Dangerous TB spreading at alarming rate in Europe warns WHO

September 14, 2011 – LONDON – Multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis (TB) are spreading at an alarming rate in Europe and will kill thousands unless health authorities halt the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. Launching a new regional plan to find, diagnose and treat cases of the airborne infectious disease more effectively, the WHO’s European director warned that complacency had allowed a resurgence of TB and failure to tackle it now would mean huge human and economic costs in the future. “TB is an old disease that never went away, and now it is evolving with a vengeance,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, the WHO’s Regional Director for Europe. “The numbers are scary,” Lucica Ditiu, executive secretary of the Stop TB Partnership told a news conference in London. “This is a very dramatic situation.” TB is currently a worldwide pandemic that kills around 1.7 million people a year. The infection is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis and destroys patients’ lung tissue, causing them to cough up the bacteria, which then spreads through the air and can be inhaled by others. Cases of multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) — where the infections are resistant to first-line and then second-line antibiotic treatments — are spreading fast, with about 440,000 new patients every year around the world.  According to the WHO and Stop TB, 15 of the 27 countries with the highest burden of MDR-TB are in the WHO’s European region, which includes 53 countries in Europe and Central Asia. More than 80,000 MDR-TB cases occur in the region each year — almost a fifth of the world’s total. The WHO said precise figures for XDR-TB are not available because most countries lack the facilities to diagnose it, but officially reported cases of XDR-TB increased six-fold between 2008 and 2009. Rates are highest in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, but many countries in Western Europe have increasing rates of TB and drug-resistant TB, Ditiu said. Britain’s capital, London, has the highest TB rate of any capital city in Western Europe with around 3,500 cases a year, 2 percent of which are MDR-TB. Treating even normal TB is a long and unpleasant process, with patients needing to take a combination of powerful antibiotics for 6 months. Many patients fail to correctly complete the course of medicines, a factor which has fueled a rise in drug-resistant forms of the disease. Treatment regimes for MDR-TB and XDR-TB can stretch into two or more years, costing up to $16,000 in drugs alone and up to $200,000 to $300,000 per patient if isolation hospital costs, medical care and other resources are taken into account. Experts say around 7 percent of patients with straightforward TB die, and that death rate rises to around 50 percent of patients with drug-resistant forms. The WHO’s action plan for tackling tuberculosis emphasizes the need for doctors and patients to be more aware of the disease and its symptoms, to diagnose and treat cases promptly with the right drugs, and follow patients up over many months or years to ensure they take their medications. –Reuters  – Bird Flu warning issued in August by UN 




Toddler latest victim of mosquito disease

A WA toddler has become the latest victim of a potentially deadly mosquito-borne disease.

The rare disease, Murray Valley encephalitis, has claimed the lives of two in recent weeks; one in Western Australia’s north-west and the other in the Northern Territory.
two-year-old, from Kununurra, who is now in Royal Darwin Hospital, contracted the disease in the Kimberley.

A 29-year-old Halls Creek-based policeman has come out of a coma in a Perth hospital but is still unable to communicate.

The toddler was in a stable condition.

Constable Ryan Marron, from Albany, has been rendered helpless by the virus which he contracted during a two-week relief stint in the Aboriginal community of Balgo.

It is not yet known if the pair will make a full recovery.

Last month, a man who had been travelling across the north-west became the first person to die from the disease in WA in three years.

A 19-year-old Canadian tourist died after contracting MVE while travelling through the Northern Territory earlier this month.

A Health Department spokesperson said nine West Australians had contracted MVE this year.

Eight had encephalitis, serious brain inflammation, one of whom died and several were ill in hospital.

The department urged people to cover up, wear repellent and stay indoors to avoid catching the virus, which extends to south-central regions of WA.

Department of Health Medical Entomologist Sue Harrington said MVE, closely related to the Kunjin virus, had spread through the Kimberley, Pilbara, Gascoyne, Goldfields, Midwest and central Wheatbelt regions.

“Murray Valley encephalitis virus and Kunjin virus are carried by mosquitoes, and while the risk of being infected and becoming unwell is low, the illnesses can be severe and people should take sensible precautions to avoid mosquito bites,” Ms Harrington said.

“Initial symptoms of MVE include fever, drowsiness, headache, stiff neck, nausea and dizziness and people experiencing these symptoms should seek medical advice quickly. In severe cases, people may experience fits, lapse into a coma, and may be left with permanent brain damage or die.

“In young children, fever might be the only early sign, so parents should see their doctor if concerned, particularly if their child experiences drowsiness, floppiness, irritability, poor feeding, or general distress.”

Ms Harrington said that anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical advice quickly.

She said controlling mosquitoes in most rural regions of WA was generally not possible because of the large size and inaccessibility of natural mosquito breeding habitat.


Highly contagious mystery virus with AIDS-like symptoms quickly spreading throughout China

A new mystery virus with symptoms similar to those of AIDS and HIV is turning up
all over China, according to a recent report in The Epoch Times. Patients
with the highly transmissible disease are experiencing dramatic weight loss,
night sweats, numb limbs, severe body aches, joint problems, severe vomiting,
and the obvious decrease in white blood cell count and subsequent deterioration
of the immune system.

A translated report from the Chinese news source
New Express Daily explains that people who contract the new AIDS-like virus — which spreads through
any bodily fluid, including saliva and sweat, by the way — experience
nearly all the same symptoms as AIDS patients do, but routinely
test negative for the disease. And experts are
allegedly unable to authoritatively identify the disease, or the source from
which it came.

A reporter from New Express Daily recently
interviewed 30 different patients with the disease, most of which were believed
to have contracted it through sexual contact. But several of them contracted it
from other sources, including one via a blood transfusion from a
relative, and another from a friend at a casual house gathering. And their
accounts are chilling.

“I thought it was just a cold at the time, so I
still participated in all kinds of gatherings,” explained a retired army officer
with the disease to The Epoch Times. “Consequently, over 100 of my
comrades in the army, relatives and friends were infected by me.”

say that the Chinese
Health Ministry has ordered epidemiological studies in six provinces with high
numbers of infected patients, including in Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Hunan,
Jiangsu, and Guangdong. To date, though, there have been no conclusive
discoveries made concerning the cause or source of the

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