Ebola, enterovirus D68 and tuberculosis were three of the top topics on Outbreak News Today this past week.
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa had jumped to 6263 cases, with 2917 deaths as of the latest World Health Organization (WHO) Situation update last week. This is big; however, two of the most interesting stories came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a plant pathology professor from Delaware State University.
First, the federal health agency released data based on it’s own modelling tool, EbolaResponse, which caught the attention of just about everyone paying attention. EbolaResponse, a spreadsheet that calculates the spread of EVD and its impact for 300 days, among other things, created the following dire predictions:
First, if trends continue without scale-up of effective interventions, by September 30, 2014, Sierra Leone and Liberia will have a total of approximately 8,000 Ebola cases.
Second, a potential underreporting correction factor of 2.5 also was calculated. Using this correction factor, the model estimates that approximately 21,000 total cases will have occurred in Liberia and Sierra Leone by September 30, 2014.
Lastly and most eye-opening, extrapolating trends to January 20, 2015, without additional interventions or changes in community behavior (e.g., notable reductions in unsafe burial practices), the model also estimates that Liberia and Sierra Leone will have approximately 550,000 Ebola cases (1.4 million when corrected for underreporting).
Something else related to the EVD outbreak, in a somewhat more conspiratorial vein was an article by Delaware State University plant pathology professor, Dr. Cyril Broderick, which raised a number of eyebrows. In his article, “Ebola, AIDS Manufactured By Western Pharmaceuticals, US DoD?” published in a Liberian news source, Broderick blames the Ebola outbreak on US biowarfare research, the World Health Organization and Tekmira Pharmaceuticals among others. Definitely worth the read to formulate your own opinions.
Other news on Ebola featured included the recovery and release of SIM USA physician, Dr. Rick Sacra, the death of Spanish priest Father Manuel García Viejo and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizing Tekmira to provide TKM-Ebola for treatment under expanded access protocols to subjects with confirmed or suspected Ebola virus infections.
In the United States
The number of confirmed cases of Enterovirus D68 has increased to 279 from 80 percent of U.S. states, according to the CDC. In addition, in the Denver, Colorado area, the CDC and state health officials are investigating a cluster of nine pediatric patients hospitalized with acute neurologic illness of undetermined etiology. The possible linkage of this cluster of neurologic disease to this large EV-D68 outbreak is part of the current investigation.
In El Paso, Texas, the investigation into the hundreds of newborns potentially exposed to tuberculosis (TB) from a health worker with the active form of the disease continues. To date, at least five babies have tested positive for TB via the skin test.
World Rabies Day
Today is World Rabies Day, in honor of the death of the great Louis Pasteur. Researchers from Washington State University published an article calling dog vaccination the key to eradicating human rabies.
The number of polio cases topped 200 globally, the Guangdong province, China dengue outbreak is growing rapidly, Australian researchers show the hookworms reduce celiac disease symptoms and in a story on the more bizarre side, a man from China has his body riddled with tapeworms due to his love of sashimi.
Check out these stories and more at Outbreak News Today.