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(Health) Infectious Diseases:Staying Away from Sick Lobsters

 
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PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2006 10:37 am    Post subject: (Health) Infectious Diseases:Staying Away from Sick Lobsters Reply with quote






Staying Away from Sick Lobsters
31 May 2006
Emily Sohn

Lobsters may have a sick sense.

New experiments show that certain kinds of lobsters avoid sick individuals even before the infected lobsters are contagious or show symptoms that people can see. It's the first evidence that healthy wild animals detect and shun sick members of their own species.

For the full article:

http://www.sciencenewsforkids....../Note3.asp

*************************************************************

Questions to explore further this topic:

Lobster Hygiene: Healthy animals quick to spot another's ills

http://www.sciencenews.org/art.....7/fob6.asp
http://www.odu.edu/oduhome/news/spotlight56.shtml

What are Carribean spiny lobsters?

http://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=155

A lesson on epidemiology

http://www.bam.gov/teachers/epidemiology.html
http://www.cdc.gov/excite/classroom/index.htm

Lesson plans on infectious diseases


Epidemic: A World of Infectious diseases

http://www.amnh.org/exhibition.....logue.html

What are infectious diseases?

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/
http://www.mayoclinic.com/heal.....se/ID00024

Bacterial and mycotic diseases
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd.....efault.htm

Parasitic diseases
http://www.dpd.cdc.gov/dpdx/HTML/Para_Health.htm
http://www.dpd.cdc.gov/dpdx/HTML/Image_Library.htm

Vector-borne diseases
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/

Viral and Rickettsial diseases
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/

What are isolation and quarantine?

http://www.redcross.org/prepar.....soQuar.asp
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/s.....antine.pdf
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/s.....tlegal.pdf
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/s.....tineqa.pdf

Emerging infectious diseases

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/index.htm
http://www.niaid.nih.gov/publications/eid.htm

Infectious diseases and the developing world

http://globalhealth.org/view_top.php3?id=228

Global health websites

http://www.who.int/topics/infectious_diseases/en/
http://www.cdc.gov/globalidplan/21-appendix_a.htm

GAMES

http://www.bam.gov/sub_disease.....atoon.html
http://www.bam.gov/site_games.html


Last edited by adedios on Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:44 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 3:46 pm    Post subject: Human Deaths from Animal Diseases on the Rise Reply with quote

Human Deaths from Animal Diseases on the Rise

By Jeanna Bryner
LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 08 November 2006
12:48 pm ET

An estimated 50 million people caught diseases from animals such as dogs, cattle, chickens and mosquitoes between 2000 and 2005, according to a new study. Some 78,000 of them died.

The finding reveals the global urgency for doctors to stay vigilant when it comes to zoonotic illnesses—those transmitted by non-human animals.

By reviewing past studies, virologist Jonathan Heeney of the Biomedical Primate Research Center in The Netherlands found the diseases responsible for the majority of zoonotic illnesses seem to be increasing.

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/hum.....eases.html
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:39 pm    Post subject: Leading cause of US food-borne illness makes its own pathway Reply with quote

Yale University
11 January 2007

Leading cause of US food-borne illness makes its own pathway through cells

New Haven, Conn. -- Yale researchers now have some answers about how the bacterium that is the leading cause of food-borne illness in the United States enters cells of the gut and avoids detection and destruction, according to a presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Diego in December.

While scientists are just beginning to answer basic questions about how Campylobacter jejuni (campylobacter) causes infection, Robert Watson, a graduate student in the Section of Microbial Pathogenesis at Yale University School of Medicine worked out a better way to study the bacteria and reported that it takes an uncommon path as it infects cells.

Since the intestinal lining cells that campylobacter infects do not normally take up bacteria -- or any particles as large as bacteria -- Watson and his advisor, Jorge Galán, the Lucille P Markey Professor of Microbiology and Cell Biology, set out to investigate the path of infection through cells. They found that campylobacter apparently enters into the endocytic pathway that cells use to recycle molecules from their surface. It then quickly diverts its path, creating its own intracellular network of campylobacter-filled vacuoles, or cellular pockets, that make their way toward the nucleus, and finally locate near the cell's transportation hub, the Golgi apparatus.

"It's been known for over two decades that campylobacter can enter intestinal epithelial cells -- but until now no one could show how it was taken up or where it localized. That suggested it had evolved a special mechanism for uptake," said Watson. "Campylobacter seems to have found a special access to these cells and established its own intracellular niche."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that "campylobacteriosis," one of the most common causes of diarrhea worldwide, strikes 2.4 million Americans a year. Most sufferers recover after a few unpleasant days, but it can be life threatening to those with compromised immune systems including individuals with AIDS. In addition, a rare but serious complication of campylobacter infection is triggering of the autoimmune disorder, Guillain-Barré paralysis.

"Chicken has been a notorious as a source of campylobacter," said Watson. "While the public has been aware of salmonella as a contaminant, the January 2007 issue of Consumer Reports highlights the increase in campylobacter as a problem. Their nationwide analysis of fresh, marketed chicken showed that as much as 80 percent of the meat they tested harbored campylobacter."

Usually, material entering the cell moves to compartments called lysosomes, where an acidic mix of enzymes breaks it down. By monitoring markers for this entry pathway, Watson and Galán could watch as the microbe infected a host cell, briefly associated with the early marker protein EEA-1, and then with the late marker Lamp-1.

"Although the marker proteins indicated that campylobacter trafficked to conventional lysosomes, information from traceable dyes indicated something different," said Watson. While the dyes passed through the endocytic pathway and localized with other material in lysosomes, surprisingly, the dyes did not enter the vacuoles containing campylobacter -- these bacteria had left the conventional pathway.

Watson and Galán also looked at the roles of two Rab GTPases, proteins involved in the maturation of the recycling compartments. These and other experiments gave additional evidence that campylobacter leaves the normal endocytic pathway early and that the separated campylobacter vacuoles move near to the nucleus where they become closely associated with the Golgi apparatus.

"Seeing the path these bacteria follow gives us new perspective for understanding infection and devising ways to combat it," said Galán. As the next step in understanding campylobacter, Watson and Galán are continuing and expanding the work to include studies in special strains of mice that are infected by, and harbor the bacteria but do not show the acute symptoms of infection.


###
The Ellison Medical Foundation funded this research.

Robert Watson http://info.med.yale.edu/micro....._main.html
Microbial Pathogenesis http://info.med.yale.edu/micropath/index.html
Jorge Galan http://info.med.yale.edu/micropath/fac_galan.html
Cell Biology http://www.cellbiology.yale.edu/
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:39 am    Post subject: Migration Played Key Role in HIV Spread in South Africa Reply with quote

Tracking the AIDS Epidemic
Migration Played Key Role in HIV Spread in South Africa


13 February 2007
Brown University

South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of HIV infection. New research, led by Brown University professor Mark Lurie, shows that the movement of workers between urban and rural areas played a key role in the spread of the epidemic. Results are published in AIDS.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Labor migration played a critical role in the spread of HIV in South Africa, according to new research published in the journal AIDS.

Using data collected from nearly 500 men and women living in bustling towns and rural villages, researchers from Brown University, Harvard Medical School and Imperial College London created a mathematical model that shows that migration of South African workers played a major role in the spread of HIV mainly by increasing high-risk sexual behavior.

South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of HIV infection. According to UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, an estimated 5.5 million South Africans were living with HIV in 2005 and roughly 1,000 AIDS deaths occur in South Africa every day.

“The AIDS epidemic in South Africa is devastating – and the migration of workers played an incredibly important role in its spread,” said Mark Lurie, an assistant professor in the Department of Community Health at Brown. “While the epidemic is already pervasive in South Africa, our findings have policy implications for other countries with high rates of population mobility. Countries like India and China could see a surge in HIV rates unless there is proper prevention and treatment efforts among migrants and their partners.”

Lurie is a native South African and social epidemiologist. For more than a decade, he has studied HIV transmission in his home country, with a particular interest in the millions of internal and foreign labor migrants circulating among South Africa’s nine provinces.

This movement is circular, Lurie explains. To earn a living, many South Africans, mostly young men, leave their rural homes to work in urban factories or mining towns then return to their villages a few times each year. After visiting their families – and reuniting with their wives – they return to dig for gold or titanium or to make paper or aluminum. This migration escalated with the end of apartheid, when travel restrictions were lifted for millions of black South Africans.

From October 1998 to November 2000, Lurie and his team studied a total of 488 migrant and non-migrant men and women in the South African province of KwaZulu/Natal. They gathered a variety of biological and behavioral data, including HIV status, number of sexual partners, and condom use.

Using this data, Lurie led a team that studied precisely how this migration helped fuel the spread of HIV. Did the virus proliferate mainly because this movement created connections between higher-risk urban areas and lower-risk rural areas? Or did HIV spread mainly because men at work – and women at home – were separated from their sexual partners for long periods of time and therefore more likely to have unprotected sex to fill that absence?

The team created a mathematical model to find the answers. They found that without migration – and without migration-induced increases in unsafe sex – peak HIV prevalence would be less than 5 percent for migrants and non-migrants alike, as well as their sexual partners. By contrast, Lurie’s primary data showed HIV prevalence to be 26 percent among migrant men and 21 percent among their partners.

“Our model showed that migration primarily influences HIV spread by increasing high-risk sexual behavior,” Lurie said. “Migrant men were four times as likely to have a casual sexual partner than non-migrant men. So, when coupled with an increase in unprotected sex, we found the frequent return of migrant workers to be an important risk factor for HIV.”

The model also allowed the research team to do what could not be done in the real world: Calculate HIV prevalence as if apartheid-era travel restrictions were still in place. The results were stunning: If travel restrictions had remained, and migrants were only allowed to return home infrequently as they were under apartheid, HIV prevalence among adults would be about 4 percent, not today’s 18 percent prevalence rate.

“There are lots of reasons why HIV spread rapidly in South Africa,” Lurie said. “Now we know that migration is at least one critical driver. While this knowledge comes too late to stop the epidemic in South Africa, it provides a warning for countries elsewhere in Africa and Asia. In other highly mobile places, HIV prevention programs need to address increased risk behavior – and do so early, when these efforts can make a difference.”

Megan Coffee of Harvard Medical School was the lead author of the AIDS article. Geoff Garnett, of Imperial College London, also assisted in the research. The Wellcome Trust funded the work, with additional support from the South African Medical Research Council and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call the Office of Media Relations at (401) 863-2476.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:32 am    Post subject: Study: Hospitals Should Open Windows to Curb Disease Reply with quote

Study: Hospitals Should Open Windows to Curb Disease

By Charles Q. Choi
Special to LiveScience
posted: 26 February 2007
08:06 pm ET

Simply opening windows and doors could help prevent the airborne spread of germs inside hospitals, medical researchers now report.

Airborne contagions can prove deadly, with tuberculosis alone killing 1.8 million people worldwide annually. The greatest risk for outbreaks of airborne contagions perhaps lies in hospitals, which concentrate infected patients and potential victims in close indoor quarters.

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/hum.....ndows.html
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:24 pm    Post subject: Rapid response was crucial to containing the 1918 flu pandem Reply with quote

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
2 April 2007

Rapid response was crucial to containing the 1918 flu pandemic

Historical analyses help plan for future pandemics

One of the persistent riddles of the deadly 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic is why it struck different cities with varying severity. Why were some municipalities such as St. Louis spared the fate of the hard-hit cities like Philadelphia when both implemented similar public health measures? What made the difference, according to two independent studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was not only how but also how rapidly different cities responded.

Cities where public health officials imposed multiple social containment measures within a few days after the first local cases were recorded cut peak weekly death rates by up to half compared with cities that waited just a few weeks to respond. Overall mortality was also lower in cities that implemented early interventions, but the effect was smaller. These conclusions--the results of systematic analyses of historical data to determine the effectiveness of public health measures in 1918--are described in two articles published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“These important papers suggest that a primary lesson of the 1918 influenza pandemic is that it is critical to intervene early,” says Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which funded one of the studies. “While researchers are working very hard to develop pandemic influenza vaccines and increase the speed with which they can be made, nonpharmaceutical interventions may buy valuable time at the beginning of a pandemic while a targeted vaccine is being produced.”

The historical analyses are part of an ongoing effort called the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS), which is supported by NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). Through MIDAS, researchers have developed computer models to examine how a future pandemic influenza virus might spread and what interventions could minimize the impact.

“Although the MIDAS models can’t predict the exact spread of a potential influenza pandemic, they have all suggested that introducing public health measures soon after the first cases appear could greatly reduce the number of people who get sick,” says NIGMS Director Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D. “The historical analyses help validate the models’ conclusion and their potential usefulness in preparing for a pandemic.”

The ideal way to contain a potential influenza pandemic would be to vaccinate large numbers of people before they were exposed to an influenza virus strain that is easily transmitted from person to person. Developing such a vaccine in advance, however, is difficult because an influenza virus mutates as it replicates, and over time these mutations can alter the virus enough that older vaccines are no longer effective. With current technologies, it would take months to develop a new vaccine after the first cases of pandemic influenza appear.

Nonpharmaceutical interventions may limit the spread of the virus by imposing restrictions on social gatherings where person-to-person transmission can occur. The first of the two historical studies, conducted by a team of researchers from NIAID, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Harvard School of Public Health, looked at 19 different public health measures that were implemented in 17 U.S. cities in the autumn of 1918. The second study, undertaken at Imperial College London, looked at 16 U.S. cities for which both the start and stop dates of interventions were available.

Schools, theaters, churches and dance halls in cities across the country were closed. Kansas City banned weddings and funerals if more than 20 people were to be in attendance. New York mandated staggered shifts at factories to reduce rush hour commuter traffic. Seattle’s mayor ordered his constituents to wear face masks. The first study found a clear correlation between the number of interventions applied and the resulting peak death rate seen. Perhaps more importantly, both studies showed that while interventions effectively mitigated the transmission of influenza virus in 1918, a critical factor in how much death rates were reduced was how soon the measures were put in place.

Officials in St. Louis introduced a broad series of public health measures to contain the flu within two days of the first reported cases. Philadelphia, New Orleans and Boston all used similar interventions, but they took longer to implement them, and as a result, peak mortality rates were higher. In the most extreme disparity, the peak mortality rate in St. Louis was only one-eighth that of Philadelphia, the worst-hit city in the survey. In contrast to St. Louis, Philadelphia imposed bans on public gatherings more than two weeks after the first infections were reported. City officials even allowed a city-wide parade to take place prior to imposing their bans.

If St. Louis had waited another week or two, they might have fared the same as Philadelphia, says the lead author on the first study, Richard Hatchett, M.D., an associate director for emergency preparedness at NIAID. Despite the fact that these cities had dramatically different outcomes early on, all the cities in the survey ultimately experienced significant epidemics because, in the absence of an effective vaccine, the virus continued to spread or recurred as cities relaxed their restrictions.

The second study also shows that the timing of when control measures were lifted played a major part. Cities that relaxed their restrictions after the peak of the pandemic passed often saw the re-emergence of infection and had to reintroduce restrictions, says Neil Ferguson, D.Phil., of Imperial College, London, the senior author on the second study. In their paper, Dr. Ferguson and his coauthor used mathematical models to reproduce the pattern of the 1918 pandemic in different cities. This allowed them to predict what would have happened if cities had changed the timing of interventions. In San Francisco, which they found to have the most effective measures, they estimate that deaths would have been 25 percent higher had city officials not implemented their interventions when they did. But had San Francisco left its controls in place continuously from September 1918 through May 1919, the analysis suggests, the city might have reduced deaths by more than 90 percent.

The fact that the early, nonpharmaceutical interventions were effective at the height of the pandemic can inform pandemic planners today, the authors of both studies say. In particular, the two studies lend weight to guidance that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released on the use of nonpharmaceutical interventions during a pandemic ( http://www.pandemicflu.gov/pla.....ation.html ), which recommends precisely such a rapid early response.

###
NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health. NIAID supports basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria and illness from potential agents of bioterrorism. NIAID also supports research on basic immunology, transplantation and immune-related disorders, including autoimmune diseases, asthma and allergies.

NIGMS supports basic biomedical research that is the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. For more information about the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study, visit http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Initiatives/MIDAS/

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)--The Nation’s Medical Research Agency--includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov

References: R Hatchett et al. Public health interventions and epidemic intensity during the 1918 influenza pandemic. PNAS DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0610941104 (2007)

M Bootsma and N Ferguson. The effect of public health measures on the 1918 influenza pandemic in US cities. PNAS DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0611071104 (2007)

Visit http://www.pandemicflu.gov/ for one-stop access to U.S. Government information on avian and pandemic flu.

News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 9:26 am    Post subject: Spreading viruses as we breathe Reply with quote

Spreading viruses as we breathe
Queensland University of Technology
10 May 2007

Keeping at arm's length won't protect you from catching an infectious disease, according to new research by Queensland University of Technology which reveals airborne viruses can spread far and wide.



Professor Lidia Morawska, director of QUT's International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, said the study dispelled the myth that viruses emitted from humans only travel a metre in the air.

Professor Morawska and a team of QUT scientists have been studying the way droplets carring viruses are dispersed in the air when people speak, cough, sneeze and breathe.

"The current belief is that if you are an arm's length away from someone you are protected from any viruses they might be carrying," she said.

"When we talk about infection spread we are talking about droplets emitted from humans being dispersed in the air."

As part of the study QUT designed and built a machine to measure the distance a droplet travels in the air prior to drying.

"This droplet could potentially be carrying a virus," she said.

"The significant part of our research has found that rather than the droplet falling directly to the ground after leaving the mouth, the liquid component of the droplet dries in the air and the dry residue travels large distances.

"When a droplet dries in the air the residue is carried in the air, and therefore there is a risk that people can inhale that air and become infected."

Professor Morawska said a droplet drying on a surface could be infectious but the greater danger was droplets drying in the air.

"A droplet can travel for 10cm before it dries in the air, it doesn't immediately fall to the ground."

She said the study, funded by the Australian Research Council, was motivated by an outbreak of SARS in Hong Kong where more than 300 people were infected within the space of a few hours.

"We wanted to know how this virus was able to travel from building to building in such a short time," she said.

Professor Morawska said her research had shown that one person infected with the disease could easily spread the virus by simply breathing.

"Understanding the way viruses spread from human expiration means we can look to better design spaces, ventilation systems and filters," she said.

Professor Morawska said the next stage of the research would investigate the global effect of dried droplets in health care facilities to see how viruses were spread around the world.
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 9:53 am    Post subject: Scientists concerned about effects of global warming on infe Reply with quote

American Society for Microbiology
22 May 2007

Scientists concerned about effects of global warming on infectious diseases

As the Earth’s temperatures continue to rise, we can expect a signficant change in infectious disease patterns around the globe. Just exactly what those changes will be remains unclear, but scientists agree they will not be for the good.

"Environmental changes have always been associated with the appearance of new diseases or the arrival of old diseases in new places. With more changes, we can expect more surprises," says Stephen Morse of Columbia University, speaking May 22, 2007, at the 107th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Toronto.

In its April 2007 report on the impacts of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that rising temperatures may result in "the altered spatial distribution of some infectious disease vectors," and will have "mixed effects, such as the decrease or increase of the range and transmission potential of malaria in Africa."

"Diseases carried by insects and ticks are likely to be affected by environmental changes because these creatures are themselves very sensitive to vegetation type, temperature, humidity etc. However, the direction of change – whether the diseases will increase or decrease – is much more difficult to predict, because disease transmission involves many factors, some of which will increase and some decrease with environmental change. A combination of historical disease records and present-day ground-based surveillance, remotely sensed (satellite) and other data, and good predictive models is needed to describe the past, explain the present and predict the future of vector-borne infectious diseases," says David Rogers of Oxford University, also speaking at the meeting.

One impact of rising global temperatures, though, can be fairly accurately predicted, says Morse. In the mountains of endemic areas, malaria is not transmitted above a certain altitude because temperatures are too cold to support mosquitoes. As temperatures rise, this malaria line will rise as well.

"One of the first indicators of rising global temperatures could be malaria climbing mountains," says Morse.

Another change could be the flu season. Influenza is a year-round event in the tropics. If the tropical airmass around the Earth's equator expands, as new areas lose their seasons they may also begin to see influenza year-round.

And extreme weather events will also lead to more disease, unless we are prepared. As the frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme weather events change, water supplies become more at risk, according Joan Rose of Michigan State University.

"Hurricanes, typhoons, tornados and just high intensity storms have exacerbated an aging drinking and wastewater infrastructure, enhanced the mixing of untreated sewage and water supplies, re-suspended pathogens from sediments and displaced large populations to temporary shelters. We are at greater risk than ever before of infectious disease associated with increasing extreme weather events," says Rose.

There will also be indirect effects of climate change on infectious disease as well. For instance, says Morse, the effect of global warming on agriculture could lead to significant changes in disease transmission and distribution.

"If agriculture in a particular area begins to fail due drought, more people will move into cities," says Morse. High population densities, especially in developing countries, are associated with an increased transmission of a variety of diseases including HIV, tuberculosis, respiratory diseases (such as influenza) and sexually transmitted diseases.

"I’m worried about climate change and agree that something needs to be done," says Morse. "Otherwise, we can hope our luck will hold out."
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 1:16 pm    Post subject: The insect vector always bites twice Reply with quote

Institut de Recherche Pour le Développement
5 June 2007

The insect vector always bites twice

The reality of the threat from vector-borne diseases has been recognized and the problem is prompting research scientists to take a strong interest. Most of these infections, classified as emerging or re-emerging diseases, are linked to ecosystem changes, climatic variations or pressure from human activities. Malaria, sleeping sickness and so on lead to the death of millions of people in the world. African countries are particularly strongly hit. The expansion of Dengue fever and the recent epidemics of Chikungunya and West Nile disease illustrate the trend.

The pathogens responsible for these diseases can be viruses, bacteria or protozoans which are passed on to humans by an arthropod vector, most often a dipteran insect. This becomes infected when it feeds, taking blood from an infected vertebrate host. The pathogenic agent finds conditions to reproduce and proliferate in the vector’s body. In most cases, the parasite moves back into the vector’s salivary glands in order to be transmitted to the human host when the insect bites again to take another blood meal. Morbidity among infected people is therefore associated with the degree of exposure of the subject to insect vector bites.

The vector saliva, which is adapted for blood feeds, plays a prime role in the transmission of the associated diseases. It contains numerous proteins, including immunogenic ones that can modulate or induce a human immune response. Working for the EpiVect programme initiated in 2003 (1), scientists from IRD research unit UR 024 studied this still little known response with the aim of identifying in the arthropod vector saliva the immunogenic proteins responsible. They called on immunological techniques to evaluate qualitatively and quantitatively, in the serum sampled from human populations living in transmission areas, the presence of antibodies targeting specifically these proteins contained in an extract of total saliva of the culprit vector.

This approach, based on the studies of malaria transmission by mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles and human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) by Glossinia species or tsetse flies, revealed that the antibody response can represent a good indicator of the degree of exposure of humans to bites, which could in the long term allow improved assessment of the risk of transmission of these diseases in a given region.

In Senegal the rate of antisalivary antibodies against Anopheles in young children (under 5 years), the population most exposed to the risk of malaria, appeared to be proportional to the actual degree of exposure, which had been assessed beforehand by standard entomological capture techniques. All the children involved in the study showed a higher level during the period of most intense transmission, in September. The antibody rate proved also to be associated with the risk of occurrence of a malarial attack in the following three months. These antisalivary antibodies consequently seem to be indicators of the risk of malaria in endemic areas, that could be used to improve strategies of prevention and care of young patients in the context of seasonal transmission of the disease.

The objective of the work conducted on human African trypanosomiasis was to analyse the antibody response to identify exactly, in total saliva extract of Glossinia flies, the immunogenic proteins responsible for synthesis of these specific antibodies (2). The different saliva proteins of four Glossinia species, uninfected, vectors or non-vectors, were separated then put into contact with the serum of individual subjects, infected or uninfected, exposed to bites. Comparison of salivary protein immunogenic profiles obtained showed that they differ depending on the infection status of the subjects (exposed uninfected/infected) and the vector or non-vector status of the Glossinia. Hence, immunogenic proteins specific for two Glossinia species investigated (a 42 kDa protein in G. fuscipes fuscipes, and 50, 55, 65 and 72 kDa proteins in G. morsitans morsitans) could be used to assess specifically the degree of exposure to bites of each of these species.

Starting from immunogenic salivary proteins, simple and effective prevention tools (immuno-tests) can be devised to assess the exposure of human subjects, or be used in endemic areas to evaluate the efficacy of existing vector control strategies, such as the use of impregnated mosquito nets. Analysis of the host-vector relationship, up to now dealt with mainly from the angle of allergic responses to bites or in the search for veterinary vaccines, constitutes now an important research path for new surveillance and prevention strategies.


###
Marie Guillaume-Signoret – IRD
Translation : Nicholas Flay

(1) The EpiVect (épidémiologie des vecteurs) programme is coordinated by the EpiPrev “Epidémiologie et prévention : environnement et efficacité des interventions (Epiprev)“ of IRD research unit UR 024. It involves research scientists of several disciplines (immunoloy, biology, epidemiology and entomology).
Site: http://www.mpl.ird.fr/epiprev/

(2) This work is the fruit of the thesis in pharmacy of Anne Poinsignon, successfully presented in January 2006 and for which the rearcher was awarded the Anofel Prize of the Association Française des Enseignants et Praticiens hospitaliers titulaires de Parasitologie et de Mycologie Médicale, in March 2006.

Key-words: insect vectors, antibodies, salivary proteins, EPIVECT, prevention.

For further information

Contacts:

François Simondon – IRD UR 024 “Epidémiologie et prévention“ (Epiprev), 34394 Montpellier, France. Tel. +33 (0)4 67 41 61 62.
E-mail: Francois.Simondon@mpl.ird.fr

Anne Poinsignon and Franck Remoué – IRD UR 024 “Epidémiologie et prévention“ (Epiprev), Route des Pères Maristes, BP 1386, 18524

Dakar, Senegal. Tel. +221 849 35 55

E-mails: poinsign@mpl.ird.fr and remoue@ird.sn

Contacts IRD Communication: Marie Guillaume-Signoret (coordinating editor); Tel.: 01 48 03 76 07, E-mail: fichesactu@paris.ird.fr ; Press office, Tel.: +33 (0)1 48 03 75 19, E-mail: presse@paris.ird.fr

References:

Franck Remoue, Badara Cisse, Fatou Ba, Cheikh Sokhna, Jean-Pierre Herve, Denis Boulanger, François Simondon – Evaluation of the antibody response to Anopheles salivary antigens as a potential marker of risk of malaria, Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2006 (100), p. 363-370.

Anne Poinsignon, Sylvie Cornélie, Franck Remoue, Pascal Grébaut, David Courtin, André Garcia and François Simondon – Human/vector relationships during human african trypanosomiasis : initial screening of immunogenic salivary proteins of Glossina species, American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2007, 76, 327-333.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:05 pm    Post subject: Infectious diseases experts issue blueprint to avert Reply with quote

Infectious Diseases Society of America
15 June 2007

Infectious diseases experts issue blueprint to avert

Call for federal investments to immunize adults, adolescents
New vaccines are available to make significant gains against cervical cancer deaths and debilitating pain from shingles, but infectious diseases experts warn that their full potential will not be realized without changes in the way vaccines for adults and adolescents are promoted, financed, and delivered in the United States.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has released a new “blueprint for action” to prevent tens of thousands of deaths and illnesses caused by these and other diseases that can be avoided with a few simple shots. The blueprint is published in the June 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

“We have done a great job in this country delivering vaccines to children, but we have done an awful job delivering vaccines to adults,” said Neal A. Halsey, MD, professor at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and chair of the IDSA Immunization Work Group that developed the policy blueprint.

For example, he points out that more than 90 percent of U.S. children are immunized against measles, mumps, whooping cough, hepatitis B, and other diseases. Rates of these diseases are at or near historic lows. In contrast, an estimated 175,000 adults are hospitalized and 6,000 die each year from pneumococcal pneumonia, but one in three adults over 65 has not been vaccinated against it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the cost of treating diseases that vaccines could prevent exceeds $10 billion annually.

Cost is one factor in why adults do not get vaccinated—particularly the uninsured. “CDC has very effective systems for delivering vaccines to underserved children,” said IDSA work group member Walter A. Orenstein, MD, associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center and former head of CDC’s immunization program. “One of them is Section 317 of the Public Health Service Act, which helps state and local health departments provide vaccines to uninsured or underinsured patients—largely children—for free. Section 317 must now be expanded to catch underserved adults at highest risk.”

While the program is cost-effective, expanding Section 317 will require a significant infusion of cash. Section 317’s current $520 million budget will need an additional $170 million per year in order to cover all vaccines for uninsured adults, according to a recent CDC estimate. “It is essential that we provide adults access to these vaccines that save lives and prevent illnesses,” Dr. Orenstein said, “but immunizing adults must not be done at the expense of children.”

IDSA also is calling for all plans to cover all adult and adolescent vaccines recommended by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and to pay physicians adequately for office costs associated with immunization. Further, managed care plans should be measured in part on how well they immunize patients. Another principle supports exploring where immunization can appropriately take place outside the traditional office setting. Funding to support research into vaccines and vaccine delivery must be increased, and resources must be available to gather data on safety, efficacy, and usage.

Physicians and patients also must be part of the solution, according to the IDSA blueprint. “Part of the problem lies with physicians, who are not accustomed to offering vaccines during routine visits with adult patients; and with patients, who are unaware the vaccines exist,” said IDSA work group member William Schaffner, MD, chair of the Department of Preventive Health at Vanderbilt University. Doctors who serve adults must begin assessing adult immunization needs during routine preventive health care visits. Also, CDC should launch an education campaign to help improve awareness about vaccines and the illnesses they can prevent in adults.

“As health care workers, we set an example for our patients,” Dr. Schaffner added. “We all must be fully immunized.”

“We have the tools to make dramatic improvements in adult and adolescent health, as we have for children,” said Andrew T. Pavia, MD, chair of IDSA’s National and Global Public Health Committee, Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Utah, and a member of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee. “IDSA’s blueprint outlines the steps we must take to use these tools effectively. Now all we need is the will to take those steps.”


###
See www.idsociety.org/adultimmunization for the IDSA blueprint, “Actions to Strengthen Adult and Adolescent Immunization Coverage in the United States.”

IDSA is an organization of physicians, scientists, and other health care professionals dedicated to promoting health through excellence in infectious diseases research, education, prevention, and patient care. The Society, which has more than 8,000 members, was founded in 1963 and is based in Arlington, VA. For more information, visit www.idsociety.org
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:08 am    Post subject: Simple hand-washing video for visitors could reduce rapidly Reply with quote

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
18 June 2007

Simple hand-washing video for visitors could reduce rapidly increasing hospital infection rates

A simple video-based awareness programme significantly improved hand washing among family members visiting sick children in a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, according to research in the June issue of the UK-based Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Researchers monitored visits by123 families to see how they could improve hygiene and reduce hospital acquired infections like MRSA, which are a major cause of ill health and death among children in intensive care.

“Research has shown that hospital acquired infections occur in about 10 per cent of patients on general hospital wards, but that children on paediatric intensive care units have a 20 to 30 per cent chance of becoming infected” says nurse researcher Dr Li-Chi Chiang from the China Medical University in Taiwan.

For the first two months, 62 families were shown posters illustrating hand-washing techniques and discussed the 10 key steps involved with staff.

During the second two months, 61 different families were shown a hand-washing video and took part in the same discussions with staff.

The groups, which included parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, were then observed during subsequent visits to the unit in Taiwan, which cares for about 30 children each month.

“Both groups significantly improved their hand-washing behaviour, but the video initiative proved much more effective” says Dr Chiang.

“When we marked each group on a scale of zero to 10, we found that in both groups compliance increased with each of the five visits monitored after guidance was provided.

“The video group started with an average score of 7.0 the first time we observed them and this rose to 8.6 by the fifth visit. The poster group were much less efficient at hand washing, starting at 4.7 and rising to 5.9.

“Both the groups had similar profiles and education levels and the researchers took part in the initial viewing and discussion sessions to ensure consistency. There was also a 20-day gap between the groups to ensure that families only took part in one training initiative.”

Dr Chiang and co-author Yong-Chuan Chen from the Taichung Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan argue that showing simple hand-washing videos in healthcare settings is an efficient, low-cost strategy that could make a real contribution to reducing infection rates.

“The video can be shown repeatedly in areas such as intensive care unit waiting rooms and hospital staff can be trained to reinforce the information in the video when interacting with visitors” says Dr Chiang.

“The Taiwan study is of particular interest because the majority of hand-washing studies have concentrated on healthcare staff” says Roger Watson, Editor of Journal of Clinical Nursing and Professor of Nursing at The University of Sheffield.

“We are very keen to highlight how steps are being taken to tackle hygiene issues among members of the public visiting hospital patients, as they play a key role in initiatives to halt the spread of hospital acquired infections such as MRSA.

“Here in the UK, Government statistics issued earlier this year showed that one in 500 death certificates issued in England and Wales between 2001 and 2005 mentioned MRSA and that Clostridium difficile was mentioned on one in every 250 during the same period. The vast majority of these infections will have been acquired in hospital.

“It is clear from international research that this picture is being repeated in healthcare settings worldwide. Hospital acquired infections continue to rise at an alarming rate and urgent steps are needed to halt their spread.

“This research identifies a very simple and inexpensive initiative that yielded effective results and could easily be adopted in a wide range of healthcare settings.”


###
Notes to editors


Effectiveness of hand-washing teaching programmes for families of children in paediatric intensive care units. Chen Y-C and Chiang L-C. Journal of Clinical Nursing. 16, pp 1173-1179. June 2007.

Source for UK figures quoted by Roger Watson: Deaths involving MRSA and Clostridium difficile continue to rise. National Statistics News Release 22 February 2007. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/deaths0207.pdf


Founded in 1992, Journal of Clinical Nursing is a highly regarded peer reviewed Journal that has a truly international readership. The Journal embraces experienced clinical nurses, student nurses and health professionals, who support, inform and investigate nursing practice. It enlightens, educates, explores, debates and challenges the foundations of clinical health care knowledge and practice worldwide. Edited by Professor Roger Watson, it is published 10 times a year by Blackwell Publishing Ltd, part of the international Blackwell Publishing group. www.blackwellpublishing.com/jcn


Blackwell Publishing is the world’s leading society publisher, partnering with 665 medical, academic, and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and has over 6,000 books in print. The company employs over 1,000 staff members in offices in the US, UK, Australia, China, Singapore, Denmark, Germany and Japan and officially merged with John Wiley & Sons, Inc's Scientific, Technical and Medical business in February 2007. Blackwell’s mission as an expert publisher is to create long-term partnerships with our clients that enhance learning, disseminate research, and improve the quality of professional practice. For more information on Blackwell Publishing, please visit www.blackwellpublishing.com or www.blackwell-synergy.com
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:29 pm    Post subject: University of Pennsylvania researchers develop formula to ga Reply with quote

University of Pennsylvania
16 AUgust 2007

University of Pennsylvania researchers develop formula to gauge risk of disease clusters

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a mathematical formula to assess whether concentrated disease outbreaks can be ascribed to random-chance events or, instead, suggest a contagious or environmental effect that requires epidemiological investigation.

A feature of the formula is that, given the relevant data, the required probability calculations can be done in less than five seconds on a personal computer.

In statistical terms, the formula gives an exact expression for the probability distribution of the maximum of a number of multinomially distributed random variables. Mathematically, the formula depends on generating function technology developed by Herbert Wilf, professor of mathematics in the School of Arts and Science at Penn. Warren Ewens of Penn’s Department of Biology joined Wilf in developing the formula. Until now, only potentially unreliable, approximate formulae have been available.

The formula was used to investigate two disease cluster cases.

The first was the classic case of a clustering of eight cases of leukemia in Niles, Ill., in 1956-1960, which was reasonably assessed as a chance, random event. On the other hand, 12 cases of acute lymphocytic leukemia in Churchill County, Nev., in 1999-2001 was assessed not to be a chance event but due to a common, possibly environmental cause.

Multiple cases of non-communicable disease, like leukemia, have clustered in small geographic areas quickly, resulting in costly epidemiological study. The authors note that a purely mathematical calculation cannot answer serious public-health questions, but that they can nevertheless point to cases that appear to require further public health study.

###
The paper was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 6:33 pm    Post subject: New software to aid early detection of infectious disease ou Reply with quote

NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
6 December 2007

New software to aid early detection of infectious disease outbreaks

A newly released software program will let health authorities at the site of an infectious disease outbreak quickly analyze data, speeding the detection of new cases and the implementation of effective interventions.

The program, called TranStat, was developed by a team of epidemiologists and computer scientists from the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS), an international program supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to build computational models for studying disease spread.

“A main goal of MIDAS is to make the models developed by the researchers available to the public health community and policymakers,” said Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the NIH component that funds MIDAS. “TranStat is a great example of how MIDAS is providing tools to help communities prepare for emerging infectious disease outbreaks.”

Available for free and downloadable at http://www.midasmodels.org, TranStat can be used by public health officials to systematically enter and store infectious disease data. These data include details about the infected individuals, such as their sex, age, and onset of symptoms; their close contacts; and any interventions they might have received. The program also prompts the field personnel to enter details about exposed but uninfected individuals. The system does not collect names or other personally identifying information.

The computer program uses this information to statistically determine the probability that people contracted the disease from each other, a driving factor in the spread of infections. TranStat also estimates in real time the average number of people an individual could infect and the rate at which that infection occurs in a particular setting. This information can help health officials develop and swiftly implement strategies that thwart further spread while they conduct additional studies.

"We've made TranStat portable and easy to use, so field officers can enter, edit, and analyze data as an outbreak progresses," said Diane Wagener, Ph.D., a program manager at RTI International, an independent, nonprofit research organization in Research Triangle Park, N.C., which helped develop the user interface.

Ira Longini, Ph.D., a biostatistician at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington in Seattle, directed the research behind TranStat. He and his research team have used the underlying methods and software to determine that the H5N1 avian flu virus probably spread between members of an extended family in Indonesia in 2006. According to the results published in the September 2007 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the transmission was not sustained.

“The faster we learn about emerging infectious diseases and their characteristics, the quicker we can contain and mitigate them,” said Longini. “TranStat will help us do this by standardizing data collection and analysis.”

Future software enhancements that will allow field personnel to enter more refined data about the affected population and their social networks are under way.


###

To learn more about MIDAS, visit http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Initiatives/MIDAS/
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:05 pm    Post subject: Researchers put the bite on mosquitoes Reply with quote

University of Arizona

Researchers put the bite on mosquitoes

16 January 2008

Few things sting like a mosquito's bite--especially if that bite carries a disease such as malaria, yellow fever, Dengue fever or West Nile virus. But if researchers from The University of Arizona in Tucson have their way, one day mosquito bites may prove deadly to the mosquitoes as well.

"Our goal is to turn the female mosquito's blood meal into the last meal she ever eats," said project leader Roger L. Miesfeld, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics in UA's College of Science and a member of BIO5 and the Arizona Cancer Center.

Other UA researchers involved with the project include Patricia Y. Scaraffia, Guanhong Tan, Jun Isoe, BIO5 member Vicki H. Wysocki, and the late Michael A. Wells.

These researchers have discovered that one particular mosquito species, Aedes aegypti, has a surprisingly complex metabolic pathway, one that requires its members to excrete toxic nitrogen after gorging on human blood. If the mosquitoes fail to do so, they'll also fail to lay eggs--and will likely sicken and die.

Scaraffia, a research assistant professor in UA's department of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, and the other members of the team published their findings in the January 15 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Miesfeld and his colleagues are seeking a molecule that is harmless to humans, but will gum up the works of mosquito metabolism, forcing the mosquitoes to hang onto the nitrogen. Such a molecule would kill both the mosquitoes and their would-be progeny--thus slowing the spread of disease.

Once found, this molecule--and similar molecules aimed at other mosquito species--could be developed into an insecticide and sprayed in places where mosquitoes congregate, such as around water and on mosquito netting.

The researchers also envision developing an oral insecticide--a mosquito-slaying pill that members of a community with a high instance of, say, yellow fever or malaria might take to reduce the mosquito population. The pill wouldn't be a vaccine; if people who took it were later bitten by a disease-carrying mosquito, they would still become infected. However, the mosquito would ingest the insecticide along with the blood, causing her to bear fewer young and possibly die before she could bite anyone else.

"The whole community would essentially become one big mosquito trap," Miesfeld said. Over time, mosquito populations and disease rates would both decline. "It would be a group effort that in the long run could have a huge impact."

In a world where both mosquitoes and the diseases they carry are becoming increasingly resistant to known insecticides and medicines, finding new ways to fight them is crucial.

"This would be one more weapon in our arsenal against diseases that kill millions of people a year," Miesfeld said.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:24 am    Post subject: Strategy to stop a pandemic Reply with quote

Strategy to stop a pandemic
By Davide Castelvecchi
July 4th, 2008
New approach could effectively use a scarce supply of vaccine

When deadly bird flu strikes, six degrees of separation could be the distance from here to hell. Even if a vaccine is found to be effective, it may be impossible to produce enough shots for everybody quickly enough, so authorities would have to decide how to use the doses they have in the most effective way. Researchers are now proposing a new strategy for targeting shots that could, at least in theory, stop a pandemic from spreading along the network of social interactions.

For the full article:

http://sciencenews.org/view/ge.....a_pandemic
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