

The situation is serious because some of the countries where hotspots exist export thousands of tons of meat every year, says Carlos Amábile-Cuevas, a microbiologist at the Lusara Foundation in Mexico City, a research institute that focuses on antibiotic resistance. About one-fifth of chickens and pigs are raised in parts of the world where hotspots have been found.

Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on January 24, 2020, 11:33:52 AM
WHO predicts mass die-off

The chances of a global pandemic are growing — and we are all dangerously under prepared, according to a new report published Wednesday. The panel of international health experts and officials pointed to the 1918 influenza pandemic as an example of a global catastrophe.

That killed as many as 50 million people — if a similar contagion happened today, it could kill up to 80 million people and wipe out 5% of the global economy.

The report from the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB), co-convened by the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), warned:
“The world is not prepared. For too long, we have allowed a cycle of panic and neglect when it comes to pandemics: we ramp up efforts when there is a serious threat, then quickly forget about them when the threat subsides. It is well past time to act.”

Between 2011 and 2018, WHO tracked 1,483 epidemics worldwide, including Ebola and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the report said.
These epidemics and pandemics devastated many of their host countries — the West Africa Ebola outbreak resulted in a loss of $53 billion in economic and social cost.

These huge economic costs translate to severe real-life consequences — lost jobs, forced displacement, inaccessible healthcare, and greater mortality.

While disease, epidemics, and pandemics have always existed, greater population density and the ability to travel anywhere in the world within 36 hours means disease can spread rapidly through a country and then go worldwide.

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Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on January 24, 2020, 11:40:36 AM
New STD Spread By Homosexual Men[Excerpts]

The Telegraph (UK) – Spanish health authorities have confirmed a case of a man spreading dengue through sex, a world first for a virus which until recently was thought to be transmitted only by mosquitos.

The case concerns a 41-year-old man from Madrid who contracted dengue after having sex with his male partner who picked up the virus from a mosquito bite during a trip to Cuba, said Susana Jimenez of the Madrid region’s public health department.

His dengue infection was confirmed in September and it puzzled doctors because he had not traveled to a country where the disease, which causes severe flu-like symptoms such as high fever and body aches, is common, she added.

“His partner presented the same symptoms as him but lighter around ten days earlier, and he had previously visited Cuba and the Dominican Republic,” she said.
“An analysis of their sperm was carried out and it revealed that not only did they have dengue but that it was exactly the same virus which circulates in Cuba.”

A “likely’ case of sexual transmission of dengue between a man and a woman was the subject of a recent scientific article in South Korea, she said.

In an e-mail sent to AFP, the Stockholm-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which monitors health and disease in Europe, said this was “to our knowledge, the first sexual transmission of the dengue virus among men who have sex with men.”

Dengue is transmitted mainly by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which thrives in densely-populated tropical climates and breeds in stagnant pools of water. It kills 10,000 people a year and infects over 100 million.

The disease is fatal only in extreme cases but the symptoms are extremely unpleasant, including a high fever, severe headaches, and vomiting.
It also exacts a heavy economic burden on countries as sufferers are unable to work, as well as overwhelming health services when there is a severe outbreak.

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Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on February 18, 2020, 09:55:59 AM
African Locusts Reach ‘Biblical Proportions,’ Famine Looms
“They even ate watermelons … “

Locust swarms of biblical proportions are threatening crops across a wide swath of Africa and southwest Asia—spurring alarm among top international officials.

A major concern is famine. The United Nations is warning that mass swarms of desert locusts are endangering food supplies in eastern Africa.

In response, officials in Rome mobilized an emergency briefing yesterday in a bid to raise money—noting the situation has a high potential to devolve into a full-blown crisis.

“This is an unprecedented situation that we are facing,” said Dominique Burgeon, an emergency services director at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu said he delivered a personal plea for help to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and received assurances of support from the United States. The U.S. Agency for International Development says it released $800,000 to support FAO’s response in eastern Africa.

Cyclones that struck the driest parts of the Arabian Peninsula last year triggered the current crisis, creating ideal conditions for the desert locust species to multiply. Left to breed in isolated corners of Saudi Arabia and Yemen, the locust swarms crossed to the Horn of Africa where they were given further support by another cyclone.

More breeding cycles are expected. The swarms increase in size twentyfold with each successive generation and could reach India by June.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres took to Twitter yesterday in an effort to draw global attention to the worsening outbreak. The swarms are now threatening farms in parts of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia but are expected to spread to neighboring countries soon.

The U.N. chief pinned blame for the crisis squarely on global warming. “Desert locusts are extremely dangerous,” Guterres wrote.

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Kenyan Farmers Hit by Worst Locust Swarms in 70 Years

Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on March 17, 2020, 04:00:02 PM
A chilling scientific paper helped upend U.S. and U.K. coronavirus strategies

LONDON — Immediately after Boris Johnson completed his Monday evening news conference, which saw a somber prime minister encourage his fellow citizens to avoid "all nonessential contact with others," his aides hustled reporters into a second, off-camera briefing.

That session presented jaw-dropping numbers from some of Britain’s top modelers of infectious disease, who predicted the deadly course of coronavirus could quickly kill hundreds of thousands in both the United Kingdom and the United States, as surges of sick and dying patients overwhelmed hospitals and critical care units.

The new forecasts, by Neil Ferguson and his colleagues at the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team, were quickly endorsed by Johnson’s government to design new and more extreme measures to suppress the spread of the virus.

The report is also influencing planning by the Trump administration. Deborah Birx, who serves as the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, cited the British analysis at a news conference Monday, saying her response team was especially focused on the report’s conclusion that an entire household should self-quarantine for 14 days if one of its members is stricken by the virus.

The Imperial College London group reported that if nothing was done by governments and individuals and the pandemic remained uncontrolled, 510,000 would die in Britain and 2.2 million in the United States over the course of the outbreak.

These kinds of numbers are deeply concerning for countries with top-drawer health-care systems. They are terrifying for less-developed countries, global health experts say.
If Britain and the United States pursued more-ambitious measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, to slow but not necessarily stop the epidemic over the coming few months, they could reduce mortality by half, to 260,000 people in the United Kingdom and 1.1 million in the United States.

Finally, if the British government quickly went all-out to suppress viral spread — aiming to reverse epidemic growth and reduce the case load to a low level — then the number of dead in the country could drop to below 20,000. To do this, the researchers said, Britain would have to enforce social distancing for the entire population, isolate all cases, demand quarantines of entire households where anyone is sick, and close all schools and universities — and do this not for weeks but for 12 to 18 months, until a vaccine is available.

“We might be living in a very different world for a year or more,” Ferguson told reporters.

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Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Richard Myers on March 18, 2020, 11:29:31 PM
Are these the same "modelers" that brought us global warming because of co2? 2.2million deaths in the US?
Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on March 23, 2020, 09:15:01 AM
Swarms Of Locusts Wreaking Havoc in East Africa

The Horn of Africa, one of the world's most impoverished regions, is being ransacked by billions of tiny invaders.

Farmers look on in horror as desert locusts moving in vast cloud-like swarms darken the sky. The insects blast through fields of crops at an astonishing pace, decimating livelihoods in the process.

The pests crossed the Gulf of Aden and arrived in Somalia and Ethiopia last year. They were spotted in Kenya about two months ago in what has become the worst infestation there in 70 years. The U.N. says the region is already vulnerable to food shortages, and it warns that the international community only has a small window to prevent "looming catastrophe."

"These things are voracious," says Keith Cressman, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's senior locust forecasting officer. A swarm the size of Manhattan can, in a single day, eat the same amount of food as everyone in New York and California combined, he says.

Swarms of desert locusts more than three times the size of New York City — an estimated 192 billion insects — have been spotted in northeast Kenya, according to Save The Children.

The animals reproduce rapidly – every three months. And they reproduce exponentially, he says, so in favorable conditions like these, the population could multiply by 400 times every six months.

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China urges authorities to prepare for possible locust invasion

China could face a desert locust invasion, a government body warned on Monday, urging local authorities to prepare for the possible arrival of the voracious insects from neighboring Pakistan and India.

Locust swarms could enter the Tibet region from Pakistan and India, or the southwestern province of Yunnan through Myanmar, depending on climate conditions, the notice said. Swarms could also fly across Kazakhstan and into China’s western Xinjiang region.

The desert locusts have already ravaged crops and pastures in several countries in east Africa and swarms have spread into India and Pakistan.

Locust swarms can fly up to 150 km (90 miles) a day with the wind, and adult insects can consume roughly their own weight in fresh food per day.


Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on April 07, 2020, 10:49:59 AM
Killer Superbugs: Coming For Us All

“Migration may contribute substantially to the spread of AMR [antimicrobial resistance]. Refugees and migrants mostly come from countries with considerably higher rates of MDR [multidrug-resistant] bacteria … ” – U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2018 Nov 8

We’re crawling on your skin. Teeming under your toenails. And lurking on your doorknobs and countertops.

We’re drug-resistant microbes, immune to all but your strongest antibiotics.

And we’re evolving so fast that soon even those medicines won’t stop us. Unless your scientists invent new antibiotics, we’ll kill 10 million people annually by 2050. We didn’t always pose such a dire threat to mankind. In fact, antibiotics once threatened to eliminate our species.

After your scientists developed these drugs in the 1920s, deaths from bacterial infections like pneumonia and cholera plummeted. In the United States, life expectancy jumped from 54 years in 1920 to almost 79 years today, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics.

“A new review of research on migrant populations in Europe has found that more than a quarter are infected or colonized with antibiotic-resistant bacteria … ” – Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota.

But over the years, your doctors prescribed the same treatments over and over — and we eventually evolved to resist them.

For instance, Bactrim, once a sure-fire cure for urinary tract infections, now can’t effectively treat a third of them. Ceftriaxone, an antibiotic that previously knocked out gonorrhea, often proves ineffective against the sexually transmitted infection.

It’s so ineffective that the CDC recently changed nationwide treatment protocols, urging doctors to prescribe a second antibiotic simultaneously. And numerous drugs have failed against a superbug known as CRE, or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, a type of microbe that’s virtually untreatable.

All told, we drug-resistant microbes infect almost 3 million Americans each year and kill 162,000 of them … “If no action is taken, drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050 … ” – UN Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance

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Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on April 07, 2020, 11:29:16 AM
UN warns of global food shortage caused by coronavirus measures

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization warned of global food shortages caused by measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"The worst that can happen is that governments restrict the flow of food," Maximo Torero, chief economist of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, told the Guardian.

Harvests have been good and staple crops remain in demand, but a shortage of field workers brought on by the pandemic and a move towards protectionism - tariffs and export bans - could lead to problems in the coming weeks, Torero said, according to the report.

"All measures against free trade will be counterproductive. Now is not the time for restrictions or putting in place trade barriers. Now is the time to protect the flow of food around the world," Torero added, the news course reported.

Some countries have begun to protect their own food supply by restricting exports, which Torero reportedly said could lead to an overall decrease in trade and a subsequent decline in food production.

Another measure that could threaten the world's food supply is that nations have issued "stay at home" orders at varying levels of enforcement. If agriculture workers are legally unable to harvest crops, it could cause a lapse in food flow.

"Coronavirus is affecting the labour force and the logistical problems are becoming very important," said Torero.

"We need to have policies in place so the labour force can keep doing their job. Protect people too, but we need the labour force. Major countries have yet to implement these sorts of policies to ensure that food can keep moving."

Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on July 11, 2020, 05:18:57 PM
Another Made-In-China Virus May Soon Go Global

Researchers in China have discovered a new swine flu. It could become a pandemic, but scientists can contain it now.

As if the summer of the coronavirus pandemic was not enough, scientists in China have discovered a new strain of swine flu.

Experts believe it could have the potential to become a pandemic. This difference is we have more time and information than we did for the coronavirus.

To find out more, we turned to the experts. Georgetown University Virologist Dr. Erin Sorrell explained that researchers discovered the new swine flu after years of surveillance on the global pig population.

“It’s a specific lineage of swine influenza that has all the hallmarks of pandemic influenza strain,” Sorrell said.

What was alarming about this strain of swine flu is that it made the leap beyond the pig population.

“It was able to transmit to some of the swine workers. That meant both individuals that work with swine in the production facility and the slaughterhouses,” she explained.

OK, but don't panic yet. Here is the good news about this swine flu.

"We have yet to see human-to-human transmission of this swine influenza virus," Sorrell said.

That does not mean the virus will not make the leap at some point and become transmissible human to human. However, unlike coronavirus, we have an understanding and time.

"We now have time do additional research on this virus, on this lineage," Sorrell explained. "We have time to look at containing in the swine population."

That time and understanding, as we have found in this pandemic, means everything.

The original Swine Flu in 2009 infected roughly 60 million Americans and around 12,000 died of the virus.

Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on July 11, 2020, 05:25:01 PM
Chinese health officials confirm case of bubonic plague

As if the novel coronavirus isn’t enough to worry about, a disease that caused the Black Death and killed some 50 million people in the 14th century has raised its ugly head again, according to a report.

Officials in China are on high alert after a case of bubonic plague was discovered in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, the BBC reported.

A herdsman in the city of Bayannur — about 560 miles northwest of Beijing — is in stable condition under quarantine, while a second suspected case involving a 15-year-old is being investigated, according to the outlet, which cited local media.

It is unclear how or why the herdsman might have become infected, according to the BBC, which reported that the teen had apparently been in contact with a marmot hunted by a dog.

Authorities have imposed a Level 3 alert until the end of the year. It forbids the hunting and eating of animals that could carry the plague and calls on people to report suspected cases.

Even though the bubonic plague, which is caused by a bacterial infection, was once the most feared diseases on Earth, it can now be easily treated with antibiotics.

It was responsible for the Black Death, which killed about 50 million people across Africa, Asia and Europe during the 14th century.

But there have been several large outbreaks since. It killed about a fifth of London’s population during the Great Plague of 1665, while more than 12 million died of the disease during the 19th century in China and India.

In 2017, an outbreak in Madagascar saw more than 300 cases, though a study in medical journal The Lancet found less than 30 people died.

In May 2019, two people in Mongolia died from the plague, which they contracted after eating the raw meat of a marmot, the same type of rodent the 15-year-old came into contact with.

Left untreated, the bubonic plague, which is typically transmitted from animals to humans by fleas, has a fatality rate of 30 percent to 60 percent, according to the BBC.

Symptoms include high fever, chills, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin.

Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on August 08, 2020, 01:59:57 PM
Deadly Fungus Now Resistant To All Known Treatments

A deadly fungal pathogen developed the ability to resist all existing antifungal drugs on three separate occasions in the United States, according to a new report.

The fungus, Candida auris, was already classified as an “urgent threat” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the emergence of so-called “pan-resistant” strains raises additional concern, according to the report’s authors, who are infectious disease specialists at the CDC and the New York State Department of Health.

They published their findings Thursday in the CDC’s publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

C. auris was first identified in 2009 in Japan and has since popped up in nearly 40 countries. (It arrived in the US by 2013, and New York City, Chicago, and New Jersey have been hit the hardest.)

The insidious germ is known for creeping around healthcare facilities and infecting vulnerable patients, causing invasive infections marked by nondescript fever and chills.

Somewhere between 30 percent and 60 percent of patients die from the infection. (Determining the exact fatality rate is tricky because the fungus often preys upon patients already suffering from life-threatening conditions.)

Part of what makes C. auris strains so dangerous is that they seem to develop resistance to antifungal drugs relatively easily. Only three classes of antifungal drugs are used to treat C. auris infections: triazole, polyene, and echinocandins classes. And many strains are already resistant to one or two of those.

A survey of strains found in New York discovered that over 99 percent could withstand triazole drugs, while over 60 percent were resistant to polyene drugs. So far, resistance to echinocandins has been rare in the US and, as such, that class has been the standard first-line treatment.

But, in the new MMWR report, the infectious-disease researchers describe just how easily that can change.

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Title: Re: "There shall be famines, and pestilences,..."
Post by: Cop on August 08, 2020, 02:07:06 PM
Why a Plague of Locusts Is Threatening Crops in Africa and Beyond

Over the past few months, massive swarms of locusts, one of which occupied an area more than three times the size of New York City, have devoured crops across the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, leaving an estimated 20 million people at risk of famine. The first generation’s eggs are starting to hatch, and now even bigger swarms are forming, threatening countries from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Yemen, Iran, Pakistan and India, “representing an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods,” says the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Desert locusts are usually solitary creatures, but when weather conditions are right, their populations explode. That explosion can create dense swarms that can travel great distances–more than 90 miles in a day–in search of food. Warm weather and unusually heavy rains in the Horn of Africa at the end of 2019 provided the moist soil necessary for hatching eggs. From there, the insects spread rapidly, resulting in one of the worst outbreaks the region has seen in more than 70 years.

A typical swarm, numbering 4 billion to 8 billion locusts, can consume in one day the same amount of food as 3.5 million people. Some swarms have been so thick in parts of Kenya that they have prevented planes from taking off. Governments have resorted to widespread aerial spraying of pesticides when available; in poorer regions, where aircraft are scarce, soldiers battle the swarms with handheld spray pumps, while farmers attempt to drive them away by clanging pots and pans.

The FAO has appealed for $138 million to support affected communities. If the locusts are not stopped before the next generation hatches, the impact could be catastrophic: the FAO estimates that an additional 25 million people across the region could lose their crops and their livelihoods. Scientists in Kenya hope a new computer-assisted tracking program that combines satellite data with weather-mapping software will help predict the swarms’ next destination, buying regional authorities enough time to prepare a response. But coronavirus-related travel restrictions have hindered relief efforts as well as response mechanisms. The locusts have no such travel limitations.