Tag Archives | Disease

CDC: Untreatable Gonorrhea Might Be Just Around the Corner

Picture: National Archives and Records Administration (PD)

Via NPR:

There’s disturbing news coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The sexually-transmitted disease Gonorrhea is getting close to being untreatable. There’s only one antibiotic left that works against the disease, and if gonorrhea continues to mutate then it too may become ineffective. That’s right: You could have “the clap” for the rest of your life, and it’s all because of the over-prescription of antibiotics:

“Gonorrhea used to be susceptible to penicillin, ampicillin, tetracycline and doxycycline — very commonly used drugs,” said Jonathan Zenilman, who studies infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins.

But one by one, each of those antibiotics — and almost every new one that has come along since — eventually stopped working. One reason is that the bacterium that causes gonorrhea can mutate quickly to defend itself, Zenilman said.

“If this was a person, this person would be incredibly creative,” he said.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Rabies Antibodies Detected Among Some Peruvians

Via NPR:

Left untreated, infection with rabies virus almost always results in a painful death. There has been some limited success with experimental treatment regimens (notably the Milwaukee Protocol), but these are exceptions to the rule: Once the symptoms begin to manifest, the only options left for treatment are palliative in nature. Recently, though, scientists discovered a small group of Peruvians who carry rabies antibodies. They’re not sure why they do, but one theory is that repeated exposure to the virus through the bites of vampire bats may have helped them gradually develop immunity. NPR has the story:

In remote regions of the Amazon jungle, small communities of people live near bat roosts, and rabies infections are relatively common among them. At least five outbreaks killed 19 people in the Peruvian Amazon in 2009.

So a team from the CDC, lead by disease ecologist Amy Gilbert, went to two villages near these outbreaks looking for signs of rabies exposure in healthy people.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Chemicals From Common Plastics Linked With Diabetes In Women

Consider going light on makeup? Causation has not been shown, but a strong correlative link has been found between diabetes and level of exposure to the phthalates that seep from synthetic household items, Scientific American reports:

Phthalates make plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) more flexible, and they are added to some cosmetics, perfumes and other personal care products to stabilize colors and fragrances. A wide variety of household goods rely on phthalates, including vinyl flooring, adhesives and shower curtains. More than 75 percent of Americans have phthalates in their urine.

Until now, most phthalate research has focused on reproductive consequences because these compounds seem to disrupt male hormones. Boys exposed to phthalates in the womb had signs of feminized genitalia, which may lead to fertility problems. Researchers also have found neurological effects, including reduced IQs and attention problems in boys.

The new study examined diabetes and phthalate concentrations in 2,350 women who participated in a national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2001 through 2008.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Study Pinpoints JFK, LAX, Hawaii Airports As Disease-Spread Hot Spots

In today’s globally interconnected world, terrifying illnesses from across the sea are just a flight away. These are the airports connecting us to them, via Scientific American:

A new study finds that [JFK and LAX], along with Honolulu International Airport, are the most likely to facilitate the spread of a major pandemic.

Researchers at M.I.T. used real traveler patterns, geographical information and airport waiting times to predict what U.S. airports are most likely to spread an epidemic from its origin.

The surprise is that the key airports are not necessarily the largest or busiest. Previous research had focused on how easily pandemics can spread globally via air travel once they were in late stages. In those cases, the largest and best-connected airports are indeed the deadliest hubs. But the new work shows that in the first 10 days of an epidemic, other travel centers might be the spreading hot spots.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Warmer Weather May Lead to Uptick in Rabies Cases

Wired.com is calling it the “summer of hate”: An increase in rabies cases may (or may not) be linked to the heatwave enveloping much of the nation:

…health officials also point to 2012’s particularly mild winter. Higher-than-average temperatures likely led common rabies vectors like raccoons and skunks, normally dormant during the cold months, to become more active — which would thereby increase the opportunity for contact between infected and uninfected animals, both within and among species.

Double-check your zombie apocalypse survival kit and read more at wired.com

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Lack Of Exercise Kills Roughly As Many As Smoking

Get on your bikes, disinfonauts. From the Los Angeles Times:

People across the world are falling so far short on exercise that the problem has become a global pandemic, causing nearly a tenth of deaths worldwide and killing roughly as many people as smoking, researchers warned this week as an alarming series of studies was published in the Lancet.

Eight out of 10 youngsters age 13 to 15 don’t get enough exercise, according to one of the Lancet studies released Tuesday, and nearly a third of adults fall short. The problem is even worse for girls and women, who are less active than boys and men, researchers found.

The results are fatal. Lack of exercise is tied to worldwide killers such as heart disease, diabetes and breast and colon cancer. If just a quarter of inactive adults got enough exercise, more than 1.3 million deaths could be prevented worldwide annually, researchers said.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Lightning & Disease: A Primitive Thought System Overturned

For most of human history, life has been a struggle – a struggle against predators, against disease, against natural disasters, and against our fellow human beings as we find ourselves all thrown together on a single planet, vying for limited resources.  In the words of the philosopher Thomas Hobbes, life for the many has been “nasty, brutish, and short.”

Foremost among our ongoing challenges, however, and rising above all the others, is the struggle against our own ignorance.  Like newborn infants, naked and helpless, humans have been thrust into this world without the benefit of any instruction book to show us the way.  It is only through patience and ingenuity (and a fair amount of dumb luck) that we have managed to rise above our brute animal nature to occasionally achieve something resembling peace and civility.  Obviously, we still have a long way to go, but if we as a species hope to continue our stumbling progress towards a happier, healthier future, we must acknowledge the various pitfalls and dead ends we’ve encountered along the route, starting with those of the distant past.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Florida Accused Of Keeping Tuberculosis Outbreak Secret

All signs point to Florida being the most likely ground zero for a future zombie apocalypse. The Palm Beach Post reports:

The CDC officer had a serious warning for Florida health officials in April: A tuberculosis outbreak in Jacksonville was one of the worst his group had investigated in 20 years.

As health officials in Tallahassee turned their focus to restructuring, Dr. Robert Luo’s 25-page report describing Jacksonville’s outbreak — and the measures needed to contain it – went unseen by key decision makers around the state.

That report had been penned on April 5, exactly nine days after Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill that shrank the Department of Health and required the closure of the A.G. Holley State Hospital in Lantana, where tough tuberculosis cases have been treated for more than 60 years.

Had they seen the letter, decision makers would have learned that 3,000 people in the past two years may have had close contact with contagious people at Jacksonville’s homeless shelters, an outpatient mental health clinic and area jails.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Monsanto’s Legacy of Toxicity, Corruption and Scandalous Dealings

MEDIA ROOTS — Seeds are at the very core of the public commons as the first link in an essential food chain.  Throughout the 20th century, the agricultural biotech giant Monsanto perverted intellectual property laws to corner the world’s seed supply. By allowing the food supply to be attached to the bottom line of a corporation, the world places its future in the hands of a corrupt few. Abby Martin explores the multinational corporation's sordid past of corruption and toxicity and their current scandalous dealings for RT.
Continue Reading

Plague: Oregon Man Contracts Yersinia Pestis Bacteria, Cause of the Black Death

Now those damned Ren-Fair kids have taken things too far. Writes Timothy Stenovec at the Huffington Post:
An Oregon man is in critical condition after being infected with the plague, the Oregonian reports. The man was bitten by a cat on Saturday, June 2, while trying to remove a dead mouse from the feline's mouth, according to the Crook County Department of Public Health and the Oregonian. The man checked himself into a hospital the following Friday. The Oregon Department of Public Health confirmed on Thursday that the unidentified man, who's in his 50s, has tested positive for Yersinia pestis, the same bacteria that was responsible for the pandemic that decimated Europe's population in the 14th century. The cat, which was a stray that had lived in the neighborhood for a number of years, has since died. Its body has been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing...
Continue Reading